To other countries, America has been known to many as the land of plenty where everyone is wealthy and unhealthy. Lately it seems like Americans, as a whole, are trying to be more health-conscious. “Biggie-size it” is no longer a household term, and has been replaced with words like “fresh” and “all-natural.”
Here in Fort Wayne, healthier options are popping up all over the city. Healthier restaurants, specialty food stores like Three Rivers Natural Grocery and fitness studios are becoming mainstream. Kristin Mulholland, founder of Goddess Granola, is no stranger to the idea of nutritious fare.
“I became really interested in granola, I really don't recall how, maybe just wanting to start eating healthier,” she said.
You can find Mulholland selling her own little healthful creation in Salomon Farm's farmers market 5-8 p.m. Wednesdays, among other local vendors. Mulholland sells her granola with help from her three daughters. Her girls and husband, Shane, are the ones who encouraged Mulholland to market her homemade, all-natural granola.
“I just started experimenting with different ingredients… in my kitchen (until I) came up with a recipe. I think about five years into it my husband was very encouraging and said that I should really market this,” said Mulholland, referring to how she came up with Goddess Granola.
Mulholland left her job as a civil engineer at a construction company in LaOtto to start her business. Though she only worked part time as an engineer, she feels that running her own little business provides more time with her family and the comfort that she is doing what she loves. She encourages everyone to do the same.
“You should do something in your life that you feel passionate about. Whether the money is going to be there or not, if you do something that you are passionate about you are never going to regret it,” Mulholland said. “I enjoy this; I enjoy meeting people.”
After encouragement from her family, Mulholland started making phone calls, asking local vendors like Anna Barile, owner of Zia's Coffee, Sweets and More, if they'd be willing to sell her product.
“I know how hard it is to be in business,” Barile said. “I like to promote Fort Wayne-based items. I think we need to generate more of that loyalty in the community that would help each other out.”
Barile, as well as two farmers markets and eight other venues, were open to the idea of an all-natural product made with products from the Midwest.
“As often as I can, I try and use local at least within the Midwest,” Mulholland said. “There are some supplies that come out of Chicago; there are some that come right out of LaOtto.”
The granola itself is slow-roasted in Mulholland's own kitchen. She uses natural ingredients like oats, three varieties of nuts and sunflower seeds. The flavor is nutty and toasty with a touch of sweetness. For those who are allergic to gluten, or just prefer not to ingest it, Mulholland provides a gluten-free version of her crunchy granola.
“Some people are hesitant about gluten-free, but the things that I need to change don't sacrifice the taste at all,” she said.