Natural Candy Factory

Unemployed and unsure what to do next, a British Columbia couple discovered making healthy natural candy fit well with their free-spirited lifestyle.

| September/October 1974

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    Michael at table selling their natural candy creations.
  • 029 natural candy 2 sign
    A homemade sign advertising the couple's almond date ball.
  • 029 natural candy 3 candy tray diagram
    Diagram shows how the Sevins typically laid out their confections in a box.
  • 029 natural candy 4 michael and michelle
    Michael and Michele preparing a box.

  • 029 natural candy - cover
  • 029 natural candy 2 sign
  • 029 natural candy 3 candy tray diagram
  • 029 natural candy 4 michael and michelle

Did you ever dream, as a child, of living in your own candy factory? Well, Michael and I did it! And then we made that childhood fairy tale become a grown-up moneymaker when we invented a healthy natural candy—Almond Date Balls—and distributed our product successfully to natural food stores throughout British Columbia.

It all started one rainy, dreary evening when I timidly brought home a small box of coconut-covered date rolls which had caught my fancy at the local supermarket. ("Timidly" because we were out of work and Michael had said, "We can't afford treats.") My thrifty husband tasted the candies anyhow, and grudgingly admitted that they were good. "But man, it's really a gyp!" he added. "You can get a whole pound of dates for 31¢ and this smidgen in fancy wrapping costs 75¢." He stalked off moodily.

Next evening, when I attempted to enter the kitchen, Michael shouted, "No, no, don't come in here. This is to be a surprise." Reluctantly I acquiesced and waited—full of suspense—in the living room. Finally he appeared, eyes gleaming triumphantly, with two steaming bowls of creamy dates the consistency of pudding. It was fantastic, and with the addition of some sunflower seeds (my insight) the date surprise tasted even better.

The following evening I took a hand in the fixings. This time we tried shaping the soft, creamy dates into balls and rolling them in coconut ... simple and delicious. So delighted were we with our sortie into the world of candy making that each night from then on found us deep in further confectionary explorations. Soon we were happily (and inexpensively) making date candy balls—adding and mixing new toppings each time—for special occasions and friends' birthday presents.

Later—when we were expecting a visit from my parents, whom we hadn't seen for a year—our preparations again included the making of date candy balls but with two notable refinements: mixing cinnamon in with the dates and adding an almond on top.

My parents were thrilled with our inventiveness and throughout their stay they never stopped telling us how good the candies were. When they left, they asked to take a box with them (for the family back home).

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