The Starving Anthropologist Returns to Metuchen Farmers Market This Weekend

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From Mike and Julia to MM, the Starving Anthropologist gives us all a look at the inspiration of their company and their excitement at returning to the Farmers Market this weekend:

1) How did you start your company and WHY?

The Starving Anthropologist is a small family-run business that makes gluten-free granolas and cookies and is based in East Brunswick, NJ. Julia and Mike got married in August of 2011 after a courtships spanning over 5 years and several states, and, feeling the need to create something new, exciting, and down-to-earth together - that didn't involve having more children! - started the business in May of 2012. At the time we had come from years working in academia and corporate and we wanted to try life in the much more body-, soul- and community-friendly world of natural foods. Feeling overeducated and underemployed (Julia has a Ph.D. in Anthropology, not to mention a master's degree from Harvard, and Mike has two Masters degrees, one in business and another in special education), we decided to play with the expression "The Starving Artist" and name our business "The Starving Anthropologist." Apparently our name sometimes worries new customers, as we often get the question: "You are not really starving, are you?" To that we answer that people can be starving for many things: from food to a day at the beach to community... We also like to turn the question around and ask the questioner: "What are YOU starving for?" We believe that "starving" stands for "wanting something with a passion" and as such we hope everybody is starving for something!

2) What is your most unique product and why do you offer it?

We didn't immediately make gluten-free foods. We started offering granolas made with regular oats, playing with an old recipe Julia had been making for over two decades. Then came requests for gluten-free varieties of our product. The switch was an easy one and gluten intolerant customers were so happy to be able to eat our product that we decided to make all our granolas gluten-free. Today we have five varieties (Almond and Honey, Walnut and Honey, Maple Pecan, Dark Chocolate Cranberries and Peanut and Brown Sugar) available with a sixth version about to be introduced to the market in the coming weeks (Chilli Ginger). Then we added cookies? Why? Because Julia's daughter, Bela, is gluten-sensitive. With her help we had come up with some amazing cookie recipes which she very much approved. We thought our customers might approve of it too, and gradually added three varieties of cookies. Today the cookies make up almost half of our sales.  

I have come to think of oats as a canvas on which we get to paint and create the wildest combinations of tastes. Our most unique creation on that canvas so far is the savory granola that is just entering large-scale production. It contains chili, ginger, pecans and turmeric, and is simply delicious on salads, meats and even yogurt. We have brought samples to farmers markets and the reviews have been great!

As for cookies, the chocolate chunk is our most unique variety, and that is in part because it is not only gluten-free, but also vegan. The blend of special flours plus the high quality dark chocolate makes this a much more interesting cookie than its traditional chocolate chip cousin.

3) What is your particular link to the Farmers Market -- why is Metuchen worthy of your time and energy as an entrepreneur?

Vendors at Farmers Markets talk to each other and share news about where the great markets are. Early on in our search for Farmers Markets we were told that Metuchen was one market we didn't want to miss. And they were right! There is a friendliness about the customers and the vendors that make it a real pleasure to be there. Rain or shine, we look forward to running the Metuchen Market. We love the town's energy and sense of community, as exemplified by its many community run events and its ability to support an independent bookstore. In fact, the bookstore I'm referring to, To Be Continued, carries our cookies and granolas year-around with exclusivity in Metuchen. While you can find us on Saturdays at the Farmers Market, you can get your Starving Anthropologist cookies and granola fix any day of the week at To Be Continued. We hope to see you not only at the market on Saturdays but also during the week looking for that granola or cookie you ran out of at To Be Continued. 

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