by Denise Gierula
Henry Ford once said, “Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement”. And Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
Call it a lucky mistake or a fortunate error but that is exactly what happened to Sheila Kline of Sheila’s Crunchy Delight, a full time vendor at the Antietam Farmers Market. Mistakenly burning a batch of granola she was making for the parents of her then boyfriend Larry Gingrich, she decided to pick out the toastiest pieces and mix in a newly baked, lighter batch of granola. And the rest, as they say, is history!
Sheila’s new granola recipe was a constant hit with family and friends who encouraged her to start a business. She was quick to recognize that her granola had a lightly toasted flavor and did not cluster and clump the way commercial granolas do. After installing a new kitchen, Sheila’s Crunchy Delight became an official business in July of 2010. Sheila said, “All our products are made by Larry and myself in a kitchen that was put together just for this purpose, located in a space in our house that was not being used.”
Sheila was raised in Salford, Montgomery County; Larry grew up in Ethiopia and then settled in Goshen, Indiana when he was 16 years old. Now newlyweds (married 3 years) they are both retired from their “jobs,” and are working full time for Sheila’s Crunchy Delight. Sheila said, “I love to play with food to come up with new recipes. Larry loves interacting with the customers.”
Don’t let the name fool you: it is not just granola that crunches. Stop by, chat with Sheila and Larry, and sample their crackers and nuts too. They offer six different crackers: Cheesy Diamonds, Graham Goodies, Prairie Crisps, Biscotti di Vino, Potato Crunchies, and Gluten Free Sesame Thins. Also offered are Sweet and Spicy Holiday nuts, Curried Cashews, Smoked Chipotle Almonds, and Candied Pecans, raw and roasted plain nuts. My family loves the Potato Crunchies – they taste like Thanksgiving rolled into a cracker!
And yes, of course there is granola. Sheila’s Crunchy Delight offers two flavors of granola bars: Raisin and Chocolate Chip: plus eleven flavors of Granola; Apple Crisp, Banana Breakfast, Blueberry Buckle, Chocolate Chip, Gluten Free, Just Grains, Kaffa Coco, Maple Bourbon, Original Recipe, Pumpkin Season, and S’mores and More. While granola is great mixed into your morning yogurt, I use their granola as a baking ingredient by tossing a cup or two into my chocolate chip cookie dough and quick bread recipes.
Between selling at markets, and having six wholesale customers in Berks County, I asked Sheila about the challenges and rewards of running a business with Larry and she replied, “The challenges are getting everything baked and packaged in a week and also selling 3 days a week. The rewards are seeing kids’ faces light up when they taste a Graham Goodie, or someone tasting a Smoked Chipotle Almond. It is also very gratifying to hear everyone’s compliments about all of our products.”