NOFO Crunch, a crisp, local-crafted granola created by Deana and Dan Reyburn, contains seven ingredients: organic rolled oats, almonds, walnuts, vegetable oil, wildflower honey and freeze-dried fruit. There exists an eighth component within the organic amalgam, however, an indiscernible element present in every package and Mason jar, also serving as the raison d’être of its creators: simplicity.
“The recipe is really simple, but that’s what we want the granola to represent,” says Deana, who created NOFO Crunch with husband Dan in April 2012. “If you read the ingredients of a lot of mass-produced granola, there are a cluster of unnecessary things that don’t improve the quality. We use freeze-dried fruit, for example, which doesn’t shrivel up like a raisin and retains a lot of the nutrients. We want to keep it natural and healthy.”
Based on a recipe from Deana’s grandmother, NOFO Crunch is Reyburn-produced at A Taste of the North Fork, a Cutchogue-based commercial kitchen owned by Jeri Woodhouse, which provides space for private label food production. The genesis of NOFO Crunch, however, lies in Milton, a town in Saratoga County.
“We moved to Milton in 2008 when I closed down my restaurants,” says Dan, former proprietor of Farmer Bar in Cutchogue, and Southold’s Big Mama’s Creole Kitchen. “We answered an ad to manage an eco-friendly spa and decided it would be a good chance to do something different.”
The “eco-friendly spa,” Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa, is a 75-acre sustainable retreat in Milton. During their two-year occupational residence at Buttermilk Falls, Deana prepared her grandmother’s recipe for public consumption for the first time, serving granola to guests alongside bulk-purchased commercial cereals.
The cereal was often left untouched.
Everyone wanted the recipe,” recalls Dan. “It just started to grow from there.”
The demand continued when the couple, who currently live in Mattituck, returned to Long Island in 2010. After “coming home one Friday and realizing there were 25 orders from co-workers and family,” says Deana, establishing a granola-based business became an objective. “We knew we wanted to try and package it and serve it to the public. That’s how we met Jeri.”
Woodhouse, the catalyst for NOFO Crunch’s transition from home-available to retail, began assisting Dan and Deana with development in late-2011. The partnership has enabled NOFO Crunch to produce multiple flavor variants (strawberry, raspberry, grape, blueberry and a berry blend for Sang Lee Farms) and distribute across the North Fork. Crunch-available sites include Catapano Dairy Farm, Vines & Branches and Jason’s Vineyard.
“I loved how passionate and enthusiastic they were about their product, so I wanted to work with them,” says Woodhouse, who offers NOFO Crunch at A Taste of the North Fork’s retail space in Peconic. “It’s a great opportunity for them to test the market and get immediate feedback.”
And the response, thus far, is positive.
“People seem to love it, and that’s all you can ask for,” says Dan, who hopes a retail granola bar, enabling customers to create their own blend of NOFO Crunch, is forthcoming. “We want to continue growing and want people to say, ‘How do you NOFO Crunch?’”