When it comes to food, the next best thing to homemade may be hometown.
That seems to be the case at area markets.
In addition to such longstanding local favorites as Guernsey Farms, Morley, American Spoon, Better Made, and Jiffy, local grocers are stocking Detroit barbecue sauce and salad dressing, along with peanut butter from Bay City, honey from Hartland, cinnamon toast from the U.P., and salsa from Ferndale.
“It’s one of our core values,” says Beth Ann Locke, director of marketing for Plum Market in Bloomfield Township. “Plum’s displays are filled with bottled recipes from familiar restaurants including Café Cortina, Andiamo, and Sweet Lorraine’s. They also sell Buell’s Honey from Hartland, Trenary Toast from northern Michigan, and specialty coffee flavors from Goodrich-based A Bean To Go.
Even warehouse clubs are getting into the act. Costco carries sweet pickled beets from Safies Specialty Foods at 23 Mile and Gratiot.
At Holiday Market in Royal Oak, Michigan products are promoted with prominently placed labels. “We believe if you buy made-in-Michigan products you will help the economy 10-fold,” says Gina Mangold, store director.
Westborn Markets carry a number of cottage-industry foods. Among them is Ray’s Taste of South “premium Southern-style barbecue sauce,” which is made from the recipe of veteran Detroit restaurateur Ray Rickett.
“Mine is real fresh, with chopped onions, not dehydrated powder,” Rickett says. His cooking techniques draw on his time in the U.S. Navy when, he says, “I always made a habit of getting in good graces with the cooks.”
That human element is what attracts shoppers. In a carryout era, knowing the name of the cook may be as close to the stove as you’re going to get.