Charley’s Organic Toffee: “Changing the World” One Box of Candy at a Time

charley's organic toffee

If you’re a locavore, you know how special it is to stumble upon a true artisan business. You’re aware of the time, care and effort that goes into creating such a product and are pretty sure that whatever you purchase will impress you in some way — whether it be in quality, craftsmanship, or innovation.

That’s exactly the feeling I got while perusing a stack of small boxes containing caramel chocolates at my favorite local farm. I picked up the treats and couldn’t help but want to buy a box just for its adorable sustainable packaging wrapped in dainty ribbon. A glossy sticker with the name “Charley’s” splashed next to a drawn figure of a carefree little girl was the sweetest example of branding I had ever seen on a box of chocolate — so irresistibly cute that I plopped the artisan treats right into my basket.

As to be expected, the decadent candies were the perfect mix of silky and sweet with no hints of chemicals or chalkiness ““ just pure and delicious.

I wanted to find out more about the story behind Charley’s Organic Toffee, so I interviewed owner Heather Hayes. And just as I expected, I found that there was something truly special behind this very sweet company.   

Culture-ist: What was the inspiration behind Charley’s Organic Toffee?

Heather Hayes: I started Charley’s Organic Toffee with a great deal of love and support from my family and friends. While growing up, I spent many happy hours in my Wisconsin kitchen learning to make candy from my grandmother. While creating confections for family and friends, I began tweaking recipes and using more and more organic, farm-fresh ingredients. After twenty years as an Occupational Therapist, I decided it was time to indulge in my own therapy, and Charley’s was born! Named after my third of four children, Charley is living with an autoimmune disease that challenges her daily, yet she takes on each day with a renewed spirit. My artisan confections are a joyful expression of love, life and happiness in a changing world.

Culture-ist: We noticed that you use organic ingredients and work with local farms. Can you tell us how you went about partnering with these farmers and why you chose them?

Heather Hayes: We are fortunate to live in an area where certified organic ingredients are available and valued.  Local markets, organic distributors and people who really care about what is in our food are growing rapidly. We only use sources that are USDA Organic certified, and we are in the process of becoming certified as well.

Culture-ist: There are several shops/farms in NJ that sell Charley’s Organic Toffee; do you eventually plan to expand to other parts of the country?

Heather Hayes: We are currently focusing on the Northeast region, and growing our production capabilities…one foot in front of the other…

Culture-ist: We love the company’s motto: “Be the Change You Wish to See in the World”; can you tell us about your partnership with The National Psoriasis Foundation?

Heather Hayes: Charley suffers daily from psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, as well as celiac disease. During her teenage years, The National Psoriasis Foundation helped Charley through some really difficult times with the materials they offer for explaining this disorder to others. We support their efforts by making a donation to the organization with every purchase of our candy — we want other kids to know that they are not alone.

Culture-ist: The candy packaging is just as delicious as the treats themselves. Can you tell us a little bit about it? Is it also sustainable?

Heather Hayes: The packaging was carefully selected to have minimal impact on the environment.  We encourage recycling!

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