Born in 1952 in Sacramento, Joe Dutra grew up on his 2,000-acre family farm. In 1975, after graduating with honors from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil science, Joe began farming with his brother. However, the family farm went out of business in 1983, and that same year Dutra took on the role of senior agronomist for the HADCO Project, one of the largest farms Saudi Arabi — a position he held for four years.
He eventually moved back to the U.S. and in 1987, Dutra started Westec, an agricultural consulting business that he continues to operate today.
In 1999, a friend introduced Dutra to a candy that was being made in Korea — candy-coated, chocolate-covered sunflower seeds. And that led to him starting Kimmie Candy in 2000.
In 2008 Dutra relocated the manufacturing operation of Kimmie Candy to Reno.
Kimmie had experienced growth with not only coast-to-coast sales in the United States but also Canada, Mexico, and the Philippines.
Dutra also is an active member of the National Federation of Independent Business, and on the Board of Trustees of the NCA. He also donates hundreds of pounds of candy every year for numerous events around the area, and he volunteers time for such organizations as Northern Nevada HOPES. In May 2016, Kimmie Candy also received a Presidential E-Award for excellence in exporting. And in July 2017 Kimmie Candy was honored to represent the state of Nevada at the first Made in America Expo at the White House in Washington D.C.
Kimmie Candy Company also was named as the 2019 Food Manufacturer/Processing Company of the Year by the Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology.