Nature’s Path. I tried five cereals from Nature’s Path. Their PomegranPlus Granola with Cherries is a light, crunchy granola that tastes sweeter than I’d expected. There are very small bits of dried red sour cherries in this cereal; I’d have liked them larger. The pomegranate flavor is from pomegranate juice concentrate. This company has joined with the popular Andrew Weil to produce a line of products bearing his name, including a Veri-Berry Hot Oatmeal. I enjoyed the taste, but thought the texture was a bit on the gluey side. I had better luck with the Heritage Heirloom Whole Grains, flakes made from a number of different grains. The cereal is on the plain side, but I found it hearty, and the multi-grain taste is honest and not too sweet. I sampled the Optimum Zen Cranberry-Ginger, supposed to be useful for “inner harmony”: four different textures, including oat clusters and dried cranberries, and a nice “grain” flavor. It’s on the sweet side, with a suggestion of ginger-spice—a delicious product, but can we please lose the pseudo-spiritual gibberish on the back of the box? This is cereal, folks, not a transcendental experience. EnviroKids Cheetah Chomps is, as you might expect, made with the younger set in mind. The natural strawberry flavor is mild but detectable in a cereal that’s rather sweet-tasting. I’m not sure I’d eat this for a meal; but as a sweet snack, I enjoyed it, and my guess is that most kids would love it. Online ordering.
New Morning. A bit of a surprise. As the box describes these Oatios (Original) as a “toasted oat cereal,” I had expected them to be almost identical to Cheerios. However, the “O’s,” which include oat flour and brown rice flour, both whole grains, are lighter-textured. The flavor is on the mild side and doesn’t have the “oaty” aftertaste I get from other cereals of this type. If your family likes Cheerios, here’s the opportunity to switch to an organic version. There are also Apple Cinnamon, Cocoa and Honey Almond versions. Thee is no online ordering on the company website, but the product can be ordered on Amazon.com and other websites. The brand is owned by U.S. Mills, LLC.
Peace Cereal. All cereals offered by this company are at least 70% organic; those that are at least 95% organic bear the USDA Organic seal. I tried the Wild Berry Crisp and the Mango Passion Low Fat Crisp. The Wild Berry is little sweeter than many other organic cereals I sampled and has some ingredients I didn’t expect (organic fenugreek seed, organic fennel seed, epazote leaf); but overall it was crunchy, light and pleasant. You can smell mango as soon as you open the box of Mango Passion, and I appreciated the variety of textures and tastes (pieces of dried mango, oat clusters and corn flakes). While each variety has a sodium content of 400 mg per serving, surprisingly, I couldn’t taste the salt in either cereal. Ten percent of the proceeds from these cereals sponsors International Peace Prayer Day, an annual gathering to pray for peace. Online ordering, with a two-pack minimum. This brand is owned by Golden Temple of Oregon, LLC.
Pocono Cream of Buckwheat. Pocono Cream of Buckwheat is a very simple cereal. It’s stone-ground buckwheat with no sugar or sodium. Despite buckwheat’s reputation as a heartier grain with a stronger taste, this cereal is extremely mild in flavor. It is one of a variety of buckwheat products made by Birkett Mills (they also make Wolff’s Kasha). Online ordering.
Roman Meal Cream of Rye. Roman Meal’s Cream of Rye is the only product from the company that qualified for this article; they make no other organic cereals. Consisting only of organic whole grain flaked rye, this is a hot cereal with lots of texture, and a milder flavor than you’d expect from its dark color. Online ordering.
365 Organic. 365 is the Whole Foods house brand. I sampled Peanut Butter Pows and Cosmic Cocos, both geared toward the young’uns. The Peanut Butter Puffs have a slight peanut butter aroma when the box is opened. This is a corn puff cereal with moderate sweetness and peanut butter flavor. The Cosmic Cocos, also corn puffs, are noticeably harder to bite into than their peanut butter cousins (you won’t break any teeth here; it’s just a difference in texture). A modest chocolate aroma presages a sweet taste, with some chocolate aftertaste. These are rather sweet for me, were developed for kids, who should adore them. No online ordering, but available at Whole Foods Markets.
Vermont Morning Multi-Grain Hot Cereal. I love this cereal. This is somewhat unusual, because it contains no salt or sugar, and, as an American, I was raised on plenty of both. But the manufacturer has combined whole grains in two versions (Original Blend and Wheat-Free Blend). Each cereal has a hint of cinnamon, which provides a slightly sweet taste that quiets my sweet tooth. A bowl of this cereal should keep you full and happy for some time, and I like to eat it for dinner on very cold nights. If I had to choose just one variety, I’d pick the Original Blend, but only by a whisker. Online ordering.
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