In a world all about “grab and go,” I was happy to stumble upon “Nothin' But” snack bars after a spinning class at Joy Ride in Westport recently. That same week, we spotted them at the Westport Farmers’ market and the Village Market in Wilton. Seems that the chewy little bars, packed with ‘nothin’ but’ organic oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruits and hand-mixed with organic cane sugar, olive oil and honey have found a cult following in Fairfield County. Not only are these the tastiest and most nutritionally dense snack bars we’ve tried (not too dry, not too sweet, loaded with fruits, nuts and all-natural ingredients), they’re also packaged in re-sealable Ziploc bags so that you can eat half in the morning and save the other half for a midday pick-me-up (if you have the willpower).
If the bars seem familiar to you, you may recognize them from their previous life as BlueBelle Granola Bars, a creation of Westporter Jerri Graham, who started off baking nutritional muffins and bars in 2008, selling to Doc's in Westport and local markets. But the muffins had a short shelf life and Jerri, one of five kids, couldn't stomach throwing away leftovers, so she decided to focus her energies on the snack bars, a more shelf-stable product that could be shipped across the country. In spring of 2011, Jerri changed the company name to Nothin' But, after she described her product to a friend in the advertising world. She recalls, "I kept saying, 'it's nothing but real fruits and nothing but organic oats..,' and he said, 'that's it.' "
She explains, “Other bars had a great story and idea behind them, but when I bit into a bar, I tasted flavors that were artificial and textures that were so far off natural that I felt like something had to be done. I wanted to a bar that had an aroma, a powerful wave of flavor, and textures that made me look at what I was eating. So, Nothin' But was born. Nothin' But is true. ‘No BS’. We’re about being authentic with who we are and more importantly with what we're giving the world.”
Jerri, a single mom, says her biggest obstacles have been time and money. “From the very beginning, we've had a definite vision for Nothin' But, yet there are only 24 hours in a day. With my ex living in the UAE, I'm mother and father 24/7 as well as working to build NB into an awesome business that changes the world. Also, being selective about what we do and don't do. Sometimes I'll wake up in the middle of the night with an idea and text my business partner so I won't forget it. There are a million different possibilities for Nothin' But and we are going down a road that's pretty cool and uncharted.”
After teaming up with partner Steven Laitmon, of Westport, NB has been gaining momentum and selling out at a variety of foodie- and fitness-oriented locations, including Aux Delices and Equinox in Greenwich and Cocoa Michele and Kaia Yoga in Westport. Jerri says, “I smile whenever I'm in a store and I see people pick them up the way they would a dozen eggs or a bunch of bananas. I also feel that this is all possible because I'm involved with the right partner. I like to create and develop ideas for the business, whereas Steven is the guy going out to give the world a taste of Nothin' But.”
Graze Home Delivery service loved them so much that they provided a surprise of either the cherry cranberry almond or chocolate coconut almond as a freebie to all our customers in a January bin, because we know once our Grazers try them, they’ll be hooked. They will be introducing these two top-selling flavors in January at www.grazedelivered.com and then will add other flavors over the winter.
Even retailing at $4 a pop, these addictive bars have been flying off the shelves, with fans stocking up on their favorites and keeping them in the car, packing them in kids’ lunchboxes and stashing a few in gym bags and purses. "I want people to get what they're paying for," Jerri says. "Other bars are full of oats and then studded with a few pieces of fruit or nuts. Ours are packed with the good stuff."
One of my favorites is Red White and Blue (studded with cherries, white chocolate and blueberries). Jerri's favorite flavor changes all the time. “It all depends on how I'm feeling. There are times when I want the chewy experience of the Cherry Cranberry Almond and then there are days when I nibble on the Chocolate Coconut Almond. I create bars based on taste, texture and even mood. The Ginger Lemon Cashew was created when I was thinking about when I lived in Taiwan. It reminds me of sipping green tea with my coworkers and the flavorful snacks we enjoyed with it.”
Jerri told us about the time she sent the bars down to Richard Branson on his private island. She laughs, “Unfortunately, the Food Network chef who was taking them to him ate them all before Richard had a chance to taste them. Sort of a compliment!”
Locals can try them at the Westport Farmers’ Market every Thursday, or at the following CT locations. You can also have them added to your weekly order at www.grazedelivered.com and they’ll deliver them right to your door. If you love them and want to stock up, Graze will offer a free bar with every six you order at one time.
This just in: Starting January 30th, Nothin' But granola can be found at Pinkberry as part of their localized initiative topping program in locations in Greenwich and Fairfield!
Nothin' But Can Be Found at These Retail Location
Double L Market
Equinox - Greenwich
Joyride Spinning Studio
Kaia Yoga, Greenwich and Westport
Oscar's Deli, 159 Main Street, Westport, CT 06880
Spic and Span
Westport Farmer's Market