Growing up in West Linn, Oregon we had a long row of Marionberries along the side of our house. Marionberries are types of blackberries that are sweet, juicy and a little bit bigger than the typical blackberries you see in grocery stores.

For most of the summer I had purple stained fingers and lips. Being small works out, you can squeeze in-between all the crevices and get all the berries everyone else missed. Those summers jumpstarted my love of berries and it only grew from there. I don’t think you understand…I LOVE berries, they are my favorite part of summer. I can’t even choose a favorite berry, I love them all. I didn’t push for berries per se, they did however show up in the

Furthest to Closest: Gram, the grandchildren and 60 year old Gramps!

Furthest to Closest: Gram, the grandchildren and 60 year old Gramps!

garden. Jim bought raspberries, lots of strawberries and two blueberry bushes and inherited two blueberry bushes from Green Acres farm in Enfield, they are almost 60 years old. And of course we have nicknamed them, Gram, Gramps and the Grandchildren. I was also delighted to find wild blackberries growing along the back of Jim’s yard.

Every morning I was at Jim’s I would go out and harvest whatever berries we had. Many of the berries didn’t even make it inside, but when they did we had them on homemade granola and yogurt fresh from Smyth’s Dairy Farm in Enfield. I’m almost certain I hardcore eye-rolled when Jim first told me he made his own granola and made it the first evening we spent together, (I had the fun job of smashing the nuts with a hammer).

About a year ago my sister opened my eyes to the INCREDIBLE chocolate hazelnut biscotti granola from Archer farmsin Target and around the same time my stepmom introduced me to the cinnamon and coconut granola flavors of KIND granola. I felt super healthy covering my greek yogurt in a mostly granola to yogurt ratio opposed to my usual off-brand Cinnamon Crunchies AKA the poor man’s Cinnamon Toast crunch (don’t even get me started on how expensive cereal is). While as delicious those granola’s are they are pretty high in sugar (isn’t that always the case) Jim has opened my eyes to many things, one being the amazingly unbalanced and unnecessary amounts of salt and sugar in most of our country’s prepared food in the grocery store. I used to not want to be that person that stood in the aisle of the super market and studied the back of the food containers. Mainly what stopped me was my inability to afford the foods that were better for you and also inherent laziness. But boy, when I looked down the aisle and saw Jim studiously reading the back of quinoa (for our quinoa stuffed peppers) my heart did a little jump and I couldn’t help but smile at how adorably right he is.

Quotes from the Farmer:

Jaime Oliver does a far better job of summarizing the trouble with letting corporations dictate your food choices. Corporations only care about increasing your consumption, giving you more sugar, more rewards for your purchases so you keep coming back for more. The number one predicator of obesity is who cooks your food. If you rely on corporations, fast food, processed food to prepare your food you are taking your own health out of your hands.  

My daily snack used to be Nature Valley Oats N’Honey Granola Bars, and greek yogurt fruit on the bottom. Once I began questioning the motives of corporations and checking labels I was able to make better decisions. In Nature Valley Granola bars the number 2 ingredient is sugar, the number 5 ingredient is honey, the number 7 ingredient is brown sugar syrup. In total the granola bar has 11g of sugar per serving. And remember this is added sugar. In Chobani greek yogurt fruit on the bottom, the third ingredient after yogurt and fruit is evaporated cane juice (sugar) and has 15g of sugar. If you want to take control of your diet, the first step is to control the ingredients. Stop letting corporations cook for you, and you can better control the ingredients, and the additives for better health. 

We need to be more conscious of the food we put in our bodies. Don’t just go for the easiest, the already prepared or cheapest. If it can be made by hand then make it, sure it’ll take more time but when you make it fun by making it with someone you love it’s, worth it. Especially because you know exactly what went into it.

Granola and berry harvest

Jim’s Recipe for Granola:

When I found out how easy, cheap, and fast it was to make my own granola and control the ingredients I was hooked. The best part is you can control the ingredients you like. I take cashews, almonds, and any other nuts and using a hammer crush them in a plastic bag to small size. I mix the nuts in with the rolled oats and mix with a small amount of coconut oil and local honey heated over the stove. Once mixed spread evenly to about ¼” thick on a cookie sheet and put in the oven at 350. I bake for 8 minutes, then mix the cookie sheet. I bake for another 8 minutes and take it out to cool. 

My recipe for Granola: 

Preheat oven to 350

Line a cookie sheet with foil so its over the edges – this makes for easy clean up. 


3 cups thick cut rolled oats (I used quick oats because they were what I had but I definitely recommend Bob’s Red Mill thick cut oats).

2.5 Tablespoons coconut oil

1.5 Tablespoons ground cinnamon (you can add more if you’re a fan of cinnamon, I always do)

1 1.2 cups mixed nuts chopped (I don’t use the same method as Jim, I just use a large knife and chop the nuts, you can also use a food processor, mini chop-chop or whatever you have handy)


Combine nuts and oats, mix together.

Add oil, mix thoroughly, you want the oil to coat the oats and nuts.

Add the cinnamon, mix thoroughly again.

Spread the granola in a thin layer on the cookie sheet and put in the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes then use a spatula to move granola around and turn over, bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool and store in an airtight container. Add it to yogurt and top with fresh berries for a deliciously fresh breakfast.

Do you have a favorite granola recipe you created? Let us know in the comments!

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