Niles woman Gathering GrainsPublished 5:48pm Tuesday, February 5, 2013
A desire to put healthy food on the table has turned into a growing business venture for a Niles woman.
Andrea Martin, owner of Gathering Grains, is offering her handmade artisan granola at several local stores in the Michiana area.
Martin’s unique recipe includes natural ingredients such as coconut oil, unpasteurized honey, nuts and a blend of grains, depending on the variety.
Her products can be found in Niles at Shelton’s Farm Market and Indie Revolution Marketplace, Watervliet Fruit Exchange, Utopia Coffee Shop in Dowagiac and the Granger Farmer’s Market. It will be on the shelves of Whole Foods when it opens in Mishawaka, Ind., this spring.
No preservatives please
Martin got started five years ago when she was looking for healthy food options for her children, but found few at the grocery store.
“I am big on no preservatives, no chemicals,” she said. “All the options in the grocery store were high fructose corn syrup this, or a chemical I couldn’t pronounce.”
Martin began making granola and, when her kids approved it, she gave it to family members at Christmas.
“Everybody that I‘ve given it to said it was the best granola they ever tasted so I thought ‘why not try my hand in it?’” she said.
After selling her granola successfully at the French Market in Niles, Martin decided to go wholesale with the help of the NECI.
She said it only takes four hours to make the amount of granola it would take her to make in two days at home.
“It’s allowed me to grow,” she said.
Martin said she uses local products whenever possible. Her labels are made with paper from the French Paper Co. in Niles. The white and milk chocolate in her flavored granola products comes from Veni’s Sweet Shop in Niles.
The granola comes in glass jars that can be re-used or recycled and keeps the granola fresh for four months.
“The goal with this business is to offer an alternative to families who want to provide nutritious wholesome quality food for their kids, but don’t necessarily want to spend the time in the kitchen,” she said.
It can be eaten plain or as cereal, made into a granola bar or used as a topping on ice cream, salads or yogurt.
For more information, visit facebook.com/artisangranola.