The view from Peter Rushford’s Austin office truly inspires. From his perch overlooking Town Lake, kayakers snake down the waterway, taking in the sights of downtown on one side and lush greenery on the other. Runners zip along the paths on the lake’s banks, while others stroll with their dogs. It’s the kind of scene Rushford loves.
People, outside, enjoying and respecting nature.
It’s one of the reasons why he created Shār Snacks, an organic and handcrafted trail mix, responsibly-sourced with ingredients from family farms around the world. His trail mix comes in sustainable packaging, right down to the compostable, plant-based ink label.
Every move Rushford makes with Shār Snacks, is intentional and important. No detail is too small, and every decision is made with an eye on healthy living and conservation.
“I spent three years working on a recipe,” Rushford says. “I didn’t care what it cost, I wanted to make the world’s best trail mix. I want to blow your socks off with the taste and texture, so you can’t wait to tell someone else about it.”
Necessity was indeed, the mother of all invention in Rushford’s quest to find the very best trail mix. An avid athlete and lover of all things outdoors, Rushford’s taste buds and health goals were met with constant disappointment with each bag of trail mix he opened. So, rather than load up sub-par snacks, he created one himself.
The nine-ingredient trail mix contains almonds, pecans, pistachios, cashews, wild blueberries, Montmorency cherries, whole cranberries, dark chocolate chips and coconut flakes. The ingredients are hand-mixed, carefully packaged and sent into the world with the belief that the finest ingredients really matter.
“These snacks are incredibly healthy. We can’t make it any healthier,” he says. “There’s no pesticides, no stabilizers, no chemicals. We don’t add anything to it.”
Finding just the right mix meant trying variations of ingredients in his home kitchen, but it also meant traveling the world and meeting farmers who are just as passionate about clean, organic food as Rushford is. He talks about Leo, his cranberry guy in Cape Cod like he’s family, and is proud of his work with small family farms in California, Texas, Vietnam, Washington, Massachusetts and Sri Lanka. Only organic ingredients made the cut.
“The texture, the taste—the way the dark chocolate, cashews and almonds mix; it’s like a symphony of flavor for your mouth,” Rushford says.
Taste is an important part of the recipe, but Rushford, a former pro downhill skier, wanted his trail mix to deliver energy as well. He grew up in Vermont and spent his life outdoors, so a good-for-you snack that provided a healthy boost was a must.
“My dad was passionate about playing outside and I connected with the outdoors at an early age. Healthy eating habits have stayed with me,” Rushford says.
So has his passion for the great outdoors. He loves Colorado summers and skiing in Vermont and as a company, Shār Snacks donates 20 percent of net profits to the Conservation Alliance, which harness the collective power of business and outdoor communities to fund and advocate for the protection of North America’s wild places. Shār Snacks is also a One Percent for the Planet member.
His commitment to sustainability extends throughout the company, right down to the packaging. Shār Snacks come in the Shār-tube, made from paper (so its recyclable and biodegradable) but also, reusable and refillable.
The Shār-tube is plastic free, and made from paper so it’s recyclable and biodegradable, as well as reusable and refillable for more than a year. The Shār Snack label is completely compostable and printed on certified recycled paper, uses plant-based inks and a water-soluble adhesive. The smartly-designed Shār-tubes fit perfectly in car cup holders and backpack pockets.
“We all have to do our part and give back. Little gestures go a long way and the beneficiary is the planet,” Rushford says. “It’s a good feeling because it’s the right thing to do.”