FOOD IS MORE THAN A PERSONAL PLEASURE FOR NORTHERN NEVADANS
spending their days satisfying our cravings for sweet and salty,
tart and tangy, or fiery hot mouth-watering tastes. If you’ve kicked
it up a notch by buying Reno Red Chili Sauce, stood in line for
Hillbilly Kettle Korn, or picked up a jar of organic fruit jam by
Beck’s Pantry at the Reno Farmer’s Market, then you’ve experienced
the passion and perseverance of local specialty food producers.
To try these and other locally made gourmet goodies, visit Reno/Sparks
events, drop by a favorite specialty food market or order online.
You’ll find a complete product resource list at RenoMagazine.com.
Freshness is the most important ingredient in Beck’s Pantry gourmet jams and jellies. Entrepreneur Becky Coltra seeks out premium fruit, which she often picks herself, for her handmade all-natural preserves. Coltra makes 14 different jars of sweet delights based upon what’s in peak season. In her Reno Farmers’ Market booth, you may find her apricot jam with fruit from a 100-year old organic orchard in Southern Nevada, a luscious deep-purple Marionberry jam, or her popular red pepper/jalapeno condiment.
Blue ribbon gourmet
Evelyn Auld’s state fair awards for her sweet and spicy pickles and brandied cherries launched Reno’s oldest gourmet food company (opened in October 1986). Son, John, now oversees Mrs. Auld’s product line that includes the spicy Reno Red Chili Sauce, a unique Mandarin orange marmalade, and an oven-roasted garlic pasta sauce. Mrs. Auld’s also private labels specialty food for local entrepreneurs such as Winchester Bay salmon sauce and Space 84 barbecue sauce.
“I want to be nutritionally responsible for what I sell, especially to the children,” says Elisabeth Galvin of DeLyse, manufacturer of gourmet cookies, breakfast bars, trail mixes, and its signature French Praline candy. “Our original line of gourmet sweets and snacks were meant as between-meal treats. But Americans frequently eat snacks as a meal substitute.”
Her solution is a new line of healthy, affordable, and shelf-stable snack products marketed under the Snackaroo brand. DeLyse, which also manufacturers more than 200 million snacks a year for the airline industry, put its 14 years of food research into creating tasty, well-balanced snack boxes.
“Food is the fuel for the brain,” Galvin says. “Taste and nutrition can go together. We love having people call in an order and stop by to pick up a little indulgence or a healthier snack choice.”
Spice it up
Martha Carrillo grew up in her mother’s Mexican restaurant in Yerington appreciating the goodness of homemade salsa. So much, she spends hours preparing batches of medium and hot pepper/tomato salsa every Friday before the Reno Farmers’ Market.
“People look for me every week,” Carrillo says. “I’ve been doing this for three years and love seeing repeat customers. Because I do everything by hand, including making my own labels, it’s hard work but worth it.”
You can pick up a 16-ounce container or two at the farmers’ market or for large quantities, Carrillo takes custom orders.
With or without nuts?
With more than 400 flavors of fudge, the nut question is just one choice you have when visiting the Two Chocolatiers candy booth at Sparks Farmer’s Market. Northern Nevada’s dry climate is perfect for candy making and the father/daughter team of Richard Naumann and Tracy Hildman regularly churn out eight or nine 36-pound handmade batches of their smooth, mouth-watering fudge in a single day.
“Fudge travels well, so we carry our top eight sellers to dozens of West Coast events,” explains Hildman. “We also ship customer favorites worldwide.”
Being available at Sparks Farmer’s Market isn’t enough for the chocolate-addicted, so you can order online or stop by their two Northern Nevada locations for fudge or other Two Chocolatiers sweet treats.
Worth the wait
Seeing the long lines and watching the smiles are all bonuses for the Hillbilly Kettle Korn staff who often work 11 hours nonstop serving this family favorite at local events for the past seven years. During peak season, they’ll go through 200 50-pound bags of a high quality popcorn. Although Hillbilly Kettle Korn is a secret recipe, founder Bill Loverde revealed, “it’s the spiced natural soybean oil that really makes a difference in taste.” New owners Brian and Shelly Bannister plan to continue the tradition.
“The best I ever tasted,” is how people respond to Loverde’s funnel cakes. Using his own recipe, Loverde has served more than 7,400 cakes during a single Sparks event. “Unlike other funnel cakes, mine stay crispy and tasty a lot longer.”
You can satisfy your Kettle Korn craving between events at the Sparks store. Scolari’s and other local grocers carry the popcorn and a best-selling bagged cotton candy. Funnel cakes are available at local events.
In 2004, Roberta Penarelli of Calibria Specialty Foods introduced an intriguing savory-sweet fruit and nut dessert/bread to Sparks Farmer’s Market shoppers. Based on a “secret” family holiday recipe from Italy’s Calibria region, Pita Piato (which translates to bread dispute) is a red wine-based dough rolled like a piecrust, stuffed with dried cranberries, raisins, prunes, and walnuts seasoned with cinnamon and oregano.
“The oregano tones down the fruit’s intense sweetness,” shares Penarelli. “It’s all-natural, high in fiber, and has no yeast or added sugar. A slice goes great with coffee.”
For 2005, Penarelli is working to expand her marketing outreach and perhaps rename the dessert “so people don’t confuse it with pita pocket bread.” This savory/sweet delight is available at local Sparks events and online.
For the past nine years, thirst quencher Cheryl Goodwin-Huett has squeezed thousands of juicy lemons at local events. Now packaged by Model Dairy, Goodi’s Fresh Squeezed Lemonade comes in half gallons in the dairy section and single servings in school vending machines.
If you find yourself visiting a Century Theatre just for the butter-dripping popcorn, you can indulge at home with the intensely flavored popcorn butter from Odell’s, supplier to thousands of theaters nationwide. Odell’s clarified butter doesn’t require refrigeration and lasts for 12 months. When you discover the benefits of cooking with no-scorch, no-burn clarified butter, the 10-ounce tub won’t last that long. Available locally and online.
A great sauce, rub, or spice can transform an extraordinary family BBQ into an finger-lickin’ feast. Local restaurant, caterer, and event show regular, BJ’s BBQ has introduced a new hot wing sauce and two fiery seasoning sauces this season.
“Our new hot sauce isn’t just a fiery sensation, it adds subtle pepper-based flavors that improve but don’t overpower the food,” owner Peter Rathmann explains.
For grilled or smoked-meat lovers, BJ’s also sells its popular bottled BBQ sauces and a custom-blended dry rub seasoning. BJ’s products are available at its Sparks restaurant, local grocers, and gourmet food shops.
Sharon Fullen is a freelance writer living in Reno.