By Kristie Snyder, GreenStar Marketing Staff
Newcomers to Ithaca might be forgiven for thinking Emmy’s Organics is not a local business. After all, you can buy their healthy, indulgent treats from 15,000 retailers across the country (including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico!). But it’s right here in Ithaca that this successful business sprouted and still grows. Now celebrating their tenth year in business and on the cusp of relocation to a larger site, founders Samantha Abrams and Ian Gaffney remain deeply committed to their community.
How did the story begin? “Ian has a lot of dietary restrictions,” Samantha explains, “and ten years ago, a lot of the gluten-free treats on the market had fillers and artificial ingredients and preservatives.” In 2009 the couple began making simple coconut cookies from a recipe he developed. “We were inspired by the fact that there really wasn’t anything like it.”
Ian’s mom allowed them to use her kitchen to perfect the product, and they named the business after her in return. Success at the Farmers Market and in local stores, including GreenStar, boosted the fledgling business, and they’ve been expanding their reach ever since.
Their product line remains both simple and decadent — just lovely coconut cookies, in a variety of flavors. “Everything we make is certified organic, gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, and kosher,” Samantha says. There’s a flavor for everyone, from the ultra-simple Vanilla Bean and Dark Cacao to the rich flavor profiles of Matcha and Golden Milk. Recently introduced Chocolate-Covered Mint and Peanut Butter Cookie Bites up the indulgence factor.
Love and good ethics are at the heart of Emmy’s production. “We go above and beyond when it comes to finding the right ingredients for our products,” Samantha says. “Quality is number one, but also having a full understanding of how the source operates.”
Emmy’s is a Certified B Corp, meaning they consider the impact of their business decisions on workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. In their case, this includes supporting local food security organizations, such as Loaves & Fishes, and paying a living wage to their 34 employees. “We’re not a retail business, but we definitely see ourselves as a community-oriented and family-oriented business,” says Samantha.
While Ian and Samantha’s success has carried their products across the country, their hearts remain right here at home. “We love that we have ‘Made in Ithaca, NY’ on our packaging,” Samantha says. “It makes us really proud, in any store that we’re in, to show that we’re made in Ithaca.”