WALKERVILLE — For some, freeze-dried candy is a nostalgic way to eat candies we all recognize and love; and for others, this is a new way to eat your fruits and vegetables.
Bryan Castle and his partner have been making freeze-dried goodies for a little over a year and just recently got their official license to sell food in the wholesale and retail market.
Bryan says it started as a pragmatic way to preserve leftovers and meats and if you do it correctly, the food can keep for up to 25 years.
"So we started freeze drying back in the spring of 2022 just for our own uses doing our own freeze-dried foods so we didn’t have to keep it in the freezer or refrigerator," says Castle, owner of The Candy Man in Butte.
But candy was not on the menu at that time. Castle says he actually doesn’t like candy and he doesn't eat it.
"I don’t eat a lot of sweets. I will eat it sometimes but it’s not my favorite thing," says Castle.
So who likes does like the freeze-dried candy? Castle's friends and family and just about everyone in town.
"We started freeze-drying for our friends at camp. We started selling it to them. People around town wanted to start buying it so that’s when we started selling the candy," says Castle.
And it’s not just freeze-dried confections that fly off the shelves, but nature’s candy as well: apples, peaches, and strawberries.
"Those are very popular among everybody—and pickles! Dill pickles now are the most popular thing we have. Strawberries were and now dill pickles are," says Castle.
"People come up to you in parking lots wherever we park at, wanting to buy candy from us. We carry candy in the truck all the time so wherever we’re at you can stop me and ask me for candy and we’ll get you some candy."
But if you’re not lucky enough to bump into the Candy Man, you can visit one of the seven retailers in town who carry his goodies, including The World Museum of Mining in Butte.