Joy and Lenny with VA Grown and VA Finest Representatives, Commissioner Todd Haymore of the VA Dept of Agriculture and Forestry, and Hannah Robinson Food Scientist for Nouvel
Joy first met Lenny in 2007 when their high school boys were opponents in a tennis match. Their families became fast friends, sharing common interests in tennis, swimming and, most importantly, really good food. Len and Joy became a mixed-doubles competition tennis team. As their friendship grew, they discovered that they both shared not only a passion for tennis but a passion for cooking. Each time their families shared a meal together, Joy would bring over a new culinary creation. One day, Joy brought her apple sauce to a family gathering. Len’s oldest son, who had a very particular taste for a certain brand of apple sauce, after one mouthful of Joy’s apple sauce stated, “This is awesome – it should be in a jar!” Len and Joy both agreed that they should try to get Joy’s apple sauce to market as soon as possible.
They were anxious to share the delicious taste of Mrs. Bryant’s™ Orchard Fresh Gourmet™ Apple Sauces with everyone. The Mrs. Bryant’s tradename was chosen because many of Joy’s children’s friends have tasted Joy’s products while in the development stage and know Joy as “Mrs. Bryant”. With Joy’s background as a patent attorney, author, and former industrial chemist and Len’s background as a business consultant, retired dentist, published research author, and having a law degree, they were able to quickly maneuver through the many obstacles involved in delivering a new product to the marketplace. They were able to establish their company, design a label, develop five flavors of apple sauces (three with no sugar added), complete several large production runs, obtain approval and certification as a Virginia’s Finest company, set-up a website, and launch their product line in the marketplace – all within 5 months. Two months later, the apple sauces were in Whole Foods Markets.
Since their initial apple sauce product line launch, they have created over 50 product lines and have received compliments and many forms of recognition from those who have tasted Mrs. Bryant’s products.
Now, fast forward to July 2011when Joy and Len opened Virginia Gourmet “Virginia’s Finest Market and Cafe”as the home of Mrs. Bryant’s Specialty Foods and Sauces. Given the vast number of wonderful all natural and organic specialty food companies throughout Virginia, Joy and Len chose to offer their customers the opportunity to purchase featured Virginia’s Finest specialty foods, beverages and ingredients. Each item is personally selected by Joy and Len based on taste, ingredients, and nutritional value. Virginia Gourmet’s selections continue to grow as the owners travel throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Mrs. Bryant’s offers gluten free, all natural, no sugar added foods beverages and ingredients for all to enjoy. Virginia Gourmet has been established as the source for tasty, healthy, all natural, local gourmet specialty foods, beverages and ingredients.
Currently, Joy and Len are preparing to launch their own in-house specialty food production facility in Williamsburg, Virginia. Please visit us frequently for all of your healthy Virginia specialty foods.