While we usually focus our gaze on restaurants, we are devoting this last week of March to the makers.
Part 3, is the smallest of the lists but is still saucy and meaty, plus it features several beverage companies you can use to wash it all down.
Most of these companies do direct online sales, while we’ve also mentioned what stores carry them — namely Generation Green, Mottola Grocery, Black Market Provisions, Vita Health, Deluca’s, Co-Op Marketplace and Crampton’s.
Love Local Manitoba / Gourmet Inspirations / Generation Green
One of the main reasons we know of so many makers is because of Peter Fehr and Sherry Sobey. The duo are the founders and organizers of Love Local Manitoba, an annual spring food and drink makers’ showcase that started in 2014. The always-successful event has since resulted in a full service website, where you’ll find pretty much every maker we’ve mentioned in this series. This includes La Cocina tortillas to SMAK DAB mustards to flora and farmer products, as well as other fun products like birch bacon jam from Canadian Birch Company and local jerky from Mr. Biltong.
On top of this, Fehr is the owner of Gourmet Inspirations — a premium sauce company (check out the peppercorn whisky sauce) that makes rubs, cocktail syrups and numerous marinades, to much fanfare. The company just opened up its own production facility in Steinbach. Sobey is also the owner of Generation Green, one of our favourite spots to buy eco-conscious local products. Generation Green also contains the Acorn Café, a great little all-vegan lunch counter.
When it comes to heritage breed, pasture-raised pork, along with specialty items like smoked chickens, Zinn Farms is our go-to. The family farm by Monika and Andreas Zinn is on the radar of a lot of culinary enthusiasts for being a top choice by local chefs. Wienerpeg, the Red Ember and Wall Street Pizza use its pepperoni, pork products and chicken on their pizzas, as co-owner Steffen Zinn is family too (Monika is Andreas and Steffen’s mother).
You can order direct off their website with free delivery within the city on orders over $50. While we order it all — from shoulder to side ribs and bacon — an absolute must is the farmer’s sausage, which is the best breakfast sausage we’ve ever had.
Mottola Grocery (MG) / Academy Hospitality
If you are eating at (or from) Pizzeria Gusto, Gusto North, Merchant Kitchen, Yard Burger or Good Fight Taco and are remarking how banging the sauce is, you are in luck. Chances are Academy Hospitality sells that sauce, along with condiments, broths and all manner of accoutrements that you'll find on its restaurants' dishes at its new(ish) Mottola Grocery. MG's pantry is stacked with punchy bottles like Merchant's hot and nutty dan dan sauce to Yard Burger's creamy, zesty Yard Sauce.
While you can shop online here, we recommend a trip to the market if you can as it is an epicurean's dream, with a stellar butcher counter and onsite bakery and countless take-and-heat meals at the ready. The selection of pastas, tinned seafood and luxury goods is something to behold too.
Yomm Beverages Inc.
While tropical hibiscus is not grown locally, Winnipeg sure produces a lot of hibiscus tea. It’s all done at 196 Innovation Drive at U of M, but local company Yomm Beverages Inc. Yomm is by Nigerian-born entrepreneurs Meshack Kusa and Michael Daramola who started the company in Winnipeg back in 2009 using hibiscus grown on Daramola’s farmland in western Nigeria.
The beverages they make are simple, using just hibiscus, along with other natural ingredients like ginger, lemon and agave as a sweetener for the iced teas. The teas, available as loose tea and in bag format, are available at dozens of retailers across the city. Find the full product line here.
Apple Blossom Farm
If you love to drink your coffee black and are looking for a low-acidity option, Apple Blossom Farm has you covered. We became obsessed with its Peruvian medium roast last year, while everything we’ve tried from the Honduran to the espresso blend has made a gorgeous cup. The majority of its Arabica beans are single-country sourced, primarily organic and are all specialty coffees.
Apple Blossom also produces various kinds of honey, where colours and flavours vary depending on what the bees have been pollinating. They offer free delivery for orders over $20 in Winnipeg.
Another under-the-radar local coffee roaster is Tasse Coffee. They take farm-direct to a whole new level with beans that are grown on third-generation family farms in Vietnam and Laos, then roasted here in Winnipeg. The business is run by Thien Pham, whose grandfather Sy Pham first started coffee farming following the end on the Vietnam War. Thien and his team also source from small family farms in Myanmar with an ethos of a direct link “From Farm to Cup.” On top of its own roasts, Tasse also sells green Arabica beans that you can roast at home, showing each region of origin during the ordering process. Shop online here.
Abiding Citizen Craft Beverage Company
With its simple syrups now available at the checkout of MB liquor stores, along with a full lineup of bitters available online and at some of the city’s best markets, it’s never been easier to find Abiding Citizen. All of Abiding’s products will take your next cocktail or mocktail to a place of sun and rainbows be it Manitoba aromatic bitters (rhubarb, sea buckthorn and milk thistle) paired with bourbon, or hot pepper bitters to add some kick to lemonade.
The company is owned and operated by Chad and Teri-Lynn Friesen, the latter who regular readers will recognize as one of the co-owners of Fête Ice Cream & Coffee, a place where the ice cream sandwiches make Blue Heaven a Place on Earth.
Please note: This is just a sampling of some of our favourite food producers in the city. For a more comprehensive guide go to our shop local culinary listings where you'll find great spots like Cornelia Bean and Fromage Bothwell, and products like Dave's Juice Co, Gorp Energy Bars and so many more coffee roasters. You’ll also find plenty of these makers and more at goodlocal.ca, the city’s new premium local online shop, along with at the upcoming spring Third + Bird.