Lorna’s Nuts and Goodies has been a thriving business since its conception in 2012. From a spiced and candied nut medley, to her new “kick start energy cubes” that were recently named by Gastronomie 491 in NYC as one of the top 5 foods to prepare and recover from the recent NYC Marathon, everyone is and will be nuts for Lorna’s creations.
Since then, it has become even more popular amongst east end locals and fans from around the country. As a resident of East Hampton her entire life, Lorna Cook sits down with me to discuss her businesse’s holiday ventures, her absolute favorite ingredients and her inspirations behind her products, and how her business has strong ties to her hometown and community.
Where have you gathered inspiration for your products in your travels or even locally on the East End?
I mostly try and think on my own about what flavors and spices I can use to make a new product. It takes a creative mind to do that. I will also take suggestions from customers. I do love to use as many locally grown items among my ingredients. We are working on coming up with nuts made with curry and another one made with chipotle seasoning.
Why is it important for you and your business to include local ingredients in your nut creations?
I have lived in East Hampton all my life and miss the little Mom and Pop shops that carried so many local items and ingredients that I miss so much. It is something I am very aware of when buying ingredients to make our nuts. Having lived here so long, I know so many of the people here on the East End and want to support them as well.
Have there been any special requests for products or specifically-tailored creations?
I had this nice young lady from the city come one year to the farmers market in Sag Harbor and ask if I could make one of her favorite flavored nuts as she was going to be here for the summer and could not find them anywhere. It was a plain candied pecan. I have also made a special nut for a wedding last year, but I am afraid that I cannot give out the recipe as per the bride. It was an old favorite family recipe that once again she could not find anywhere! I was sworn to secrecy. I love it when I can help make a wedding (or event) special in a sentimental way.
What is your favorite ingredient?
I have a couple of favorite ingredients. One is fresh rosemary form our garden that we use on our cashews. It is very subtle and gives the nut such a fresh taste. The other is a black truffle sea salt that make our almonds so rich and buttery. We have so many different nuts now that there is always something for our customers to choose from that will fit their palate.
Where do you hope to expand beyond the Hamptons and the North Fork? Do you have mail order requests?
We have not moved into mail order yet, but that will come sometime in the future, as I teach Special Ed full-time and my husband has his own business. The nuts were an idea that we had never thought would grow this quickly and this big in only 2 1/2 years. We are however looking forward to more clients in Nassau County and more on the North Fork. We are selling our nuts at a few wineries on the North Fork and I find it fun to try and pair the product with a certain wines.
Where can potential and current customers find your products for sale? Do you offer bulk purchases/ordering?
We do sell wholesale and right now we carry our products on the North Fork at Clarke’s Garden, Browder’s Birds, Jamesport Wines, Raphael Winery and Lenz Winery, Vines and Branches both in Greenport and in Southampton on the South Fork, as well as Round Swamp Farm, Loaves and Fishes, Hampton Market Place, Simply Sublime, Luigi’s Italian Specialties, Hampton Market Place, The Milk Pail and Gastronomie 491 in New York on Columbus Avenue. Many more stores will be carrying them come spring.
*Photo credit: Lorna Cook