Elliotts of Montana began with a family and a farm. Owner and founder Rita Elliott grew up on a rural grain farm in Power, Montana, where farming, working hard, and playing hard were taught by example. When she wasn’t doing other chores on the farm, Rita spent her time in the kitchen, helping her mother, grandmothers, aunts, and neighbors, learning to prepare food using methods and techniques passed down through generations of hard-working women. Everything was made from scratch in this kitchen, using the whole grains grown right in their backyard.
Where it All Began
Naturally, the kitchen was always a mess, but no one minded because fresh-baked treats and home-cooked meals were always on the table. Rita particularly remembers her mother’s Danish pastry, which required a time consuming, all-day baking spree and was reserved for holidays. Several layers of flakey pastry dough had to be buttered and folded before baking, filling the air with the smell of home-baked goodness. The finished product was glazed with powdered sugar frosting and served with an assortment of jams for the whole family to enjoy.
It was in this kitchen that Rita acquired her love for making and sharing food with family and friends. As an adult, she married into another family of farmers and joined her husband at his family farm in historic Fort Benton, Montana. Rita and her husband gave birth to three children, who became the fourth generation to farm the land, which has now been in the Elliott family for more than 100 years.
Becoming a Business
While raising her family in Fort Benton, Rita continued to pursue her passions by running her own catering business, staying connected to the community by cooking for local events. One day in 2003, when her daughter Lyndee came home with cookie dough she was selling for a high school fundraiser, Rita tried the cookie dough and thought she could do better. She wanted to create a tasty, more nutritious fundraising product, made from scratch in Montana. Working with other nonprofits in her catering work, Rita knew this could meet a need for nonprofits who wanted to fundraise to reach their financial goals. So, she began testing out cookie dough recipes in her own kitchen, and Elliotts of Montana was born.
Bringing Bakeable Happiness
Together, she and her daughter Lyndee have been creating wholesome foods and bringing bakeable happiness to people ever since. Now located in Bozeman, Elliotts of Montana has helped hundreds of schools, sports teams, and nonprofits thrive through their fundraising products.
“I love to see the nonprofits succeed because of what we do,” Rita said. “When we get to see people go on that trip they fundraised for, or a playground go up at a school, it’s so rewarding.”
Rita and Lyndee have seen fundraising build kids’ confidence as well, helping them learn how to present themselves, set goals, and work toward them. In addition, they take pride in making Elliotts a healthy and successful business for their employees. And eating what they make, of course.
Going Beyond Fundraising
Beyond fundraising, Elliotts provides its ready-to-bake cookie dough to local grocers, ski resorts, hotels, school cafeterias, and more. You can also purchase any of their products online through their website, including their cookie dough, pasta, and trail mix, as well as their scone and brownie mixes. Rita’s current favorite? Her MMM Monster cookie dough, baked in a sheet pan as cookie bars.
Elliotts of Montana has been continuously committed to serving schools and the broader community, sharing only foods they would want to share with their own children and grandchildren. When they’re not trying out recipes for Elliotts of Montana, Lyndee and Rita love baking for the grandkids – Lyndee’s two children. It’s an easy way to get everyone in the kitchen, spending time together, just like on the farm.
With two generations of women operating the family business and a third generation on its way, life simply could not be sweeter. Contact Elliotts of Montana today to learn more about how you can bring homemade Montana flavors to your family, friends, and community.
We hope you enjoyed this morsel of goodness from Elliotts of Montana. To read more articles that may spark your interest in our cookies, doing a fundraiser for your organization, or finding out how you can become a wholesaler of Elliotts Cookies, check out these articles below: