The Nut Goodie. Let’s Get Down With This Minnesota Candy Cluster.

Photo provided by the author.

In 1909, P. Edward Pearson, along with his brothers Tom and Oscar, started Pearson’s Candy Company, a confectionery distribution company in Minneapolis.

Realizing manufacturing was more profitable than distribution, the Pearson brothers introduced their first candy, the Nut Goodie, in 1912.

The Nut Goodie is a Minnesota candy staple consisting of maple nougat, topped with roasted peanuts, and covered in milk chocolate. It is the self-proclaimed “original cluster bar.”

During the roaring ’20s and into the Great Depression, sales of the Nut Goodie soared. In 1950, Pearson’s moved from Minneapolis to its now St. Paul home with the Nut Goodie as its candy star.

In the 1970s, Pearson’s Candy Company changed ownership twice. The recipe was modified during the decade, and the original green, red and white wrapper was redesigned for a more modern look.

Minnesotans did not take this well.

In the mid-’60s, the annual revenues of the Nut Goodie candy totaled almost $3 million. In 1981, after wrapper-gate, the sales of the famous Minnesota candy plummeted to just $200,000.

We might be Minnesota nice but don’t mess with our F&%#ing candy.

In 1985, two former employees of Pearson’s, Larry Hassler and Judith Johnston, bought Pearson’s, reforming the Nut Goodie to its original recipe and wrapper. By 1992, the company became profitable again.

Maple nougat topped with roasted peanuts and covered in milk chocolate make up the Nut Goodie. Photo provided by the author.

Changing hands again in 2011, a private equity investment firm acquired Pearson’s. Finally in 2018, the company came home, bought out by Spell Capital of Minneapolis.

The flavors of iconic Minnesota candy aren’t only found within the green and red wrapper’s confines. Kemps Dairy created an ice cream consisting of chocolate and maple-flavored ice cream swirled together with chunks of chocolaty nut clusters – dubbed, of course, Pearson’s Nut Goodie Ice Cream.

And for the beer-drinking child inside you, there is the Nut Goodie Porter from Tin Whiskers Brewing Company in St. Paul. The award-winning porter has attributes of chocolate, peanut butter, and maple.

Craving a Nut Goodie? Nut Goodies are found in stores all across Minnesota and in select stores in various Midwest states.

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