Sweet Local Eats
Sweets for Your Health
Elk Creek Honey Farm
Raw honey is a known health food because it’s loaded with antioxidants and has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Honey can replace sugar as a good-for-you substitute, and it’s helpful for soothing a sore throat and easing digestive upset. As a salve, honey can heal wounds. The key is to use honey that’s raw — and local, especially if you plan to eat it as a way to desensitize yourself to outdoor allergies.
At Elk Creek Honey Farm, Renee and Tim Moore “are beekeepers first, and honey producers second.” They maintain 100 hives on their Wellington Township property, yielding about 50 pounds of honey per hive annually. With this honey, the Moores create signature products, including infusing homegrown herbs with honey.
Their signature lemon honey is a top-seller, and creamed honey is available in wildflower or cinnamon. Creamed honey is spreadable, and 100 percent honey (no actual cream).
Pick up a container at Grobe’s Fruit Farm (Elyria), Oberlin IGA, the Oberlin Market, Liberty Ag Feed & Supply (Vermilion), Hook’s Greenhouse (Wellington), Days of Yore Herb and Flower Farm (Wellington) or Lettuce Heads Aquaponics and Farm (Wellington).
Bonus: You can use it in your recipes too.
Honey & Peanut
1-1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
3 T. shredded coconut
1/2 cup sliced almonds,
1 T. hemp seeds, shelled
1 scoop whey protein powder
1/2 cup Elk Creek Honey Farm, Summer Blossom Honey
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup peanut butter
How to Make
In a medium bowl add the oats, coconut, almonds, hemp seeds and protein powder.
Stir until well distributed. Add the honey, apricots and peanut butter and stir well.
Put mixing bowl into the
refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes. Then roll into rounded balls.
When chilled, they can last about 5 days. Makes 2 dozen
Marinated Chicken Drumsticks
1 lb. chicken drumsticks
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup Elk Creek Honey Farm, Summer Blossom Honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 T. soy sauce
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. crushed peppercorns
1/4 tsp. hot chili sauce
Salt, to taste
How to Make
Place chicken in large shallow dish. Add ketchup, honey,
soy sauce, lemon juice and
vegetable oil, along with pepper, chili sauce and salt. Cover the dish and let it stand for about 1 hour in the
Prepare the grill, then grill until done. Makes 4 servings
On a Roll
Auntie Mari's Bake Shop
Developing sweet combinations of fruity, creamy, rich and fluffy fillings for her custom cake rolls is a creative outlet and growing business for Mari Welch, who runs Auntie Mari’s Bake Shop from her kitchen in Lorain. The 15-inch-long cakes of varying flavors encase generous helpings of a light cream filling — and other ingredients in the list of about two dozen flavors.
Welch’s favorites are lemon blueberry filling with lemon cake, and dark chocolate raspberry filling with decadent chocolate cake. The coconut cream roll is also popular this year, she says.
You’ll find Auntie Mari’s Bake Shop order forms around town — in schools like Admiral King Elementary, at Desiree Style Salon in Lorain, among other spots. And customers often order the sweets online through her Facebook page.
Aside from cake rolls, Welch also makes a variety of cupcakes with buttercream or — her favorite — an old-fashioned cooked frosting.
Buy LoCo Art
You don’t have to travel far to find inspired creatives who are producing arts that are functional and decorative — totally unique and truly special. From hand-built pottery to fine jewelry, and a place to learn arts of all kinds, Lorain County’s art scene is far-reaching yet accessible.
Playing With Mud
Chameleon in the Garden
home pottery studio in Avon, she hand-builds clay pieces that are functional, funky and one-of-a-kind. “I don’t like to make perfectly round things,” she says of her preference for altering traditional shapes. “My style is very organic with a rustic feel to it.”
Hovanec’s love of gardening and trees is also visible in the glazes, texture and shapes she infuses into the works she sells under her brand, Chameleon in the Garden. The name comes with a story — Hovanec grew up working in her garden alongside her mother, and in her real estate business, she refers to herself as a chameleon because “I meet people where they are, whatever their story is.”
Gathering Great Art
Creative Space Avon
Judy Kean’s love of stained glass began as a young girl growing up in Circleville, Ohio, where she admired the Munich-style stained glass windows and how light would pour through the vibrant colors and create a rainbow. “I appreciated the feeling they give you,” she says, relating that upon moving to Avon Lake in the 1980s, she decided to take up the art.
Kean took some classes and continued to hone her skills by networking with other stained-glass artists and getting involved in national associations dedicated to the craft. Kean is keeping stained glass alive and passing on her knowledge — along with showcasing the works of Lorain County artists — at her storefront gallery, Creative Space Avon, located at Lear Industrial Parkway.
“I wanted a space that wasn’t just about stained glass,” Kean says, relating that a training room is ideal for theater, yoga and art classes. Community members can book the space for a private event.
An active gallery is constantly featuring works. Kean has hosted a dozen and a half shows since moving into Creative Space three years ago. That includes a Veteran Artists Show where 16 veterans, primarily from Lorain County, showed their art. Every April, Kean hosts a Creative Women show.
Creative Space does include a stained glass studio where Kean produces commissioned works, mostly residential. She’s often called upon to restore stained glass pieces or to “remodel” glass.
Kean, who was a purchasing agent in manufacturing for more than 20 years, brings a business mind to her art enterprise, and is a passionate advocate for supporting local entrepreneurs — and sharing her love of stained glass.
A Real Gem
“I want to create jewelry that creates a conversation,” says Rob Levit. That’s what people are looking for now, he adds. “People are not dressing up as much as they used to, so we are making something we call sport jewelry, which gives them flexibility.”
Levit enjoys bringing new life to old pieces. “People have jewelry they haven’t worn for years because it’s dated, or they got a piece from a family member and they’ll never wear it,” Levit says. “The sentimental value is most important. We can use the original materials to make new jewelry.”
And Levit is the MacGyver of jewelry repair. He loves a challenge, and has the tools (like a laser welder) at his Lorain business to accomplish the most complex processes. “We are the trouble-shooter guys that get the really tough jobs, and we like that,” says Levit, adding that his partner Tom Saltis is a talented goldsmith who’s been with Levit Jewelers for 31 years. Nicole Scazarelli is the house gemologist, and Levit’s wife Katarina heads up operations. “We have a team of people who are multitalented — we all do 10 jobs, and we’re always committed to the customers and what they want.”
Those customers include “a fair share of celebrity pieces,” including some presidential jewelry. Levit made President George W. Bush a flag pin of white gold, rubies, sapphires and diamonds. “Sen. Sherrod Brown hand-delivered it to him, and he wore it for eight years,” Levit says.
Levit made the same pin for Hillary Clinton, which she received as a gift when she visited Lorain County.
Levit started making jewelry in 1975, and was drawn to the business because he simply enjoys working with his hands. In junior high at Lorain, where he grew up, he built a ping-pong table and renovated the basement into a rec room.
Every day in jewelry design is different, which is also appealing to Levit. “Every day is a new experience, and we enjoy keeping up with the new fashions and designs people are looking for.”
Handcrafted for the Home
Reclaiming American Heritage
My Wood Loft
What started as a hobby out of Steve Lambert’s two-car garage in Elyria has grown into a vibrant business that’s meeting a demand for something old, something new. My Wood Loft in North Ridgeville reclaims American barns and builds furniture, mantels, doors, gifts and shiplap-barn siding for home projects.
The 20,000-square-foot building My Wood Loft moved into in February 2018 is complete with a warehouse for barn materials like beams, siding and racks of “rusty gold” — old pulleys, hay trolleys, ladders and barn vents. Lambert, who left corporate America about six years ago to focus on his facility, says guests can saddle up to the design bar and help create a custom dining room table. A showroom with products for sale is open to anyone who wants to take home a handmade, character-rich piece for their home.
“We take down barns and turn them into beautiful things that people will appreciate and admire,” says Lambert, sharing that My Wood Loft takes down about a dozen barns a year with its crew.
These days, barn owners reach out to My Wood Loft because their barns are past the point of repair — or they’re simply not in use. “Either we take them down, or they eventually erode and go back to the land,” Lambert relates.
When Lambert walks into an old barn, he sees potential. He recalls discovering the sturdy bones of a barn from the 1830s. “Timber beams ran across the ceiling and were 60 feet long, milled from one tree,” he describes. “Just the fact that trees were allowed to grow big enough then to yield something that size is staggering.”
What Lambert says he loves best about his work is creative freedom. “We help people design their own furniture, and we’re using vintage heirloom materials like Old Grove timber and old gears or implements from farm equipment that we retrofit and turn into bases for tables and light fixtures,” he says.
Every week, My Wood Loft processes thousands of feet of barn siding for accent walls — material that’s shipped to customers across the country who buy it online.
Lambert’s dream: “Find the right barn with the right bones and move it on to our property and convert it into a home.” He laughs, “But we are so busy!”
A Self-guided Tour of Antique and Specialty Shops
It’s an on-going trail of Lorain County businesses that offer eclectic finds and antique finds. For $5, pick up a Shoreline Treasures canvas bag at Visit Lorain County at 8025 Leavitt Road, Amherst, and peruse the print guide for an array of venues to explore. Some highlights include the
The 530 Shop Ltd., Lorain: Add a special accent to a room that also tells a story — like an antique side table or century-old schoolhouse desk.
Hatchery Antique Mall, North Ridgeville: From cigar boxes to signs, browse the treasures here and land something special, like a jewelry armoire.
The Vintage Rose Resale Shop, Grafton: “A little bit of everything” is what you’ll find inside — from old-time glassware to collectibles and furniture.
Love LoCo and Shop Local
Sweet Local Eats