Vendor Highlight – Barb Nickolas of Bab’s Bites N’ Bones

You’ve seen her. Your dogs love her biscuits. Now, you’ll find out more about Barb of Bab’s Bites N’ Bones.

How did Barb get started making dog biscuits?

My sister gave me a bone shaped cookie cutter and a treat recipe for my birthday in 2006. I loved it! I had talked so much about getting Buster, it was fitting. When I picked Buster up in January 2007 we were set. For the business, we tweaked the recipe making it ours.

At the time, so many dogs were dying because of a plastic substance found in many dog foods that were packaged overseas.  Many dog food recalls, many people were losing family members, and my sister said, “Maybe you should look into making dog treats, whole ingredients, healthy. People will know they are local.” I rolled my eyes and drug my feet, but the stories were devastating. So,  I did the leg work contacting agency’s asking how, sent our recipe to SDSU for a nutritional analysis, and contacted SD Dept of Ag to make it official. Could we make a difference, let’s give it a try!

When the guy at the SD Dept of Ag said “Ok” on September 30, 2007, we started baking October 1st. We were signed up for an Arts Fair in Faulkton October 16th and we had catching up to do! Bab’s (Buster and Barb) was off to a running start!  

What is Barb’s favorite thing about baking biscuits?

 Making the treats is a stress release for me. The dough is made my hand. No mixers. Roll and cut, roll and cut. Make our own little touches to the shapes. The time passes quickly and when the light of day dims, I stop, usually 8 hours later. I do make time for play and lunch with the dogs.

Barb has two dogs…

Buster, a Westie, turned 10 years old January 21, 2011. This is the date we brought him home. His favorite place is in front of a warm oven or my lap. We’ve enjoyed him for 6 years and plan for many many more. Buster has his grandma’s eyes.

Carlee, a mix and a beautiful girl, will be 5 come July 6, 2011. It’ll be 3 wonderful years she’s been home. Quite timid, she’s my shadow and the alarm when anything outside comes close. They both love rides, walks and story time.

Buster (left) & Carlee (right)

Here’s a little something we wouldn’t know about Barb…

I grew up in a home filled with music. From country western to Lawrence Welk’s champagne music and old time music, learning to dance on my dad’s feet. When I bake treats, the first music we listen to is a waltz and my routine finds its way quickly. I often pick up Buster and dance around the kitchen with him in my arms. A good memory to my parents.

What is Barb’s favorite thing about the Farmer’s Market?

Oh gosh! Customers are excited to see us and we are happy to see them. There are always questions of interest and stories. When there is a lull, us vendors visit and catch up from past week or what’s happening. It’s become a Saturday morning family. We help and watch for each other, laugh, and eat. Friendships have formed, it’s a good thing!

And, if you want to read more…

Check out Barb’s blog at

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