Photo by Michael Piazza
Golden Girl Granola began and remains a family affair. The company story started in 2007 when Deborah and Terry O’Kelly and their daughters, Catherine and Jacquie, attended their hometown farmers market in Carlisle. After researching various recipes and techniques, Jacquie suggested selling granola in not just one flavor but six, and adorned each bag with an image of a blonde girl with pigtails inspired by Jacquie’s childhood idol, Pippi Longstocking.
Each of Golden Girl Granola’s now seven flavors (Bluesberry, Chocolate Decadence, Creative Cranberry, Forest Maple, Home Sweet Honey, Original and gluten-free Truly Tropical) follows a careful preparation process. The dry ingredients are mixed with the wet, spread onto trays, baked twice, then add-ins like dried fruit are tossed in. Each batch is crafted by hand, as Deborah explains, and the “hand stirring creates large pieces, not a hard or chewy granola.” As with biscotti, Terry adds, “the double baking creates flavor.”
From the beginning, the O’Kellys focused on using the finest all-natural ingredients, which are locally sourced whenever possible. The maple syrup comes from Shaker Maple Farm in Vermont and Ben’s Sugar Shack in New Hampshire, the wildflower honey comes from Pennsylvania and the cranberries come from Cape Cod. Each batch is dairy free, non-GMO and contains no preservatives or artificial flavoring or colors.
The company has organically grown over the years to sell in specialty markets and supermarkets and has an active online sales presence. Deborah and Terry continue to support the community and credit much of their success to demos and face-to-face interactions with customers.