It’s funny that the Huffington Post blog about Whole Foods, “Surviving Whole Foods” has gone viral because that is where this story starts. I was wandering the aisles of Whole Foods looking for some quick food options that would be easy to consume in the car and filling enough that I wouldn’t be tempted at each exit I passed by the golden arches.
I reached for several standbys; Zing Bars and Larabars and then searched the shelves for something new to try. I grabbed a GoMacro Macrobar, did a quick perusal of the ingredients and satisfied, put it in my basket. Once back on the road it didn’t take me long to break into my stash. I unwrapped the GoMacro Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip and within two bites was kicking myself that I hadn’t purchased more. Later when safely parked I looked at the wrapper to see where the company was located and saw that it was in Wisconsin, only about a half hour off the freeway I was taking between Minneapolis and Madison. I hopped on their website and sent an email requesting a meeting and tour of the facilities. In less than 24 hours I received a reply and an invitation to come by their offices to meet the founder, Amelia Kirchoff and her staff. I ecstatically agreed and eagerly anticipated my visit.
As I left the freeway to take the backroads towards Viola, Wisconsin I was amazed at the beauty. I drove by large lush trees, passed fields and valleys of brilliant shades of green and had to slow for several Amish horse and buggies. I am often times biased at the terrain in the Pacific Northwest but this trip has shown me that every region has its own beauty.
I pulled up to the headquarters of the family owned GoMacro and was greeted by their Operations Manager, Tony Saarem who took me through the history of the company. The company was the inspiration that came of a healthy macrobiotic diet that Amelia began shortly after finding out she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She found great success in eliminating eggs, dairy, refined sugar, highly processed “foods” and animal products. She decided to start playing around with natural sweeteners and grains and fruit grown on her own farm, the end result was the GoMacro bar.
We were soon joined by Amelia who came from her home, the farm where they originally ran production out of their barn before moving to the current facility in town. They both gave me a tour of the operations from the shipping and receiving to the production facility where I saw the product being mixed, formed into bars and packaged.
They currently produce 20,000 bars a day, all of which ship to their customers in less than a week. Their product line currently consists of 11 full size bars and four mini bars, all of which are organic, vegan, and gluten free. However, they are constantly looking at new recipes, and Amelia can often times still be found in the kitchen, creating new products and is the final say in the research and development process.
Currently, their products are distributed in many independent health food stores as well as Whole Foods (sorry Seattle they aren’t in our region yet) and PCC as well as available for purchase on their website. Amelia’s daughter, Jola, manages the sales and marketing and is quickly increasing their distribution so if they aren’t yet in your local store don’t fret!
I was so happy to have had the opportunity to take a side trip off the beaten path to see this great company and even happier when I walked away with a sample box of all of their bars. As I thanked them and walked away Amelia warned me to not eat them all at once, good advice as I could have eaten them for every meal if I allowed myself.