Garnish: Not Your Average Oats, This NJ Brand is Killing It

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Local favorite Garnish, a premade overnight oats brand, prides itself on its nutritious and tasty product. Garnish oats are dairy, gluten-free, and vegan friendly. The company uses New Jersey-grown produce in its products and has designed each step of the manufacturing process to be as low-impact on the environment as possible. From buying ingredients locally to composting waste, Garnish has set itself apart. Garnish products are sold in various local retailers in Northern New Jersey with plans to continue expanding in local outlets and through the upcoming launch of the online store. The Hoboken Girl had the chance to speak with Connor & Jared, the founders of Garnish, on the company’s upbringing, ingredient values, and future plans.

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(Photo credit: Garnish)

Hoboken Girl: Connor & Jared, it is great to meet you virtually. Tell our readers about Garnish and your product.

CS/JP: Garnish is a team of chefs that specializes in creating premium plant-based, grab-and-go food items with our flagship product being our collection of hand-crafted, vegan-friendly overnight oat bowls.

Our overnight oats were designed to balance both flavor and nutritional value with the combination resulting in something simple, clean, and delicious. The composition with regards to the layering and the structure of the product allows us to highlight the simplicity of it in an elegant way.

Everything that we use is either for the purpose of achieving a specific flavor profile, nutritional value, or both. And we only use whole fruits, nuts, seeds, and oats to do it. There are certainly challenges that come with maintaining the level of standards that we hold ourselves to, but we take a lot of pride in our culinary roots, and we love getting creative with flavor combinations that are a little more unique!

HG: How did you begin the business and how has it grown since?

CS/JP: Garnish looks very different today than it did back when it first started. The company was originally formed as an in-home personal chef service which launched its pilot program in Essex County, NJ in March of 2020. But even before we could complete our first scheduled service, we postponed the launch indefinitely, and shortly after the country began shutting down.

After about a year of trying to relaunch the concept in the post-pandemic world, we decided to restructure the offering as well as add a contactless meal delivery option. In early 2021, we began menu development and recipe testing of our first menu item: overnight oat bowls.

The overnight oats were so popular within the test group that we never moved on to anything else, and in May of 2021, we officially launched a product line called Oats by Garnish and have not looked back since.

Read More: The Best Brunch Spots in Hoboken — By Category

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(Photo credit: Garnish)

HG: Your overnight oats are gluten + dairy-free. What is the process for selecting your ingredients?

CS/JP: We see ourselves as the premier overnight oats product in the space. To us, that means using only the best, organic ingredients that are available so that we can create something that is clean, delicious, and packed with all the right nutrients and vitamins that your body needs.

We are very careful when it comes to how we source our ingredients. We love the idea of locality and have built some great relationships with local purveyors. We really try to learn and understand our partners’ processes before working with them – everything from ethical farming practices and techniques to ensuring that facilities are in fact gluten-free and dairy-free to reduce the risk of cross-contamination for our customers.

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(Photo credit: Garnish)

HG: Why is maintaining a gluten + dairy-free selection important to your business and consumers?

CS/JP: We see our business and our products as being part of a much greater movement as it relates to the future of a plant-based economy. Our mission is to embed food sustainability into peoples’ everyday lives by promoting healthier lifestyle choices in the form of plant-rich foods in a convenient and ready-to-eat format. The idea of a sustainable food system means a world in which we can attain and sustain food security for all, and do it in a manner that is economically, socially, and environmentally responsible. That is the vision we are working towards, and that idea impacts everything we do.

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(Photo credit: Garnish)

HG: You emphasize sustainability and the importance of composting. How do you incorporate this into your day-to-day?

CS/JP: One of the areas that we focus on is our goal of zero food waste. We achieve this through using almost entirely shelf-stable ingredients including nuts, seeds, and oats. A good example is our process for using oat milk which we make ourselves from an oat powder made only from organic, gluten-free oats. We only make the exact quantity that we need, which is important for ensuring zero waste and avoiding outsourcing with brands that may contain oils, gums, or emulsifiers to increase shelf life.

Our process for fruits is also carefully managed. We use both fresh and dried fruits in our bowls so that we can utilize as much of the fruit as possible. Any part of the fruit that we don’t use as a fresh component, we dehydrate and use as garnish, while any part of the fruit that can’t be eaten, we compost through a company called Java’s Compost.

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(Photo credit: Garnish)

HG: You have partnered with various local businesses to sell your product. What is the process for selecting partners? Where can we find your oats as of now?

CS/JP: We look for partners who not only share our enthusiasm for the product itself but also those who have strong missions that are in alignment with ours. We are currently in coffee shops throughout Northern New Jersey including The Hive, MOJO, ModCup, The Muse, Jola, and The Coffee Potter to name a few!

We place a lot of value on the relationships with our local partners as we view them as ambassadors for our products and of our brand. We recently did a really fun collaboration with our good friends over at Modcup, who have terrific products, and launched our Cold Brew infused overnight oats featuring their signature Dredger blend, which we definitely recommend for all the coffee lovers out there.

See More: A Guide to the Coffee Shops of Hoboken

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(Photo credit: Garnish)

HG: On the topic of local sales, how have the Hoboken, Jersey City, and surrounding city communities impacted your sales and relationships?

CS/JP: This community is so important to us, and I think COVID-19 has made all of us appreciate our neighbors, our amazing local businesses, and our local economy more than ever. The last two years haven’t been the easiest for many people, and we believe that everyone, no matter how big or small, has the potential to make a positive impact within their community.

We are so proud to have partnered with an incredible non-profit earlier this year called Coalition for Food and Health Equity based in Hudson County, NJ. Our cause has always been both health-driven and environmentally focused, and through our partnership with CFHE, we have now also begun working to tackle challenges of food equity and access to nutritional, sustainable, and plant-based foods.

Food insecurity is one of the drivers of economic inequality and with the current inflation environment that we’re experiencing, rising food prices are making it increasingly difficult for families to access the nutrition they need to maintain a healthy diet. Through one of CFHE’s programs, The Hunger Project, we are hand-delivering our oat bowls to individuals and families right here in Hudson County and providing them with a healthy breakfast every week. It’s an incredible program, and it’s really made us appreciate the amazing people of this community even more.

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(Photo credit: Garnish)

HG: What is next for the business? New partnerships? New flavors? We are excited to hear and see more!

CS/JP: We are always looking for more partnerships and are launching our online store this year. We love working with local businesses and connecting with people within the community, and we love feedback, so please reach out to us.

We have incredible flavors coming soon as our menu rotates with the seasonal produce. To name a few, we’re very excited about releasing our Golden Kiwi, London Fog, and Lavender Fig.

HG: Last but not least, what is your favorite flavor and the best-selling one to date?

CS/JP:

Jared: Date Cardamom
Connor: Peach Chai
Best Selling: Strawberry Basil

For more information on products by Garnish, find the company on Facebook and Instagram.

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Originally from Philadelphia, Ada moved to Hoboken in 2016 for a job opportunity and grew a love for exploring the city. When not working, she enjoys writing, trying all the coffee Hudson County has to offer, and spending as much time outdoors as possible. She loves meeting locals and bonding over music, health and wellness, and new discoveries in our community.