Locally minded chefs Brenda Langton of Minneapolis, Kansas City’s Jonathan Justus, and Cleveland’s Douglas Katz divulge their favorite regional food finds.
Winemaking near the Upper Mississippi? According to Brenda Langton of Minneapolis’s Spoonriver restaurant, Nan Bailly does it well, producing a range from the dry red Voyageur to the orange-scented fortified wine, Ratafia, on her family’s 35-year-old vineyard.
Langton vouches for the “fantastic” brown sugar–brined smoked herring from Harley and Shele Toftey’s market on the north shore of Lake Superior.
Langton recommends a stop at Jane Hawley Stevens’s lush organic herb farm outside Madison, WI, which sells salves and teas.
This Kansas City bakery uses organic flour to create flavor-packed loaves like Whole Grain Travel bread, which “begs for cheese and wine on a blanket,” Justus says.
“The exotic, tropical flavors of pawpaws get me excited,” Justus says of the custardlike fruit native to North America. Pawpaws grow best wild, but Integration Acres in Albany, OH, cultivates them for area markets and online sales.
Tom and Wendy Wiandt’s organic shiitake and oyster mushrooms are popular with area chefs like Katz; some of their crop is nourished with spent grain from Cleveland’s Great Lakes Brewing Company.