Take a breath

July 17, 2017

Summer at Gorilly Goods now includes yoga and meditation. Available to any of the team who have the time to join. Everyone is encouraged to participate. Not only does it stretch the body, and increase an awakened feeling, these practices bring us all into the same moment, and that's where it all happens. That connection of being together, on the same page. As the Beatles said "All together now."

We all want to connect. Be together. Have similarities. Experience like things. I think it is human nature to co-exist in a helping way. Society may somehow get our wires crossed and it brings selfishness and greed, disrespect and a confused state of mind, but those are delusional states. Anytime we can bring ourselves into the presence of the moment, the place where there is no good or evil, no opinions or judgement, we experience oneness. Everything just is. 

If we haven't grown up with yoga and meditation in our household, we may not be familiar with the practice or the reasons for sitting and giving effort to not thinking. We may have heard good things about the practices, but we are just too busy for another thing in our day. So Gorilly and the gang have decided to sneak it right in, busy schedules and all. If we can keep it convenient, time manageable, and practice when we can, this feeling of presence will flow through more moments of our life.

Peace and presence to all on this sunny summer day. - Chris

 

From forests and mountains to deserts and desserts, see how some of our fans are enjoying their favorite organic Gorilly Goods varieties.

 

On the mountain peaks in Utah like @snacknationofficial.

 

 

Jennah @jennahhhgrace enjoys them in a winter wonderland.

 

 

Trekking in the Sonoran Desert by Eric and Erin Anderson

 

Lynn @lowcarbtraveler fuels her hikes.

 

 

Blended up first thing in the morning like @woodstockfoods 

 

For dessert like Sarah @biteoffmorethanyoucanshew

Nada thing better than some mint chocolate chip after a long day, am I right?

A post shared by Sarah Shew (@biteoffmorethanyoucanshew) on

 

To warm up with like KK @theguacwardkael 

 

We’d love to see how you enjoy Gorilly Goods. Share your photos using #GorillyGoods.

 

 

A post shared by Woodstock (@woodstockfoods) on

 

From early May and into June, cities and trails across America are celebrating Bike to Work Day. With local specials and events, Bike to Work Day is a great time to look into the positive impact cycling has on our bodies and environment. See why you should start hopping into the saddle on your way to the office.

It’s fun and keeps you fit

Spend your mornings connected with nature instead of staring at a bumper sticker. Biking to work lets you get out in nature while you burn calories and it helps with your cardio-vascular system, lowers your blood pressure, boosts energy and builds muscles. Plus, all that stress-free fun can help with your happiness levels.

It’s good for your wallet and schedule

Not only do you get to skip rush hour but you also save time finding parking, taking your car into the shop, filling up your tank and everything else that goes with owning and operating a vehicle. The average person spends $9,000 a year to own a car. Compare that to a couple hundred a year in bike maintenance – just think how much Gorilly Goods you could buy with those savings.

It’s good for the environment

We all know what cars are doing to the environment, but did you know that the transportation sector accounts for nearly 30 percent of all US greenhouse gas emissions? Riding your bike lets you appreciate and save the earth at the same time.

 bike to work

Need more reasons? Check out our favorite local trails: 

Elroy-Sparta State Trail

This 32-mile rail trail runs between Elroy and Sparta, Wisconsin and stretches between communities, forests, limestone tunnels and so much more. It’s one of the most popular trails in the country and one of our favorites as well.  And we always pack Gorilly Goods to enjoy on the many scenic stops.

Oak Leaf Trail

Weave in and out of the city and enjoy lake views and forested scenery along 100+ miles of trails. The Oak Leaf Trail is a favorite among many and you’ll rarely find yourself alone, especially on an early morning commute. Many cyclists choose this route as opposed to the busy streets because of its safety and scenery.

Hank Aaron Trail June 3-11, 2017

This trail serves as a vital link between the western suburbs and busy downtown Milwaukee. During Bike to Work Week, volunteers on the Hank Aaron Trail will be offering free bike tours and a breakfast station with free coffee and baked goods for morning commuters – what better way to start off your day?

Be safe on the trails and don’t forget your Gorilly Goods!

Keeping the River Clean

April 28, 2017

It was a sunny morning on Earth Day. My adventure buddy Natalie and I were just leaving an overnight at the museum as we scanned our map and made a route. We zipped around Milwaukee on Saturday morning delivering sample packs of Gorilly Goods to volunteers who were helping clean up the Milwaukee River Basin.

Clean Up

Through the four deliveries, we learned about the Milwaukee Riverkeeper Group and their mission to protect, improve and advocate for water quality, riparian wildlife habitat and sound land management in the Milwaukee, Menonmonee and Kinnickinnic River watersheds. I looked up what “riparian” was at that point to find that the Latin word “ripa” means river bank. We met site coordinators who were on hand to direct and answer questions. We witnessed piles of garbage collected and were happy to contribute a nutritious snack for the finish of their good deed.

Prior to this day, the two of us have enjoyed kayaking the rivers and exploring the riparian habitats of many streams and rivers in Wisconsin, but had yet to be introduced to the Milwaukee Riverkeeper Group. They are a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an international coalition ensuring clean water and strong communities. We happen to love water –clean lakes, rivers and oceans have been the settings to many favorite times together. The Earth’s waters are a gift. It was clear this group is making a difference in the health and wellbeing of this watershed.

 

Milwaukee Riverkeeper

The non-profit has a staff of seven along with 13 board members. They, along with hundreds of trained volunteers monitor the rivers for water quality, patrol the shoreline for signs of erosion or threats of water and wildlife habitat, educate citizens to become water advocates, clean up the watersheds and advocate for funds to remove contaminants and protect our rivers.

On our Earth Day outing, we found out there were almost 50 cleanup sites with thousands of volunteers to help pick up trash. It was their 22nd year of the annual clean up. As we drove, we witnessed many people around the Milwaukee area not only cleaning up the watershed, but readying community gardens and sprucing up all corners of their neighborhood.

 

Pile of snacks

Gorilly Goods wants to say a big thank you to all of the volunteers who put effort and time into the cleanup and to the staff and board of Milwaukee Riverkeeper. We’re so glad to have been introduced to this group. Clean water is vital to the health of a strong community. Their work is so important and very much appreciated.

Learn more about what you can do to help at MilwaukeeRiverkeeper.org and spend some time appreciating the beautiful rivers by kayaking them this summer.

 

Our visit to Vancouver and the Nature’s Path headquarters was beyond expectation. We met exceptional people, ate unforgettable meals and soaked in as much of the beautiful scenery as possible. But that was only the beginning half of our Canadian journey. You can read about our wonderful time in Vancouver here.

Train Tracks

Our time was occupied with a tradeshow and business meetings, and before we knew it, it was time to head home. We wanted to take in all of the beauty of the area and opted for the Via Rail Canadian passenger train. It was four nights of tasty meals, comfortable beds with cozy comforters and clean sheets with chocolates on the pillows. We met interesting people from many parts of the world. We sat with a woman from Rwanda and talked about Virunga Park, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund which was founded in her country, and we talked about Gorilly Goods. Everyone was interested in hearing about Gorilly Goods, and even more eager to sample the packs we brought along.

Lounge Car 

The lounge car was right out of a novel. Conversations were flowing and Stephen talked about kubb (of course!). A round-faced man with spy-like glasses slid in at our lounge table. He knew something about everything and talked without emotion - kind of fascinating. We were seated at lunch together the next day and were interested to hear what he would come out with next. Along the way, we learned a bit about Canadian currency, potash mining, Canada’s First Nation people, polar bears, orca and beluga whales, tapestry weaving, Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg and lentil growing in Saskatchewan.

Snow

The best part about train travel is your ability to move around and and whenever  it feels right you can head back to your personal space. Our small area was our office, our sitting room, our strategizing table and our sleeping cabin. It was a good place to absorb the changes happening and the grand plan to continue improving our little business. We love riding the trains and looking out the window to observe the beauty of Earth. It also shows us what humanity has brought to and taken from the Earth. Continue observing, continue realizing your choices matter.

Welcome to Canada

April 26, 2017

 

Earlier this month, natural food lovers were introduced to Gorilly Goods in the Nature’s Path booth at the Canadian Health Food Association Expo. The show was filled with health food promoters searching for new products. Hundreds sampled Gorilly Goods and gave us the nod of approval with excitement for the new bilingual wrappers.

Canada ConventionIt’s not an easy task getting everything in place for launching into a new country. While we’ve been doing this for quite some time, we have new regulations and languages to comply with. Our MOSA organic certifying agency has been a big help in getting us up to snuff with Canadian Equivalency Organic papers on every single ingredient.

So, while nothing will change when it comes to our Genuine Goods promise, there will be some changes when it comes to our packaging. The wrappers and boxes you find Gorilly Goods in throughout Canada will be printed in both English and French. Very exciting, oui?

Team Canada

Our time in Vancouver was relaxingly busy. Besides the two-day show, we got to explore the city with long walks, new restaurants and parks. The city has beautiful Stanley Park zig zagged with walking and biking trails that curl around English Bay. Beautiful scenic views of water, mountains, sky and majestic trees. The squirrels playing under the sequoias were black compared to our usual gray squirrels.

View

While there, we had our monthly board meeting with fellow business friends at Nature’s Path Foods in Richmond, just outside of Vancouver. After the meeting, Administrative Assistant, Maria, gave us an excellent tour of the headquarters, making introductions and treating us to taste a cereal test recipe in the R&D lab. It was our first time trying the delicious Love Crunch line since we eat Gorilly Goods every single morning. We loved getting a sneak peek at the experiments.

It truly takes a village to build a business. It was amazing to witness all of the departments: procurement, compliance, IT, food science, graphic design, operations, accounting, marketing, HR, R&D, and more.

We’re gearing up for the growth coming from not just Canada but also many new roads we find ourselves on even closer to home. We had a very successful Milwaukee Expo last month that connected us with Aurora Health, Milwaukee Co. Parks Concessions, Kohl’s Corporate among others.

Water Bottles

There are more goods to be made, more storage shelves to go up, more monitoring of processes, more people to share our stories and snacks with. The business of manufacturing food is unique and we look forward to sharing it with you in more blog posts.

Kubb Unites People and Creates Peace on Earth

That’s a good tagline for an activity and we happen to agree with it. But what the heck is kubb?

Hubb Group

Our family has been playing kubb longer than we’ve been producing Gorilly Goods (which is a pretty long time). Over the years of playing, we can say, we are now thoroughly connected to the kubb community. We travel to many cities and states and even to another country to be among kubb friends and play some friendly, yet competitive games.

You’ve most likely never heard of kubb (pronounced koob, not kub). It’s a worldwide sport/lawn game with stories linking it to the Vikings of Scandinavia. Many of our kubb friends have been to the world games that take place each August on the island of Gotland in Sweden. The games are active and competitive, but anyone can play. As long as you can toss a wooden baton underhand across to the other side of the pitch (with some accuracy) you’ll be good to go.

Kubb Field

Like any sport, the more you practice, the more natural your shots feel. Over the years that we’ve been playing and competing, we’ve watched the more practiced players become champs. Precision and skill along with good sportsmanship is the winning combination.

Since you might not have known about kubb, you likely didn’t know that Gorilly Goods are an Official Snack Food Sponsor of the U.S. National Kubb Championship. It’s even printed on our boxes. That means each year we donate product to the U.S. National Kubb Championship fundraiser, going to the Girls on the Run program. We are also part of the fundraising efforts for Kubbing to Kick Cancer, in Kasson, MN. Our kubb friends have raised thousands of dollars for great causes. We often take Gorilly Goods along to the tournament weekends for sharing and nourishing the players through the day.

Snacks

We formed a kubb club in our area called Kettle Moraine Kubb. Over the last few years it’s been just family and a few friends who show up weekly to play together from spring to fall. We began hosting a tournament at Pike Lake State Park in the Kettle Moraine Forest. This Labor Day weekend will be our 4th year with players coming from different states. We play under the giant oak trees with views of Pike Lake in the distance – uniting people and providing peaceful settings for sure.

Team Gorilly Goods

So, if you’re looking for a new activity, look into kubb – it can change your life. Kind of like Gorilly Goods, or so Stephen says. If you’re interested in learning more about kubb, feel free to reach out to us.

 

It’s usually something that happens in life, or something someone says that causes us to make a big change. For me, organic ideas were first planted in my mind from my sister Kathy. I remember seeing Silent Spring by Rachel Carson on the bookshelf in our bedroom. She was in college and I was in my mid-teens. I paged through the book and got my first look at the devastating magnitude of chemical use in agriculture. Kathy had just finished college and moved to the other side of the state, where land was abundant and fertile in the hills and valleys of the “driftless” region of Wisconsin. Through her actions, she taught me about self-dependence and living off the land. She had goats and chickens, a garden and a little A-frame house that she heated with the wood she split. I loved it, but was deep into my high school happenings and heading in my own directions.

In my early twenties, living the young family dream, I had my first ¼-acre vegetable garden. It felt satisfying to grow food for our family and eat things fresh from the garden. I subscribed to Organic Gardening and Prevention Magazine, canned tomatoes, bought a chest freezer for other veggie harvests, and learned the art of making bread (sometimes it got the name brick bread, but delicious none-the-less).

Life moved along and ten years later Stephen and I were living in a paradise setting in the Caribbean having taken jobs as underwater photo pros with our scuba careers in full swing. In our first remote location, we were able to find luscious fruits and vegetables from a Haitian farmer in the Bahamas. We would buy a full bunch of bananas at a time and hang them for ripening, which they did over the course of a few weeks. After a couple of years, we moved to an island off the coast of Venezuela, much further south. A jet came to the island only once a week, bringing new tourists, and taking the past week’s passengers back home. It wasn’t a fertile island, more like a desert, with wild goats and thousands of flamingoes living in the salt pans. We could buy our produce from the farmers that brought their little boats filled with fruits and vegetables from the mainland.

While in the Bahamas we had an epiphany regarding the foods we ate, and we went through a major lifestyle change choosing a vegetarian diet. As we read books like Diet For a New America and Diet for a Small Planet, we learned more about animal agriculture and commercial agriculture in general, and wondered about the unregulated use of chemicals on the foods we were eating. After a time away from “home” we were longing to head back, and the decision was made to return to our fertile Wisconsin roots and start an organic CSA garden.

Stephen and I, along with our 3 cats, found the quaint village of Cambridge, outside of Madison. There we met a wonderful new friend and mentor, Paul, with whom we sat around the kitchen table and discussed our possibilities of working together. Paul lived on the 80-acre family farm his parents had farmed before him. They had farmed commercially with chemical use coming into their practices for many years. When Paul’s wife died of cancer a few years earlier, he truly felt it was from the chemicals they had been spraying and eating, so he turned his land and mission into a chemical-free, organically run farm. Paul was 70 years old at the time and had the steam of a 30-year-old. We traded our help on the farm for a plot of land to call home and put in our one-acre garden. Together we had many great experiences. One year we hand planted a few acres of asparagus plants, another year we experimented with 20-acres of popcorn while at the same time starting our seeds, planting our garden and developing our CSA program which included 12 families in Cambridge and Madison. We collected seaweed from the local lake, hauled and shoveled horse manure from the local stable, and made small mountains of compost. Paul’s apple orchard was meticulously sprayed with garlic and cayenne twice a year and together we built our hoop houses to extend our growing season. It was an organic-growers heaven.

Paul took us to many organic meetings in SE Wisconsin where fellow farmers discussed the organic movement and methods. We took seminars at the Michael Fields Institute, a prominent research and education center for biodynamic farming in East Troy Wisconsin. We were sponges for all we could absorb in the organic farming/gardening realm. We began teaching cooking classes out of our home and then at the local tech schools. People were waking up to the food system and how they could make changes in their own choices to improve their health and the well-being of the Earth. Soon we were seeing the impact we had on many more people reaching out to learn about clean eating. This led to that, and we were once again moving, this time to De Pere, Wisconsin to open a vegetarian cafe and cooking school through a nonprofit we started, called EarthHeart. We’ll leave that story to another blog, and skip ahead to the now.

Our new life in food manufacturing is reaching more people than ever. We are thrilled to have a certified organic snack-line that uses no chemicals and no genetically modified organisms. There is no land or water pollution, no chemical residues that harm insects or birds, as in that first eye opener, Silent Spring. We make clean food, coming straight from the farms and orchards that grow our ingredients.

Our organic certifying partner, MOSA (Midwest Organic Services Association) is a conscientious organization that monitors accounts closely to assure all regulations are being practiced. When you see the USDA Organic seal on food items, look for the certifying agency that has given their approval to use that symbol. Without a certifying agency listed, that item might not be regulated as certified organic. Also keep in mind that a legit USDA symbol means there are no GMO’s in it, as they are not allowed in any certified organic ingredients. The best part about organic is the Earth being free from the chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides being sprayed day after day, that end up in our water and soil, affecting all of life. Organic is the core of everything we do, because we honor and respect all life. Thank you for concerning yourselves with the organic way.

 

When Gorilly Goods was first looking for walnuts to use in our Original variety, we called Fillmore Farms in Gridley, CA. This family business is dedicated to using organic, Earth-friendly methods. They were right in line with what we were looking for. Brit answered the phone and so pleasantly gave me the information of the types and grades of walnuts available. It was a gift to be able to be in the circle of businesses receiving these clean, nutritious top quality nuts. We’ve been using them ever since that first phone call and hope to evermore. So we thought it was about time you get to know where those delicious walnuts in our snacks come from. Take a look. 


Photo courtesy of Fillmore Farms

 

Q: What prompted the Fillmore Family to go into the walnut business?

A: We have historically grown many different crops -- each with varying demands for labor and equipment. Walnuts seem to be the best mix of labor and equipment to suit our family farm at this time. They also happen to be really healthful and taste great!

Q: How long has your family been growing and processing walnuts? Are many family members involved?

A: We have grown walnuts for many years (possibly over 50) but in commercial quantities only for the last twenty or so. We have been commercially processing for about six years. Our family has grown a number of tree and open-field crops in the last 100 years we have been farming in Gridley (1917-2017). We have several generations of Fillmores involved in the business, depending on time of year and labor demands. We fluctuate between 6 and 12 family members directly involved. Everyone seems to get involved at harvest time!

Q: How old is a walnut tree before it produces usable nuts?

A: English (or Persian) walnuts are almost always grafted to a black walnut based root stock. From the initial sprout of the seedling until the first real harvest is usually around seven years. Younger trees will produce a nut or three, but not in commercially useful quantities. They are also still very fragile, so cannot be harvested mechanically.

Q: Has the growing/picking/sorting process changed through the years?

A: Yes indeed! In the early days of walnut cultivation in California, farm workers would harvest the walnuts by knocking them from the branches with poles and picking them up by hand. Over time the pole knocking evolved through several methods of tree shaking to the machines we use today. We also pick up most of the nuts from the ground with machines, saving hours of back-breaking labor. I'm not sure we would have chosen to have a walnut farm 100 years ago! The processing equipment has also changed dramatically. I don't know what my grandfather would have thought about our laser sorter, but I certainly appreciate it.

Q: What are the challenges of weather for walnut growing?

A: Walnuts need a Mediterranean climate with enough cold days in the winter and enough warm days with water in the spring and summer. Too much of either at the wrong time can destroy or dramatically reduce a crop or an entire orchard. Fortunately, our family settled in an area of California well suited to walnut production and it currently has the weather we need. Variations in the weather such as a late frost or too little rainfall over winter can have a significant negative impact on the amount and quality of the crop.

Q: What is most rewarding about the Fillmore Farms business? 

A: Our happy customers! Seriously, it is very rewarding to be able to work together as a family to provide a quality, healthful product to people who value it. The positive feedback we get from customers brightens up our days and makes the work worthwhile.

 

Sweet Potato Toast

November 19, 2016

Thanks for the recipe idea, Basil Bandwagon Natural Market

1 organic sweet pototo

1-2 avocados

dash of sea salt

1 pk Hillside (Savory) Gorilly Goods

sprig of parsley

Place sliced sweet potatoes on the shelf of a toaster oven and toast twice. 

Top with your favorite topping.

We used mashed avocado with a little sea salt, a sprinkle of Hillside Gorilly Goods, and a sprig of the last of the garden parsley.

Next time we're going to slice up another and make refried beans with Baja (cilantro, lime and chili's), and a sprig of cilantro.

These are so easy, delicious and full of nutrients.

This is the cilantro bed after the first snowfall this morning. Still going strong.

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