Wow, hard to believe it's been nine months since I've written here. This has been a crazy year -- I don't think anybody would question that! But cooler temperatures are now looming, football season has arrived, and we even have a new flavor to introduce! David and I are very excited about the new Nutty Maple, which has NO brown sugar added. It's still got a touch of sweetness, but I just love its more nutty wholesomeness, and we've decided to add some cranberries for the tartness they add. We'll be adding that to our regular lineup this week. Also, we'll be looking into introducing seasonal flavors. Perhaps a fall harvest or pumpkin spice granola! See you soon at the HOPE Farmers Market!
It's been a really rough several days, with the world losing such geniuses as David Bowie and Glenn Frey. It hurts to think about. One loss that has been particularly painful for us was the passing of Paul Ray, host of KUTX's Saturday night program Twine Time. I first listened to that show in the 1980s, while I was still in high school. It was, for decades, my very favorite radio show. (Side note: I also adore the Fox Jukebox out of El Paso on Sundays!) David and I listened to Twine Time together on our first date. Later on, as we got into the granola business, Paul Ray kept us going every Saturday night during granola production! I am sorry that I don't have any eloquent words to reflect how much we will miss him. But this loss is leaving us feeling a bit... empty. Our prayers go out to his wife, Diana, and all of his loved ones.
We're back from the trip of a lifetime! We spent the last part of 2015 traveling around Nicaragua, checking out coffee farms, cigar factories, colonial architecture, museums, jungles, beaches, and volcanoes. We even experienced a 5.7 earthquake on our last morning there! This trip was really incredible -- something we've been planning for years. We missed our farmers market family and customers, though, and are glad to be able to see everyone this coming Sunday!
Beautiful, beautiful Isla de Ometepe
When we aren't hard at work making yummy granola, we are either hard at work at our day jobs as researchers/writers or enjoying ourselves around town. In fact, we met on the job 12 years ago! Diane admittedly had a crush on David for a long time (but believes she didn't make TOO much of a spectacle of herself with said crush) before he responded in turn. But things eventually worked themselves out the way they were supposed to, and now we are a very happy family! Diane, David, our cats Minnie and Vinnie, and Diane's two wonderful sons Salvador and Julian.
Fun stuff equals going to the Alamo Drafthouse, drinking cocktails, traveling, listening to music, eating eating eating, reading, and watching movies at home. David likes watching football with an affinity for poorly performing teams (sorry David), Diane likes playing Rock Band, we ALL like watching the Spurs!
As for traveling, we've both been to and enjoyed various places in Latin America, and we have another big trip planned there soon! We'll be spending our belated honeymoon in NICARAGUA!! So exciting. We'll have to tell you all about it when we get back. Slide show with jell-o salad and hot dogs at our house! ;-)
David puts up with Diane's various whims, and there's always something cooking in her mind. Most recently, we did a week of veganism. It was a great success, in Diane's mind! Maybe not so much in David's mind. He was even busted sneaking a wedge of Parmesan cheese in his lunch bag one day. The idea of a plant-based diet is so appealing. But then again, so are the shakes at Hopdoddy.
So there you have it: a brief introduction to our lives (beyond granola). Now we've got to go -- we've got grains to toast!
I love our customers!! We're getting some wonderful comments, now that I've put it out there that we're collecting testimonials.
One extra-rad fellow, Josh, has even given us FOUR to choose from! I have to say that selecting just one was a huge challenge. They all made me smile. I hope they do so for you, too:
Diane and David can proudly name every carefully-selected, organic ingredient in Luna Rey granola, but if they told me it was made from cat hair and sawdust I’d still eat it. It’s that good.
I love Luna Rey granola. Love it. Possibly too much. If some laws get changed I might marry it.
I’m considering giving up beer so I can eat Luna Rey granola for every meal.
Great people making great food. Luna Rey is my favorite local business.
Hmm, maybe we'll need to make t-shirts and coffee mugs just so we can put these remarks in print! ;-)
If I had a nickel for every time somebody complimented our granola...
Well, to be honest, we'd probably be in pretty much the same boat financially, but it always thrills us to hear that folks like our products! It's one of the primary drivers of our business, keeping us going when our arms are sore from mixing large batches or when, on a weekend morning, we have to get up and go to the market even though we're kinda feeling like spending the time cuddling with our cats in bed. It goes back to my lifelong love of cooking, of creating something delicious that others can enjoy, of seeing that enjoyment light up their faces.
We've received lots of great feedback over the past couple of years, and we're now ready to share some of it with others! So keep an eye on our newest page, where some of our greatest and coolest customers chime in with their comments.
Thanks to everybody who has had any part of our business, from coming up with new ideas to buying products to visiting us at the market to giving us encouragement. We appreciate all of you!
It's been a few months since we've posted on our blog -- nearly eight months, as a matter of fact. We have been quietly working on the growth of our business, and have some new developments to report. First of all, we are now able to sell wholesale, as well as via this website. Stay tuned for a new e-commerce section, which will be added soon! We'll even have some swag to offer.
Secondly, we've been fortunate enough to be invited to health fairs around town, which has been a wonderful way to gain more exposure. We recently attended a wellness fair at VMWare, and we anticipate participating in a health fair sponsored by the BodyBusiness fitness facility soon. These are great opportunities for us to meet new customers and get the word out. We are very proud of our products and so love to get out there and introduce it to new audiences.
In the meantime, we sincerely want to thank all of our customers, old and new alike! You have really kept us going -- even through the crazy Austin summer, when we sometimes felt like we'd never survive the heat of the farmer's markets. We are always so thrilled to hear your feedback, which is nearly always positive (knock on wood!).
The story behind our name is rather simple. Although we started selling granola at the Burnet Market a year ago, we'd had the idea for the business long before that. We'd always intended to go with the name "Oat Cuisine", our prior name. And people really liked it the name! But unbeknownst to us, there was already an established granola business with that name. SO, if we wanted to make a serious go of this venture, we'd have to come up with something different.
That was when things became difficult. We brainstormed, soul-searched, asked family members for ideas, fretted, sought inspiration everywhere we could. We had several duds that didn't make it far in the approval process -- stuff like "Crestview Peach" and "Oat & Vine" -- all rejected by one or the other of us for being derivative, hackneyed, nondescript, etc.
I ultimately decided that I'd like to use a Spanish name because both David and I are proudly Hispanic. One of my culinary school classmates, an awesome gal by the name of Luna, told the rest of us that her middle name is Pearl. We all loved the name Luna Pearl, and I even thought of asking her if we could use that for our granola. And then, out of the blue, the words "Luna Rey" came into being.
We liked the sound of it. We felt it was evocative and beautiful and mysterious. "Moon King"! The way I saw it, "Luna" was the feminine (me), and "Rey" was the masculine (David, my king). Luna Rey was the combination of us together, two married border kids working together to create something of our own.
Furthermore, my beloved grandfather's name was Reymundo (or Rey) Trevino. What a nice little nod to him.
So that's the little story behind our business name. We have had quite the positive reaction to our rebranding, for which we are extremely grateful. Thanks to Luna for the spark of inspiration, and thanks to all of you for your support!
We get asked certain questions often enough that I thought it would be a good idea to write a bit about them here.
- Low-Glycemic Pecan? What does "low-glycemic" mean and what the heck is lucuma powder ?
In the simplest terms, high-glycemic carbs are digested quickly, while low-glycemic carbs are digested more slowly. It is believed that the higher the food is on the glycemic scale, the more it tends to trigger cravings, which can lead to sugar addiction. Eating them also leads to a crash in blood sugar levels, which can then lead to overeating.
We originally created our low-glycemic pecan granola when Doreen, a regular customer, asked us to come up with something that would better fit into her eating needs. We looked into various unprocessed ingredients that are low on the glycemic index -- coconut palm sugar, agave, stevia, etc. -- and experimented quite a bit before coming up with the combination of brown rice syrup and lucuma powder. The combo created a light, mapley sweetness that isn't cloying or unnatural tasting.
Brown rice syrup is made from, well, brown rice. It's a good alternative for refined sugar. Lucuma powder is the dried powder of a lucuma fruit, which primarily grows in South America. It is often used to sweeten ice creams and is a suitable substitute for brown sugar. The best part? Lucuma is actually considered a SUPERFOOD! It's high in minerals and antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. It even gives you a nice energy boost that sustains itself for quite a while. Plus it can be used in baking, which made it a good option for us.
This flavor has actually become our biggest seller -- a wonderful outcome to our responding to one customer's needs. It isn't as sweet as most granolas, which our regulars really appreciate. David eats it most mornings over local Bulgarian yogurt. I like it with a bit of fruit added for extra punch. If you're looking to reduce your intake of refined sugar, give our Low-Glycemic Pecan a try. We think you'll like it!
- Are any of your granolas gluten-free?
This one is a tricky question. While our granolas are naturally gluten-free, we don't advertise them as such because: 1) we don't use certified gluten-free oats and 2) we don't make our granolas in a gluten-free facility. I've known people with celiac disease and understand how terrifying eating out can be for those afflicted with the disease. Many times foods are touted as being gluten-free when they are prepared in a flour-filled kitchen! Those little particles of wheat floating in the air can have a real negative impact on somebody that is extremely sensitive to gluten. We don't ever want to make anybody become ill from eating our granola, which could happen if we made the gluten-free claim. In order to truly create gluten-free granola, we'd have to both buy certified gluten-free oats and rent a facility that is gluten-free. While that is something we're not ruling out, it's just not something we've pursued quite yet.
So depending on how sensitive you are to gluten, our granola may or may not be okay for you to eat. We've found that most people that are simply avoiding gluten for improved well-being are able to eat our granola. For others that are very sensitive, my heart goes out to you. At least most Mexican food is gluten-free. There's always Mexican food!! Hurrah!!
Our new granola flavors have typically been inspired by seasonal cravings, and our new baby -- lemon poppyseed -- is no different. I'm ready for the spring and this weather has been amazing. I wanted to go for something comforting yet refreshing, reminiscent of a luscious muffin or tea cake. This granola also features quinoa, which together with the poppy seeds lends an extra crunchity crunch.
Well I'm very happy to say that our newest flavor was a big hit at the HOPE Farmers Market this past Sunday -- especially with the kids! We actually sold out! I'll have to post a picture of a yogurt parfait I made with it when we make our next batch. We'll also be featured at the sample station this coming Sunday, so come give it a taste! Until then, here's a picture of our beautiful new packaging. Thank you everybody for the love (ESPECIALLY the kids)!!
Lemon Poppyseed Yum
It was a beautiful day in Austin today! A great day to visit with market-goers and freeze my feet off. I keep forgetting to layer layer layer. Tomorrow promises to be another good one, so I am really looking forward to being at the Hope market. Seriously, all of the cute babies and kiddos and doggies? PLUS great music every week? We are so lucky!
We are going to bring a new flavor to the markets soon! I don't wanna spoil the surprise but I've got a feeling it will be well received. Come visit us for a taste!
It all started a few years ago, when I had the idea to host "Breakfast Thursdays" at work. I brought various homemade breakfasts to four co-workers (and for myself, too!). I've always loved breakfasts that are healthy, fresh, colorful, and of course delicious. Now, we live in the breakfast taco capital of the world. And I love a great breakfast taco! But what I'm talking about are smoothies, freshly squeezed or pressed juices, oatmeal, granola, muesli, fresh yogurt, seasonal fruit, even baked goods. Those are the kinds of meals that can really start the day off right.
Well, the overwhelming favorite pick among my coworkers was my homemade granola. It was a clear winner, even over oatmeal brulee with raspberries and almonds! So my husband began nagging me to try and sell the granola. And nagging and nagging and nagging.
Cut to a couple of years later, when all the nagging finally sunk in. Maybe it was worth a shot. So we both jumped in, started at our first farmer's market, again got great feedback, and a small business was born. One that has afforded me the opportunity to do something I love while meeting all kinds of great people around town and spending time with my esposo.
So for that, I'd like to give a big "thank you" to the original breakfast bunch: Anne, Laura, Josh, and David!
We are so excited to introduce our new brand! Formerly known as Oat Cuisine, we have officially changed our name to Luna Rey. We have a fantastic new logo designed by the wonderfully talented Gina Leiss of Trystero Design in Marfa, TX.
We are a small business based in Austin, TX, making and selling four delicious flavors of granola: Cherry Pistachio, Blueberry Almond, Low-Glycemic Pecan, and Orange Cranberry with Pecan. Come find us at the Hope Farmers Market on Sundays from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm, or at the Burnet Farmers Market on alternate Saturdays, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm. Hope to see you soon!