Meet the Maker: Rainbow Trout Kitchen

  • , by Chris Dugas

When Jakie Bowles and her family ventured out West for a fishing trip in 2009, none of them anticipated that it would lead to a booming business soon after. Her family has always loved to fly fish, but for their then eight-year-old son, Peter, this trip sparked a new love of a go-to fishing snack, granola.

When the family returned to Virginia, Peter quickly got to work testing out granola recipes and giving the batches as gifts to friends and family. Recipe adjustments and increased demand followed over the next weeks. Jakie and her husband recognized Peter's passion and potential, and they used his endeavor as an opportunity to teach him the values of entrepreneurship and making money himself. Peter quickly gained an appreciation for self-earning, and in 2010, he launched Rainbow Trout Granola with an email to potential clients, signed, "Peter Bowles—CEO of Rainbow Trout Granola." 

Peter continued developing Rainbow Trout Granola throughout high school and thrived on the fact that he could make money doing something he loved instead of the typical high school jobs.

During this time, Peter worked hard to scale the brand by building an impressive book of clients. By the time he graduated high school, Rainbow Trout Granola was solidified as a successful business. Peter thought graduation meant it was time to lay the business to bed, but his mother had also developed a love for the business. She wanted to continue Peter's progress.

Jakie shared her desire to continue the Rainbow Trout legacy with her longtime friend, Ashley Wallace, asking if Wallace was interested in, “dipping her toes in the [Rainbow Trout Granola] water.”

After a few conversations, Wallace was not only ready to dip her toes in the water, but she was also ready to dive headfirst into the granola business. Together, Jakie and Wallace made Peter an offer to buy the business.

No strangers to hard, logistical work, the pair began researching how to make the granola in a commercial kitchen, package, and distribute it to scale the business. As the brand grew, so did the pair’s excitement.

They continued finding ways to improve the business. Keeping it in the family, they invited Wallace’s niece, Lizzie, to showcase her design skills by revamping the Rainbow Trout branding. With no real expectations, the pair knew that the opportunity would at least be a fun side project for Lizzie and her business partner Laura. The resulting product wowed Wallace and Bowles, and they now rely on her with most branding and marketing initiatives for Rainbow Trout Kitchen. 

A bag of classic granola from Rainbow Trout Kitchen

While Rainbow Trout’s one-pound classic granola bag bears a strong presence throughout Virginia, the company's quickly expanding their reach across the country.

Jakie and Bowles both believe that providing good food to people is at the core of what it means to be Southern, and their main goal is to fulfill that. They see uncapped possibilities for Rainbow Trout Kitchen. Whatever route they decide to go, we are confident that they will be around for the long haul. 

Try Rainbow Trout Kitchen’s granola topped on yogurt alongside blueberries (Wallace's favorite way to enjoy), or in a bowl with unsweetened vanilla almond milk (Bowles' favorite). We recommend you substitute it for any and every recipe that calls for granolaespecially this peach and blueberry crisp

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