Boston’s Best: Nicole Bernard Dawes of Late July Organic Snacks

The secret to healthy snacking is all about choices. Just ask Late July Organic Snacks’ CEO and Founder Nicole Bernard Dawes, creator of the Boston-based organic and non-GMO tortilla chip company. We recently caught up with her to discuss her father’s success owning Cape Cod Potato Chips, why she created her own line of tortilla chips back in 2003 and what she loves most about Boston.

Late July
Late July

Photo Credit: Late July

“My mother owned a health food store in the 70s and my father started Cape Cod Potato Chips in 1980,” she said. “I was the only child so I was with my parents at work. I am really grateful that my dad showed me how things were done and taught me how to do it. It was like working on a farm, but at a potato chip factory.

Dawes admits that when she eats potato chips, it becomes a nostalgic experience taking her back to her childhood days growing up with Cape Cod Potato Chips. “Cape Cod Potato Chips was like my sibling,” said Dawes, who now splits her time between Chatham and Boston. “My dad loved food. Back then, he would make six stops along the way to find the right ingredients for a dish. He really had a passion for making something taste delicious. He was an amazing cook.”

After growing up in the industry, Dawes gained her initial experience at Cape Cod Potato Chips working in product development, marketing and R&D. “I always wanted to have my own snack company,” she said. “When we sold Cape Cod Potato Chips for a second time, which was devastating to me, it allowed me the opportunity to do my own thing. At that point, I felt an obligation to create sustainability in our food system and wanted to be a leader there.”

How did Late July come about? “I had moved to New York in 2001 and was pregnant with my son desperately craving something simple like crackers,” said Dawes, who is a board member of the Organic Trade Association. “Where we were living, there were three natural food stores but they had no organic crackers. It was clear to me then there was a need for the product. As for the name, Late July is the perfect moment in time when you spend extra time with your friends and family. I felt the organic snack company should embody that perfect carefree moment.”

While Dawes grew up on Cape Cod, she attended boarding school at Milton Academy. Today, she spends three days a week at her Boston office in the Fort Point Channel commuting from Chatham. “The energy in the Fort Point Channel is amazing,” she said. “I am Italian so I love Sportello. It has everything I love about food. It’s so relaxing to go there. They never rush you and the service is excellent. I recently had an Italian beer there that I have never had before. Another one of my favorite spots in Boston is Flour Bakery. I always use them for catering. The lobster roll at Row 34 is fabulous. In Chatham, I love the Chatham Orpheum Theater and Vers, a movie theater/restaurant where you can get food and take it into the movies.”