Diane Quaresma had knocked on SaveMart Supermarkets’ proverbial door several times in hopes of getting their buyers to consider her product, Almondée, an all-natural, gluten free, almond butter.
Because the buyers were consumed with reviewing so many other products for their 240 stores located in Northern and Central California and Northern Nevada, they initially dismissed the idea of Almondée without having yet tried it. Where some entrepreneurs would have given up after awhile, Quaresma went back to the SaveMart buyers with a challenge. She suggested they do a taste test, covering the labels of her competitors that the store presently carried as well as Almondée and sample each one to see how her product matched up against the competition. Intrigued, the buyers decided to accept the challenge and on tasting day, the door that had once been shut closed, flung wide open.
Save Mart buyers were amazed by the taste and quality of Almondée, labelling the natural product as “stellar.” With just one taste Almondée went from being dismissed to being on the fast track as a new household name, presently sold at Save Mart, Lucky, Raley’s, soon to be Safeway as well as many other stores.
The idea for making Almondée came somewhat naturally for Quaresma as her husband is a third generation almond farmer. Claiming Genesis 43:11 as her motto, which speaks of using the “best products of the land” the Almond Queen as she is sometimes referred as, uses just one ingredient, fresh almonds from the land her husband harvests to create a tasteful product with countless health benefits such as protein, fiber and healthy fats that improve blood cholesterol levels, combat cardiovascular disease, and provide energy.
“You can live on my almond butter. You can spread it on crackers, toast, celery, apples, pretty much anything because it marries well with everything” she says.
Despite gaining legitimate success on the shelves of major supermarkets, significate online sales as well as drawing the attention of ABC News and Fox 40 News, Quaresma dreams of more and has been keeping an eye out for a big break.
The big break she seeks may just happen this weekend at BaconFest 2016 which will be held at Dell’Osso Family Farm in Lathrop.
“We were driving down Highway 580 when my husband saw a billboard about Guy Fieri coming to Lathrop. My husband said, you should get Almondée in his mouth and I thought to myself, that’s what I need. I need somebody who is a “foodie” to say my almond butter is amazing.”
The Almond Queen immediately placed a call to Sunnyvalley Meats, one of the Baconfest promoters and began to inquire how she could connect with Guy Fieri. Eventually she was referred to another promoter who recommended that Quaresma enter the BaconFest Cooking Contest as Guy Fieri would be the Emcee.
It seemed like a long shot but if she became one of the finalist, she would have an opportunity to cook with the well-known restaurateur, Guy Fieri and introduce him to Almondée.
Quaresma filled out the contest application, made a fun, wonky cooking video, marrying her famous almond butter brownies with sugar coated chopped bacon and the next thing she knew she had been chosen as one of eight finalists to cook at the Bacon Fest. Despite being almost 10 p.m. when she received the good news, she ran outside and let out a scream of excitement. Once her exhilaration settled, she began considering her next step.
“I’m not a professional chef but I really want to get on the stage with Guy. I want him to try my almond butter and if by chance I win this thing, what I really want to do with the cash prize is to start a foundation called Make Your Day.”
The basis of the Make Your Day foundation is similar to that of the Make a Wish Foundation but on a smaller scale. Where Make a Wish might send someone with a terminal illness to Disney World or the Grand Canyon, Quaresma would opt send someone in need a bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolate, a gift card to Starbucks, or perhaps pay for an appointment at the hair salon. A small, simple token that would surely make someone’s day who may be going through a rough time due to health issues. She discovered the value of a small token recently when she sent a simple bouquet of flower to a friend recently diagnosed with tongue cancer while learning of another friend being diagnosed with testicular cancer. Seeing her friends walk through this phase of their life inspired her to take her passion for Almondée, build a successful, strong business and give back in simple yet profound ways.
“I’m not in it to win it for me, I’m in it to win it for them. That’s my motivation.”
Quaresma hopes members of the community will come out to the Baconfest today for the amateur cooking contest and support her, cheer her on and by doing so, letting Guy Fieri know that win or lose the Almond Queen and her almond butter is a stellar delight.
Baconfest is today with the gates open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, June 19, with the gates open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Attractions close later both days. It takes place at Dell’Osso Farms in Lathrop.
Tickets are $25 for those 15 years and older, $12.50 for children 6 to 14, and children under 6 free. The ticket includes one day general admission, all stage events, and band performances. Parking is free.
For information on the BaconFest visit www.baconfest.com and for more about Almondée, visit www.almondee.com.