All the world’s Grape Nuts come from a dirty-white, six-story concrete building with steam rising out of the roof … in the San Joaquin Valley. The valley grows lots of grapes and lots of nuts, so the factory’s location would make sense, if Grape Nuts contained any local ingredients. Which it doesn’t.
So what’s in the stuff, anyway?
The Grape Nuts ingredients stood in silos outside: wheat (red and white) and barley, wet and malting. Maltose is the only sugar in Grape Nuts. Mr. [C. W.] Post may have called it grape sugar, or thought Grape Nuts looked like grape seeds, or that grape seeds looked like nuts, or that malted barley tasted nutty. Nobody seems to know.
The grain was tipping into mills that ground it into flour. Until five years ago, the mills spat out the husks for cattle feed. Now they stay in, so Grape Nuts can sell as “whole grain.” That is one change in Mr. Post’s formula. Another is a spray of vitamins and minerals. It qualifies Grape Nuts for food-stamp programs, and adds an element zinc that enables Dana Johnson, in Arvada, Colo., to make home-brewed Grape Nuts beer. (“Light and drinkable,” he says.)
A serious Cocoa Krispies jones when I was younger notwithstanding, the only cereals I bother with anymore are Grape Nuts and Cheerios, and, well, Cheerios is considered a drug these days.