WE HAVE all heard the claim that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is the fuel to your engine and battery to your remote control.
After a long 8-hour stretch without food, this is the meal that breaks the fast. While some choose to heed to the notion of breakfast’s value, others do not.
For those people, breakfast is just not a top priority. It certainly requires time and planning to prepare, something that is limited with our demanding schedules.
The problem with this is that the precedence shifts from taking care of ourselves to becoming trapped in the hamster wheel of life.
Gabe Thomas, founder and owner of The Savannah Oatmeal Company, acknowledges the advantage of breakfast by providing Savannahians with fully cooked, gluten-free, steel-cut oatmeal.
Each jar offers a healthy and hearty first meal to anyone with an on-the-go regimen and no time to whip up a feast before plunging into the day.
Thomas, a Suntrust Bank employee, has spent over 12 years assisting others with small business loans. This exposure fostered a desire to form a business of his own.
“You get to see how it works and it makes you want to do something on your own,” he says.
As a notorious health-nut, Thomas has been intrigued with nutrition since his teens years. However, he only started experimenting with oatmeal in 2009, to reap its digestive benefits.
Suddenly, what started as a feel-better remedy became a business opportunity. “I tinkered with it and told myself I would open up an oatmeal company.”
Oatmeal is a whole-grain powerhouse, packed with some legit nutrition. It’s one of those rare comfort foods that are equally good for you and satisfying.
“Oatmeal is my jam and I feel like more people need to eat it. It is filling in a good way. (Oatmeal) is a good way to start off your day,” voiced Thomas.
Initially, like any newfangled idea, Thomas was not sure what direction to take with his new-found breakfast concept. He started concocting different oatmeal flavors like blueberry, strawberry and dark chocolate peanut butter.
During the creation process, Thomas recognized the need to package his product strategically, in order to maximize its shelf life. One serendipitous day at the Brighter Day market, Thomas struck up a conversation about packaging with an industrial design major at SCAD. After a meeting with the student’s professor, Thomas learned that glass would be a fitting vessel for cooked oatmeal.
Thomas realized that he frequently put leftover oatmeal in a mason jar, keeping it refrigerated for many days. “It tasted better over time,” he says.
For this reason, the one-of-a-kind Savannah Oatmeal Company oatmeal is stored in 16 and 32-ounce mason jars.
In 2014, Thomas made his business public and began to sell locally to friends, at farmer’s markets and in retail shops.
What sets The Savannah Oatmeal Company apart from the instant sugary packets sold at grocery stores? Aside from being 100% local and handmade in Savannah, this company’s oatmeal uses only natural ingredients like banana for consistency and organic extra virgin coconut oil as a natural preservative.
If you are a label checker, grab a jar of The Savannah Oatmeal Company’s oatmeal and read the ingredient list. It reads only wholesome ingredients, all of which anyone would recognize.
For example, the Blueberry Oatmeal’s ingredients are; blueberries, gluten-free steel cut oats, organic bananas, pure raw honey, organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic cane sugar and purified water.
Given that honey never expires, Thomas partnered with the Savannah Bee Company, utilizing their pure raw honey as a natural preservative and sweetener.
As if that is not enough, each jar of The Savannah Oatmeal Company’s oatmeal lasts one month in the refrigerator. It’s natural preservatives keep it fresh that long, even if it has been opened. Since it’s fully cooked, the oatmeal requires no preparation (unless you want to heat it up) and can be consumed on the go.
As of now, The Savannah Oatmeal Company offers three sumptuous flavors: apple cinnamon, blueberry and, the most popular, dark chocolate peanut butter. In the fall patrons can look forward to a pumpkin spice flavor and in the summer, peach.
Each flavor has its own distinct health benefits that set it apart from the others. The blueberry-flavored oatmeal acquired its purple hue from over one-pound of fresh local blueberries per jar. Blueberries are a natural antioxidants and a good source of fiber.
As for the dark chocolate peanut butter flavor, this is made with 100% all natural peanut butter and unsweetened 100% cacao. Raw (naturally fermented) cacao and processed chocolate bars are two completely separate foods. Cacao is actually considered a superfood, containing a plethora of antioxidants, polyphenols, some fiber and even protein.
Lastly, the apple and cinnamon flavor is reminiscent of fall, packed with manganese, fiber, iron and calcium, stemming from cinnamon.
How can you get your hands on a jar? The Savannah Oatmeal Company resides in a manufacturing facility at 2815 Williams Street. Thomas will pitch a tent in the parking lot and sell jars from this location.
Also, he personally delivers jars of oatmeal to folks in the Savannah area (this is how I got mine). If you are not from the area, you can order online at www.savannahoats.com ($39 for 3 jars).
In the future, Thomas may consider selling his product to restaurants, but for now he is counting his blessings. To him, this is not a business about money. It’s about people.
“We like to know our customers and build a relationship, not a transaction.”
All in all, The Savannah Oatmeal Company is a local small business that is dedicated to the health and sustainability of our community.