We are so excited to be the January Producer of the Month at the Brattleboro Food Co-Op.
Read the full article here: Co-Op Article
by Andee Bingham January 2012
Peter Vogel has been perfecting his organic granola recipe for 40 years. In 2010, urged by his family and friends to take it to the marketplace, the business of Back Roads Granola was born. Peter and his wife, Virginia, sold their first batch of retailed granola to the Brattleboro Food Co-op that summer, and after five weeks it was a top seller. They now vend to around 40 businesses, including other co-ops, specialty stores, farm stands, restaurants, and hospitals throughout the New England region.
The granola bakery is located on Spirit Hill Farm, the breathtakingly picturesque land that Peter and Virginia call home. Entering the bakery, it’s impossible to miss the strong and enticing smell of freshly baked oats and raisins, reminiscent of oatmeal cookies. As I shook off the chill of the drizzly outdoors and wandered further inside, the scent was deepened by the tones of seeds and nuts that had been baking, along with the oats and raisins, in a glaze of maple syrup and honey. Though the aromas and flavors are robust, the simplicity of Back Roads Granola is apparent even in the bakery in which it is made. There is no clutter of industrial mixers or bulky stacks of inventory. Ingredients are ordered weekly, to guarantee the freshest product possible, and each batch of granola is hand mixed by Peter himself before spending time in a convection oven which will bake the granola to perfection at a consistent temperature. The freshest batch of granola had just emerged from the oven when I arrived and was cooling on several trays of a baker’s rack, temptingly loaded with nuts, seeds, and raisins.
“We really like selling in bulk,” Peter says, and co-ops were a natural place for their product to gain momentum. They have a very specific business vision that adheres tightly to an awareness of the global need to minimize waste and packaging and note this as a reason that half of the businesses they provide to are co-ops. They also believe in the importance of buying locally when possible and source their maple syrup and honey from organic farms in Vermont and New Hampshire.
The name Back Roads Granola is derived from where the granola is crafted – on a back road in Halifax, VT. Peter says he makes “one good granola” and he’d like to keep it that way. By focusing more on this one recipe, they are able to pay close attention to detail and ensure high quality. In fact, they want to stay true to the product’s name and continue to produce the granola on the back road in a small and tight-knit atmosphere. Keeping their business close to home also allows them to stay close to their other businesses and projects, some of which include a bed and breakfast, raising llamas, and tending an organic garden. It’s refreshing to see a company that is committed to staying small and focused instead of believing that bigger is necessarily better, especially when they have been so successful at what they do. The extra care, dedication, and focus that they put into their product is felt by their loyal customers, who rave about the dependable quality, freshness, and flavor.
Peter and Virginia are no strangers to sampling out their product and are happy to do it any chance they get. They love to meet new people and are looking forward to a chance to introduce you to their premium granola!
Stop by the Co-op between 11am – 3pm on Wednesday, January 11th to meet the crafters and find out for yourself why this product flies so quickly from our bulk bin!
Baby llamas are amazing and beautiful! Within minutes of being born, they start trying to get their long, long legs under themselves and stand up. Once accomplished, they start rooting around for mom’s milk. It takes some hard work but they figure it out quickly and their mom stands stock still to help the situation. Cria bond to their mothers very quickly and keep by their side. It’s a beautiful thing.
Baby llamas are called cria, (singular & plural). This is our newest cria ~ Chiri~Chica, a 4 day old female (named after her father ~ our herd sire ~ Chiri~O). She looks white but is actually a dilute, or reverse appy, (apaloosa). Her fleece is white with silver gray and light fawn appy spots throughout.
Since opening our Bed & Breakfast 5 years ago we have had wonderful people from all over the world visit our farm. Without exception, our guests are well traveled, thoroughly delightful & interesting individuals, (some nothing short of amazingly entertaining). Peter & I have been too busy to travel much the last few years but we are not deprived ~ our guests have been bringing the world to our table. In this photo, our most recent & delightful guest ~ Peter Bruza, Queensland, Australia, my Peter and Chiri~O, the llama.
At Spirit Hill Farm, Peter is the meet and greeter ~ he welcomes our guests and shows them around the farm. When we serve dinner, I am the chef and he is the host ~ pouring wine, serving each course and clearing the table. What our guests rarely see is that he is also an excellent cook and makes the absolute best impromptu pasta dishes. Here is his latest creation ~ Spaghetti with our garden roasted peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, green olives and crisp bacon ~ top with lots of fresh Reggiano parmesano.
Peter and I took trip through the White Mountains September 16th and saw the spectacular beginnings of fall foliage. We have continued our day trips all over the Vermont countryside for the past six weeks ~ tourists in our own home state. This photo was taken yesterday.
Spirit Hill Farm blog features ongoing photos & comments pertaining to our life on and off of the farm
This beautiful fall foliage weekend at Spirit Hill Farm, Peter and I will be cooking up a proverbial storm ~ a fall menu to include apple cider roasted Cornish hens & pork, creative vegetarian & vegan entrees for those who prefer it, root vegetables from our own organic garden and tarts made with apples & plums from neighboring orchards.