LOCAL FLAVOR: Coast to Coast Trail Mix

Two entrepreneurial brothers (both originally from Long Island) with a passion for trail mix are the driving force behind Coast to Coast organic trail mix. First there’s Drew, a vegan athlete and health and nutrition expert who in 2017 rode his bicycle coast to coast from New York to Washington. While out on the road, he brought along and mailed himself huge bags of trail mix to ensure he would have something substantial to eat on his journey.  Biking a hundred miles a day and sometimes living off of only these mixes, Drew realized this was something he should share with the world.

Back in New York City, his brother Liam—a fine artist and creative director— was creating cool art projects, but not spending enough time with the people he loves.  He called Drew and asked him what they could work on together. Considering that Liam’s diet is almost entirely made up of Halal street chicken and trail mix, it seemed the perfect venture for the two brothers. Coast to Coast Trail Mix was born, driven by a desire to produce the cleanest, healthiest product possible, and, ultimately, bring it to the masses at a price everyone can afford.

RT: What sets Coast to Coast products apart from other trail mix on the market?
CTC: We sprout and dehydrate all our nuts and seeds to make them easier to digest and absorb the nutrients.  This also gives them a delicious clean taste and a crunchy texture unlike other mixes on the market.  The selection of ingredients for each mix creates a balanced nutritional profile and provides a wide array of vital nutrients. These are everyday foods; not just snacks to indulge on every once and a while.

Our packaging is also 100% compostable in personal homes.  We’ve left bags in my backyard and found them decomposing after only a day or two.  They can be burned in a campfire and if you accidentally drop them on the trail, Mother Nature will forgive you!  The material is also derived from 100% non-GMO crops grown and processed in the USA.  This kind of clean is unheard of in this market.  Most importantly, they are delicious!

RT: What’s the latest from Coast to Coast? Anything new and exciting in the pipeline?
CTC: We’ve got some top-secret stuff in the works for 2019—new mixes based on feedback we’ve received from customers and some really cool innovations. We’ve been a business for just four months, but things are moving in a very positive direction. We believe that starting with an uncompromising dedication to our guiding principles will allow us to grow authentically into a powerful force.

RT: How would you describe the role nuts, dried fruits, etc. can play for those pursuing a clean, healthy lifestyle?
CTC: Nuts and seeds are fantastic sources of essential fatty acids (omega 3/6/9) and high-quality proteins.  Walnuts are one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids and pumpkin seeds provide one of the best sources of plant-based protein in the world.  Choosing these as a source of nutrition not only nurtures our bodies, but benefits the environment by reducing our dependency on animal sources. Dried fruits are a great source of simple carbs for fueling everyday activities or intense athletics, and we also make sure to include superfoods that are high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and even some complete proteins, in every mix.

RT: Why is 2019 the year of trail mix?
CTC: Man, if everything we’ve said so far isn’t getting people excited about trail mix… I don’t know what will!  I hear they are eating it in Avengers: Endgame, so we fully expect to be a meme by this summer. But on a serious note— I think that our culture is definitely moving more towards plant-based nutrition, especially with the recent dire warnings regarding climate change, and trail mix is an ideal way for people to fit tons of important nutrients into one easy-to-manage, on-the-go meal.  We hope to lead the industry in the right direction and avoid the trappings of the bland mixes lacking any real superfoods that we see on the market.

RT: When you’re not noshing on organic trail mix… what are you loving to eat right now? What are your go-to’s?
CTC: Liam loves Halal street chicken.  Halal food is generally cleaner and the animals are treated better so he thinks that counts! Drew has been really into parsnips and broccoli rabe lately.  Making fries out of parsnips in an air fryer is the way to go.  Throw some chili powder on those and you’re set!  Aged black garlic and broccoli rabe is another winner.  As far as go-to’s are concerned… we should definitely give a shout out to Tierra Farms for all their great work in the bulk nuts, seeds, and dried fruit world.  That is a company that does everything right.  I’m also a big fan of Hu Chocolate, based out of NYC and producing clean chocolate bars sweetened with coconut sugar.  Their almond butter & quinoa crisp flavor is my number one indulgence.  Also, hemp seeds!  Drew eats them every day and they are the perfect secret ingredient for a vegan athlete.

RT: What’s your favorite recipe using a Coast to Coast product?
CTC: It’s definitely a tie between mixing Andy’s Blend into my morning oatmeal (sometimes quinoa and/or amaranth) and topping off some MUD brand Paleo ice cream with High Plains Mixer for dessert.  Someone told me they baked cookies with Black Hills mixed in and that sounded awesome!

RT: What are a few FUN things most people don’t know about  Coast to Coast?
CTC:
* Liam and Drew are almost never in the same room together.  Outside of Christmas, the two haven’t seen each other since the company launched on September 1st!
* Every bag of trail mix is hand mixed and packed by Drew
* Liam just had an art showing at Art Basel in Miami
* Drew has toured the country and released multiple albums with various punk bands, but they all had dumb names that he’s too embarrassed to mention here
* Liam was once on GQ’s most eligible bachelors in New York list
* Drew mailed five pound bags of Andy’s Blend to his friends in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Minneapolis, Jackson (Wyoming), and Philipsburg (Montana), thinking that would be enough for his journey (in addition to whatever fresh food he could find), but wound up eating so much more food than he anticipated. To fill the gap, he made huge bags of trail mix out of whatever he could find en route.  High Plains Mixer was created in the Badlands of South Dakota when dates and pine nuts were all the store sold.  Black Hills came about because he was craving chocolate and the only thing that didn’t contain milk and sugar was the same kind of unsweetened chocolate Coast to Coast uses today!

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