I was always pretty impressed by the story of Stonewall Kitchen.
In 1991, two guys were making some jams and vinegars and selling them off a card table at the Portsmouth (NH) farmer's market.
It's 2011 as I write, and the elegant flagship store, factory and cooking school are located right off Route 95's Exit 7 at 2 Stonewall Lane in York Maine – and there's not a card table in sight.
And those same two guys, Jim Stott and Jonathan King, now employ over 200 people and sell much, much more than a few jams and vinegars.
Oh, and there are several more stores in states from Maine to Maryland.
And over 6,000 wholesale accounts with specialty food purveyors all over the country.
And a growing number of “incredibly yummy food” awards.
Not too bad for a couple of guys and some jam, huh?
In York, the flagship store includes both a Cooking School and a Cafe located adjacent to the store. The cafe is a great place to have a long lunch, or to just sit and sip some fine coffee while taking a break from shopping.
The bustling retail store in York has homekeeping products, a huge assortment of cookbooks, recipes, soups, stews, mixes, gifts, cookware, home décor, candles, and best of all, jars and jars and jars of the incredibly yummy things they make are available for sampling!
Jars with names like Lemon Pear Marmalade, Wild Maine Blueberry Jam, Maple Pumpkin Butter, Mocha Espresso Sauce, Pineapple Chipotle Salsa and Artichoke & Caper Relish.
All out there for you and me (and the kids and grandkids) to sample...!
Stonewall Kitchens' Cooking School
I want to highlight the Cooking School to you, just in case you think it's not for you, the tourist or the novice cook – because it most certainly is for you as well as for us locals.
My friends and I enjoy a great "girls night out" any time of year at the cooking school...
Tonight is a Sunday night and I'm feeling lazy, so I got permission from the kind people at Stonewall to copy right off their web site to tell you about the cooking school.
At least I wasn't too lazy to drive over there and take the picture!
“Whether you're a novice or an experienced cook we invite you to join us in our newest culinary adventure. The Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School is a fun, state-of-the-art classroom and the place to be if you love to cook, love to eat or just want to have a great time.
We've drawn together noted restaurant chefs, cookbook authors and cooking professionals from across the nation to come to Maine to share their experience and demonstrate their talents for you. Select from a wide array of exciting evening cooking classes, daily demonstrations, "Learn at Lunch" and "Learn at Brunch" daytime classes, and special events for home decor and classes for kids and teens. Learn ethnic cuisine, basic cooking and baking techniques, vegetarian cooking, and ways to plan the perfect cocktail and dinner party. Whatever you're looking for you'll find, from learning about essential prep skills to sophisticated wine tasting events, this is the place to come to immerse yourself in the fine art of cooking. Relax, learn and listen while being served a fabulous menu.
Our staff is looking forward to making your experience a total package. Great food, clear concise instruction in an atmosphere that is relaxed, comfortable and friendly. You'll go home with a clear understanding of how to recreate these recipes in your own kitchen and have the opportunity to purchase the finest tools, appliances and utensils used by our chefs.”
If you can, try to fit this unique experience into your vacation plans – I think you'll be glad you did!
Gifts From Stonewall Kitchen
Do you bring back gifts from your vacations? Anything from the company store will be welcome, classy, and direct from York. I love giving gifts from Stonewall Kitchen almost as much as I like getting them!
Our family often gives jams as a teacher gift or hostess gift (their Wild Maine Blueberry Jam is always a sure bet and our family favorite), or we find stocking stuffers there at Christmas.
Can't decide? Gift baskets are always available and they're some of the best gift baskets in Maine. Or in the country, for that matter.
Coming to York for a wedding in Maine? How about wedding favors or a wedding gift from Stonewall Kitchen?
They have corporate gifts, always-welcome gift cards, gifts for men, gifts for women, and the best of splurges – the Specialty Food Club.
That's where you can choose for your gift recipient to receive either three, six or twelve months of products delivered right to their home. Each assortment arrives complete with recipe cards and tips, giving your “giftee” the opportunity to try new products throughout the year.
And that is a perfect gift for just about anyone! Especially me.
Stonewall Kitchen Discount Store
It's not very well known, but there is indeed a Stonewall Kitchen discount store near York.
The warehouse store is located in Rochester, NH just off Rt. 16, exit 16 at 7 Amarosa Drive. There's no online shopping at the discount store, so make a stop on your way up to the mountains, or jet on over from the Seacoast and enjoy the healthful benefits of a good sale on good stuff.
Bargain-hunters will find sale, discounted and discontinued items, as well as 1st quality Stonewall Kitchen specialty foods.
Any trip to York, Maine – day trip, honeymoon, or two week family vacation – just wouldn't be the same without a visit to Stonewall Kitchen!