Angela Gustafson started making chunky “Gustola Granola” to feed her four kids. Now her kids take shifts with her at the Linden Hills Farmers Market. They label bags, weigh product, and cast marketing votes. Her 11-year-old even took an interest in understanding price establishment and income statements.
“In a nutshell, this has probably been the single greatest reward of taking on this project,” she said. “I have an entrepreneurial side to me. I thought this could be a lot of fun.”
Five summers ago, Gustafson started a kids’ cycling club called Mill City Cyclomaniacs. She taps kids’ unlimited energy to spur them on 20-mile rides through the cities every Friday. (The teens in the group are excited to wear bike jerseys this year.)
Gustafson also wrote the children’s book “Imagine a House,” founding Out of the Box Publishing in the process. Inspired by her time in the Peace Corps, the book profiles houses around the world as a way to expose children to other cultures.
Gustafson’s time in the Peace Corps also inspired her interest in selling at a farmers market. She and her husband worked in small business development in the Dominican Republic on the Haitian border. They bought much of their food at open-air markets, with food laid on tarps on the ground.
In the beginning of the market season, Gustafson’s almond-coconut-cherry-vanilla granola was the top seller. Since then, sales have evened out. Her flavors depend on the week, but varieties include hazelnut-walnut-cranberry-blueberry granola inspired by the Mahnomin Porridge at Hell’s Kitchen, and pistachio-pumpkin seed inspired by a New York City granola seller.
“The way I make it is chunky. I use egg whites that create big clusters, with a lot of nuts and dried fruits,” she said.
The Linden Hills Farmers Market runs Sundays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Settergren parking lot, 2813 W. 43rd St., thru Oct. 28. After that, Gustafson will continue to fill email orders through her website.