Coming from a large Italian family my mother, grandmother and aunt were always in the kitchen making delicious meals. I would spend hours in the kitchen watching them make dinner, prepare for a party or a huge Holiday meal. When John and I married we kept the tradition alive. Holidays, birthdays, weekends, whatever occasion, we had a house full of family, friends, and delicious food. For us a staple always was Marina’s Italian Style Tomato Sauce. How could you have a house full of family and friends and not have a Baked Ziti or a delicious Lasagna??
Living in Missouri and being so close to the Farmers Markets, John and I love to eat fresh locally sourced food and enjoy it with our four happy, healthy grandchildren. Over the years we have introduced so many delicious products to the market and the one we are proud of is our prize-winning Bloody Mary Mix. Marina loves to cook and through her cooking, she writes recipes and blogs.
We moved from New Jersey to Missouri in 2009. That was when all the fun began!! My husband and I were sitting down for dinner one night when he brought up what our next adventure and business venture should be, “hogs”. He researched on the best practices for raising and selling hogs while creating clean, healthy pork products. We bought our breeding stock and about two years later we found ourselves with hogs to sell!
While we were waiting for our hogs to grow to market weight, and I could not find a job, John said why not make Tomato Sauce, Barbecue Sauce and Cranberry Chutney that you made for Catering. I took the food handlers course, sent the products in for testing and found a shared kitchen to make my wares.
Both my children are athletes and nutrition was very important to John and myself. I remember visiting the grocery store checking labels and being appalled at all the extra additives and preservatives. “I am not going to feed them that?!” I would say to myself in disgust. (don’t worry I did not answer myself!!)
John and I owned a successful catering company for many years. From my catering days my Cranberry Chutney and Big John’s Barbecue Sauce were born. My chef and I came up with the Cranberry Chutney because we were not happy with the same old Cranberry Sauce. We used it for Turkey, but our clients loved it on our Baked Brie and of course Cheese Boards, which are now Charcuterie Boards.
These shelf-stable products would become a perfect complement to the pork products we sell. While attending these Farmers Markets, John and I loved to talk about our shelf stable products and how they can be used with the pork we were selling. The customers were so happy that our recipes and products were exactly what they were seeking but also good for their bodies to boot!
We do sell our shelf stable products to grocery and specialty stores, but it was always more important for us to have a connection with our customers directly.