My latest “dedicated facility” find is Jake Bakes. This little bakery in New Jersey is committed to producing products that are completely free from gluten, dairy, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts, in order to offer “safe” products for those with food allergies, no matter how severe. Whenever I utter the term “free-from,” I can hear the voices on the other end shout, “yeah, free from taste!” But with companies like Jake Bakes, this just isn’t so.
My first taste of their products was the Farmer’s Market Granola. We always have granola on hand, as my husband literally inhales it on a daily basis. However, I usually make it from scratch. It had been quite a while since we had eaten a “store bought” brand, and for good reason. As my husband says, the boxed brands just don’t taste nearly as fresh as homemade. They usually have shriveled up, dry raisins, and either a lifeless texture or a crunch that has become so firm it could chip a tooth!
Luckily, Jake Bakes could easily pass off as home baked. The jumbo chunks had a firm yet forgiving texture, with a slightly gentle chew. It was definitely granola to the bite, yet it didn’t have an audible crunch. Considering the size of the granola pieces, this was definitely a good thing!
Each granola chunk, no matter how small, was loaded with dried fruit; in fact, I could literally taste more than one flavor in every bite! Apricots, blueberries, cherries … well, just see the ingredient list below, they are all in there. The taste was just a notch or two above lightly sweet I would say. This is good for me, as I like to avoid a sugar rush first thing in the morning. The only thing that I found a touch off was the aftertaste of what I believe was the vegan margarine. Admittedly, the margarine added richness to the granola that I had never before experience, and that will likely appeal to a lot of people. Yet, for my personal preferences, I lean toward good quality oil for a cleaner taste. It seems my husband agreed, he thought the granola was a little lacking in sweetness (he likes his granola sweeter than I do) with the margarine taking center stage, and the overall flavors and the larger sized chunks didn’t quite work for his tastes.
I should mention, while I am discussing this granola as a breakfast cereal, I really believe it is ideally suited as a pack along snack for kids and adults. In fact, after my first morning bowl of this, I decided to pack along the rest on our hiking trips. It is perfect from an energy standpoint (with oats and seeds for lasting power), and the sizable pieces make it easy to pick up for munching. Plus, the nutrition statement lists 1 ounce as the serving size. When out running about or involved in active pursuits, a 1-2 ounce serving is perfect, but in the morning, as with most granolas, I may tend to overindulge with a quadruple (or more) serving!
The Farmer’s Market Granola comes in a 12-ounce stay-fresh, resealable pouch. The ingredients are: Certified gluten-free rolled oats, certified gluten-free oat flour, dried apricots, dried blueberries, dried cherries, dried cranberries, dried strawberries, organic brown sugar, vegan margarine, sunflower seeds, organic flax seed, spices, organic vanilla beans, pure vanilla extract, salt.