One of Elmhurst Milked's non-dairy milk made form nuts and other natural ingredients
Photo courtesy of Elmhurst Milked
This fall, as you are grocery shopping, look for signs and labels indicating locally made products—you may be surprised by just how many there are scattered throughout the store. After loading up your cart with local fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products, consider trying these six brands, including one for four-legged family members. You may just find new favorites in addition to Buffalo staples like Perry’s and Frank’s.
The Pasta Peddler, Buffalo
For Eric Amodeo, what started as home-based business with his father-in-law, Michael Sedia, has grown into a full-scale café and retail operation on Hertel Avenue—and he’s enjoyed every minute of it.
“I love cooking and the idea of making pasta from scratch is really rewarding,” says Amodeo, co-owner of The Pasta Peddler. “It is also an ongoing science project, as temperature and humidity greatly affect the product and how it dries, so it requires me to have a keen eye for quality.”
The Pasta Peddler offers sixteen pasta flavors, four types of ravioli, and two sauces, along with a rotating flavor-of-the-month at the Hertel café it shares with Blackbird Sweets. The most popular are stuffed banana pepper ravioli and garlic parsley linguine, while Amodeo’s personal favorite is cracked pepper linguine with roasted red pepper sauce.
Find it at: Café at 1547 Hertel Ave., local farmers markets, Premier Gourmet, Farmers and Artisans
Issa’s Pita Chips, Buffalo
When the Issa family started making pita chips at Cedar’s Bakery & Deli in 2016, their first customer was Buffalo Public Schools. The chips were an instant hit, and two years later, their preservative-free, flame-baked chips are available at retailers across town in classic and whole-wheat varieties.
Company owner Andrew Issa said baking the chips in a flame-lit oven gives them a different appearance, texture, and taste. “Being Lebanese, we felt it was our duty to bring to market a real pita chip,” he says. “It is a more authentic and traditional way of making a pita chip.”
Find it at: Lexington Co-op, Premier Gourmet, Tops, Whole Foods
Perfect Granola, Victor
When volunteering at her local food pantry, Michele Liddle noticed a lack of healthy options, inspiring her idea for a wholesome food company that would share food and profits with those in need. While working a full-time job and raising two daughters, she launched Perfect Granola in 2016.
Since then, the company has earned accolades, including a 2018 National Parenting Product Award, for its non-GMO-certified granola and granola bars, each available in three flavors. Starting in December, Walmart will stock Perfect Granola in stores nationwide.
Meanwhile, Liddle has provided more than 12,000 pounds of granola to food banks, donates 5 percent of profits to homeless shelters and outreach centers, and hires students through the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection. “We all have the ability to change the world, and I pride myself in making every business decision with the community in mind,” she says.
Find it at: Wegmans, Tops, Dash’s
Elmhurst Milked, Elma
Since debuting in early 2017, Elmhurst Milked has made national news for its non-dairy milk made from simple ingredients: nuts, filtered water, cane sugar, salt, and natural flavors. Elmhurst’s cold milling technique extracts the protein, fiber, and other healthy components from the nuts and does not require the stabilizers or gums that other leading brands add in to the finished product.
Current offerings include milk made from almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, oats, and brown rice. Earlier this year, Elmhurst also launched the first packaged peanut and chocolate peanut milk on the market.
Find it at: Premier Gourmet, Feel-Rite, Lexington Co-op, Dash’s
Guglielmo’s Sauce, Rochester
In the early 2000s, Paul Guglielmo learned how to make sauce with his grandfather from a family recipe that dates back at least eighty years. In 2014, the entrepreneur decided to share his family’s Sunday sauce with the world—and now you’ll find it in stores across the state.
The original marinara, available with or without Italian sausage, is still the top seller, though the company has added pizza, spicy chunky veggie, and seasonal varieties, including a pumpkin sauce for fall. Have feedback? Every jar displays Guglielmo’s personal cell number (a handful of customers text him each day).
“It’s like I have my grandpa with me every day as I run this little business,” he says. “It means the world to me.”
Find it at: Dash’s, Orchard Fresh, Wegmans, Whole Foods
Fetch! Gourmet Dog Treats, Williamsville
Fittingly, the inspiration for Jackie Lovern’s dog treat company was her own pup, Sargent Pepperoni. She started making him nutritious treats six years ago, and now operates a store in Eastern Hills Mall with several flavors and an adorable array of decorated cookies.
The top-selling flavor is “Peanut Butter Goodness.” This holiday season, the company will introduce three new varieties (grain-free peanut butter, grain-free cheddar and bacon, and liver flavor)—all with approval, of course, from Sargent Pepperoni. “If we don’t get four paws up, we go back to the drawing board,” says co-owner John Griveas.
Find it at: Eastern Hills Mall, Dash’s, Orchard Fresh, Elmwood Pet Supplies.
Matthew Biddle is a Tonawanda-based writer and regular Buffalo Spree and Forever Young contributor. Tweet him at @matthew_biddle.