by Kelli Boylen
University of Iowa athletes are now powering up with O’Brien’s Own Granola!
O’Brien’s Own Granola received a vendor contract from the University of Iowa Athletic Department to provide new, single serving 2-ounce bags of granola. In addition, their energy bars are now offered at the fueling stations across campus.
“What a treat that our granola is helping fuel our student athletes at the University of Iowa. We feel privileged that we are a part of their training routines!” said Rick O’Brien.
In 2010, Rick and Belinda O’Brien started making granola with an original recipe in their own kitchen for themselves. They were soon making it for family, friends and co-workers.
In early 2011, they decided to go retail but needed a commercial manufacturing kitchen so Rick converted their basement into what they needed. After only a year they outgrew that space and in October of 2012 moved production into a commercial facility.
“It’s amazing how far we have come by keeping things simple. We use only the finest ingredients with no preservatives and trade shows like Feast! and local farmer’s markets have been a huge blessing and a catalyst for our growth,” shared Rick and Belinda. All their oats and honey are locally sourced from Iowa.
Their retail store, O’Brien’s Java House & Goodies in Center Point, offers 15 varieties of granola including high protein and gluten-free options. Mouthwatering selections include:
- Almighty Almond
- Oh My! Apple Pie
- Blueberry Muffin
- Sinful Dark Chocolate
- Chocolate Caramel Cashew
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Cinnamon Cranberry Roll
- Busy Bee's Honey & Oat
- Mom's Cookie Dough (soft and chewy)
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (soft and chewy)
- Grandma's Oatmeal Raisin (soft and chewy)
- O'Brien's Joy
- Peanut Butter Cookie
- Auntie's Pecan Pie
- Patches of Pumpkin Spice
In addition to Rick and Belinda, they now have one full time and 10 part-time employees. Belinda leads the baking and Rick handles the day to day business operations.
The O’Brien’s describe their products as a “softer, health conscious granola with only the finest, all natural ingredients. Each batch contains primary ingredients consisting of whole grain oats, walnuts, flax seed, pure honey, canola oil and coconut. Our added specialty all natural ingredients include almonds, pecans, sun-ripened cranberries, sun-ripened blueberries, cocoa, agave nectar and all natural peanut butter. Each batch is delicately sweetened with no sugar added. Our original recipe, oven-baked process, and premium ingredients have made O'Brien's Own Gourmet Granola the granola brand of choice for health-conscious lovers of all kinds.”
They are looking to expand their product presence into retail locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, the Dakotas and Nebraska.
They conclude, “We enjoy building our business as a family and knowing our blood, sweat and tears is not building someone else’s dreams. We also thoroughly enjoy talking with our customers and hearing the great things people say about our granola!”
To learn more about O’Brien’s Own Granola, visit their booth at the Feast! Local Foods Marketplace in the Rochester on Saturday, Dec. 2. You can also go to their website at www.obriensowngranola.com, or stop by O'Brien's Java House & Goodies, 4215 Lewis Access Rd, Center Point, Iowa.
You can meet Rick and Belinda at Feast! Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minn., from 10 am to 4 pm. The day will be well spent, with scores of different food businesses exhibiting in addition to chef demos, workshops and kids activities.