What he makes: European-style breads (everything from French to rye to ciabatta), pastries (brioche and croissants), and specialty items like focaccia, bagels, and every Seinfeld fan’s favorite: chocolate Babka. Shadeau also serves homemade sandwiches and soups for lunch Monday through Friday.
Where he makes it: 1336 Main St., Over-the-Rhine Signature items: Multigrain and French breads are hot sellers, and pretzels during Bockfest.
Where to find his products: Get a loaf at Silverglades Deli, local Country Fresh grocery stores, Hyde Park Gourmet Food & Wine, BonBonerie, Cork ’N Bottle, or Pipkin’s; look for Shadeau breads on menus at Via Vite, Nicola’s Ristorante, Melt, and Sitwell’s; or stop by farm markets in Northside, Monfort Heights, Madeira, and College Hill.
How he got started: Pritz has been baking since 1975, when he got a job with Virginia Bakery. After going to schools in New York and Minneapolis, he discovered he loved making bread the “old-fashioned way”—by hand, no shortcuts. “Artisan style bread is the best kind, and I wanted what was best,” he says. “It’s too much work to invest time in something you don’t think well of.” Why he loves it: “I don’t know what it is, actually,” he says. “It’s what I know and am good at, and I’ve been doing it so long it’s sort of my identity now.”
What’s ahead: Pritz says even though they’ve run out of room at the Main Street store, his goal is to improve operations and work more efficiently rather than expand. After the closing of Keller’s IGA in Clifton (formerly one of his biggest customers), he’s working on selling his breads in more local grocery stores.
Factoid: Every loaf is baked at 1336 Main St., is hand-formed, and is made without preservatives.
What they make: 25 varieties of wood-fired breads including sourdough, Jewish rye, and French; specialty items like English muffins
Where they make it: On their family farm in Williamsburg, Ohio
Signature items: Apricot walnut cranberry bread, the ciabatta-like Tortano, and the Bad Girl (a loaf made with wheat flour, poppy seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and olive oil)
Where to find their products: Saturdays at Findlay Market, Sundays in Hyde Park (May–December at the Hyde Park Farmers’ Market; December–May at Awakenings Coffee and Wine), Wednesdays at Northside Farmers’ Market
How they got started: “Sara and I were kayaking down the Little Miami several years ago when we saw a sign that said ‘acreage for sale,’” Mark says. “We were city kids who had no idea what to do with a farm, but we bought it. Sara’s a chef and my family is from Italy, so we decided to take our love of bread and make it into our livelihood. I built a wood-fired oven with river clay and Ohio-made blue tile, and Sara got to work perfecting recipes.”
Why they love it: “The chance to spend time with our family—we’ve got a son and a baby on the way—in nature, creating something. It’s so fulfilling to cut the wood by hand, fire the oven, manage the land, and feed people.”
What’s ahead: Mark says they hope to start selling at another farmers’ market this year, and may begin wholesaling to restaurants; experimenting with some new specialty breads and smaller baked goods.
Factoid: In addition to all the baking, Mark and Sara also do all the deliveries and sales themselves, regularly driving 200 miles per week.
Jim and Angel King
Blue Jacket Dairy
What they make: Fresh artisanal cheeses including quark (a German-style cheese similar to cream cheese, but with less fat), chevre, feta, and aged cow’s and goat’s milk varieties.
Where they make it: Bellefontaine, Ohio
Signature items: Cheddar curds, Gretna Grillin’ (a halloumi-style cheese), and Lemon Quark (great spread on a bagel)
Where to find their products: Stop by their retail store/cheese making facility and see it made before your very eyes (1434 County Road 11, Bellefontaine); pick some up at Findlay Market, Picnic and Pantry, Lucky John Slow Market, Whole Foods (both Cincinnati locations); or enjoy some poutine (featuring Blue Jacket’s cheese curds) at Senate in Over-the-Rhine.
How they got started: “My husband has milked cows for 30 years and I have a natural love of cooking,” Angel explains. “We fell in love with the world of cheese-making and built our own facility three years ago. We became passionate about each cheese, how good they taste when they’re fresh, and how they can be used in everyday cooking.”
Why they love it: “The process never ceases to amaze me,” says Angel. “Things change right before your eyes—fluid milk in the morning ends up as 200 pounds of cheese at the end of the day.” What’s ahead: Launching a few new varieties this spring and possibly making yogurt.
Factoid: Each cheese’s name is chosen with history and local flavor in mind: Gretna Grillin’ is named after a local hamlet; Ludlow aged cow’s milk cheese after one of Ohio’s original surveyors; and Houtz goat cheese after the man who once owned the property where their facility now stands.
What he makes: 26 varieties of farmstead/raw milk cheeses Where he makes it: Barren County, Kentucky
Signature items: Aged white cheddar, Nena (similar to brie but washed in ale), Kentucky Rose (blue on rind, made with extra cream), St. Jerome (a cross between Swiss and cheddar)
Where to find his products: The farm’s shop (2033 Thomerson Park Rd., Austin, Kentucky), Whole Foods, Lucky John Slow Market, Jungle Jim’s, Cork ’N Bottle, Picnic and Pantry, and on plates at Virgils, Palomino, and Local 127.
How he got started: When Mattingly was 19, his salesman father decided to hang up his suit and tie and buy a Kentucky dairy farm. When it was Kenny’s turn to take the reins, he wanted to make the farm sustainable. He bought cheese-making equipment in 1994, spent the next four years getting the farm in shape and growing his herd, and in 1998 made his first cheese (with help from his mom). “We made 4,000 pounds of cheese that first year, learning as we went along.”
Why he loves it: “Dairy farming is really very rewarding,” he says. “It’s been great to work alongside my son and daughter as they learn dairy farming, and getting feedback from customers really keeps me motivated.”
What’s ahead: Test marketing coffee-soaked cheddar as well as a French monk-style washed rind cheese.
Factoid: Mattingly sells his cheese to restaurants and retail shops as far away as California.
Jenn De Marco and Jordan Aversman
What they make: Naturally fermented foods—krauts, kimchee, pickles, kombucha, and beet kvass. Where they make it: Ohio River Valley Food Venture, an incubator kitchen cooperative in Madison, Indiana; and a rented kitchen in The Emanuel Community Center in Over-the-Rhine.
Signature items: Spicy dill kraut and hot kimchee Where to find their products: Park + Vine, Whole Foods, Lucky John Slow Market, Picnic and Pantry, Northside Farmers’ Market (year-round), Findlay Market, Hyde Park Farmers’ Market, Clifton Natural Foods
How they got started: De Marco was inspired by the fermented foods of Eastern Europe after living in Austria for a year. Upon her return, she met Aversman, a successful stonemason who had been fermenting foods for 12 years. “We saw it as our destiny to step up and supply our community with real, living food,” says De Marco.
What’s ahead: They are one of the few companies in the U.S. making raw beet kvass, an effervescent Ukrainian beverage valued for its medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Whole Foods has just signed on to carry it.
Factoid: “We’ve been educating the health department. One inspector had never seen a kombucha culture.”
John H. Van Eaton
Rockin’ John’s Fermentarium
What he makes: Pickled everything: roasted asparagus, garlic, jalapeños, corn, radishes, green beans, watermelon rind, blueberries, blackberries, and cheese (that’s right, cheese) to name a few. Oh, and he makes sauerkraut and salsa, too.
Signature items: Red food. Sauerkraut from red cabbage, pickled red onions, and pickled blackberries (“They go insanely well with vanilla gelato or a very good yogurt” he says). His onions are labeled “The Red Menace” because “they are very aggressive.”
Where to find his products: Madison’s at Findlay Market. How he got started: Started making his own beer in the 1980s, moved on to hard cider and mead, then was inspired a couple of years ago by sauerkraut from Fab Ferments. “I had always thought of sauerkraut as old-school German stuff that sat on a plate next to wiener schnitzel. I ate some of theirs, then…Wow.”
Why he loves it: “I’m an artist. Making food is an art form. When you make food to share, you are sharing art, sustenance, and life.”
What’s ahead: More product and more outlets, including restaurants.
Factoid: The name Rockin’ John came from a musical career and 20 years as a stage technician for the likes of Guns N’ Roses, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, and more.
What she raises: Lamb, chickens, and pork sold by the whole or half animal; certified organic fruit and vegetables; eggs; flowers.
Where she Raises it: Indian Hill
Signature items: Black Welsh Mountain sheep; winter spinach. Nectar’s Julie Francis is a frequent customer. Where to find her products: Buy direct from the farm or at Findlay Market on Saturdays; Nectar
How she got started: After moving away for college, Mitsui returned in 1994 to run Turner Farm, which her grandmother had purchased in the 1960s. “After living in California, I realized there was a dearth of good, locally grown produce here. Initially I just wanted to grow enough food for myself and sell what was left over, but it grew into a mission.”
Why she loves it: “I’ve loved this farm since I was 8 years old and would ride my bike past it—back then it was still Turner Farm, and had been in continuous operation since the early 1800s. I try to grow produce and raise animals in a responsible, respectful way, and I really enjoy helping others learn to do the same.”
What’s ahead: Cooking classes and expanding to a local weekday market this spring. Factoid: Mitsui plants, cultivates, and harvests using horsepower—the four-legged kind—as much as possible.
Bill and Beth Dean
Dean Family Farm
What they raise: Humanely raised pigs and chicken, plus some produce, including cantaloupes and squash
Where they raise it: Georgetown, Ohio
Signature items: Red Wattle hogs, a rare breed that produces leaner, more flavorful pork Where to find their products: Orchids, Green Dog Café, and Green B.E.A.N. Delivery
How they got started: Having lived in the country all his life and participating in 4-H as a kid, Bill always wanted to farm. He looked for a good-tempered heritage breed to raise and found the Red Wattle. After four years, the Deans have 50 pigs (including a 936-pound boar) that eat one ton of feed each week.
Why they love it: “I love making something, being around animals, and seeing life all around me,” Bill says. “It’s satisfying to know where some of our food comes from and have a connection to it.”
What’s ahead: Once more of their pigs reach maturity, they’ll sell their pork to more restaurants; with the help of a grant from the Ohio Wine Producers Association, they’re growing an acre of table grapes this summer.
Factoid: The Deans have three kids and full-time jobs—Bill as a broadcast engineer at WVXU/WGUC FM, and Beth as an event marketing manager at F+W Media.
What she grows: Produce, and lots of it. Tomatoes, carrots, eggplant, potatoes, leeks, squash, celery root, peppers, okra, onions, and a wide variety of herbs including chives, chervil, and basil. All without chemicals.
Where she grows it: Batavia, Ohio
Signature items: Ransohoff is famous among local chefs for her tomatoes—she grows around 100 varieties, mostly heirloom—basil, kale, and spinach.
Where to find her products: On plates at Nicola’s, Via Vite, Jean-Robert’s Table, The Bistro, Nectar, Honey, 20 Brix, The Palace, Virgils Café, and Melt; fresh produce is also sold at Lucky John Slow Market and Picnic and Pantry.
How she got started: “My father, a UC professor, romanticized farming. Even as a 10-year-old living in Clifton, I knew I wanted to farm. I started with basil and the goal to grow the perfect tomato, and it took off from there.”
Why she loves it: “I love to grow things, be outside, and see life happening in front of me. I also realized early on that I like people to a point, but I enjoy being by myself too, so farming is the perfect job for me. My favorite part of the job is the ‘Wow!’ I get from chefs.”
What’s ahead: Ransohoff is considering selling her produce at a local farmers’ market this summer, but it all depends on availability of labor (i.e., her teenage son). Factoid: Before she decided to farm, Ransohoff contemplated another solitary profession: long-haul truck driver.
Adam and Sarah Mancino
Farm Beach Bethel
What they grow: A wide variety of lettuces and greens, including arugula, radicchio, endives, and dandelion greens, plus other vegetables they feel inspired by (last year it was sweet potatoes)—all grown using organic and biodynamic methods, with special emphasis on building up healthy soil and limiting inputs (like feed, seed, or fertilizer) from outside the farm.
Where they grow it: Bethel, Ohio
Signature items: Salad blends like their Spicy Mix—a combination of arugula, mustard greens, and kale Where to find their products: Hyde Park Farmers’ Market (Sundays in spring/summer) and Madeira Farmers’ Market (Thursdays in spring/summer); Nectar.
How they got started: “I’ve always had a garden,” Adam says. “We started growing food just for our family, then Patrick McCafferty [of the now defunct Slims] introduced us to the art of growing greens well. It took off from there!”
Why they love it: “What else would I be doing?” Adam says with a laugh. “Honestly, this job doesn’t come with financial bonuses, but we think our benefits package is the beauty of the mornings, feeling one with nature, and making the planet better through sustainable farming.”
What’s ahead: They are working on selling their lettuces at the Anderson Farmers’ Market and Whole Foods in Rookwood, and may grow melons this year. factoid: The name Farm Beach Bethel comes from a buddy from Michigan who came down for a visit and declared, “It’s like a farm with the mentally relaxed attitude of a beach vacation.”