Made in Columbus Ohio – Gay and Gay Friendly

On our recent trip to Columbus Ohio I was very impressed with the cities’ strong farm-to-table attitude and the amount of home grown industry happening there!  Sure they’ve got big business companies like Abercrombie & Fitch / the Limited Brand and also  modern Columbus has emerged as a technologically sophisticated city, Forbes Magazine  ranked the city as the no. 1 up-and-coming tech city in the nation.

But we saw the big trend here of producing locally  and delivering locally, EVERYWHERE.  The freshest ingredients and unprocessed food and products. Businesses in Columbus Ohio are really trailblazing. Farm-to-Table, Cow-to-Cone, & Silo-to-Still…. Columbus is blessed by its proximity to fertile farmland and wonderful seasonal produce.

 In the coming weeks, we’ll  talk more in depth about great dining spots, things to see and do,  and  gay clubs – but today I want to share a few of our Columbus Ohio discoveries.

Who doesn’t want a SUGAR DADDY?  I mean the brownies. Award-winning Sugardaddy’s Sumptuous Sweeties®, Purveyors of The Edgeless Brownie®, has redefined the cozy, American classic brownie into a truly luxury dessert indulgence, gifting, and special occasion experience. Sugardaddy’s has extended its fresh-baked luxe brownie and blondies line with Sugardaddy’s Brownie Biscotti, Brownie Truffles, Brownie Cheese Cakes, Brownie Cakes, and Brownie Trifles.  Sugardaddy’s has been named “Best of the Best” by Food Network among MANY other awards. (Ellen is one of their biggest fans!)

In 2004, Tom Finney and Mark Ballard launched an online store and in 2005 they opened their first storefront!  Today they have 3  locations in Columbus, but sell and ship  ALL OVER THE WORLD. They use only the BEST ingredients and ship fresh to your door.  Hey, cupcakes are for sissies!

JENI’S ICE CREAM has been growing at leaps and bounds in Ohio, and now it is reaching freezers around the country.  Handmade American ice cream.  “We build every recipe from the ground up with luscious, Snowville milk and cream from cows that eat grass.”  Ice creams, yogurts, sorbets, sundaes and macaroon ice cream sandwiches  –  amazing flavors made with evolving and flavorful thoughtfulness.  Your mouth will water! 

Now with nine storefronts in Ohio and now you can find pints of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at fine markets and groceries across the United States.

Sunny Meadows Flower Farm is operated by Steve and Gretel Adams and is located 6 miles from downtown Columbus, on the city’s southeast side. “Currently we farm about 7 acres of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. We use organic practices and although we are not certified, this still means no chemicals are used, just lots of love!

Our mission is to educate the public about the quality and vase life of local flowers. Although you can get flowers for dirt cheap flown in from the equator, the workers do not have the same rights and protections, and there are fewer restrictions on chemicals. So, who knows what you are really buying into? As a farm specializing in all naturally grown fresh cut flowers, we are trying to show people just how important supporting your local flower farm really is.” –  I fell in love with Gretels Soap! Gretel’s natural soap is formulated for the health of one’s mind, body and soul.

Perfect for everyday use or as a gift, every ingredient in these hand-made soaps serves a purpose and has been carefully harvested and selected. A balance of coconut oil, palm oil, beeswax, and soybean oil provide a great lather and keep your skin moist. Additional ingredients, like herbs or coffee, provide a brilliant texture to gently exfoliate the skin. I have a bar (Sweet Earth)  sitting on my bathroom sink, and it makes the room so fragrant!  ORDER YOURS ONLINE.

Local beer lovers are “uncorking” ROCKMILL, the artisan sensation handcrafted in the Central Ohio countryside. 40 minutes from downtown Columbus is Rockmill Brewery. Located a sprawling property, this one time horse farm is now a special kind of place where invigorating flavors are brewing. This modern, certified organic “nano-brewery”  taps into an ancient, glacier-created underground spring to produce a world-class Belgian-style ale. One barrell at a time!  Handcrafted with a stubborn adherence to old-world methodologies.

Matthew Barbee is the young brewmaster at the helm. “Thousands of years ago as the glaciers melted, this water carved out the blackhand sandstone which today forms the origin of the Hocking River. A unique geographic feature that is only a short walk west from the Rockmill Farm. Many thousands of years after the glaciers melted, savy farmers in Wallonia, Belgium came to the genius conclusion that an ale is easy to produce, store and is an excellent vitamin-rich, motivator out in the field. This miracle beverage is now known as Saison, a farmhouse ale.

Roughly 150 years later we came to the realization that the water on our farm is almost identical in mineralitiy as the water found in Wallonia. How convienent! This was the primary inspiration for our four brews. Our water combined with all organic yeast, hops and malt is what gives our brew the aromatic qualities and taste that it does.”

His four brews are currently available at restaurants and retail outlets in Ohio, and he is having  a hard time keeping up with  the growing demands – but he plans to grow and take his product all over the country, very soon!

Not every city can boast a truly local micro-distilled spirit of choice, but Columbus has one : Short North-based Middle West Spirits makes a vodka called OYO (“O-Why-O”), the original Native American word for the Ohio River Valley.

Founded and run by Ryan Lang (left) and Brady Konya ( right), the company uses grain from within a local 50-mile microclimate, and relies on small batch precision and drop-dead gorgeous German-made artisanal equipment to produce a superior product.

WE HAVE BEEN BRAINWASHED in America.  That vodka should have NO TASTE. The common American idea is that vodka needs to be as tasteless as possible.

Rather than fix their product on the back end with flavor additives or over filtering, OYO works almost like a single malt Scotch producer, using carefully controlled distilling and blending to hit their target flavor profile. OYO is not anything like your standard, made for the American market, vodka. “Big distillers, because of how they produce, aren’t able to cut bad stuff out up front, so they have to filter it,” says Konya. “So you’ll see a lot of smart marketers talk about filtering — lava, ceramic, diamonds — six times, eight times, 20 times distilled — all of that is marketing.” – Can you believe that?!

The Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) is a marketing service company that provides reviews for spirits, wines, and beers. It uses numerical scores and publishes books of its test results. BTI gave OYO  Vodka  a 92 last fall!  90-95  is EXCEPTIONAL.  (Dan Akroyds Crystal head is a 89, Effen is an 84, and Vox is a 96, to give you some comparisons).

In just one year, OYO is spreading all over Ohio –  and soon, to a State near you!
Weekly tours and tastings – check their site for details. They have a storefront with their three main drinks as well as cool t-shirts and things. 1230 Courtland Ave , Columbus OH, 43201

Mead Wine? Simply put, mead is  wine made from honey. It takes 6 months to 2 years to make a mead, depending on the recipe.  The longer mead is aged in tanks and in bottles, the more amazing. “Our mead is meant to be aged like the finest artisanal products and enjoyed leisurely,”  says  BROTHERS DRAKE owner Woody Drake.  Brothers Drake makes award-winning mead in Columbus, Ohio using pure honey and the best locally-sourced ingredients.
Since 2008, “We continue to grow and expand a selection of exquisite meads made locally in Columbus, OH from as raw local wildflower honey as we can get and all natural ingredients sourced as organically as is possible in Ohio. ” Mead is arguably and understandably one of the oldest beverages known to mankind on every continent. Over the many centuries, people have modified the recipe and, with over 150 meaderies in the United States, the current century is no exception.

Brothers Drake is open for Open for Tastings, Tours, & Sales. 26 E. 5th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43201

More to come soon, from Columbus Ohio!

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