This month, we chatted with Michele Miller, founder of BOLA granola based in Great Barrington, MA. Since 2008, Michele and her team has been keeping food simple, crafting delicious granolas and bars perfect for breakfast or a snacking.
So what does the name “BOLA granola” mean?
It really doesn’t have a meaning. I think after a few glasses of wine with friends we got silly and said: “It’s a bowl-a granola!” BOLA just stuck…. It’s just a play on words.
You have an extensive background as a chef, and grew up with your mother making French cuisine. What drew you to the simplicity of granola making?
People have called me “chef,” but I prefer to call myself a cook. I’m interested in feeding people plain, nourishing, healthy food. Food is so self-conscious these days, but sometimes you just want to have a bowl of soup and not take a picture of it. As for circumstances, I closed my restaurant in 1997 and was going to focus on my painting, but I also needed to make a living. I was thinking about what to do, and my husband said, “Why don’t you make your granola?” I’d already been making it for us so it made sense. And it’s grown from there. People really depend on it—they get upset if their shipment is late. It’s nice to know that we’re an important part of people’s lives.
What is your approach to sustainability as a small business who’s nearing the 15th anniversary mark?
“Sustainability” is such a buzz word. I live life simply, value good food, support local efforts, want people to be able to grow their own food (though I myself never had a green thumb), and try to reduce the use of plastics. I also have a dedicated team. We really have the best team ever right now and that makes a big difference.
What is your go-to product that you make?
Original BOLA granola—always my favorite with yogurt and blueberries. It’s robust and flavorful and with 10 gr protein I get a great start to my day!
You’re making a holiday brunch. How do you incorporate your granola?
The Apple BOLA Bars from our most recent newsletter or a Sour Cream Coffee Cake with BOLA granola filling.
What are your hopes for the next five years?
To keep growing steadily. To navigate the marketplace and stay true to our values. We have some new products in mind, nut mixes and prepared mixes for pancakes, cornbread and coffeecake, that we are working on.