It’s been 18 years since Diane Orley first started churning out nut recipes in her basement while raising three kids. But a fortuitous partnership and national launch of Daily Crunch Snacks would lead the founder and co-owner of Diane’s Kitchen to new and remarkable growth.
Her sister, who lives in Austin, Texas, where Orley grew up, learned about the nut sprouting technique in India that would inspire her original recipes. The multistep soaking and dehydrating process leaves nuts with a hollow core that gives them a uniquely crunchy texture and taste.
Orley knew she was onto something. “I started making them for myself and my friends went crazy when they tried them,” she said.
Through the years, between her website and word of mouth sales, the concept just wouldn’t go away. “I always knew there would be a sign when it was time for a bigger business,” said Orley who got the signal two years ago when her niece, Laurel Orley, a marketing and brand expert with an impressive track record, suggested they collaborate and expand.
Now Laurel, who lives in Nashville, oversees the marketing and strategy for Daily Crunch Snacks. They’ve also brought on a third partner with a finance background, Dan Stephenson, who brings a different skill set to the table, along with four interns from Vanderbilt University.
Their expanded distribution that began earlier this year would lead to national recognition and accolades like the Sprouted Almonds – named one of the best healthy snacks in 2020 by Good Housekeeping. Locally, Daily Crunch Snacks are available at Plum Market, Papa Joe’s, Hollywood Market, Lori Karbal, Zieben-Mare and more. The nuts are also sold online through their website (dailycrunchsnacks.com) and Amazon.
Orley, who lives in Birmingham, adds recipes to the website.
“I’m a foodie and I love to cook and share them with people to get them engaged,” she said.
In November, there was more growth to celebrate as two new flavors joined the ranks: Golden Goodness with turmeric and sea salt and Cacao and Sea Salt.
The original selection includes Spouted Almonds, Cherry Berry Nut Medley and Coffee-Soaked Almonds. All of the products are gluten-free, keto- paleo- and vegan-friendly and non-GMO.
A portion of all proceeds goes to The Support Network, a non-profit organization that advocates for mental health awareness in high schools and colleges. Orley lost her son George to mental illness in 2013, while he was attending the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Her strength and compassion will likely help others with similar struggles.
With entrepreneurship, she continues to learn the many aspects of running a business, like the power of the internet and social media and marketing.
Her mission is simple. “My passion and goal is to see people enjoy eating, eat healthy and enjoy the products as much as I do,” she said.
Even a pandemic can’t stand in her way. “We launched at a really difficult time, but it’s a little bit of a blessing,” said Orley. “People need food.”
Besides, it turns out sprouting has health benefits like aiding in digestion.
At this stage of her life, she appreciates the experience. “I feel lucky to have, at 60 years old, a new sense of purpose and meaning,” she said. “I’m using my brain in a different way and working with such a young, vibrant and smart team.”
Photo: Laurie Tennent