By Michelle M. Sharp, Founder and Content Creator of Meet the Minnesota Makers
That’s what Therese Moore’s 3 Bear Oats is all about.
There’s more to like about this story in this next installment of MTMM’s local food series.
Therese sources the majority of her ingredients locally, makes each batch herself in her commercial kitchen at The Good Acre, and packs all this goodness in a compostable bowl.
Her five frozen bowls are naturally gluten free and packed with super foods to carry you through your day. “This is comfort food for the health-conscious busy human,” said Therese.
3 Bear Oats is available in your grocery store freezer case. The colorful packages beckon you to imagine a story where little bears from around the world pick their favorite oatmeal. “I love how we think as children,” shared Therese. “Then we can imagine Goldilocks and the Three Bears. What would the bears eat? Take the Petite Canadienne with cheese, maple, and bacon, what would a little French bear want? For the Alpine Trek I’m thinking of a little Swiss bear with the peanut butter, chocolate and banana. He’s ready for a trek up the mountain.”
Therese founded 3 Bear Oats after a fateful dinner party with friends. Her menu featured a savory orzo risotto. About an hour before her guests were to arrive, she realized that a guest with gluten sensitivity would not be able to eat the main course. “I improvised. I thought I’d make my friend’s version with steel cut oats.I positioned it to her as still being a risotto—steel cut oats with mushrooms, leeks, parmesan cheese, olive oil and basil. That was the recipe,” said Therese. “Everyone else wanted to eat her version instead of the one with the orzo!”
After repeated challenges from her friends, Therese applied for the Linden Hills Farmers Market to create a stand with an oatmeal bar. “Someone else dropped out and they called me. There I was with my big red kettle dishing out warm oatmeal,” laughed Therese. “They called me the ‘Oatmeal Lady’. Nobody wants to be called the oatmeal lady.”
It turned out that being the “Oatmeal Lady” was a great learning experience. Even now that Therese sells the majority of her oatmeal bowls through the Lakewinds, Linden Hills and Wedge co-ops, Fresh Thyme, Jerry’s Foods and Lunds and Byerlys, she loves being a part of local farmers markets. “I think farmers markets are beautiful places to connect with the community. I enjoy them intensely. It’s a very supportive community. You have the ability to educate and connect. I’ve met my people there—the farmers, other producers—we have similar intentions. It’s a community unto itself.”
A former French teacher who spent several years of her childhood living in France and traveling through Europe with her parents, Therese wants to bring an international flavor profile to Minnesotans’ oatmeal experience. “Savory oat bowls are common in Scandinavia. I thought that Minnesota, the bold north, would enjoy these flavors too.”
Therese’s leap from being the “Oatmeal Lady” with the big red kettle to your grocer’s freezer came when a customer encouraged her to apply for the Makers to Market grant. It was through the focused coaching and marketing education that she reimagined her oatmeal as a frozen, convenient, heat and eat product sold through grocery stores. “It brings me tremendous joy to have experimented and had this experience and this adventure really through oatmeal. I have learned so much.”
Oatmeal is a vibrant grain that offers a number of health benefits. It lowers cholesterol. It’s heart healthy. It’s super high in fiber and plant protein. “It also has its own hydration so that when you reheat it it gets all creamy and lovely on its own. Then I add other proteins on top of it so you truly have a complete meal in a bowl,” explained Therese. “I also learned since starting the business that it’s the number one food recommended by doctors to support lactating women. It’s a brilliant food!”
Therese’s passion for sustainability may even surpass her deep love for oatmeal. “My way of contributing is to really value what’s here at home. I feel very strongly about sourcing organically. Even more than organic, I feel it needs to be local.” Some of 3 Bear Oats’s local partners are Gourmet Delight for mushrooms, Featherstone Farm for carrots and broccoli, Hoch Orchard for apples, Lorentz Meats for bacon, Maple Valley Cooperative for maple syrup, Rochdale Cooperative for cheese, and You Betcha Kimchi for the Kimchi in her Cottage Garden bowl. The compostable bowls made by Ultra Green Sustainable Packaging in Mound, MN finish the job.
3 Bear Oats offers two savory (Cottage Garden and Orso Toscano) and three gently sweet (Alpine Trek, Little Bears Breakfast and Petite Canadienne) options perfect for any time of day. “I know it’s wonderful and I want people to try it. It’s okay that this oatmeal is not served up the way you might customarily eat it. Look at it like comfort food. It’s an option instead of pasta to warm and nourish you from head to toe.”
3 Bear Oat’s newest retail partner is Lodegas Market, an online Twin Cities retailer offering unique food.
Visit https://3bearoats.com/ to see if your favorite grocery store carries 3 Bear Oats products.
Follow @3bearoats on Instagram for Farmers Market dates and to see when Therese is in the kitchen.
Follow @meettheminnesotamakers on Facebook and Instagram to discover more of the people who make Minnesota a tasty place to be!
Photo Credits: Dani Loomis