Richmond’s new cash crop?

The Sun Seasonal Raw Foods booth at the Virginia Food & Beverage Expo. (Photo by Michael Thompson.)

The Sun Seasonal Raw Foods booth at the Virginia Food & Beverage Expo. (Photo by Michael Thompson.)

What started as a kitchen experiment with a leafy green has blossomed into a local startup that’s in growth mode.

Sun Seasoned Raw Foods, which makes and sells packets of dehydrated kale chips, has expanded out of Shockoe Bottom into a larger location in eastern Richmond.

Owner Diana Gammon this month moved into Sun Seasoned’s new 2,500 square feet home inside the Byrd Center Business Park near South Laburnum Avenue and Charles City Road.

Sun Seasoned sells seven flavors of dehydrated kale chips. Flavors include sour cream with onions and chocolate, coconut and almond.

“It is believed when you dehydrate things, you maintain the enzymes, vitamins and minerals,” Gammon said. “You’re keeping it

Sun Seasoned Raw Foods Owner Diana Gammon.

Sun Seasoned Raw Foods Owner Diana Gammon.

raw and keeping all the health benefits.”

Gammon spent about $80,000 to launch the business and set up initially in March 2013 inside a 900-square-foot space at 1802 E. Franklin St. By August, Sun Seasoned landed its first account with Ellwood Thompson’s and has made deals with Kroger, Whole Foods and Libbie Market.

Gammon was working as a secretary in a doctor’s office before becoming a small business owner. On a routine visit to a doctor, Gammon found she was at risk for a heart attack.

That’s when she began a raw-food lifestyle. And Sun Seasoned was born.

“I was a sugar addict,” Gammon said. “I had to give all that up.”

Bags of the chips wholesale for $5.25 and typically retail for $7 to $8.

As she settles into her new space, Gammon is working on getting the word out about kale chips. She set up a booth at this week’s Virginia Food & Beverage Expo at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. It was her first show and she was one of 145 businesses on hand selling items ranging from bloody Mary mixes to Virginia made kombucha.

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