Feature Vendor Interview - Bertin's Nuts and Butters

Feature Vendor of the week: Bertin’s Nuts and Butters 
At last week’s market we caught up with Devon Bertin, from Bertin’s Nuts and Butters.

What do you sell?
Natural nuts. Peanuts, cashews and almonds along with the natural butters associated with those nuts.

How did you start your business? 
My uncle has been in the Farmer’s Markets on the East Coast for about 25 years. With the slowdown that came through in March with the oil patch I had to do something to keep me busy. I figured I’d give it a shot.

What is a “must try” from Bertin’s Nuts and Butters?
What I have been noticing is that the cashew butter is definitely a popular one. A lot of people haven’t heard of cashew butter but everyone loves cashews so it’s definitely a must try.

What is your favorite thing that you sell?
Cashew butter definitely, and the salted cashews as well. I’m kind of a cashew addict.

Is there anything that people need to be educated about when it comes to Bertin’s Nuts and Butters?
I fry the nuts in canola oil. A lot of people have a misconception about canola oil being unhealthy because a lot of the sources where people get their information from are actually suppliers of different types of cooking oil. That’s one thing people need to do a little bit more research on is actually the health benefits of canola oil. They need to look at the pros versus the cons.

What make you awesome? Why should people choose you?
Well first all of my stuff is fresh. A lot of people ask me, “Why should I buy this over something I would find in the grocery store?” Well, all of my stuff is fresh every week. The stuff that you are picking off of the shelf in the grocery store, who knows how long that has been on the shelf for. I consider myself an approachable person, friendly, outgoing and generally I get along with everyone so I just try to bring people in. Whether or not they buy from me I just enjoy talking to people.

How do you source your product?
I get them from a supplier in Montreal so unfortunately it is not a local vendor. The almonds are from California, the cashews are from Vietnam and all the peanuts are from Montreal. I order them all raw. I do packaged raw nuts. A lot of people, like health people, who aren’t into the canola oil and stuff, still like nuts so I sell them those. I have a deep fryer at home, I fry them in the canola oil and I also make butters. I add salt to half of the nuts and leave half unsalted.

How do you make the butter?
Once the nut is cooked then there are different processers you can use to create the butter. It just depends which processor you want to use.

Does anyone else sell your product?
Not that I know of. I heard of a guy up in Edmonton named Dane that does something similar, but then I also heard that he isn’t doing it anymore. Aside from that the only other person I know that is doing this is my uncle in New Brunswick.

How many markets do you attend?
I’ve been doing the ATB Downtown Market on Wednesdays, Innisfail and Blackfalds on Thursdays, Lacombe and Sylvan on Fridays, and The Red Deer Public Market Saturday then Bentley after when I can make it because they are so close to each other.

Do you have a favorite market?
I like the Sylvan one because that is where I have had the most success so far. Obviously Downtown Red Deer is like a transient place but, Sylvan just has a vibe. I sell natural products and I have found that a lot of people are definitely more health conscious in Sylvan, if that makes sense? I don’t want to call them hipsters, or hippies, but I find the lifestyle is why I have had success there so that is why I like it so much.

What is your favorite thing about the ATB Downtown Market?
The manager is very friendly and easy to deal with. It’s in a great location and has friendly vendors.

Do you like being Downtown?
Yeah I do! I don’t mind it, normally I am more of a country person and I like being outside but I don’t mind coming down here!

How did you find out about the ATB Downtown Market?
I found out about the ATB Downtown Market from one of the female managers from the Saturday Red Deer Public Market.

How long have you been here?
I was here two weeks ago but after 45 minutes we got rained out so this is my first full day. 
I’m enjoying it its sporadic just like most markets. What I find is when there are people standing in front of your table it intrigues people to come over and all of a sudden you are busy. When there is no one in front of your table people just brush you off.

What advice would you give to people just starting out?
Find out all of the rules and regulations on your product. Especially as far as labeling and stuff. If you have food make sure you have the proper labeling. It would suck to spend money on something and find out that it’s wrong and have to redo it. Presentation is huge with whatever you have on display and how you display it. Also your approach to people, nobody wants to talk to a grumpy looking person. As long as you are saying hello to people and being friendly. You may not make sales but as long as people see you continually going through and showing your face every week they grow accustomed to you and then you are that much more likely to bring someone in for a sale. It also helps to have a good product.

How do you define success?
How do I define success? Success is what you want to make of it. For some people success is getting out of their crappy job and into something that they like doing. Money doesn’t necessarily be a factor. For me working in the oil patch isn’t an ideal job I just did it for the money. Coming into this I guess success would be being able to provide your family with the necessary means to get by but also just being happy with what you are doing.

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