By Katy Savage
Stephen Frankel has a Chinese proverb he lives by: “Man who sells oranges will always tell you his is the sweetest. Taste them and decide for yourself.”
Frankel, a martial arts teacher, heard the proverb from his former teacher, acclaimed martial art instructor Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming.
“I think it applies to everything,” Frankel said. “That’s my whole thing my whole life — make your own decisions.”
Now, Frankel wants you to try his candy.
Frankel bought the former grange hall on River Road in Killington last fall and opened a premier martial arts studio on the first floor with a candy bakery in the basement.
Frankel and his partner Mathew Kopp started baking cannabidiol candy in the spring. They saw CBD candy being sold in stores and thought they could do it better.
“That’s pretty much my attitude, if they can do it, I can do it,” said Kopp, who works at Sunup Bakery in Killington.
Their company, called Killington Kandy, sells caramel turtles, chocolate peanut butter cups, caramel peanut pretzels and gummy bears. Each serving contains about 25 milligrams of CBD.
“We were shut down for about a month and realized this is kind of a perfect time to get it going,” Kopp said.
As researchers search for a vaccine to combat the coronavirus, some are turning to cannabis as one solution. In fact, several university studies have suggested CBD could reduce symptoms of Covid-19, including pain and inflammation in the lungs.
“You have to keep getting the CBD into your body until it builds up and then you’ll start feeling the effects of it,” Kopp said.
Kopp and Frankel have long been friends. They met each other kayaking in Pittsfield. They have a lot in common, but they’re opposites.
They’re both from New Jersey, though Kopp grew up in South Jersey while Frankel grew up in North Jersey.
“They’re two totally different states,” Kopp said. “We both have the same wacked-out, in-a-hurry mentality. I think that’s where people get the whole, ‘don’t Jersey Vermont.’”
Kopp is an Eagle’s fan, while Frankel is a Giant’s fan.
“We’re a blueprint for peace,” Kopp said.
Frankel has been teaching martial arts since 1979. He trained under master Yip Pui and taught martial arts in New Jersey before coming to Vermont and working for Joe De Sena in Pittsfield.
Meanwhile, Kopp, 45, has been in the food industry since he was 10. He started bussing tables before becoming server. He was also a commercial fisherman for about 10 years, catching eels and clams and “most food Americans wouldn’t eat.”
“I just love food,” said Kopp. “I like creating. I always try to make something new that catches people’s eye.”
Kopp started making Killington Kandy by taking different candy recipes online and making them into his own.
“I played with them for a little bit,” Kopp said. “They worked, they didn’t work.”
The CBD used in Killington Kandy comes from a company in Maine where it’s tested for impurities and metals. All of the candy is handmade in small batches.
The candy is currently sold online and locally at the Killington Market, Killington Deli and Marketplace, Swiss Farm Market, DePalo Coffee, Magenta Salon, Southern Vermont Hydroponics and Vermont Gift & Garden.
The prices range from $11 for a four-pack of carmels to $30 for gummies.
“I’m selling it so I think it’s the greatest, you taste it and tell me,” Frankel said.