Manitoba-made energy bars busting out of Niverville farm

The Winnipeg Jets are being fuelled by GORP 'clean energy bars,' which are the brainchild of a couple in Niverville, Man.
Colleen Dyck, along with her husband Grant, spent nearly seven years getting their GORP energy bars ready for market. (Mike Green)

The Winnipeg Jets are getting fuelled by energy bars that are being cooked up inside a farm basement in Niverville, Man.

“Someone got it in to their hands … and then the Winnipeg Jets just started ordering,” said Colleen Dyck.

“So they are using the bars and I’ll happily take credit for their past three wins.”

GORP energy bars are the brainchild of Dyck, who along with her husband Grant, have been developing three tasty, filling and super healthy bars from their farm.

Dyck developed the bars back in 2005 as a way to take in clean calories as she trained to be a triathlete.

“I was bringing them to run practices and swim practices and then my training mates were like, ‘Give me some bars,’” she said.

“They were demanding that I bring them … so I thought maybe there is something here.”

The bars are handmade by Dyck and 10 or so local employees who roll out the three unique mixtures with rolling pins.

It is a painstaking process, but one that ensures the texture of the bars is up to her standards.

It took almost seven years of research and development — including the pricey and painstaking shelf-life testing that food products must go through for approval — before the bars were ready for market.

“We didn’t want to add preservatives, so we had to reformulate a couple of times to get the perfect ratio that would last a good six months,” explained Dyck.

“I know there are certain bars you can have in your gym bag for a year, and the best before date is still good. Well, I didn’t want to eat something that is a year old, and I don’t think other people want to, either.”

GORP bars are made from ingredients that follow the philosophy of “local first, then organic.”

Local ingredients include Manitoba-grown oats, sunflower seeds, hemp, flax and the Dycks' own honey, which comes directly from beehives that pollinate the canola fields behind their house.

There are also some more exotic ingredients such as pea fibre, coconut, green coffee bean extract and sprouted brown rice protein, which makes for a balanced mix of sweet and savoury.

The company currently runs two production days per week, making between 2,800 and 5,000 bars, in the basement of the Dycks' farmhouse.

They supply 40 Manitoba stores as well as a handful of gyms and health food stores across the country. 

Being an artisanal product, the bars do carry a bit heavier of a price tag, but that hasn't scared off customers.

Most of the business has been through word of mouth, with businesses calling regularly after having had customers demand they start carrying the bars. 

The company is small, with only two full-time employees aside from Dyck, but their most recent order might just change all that.

“We just recently got the go-ahead with Mountain Equipment Co-op to go national in January,” she said. “So that is a really big, big, big deal for us.”