The excitement is in the eating. So says Michele Miller, proprietor of Bola Granola, a little granola bakery on Crissey Road in Great Barrington MA.
According to Miller, creating the hand-made, small-batch mix of oats, almonds and pumpkin seeds, supported by other grains, a little sweet, a little salt and vanilla, is a matter of “now you add this, now you add that … .”
The product, however, is transformed when poured into a bowl and the recipe behind it is sacrosanct. Does she every experiment with new mixtures? “Never! Oh, dear!” she exclaimed at the thought—then admitted she tweaked it once to produce a popular gluten-free version and a second time to sweeten it with maple syrup rather than brown sugar. The granola is certified non-GMO, mostly organic and vegan.
She says her business evolved out of need. “I like to say I had to pay my mortgage,” she said. “I had kind of retired from the food business and was painting and having fun doing it. But it wasn’t covering the bills. I had this wonderful recipe from a friend and I just adapted it to be more user-friendly—poppy seeds get stuck in your teeth. After that, it was just one foot ahead of the other.”
She says the granola is produced in small batches. “When others say ‘small batches,’ they are talking tons,” she said. “We mean 36 pounds. It requires a lot of handwork, a lot of attention, but I am determined to stay true to that ethos.”
She has no shop front of her own, but sells product through the mail and to stores “that have the same outlook we do.”
“The Berkshires are kind of an incubator,” she said. “So many people come to this area and then take us home with them and have to order more. That is one of the fun things I really enjoy. We have customers from Maine to Texas, even to Hawaii and London.”
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