I started Olivia's Croutons in April of 1991. Our son David was almost two and daughter Olivia was three. We started in our own kitchen with the Butter & Garlic flavor, sold in brown bags, hand stamped with rubber stamps. Twenty bags was a big order and it took quite a long time to hand cut each loaf and bake the croutons in our conventional oven.
By August of that year we were dealing with about six stores, and had just signed on our first ''really big store''. We did a demo and sold 200 bags or croutons in three days. This was a monumental step. We installed our first Blodgett convection oven in our kitchen and we rigged up a semi automatic cutter to help on the cutting end. Now we could really make croutons!
Since that point we have grown steadily. We started adding out of town UPS ship orders and we realized that we really had no limitations. In April of 1993 we moved out of our kitchen and into a larger commercial kitchen that we had built in our basement. In the spring on 1997 we added a new packaging machine. With our new longer shelf life, we were now able to sell our products through distributors, a whole new market for us. The new growth forced a move in July of 1999, when we purchased a perfect little building in the next town. We added a Certified Organic crouton to our line and have recently added two flavors of Stuffing.
By the end of 2005 it was clear that we again needed to find new production space. We looked and looked but couldn't find a place that felt right. Then it happened. David was out on a back country road and he found our new home, for both the croutons and our family. After a purchase in March and extensive renovations to a 1912 dairy barn, Olivia's has it's new home. We live on the 50 acre homestead, are growing wheat for the croutons and producing our products in our brand new space, cleverly concealed inside the historic barn. The property is now listed on the National Historic Register. The kitchen has doubled our production capacity and we have added a new bagging line for increased packaging options and an expanded product line.
We are continuing to have fun, meeting new vendors and exploring new markets. I really enjoy what I do. I like making a product that people really love to eat and one that is unique to the market place. This product brought me into the food and grocery business. It has proven to be an education! I pride myself on being an honest, hard working, uncomplicated person. It is only logical that we would produce a wholesome, all natural, uncomplicated product. As a family, we enjoy these tasty treats and we hope you will be fond of them too.
Francie (Olivia's Mom)