By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
Years ago Valerie Paschall of Trenton worked at the Johnny Walker Boys Ranch near Culbertson, thrilling the residents with her special granola for breakfast.
A friend so admired the granola that he told Paschall she should market it.
Thus began a very long process, leading to the Prairie Harvest Granola Bars being sold at Imperial Super Foods, M&M Jazz and Lakers Delight in the Imperial area.
Valerie and husband Dave own The Blue Colonial bed and breakfast in Trenton. Up until 2000 her parents, Peter and Marita Todd ran the four-guestroom business.
About six years ago Paschall began shaping her granola into bars. “It’s been a huge process,” she stated.
Asked about her assembly process, Paschall laughed. She is her only employee, making her granola and bars in the kitchen of the bed and breakfast. As a matter of fact, the barn on the property is reflected in the Prairie Harvest label.
The granola bars include oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, raw coconut, flaxseed, Wauneta Roller Mill cracked wheat cereal and wheat germ.
The original granola recipe may be served with milk or plain yogurt. Paschall also suggests that a ball of ice cream may be rolled in it, coating the ice cream with crunch.
Paschall has experimented with her original recipe, creating craisin, blueberry, coconut, peanut butter and cacao nib (chocolate) bars.
They are special, she said, because they are moist and chewy. “They’re good, home grown, small town USA. People like to support that.”
“I want to be the next Quaker Oats, but it will take time,” she laughed. The process has included changing the labeling and packaging. She’s in the process of adding a nutritional information label.
“So much of it is marketing now, when I’m home cooking.”
But sales have recently taken off, she noted.
That’s why Paschall is considering hiring someone to help her. Her sister, mother and husband help deliver Prairie Harvest to an area encompassing McCook to Imperial. She’d like to expand to Ogalalla.
Personal sales are a strong part of Paschall’s business. She sends her product to Oklahoma, Washington, California, Virginia and New York at present. She also attends tastings across Nebraska.
What does the future hold? “I’m not going to stop,” Paschall laughed. “It’s a process, growing steadily.”
More information concerning Prairie Harvest Granola Bars and The Blue Colonial can be found at www.blueco lonial.net (in process), at (308) 340-3411, on Facebook, or by e-mail at