Lindsay Martin, founder of Small Batch Organics – a small nutrition-conscious granola business in Vermont, was one of our beginning partners introduced on our marketplace… and for good reason. We had the chance to divulge into her adventures before her granola venture, as well as her expatriate childhood around Asia, Europe, and Africa which naturally drove her love for cooking today.
What did you do before starting your own granola business?
I had two Vermont businesses. The first was a bakery and Cafe in Dorset where we sold everything from fine pastries to prepared food. Our next business was the Bromley Market in Peru, Vermont – it was the only gas station for 10 miles in each direction. It had been a convenience store with generic staples, so we decided to make some changes. We renovated the space and turned it into a little gourmet market with basic grocery staples, really great prepared food, a lot of nice wines, and kept the usual deli and convenience items. We had a smoker outside to make something a little unique, like smoked meats for sandwiches and dinners. It was a great, little stop.
So how did Small Batch Organics start?
The granola and granola bark were items that sold well there. They were packaged and sold on the grocery shelf with the other staples, along with our house made chocolate sauces and savory sauces. One of the local distributors asked us to work on the packaging so it could be sold to a broader market. At the time, they were in a little cello bag with a bow and not really labeled at all. We were so busy that we sort of stored that in the back of our minds and continued on. After selling our store, I remembered the distributor who was interested in the granola! So we started planning.
Of all things to make, why granola?
The granola industry is interesting. The majority of granola companies are started by people who make it as a hobby, but the flavors are not developed by food industry people, and because of that, the industry has a lot of lackluster options. I decided that, with my understanding of ingredients and flavors from a culinary perspective, I could create flavors with mass appeal that might be a bit more complex while still being friendly.
What makes your granola so different from the rest?
We isolated all of the ingredients to determine how they should best be worked with to bring out their individual flavor characteristics before adding them to the mix. We changed the original formula to make a vegan base – from butter to virgin coconut oil, and gluten free. We replaced the wheat flour with brown rice flour and also added sprouted quinoa to create an earthier flavor without adding another nut. The sprouted quinoa serves as a beneficial super food that would be somewhat absorbed by the body rather than just being lost.
Your products are extremely nutritious, are there other qualities that you want to highlight?
Our most unique point is our transparency in ingredient sourcing. We source over 95% of our ingredients directly from farms and artisan producers where each ingredient grows best. This sourcing is good for small farming communities across the country, but it also allows us to understand our ingredients better. Every day, we learn better ways to work with the ingredients from experts.
What’s your typical day like?
I tend to be at work from 8 in the morning to 6 at night, so I try to see Will, my five-year-old, before leaving the house. Since we manufacture all of our products, I’m normally in the kitchen alone, working with chocolate over the weekends. Everything is still hand spread, and I am the only person who does that, but we are getting a beautiful Savage Brothers enrobing machine, so my last “only I do it” job is soon over! Other than that, I would go home and hang out with Will and Jack – my husband and business partner. We’re trying to complete a tree house for my son.
You were a private chef for 6 years. Where’d you get this passion for cooking?
I grew up internationally. Every few years my parents moved – many stops in Asia, spent quite a bit of time in Africa, and visited when they were in Paris. The food markets there were places I enjoyed exploring and spent a lot of time in.
Which country had the greatest impact on your love for culinary?
The base of my culinary love came from little kitchens in the back of many homes in the Philippines, Thailand, and India. In a lot of expat homes in Asia, there is a cook, and I spent hours watching ours and others cook in private homes and in hotels.
And on your granolas’ various flavors?
I have been introduced to a lot of very different cultures of food, so my travels may have influenced the granola in flavor development. The toasted coconut ginger came about from my time in Asia, while the balance of vanilla and cherry is a classic European dessert pairing. As for the cranberry maple? It’s a nod to New England. I love the challenge of maintaining the integrity of flavor.
Coffee Bean Granola Bark, 8 oz
Coconut Toffee Granola Bark, 8 oz
Cranberry Maple Crunch Granola, 12 oz
Toasted Coconut Ginger Granola, 12 oz