BY DAYNA PAPALEO
While it really qualifies more as old-fashioned common sense rather than a popular movement, locavore eating is all about reducing your carbon footprint by subsisting on the ingredients closest to home. And this philosophy doesn’t just apply to whatever you can pull out of the ground or score from a nearby farm; it also involves supporting the local makers of products that could enhance your enjoyment of that heirloom tomato, just-picked peach, or grass-fed beef.
Hence, “Made in Rochester.” This is just the first in a series that will showcase edible goods made right here in and around the Greater Rochester area. So if there’s a local food company you think should be on our radar, please let us know by sending us the info to email@example.com.
“The House of Fee by the Genesee since eighteen hundred and sixty-three” goes the rhyme honoring the history of Fee Brothers (feebrothers.com), which has been manufacturing beverage ingredients for the last century and a half. Its product line includes a whole battery of cordial syrups (including the lime, almond, and ginger concoction known as Falernum) and botanical waters. But thanks to the American craft-cocktail renaissance, Fee Brothers’ bitters are enjoying their moment in the sun. Typically a blend of herbs and roots, bitters add balance and depth to a drink, and Fee Brothers offers flavors like black walnut, celery, and Aztec chocolate, as well as a limited-edition, gin-barrel-aged orange version. Stock up (cash or check only) at the retail space at 453 Portland Ave.; it’s open Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday until 4 p.m.
Gene Olczak’s Karma Sauce Company (karmasauce.com) donates 5 percent of its profits to Foodlink, but his Good Karma also comes bottled, a tangy, slightly chunky sauce with butternut squash and red pepper. A spicier incarnation called Bad Karma is also available, as is curry and smoky versions, along with a range of whole-grain mustards and the all-natural Gourmet Tomato Kats’up. Karma Sauce products can be found on the company website, and at local independent merchants such as Penfield’s Mooseberry Soap Co., Irondequoit’s Simply New York, and Fairport’s wonderful Red Bird Market.
Nearly everyone has formed a strong opinion about the flavor of anise, but those who like it are really, really into it. Anise aficionados might want to seek out Ouzon Soda (opaoriginals.com), the first and only soft drink in the world to incorporate the flavor of the famous Greek apéritif ouzo into a non-alcoholic carbonated beverage made from cane sugar and organic flavoring. Find Ouzon Soda online and at places like Voula’s Greek Sweets and Abundance Coop. You probably won’t miss the hangover.
Straight outta Webster, Full Throttle Sauces (fullthrottlesauce.com) are the secret weapons of many an aspiring pitmaster. The Full Throttle product line features a hot and a mild barbecue sauce, plus Hog Rub and Roadkill Chicken seasonings, each item containing no high-fructose corn syrup, no preservatives, no fat, no cholesterol, and no gluten. Full Throttle sauces and rubs are available on the web, across the country, and at Rochester spots like Tops, Hegedorn’s, Niblack Foods, and The Nut House.
Any cook worth his or her salt would suggest that you steer clear of supermarket spices, which have been hanging around for who knows how long. Spices start to lose their potency once they’ve been broken down, which is why Stuart’s Spices (stuartsspices.com) grinds its products in small batches. You can get the herbs and spices in their solo state or as part of a Stuart’s Spices blend, like Rochester Meat Sauce (for all your homemade Plate needs) and Butcher’s Rub, a mix that mingles unexpected flavors like nori and cloves. Stuart’s Spices’ retail space is located at 2322 Lyell Ave., or you can peruse the selection on Saturdays at the Public Market.
Founded in 2011, Pittsford’s Karma Culture, LLC has recently expanded distribution of its Karma Wellness Water (drinkkarma.com) online, but ‘round these parts we can just march into any Wegmans or Tops or RiteAid and grab one. What makes Karma Wellness Water different from other vitamin-enhanced waters is its nutrient delivery system, the patented KarmaCap, which keeps the vitamin-rich ingredients separate from the water until the consumer releases them, thereby increasing the product’s shelf life and optimizing its effectiveness. Choose from five flavors: “Mind” (orange-mango), “Body” (raspberry-guava-jackfruit), “Spirit” (passionfruit green tea), “Balance” (acai-pomberry), and “Vitality” (pineapple-coconut).
Northern Soy, Inc., has been around for more than 30 years, and its SoyBoy (soyboy.com) products have become so ubiquitous that you’d be forgiven for not knowing all those vegan standbys are actually being made in your own figurative backyard, at the company’s lone facility in Chili. Certified organic soybeans form the base of the tofu, which is available unadorned or with seasonings like Caribbean and Italian mixtures. The original Not Dogs hail from Northern Soy, which rounds out its meatless offerings with ravioli, tempeh, and burgers. Pick up SoyBoy products at markets such as Wegmans and Lori’s Natural Foods.
It’s true that, unlike the rest of the items on this list, you can’t actually ingest Chickpea Magazine (chickpeamagazine.com), a fact worth noting as you drool over its luscious photography and inspired recipes. Aimed at vegans and vegetarians — but appreciated by anyone who digs good grub — the quarterly magazine, printed locally by pixelPRESERVE, was borne out of the excellent blog Hipster Food (hipsterfood.tumblr.com) beginning with its Fall 2011 issue. Editor-in-chief Cara Livermore selects the articles, the most recent issue featuring pieces on frozen treats, raw-food sweets, and an interview with the doyenne of vegan cooking, Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Visit the website for subscription information as well as where to buy.
Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.