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Homegrown Goodness at Joe Schmo’s Kitchen

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Now that Joe Schmo’s Kitchen has celebrated its second birthday, Amanda Franks knows that she has a loyal base of customers. The next step, she says, is widening that base.

Through its website, JoeSchmosKitchen.com, she already sells her blends of seasonings, pepper jellies, gourmet salts and sausage mixes to customers out of state. Those are easy to ship, but one of the local favorites – hot peppers in oil – is a bit more challenging.

“They’re a liquid in glass containers,” she says. “We get nervous about shipping them because they have to stay refrigerated.”

All of the ingredients are from northeastern Ohio, she notes. Most of the peppers are grown on her own farm although she does buy them from area farmers should she run out.

“We’re big supporters of mom-and-pop shops. And now that we’re a mom-and-pop shop, we want to be available,” she says. “We want the other shops to make it as much as we want to make it ourselves.”

In addition to the online store and farmers markets, Joe Schmo’s products are available in 15 stores in Mahoning and Trumbull counties. As part of Franks’ mission to create “extraordinary food from everyday people,” she’s also undertaken an effort to bring recipes and meal ideas that feature her mixtures of spices and seasonings to customers, something that harkens back to her days of making the mixes for get-togethers.

“We want to offer homemade, local products to anyone and everyone we can,” she says. “Everybody is Joe. I’m Joe. You’re Joe. Anybody can cook with these ingredients.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.