WILTON, Conn. -- It's not everyday you hear about a dentist inventing a healthy snack food but that's the story behind Dr. Mary's Kitchen, a Wilton-based company making paleo and gluten-free granola.
The story began several years ago, when Dr. Mary Hamill, a sought-after Norwalk dentist known for treating autistic children, was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis (MG). MG is a neuromuscular disease characterized by an increasing weakness in voluntary muscles.
According to her husband, Tom Shrum who acts as the company's CEO, Mary was working and doing great until June 2014 when she went into a myasthenia crisis. The MG crisis left her unable to walk and dependent upon supplemental oxygen.
As soon as she was strong enough to get out of bed, however, she wanted to be in the kitchen. "Our kitchen is the heart of our home," said Shrum. "Everyone -- family, neighbors, family friends, and friends of our children -- were always in the kitchen.
"Mary has always been known for three things: she would never read/follow a recipe; she always cooked enough for eight to 10 people even if there were only two of us, and she was always happy when making a mess in the kitchen."
To stay healthy, she was told to change her diet to gluten-free foods. The problem was, many of the items she had to eat tasted horrible. According to Shrum, Mary was determined to change that. And so, she started experimenting and fiddling around in the kitchen.
Three years ago, after much trial and error, she came up with a winning granola recipe that sat well with her ultimate taste-testers: her kids. The three flavors of Original, Apple Crisp, and Pumpkin Spice became instant hits among their friend group, further encouraging the couple to take their snacks to market.
Dr. Mary's Kitchen Granola is now sold at Village Market in Wilton as well as on Amazon (a recent development) and at dr.maryskitchen.com/ with more places hopefully on the horizon.
The company's ultimate goal is to be in all of the major retailers throughout the country and to have an expanded line of spiced nuts, dried fruits, and more. Shrum said they are currently testing a dark chocolate and cherry granola.
Go to www.drmaryskitchen.com/ for more information.
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