How It Started and How It's Going
I grew up eating home cooked food, much of which was grown in a backyard garden or caught fresh out of the ocean. Mom was a true made from scratch cook and many of the dishes I grew up enjoying, I still prepare today. Macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, roast chicken, sweet potato casserole, Parker House rolls, collard greens, coconut cake and pound cake, just to name a few favorites. Ironically, Mom used very little seasoning while cooking, relying on salt, pepper, Accent and occasionally curry to make curry goat. Everything tasted delicious using the simplest and freshest of ingredients.
Tomatoes vine ripened in the garden were mainstays in our diet during the summer. My parents garden also had flowers, peppers, beans, greens, pear tree and a grape arbor.
My interest in food accelerated when I began working full-time. I was introduced to a variety of cuisines which were prepared by chefs in restaurants, aproned cooks in diners, churches and events held at fancy hotels in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston and Los Angeles.
Although I didn't have formal training in food prep or cooking, I prepared meals using techniques I picked up at cooking classes, demos and in the kitchens of friends. I spent more than a fair share of lunch hours with my sister exploring restaurant supply stores, kitchen stores, out of the way food and spice shops on the lower East Side. New York City, where I lived and worked, had a wealth of restaurants with every imaginable cuisine. I was a faithful reader of Bon Appétit, Gourmet and the food pages of The New York Times. These were some of the best experiences in my food education.
The very thought of starting a food business hadn’t entered my mind as I lived my life.
However, life sometimes has a way of preparing you for the future when you least expect. Making granola came about as a way to create a tasty and nutrient dense food that was also non-perishable to feed my family, who always seemed to be hungry. Batch after batch, made week after week, year after year I made granola. And we traveled everywhere with the granola…school, work, sporting events, long car trips, plane and train trips. You get the picture. Packing a cooler or backpack with granola, string cheese, yogurt, fresh fruit snd bottled water were must haves when traveling.
It was almost three decades later that I seriously began the process of starting a food business. Family and friends had been encouraging me for some time and I decided to go all in. So many steps to follow which required patience, workshops, endless research, testing and money. And to answer a frequently asked question, you do not just double or triple a recipe to scale up! If only it were that easy.
Hundreds of pounds of granola later (in three flavors) and Pat's Granola is chugging along. Every day I wake up knowing the responsibility of what producing food means. Families, children, sports teams, weekend athletes, corporations, millennials and senior citizens who love the products buy them online or at a number of selected locations around Northeast Ohio. It's a good feeling when a stockiest asks for more product, especially during these past two years when the world turned on its ear. Pat’s has been shipped to almost every state in this country, as well as to Europe, the UK, Japan and Canada. Humbled to have customers across the globe.
I'm indebted to a village of people who've helped me navigate this ambitious journey. And, thanks to the city of Cleveland, OH who embraced this New York transplant and made me an honorary buckeye!
The Pat's Granola Hug in a Bowl came to life in 2020 with the addition of this custom handcrafted stoneware bowl created in collaboration with JFetzer Pottery of Lancaster, OH.
Our local partners in northeast Ohio are stocked with product and we encourage you, if possible, to visit them (listed below) to pick up Pat's Granola as well as the products or services they offer. Appreciate you shopping with us!
Pat Bennett is the founder and President of Pat's Granola, a Cleveland based food and lifestyle company. Pat's Granola is sold online at www.patsgranola.com and is also available at selected Northeast Ohio businesses including:
Troubadour Coffee Roasters www.troubadourcoffeeroasters.com
Sports and Spine Physical Therapy www.sportspine.com
Locle Box www.loclebox.com
Made Cleveland www.madecleveland.com
Nature's Oasis Lakewood www.naturesoasis.com
Happy Cows Group Share Happy Cows Group Share
Sweet Bean Candies Sweet Bean Candies
The Corner at The Van Aken District
Pat's October 29 appearance on New Day Cleveland
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You are such an inspiration! I loved reading this.
Remember picking grapes and making grape jelly in an unfair conditioned kitchen. Good times