Horner International is rooted in generations of ancestors who tilled the soil and lived according to the values and traditions of rural North Carolina farming communities. My grandfather was a sharecropper and when my father left the farm for college, there was no money to give him, but he became steward of several acres of farmland, on which he planted, tended, harvested and sold the crops to pay his way through school. My grandmother tended a garden into her eighties; little did she know that her ways might be described by the buzzwords of our day: artisanal, organic, locavore, hand-crafted. Proust had his madeleine; for me, the aromas of childhood are just-shucked corn, my mother’s cobbler from freshly-picked blueberries, and the incomparable fresh butter bean, which reaches perfection during perhaps a fortnight in the hot North Carolina summer. Real food, as close to nature as possible, is in our blood.
Horner International’s first product in 1995 was a cocoa extract. We still manufacture it today, and it has been sold continuously on every continent since those early days. Over the years we have expanded our production capabilities and are constantly in search of new botanicals and production methods. Like most of the best in life, much of what we do comes from ancient things, like extraction and distillation, but the devil, as the saying goes, is in the details. Discovering a new plant or developing a new way to extract its flavor thrills and excites us, and is at the heart of what we do.
Horner’s second factory, built in 2007, stands in a vanishingly rural part of Durham, North Carolina, and our neighbors include herds of deer, flocks of wild turkeys and a farmer who sells collard greens from his porch. Down the road is the renowned Research Triangle Park and world-famous universities like UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State, with whom we have collaborated on research projects for over twenty years. Inside our plant is some of the finest and most advanced equipment in the world to extract and perfect natural flavors. We are constantly investing in new equipment and many of the largest flavor houses and consumer products companies in the world trust us to manufacture extracts and flavors under their names. As much as we take a “gearhead” pride in our machines, it is people who make the difference at Horner. It takes a special person to work at a smaller company, for every day is punctuated by what we optimistically call challenges. The result is that an exceedingly diverse group of strong minds and strong hands crank out the finest natural extracts in the world. Creativity, dedication and pride go into every pail, drum and tote that heads to customers across the globe. Are you ready for the Alternative to Artificial? Connect with us and let us show you how.