Wednesday, November 11, 2009

News, Reviews & Interviews Wednesday: Alki Girl Granola

This week I want to introduce a great new product here in the Northwest - Alki Girl Granola. It's not barbecue, but we all need a good breakfast. Alki Girl uses local ingredients, and is so delicious that I can't stop snitchin' at it. I interviewed creator Carrie Duncan a few weeks ago as she was just shipping out her first batch of granola to a bunch of Metropolitan Markets, who just picked it up. I've known Carrie for years because Eric cooked with her when she was the chef at a past Madison Valley restaurant called Gypsy and through her many years in catering. She's passionate about food, a localvore, and can work some serious magic in the kitchen. Without further ado...

Tell us, Alki Girl, when did you first think of selling your granola to the public?

I first thought of selling my granola wholesale after I was laid off at my corporate job. I had prior experience in the food industry and was looking for a way to get back into that field where I could set my own hours and be my own boss. After making granola for years for friends and family I realized that there was an opportunity to offer a local granola that wasn’t only made locally but uses local ingredients. I also wanted the name and logo to follow suit on the local theme.

How did you come up with your recipe?

I started with the basic ingredients and just revised it several times over the years. The base has always remained the same (Oats, honey, nuts, etc). I think the main thing that I really tried to focus on was using unsweetened dried fruit and quality ingredients throughout.

How did you source your ingredients?

I really try to look for local ingredients and go straight to the source. I knew I wanted my first two flavors to really reflect Washington and knew they had to revolve around apples and cherries. I had been buying Bare Fruit dried apples from Omak for a few years and just loved the product. The Bing cherries, oats, and oat bran are from Oregon and the honey is from Moses Lake.

What was the process of getting certified to sell wholesale like?

The most time consuming process were the labels. To sell wholesale and be certified through the Department of Agriculture, I had to make sure that all necessary information that is required appears on the front and back of the labels. Other than that, actually applying and having the Department of Agriculture come out to the kitchen and review everything took about a month.

What was the most surprising thing about starting your own business?

All the licenses you need!!!! Other than that, just the gratification that I get knowing that I started this company and created this product from start to finish. I’m very proud of the product I created.

What is the highlight, thus far?

Seeing the granola displayed on the grocery shelves next to brands that I’ve been seeing for years.

Where can people buy your granola?

At your nearest Metropolitan Market (Admiral, Queen Anne, West Mercer, Sandpoint, Dash Point, Tacoma).

Do you by chance have a recipe your could share that uses your granola, like, say, an apple crisp?

I don’t really have a recipe but I ALWAYS recommend trying it with Greek Gods Honey yogurt and fresh fruit. That’s what I have almost every morning.

We like to make Yogurt Sundaes here at the Reinhardt house, using Greek Gods yogurt (also locally made), Alki Girl Granola, and frozen berries from Remlinger Farms. I'll post it tomorrow as the Weekend Warrior Recipe of the week. It's easy, kid-friendly, and perfect for breakfast, dessert, or a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Thank you, Carrie! And to all of you out there, buy a bag of this granola. It will make you happy.

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