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It All Started with Holiday Gifts
Ruth developed a fondness for toffee when her sister came home in high school with an elderly neighbor’s toffee recipe. Ironically, this same recipe was later found in her grandmother’s worn cookbook. As Ruth watched her sister’s efforts to conquer the sometimes challenging candy, her interest in toffee thrived because of its complex nature and buttery-crunchy taste. After earning a degree in Piano Pedagogy from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and then marrying in 1975, Ruth constantly strove to make exceptional almond toffee with a symphony of flavors. Through the process, she discovered new techniques and soon launched a fifteen-year tradition of giving away toffee as holiday gifts.
A New Year’s Resolution
Friends and family raved about Ruth’s made-to-perfection toffee and insisted she should sell it. They, too, wanted to bestow the toffee to others as holiday gifts. So in 1991, Ruth made a New Year’s resolution and allowed herself one year to turn her toffee recipe and toffee making expertise in to a viable business. From her rural farmhouse kitchen, the endeavor began and soon after a 12X24 foot bunkhouse on the property was transformed to a small commercial enterprise, staffed during the holiday season by family volunteers. Everyone rallied round the idea and helped with boxing, labeling and shrink-wrapping. During that first year, Ruth’s mother sold the toffee door-to-door and a postcard mailer was sent to 500 friends and acquaintances. The initial mailing list was developed from Ruth’s Christmas card list and several years’ worth of class reunion rosters from Cedaredge High School, where both Ruth and her husband Dale attended.
Kids By Day, Toffee Recipe By Night
For many years, Ruth balanced raising her kids with working a day job and making her handcrafted toffee at night when the children were asleep. This schedule endured for over 18 years with Ruth building, boxing and shipping her confections from the increasingly outgrown 12X24 foot bunkhouse. The children learned to pitch in where they could with the toffee business while enjoying their rural life on the farm where the family raised animals and small grains, corn and alfalfa hay.
The Big Move
By the time the children were raised and the bunkhouse was significantly outgrown, Ruth’s Toffee moved to “the big city” of Nucla, Colorado with a population of 734. Ruth was in need of a larger labor pool, and most importantly, a location on the main postal route for shipping her sought after delights. Today, Ruth’s original toffee recipe is used in her growing business, which also features several gourmet confections.
Visit the online store now and start your own holiday tradition of Ruth’s Toffee.