If you've ever eaten a mealy, grainy energy bar, you know the resulting, "I just swallowed a rock" feeling. There's a better way to fill up on the go, and it's called the Backcountry Bar. What started off as a small side job baking sweets has blossomed into a huge business, said Karie Boesiger, one-half of the team creating the Boise-based bars.
"I used to do a lot of chocolate chip cookies," she said. "It was just trial and error, and over the years, I came up with that bar."
If you haven't tried a Backcountry Bar, they're comprised of rolled oats, peanut butter, honey, vanilla, brown sugar, and generous doses of nuts, seeds and dried fruits. In a 1-ounce square, they've packed in 320 calories worth of deliciousness. The result is a power bar actually worth eating, and they're made right here in the Treasure Valley.
"We're in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, Utah," said Boesiger. "Basically the Northwest."
Using the University of Idaho Food and Technology Center in Caldwell, Karie and Kris Boesiger employ a dozen employees to create and package the bars for distribution to Boise State, Boise Co-Op, WinCo stores and more.
"We can do 5,000 bars in a day," said Boesiger. "But they're still hand-crafted."
While the original Backcountry Bar is vegan-friendly, a new gluten-free variety has also been developed.