Banner Road is a straight-as-an-arrow pathway between State Highway 152 and Interstate 40 in west-central Oklahoma. It wasn’t paved until recent years, and for generations, small family farms have called the road their own. One of those plots belonged to the Croy family. As a young woman, Anne Croy remembers the family activity on the farm, harvesting fields of ripened grain, tending a small herd of livestock, growing the vegetable gardens and fruit orchard. The farm was a network of interlocking efforts to bring food to market and to the their own kitchen table. It was a simple life that fed the Croy extended family, and it fed Anne’s love affair with food and with the earth. For real.
Anne’s road to becoming a chef was not quite so straight-as-an-arrow. She left home to study fine arts in college, and worked in the restaurant industry to make spare change. Upon graduation, she worked in the furniture and design industry where she climbed up the ladder until reaching the status of art director. But she found herself thinking less about form and function and more about fruits and vegetables.
Anne busted a move, left her design job and went to work in the pastry kitchen of St. Louis’s Gerard Craft’s Pastaria. She developed their gelato and classic Italian dessert program, but even in a professional kitchen, her mind kept wandering back to Banner Road, specifically memories of harvesting oats and grains. It was this love that led her to granola. She wanted to make a product that highlighted the fruits (and grains) of Banner Hill, taking both health and taste into account.
Her granolas wouldn’t be called straight-forward, with ingredients like dried banana chips and Askinosie chocolate (another Mouth favorite). But sometimes you need some deviations from the straight-and-narrow.