Every month, Sprouts (a grocery store chain, in case they're not in your neighborhood) invites a bunch of bloggers to tour local food-related businesses. It's fun, I get to see some blogger friends, and it's educational, too.
And sometimes I find out about products that I didn't know about, either during the tour or something tucked into our goodie bag.
This time around, we met at the facility that makes and packages Fiona's granolas. The company is called Fiona's Natural Foods, but right now, it's mostly granola, along with some trail mix and oatmeal.
We got a tour of the whole facility - it's kind of a neat setup. There are a bunch of different food companies in a building that used to be a postal sorting facility. They're all relatively small companies, and they share a meeting space, the have a communal warehouse area, and they all have use of the docks for shipping and receiving.
We didn't get to go into the other company's space, we peeked in a few windows. We did get the see how Fiona's makes their granola. There wasn't anything running as far as production, but they showed us how the granola gets packaged.
And then we had snacks, including (you guessed it) granola and yogurt and add-ins. It was pretty tasty. And then we got our granola samples to go. Or, actually, full-size bags. I picked a few that sounded good, but once I got home I realized that a few of them had coconut in them. Oopsie. But that's okay, I like sharing.
One of the features of the granola is that it's particularly high in protein, thanks to the use of plant protein. For example, the almond cinnamon (one of my favorites) has both pea protein and lentil flour, along with the almonds.
At first I was going to make a recipe using the granola. I considered making some kind of fruit crisp with a granola topping, but I've done that before and didn't feel like I needed to do it again. I thought about using it in coffee cake, but I had a chocolate cake that needed to be eaten. Then I decided to use some granola to coat French toast. It was good, but the photos were ... well, hideous is a good description. Don't look too closely at the granola photo up top. Ha!
I really wanted to come up with a recipe, because that's what I do. But then ... I realized that granola is pretty much a perfect product without muddling around with it. There's no reason to try to wedge it into a recipe. I mean, if you want to sprinkle it on top of some yogurt, that's good enough, right?
So anyway, I sampled the ones that didn't have coconut (read the labels!) and I have to say it's pretty darned good. The granola is all sweetened with coconut sugar, but that doesn't taste like coconut, so that's perfectly fine with me. There are larger and smaller pieces, and it's appealingly crunchy without being tooth-breaking. It's a really good snack. If you're a granola fan and you haven't tried this brand yet, give it a try.
The oatmeal also sounded interesting since it has both rolled oats and steel cut oats. But since it had large flakes of coconut in it, I decided to pass it along to someone else who appreciated it more. They have another flavor that doesn't have coconut. I might give that one a try if I see it at Sprouts.
Also ... it has about the best packaging I've seen in a long time. There's an easy pull-tab that opens the bag on the back side - and it pulls neatly without tearing. Then it reseals. Easy peasy. I don't know why more companies don't have packaging like this.
So there ya go. Granola. Crunch crunch yum.
Thanks to Sprouts for sponsoring the event and to Fiona's Natural Products for hosting.