Bissell Maple Farm
Who They Are: Bissell Maple Farm has been manufacturing maple syrup for more than 100 years, and owner Nathan Bissell is dedicated to maintaining the family tradition. His sons, 3 and 5 years old, are the farm's eighth generation. "I want my boys to stay around me," Bissell says. "Family is huge here. I want to keep this as family-oriented as possible." What They Have: A variety of maple items including syrup, cream, candy, mustard, barbecue sauce, nuts and sugar Try This: "The maple mustard has the most use outside of maple syrup," Bissell says. "It's just like honey mustard. You can use it on hot dogs, sandwiches and more." where to get It: Order online, or buy at Jungle Jim's, Daffin's Candies and Easton's Celebrate Local, all in Columbus.
Gatherings Ashtabula County
Who They Are: Terri Deloria and Vi Mikolaj made too much jelly for family one year, so they sold the excess at the Geneva Grape Jamboree. Sales were high enough to convince them to go into business. "We're two housewives that had empty nests and just got started in this," Deloria says. What They Have: Wine, pepper and fruit jellies in a variety of flavors. The wine jellies are made exclusively with Ohio wines, and all are kept as pure as possible. "We don't add any preservatives, stabilizers or any other additives to our products," Deloria says. Try This: Blackberry merlot wine jelly. "It's the No. 1 seller," says Deloria. "We like to call it 'jelly all grown up.' " where to get It: The Only Cleveland Store in Tower City, Lift Bridge Landing General Store in Ashtabula and Bendelewski's Meat Market in Madison
Ohio Honey Co.
Who They Are: Nearly 30 years ago, a gentleman approached Lucy and Charlie Wellhausen about setting up beehives on their property. The couple agreed and in 1995 found themselves taking beekeeper classes to maintain the bees themselves. "In the summertime, we are able to offer a variety of honeys," says Lucy. "Different sources of pollen and nectar that bees collect will create different tastes and colors of honey, like apple blossom honey." What They Have: Raw honey, bee pollen and propolis Try This: Use Ohio Honey's nonpasteurized raw honey to get optimal health benefits. "That is the secret to a long life, having honey every day," says Wellhausen. "Put it on your toast, cereal, tea, or just have a spoonful." where to get It: Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon at North Union Farmers Market at Shaker Square Indoor Market
Sirna's Farm & Market
Who They Are: Craig Sirna and his wife, Anne Marie, moved from Solon to get away from the heavy traffic. After purchasing a house with 43 acres, Sirna started farming the area. Today, Sirna's Farm & Market has two hydroponic greenhouses and five high-tunnel greenhouses. As a full-time police officer, Craig has been balancing two careers for more than 14 years. What They Have: Almond butter, peanut butter, black Angus beef, Italian sausage and Polish kielbasa Try This: The peanut butter made with dry roasted nuts. "Peanuts go in; peanuts come out," says Craig. "We don't add any salt, sugar or oils." where to get It: Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon at North Union Farmers Market at Shaker Square Indoor Market
Sparky and Spike's
Who They Are: Look at the label on Sparky and Spike's pepper relish, and you'll see co-owners Cliff and Scott Shaffer as 3-year-olds. Starting with a simple recipe, the brothers altered ingredients over time to make their pepper relish more visually appealing while maintaining its flavor. "It was really an excuse to drink beer on a Saturday," says Cliff Shaffer. What They Have: Spicy and hot-spicy pepper relish. "What we thought we had was something to stick on hot dogs, but we've discovered over time it's just a tremendous additive to many, many recipes," Shaffer says. Try This: The hot-spicy pepper relish "promises to bite you, but not leave any marks," Shaffer says. where to get It: Great Scott's Market & Deli in Cleveland, Zagara's Marketplace in Cleveland and Acme locations in North Canton, Akron, Hudson, Stow and Parma Heights