I was blessed to interview Debra Stark owner of Debra’s Natural Gourmet in Concord, MA . She was just a delight.
‘Best of Boston’ Boston Magazine and ‘Best Mail Order Food Gift’ The New York Times, are just a few of the rave reviews Stark Sisters has garnered. Bon Appetit called it “one of the best we’ve ever tasted.” Featured in Boston Globe as “Hit of the Week,” Stark Sisters was dubbed “the Ultimate Granola.”
For almond lovers. For maple syrup lovers. For grain lovers. Allergies? Feel free to substitute one grain for another. If you want to use only oats, go for it. Although Debra likes variety and believes each grain brings something different to the table. Yes, use only organic grains. It’s that important!
Stark Sister’s Maple Almond Granola
Makes 12 servings. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
|½ C dried unsweetened coconut||1 C barley flakes|
|3 C sliced almond||1 C maple syrup|
|2 C rolled oats||¼ C canola or sunflower oil|
|1 C wheat flakes||1 tsp real vanilla extract|
|1 C rye flakes||¼ tsp good salt|
Mix dry ingredients except for salt in a large bowl. (If you don’t have a large enough bowl, divide between two bowls. For example, 1 C. oats in one bowl, and 1 C. in a second bowl).
Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix well using your hands or a rubber spatula. Add salt and mix again. Make sure all grains are well-coated.
Spread granola in shallow pans and bake until golden brown and dry, about 1½ hours. Stir gently every 15-20 minutes. Baking times vary due to weather, the size of your pans, and your oven.
When granola is dry and golden brown, remove from oven and stir. Let cool completely before storing in airtight containers.
Debra started making this in her shop, right back of the kitchen, and the smell would bring everyone back to the kitchen. Her granola never got a chance to cool because people refused to wait for a portion. When she started making it behind the store in large quantities, the smell of maple syrup and almonds was everywhere in West Concord Masscettussett. It was heavenly.
Although Debra doesn’t make this commercially anymore you can make your own Stark Sisters Granola at home.
Debra just released her book: The Little Shop That Could: A Retailer’s Love Affair with Community and Food? Available on Amazon
Debra’s Natural Gourmet is a beloved, nationally-known and award-winning natural products shop in Concord, MA. For those people who think running a shop is simple, this is the story about turning on lights, buying a register, putting eggs in the fridge. It’s the story about “Open Sesame!” and the ensuing adventure and funny lessons learned. Running a store is a lot more than just paying for inventory like coconut water and aspirin. Okay. Debra’s Natural Gourmet has no aspirin. And sales of coconut water seem to be waning.
This book starts with childhood and a Mom who raised her family with organic food and natural medicine, who taught her children to question authority and march to their own drummers. This story introduces characters along the way these last 30 years and ends with a community that is strong, comforting and hopeful.