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There’s something about going to an orchard and picking your own fruit. The breeze in your hair, the sun on your skin, and the smell of ripe fruit permeating your nostrils. What isn’t felt is the thousands of pounds of fruit wasted due to bruising, over-ripening, or the untrained consumers’ eyes. It was during such a trip that Elizabeth Bennett, founder of Fruitcycle, conceived her business…recycling fruit before it became food waste.

Before you say, “That’s already been done before!”–you’re right–but not quite like this. Food waste is an extremely important topic. One that’s recently been tackled by news sources such as National Geographic, NPR, and the New York Times. If you’re not particularly worried, perhaps you should be, as the EPA states, “When food is disposed in a landfill, it rots and becomes a significant source of methane–a potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.” Greenhouse emissions, anyone?

But why apple chips? Two reasons.  Peaches quickly go out of season but apples don’t.  Additionally, three of the top producing apple states are in close proximity to DC.  Before she launched Fruitcycle, Bennett perused Whole Foods to research the competition and found that most apple chips came from all over the world, some from multiple countries per package. “I wanted people to know that they could purchase healthy, dehydrated snacks such as apple chips, from regionally-sourced farms right here in the Mid-Atlantic,” says Bennett.  Fruitcycle lists not only the name of the farm but also the state from which the apples originate. Since October, Fruitcycle has rescued 5,563 pounds of orphaned apples.

With a Master’s in Anthropology of Food from the University of London, Bennett is concerned about the quality, processing, and shelf life of produce, which is ever important in today’s food-conscious society. Her products have no added sugars, fat, or artificial ingredients. They’re paleo-friendly as well as gluten, dairy, and nut-free.  The dream finally became a reality when Fruitcycle was named finalist and Audience Favorite in Mess Hall’s Launchpad competition in September 2014.

Currently, Fruitcycle employs women from N Street Village and Together We Bake, non-profit organizations that empower women. Together, these women are making history!

Where can you find Fruitcycle’s products? Online or at some of our favorite local food retailers: