About Us

A few years back, we moved to an abandoned farm atop a windswept clay hill. It’s been our dream to fix up an old homestead while cultivating a huge garden.

When grasshoppers took care of the first year’s harvest for us, our friends insisted we use our idle freeze dryer to process candy instead of veggies.

It turns out, they were onto something!

Using vacuum pressure, our equipment transforms treats into something unique. Freeze-dried candy tastes similar to its “raw” product, but even sweeter and crunchier.

It’s why we say: This ain’t your grandma’s candy!

About the Owners

We’re a trio of farm kids from the Dakotas who moved to various towns, had careers, and happened to cross paths and become fast friends later in life. With shared roots and core values, we’ve taken our diverse experiences to form a strong collaborative venture, all while sharing more than a few laughs along the way.

Join us as we wax on about how clever and humble we are:

Frank Hurt

Powered by black coffee and dark beer and lacking any apparent athletic ability or obvious social skills, Frank has always been burdened by a stubbornly independent creative streak. For example, he insists on writing his biographical text in third person, like a crazy person.

When he left the family farm as a young adult, he veered 90 degrees off course and taught himself all things computers, web design, and online marketing. Founding one of North Dakota’s first website development firms in the late 1990s, he built up a client base in the triple digits, spanning 14 states and four countries.

The Bakken oil boom hit western North Dakota, and one of Frank’s clients contracted him full-time as a consultant. He lived and worked 84 hours per week for four-to-eight-week hitches on active drilling rig locations to interpret wellsite geologic data and advise operators on shale targets two miles below the surface. It was a fast-paced, high-pressure environment with austere conditions and aggressive egos. Frank loved it.

Oil booms go bust as commodity cycles always do, but before it did, he met RaeLea who worked for a different oil operator. It was instant attraction. They married at the Stark County courthouse in 2012 between rig moves with both sets of parents in attendance for the two-minute-long ceremony.

They’ve been inseparable ever since.

RaeLea Hurt

RaeLea, too, grew up on her family’s farm, and went far-flung after graduating high school and heading off to college. She moved to Seattle where she focused her tireless work ethic on climbing the corporate ladder for a national storage unit company. With her good humor and persistent can-do attitude, it didn’t take long to find herself in a management position. She saved her income and put herself through massage therapy school—she enjoyed helping people who were in pain.

The Siren’s call of North Dakota brought her back eventually to Minot, North Dakota.

The newly-arrived oil boom in her backyard offered irresistible opportunities for hard workers who weren’t afraid of getting dirty and inconveniencing themselves with discomfort. She was recruited as a wellsite geologist and learned on the job, outdoors in North Dakota’s famous winters. RaeLea learned quickly and offered her insights to new hires even if they worked for other operators at different drilling rigs, such as one dorky guy with an inexplicable squirrel obsession.

RaeLea made the mistake of laughing at his jokes and they became close friends. Not long after, Frank proposed marriage to her during a Hurt Family gathering she had been coaxed into attending, surrounded by two hundred relatives she had just met.

Stunned and confused, she agreed. (Cue ominous music)

Kelly Odens

When the candy business started showing real potential, in 2023 Frank and RaeLea approached their longtime friend to see if she might want to help take Hurt Ridge Candy to the next level. Fortunately, Kelly said, “Um…maybe.”

Kelly is a former college professor and cancer data specialist but was looking for a new challenge in life. They pitched her on the alluring idea of uprooting herself, moving 500 miles, and changing careers to something more meaningful than higher education and life-saving research. Something like full-time factory worker and dishwasher.

Of course, how could she refuse?

Aside from the unglamorous-but-essential work, Kelly’s research background has come in incredibly handy. Thanks to her organized mind and attention to detail, the business has really improved production efficiency and quality control.

Plus, it turns out that working alongside great friends every day can be a lot of fun!

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