Saturday, April 20, 2013

Orchard Bar Review

Here in the great metropolis of Cashmere, Wa, the geographic center of Washington state,we are surrounded by fantastic biking country.  From the Devil's Gulch single track trail

to the lovely climb up Chumstick Mountain.

Endless miles of gravel grinding and single track can make you hungry!  Fortunately we have a solution.  Liberty Orchards is located here in Cashmere.  They make many tasty delights such as the famous Aplets and Cotlets, but their newest (and best, in my opinion) product is their Orchard Bar.

Orchard Bars are (according to the label) Vegan, Dairy Free, Non GMO, Contain Natural Ingredients,  Low Sodium, Rich in Antioxidants (Vit C&E) and have Heart Healthy Nuts and are A Good Source of Protein.

Some of these claims are a bit thin.  Especially the protein.   Only 5 gm per bar.  I find that to be an advantage when riding or running as high protein bars seem to sit like a lump in my stomach.  The vitamins C&E are added as preservatives, but they are there 20% of the RDA per bar.

I do not think the bars are designed to be for super serious athletes in the way that a lot of the gels etc are, they don't really have much in the way of electrolytes or make any claims about improving your recovery etc.

In terms of actual composition the bars are a pectin candy base, a bit like Clif Shot Blocks, with some add ins including the following:  nuts (varies by flavor), seeds (flax and sunflower), and soy protein nuggets (I think these are the same as those in Luna Bars).  The gel is a bit softer than shot blocks and so easier to chew and less sticking to the teeth.

 Orchard Bars come in a variety of flavors.  I think my favorite flavor is Pineapple Macadamia Nut, but as you can see from the photo there are quite a few so you will probably be able to find one that suits your taste.  Although I would recommend steering clear of the Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly.  Yuk.  Tastes like a nasty gooey sandwich from your lunch box in elementary school.  If you had some slightly warm milk in a thermos you could re-live that wonderful afternoon nausea of 2nd grade.   As you can tell I am not nostalgic for PB&J.  If you are, go for it.

Around here the bars cost $1.79 apiece, on Amazon they are a bit more at $2.30 per bar.  That is a bit steep I think.   Pricing is in line with bars like Clif or Luna, but my main biking food is the Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Nut bars.   I am hoping that by eating these I will get faster... Mathew Lee ate the cashew flavor in the TD movie.  I am still eating only the peanut ones, but someday hope to be cashew worthy. But that is a whole other story.   The Nature Valley Bars are much less expensive, about 45 cents per bar on Amazon.  However, one does need variety and sometimes I like to splurge on an Orchard Bar. You can pick Orchard Bars up on here

The bottom line is that Orchard Bars are really delicious.  They seem to be easy to digest and eat on the bike or run.  I don't think that they contain all the balanced electrolytes etc, that products designed for athletes contain, and are a bit pricy, but they will keep you from bonking, and you will be supporting a small business here in Cashmere.  They fueled us up to make it to this beautiful vista outside of town.

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