SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass. — Sarah Whiteman, owner of Anna Banana’s Homemade Goodness, was not setting out to create her own chocolate business when she spent the recent October snowstorm cooking toffee in her Southborough home. She was only trying to keep her daughter, Anna, entertained.
"It was really sort of accidental," Whiteman said. "The snow was incredibly crazy—and I had a 3-year-old." So, she found a recipe for toffee that hardened when poured over snow, and a tasty winter treat was born.
Later, Whiteman gave the leftovers to family members, who instantly fell in love with it.
"Everyone said, 'Oh my gosh, this is so good, you should sell it,'" Whiteman said. "That was my first item."
These days, there are two places where customers can find Whiteman’s homemade goodies: at the Grafton Farmers Market, where she sets up a regular booth each Thursday from 2 to 6:30 p.m., and online, where many of her items are on sale.
"I never thought there was a market for it," she said.
Whiteman soon realized, however, that her chocolate recipes were "more of a unique thing that’s not really in the area."
Whiteman’s offerings—all of which she cooks up at home, in her Board of Health-certified residential kitchen—include sea salted dark chocolates, chocolate-covered caramels, peanut butter cups and marshmallows. In addition, she bakes bread and other baked goods for the Grafton Farmers Market.
Her treats have become so popular that Whiteman has tentative plans to expand, while still keeping the business home-based so she can take care of her two daughters. Lately, she’s been in talks with local businesses who are interested in stocking her products.
It’s possible that a few basement renovations are in order.
"With the volume at the Farmers Market," Whiteman said, "it’s totally taking over my whole house!"