If you want an original Italian sandwich, there’s only one restaurant to visit in the Northeast: Amato’s. The sandwich stuffed with meat, cheese and fresh vegetables would be nothing without its signature ingredient, which – according to the book “Mouth Wide Open: A Cook and His Appetite” by John Thorne – is “bread, bread, bread. Fresh every day.” The book, like many food historians, credits Amato’s with creating the original Italian sandwich. 

An army travels on its stomach, it is said, and so Cincinnati’s Wornick Foods deserves a lot of the credit for getting America’s soldiers where they need to be. The company was one of three original manufacturers supporting the development of what is now the modern combat ration, the Meal Ready to Eat (MRE). Today, the company continues to lead the way in manufacturing military rations, but it also has adapted its shelf-stable food technology for the commercial foodservice industry. 

Wakefield Peanut Co. has maintained close bonds with local peanut farmers since its founding in 1965. “The thing that makes us special and unique is our connection with the farmer and our quality control,” explains Sue Laine, who owns the company with her husband, Jimmy Laine. “Some of our peanut farmers have been our customers since 1965.

When it comes to flour milling, Stafford County Flour Mills Co. is something of an artisan. According to President Reuel Foote, the Hudson, Kan.-based company has been perfecting the fine art of flour milling for more than a century. In an industry dominated by corporations, Stafford County Flour Mills takes great pride in being one of the last independent flour mills left in the United States. 

In the late 1980s, the partners of Sinner Bros. & Bresnahan (SB&B) sat down for a conversation that would forever change the course of the nearly 60-year-old company. As an agricultural producer of soybeans, wheat, corn and beef, Robert Sinner, part-owner and partner of SB&B, says the company’s revenues had begun to suffer along with other farmers across the Midwest due to the most severe drought the region had seen since the 1930s. 

Under its tagline “Crust You Can Trust™,” Rustic Crust excels in its niche of providing organic, all-natural pizza crust, sauces and frozen flatbread pizzas to consumers nationwide. The Pittsfield, N.H.-based company was established in 1996 by CEO Brad Sterl. It evolved from an upscale chain of pizza restaurants specialized in Old World European-style pizzas that Sterl had been a partner in. Disappointed in the quality of pizza ingredients available to his restaurant, he started producing his own pizza crusts and sauces, and quickly grew a following.

There’s no secret to the success behind Royal Sausage Co. in Pell City, Ala. As CEO Curtis Capps says, it comes down to the old adage that the customer knows best. “Basically, we’ve been able to give good customer service and being able to adjust to the needs of the different requests from our customers,” Capps says. “A lot of larger companies wouldn’t do that.”

Self-proclaimed “avid snackers” Keith Belling and Pat Turpin grew tired of keeping their greasy delights out of eyesight of the health conscious types at the delis they frequented for lunch. And while the alternatives were better for them, Belling and Turpin’s lofty expectations for taste were far from satisfied. “We were hiding our chips because they were downright embarrassing to be seen with,” Turpin says. “As unhealthy as those were, baked chips had about as much flavor as the bag they were in.”

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