We’re teaming up with Blue Shield of California to celebrate local Bay Area moms who have inspired us to seek healthy, balanced lives.  This week, meet  Nicole Bernard Dawes, CEO and Co-Founder of Late July Organics.

They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and Nicole is no exception.  Co-Founder of Late July Organics, (and daughter to the late Cape Cod chips founder, Steve Bernard), Nicole’s passion for natural and organic food was instilled at a young age.  She’s on a mission to ensure families have access to healthy choices – and Nicole’s unstoppable!

Red Tricycle:  You’re part of a group of moms that are on a serious mission.  What’s yours?
Nicole Dawes:   My mission is to create a brand that ensures future generations of families will always have access to delicious, wholesome food free from GMOs, toxic persistent pesticides and antibiotics.

RT:  You’re definitely on your way, but looking back, what was your inspiration?
ND: My passion for the natural and organic food industry began on the counter of my mother’s natural food store in the 1970s. However, it was while pregnant with my first son in 2002 that this passion turned into a business!  Unable to find the organic crackers I was craving, I discovered that while organic produce and dairy were widely available, there were almost no delicious organic snacks!

RT:  So your kids have been involved in healthy, organic eating since the womb?
ND:  Actually, my kids are the inspiration behind all of Late July’s products and I would never create a product that my own kids don’t love!  We use our kitchen to whip up homemade tortilla chips and experiment with new recipe ideas. In fact we’re testing some tonight! I want them to be proud of the company they are helping to build!

RT:  I’m sure they’ve said some pretty hilarious things while you’re whipping up new snacks in the kitchen together, right?
ND:  My ten year old has become quite the little salesman. One time he encountered a pretty tough customer and after some banter, the man finally asked, “Do you make anything else?”  My son quickly replied, “Yes! We make tickets” and ran to get my business card.  The man let down his guard, they exchanged cards and he actually became a customer!  My son has had his own cards ever since.

RT:  You’ve created a tremendously successful organic snacks business.  Any advice that may inspire others to get involved with organics?
ND:  Believing and being passionate about a cause or mission is where you begin your journey but having someone you trust to help and guide you through the rough patches, and there will be rough patches, is invaluable.

Be Like Nicole!  Blue Shield of California’s Wellness Challenge:
“Get your kids cooking in the kitchen,” says Nicole, “my kids love to help me cook, so kid-sized and kid-safe cooking tools are essential.  I bought these adorable fish shaped measuring spoons at The Tyler Florence Shop in Mill Valley that always get my son excited to help. That store has a fun selection of kid’s cooking tools.”

Blue Shield of California is an independent member of the Blue Shield Association.