Normally when a snack promises “out of this world” flavor it’s a statement that can’t be verified. Trail’s End Buffalo Stix, on the other hand, can back it up. The Saskatchewan-based company makes Cranberry Craze, a Buffalo jerky with cranberries, which has been selected as part of the Snacks for Space program, and will be making a trip up to the International Space Station. Visitors at the Sunflower Arts and Craft Sale were able to sample their wares.
Judy Wilkinson, owner, says that her product was selected as part of Snacks for Space. Chris Hatfield, the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station, wants to showcase Canadian products during his mission, and put together the Snacks for Space program to share with the other astronauts.
Wilkinson says that she was surprised to be selected as part of the program, because she admits that she didn’t know it was happening at the time. Anyone in Canada could suggest a snack, and according to Wilkinson theirs was recommended by a man named Jeff in Edmonton, who she admits they don’t know. Thirty-nine Canadians suggested 150 different snacks or the program. It was selected as one of twelve snacks to make the trip because it met the rigorous requirements, both for food going to the space station and the round of taste tests conducted by the crew. Wilkinson says that while she’s not clear on all the requirements, the jerky’s virtues apply both on the earth and off it.
“I guess it’s just really good! It meets all the guidelines, it’s made in a federal facility which is very important, it’s easy to handle, it’s soft, it’s easy to chew, it’s just delicious, that’s all there is to it,” Wilkinson says.
Getting selected as part of the mission has been a boon for the company, as regular customers are getting excited and sending messages of support, while new customers are more curious about trying out the product. For Wilkinson herself, she says that it’s something that she finds inspiring.
“I cut every single stick, so to me it’s something I touched is going to be in space, I can’t really wrap my head around it,” Wilkinson says.
This is one of the high points of a business that began in 2004, when the Wilkinsons decided to make a jerky that few had seen before, taking on an unexpected flavor with cranberry and having a hit.
“My husband and I, we decided that we wanted to create a healthy snack. We wanted something different from traditional jerky, more targeted towards women and kids, something easy to chew and soft,” Wilkinson says.
It has been a good weekend, Wilkinson says, and she notes that some sizes sold out completely by the second day. For those interested in trying it out, Wilkinson encourages people to visit their website, at www.trailsendbuffalostix.com. Hatfield and the crew will be leaving on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft in December of this year.