While kite surfing in the Philippines, Jason Thomas--outdoor endurance athlete and founder of Pili Hunters --tried the delicious pili nut for the first time. He was so blown away by the rainforest-grown pili nut's rich, buttery flavor that he started sharing it with everyone he knew back home. Jason's mission became apparent: introduce U.S. consumers to the nutritious, delicious, and sustainable Filipino pili nut.
Growing up in Barrow, AK, North America’s northernmost point, Jason worked on arctic construction projects, and hunted in the tundra and fished the open seas with Native Alaskans. Then Jason set out to explore more of the world’s beautiful landscapes and its myriad cultures. He traveled extensively, from the frigid tip of Alaska to the warm beaches of Hawaii; from the desolate mountains of Patagonia to the most vibrant European cities; and from the dry Moroccan deserts to lush Southeast Asian jungles. During his explorations, Jason held several unique professional roles, including serving as a high-altitude mountain guide; an archaeologist’s assistant; a glaciology field hand; a commercial fisherman; a kite surfing instructor; and a rock climbing bum.
With 15 pounds of deep-fried pili nuts and a dream, Jason returned to the U.S. He spent the next few months driving from beach to beach in his swiftly aging pickup truck, surfing and passing out pili nut samples at west coast natural foods stores.
After quickly selling out of his pili nuts, Jason realized he was on to something. However, selling a deep-fried food just didn’t align with his personal philosophy of healthy living. Jason then returned to the Philippines to develop his own healthy pili nut recipe.
Jason forged a strong relationship with the locals, and they combined Jason’s love for the pili nut’s buttery flavor with his lifelong passion for nutrition. Shortly after, Jason started Pili Hunters, a company catering to outdoor endurance athletes, because the pili nut's extremely high oil content makes them a great energy source for long distance events. In addition to powering outdoor endurance athletes, pili nuts have become a favorite healthy snack of individuals following the ketogenic diet (aka, keto diet) because of the nut's high fat to low carbohydrate ratio.
From selling his first batch of vegan-friendly, keto pili nuts out of the back of his pickup truck to now offering an entire pili nut product line both online and in select retailers, Jason’s spirit of adventure is front and center in everything Pili Hunters does. We hope you enjoy the pili nut as much as we do - and that you join Jason on his mission to share this delicious and nutritious nut with the world! Find your Expedition!