Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

We Love Local Granola!

By Jenny Brown, January 11, 2011  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Jenny Brown

Local Producer Loan ProgramWe’ll admit it — we’ve been associated with granola from time to time! So I find it only fitting that several of our Local Producer Loan Program recipients produce this iconic health food. After all, it’s as yummy today as it was when we opened 30 years ago — maybe even more so! Like granola, our support for local producers has been around since the beginning. That’s why we started the Local Producer Loan Program, which has provided almost $4 million in low-interest loans to small, local producers. We’re proud to be helping them grow their businesses and bring more products like these great granolas to market.


Micheles - PORTRAIT_073[1]

Michele’s Granola Owner: Michele Thornett Timonium, Maryland

In early 2006, Michele took the first dozen bags of her granola to sell at a local farmers market. It quickly gained followers, and within 18 months, she had moved production into a commercial kitchen where she began baking for local food co-ops and natural food stores. Although Michele’s Granola products are now available in almost 100 retail stores, the granola is still made by hand in small batches. Michele recently moved production to a larger commercial kitchen, and she used her loan to purchase equipment and build out the space. Michele’s products are currently available in our stores in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Pure Bliss Organics - owners 2010 2

Pure Bliss Organics Owners: Jon and Karen Morgan, Antonio and Krishna DaCosta Marietta, Georgia

Jon, Antonio and Krishna have been involved with natural foods for most of their adult lives. In fact, they met when Jon visited the Higher Taste, Antonio’s vegetarian restaurant in Tallahassee. Upon moving to Georgia, the two couples purchased local granola company Shooka’s, converted it to organic production, and changed the name to Pure Bliss Organics. They also expanded the product line beyond granola, incorporating nuts, whole food bars and energy bites.  They are using their Local Producer Loan funds to purchase packaging and packaging equipment.  Pure Bliss Organics products are currently available in our stores throughout the South region.

Laughing Giraffe products 1_jpg

Laughing Giraffe Organics Owner: Justin Baumgartner Phoenix, Arizona

One of our first loan recipients, Laughing Giraffe Organics is a wonderful example of what the LPLP can do for a small business. Since receiving his funds, Justin has expanded his line of raw, vegan, gluten-free granola, first from a few stores, next to our entire Southern Pacific region, and then into nine (!) regions (hundreds of stores!), with an organic certification thrown in there for good measure! We are so proud of Justin’s success and are excited about his new packaging.  Laughing Giraffe Organics is available in stores in all of our regions except Mid-Atlantic, South, and the UK (for now!).

Have you tried any of these granolas? Let us know what you think!

Category: Local




Sandy Davis says ...
Micheles Granola is the best I have ever tasted. Excellent flavor and quality!!!Please bring it to Florida!!!!!!
01/12/2011 4:58:51 PM CST
Ruth Ross says ...
I love Michelle Granola! it is the best. I got it when I visit my family in MD area and I am so excited to be able to get it in my area now!!!! It is the best in the world.
01/12/2011 7:28:30 PM CST
Adam says ...
love Michele's granola, i could probably eat an entire bag standing in the kitchen if i wasn't careful lol
01/12/2011 8:11:34 PM CST
AndreaT says ...
Another Michelle's Granola fan here - we discovered her at the farmer's market a few years ago, and were thrilled when Whole Foods started carrying it!
01/12/2011 9:20:54 PM CST
Nandini says ...
Michelle's granola is a staple in my house. I add a little to my plain yogurt with some fresh fruit. Yumm!!! I'm so impresses with the consistency of manufacturing. I've never had a bad bag. Bravo Michelle and thank you Whole Foods for carrying it.
01/13/2011 7:21:03 AM CST
Deanne says ...
I have had the distinct pleasure of being a Michele's Granola customer for almost 2 years now. I discovered her products in Whole Foods while on a visit to Virginia. I was pleasantly surprised at the flavor and have been hooked since! Unfortunately, the local stores in Georgia don't carry her products, however, I am thankful to be able to order directly from the company and have it shipped to my door! I am a fan!
01/13/2011 12:56:29 PM CST
Liam says ...
Go Michele. I love the granola and can tell you that she is the coolest girl ever. She deserves everything good that comes to her... Much love Liam
01/13/2011 1:03:14 PM CST
alexandriatom says ...
I love all of Michele's granola flavors, but my favorite has got to be the Cherry Chocolate, very addicting!! YUM,YUM The all natural ingredients and fact that its made locally are just bonuses. Keep up the good baking!!! Tom
01/13/2011 1:59:21 PM CST
Jason says ...
I feel bad for the managers at my 2 local Whole Foods stores cause when they run out of Michele's granola, I let them know they're out till it's back. What's even more amazing to my family is that I like ANY granola at all. I'm usually all about meat, meat and more meat. It's that good.
01/13/2011 3:56:05 PM CST
Lynn Neal says ...
Michele's granola is the best granola I've ever eaten, everything else pales in comparison.
01/13/2011 4:02:29 PM CST
Ed says ...
I am addicted to Michele's Granola for breakfast and eat it everyday. I recently moved from DC to New York and my local Whole Foods doesn't sell it -- I have to stock-up when I visit friends back in dc. Please bring this granola to NYC.
01/13/2011 10:48:53 PM CST
Michele T says ...
This is the best granola I have ever tasted! It is made with all healthy ingredients and it tastes delicious. I found it on vacation in Bethany Beach and have been ordering it on line ever since. I hope they start carrying it in the Whole Foods in Westchester. It is a great thing to send in college care packages for a healthy study break.
01/13/2011 10:54:24 PM CST
Carole Brennan says ...
Michele's Granola is the best granola ever! All the flavors are so good it's hard to pick a favortie, and the large pieces make it great for snacking. Thanks for carrying it in your stores.
01/14/2011 7:16:38 AM CST
Kristen says ...
Michele's Granola is truly the best! I have loved it since I first tasted it and still crave it all the time!
01/14/2011 9:21:35 AM CST
Suzanne Herron says ...
Michelle’s Granola is the best granola product ever!!! I just can't live without it. I like mine on top of chocolate ice cream!
01/14/2011 12:23:14 PM CST
Tom Herron says ...
I love Michele's Granola, and have been eating it for two years. The flavors are wonderful. Recently, when I had an upset stomach, the only thing I could eat was Michele's Granola. I'm convinced it mas healing qualities. It should be in every Whole Foods Store in the country. Tom
01/14/2011 6:32:10 PM CST
Christine says ...
With so many excellent reviews about Michele's Granola, I would love to try it! Hope it can make it to Florida!!
01/15/2011 9:11:32 AM CST
BMacon says ...
I love Michele's Granola and hope to see it on more shelves around the country! Fabulous natural taste!
01/15/2011 12:06:02 PM CST
Bob Aller says ...
Love Micheles Granola. I had it on east coast when visiting my relatives in Delaware. When is it coming to San Francisco? It is like dessert for breakfast! Bob
01/15/2011 1:12:08 PM CST
Keith says ...
Micheles has turned me into a huge granola fan. This is by far the best product in a crowded market--the flavor and texture are amazingly addictive. Keep it coming guys!
01/15/2011 1:45:19 PM CST
Chris says ...
I certainly didn't think I was alone as a big fan of Michele's Granola and it's clear from other posts that I am not. I highly recommend this product. All of Michele's granola flavors are sweet, crunchy, and tasty. It is great in yogurt, as cereal, or as a snack. I have tried other brands and nothing compares!
01/16/2011 7:41:23 AM CST
Nancy A. says ...
Michele's Granola is the BEST! I love it and every person I have given it to asks where they can buy it.
01/16/2011 2:07:23 PM CST
Doug Brennan says ...
I am ADDICTED to Michelle's Granola. My wife Carole has to hide the bags from me so I don't consume more than my "fair share." Luckily a local shop stock's it, so I frequently sneak down there and get a couple bags all for myself. I hope she doesn't read this. - Doug in Harrisburg.
01/16/2011 6:20:14 PM CST
scrappy jessi says ...
yum they all sound great!!! Please bring them to the mid-west!!! we need some good granola! thanks oxoxoox jessi
01/19/2011 8:21:37 AM CST
Noelle says ...
Michele's Granola is the best! I first tried it at a local farmer's market, and was super excited to find it at Whole Foods... I just bought the cinnamon raison variety tonight! For those who don't have any stores that carry Michele's granola nearby, check out her website -- you can buy online!
01/19/2011 7:44:29 PM CST