We’re grateful for Grateful Grahams

This month’s feature flavor, “Earthly Delights,” was inspired by a little brainstorming between myself, Ellen, and Rachel DesRochers who bakes up Grateful Grahams. If you haven’t tried these soft and chewy graham cracker/cookie confections, go get ’em! But, wait, before you go buy a bag and devour every single one (I don’t know how it happens, but it does. Trust me.), read a little more about Rachel and what she does.

Q: First things first – introduce yourself. What’s your name and what’s your business?
 Hi! My name is Rachel, owner and baker of Grateful Grahams; the handmade vegan graham cracker!  
Q: When did you start your business? What inspired you to start it?
Rachel: I started my business 1 year ago this month! April, 2010. A lot inspired me to start, actually. Inspiration is my family. My husband’s complete love and support. My growing family, Camden who’s 9, Rosalee at 17 months, and baby number three due at the end of the this month! My parents and their support and love. My community from my supportive mamas to local business owners that have supported me since day one. The ability to have dreams come true. All the people that have come out to support me. The emails and such that I get telling me how much they love my product. 
I think it was in my blood to do something too, considering that my great grandfather owned a restaurant, my grandpa ran it, my dad grew up in it, and my mom worked there. My mom and dad owned a pizza place, and my dad is a published poet, so I come from an entrepreneurial family. Really, I wanted to teach my kids to DREAM and BELIEVE in themselves. 
Q: What’s your favorite thing about running a business?
Rachel: My graham fans. My freedom to make choices and do good. The family aspect. The community aspect. The fact that I want my kids to follow their dreams, no matter what they are.  The fact when my husband talks about it the passion in his voice about me doing this, what it means to me, him and us. 
I have conversations, emails, facebooks, texts from other women, moms, friends, community members, strangers- telling ME how I am inspiring them by balancing it all and following my heart and my dream. I had one mom of three tell me she wants to be me when she grows up. Yeah. That knocks my socks off. Honestly I get teary-eyed thinking about it(if only they knew how grumpy I can get, haha!). It is an honor. A blessing. I am beyond grateful for that. 
Q: What’s been the most challenging aspect of running a business? What’s been the most exciting part?
Rachel: Hmm challenges- babies, husband, kid, being 8+ months pregnant and trying to keep up, fast growth, keeping up. The exciting part – teaching, inspiring, loving, being, doing, dreaming, creating, conquering.  
Q: How have people reacted to your products? Do you have any memorable moments with customers?
Rachel: People love them. Or at least that is what they tell me! 😉 No the feedback has been great. Remember those grahams that your grandma used to give you- my grandma and mom ALWAYS had graham crackers. I hated them. Ugh. Really a stale, flat, sweet cracker?!?  I didn’t want that to be the norm any more. These are different. They are thick, like a cookie with a soft center, and a hard outside – a little piece of heaven. People always get caught off guard their first taste- they can’t believe that can be a graham cracker! But they are, and we hand roll, hand cut, sugar, poke, bake, and pack thousands a week. 

One moment that I remember is when a mom saw they had no dairy in them, she was so excited because she said- wow a treat my kid can eat (he had a dairy allergy) and it tastes good. I love that. All kids need treats. 
Q: What’s ahead for Grateful Grahams?
 Rachel: A lot! We are locally in about 16 stores. We ship to Sacremento, Seattle, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. We have 2 online companies that ship the grahams all over the country. We have been contacted by a store in Canada. We just got approved in the Whole Foods Market Mid-Atlantic Region. Really right now we are adding new stores. Growing. Loving. Trying to keep up. I have an awesome mama, Stephanie, working for me now- she is leaving because she started a green cleaning company and it is growing! I am looking to hire one or two people to help me run the place! We have some fun events lined up with our gourmet s’mores bar! We are changing the way people eat grahams. Also so fun new products that are in the works. Graham babies is one that I can’t wait to roll out! 
Q: I was lucky enough to visit the kitchen a few days ago and I tried a graham fresh out of the oven – so so good! Do you have a favorite way to eat Grateful Grahams?
Rachel: YES! The hot out of the oven graham. Really that is how I landed this interview I think. That gets them all. I tell ya! 

Honestly that is one of the only ways I can eat them, something about them HOT HOT HOT. And really s’mores are one of my favorite treats of all time, so that way too! And we just made some crusts with them- ya that way too, haha! 
Q: Finally, do you have a favorite place in Cincinnati? A favorite vegan dish available in the city? A favorite local business?
Rachel: Hmm, favorite place in Cincinnati. We love to go to Otto Armleder park, it is right by our house. So maybe pure convenience but the walking right by the river, kids can run and play- it is really tranquil there. I love being at home too. Maybe it’s the fact that I am 8+ months pregnant that really makes me just want to be home enjoying the madness of my so called life! 
Favorite vegan dish, is my mom’s reuben. Hands down my favorite. So maybe not the most available to the city – but I am sure my mom won’t mind if you stop by for a bite! ;-p I also used to share kitchen space with Five Star Foodies and Val would whip up the most delicious meals for lunch.
Favorite local business, hmm. Having lots of friends own local shops I won’t and can’t pick just one. What I can say is that I find it an absolute honor to be amongst them. They are awe inspiring dreamers, creaters, believers, doers, lovers, amazing people. I am grateful beyond words to be present with them!! You know who you are. (DK) 😀  
For even more Grateful Graham goodness, check out their facebook page. Grab a bag at Park+Vine, and a pint of Phro*Zen’s feature flavor “Earthly Delights” and make a big vegan ice cream sammich! Love.

3 Comments to “We’re grateful for Grateful Grahams”

  1. I think you should make a vegan ice cream with some Grateful Grahams in it! Maybe use Sweet Peace Bakery’s vegan marshmallows, Grateful Grahams original graham crackers, and your chocolate ice cream… you could have a s’mores flavor! Yum!

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