BROWNFIELD — They pride themselves on being all-organic. Sustainable. A different sort of granola.

“We’re not that sweet,” said Aaron Anker.

“As people, maybe,” cautioned a wry Nat Peirce.

Anker, chief granola officer, and Peirce, head honcho, lead GrandyOats, best-known for its Classic Granola made from a 32-year-old western Maine recipe. It’s handmade and hand-mixed here, in a century-old, former cow barn by a crew that listens to heavy metal and takes twice-a-day hacky sack breaks.

The company has seen 15 to 20 percent growth each of the past two years, with four new hires in 2011. It launched a new product last week that competes with Starbucks and McDonald’s: instant organic oatmeal and fruit in a paper cup.

GrandyOats granola is available at Hannaford supermarkets, colleges such as Bates, hundreds of stores down the coast to Florida and out West as far as Minnesota. In Auburn, it’s sold at Axis Natural Foods.

“This (oatmeal) has the implications of going really far, maybe nationally,” said Anker, 39.

GrandyOats was founded in 1979 by friends Sarah Carpenter and Penny Hood using space in a Skowhegan bakery, and later relocating to Farmington. Peirce, 40, bought the company in 1997 and in 2001 moved into the barn, the largest in Maine when it was built for breeding cows. Anker joined GrandyOats in 2000.

The space has been renovated as they’ve grown, the outline of troughs still visible in the cement floor poured up around them.

When he took over, Peirce said the company made 10 batches of granola a day using two ovens for six products. It’s now at seven ovens, up to 60 batches a day and 50 products.

Their granola and trail mix, including Classic, Mainely Maple and Chocolate Almond, is hand-mixed in 60-pound batches by workers running gloved fingers through ingredients such as oats, vanilla and walnuts. The mix is sheeted, baked and packaged, all by hand.

“Your body tones to it,” Peirce said. “It’s easy to make it; it’s not easy to sell it. To be able to take it to where we’ve taken it, that’s where the challenge is.”

The company has 16 employees. Two of this year’s new hires were in sales.

All of GrandyOats’ ingredients have been certified organic since 2004 and there’s been an effort to buy regionally. Maple syrup, some oats and nori and kelp (sea vegetables used in a roasted nut line) come from Maine. Blueberries and cranberries are from eastern Canada.

Organic honey was the most difficult to find, Peirce said. They needed bees that didn’t fly within 5 miles of pesticides and had to go all the way to Brazil to find them.

The new instant oatmeal is 30 percent fruit with cranberries, apples and raisins. Anker said they’ve been market-testing it since January in several Maine coffee shops, to strong reviews. It retails for about $3.

“We had identified it (as a potential new product), but then we see people like McDonald’s put so much into it, we let them build the category,” Peirce said.

They’re optimistic about demand, hoping to find takers at coffee shops, universities, ski resorts and possibly convenience stores.

Anker and Peirce recently shifted the workweek to four 10-hour days, giving them the flexibility to add a second shift if, or when, the company has to grow. Hacky sack breaks at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., on the lawn in good weather, on the second floor under floodlights in winter, stayed put.

The two men have been friends since meeting in the hotel and restaurant management program at the University of New Hampshire. Peirce grew up in Scarborough; Anker in New York.

“We’ve really tried to grow a company that’s going to be around for a while,” Anker said. “We’ve really tried to diversify so we don’t have all our eggs — or granola — in one basket.”

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