Caitlyn Callahan 2014-06-25 02:21:16
Urban Raccoons A fresh look at a popular snack Brad Indoe was in his fifth year working a corporate job in Los Angeles when he found out he had a gluten intolerance. As an athlete and someone who often traveled for work, he soon realized there weren’t a lot of good gluten-free products on the market. It was three years ago that he started to experiment in his kitchen making his own granola bars. Today, these bars — sold locally in Acme on Medina Road, Earth Fare, Whole Foods Market and on his website — are not only gluten-free, but also dairy-free, soy-free, GMO-free and vegan. “I started to realize I can provide a better product and better service to the people who have the same needs as me,” Indoe says. “A lot of the gluten-free products get a bad rap because the ingredients they use don’t taste very good and don’t have a lot of nutritional value, and that’s really what drove me to do this. I wanted something better, and other people do too.” After moving back home to Medina, Ohio, to start up his business, the next step was finding a name. Indoe grew up on a farm, and when he lived in the city, he grew an urban herb garden on his patio. “After about four months of fighting this mysterious thing that was taking my produce, I found out that it happened to be a big family of raccoons, and that’s where the term ‘urban raccoon’ came from,” he says. “My whole neighborhood nicknamed them the urban raccoons because they were coming every night and taking everyone’s gardens. I was looking for something nature-focused, easy to remember, humorous, and Urban Raccoons … Who can forget that?” Indoe’s focus for the granola bars, which currently come in five flavors, is the ingredients. “I’ve never seen a bar that remotely mirrors my product,” he says. “I handpick all the ingredients, and I don’t put any added sugars in them, just what’s naturally in the dried fruits and maple syrup.” The maple syrup is produced on a farm that has been in his family for 90 years. The bars’ main ingredient is organic amaranth seeds, which are similar to quinoa, high in protein and fiber, and contain amino acids. Fresh, handpicked fruits, nuts and dairy-free chocolate chips are also found in the bars. The ingredients are natural and locally sourced, when possible. Urban Raccoons’ packaging and labels are also done locally, and Indoe makes all of the bars himself. “Everything is made in small batches, which is another big difference between us and other products,” he says. “Most other products are mass produced in warehouses, waiting to be shipped out, and they might wait for months. Our products are pretty much made-to-order. We use all natural ingredients, and we don’t add any artificial preservatives, so it has a shorter shelf life, and it stays fresh when it gets shipped to stores.” In the upcoming months, Indoe says he would like to unveil a new granola bar flavor and dive into producing other snack foods like crackers, flatbreads and pizza crusts. “I go out every weekend to a different town, different store, and I’m just trying to get the word out,” Indoe says. “Everyone is so pleasantly surprised to see something so different from a regular bar.” For more information about Urban Raccoons granola bars, check out www.urbanraccoons.com. Writer Caitlyn Callahan recently graduated from KSU with her bachelor’s in newspaper journalism. Comments? Email them to managing editor Abby Cymerman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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