All-natural and healthy food seems to be in vogue at the moment. It’s a lifestyle that Apryl Niksch of Valparaiso was attracted to herself. Her experience, however, inspired her to add her own contribution to the healthy snack market.
“I had a weight-loss journey, and was continually trying to find clean eating snacks,” Niksch said. “I went to a Green festival in Chicago, and I was surrounded by all-natural foods that tasted really good. And I was inspired from that to make my own.
Despite having no professional background in cooking, Niksch founded Harvest Circle Workshop in Valparaiso in 2012. Since June of 2013, her signature delicacy has been the Harvest Superfood Ball, made of a hearty mixture of all-natural sweeteners and butter, and superfood ingredients like raw cacao.
“I wanted to have a balanced recipe of carbs, protein, natural sweeteners,” Niksch said. “Everything I put into the balls has a health benefit, even down to the salt.”
Despite the unconventional makeup, Niksch’s recipe also takes inspiration from her mother and grandmother’s recipes for cookies and cakes.
“I wanted something that was healthy but still tasted good,” she said. “My mom’s and grandma’s treats are good, but you can’t eat them every day. So I created something you could eat every day because of the health benefits but still keep the flavors.”
The Superfood Balls, which all also gluten-free, come in several flavors, including seasonal mixtures and vegan options. Niksch says that the most popular flavor seems to be the Coconut Dark Chocolate Almond, which she describes as tasting “like a healthy Almond Joy bar.” As for the cook’s favorite?
“I’d have to say my favorite is the PBJ or fig spice,” Niksch says.
So far, the Harvest Superfood Balls have gained local success in the specific demographic of health-conscious eaters. Niksch, however, is thinking bigger.
“They can be sold anywhere,” Niksch says. “Coffee shops, grocery stores, health food stores. From there, maybe we’ll start selling them in gyms. That’s the next goal.”
Niksch hopes to eventually see stores nationwide stock her snacks, and she believes such a prospect is quite possible.
“The versatility is the main thing,” she said. “Everyone from kids to adults like these. Sports teams and parents buy them for their kids because they’re healthy.
“That’s my authentic message, that there are things that taste good that are good for you. If I can reach this community, than there’s a whole world of opportunity out there.”
Niksch has gotten the word out beyond the Region in at least one way: Harvest Circle Workshop was a 2014 Martha Stewart American Made nominee.