I am very excited to share this with you guys! A friend of mine, Nicole, (she was actually my little in my sorority in college) owns a small batch granola company based out of Hoboken, NJ called Bounty. She launched it with her mom and brother just over a year ago! She is the head of the operation, her mom helps to run the kitchen and her brother the farmers markets that they travel to on weekends with their Bounty!
The granola is baked in tiny batches of only 6 pounds a piece! Each batch is slow baked with extra-virgin olive oil, dark amber maple syrup and sea salt. The maple syrup is sourced from a family farm in Vermont and they try to source as many ingredients as possible locally! Nicole and her mom bake, pack and label each batch by hand. Each batch is numbered on the label, a cute idea that makes their product that much more unique! I also love that they package them in mason jars, they look great for gifts, stay fresher longer and when you finish your Bounty you are left with a cool jar with many repurposes.
I had the opportunity to try out 4 of the 5 varieties they offer for sale on their website. All of the varieties are more than 50% nuts and seeds, which means they are packed with protein, making them a smart breakfast or snack choice. I loved them all and had a really hard time choosing a favorite 🙂
The Hudson Classic
This is where it all began – the original variety. I enjoyed it with almond milk, which makes for a perfect breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up! I love the crunch all the seeds add to it and the dried cherries are a sweet, pleasant surprise! It is choke full of pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, dried cherries, raisins and banana chips!
My ranking – 3rd out of 4
Chocolate Rush Hour
The chocolate and banana chip combo makes this one for me! I personally love banana chips, but I know many people who shy away from them because often the flavor can be overwhelming. That is not the case here! I noticed with all the varieties, every ingredient keeps it’s flavor profile, making each bite unique and keeping you coming back for more. They use a high quality dark chocolate that I found delicious. The chocolate pieces varied in size, again adding some excitement to the mix! I paired it with fresh blackberries, yum!
My Ranking – 2nd out of 4
This is the most unique variety they produce. It’s add-ins include pecans, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries. To give it the rosemary fennel flavor they add rosemary, fennel seed and white pepper. It is the darkest and richest of the 4 varieties. I was very intrigued by it, it is definitely a “grown-ups” granola. I liked the complexness of the flavors, but on it’s own it was a little overwhelming. I need to take Nicole’s suggestion and try it on greek yogurt – sounds like a delicious, savory snack!
My Ranking #4 out of 4
The Old Fashioned
I surprised myself when this one ended up being my favorite! I really thought it was going to be the Chocolate Rush Hour, but when I got to this one it couldn’t stop eating it! There are 2 reasons why. The first, it is spiced with orange zest and cinnamon, neither of which are overwhelming, but brighten up the flavor making it almost refreshing! The second is the dried mango and strawberry. They describe them as “candy” on their website and I totally agree! I personally like to snack on this one on it’s own, but it would be great with almond milk, yogurt or vanilla ice cream!
Ranking 1st out of 4
Q&A with Nicole
(flashback to college life)
Q: What is your favorite variety and why?
A: “I eat them all on a rotating basis… and it depends how I want to eat it. With milk (almond milk) I like the Old Fashioned, plain greek yogurt I like rosemary fennel and classic, chocolate I eat on its own. But my all-time favorite has to be the Hudson Classic. It’s where Bounty started and eating it always reminds me of the first batch we ever made.”
Q: What has been the most rewarding part of starting your own company?
A: “My first year I signed myself up for a ton of farmers markets (probably too many) and I got a ton of face-time with customers. It’s great to see someone’s eyes light up when they taste something delicious that I made. But my favorite part is when I know people are buying Bounty as gifts. Food has always been a way that I show love for people, and Bounty started because I loved giving jars of granola to my friends and family, so it’s really heartwarming when I see others doing the same.”
Q: How do you invent new granola varieties?
A: “Inspiration comes from all over. I am an avid cookbook reader, and get a lot of ideas for flavors from other things I cook (think rosemary fennel), the things I crave in the different seasons, but also from customers. Working at markets has given me insight to what people want – requests for a nut free granola inspired the Hoboken Harvest” (Hoboken Harvest is their 5th variety, not featured above)
Q: Was there a specific event that pushed you to take the leap into the food start-up world and out of Corporate America?
“About 2 years of unanswered food job applications. While I was at IBM, I was looking at all types of businesses in the food industry, from delivery services to publications to specialty food products. Food comes so naturally to me, but that doesn’t show on a resume, so I needed to get some experience. If no one would hire me, I had to hire myself 🙂 “
Bounty was born from Nicole’s love for gifting food to family and friends. It is packaged as a special treat, but healthy enough to eat regularly. I hope you will share her love and find someone to share Bounty with this holiday season or try it out for yourself! You can access the Bounty online store here! If you are local to the Hoboken area go visit them at a market! You can find their market calendar here!
Big thanks to Nicole for sharing her Bounty with me 🙂