Author Archives: Jody

Boulder Granola on TV!

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Natural-Product Businesses Thrive in Boulder, Naturally, Teddy Nykiel on


Natural-Product Businesses Thrive in Boulder, Naturally

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starting a business boulder colorado


Entrepreneurship in Boulder, Colorado, isn’t just business as usual; it’s a lifestyle.

The city’s locals love the outdoors and have a passion for healthy, active living — values that permeate their businesses. At the base of the majestic Rocky Mountains, Boulder has become a hub for natural food and skin care products.

“You might think you’re a little bit weird trying to change the world through tofu,” says Bill Capsalis of the industry group Naturally Boulder. “But then you meet someone trying to change the world through peanut butter.”

Jody Nagel was just trying to find food that fit her gluten-free diet when she started Boulder Granola in 2011. The business makes organic, gluten-free, vegan granola using her mother’s recipe from the 1960s, which fits right in with what some describe as Boulder’s hippie culture. “There’s something about being close to nature in the mountains,” Nagel says.

Nagel’s business isn’t the city’s only namesake; there’s Boulder Organic Foods, maker of gluten-free soups, Boulder Cookie, which makes packaged paleo cookies, and Boulder Organic Ice Cream, which sells its freshly crafted treats in stores and by the scoop.

Here’s a look at why the city is a thriving place for natural product businesses.

Industry veterans inspire novices

Boulder is home to nationally established natural food companies including the nut butter company Justin’s, Celestial Seasonings tea company and Boulder Brands, a publicly traded company that owns brands including Earth Balance, Smart Balance and Glutino. All these veterans “feed the ecosystem with experienced workers,” says Capsalis. The group hosts classes to teach more nascent food entrepreneurs about topics including how to get certified as organic and gluten-free, as well as food safety and handling.

There’s a natural progression that most Boulder natural food entrepreneurs take, Capsalis says. Many, including Justin Gold of Justin’s, start at the Boulder County Farmers Market, where they test products and get instant feedback from shoppers. Next, they’ll pitch to one of Boulder’s independent natural grocery stores and eventually to Whole Foods and other national chains.

Cindy Jones, founder of Colorado Aromatics, started selling her skin products in farmers markets too. “I think it’s really good exposure,” she says. Jones makes soaps, lotions, scrubs, balms and essential oils using herbs she grows on her farm. In 2014, she opened a small storefront in Longmont, Colorado, a city just northeast of Boulder.

Colorado Aromatics

Although Boulder is crowded with natural food brands, Capsalis says the community is collaborative rather than competitive because companies share similar values.

The obstacles

But opening a business in Boulder isn’t all sunshine and mountain views. Challenges for entrepreneurs include an increasing cost of a living and a comparatively small pool of available workers.

The city’s median home value was around $562,000 in April 2015 — up $136,000 from five years prior, according to real estate website Zillow. As the cost of living increases, the cost of doing business does too, says Clif Harald, executive director of the Boulder Economic Council.

Boulder Granola

But even as prices rise, more companies want a physical location in the community, says Mark Gittes, assistant director of the Boulder Small Business Development Center. To afford it, he says, they’re sharing spaces with other businesses or moving to nearby places including Longmont, Louisville and Erie.

Additionally, Boulder’s unemployment rate is low: just 3.6% in March 2015, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared with the U.S. rate of 5.5% the same month. Lower unemployment means it’s more difficult for businesses to hire employees.

“Companies are having to become more creative about attracting and retaining talent,” Harald says.

Funding options for Boulder small businesses

There’s better news, however, on the funding front. Be it venture capital or nonprofit microlenders, Boulder has a community willing to inject money into new businesses. Here are just a few funding options for Boulder-based businesses:

The Colorado Enterprise Fund: This nonprofit lender loans up to $500,000 to businesses that can’t get traditional bank loans, with an emphasis on businesses owned by women and minorities, low-income borrowers and startups. It uses traditional metrics including projections, personal equity and collateral to evaluate borrowers, but it’s more lenient than a bank, says Lewis Hagler, the director of credit quality.

The Colorado Lending Source: The nonprofit resource connects small businesses with lenders who offer loans guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration. It also loans up to $35,000 directly to businesses through its Colorado Main Street microloan program.

The Colorado Impact Fund: This venture capital fund invests in Colorado businesses that are making a difference in the community, including some natural products businesses. Its first investment in March 2015 was Bhakti Chai, a Boulder-based company that makes chai drinks with organic ginger and fair-trade certified tea.

For more information about how to start and run a business, visit NerdWallet’s Small Business GuideFor free, personalized answers to questions about starting and financing your business, visit the Small Business section of NerdWallet’s Ask an Advisor page.

Teddy Nykiel is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @teddynykiel and on Google+. Contact her at

Top image via iStock.


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Acai Bowl Recipe & Tips with Boulder Granola

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Açaí Bowl Recipe & Tips

Have you heard of an açaí bowl?  Maybe you haven’t, so if you are not familiar, açai bowls use the superfood açaí berries to make something truly nutritious and delicious!  Besides the health benefits (seriously look them up!) they are a gorgeous breakfast or snack.  In fact, you may have seen some beautiful versions on Instagram.

The best part of these bowls are that they are completely customizable!  I made my bowl using Silk soymilk, in honor of last month’s National Soyfoods month, when I shared a savory lasagna recipe.    Of course, I topped mine with some gorgeous fresh fruit for some color, flavor, and nutrition!

Lastly, I always use a few sprinklings of chia seeds, granola, and whatever strikes my fancy!  For this bowl, I used the Vanilla Pecan Granola from Boulder Granola because it is just the right amount of sweet with a super low sugar content.  It’s the perfect sweet crunch to complement the creamy, tangy açaí bowl.  Yum!

Acai Bowl Recipe & Tips on Diane's Vintage Zest!

Just a couple things before digging in.  The recipe itself is super easy and anyone can make this.  Probably the hardest part will be finding the açaí berry pulp.  The easy option in my area was in the freezer section of Whole Foods.  I have also heard that the açaí powder is a great option when buying online, but I have not tried it yet myself.  I’ll give it a try next time!

Now, are you ready to dig in!
Acai Bowl Recipe & Tips on Diane's Vintage Zest!

Açaí Bowl Recipe & Tips
Adapted from here


  • 100g (3.5 oz) pack frozen unsweetened açaí berry pulp
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 cup frozen fruit  (I used a three berry blend and dark cherries)
  • 1/2 cup milk  (I used Silk unsweetened soymilk)
  • Fruity Toppings!  (I used strawberries, blueberries, banana & kiwi)
  • Crunchy Toppings!  (I used chia seeds & Boulder granola.  Sometimes I use the roasted coconut chips picture too)
  • Honey for sweetness, to taste  (optional)
Acai Bowl Recipe & Tips on Diane's Vintage Zest!


1.  Thaw your açaí puree by running under water for a few seconds.

2.  In a blender, add the banana, açaí pulp, frozen fruit, and a splash of milk.

3.  Blend on low until larger chunks are broken down, then gradually increase speed.

4.  Adding the milk a little at a time, stopping to scrape down sides of blender if needed.

Acai Bowl Recipe & Tips on Diane's Vintage Zest!

5.  Stop when the mixture is the desired consistency of a thick smoothie, then blend on high for an additional 15 to 20 seconds.

Acai Bowl Recipe & Tips on Diane's Vintage Zest!

6.  Add toppings! Arrange the fruit and crunchy toppings any way you would like!

7.  Enjoy your gorgeous açaí bowl!

Acai Bowl Recipe & Tips on Diane's Vintage Zest!

I absolutely love the deep purple of the açaí bowl, and it always feels like I’m having a luscious sweet treat in the morning… even though it is super healthy!  Give it a try since it is super easy and it’s fun to see how everyone decorates their individual bowls.  A little bit of craftiness is a good way to start every day, right?

What will you top your açaí bowl with?
Acai Bowl Recipe & Tips on Diane's Vintage Zest!

You might also like…

This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase using one of the links, a small commission will go to support Vintage Zest.  I will only recommend sites with products that I think you will love and enjoy!
Jackalope Arts Wrap-up!
Cinco de Mayo Recipes + Do Tell Tuesday #72!


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Stopping Time with Chandler Kim

When we look for ambassadors for Boulder Granola we are always searching for folks who are living life in a way that is unique, inspired and fun. We recently caught up with one of our newest additions, Chandler Kim, of Chandler Kim Photography. Join us in welcoming Chandler to the Boulder Granola Brand Ambassador Team and then take a look at our      Q & A with her to learn more about what inspires her and where she is headed next.

Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset

1) Describe what you do for us, what is it about your business that is unique?

I am a lifestyle photographer with an insatiable appetite for everything outdoors. For me, it’s not just about the photographs, but the adventures that inspire the images. I like to let the situations I capture to unfold naturally; how they exist in real life. The candid moments are the best. Photography, for me, is a form a self expression that helps me get out there. I just drive and don’t necessarily have a destination in mind, but my camera always takes me to interesting, alluring places. Granted, it does help having a really cute dog in the passenger seat. I would love to inspire others through my photographs… to transport that nostalgic feeling of a memory, location, smell, or whatever that might be to the viewer, using photographs as a portal.

2) Tell us what inspired you to start your own business?

Let’s be honest – the idea of working for yourself is alluring. Who doesn’t want to be their own boss after all? I have always been a creative, self driven person. After attaining the skill set needed to turn my passion into a career from the Art Institute of Colorado and working full time with a Denver based production company, I still felt there was something missing. So, roughly last Fall I decided to pursue freelance photography full time, with the help of my furry assistant, Bandit. The only way to learn how to swim is jump in the pool, right? I now have the freedom to work with my own clients in constantly changing environments and pursue personal projects allowing me to follow my creative journey.

3) Describe your next big project:

I consider every project my next big project. I have quite a few weddings coming up in the next few months that will take me all over our beautiful state of Colorado. I’m planning a big road trip for this fall when all the weddings settle down. Being on the road with my dog is easily one of my favorite adventures, not to mention it’s super fun to photograph.

4) Have you always wanted to be a photographer?

I think my first aspiration was to be the Rodeo Queen. (I grew up in Steamboat Springs to put that one into context for you.) I’ve always been artistic. Crafting and painting were and still are big hobbies of mine, but it really wasn’t until I was about 14 that I started becoming interested in the possibilities of photography. I think subconsciously I was drawn to photography because I wanted to hold on to certain special moments in my life because all the good ones always went by too quickly.

5) Super important – what is your favorite Boulder Granola Flavor and preferred mode of delivery?

Can I say it’s a tie? I can’t pick just one. Cranberry is my favorite for smoothie bowls or with Honey greek yogurt and Chocolate Chunk – straight out of the bag! Super great for a healthy chocolate fix. Now excuse me while I go fix myself some granola.

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#MothersDay Instagram Giveaway

FullSizeRender big

Mother’s Day will be here soon and Boulder Granola has teamed up with Teatulia for a great Instagram giveaway!

Entering is so simple, just follow these 2 steps:

1. Follow @BoulderGranola and @TeatuliaTeas on Instagram

2.Tag your mom in the comments of this Instagram photo (if she has an account) and say one or more things that make your Mom special to you. If you are a mother yourself, tell us your favorite way to celebrate Mother’s Day and what you wish for this year.

The winner will be chosen at random! The more the merrier, so invite everyone to join, if we get a great turn out we may pick more than 1 lucky winner, so share the love!

The contest will run from today until May 8th, with the winner announced on May 9th.

For full rules and contest details visit:

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GoDairyFree Product Review!

Boulder Granola: Organic, Vegan and Low Sugar


Review of: Boulder Granola
Original, Cranberry, Vanilla Pecan, Chocolate Chunk
$6.99 per 12-ounce bag
Reviewed by: Alisa Fleming
On April 29, 2015
Last modified:April 29, 2015


The low sugars, wholesome organic ingredients and positive hippie packaging make this snack-worthy cereal impossible to ignore. It’s a loose granola (don’t expect clusters!) that is packed with almost as many seeds (mostly sesame and sunflower) as there are oats. We loved the nutrition, but at times the taste was a touch too tahini. That said, the sweetness was spot on and the Vanilla Pecan and Chocolate Chunk were flavor hits.

Admittedly, there are several brands of granola on the market, many of which (but not all!) are dairy-free, yet Boulder Granola has a few special things that made me want to review it for Go Dairy Free.

Boulder Granola - 4 Organic Flavors - All Low Sugar, Dairy-Free, Vegan, and Gluten-Free

For starters, Boulder Granola has a unique ingredient addition: rice milk powder. It doesn’t seem to replace the need for using milk beverage if you want to eat it cereal-style. But it does add a little protein and nice, cohesive mellow sweetness to the overall blend. Plus, I thought it was pretty special that they went to the trouble of using dairy-free rice milk powder rather than ordinary, cheaper dairy milk powder (a somewhat common addition to granola).

The second thing I noticed about Boulder Granola was the surprisingly low sugars: just 2 to 3 grams per quarter cup serving. I actually think they hit the mark overall with sweetness, and loved that I could enjoy it for breakfast or as a snack without feeling over-sugared and void of energy.

And then there is the packaging with that cute 60’s throwback vibe. It seems to honor tradition – the owner, Jody, based Boulder Granola on her mother’s recipe and describes it as pure, wholesome, and inspired by “the values that fueled a revolutionary generation of questioners and truth seekers.”

Boulder Granola - 4 Organic Flavors - All Low Sugar, Dairy-Free, Vegan, and Gluten-Free

As I think you can mostly see above, Boulder Granola is small bits, not chunky clusters, with so many seeds that the oats almost seemed like a subtle backdrop. Each flavor has just a touch of nuts added, more for helping to direct the flavor than as a base for the granola. Here is what we thought of each:

Original – Though the sweetness may be spot on, this one needs just a pinch of salt or other flavor heightener to really make it shine. I felt the sesame overpowered a bit and made it a bit too tahini for our tastes.

Cranberry – Just like the Original but with a good amount of sweet, plump dried cranberries throughout. A nice addition and perhaps that needed touch.

Chocolate Chunk – I didn’t see any chocolate chunks in this Boulder Granola blend, but could certainly taste a nice semi-sweet dark chocolate influence in each bite (yes, it is a dairy-free, soy-free chocolate!). I thought it was spot on for sweetness, but due to the chocolate nature, liked it better as a snack.

Vanilla Pecan – The generous drizzle of vanilla escalated this Boulder Granola to a sweet spot. Between the warm essence and the complimentary pecans (the other flavors all have a hint of almonds instead) this was easily my favorite flavor.

Again, this is a seriously seedy granola. We’re not super-seed fans, and thus preferred the more flavored varieties. But if sesame and sunflower seeds are two of your passions ,then Boulder Granola should definitely makes its way into your shopping cart.

Boulder Granola - 4 Organic Flavors - All Low Sugar, Dairy-Free, Vegan, and Gluten-Free


Certifications: Boulder Granola is Certified Organic, Certified Vegan, Certified Gluten-Free and Non-GMO Verified.

Dietary Notes: By ingredients, Boulder Granola is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-fre, vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian. Nonetheless, always read the ingredient statement and check with the company on their manufacturing processes for all varieties if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Processes and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product.

For More Product Information: Visit the Boulder Granola website at

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The Top 5 Ways To Eat Boulder Granola

Our most popular recipes and snacks!

Looking for a new recipe, or need something to inspire your granola routine? Search no further and read on for the top 5 ways to eat delicious Boulder Granola!

 1.  The Classic Boulder Granola and Yogurt Combo

Always a favorite and a personal go to, the classic granola and yogurt combo is great for anytime you are in need of a small meal or snack packed with a hit of protein for extra staying power. This combo is great with any variety of yogurts, from traditional to soy to coconut based. Mix things up with the addition of any fresh fruit and you have a fresh way to fuel up.

Boulder Granola fruit parfait, layered with granola, strawberries, blueberries and vanilla yogurt


2.  The Smoothie Parfait

This combo takes a tiny bit more work, but adding the crunchy granola texture to your smoothie is unexpectedly delicious! Any smoothie recipe will do the trick, but a personal favorite uses mango chunks, coconut water and yogurt. Layer it in your favorite glass and enjoy!

Mango smoothie parfait layered with Boulder Granola Vanilla Pecan Granola



3.  Apple Slices with Nut Butter and Boulder Granola

This sweet snack is relatively new to us, so we want to share it with you! So simple, and crisply delicious! Perfect for a mid-afternoon snack for grown ups and kids alike. Slice apples in any manner you would like, add your favorite nut butter and top with Boulder Granola. Bonus: Use our Chocolate Chunk Granola for a little extra something sweet!

Slice Apple topped with peanut butter and Boulder Granola Chocolate Chunk Granola


4.  Boulder Granola Cookies

For all of us with a sweet tooth, here is a crunchy twist on a classic cookie.  Just use your favorite chocolate chip recipe, and instead of adding chocolate chips add 1 1/2 cups of Chocolate Chunk Boulder Granola.  mmmmmmm…..

Boulder Granola Chocolate Chunk cookies piled high on a red plate.


5.  Boulder Granola Bars!

Like to get creative with your granola? Try these easy granola bars using your favorite flavor of Boulder Granola. Now you have your granola in a whole new, ready to hit the road and adventure form! See below for the full recipe.

Homemade granola bars made with Cranberry Boulder Granola and organic brown rice syrup


Granola Recipe (Great thanks to Dan Almquist, Chef at Elkstone Farm  for the help with this recipe!)


5 cups Cranberry Boulder Granola (or two large bags)

1 cup organic brown rice syrup



Heat brown rice syrup in a pan to a rolling boil, stirring regularly, maintain boil for a few minutes.

In a large mixing bowl (coat the bowl with cooking spray to make life less sticky), pour heated syrup over granola and briskly stir.

Transfer the mixture to an 8 x 8 baking pan (lined with parchment paper)

Cover the mixture with parchment paper and firmly pack the mixture down into the pan.

Remove the top piece of parchment paper and let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Cut as desired, pack for to go snacks, or munch straight from the pan at your leisure.

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Curated Camp: Inspire Your Next Camping Trip

Jeff Wahl holding up two trout on a stringer while standing in front of a river.

Founder of Curated Camp, Jeff Wahl, enjoying a day out on the river.

When we look for ambassadors for Boulder Granola we are always searching for folks who are living life in a way that is unique, inspired and fun. Naturally Curated Camp fits the bill by making it their mission to showcase camp sights, trips and memories that are just a bit more amazing then the run of the mill experience. Join us in welcoming Curated Camp to the Boulder Granola Brand Ambassador Team and then take a look at our Q & A with Curated Camps Founder, Jeff Wahl to learn more about what inspired this idea and where they are headed next.

1) Describe Curated Camp for us:

Curated Camp is a place for people to connect with the elements that make each campsite unique and memorable. We want people to be inspired and to inspire others as they curate their own camp. We want that inspiration to permeate into our everyday lives and lead us to bigger and better adventures.

2) Tell us what inspired you to start Curated Camp?

The impetus for starting Curated Camp was a severe lack of available information on where the best places to camp, hike, backpack, and adventure were. So many times we wanted to find our next piece of inspiration and were left unsatisfied looking at state and federal descriptions of wilderness areas and activities – SUPER DRY and BORING. We wanted to provide a visual and ethereal experience for anyone looking to explore and create their own camping experience through our adventures. We’re just as stoked when someone shows us a new spot or route and we think it should be shared and enjoyed by all who are willing to break out of the routine and curate their own adventures.

The sun setting over a pine forest, with a yellow tent in the foreground.

A sample of the awesome photos that Curated Camp brings together to inspire your next adventure.

3) Describe your next big outdoor adventure:

The next outdoor adventure, that’s on the calendar at least, is a long distance trek through the Grand Canyon and back (South Rim to North Rim to South Rim). A crew of three are planning an unsupported effort at accomplishing this distance in one day. Were definitely not the first to attempt/accomplish this – but were pretty stoked to see if we can handle the mental/physical challenge. +10,000ft of Elevation gain and loss, 44 Miles, and some of the best sunrise/sunset views in the universe. And we get to set up camp at one the greatest national parks we have without the crowds of summer!

4) What interests/inspires/motivates you day to day?

My daily inspiration is the next trip. I’ve got maps up all over the wall of locations I’ve visited or am looking to visit and they let me explore before getting out the door. I think maps are beautiful and there’s just something about them being on your table and ready to plot a route or find a back road. Not all maps are meant to be on a computer screen.

5) Super important – what is your favorite Boulder Granola Flavor and preferred mode of delivery?

My favorite Granola is less about the flavor of the week and more about the context in which I am eating it! Nothing ever manages to taste better than a bag of granola with dried fruit after a 20 mile hike into a beautiful backcountry campsite. But if I had to choose a flavor…it’d be chocolate!

Thanks Jeff!  We are so stoked to be working with you and helping spread the word on amazing places to visit and fun things to do!

To see more from Curated Camp, visit their website at, and follow them on Instagram @curatedcamp.

Sunsetting over the silhouetted mountains, with a tent line in the foreground.

Another beautiful sunset shot. You only get so many, try to make them all count!

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John Dale: Boulder Granola’s Newest Brand Ambassador

Photo of a hiker crossing a suspension bridge in Glacier National Park, Montana.

You could describe Glacier National Park as “exceeds expectations.” – John Dale

We are so pleased to welcome Boulder-based Photographer John Dale to the Boulder Granola Brand Ambassador Team!  We approached John about joining our team because we are inspired by his photos and his fun, exciting and fearless approach to adventuring and outdoor fun.  Read on to learn more about John and what inspires him.

To see more from John visit

1) Tell us about how you came to realized that being a professional photographer was the path for you? Was there a moment where it came into focus (hehe), or have you always felt a calling in photography?

I haven’t always felt a calling to photography, however I have always had a calling to create, whether it be images or designing and building different thing. I started photographing when I was pretty young with my dad’s 35mm film camera just messing around on family vacations or around the house. I actually put it down for a few years and picked it up again in college. Quickly after experiencing the joy and community I found through photography I knew it was something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

2) What interests/inspires/motivates you day to day (i.e. how do you unleash your inner hippie, in a modern and relevant way)?

I’m mainly motivated day by day by my surroundings. I’ve been pretty blessed to live among great people and landscape and both of those push me to be a better person and photographer.

3) Why do you choose to primarily shoot outdoorsy and adventure photos?

Growing up in Houston, Texas we didn’t really have many opportunities to get outside near our house. However when I was around 7 or 8 my dad started planning these bigger trips like week long canoe trips in Arkansas and horse packing/backpacking in Colorado. Ever since then I’ve sought out time in the wilderness and my real passion for photography started to grow right around the time I was able to start going on my own adventures. Sharing the beauty that I get to experience with others and hopefully inspiring them to get outside themselves is why I chose to primarily shoot outdoor adventure.

4) Tell us about your next big adventure….

Well I’ve got a few in the early planning stages but one of them that I’m really gunning for is a trip to Iceland to shoot outdoor adventure photos as well as photos of the Aurora Borealis.

5) Okay, very important, what is your favorite way to serve up your Boulder Granola (for example, I like the classic granola and yogurt, but every once and awhile I sub in yogurts more fun relative, ice cream)?

Right now I am loving the classic: pouring some regular granola over yogurt, but definitely want to try your granola and ice cream combo!

Thanks John, we are thrilled to be working with you and can’t wait to see where your next adventure takes you!

Photo of a BMX rider from below as he backflips over a feature at the GoPro games.

BMX’er sending it over the gap at the GoPro Mountain Games.

Follow John on Instagram @johndalephoto

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Unleash 2015 Instagram Giveaway!

How are you planning to celebrate the start of the New Year?  How about by winning a gift pack from Boulder Granola?  To kickoff 2015 we are sending a lucky winner a Boulder Granola gift bag filled with each of our 4 delicious flavors…. Yay!

Entering is so simple, just follow these 3 steps:

1. Follow @BoulderGranola on Instagram

2. Repost this picture on your Instagram feed so all your friends and followers can get in on the fun.

Each of Boulder Granolas 4 flavors, Cranberry, Vanilla Pecan, Original and Chocolate Chunk pictured with instructions for entering the New Year Giveaway

3. Tag #Unleash2015 in the comments of your photo so we can find your entry.


The winner will be chosen at random! The more the merrier, so invite everyone to join, if we get a great turn out we may pick more than 1 lucky winner, so share the love!


The contest will run from today until January 5th.


For full rules and contest details visit:

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