With its mint-green siding, Taste On Elm’s storefront adds to the residential feel of Ludlow’s bustling, eclectic business district. It’s a good fit with the homey vibe that owners and Ludlow residents Lauren and Challis Hodge have created.
“Taste On Elm offers an inviting place for people to come together over a glass of wine and a charcuterie board,” Lauren says. “Our belief is that the best way to experience and learn about food is to taste it, to understand where it comes from and how it’s produced.”
Emphasizing hormone- and chemical-free items from small producers, the business caters to neighborhood residents and anyone else who wanders in looking for something different.
“We always tell people, if it’s in the market, it’s on our table at home,” Lauren explains. “We want to know where our food comes from, and we believe our customers do as well.”
The market, which opened in February 2020, offers a wide range of products, including biodynamic and organic wines, Kentucky bacon and fresh eggs, vegan and keto pastries and cakes, handmade salads, gluten-free buns and pizza crusts, and artisan chocolates. And the Hodges are constantly searching locally and globally for more unique items that can’t be found in grocery stores or at other local retailers. They’ve gotten to know their clientele so well that they even take product recommendations from customers. “It’s not uncommon for a customer to share a product or bring us a sample,” says Lauren. “We’re regularly offering samples to get customer input on new products.”
While the pandemic could have meant the end for their fledgling business, the couple leaned into making Taste On Elm a neighborhood destination.
“We opened our doors only to be greeted by the coronavirus shutdown,” Lauren explains. “Some said we should shut the doors and wait to open after the pandemic, but we knew we had to be there for our community. We have been fortunate to remain open and, more importantly, get to know folks in a way we probably wouldn’t have otherwise. We are so grateful for the love and support of our community. Without them we wouldn’t be here.”
Taste On Elm, 227 Elm St., Ludlow, (859) 916-8488
Starting at $85 a month, you can receive biodynamic and organic wines from small family wineries as well as women winemakers as part of Taste On Elm’s Taste Monthly Wine Club.