During my peak backpacking years I was a big consumer of Gorp—the do-it-yourself trail mix made by dumping a bag of M&Ms, a can of mixed nuts and a box of raisins into a bowl and mixing them up together, then dumping the result into a Ziploc bag. (Internet searches suggest that GORP stands for “good old raisins and peanuts”.)
Since then I have tried the various snack bars that come along as improvements, especially Clif and Luna, and I am sure they are healthier and more nutrition-packed, but to me they taste like cardboard even with peanut, chocolate, lemon and other attempts at flavoring. The purpose of a snack bar, in my opinion, to deliver a measured dose of sugar energy and protein to keep you going in a strenuous exertion.
Greg Taylor, a onetime advertising client who is president of Liberty Orchards in the apple country of eastern Washington, sent me a selection of his Orchard Bars to check out and I like them a whole lot better. Greg is a master of delivering a precisely controlled sweetness through apple juice, instead of refined sugar, and Orchard Bars are definitely sweeter than most snack bars but without approaching the sweetness level of candy. They are firm without being hard and the generous amounts of nut bits provide a quick dose of crunch. My tasting panel (consisting of school age kids) proclaimed them the best of all snack bars they’d tried. One more test: I left a bar on the top of a heater, to simulate the experience of spending a hot day in a backpack, and it held up fine.
There are six flavors of which Strawberry-Walnut seems to be the most popular, though I like Macadamia Banana the best. They seem to be somewhat hard to find at retail but you can order them on Amazon. You can also get a sampler of two bars for $2.50 with free shipping, direct from the producer, which is probably the best way to satisfy initial curiosity. Orchard Bars are vegan, non-GMO and contain no gluten or dairy products.