The 11-ounce pouches of Cherry Almond Quinoa are all stickered and sealed, ready to ship off. Let's rewind and see how the granola was made!
The Granola Family
Calvin and Suzanne Virgilio are the son-and-mother team behind the Granola Factory. On top of being the granola mastermind, Suzanne also runs the Bethlehem Inn with her husband Robert.
Oats in bulk! This 50-pound bag, and there were multiple of them, could feed a whole stable of horses for many meals. Or, you know, keep a granola factory in business.
Granola Factory baker Patti is hugging a bag of dry goods that have been measured and will go into one batch of granola. Oats, wheat bran, salt, sugar, dried fruit, and roasted nuts. They keep the ingredient list simple and short.
First step is mixing all those dry goods with eight cups of melted butter.
Around and around it spins. Sweet butter juices coat each little oat. "We don't want to crush the oats," said Calvin, who's always looking out for the oats. They only mix for a bit on a very gentle speed.
The Honey Tub
Ladle up eight cups' worth of clover honey which comes from Lancaster county not too far away.
Once it's mixed up real good, Patti spreads the granola out onto a baking sheet.
Ready for baking
And into the oven it goes!
Where the magic happens.
They make between 300 and 500 pounds of granola each baking day.
Each batch gets hand-flipped multiple times to ensure that every part is evenly browned and roasted. First a tray goes into the oven for 17 minutes, then comes out to be flipped, then back into the oven again for 8 minutes, and out for a second flip, then back in for five minutes before the final flip. Three rounds of flipping! "Weeee" —the granola
Trays cool on racks next to a big, heavy-duty fan.
Baked and cooled, the finished batch of granola goes into a large tub to be scooped into bags.
Each of the bags are individually packed and hand-sealed by Patti and another baker. No machines here. They also don't work through a distributor—the bags are shipped out to each store through UPS.
For now there are just three: Honey Pecan, Organic Grains and Honey, and Cherry Almond Quinoa. But Suzanne is always brainstorming new combos. She's currently working on a vanilla berry granola with blueberries and cranberries.