“It’s like a convenience food, but it’s healthy for you,” says owner of The Grain Factory, Mary Tyre.

Mary Tyre with son selling her prepared baking mixes

Her favorite is her Harvest Pumpkin Pie. With samples of muffins diced on the table in a green tupperware container, it’s no surprise Mary bakes with her hands and her heart.

“It’s actually got powdered pumpkin in it, which is organic and non-GMO,” says Tyre.

After passing Otis Spunkemeyer goods in the store for Tyre sells organic baking mix she prepares from her own organic recipes.

“One day it hit me, not the muffins, the mixes,” says Tyre! Once someone buys her specialty mix, he or she just has to combine an egg, vegetable oil, and water. Then the chef stirs and bakes. Each mix makes 12 muffins, an eight- or nine-inch cake round, or pancakes.

Her drive is no cake walk. She travels about half an hour from Mebane, North Carolina to the Elon Community Church parking lot each Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. to sell her homemade, bake-it-yourself, goodies. And she’s expanding.

“I’m trying now to get into Company Shops of Burlington or Saxpahaw General Store,” says Tyre about her hope of expanding The Grain Factory.

She hopes to never have a store of her own but to be in stores and have Internet sells. But there is one drawback about being at Elon and Mebane.

“There’s a core that comes every week and then there are a lot of people who just wander through,” says Tyre.

“It’s fun for me to think about all the flavors,” says Tyre.

She has an envelope filled with what she says are tons of flavor ideas. Along with harvest pumpkin pie flavors include: lemon poppy seed, snickerdoodle, strawberry tart, cranberry orange, and chocolate.

“I actually hand mix them all and once I measure them out I have these great big bowls, so I can toss it around without throwing it out. And I have eight and I usually make about 8 [flavors] at a time,” says Tyre.

She says once she has all the ingredients measured it is therapeutic to sit in a chair and just mix them all up by hand.

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