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A Noble idea

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Noble Bars are a food product born in Tacoma, the brainchild of a Tacoman, and are available-for the time being-only in local stores. But give it time. These bars are tasty and all-natural in a way that most "all-natural" products can only envy.

Noble Bar was founded by Dana Epperson, a local man who served four years in the Army at then Fort Lewis. As an Army captain, he deployed to Afghanistan and Korea; he currently lives in Tacoma. Epperson values whole and healthy food in his own diet. One day, after trying to eat an unnamed all-natural, vegan bar, he decided he could do better. In 2009, with no experience beyond cooking dinner for his family, he created a food business centered on minimally processed ingredients.

At first, each and every bar was made by hand in his home by Epperson and his wife. In 2010, they stopped making the bars and found a local factory to take on production.

"We use premium American ingredients from the Northwest and farms in California, Michigan and New York," he says. "I use simple, dried fruit, nuts and milled or coarsely crushed wheat, barley and brown rice for a nice crunch, as well as hulled millet and oats. This is why my bar is a little more expensive than most. Unlike my competitors, I don't use added soy for protein, dates for filler or brown rice syrup as a sweetener."

And Noble Bars have something other bars definitely don't have-history. There are currently three types of Noble Bars on the market: Centurion Fig, Viking Cherry, and Kobukson Asian Pear. The bars aren't just titled after ancient civilizations for kicks. Epperson studied the diets of each culture, carefully choosing ingredients that every-day citizens would have eaten regularly, and incorporating these ingredients into his bars. Ingredients are basic and ancient-fruit, nuts, grain, and that's it. If you buy the cherry bar, you're eating cherries. If you buy the fig bar, you're eating figs. It sounds simple, but read the ingredients on other bars. You'll find it's actually quite revolutionary.

"Everyone in the world has been touched by the cultures I based my bars on either genetically or culturally," he says. "I think now it is even more relevant to consumers because we all want to eat minimally processed foods that are good for us. Well, you can't get much better in terms of whole foods than looking to what our ancestors ate."

Initially, there were six flavors and six cultures represented, but as the company went into factory production, budget constraints brought the list down to three. As the company grows, the other bars will likely be back and are based on the diets of the Chinese, Japanese, and Greeks.

If you live in the Tacoma area, the bars are available at Tacoma City Grocer, Stadium Thriftway, Dave's Meat, Tacoma Boys, H&L Produce in Lakewood, and Forza in DuPont. Non-locals can order the bars online.

"I plan on expanding out of Washington and would love for the company to be on par with some of the other bar companies out there," says Epperson. "My ultimate goal is to build a factory here in Tacoma. I want our brand to be recognizable to everyone. Down the road, I intend on bringing out an oatmeal recipe I have perfected; even further, I'd love to have a microbrew line based on the same concept as Noble bar."

Company website:

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Mike Lonergan said on Aug. 28, 2012 at 10:12am

I've enjoyed Dana's Noble Bars. You can really taste the quality.

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