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Key, Locally-Sourced Ingredient Comprises Boulder-Based Tots

Millet-based RollinGreens quickly expands, with grand plans for 2018


ROLLINGREENS  |  PRODUCT: Food + Beverage  |  MADE IN: Boulder

Married co-founders Lindsey and Ryan "Chef Ko" Cunningham launched the RollinGreens food truck in Boulder in 2011. The name was a nod to Ryan's parents' food truck in the 1970s, and the 21st century iteration likewise focused on natural, local and organic foods.

One of the truck's most popular items, Millet Tots, utilizes its namesake grain to make a healthy and tasty snack or side not unlike a tater tot crossed with a hush puppy.

"People just went crazy for it," Lindsey Cunningham says.

So they decided to park the truck and go into manufacturing three varieties of Millet Tots in 2015: Original, Italian Herb and Spicy-Sweet.

The key ingredient is local: Colorado is one of the top millet-growing states. The grain, often used for bird seed, is catching on in brewing and foods. "That's why birds are so happy," Lindsey Cunningham says.

All jokes aside, "It's an underutilized grain," she adds. "Millet is a very nutrient-dense grain. It's high in protein and fiber. It's a very alkalizing grain and an easily digestible grain."

Another factor was familiarity: Her husband "was raised on millet," Cunningham says. "His mom and dad were hippies. He grew up with millet on the dinner table."

 After starting at Lucky's and Alfalfa's in Boulder, Millet Tots landed at Whole Foods in their first year on the market, followed by King Soopers in 2017. The products are now available in 700 stores nationwide. "We're expanding pretty quickly throughout the nation," Lindsey Cunningham says. "We've seen a tremendous amount of growth in the last year."

And she expects even more growth in 2018. "We're working on new plant-based products," Cunningham says. One is an ancient grain-based Millet Tot, and there's also an entirely new product line in the works.

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Eric Peterson

Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com

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