Fall in Virginia means hikes on mountain trails, apple picking, picnics, farm markets, and warm apple pie. All of those things remind me of Hudson Henry Granola. An award-winning granola pair perfectly with crisp apples, tops homemade pie and makes the perfect snack for any Fall adventure.
Hudson Henry Granola, crafted by Hudson Henry Baking Company, will satisfy your granola craving. To go behind the scenes of this popular Virginia brand, I contacted Hope Lawrence.
I like going behind the scenes with the founders of popular Virginia brands. I am an entrepreneur at heart, and I want to hear their story. Hudson Henry Granola was first sold at the Charlottesville Farmers Market in 2012. The granola burst with flavor and with sales.
In a Virginia county that only has one stoplight, a business wins the prestigious Sofi Award
Created in the small community of Palmyra, VA, the Hudson Henry Baking Company recently won two Sofi Awards. The Sofi Awards are like the Oscars of the food industry. Hudson Henry recently won a Gold Sofi for their Maple, Pecan and Coconut Granola and they won a Silver Sofi for their Cashews & Coconut variety. In a Virginia county that only has one stoplight, a business is creating granola that is being awarded the prestigious sofi Award.
What’s The Secret?
A family-founded business that went from the Charlottesville Farmers Market to the Today Show in less than five years caught my attention. What’s their secret? What’s Behind the Taste of Hudson Henry Granola? To find out, I reached out to Hope, co-founder of the baking company.
Kim: Hope, first tell me about the business name, Hudson Henry. What’s the story behind the name?
Hope: Short story – it was named after my two sons – Hudson and Henry. Long story – I went around and around trying to pick the “perfect name.” There was so much stress, and all of the business articles make it out to be such a big deal to find the perfect name. At the end of the day, I went with my gut and my “placeholder” name – “Henry Hudson Granola.” My designer suggested we switch it to “Hudson Henry Granola” which suits Hudson just fine (first born, first mention!)
Kim: In five years, Hudson Henry granola escalated from weekend sales at the Charlottesville Farmer’s Market to national exposure and sales. Can you tell us one aspect of your business that you feel pushed Hudson Henry onto the national market? Can you share with us just one family secret to entrepreneurial success?
Hope: Hands down, getting the granola on The Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda was life-changing. And such a funny story – we had no clue we were going to be on the show. I pitched the producer in May, and then the granola was on KL’s desk in September. We received a call that morning from someone who had stayed at our then B&B (now closed) and said: “I think your granola is sitting on Kathie Lee’s desk!!” Orders came pouring in, and it was the most exciting day.
As far as entrepreneurial success, I think for me it is having just one great (somewhat unique) product (and only a few flavors). We keep it simple and use great ingredients like olive oil and coconut oil and nice big pecans, etc. So our ingredients and our texture are a bit unique – the granola is very light and crisp. When I talk with soon-to-be entrepreneurs, I always say “why would Kathie Lee hold up your product on air? What makes it different?”
Kim: While researching Hudson Henry Baking Company, I read about Small + Mighty. It is your way to give back to the community. Please, tell the DW&S readers about Small + Mighty and how they can get involved.
Hope: I had wanted to donate to charity for years through Hudson Henry but always felt like what I could give was “too small.” Finally, I said – let’s just do it. Every bit counts! So we give 1% of revenue to charities each month. Simple math, simple to do. The boys get involved with picking charities, and customers can give suggestions. I love the feeling of doing something to help others…rather than just feeling overwhelmed by the world’s problems and feeling helpless.
Kim: I think that it is impossible to pick just one favorite Hudson Henry Granola flavor. Cashews & Coconut, Maple Pecans & Coconut, Pistachios Almonds & Coconut, Pecans & Chocolate or is it Maple & Walnut. Do you have a favorite?
Hope: It’s tough. I would say the Maple, Pecans, and Coconut is my favorite, but the addition of the dark chocolate chips in the Pecans & Chocolate takes it up a notch. Although now and then I will have a handful of the Cashews & Coconut and think “oh my gosh, this is good.” Tough to pick just one!!
Kim: Fall reminds me of my grandmother’s apple pie. I can just imagine the pie topped with Hudson Henry Granola. If you were going to create a special Thanksgiving recipe, including Hudson Henry Granola, what would it be?
Hope: I have ground up the granola and used it in the crust of a pie, which was delicious. Or I love an apple or rhubarb crumble with the granola in the topping. We also love the granola mixed into the topping of the sweet potato casserole!
Kim: Ok, I am going to create an updated version of my family apple pie recipe and include Hudson Henry Granola.
Find Hudson Henry Granola
From the Charlottesville Farmer’s Market to Amazon sales, this small-town granola has crossed the United States.
“This is like granola from heaven”—Rachel, March 3, 2017, Amazon Review
Kim: I was first introduced to Hudson Henry Granola at Sugar & Salt bakery in Palmyra, Virginia. I shared the granola with family and friends. Everyone loved the granola, and the bag was quickly enjoyed. Where can Virginians find their own bag of Hudson Henry Granola?
Hope: We are in a wide number of shops throughout Virginia. From Feast! in Charlottesville to Libbie’s in Richmond, Taste in the Norfolk/VA Beach area, and Homestead Creamery near SML. We are also in Whole Foods and Wegmans. You can find a full list on our website.
Kim: Last question. What’s in the future for the Hudson Henry Baking Company? Can you give the DW&S readers a sneak peek into a future granola flavor?
Hope: We really need to do a nut-free version and are working on it. And we made a savory Rosemary batch that made everyone swoon. I am hoping we can get both of those out in 2019 (if not before).
You never know when you are going to bump into a new Virginia flavor. I stopped by Sugar & Salt Bakery to pick up some of their famous Cannonballs. I left with Cannonballs and a bag of Hudson Henry Granola. One Virginia entrepreneur introduced me to another entrepreneur and a new Virginia flavor. A win-win visit to Palmyra, Virginia.
On a special note, Sugar & Salt has created a collaboration Cannonball with Hudson Henry Granola. It is the Happy Camper Cannonball, and we can not wait to try it!