The inspiration for Joe’s Soups comes from his grandmother’s kitchen in East Randolph VT. As the hub for the entire family, an assortment of cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends were constantly trooping through the kitchen. All were greeted at the door with the smell of the ubiquitous soup pot simmering on a back burner. Gram’s kitchen was definitely the place to go when you were hungry.
With equal regard for flavor and economy, Gram used whatever was at hand to pull together a great-tasting soup; ingredients like roasted chicken, potatoes, onions, and vegetables. What really made Gram’s soups special though, were the quality ingredients harvested from the garden out back and the seasonings. Fresh parsley, oregano, thyme and rosemary were snipped from the kitchen garden in the summer months and during the long, cold Vermont winters, Gram made do with the ample shelf of spices right next to the stove. Joe’s mom continued the tradition and passed it on to Joe with love and skill; she spent many hours cooking for him and with him as he grew up.
This training was a great basis for Joe's early career as a restaurant chef and entrepreneur. He trained in France and cooked managed restaurants for about 20 years. Joe has been making the transition from chef to farmer over the last 10 years. With about 8 years of sustainable farming under his belt, he is now coming full circle to realize his ambition of both growing ingredients and then cooking them into great tasting prepared foods. Joe started offering soup by the bowl at his Screamin’ Ridge Farm booth at the Capital City Farmer’s Market in Montpelier in 2010—his customers were enthusiastic—some even came back for a second bowl to take home for later. For a few years, his next-booth neighbor at the Farmer’s Market, Red Hen Baking Company offered Joe’s Soups at their café in Middlesex—we’ve heard that Senator Leahy was a big fan (Red Hen Bakery is making their own soup now).
When the Mad River Food Hub opened in 2011, Joe began cooking in their licensed food processing facility at an affordable rate. He can now produce prepared food for retail sale. Look for Joe’s Soups at Hunger Mountain Coop in Montpelier. If you’d like to see Joe’s Soups at a store near you, let us know!