Photo of plastic pails we donate to farms and businesses

Supporting health, the environment, and the community

One of the benefits of running your own business is the opportunity to practice what you preach. We work hard to support a healthy lifestyle, “live lightly on the earth,” and make an effort to leave the world a better place.

Supporting a healthy lifestyle

I believe in eating as “close to the ground” as possible, so I created Chappaqua Crunch Granola to offer a healthy choice to folks. “Natural” feels like the right word to describe my granola, even though it’s undefined; take a look at our ingredients.

Granolas span a wide nutritional range and we think CCG is one of the healthiest. Chappaqua Crunch is less sweet than most granolas. Why? To offer you a choice–it’s easy to make something sweeter, but it’s really hard to take the sweetener out! And we use lots and lots of oats–a higher percentage than any granola we’ve seen. Why? Because oats were given the first FDA-allowed health claim; they contain beta-glucan, a fiber that can reduce cholesterol.

Living lightly on the earth

According to the USDA, “Organic agriculture produces products using methods that preserve the environment and avoid most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics. USDA organic standards describe how farmers grow crops and raise livestock and which materials they may use.

“Organic farmers, ranchers, and food processors follow a defined set of standards to produce organic food and fiber. Congress described general organic principles in the Organic Foods Production Act, and the USDA defines specific organic standards. These standards cover the product from farm to table, including soil and water quality, pest control, livestock practices, and rules for food additives.

“Organic farms and processors:

  • Preserve natural resources and biodiversity
  • Support animal health and welfare
  • Provide access to the outdoors so that animals can exercise their natural behaviors
  • Only use approved materials
  • Do not use genetically modified ingredients
  • Receive annual onsite inspections
  • Separate organic food from non-organic food”

From the USDA website

Chappaqua Crunch Granola supports organic agriculture by using organic ingredients. For example, I estimate that the organic oats in a bag of our granola support about 40 square feet of organic farming (based on figures from our oat vendors). For honey to be certified organic, the beehives need to be surrounded by at least 5 miles in all direction of organic agriculture.

Feeding hungry folks
From time to time, we make a batch of granola we can’t sell, because it’s burned, or a newbie employee made a mistake and, for example, mistook sweetened dried cranberries for raisins. If our mistake is edible by humans, we call the Greater Boston Food Bank. If only edible to animals, we send it to farmers and gardeners. For example, our latest mistakes went to chickens and to some heifers destined to be dairy cows.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Chappaqua Crunch Granolas are produced as responsibly as possible. The 55-gallon-metal or plastic drums that some of our ingredients are packed in are donated and reused as smokers, rotary composters, and rain barrels, and even on lobster boats. Some of our sweeteners are packed in 5-gallon pails (complete with handles and lids); we’ve given these to local farms, fishermen, beekeepers, start-up composting companies and other folks who put them to good use.

If you’re interested in either of these and willing to come to Lynn, MA to pick them up, contact me and we’ll put you on our waiting list.

If we can’t reuse items destined for disposal, we recycle everything we can, such as paper, cardboard and shrink wrap. Luckily, we’re close to North Shore Recycled Fibers in Salem, because we visit them a couple of times a week.

Our non-recyclable pouches
The pouches we use to pack our granola are a laminate of two materials, which makes them hard to recycle. I’m always on the lookout for a greener alternative. The chemistry is heading in the right direction, but it’s not quite there yet. (Got a solution? Please email me.)

Leaving the world a better place

Photo of Chappaqua Crunch founder Debbie Waugh before the Pan Mass Challenge

“My effort to leave the world a better place is focused on raising money for cancer research and care; specifically by participating in the PMC and raising money for the Jimmy Fund and Dana Farber Cancer Institute. We (my husband and I) look much better at the beginning of the ride than at the end.” –Chappaqua Crunch founder, Debbie Waugh

My personal cause
There are many worthy causes in the world and I expect we all wish we could support more than we do. In order to feel like I’m making a difference, and for personal reasons, I choose to participate in the Pan Mass Challenge (PMC) every year.

The PMC is an awesome annual cycling event that raises money for the Jimmy Fund, the fundraising arm of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. The PMC passes through 100% of every rider-raised dollar and, in 2015, raised $45 million for the Jimmy Fund.

2016 will be my 21st year as a rider. Riders have sizeable fund-raising minimums; want to help me meet mine?

If you live in the Boston area and want your halo to shine a little brighter, please consider becoming a platelet donor at Dana Farber. Many cancer treatments have an adverse effect on patients’ blood, so the need is great. Platelets are essential for clotting, but only have a five-day shelf life, so there’s a constant need for new donors. The donation process spins the platelets out of your blood and returns the rest to you. It takes a couple of hours and is practically painless.

–Debbie Waugh