Research the history of granola and a couple different accounts surface. Who thought of it first—a health spa owner or John Harvey Kellogg? From healthy snack to diet staple, granola’s popularity gives it staying power beyond its early “hippie food” advocates.
For Mariemont’s Christy White, 27, the love of granola reaches beyond yogurt topping and trail mix. She’s taken her passion for local ingredients and entrepreneurial spirit and launched Whirly Bird Granola in April 2011. After seeing granola for sale at local flea markets, she spend six months testing and perfecting her recipes for three signature varieties: original, chocolate and vanilla berry.
One of White’s main focuses while testing recipes was finding a local, high-quality maple syrup. The name of her company evolved directly from the sugar maple tree’s seed, which many people refer to as “whirlybirds” or “helicopters.” She settled on Ohio’s Snake Hill Farm. “They produce organic maple syrup and it was delicious,” White says. “It is family-run and the people were amazing. We wanted to support such a great family with a great product.”
is all-natural, and 40 percent of its ingredients are organic. White uses dried cranberries, dried blueberries, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and more. “I’m trying to get as many organic and local ingredients into my recipes,” White says. “Sometimes it can be hard because of cost.”
Currently, White, has only sold her granola at the City Flea. She’s in the process of finding a certified kitchen so she can expand beyond her Mariemont home and make larger quantities.
White also takes orders by email and even delivers them to customers around the city.
“I’m trying to meet what every customer needs,” she says. For now, that includes a special gingerbread-flavored granola for the holiday season.
By Evan Wallis