Josh Wells

Sun Valley Mustard

Josh Wells is more than a fresh, vibrant face atop a bright orange puffy–he is well-versed in the challenges of local food entrepreneurs. Josh’s original foray into the food business was through a little coffee/sandwich shop called Penelope’s, which he helped open and operate with his significant other, Stephanie Olson (current part-owner and operator of Velocio Cafe). Today, the majority of his time is consumed by Sun Valley Mustard, which he acquired in 2011. A staple in the Wood River Valley since 1984, Sun Valley Mustard’s award-winning products are consistently voted the Valley’s Best Locally Made Product. During the past few years, Josh has diversified the product line and expanded sales into five states while increasing revenues by over 300 percent. His long-term plan is to increase sales through continued product diversification and entry into new markets. Josh has degrees in economics and philosophy and he obtained his Juris Doctorate from the University of Idaho. He has previous experience in the private and public sectors and is the founder and current owner of Sun Valley Photo. Here’s what Josh said when asked about his personal relationship to food:

How did you become interested in food?
I love to eat. I love to cook.  Sun Valley Mustard is a great product that makes cooking easier, more flavorful, healthier and fun.

What’s your definition of “good food”?
Good food balances great taste, nutritional value, and economy.

Who is your food hero?
I don’t have one.

What is your biggest wish for food system change?
There is a massive gap between farmers/producers and consumers that is clogged with people/entities who provide services that are disproportionate to the value they provide.  Sales people/brokers, distributors and packaging companies add significant cost to the production, distribution, and sale of food products.  I would like to find a way to more efficient, economical and environmentally friendly way to get products to consumers while preserving value for those who truly create it:  farmers and producers.

What’s your favorite food to cook?
I like to cook everything.  I love to learn about ingredients and cooking techniques.

What’s your end goal or what impact do you hope to have in terms of food?
First and foremost, I would like to build a sustainable food production company incorporating the ideas and philosophies above.  Next would be to share that knowledge and experience with other food producers so they can effectuate the change further.

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