Nell Newman in 2011
|Born||Elinor Teresa Newman
April 8, 1959
New York, New York, U.S.
|Other names||Nell Potts|
|Occupation||Actress, biologist, philanthropist, entrepreneur|
|Spouse(s)||Gary Irving (2005-present)|
I spent my whole life avoiding the public eye. At these food shows, I'm open quarry again.
Barley malt has a really deep, rich taste. A lot of manufacturers have switched over to corn syrup over the years because it's a cheaper sweetener, but it doesn't have the flavor.
Education is very important, and the botanical garden is the place to do that. I grew up in a semi-rural area and learned from that being my playground.
Adopting big-business practices is one thing, and adopting agribusiness practices that would dilute the meaning of 'organic' is another. On the whole, I think we're doing a pretty good job of preserving the integrity of organic foods.
What I discovered was that just by eating normally, we all have background levels of contaminants.
I always sought out organic produce because to me it always tasted better; the quality was better – if you got it fresh.
I have great expectations for our company; pretzels were just the beginning.
After getting recognized in public from my picture on our pretzel bag, I can understand not wanting to be in the public eye. It has given me a public persona I had always avoided as a child. I do it because it's for a good cause.
It's so gratifying to see people face to face who get to meet the people who are giving them a fair price for their work. They can now provide medical support for their kids, give them better education and in general have a better standard of living. God knows they deserve it.
It's become more readily apparent that we need to be growing our own food and growing more things organically.
Have you ever read the back of the Newman's Diavolo pasta sauce? Dad on the front is dressed like the devil with a little beard and horns. He says that he sells his soul to the devil for the recipe. It was banned in the South. They thought it was an abomination.
To grow a tomato or a pepper and prepare a meal from your labor and care is primordially satisfying.
My niche will be to support the environment through the growth of organic agriculture.
I want our company to leave a legacy of learning to find the balance between what's good and what's good for you.
I did a couple of movies when I was little. You have to be possessed to be an actress, and I was not possessed… It was not my life's passion.
I think all family businesses are difficult and fraught with problems because you have that family relationship to get over. But my dad has been so supportive, we've managed to work around that.
I grew up shopping from farm stands. Dad taught me how to smell a good cantaloupe and thump a watermelon for ripeness.
The biggest problem was convincing my father that organic food was worth eating. All he could think of was the nut loaf with yeast gravy that my mother made in the Seventies.
Basically, what we've done is, every year we take half the money and allow people who've helped us in the industry to give it away. One year, the ladies who put the pretzel bags in the boxes got to give it away.
It didn't occur to me to go into something that didn't have an ethical return for me.
When coffee prices fall below production costs, farmers are often forced off their land, and they lose their homes, everything. With fair trade, farmers get a fair price for their harvest with a guaranteed minimum, so they can invest in their crops.
Daddy was like a lot of people who kind of turn their noses up when you say the word 'organic.'
When I was at home, I always cooked, and I usually cook over all the holidays. I always used organic.
My background is in biology. Before getting into the family business, I worked at the Predatory Bird Research Group at the University of California at Santa Cruz, fundraising for them.
By the time I grew up, acting just seemed like something I'd already done. I had absolutely no interest in it, even though some people thought it would be my calling.
When I come in from the beach at night, I'm too hungry to wait for anything that takes very long.
I used to tell people my father was a plumber, because that would mean we had a normal life.