Food Artisans: Pure Goodies

Food Artisans

A different New York artisan every week.

Keishon Johnson, the man behind Pure Goodies, explains that the original flavor of their toffee comes out of more than "60 years of tradition" in his wife's family, and used to be made with walnuts from the family's backyard trees. He and his wife, Tiffany Johnson, started making it to sell, and delicious variations on the original "happened organically." After buying some expensive bacon made by a farmer upstate, Johnson wanted to use it for something special and hit on the idea of adding it to toffee. He added a bit of espresso and maple syrup to the mix and "you get the idea you might be having a pancake with bacon and coffee." Their maple bacon espresso toffee is now made using bacon from their fellow Foodshed Market vendor, Brooklyn Cured.

Another popular flavor, cayenne sea salt, started out as a request from a former co-worker of Johnson's. "I thought it sounded disgusting," he says, laughing, "but this woman knew a little bit about everything and I figured it would at least make people curious and that'd make them want to try it." To his surprise, the dark chocolate, sea salt, and cayenne pepper combined with the buttery toffee to make a "nuanced delight" for adventurous palates.

All of the current flavors, which also include blood orange-bergamot with toasted coconut, vanilla espresso, dark chocolate sea salt, and the milk-chocolate-and-walnut-covered original, are made the same way: as a large slab that's broken into pieces after cooling. Johnson says that two new flavors in development will be individually scored and chocolated, and packaged differently, though he's waiting to reveal the flavors until the product is ready.

It's not the only change afoot at Pure Goodies, though. While it has been a "green-minded" effort from the beginning, with the company buying Fair Trade ingredients when possible and sourcing packaging materials that are at least 80% compostable, Johnson is ramping up their charitable endeavors. He's donating 40% of sales from the online store in the month of May to the Salvation Army's tornado relief efforts in the South and promises that similar "humanitarian efforts will be regularly incorporated." He's excited about the prospect, calling the charity effort something that "really speaks to who we are," that through making delicious candy, Pure Goodies will be able to "do good in the world and play a part in making it a better place."

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