Locally minded chefs Brenda Langton of Minneapolis, Kansas City’s Jonathan Justus, and Cleveland’s Douglas Katz divulge their favorite regional food finds.


Alexis Bailly Vineyard

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.

Dockside Fish Market

Langton vouches for the “fantastic” brown sugar–brined smoked herring from Harley and Shele Toftey’s market on the north shore of Lake Superior.

Four Elements Herbals

Langton recommends a stop at Jane Hawley Stevens’s lush organic herb farm outside Madison, WI, which sells salves and teas.


Boulevard Brewing Company

Jonathan Justus of Smithville’s Justus Drugstore buys from this Kansas City microbrewery. “Its Smokestack beers in corked wine bottles make great food pairings,” Justus says.


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.


Hartzler Family Dairy

Chef Douglas Katz of Cleveland’s Fire Food & Drink restaurant uses bottled milk from this Wooster dairy; the dairy’s ice cream shop also makes milk shakes and even a “cow pie” sundae.

Killbuck Valley Mushrooms

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.

Ohio Honey Company

Katz loves Lucy and Charlie Wellhausen’s artisanal honeys, which change flavors depending on what’s flowering. Melon and berry honeys appear at the peak of summer.

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