Forte Chocolate's Master Chocolatier Karen Neugebauer was diagnosed with MS in October of 2013. After 5 MS attacks leaving her with 80% of her body damaged, she lives with lasting damage and weakness on the right side of her body. Just because she has trouble walking, does not mean that she is limited! So she went out and bought a bike in 2015 and started riding the 15.5 miles (each way) to the Forte Kitchen each day. Bike riding has not only been instrumental in her rehabilitation, it has now become a large part of the company culture at Forte Chocolates! Living with MS may slow her down but will not stop her from living her best life! In fact having MS has enriched her life in so many unexpected ways despite (and often because of) the challenges that MS creates.
One of these unexpected moments was when Karen bumped into some of the guys from Farmstrong Brewery at a local bike shop, Skagit Cycle. Karen was there preparing for her trip across America on bicycle and the Farmstrong guys were prepping their bikes to deliver a keg of beer purely by pedal power in celebration of Earth Day. They bonded instantly as it was clear that the commitment to helping others and helping the community was equally strong for both companies.
Forte and Farmstrong believe that helping others and building lasting community bonds is what makes for a truly strong community; it's the Heart of Skagit in a sense. This collaboration was born from a simple chance meeting has turned into a wonderful, long-lasting relationship. We were inspired to created a series of tasty truffles and caramels that feature Farmstrong's wonderful craft beer. Proceeds from the sales of any of these collaborative products are donated to this ride.
In addition, Karen made a drawing to commemorate her "Riding Across America with MS" bike ride this last summer. Not only did we offer a chocolate bar wrapped in this art, Skagit locals, Lithtex NW, have provided greeting cards and prints of her drawing so that 100% of the proceeds going toward this ride!
Please help us show just how strong the Heart of Skagit can be! Sign up and join our team for the ride itself, or live vicariously by help us by purchasing some of our collaborative products, or donating directly to anyone on our team. Oh did we mention, there will be chocolate and beer for everyone who joins and/or supports our team! Join Forte Farmstrong and be a part of the Heart of Skagit today!