Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Potter's Crackers

I've been a huge fan of Potter's Crackers since owner Peter Potter and his mother, Nancy, launched their company from their own cracker kitchen in Madison, Wis., over a year ago.

I learned yesterday the Potters are now sourcing all of the milk for their crackers from
Sassy Cow Creamery near Sun Prairie. This local foods story just keeps getting better.

The Potters make about 100 varieties of elegant, thin, whole-wheat crackers crafted from all organic ingredients they source locally. The fresh crackers are mixed, rolled and baked fresh every day and delivered to a variety of stores in Wisconsin. As of yet, the company doesn't have any plans to go national, as they are focusing on the local ingredient/local sourcing movement.

The start-up story of the company is quite interesting. In the Summer 2008 issue of UW-Madison's alumni magazine, Grow, owner Peter Potter says he started the company between his junior and senior year of college because he was earning a degree in food science and couldn't face another summer spent in a lab.

"Basically, I saw a marketing opportunity. There was nobody in Wisconsin producing crackers, and we are the cheese state and so I though we needed a good cracker to go with that," Potter says.

Makes sense to me.

So how did the opportunity present itself? Potter was eating at
Lombardino's on University Ave., in Madison one night and was enjoying their awesome cheese plate. He says the plate was "gorgeous -- they had all these great cheeses from Italy, and some from Wisconsin, but they were serving them with horrible crackers. There were these overly processed ones from California."

Potter says he wondered -- why are they doing this? And then he realized it was because they didn't have any other crackers, such as local or high-quality varieties. So he translated that into a business idea and voila -- Potter's Crackers was born.

My all-time favorite Potters Crackers variety is Toasted Sesame -- you combine this cracker with Marieke's Gouda or Edelweiss Butterkase, and believe me, it's pure magic.

Another favorite is one of their newer varieties: Baked Potato Chive. You combine this thin, tasty cracker with an aged cheddar, and it's just like eating a loaded baked potato at the State Fair. Ah, heaven.

You also can't go wrong with the Six Seed or Caraway Rye. For dessert, try the Apple Grahams. Or even better, just try them all. There's no way to go wrong.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Some Minneapolis stores are charging more than $1/oz for the crackers. As good as they might be, I'm not going to pay more than the price of a very good cheese for the cracker it goes with.

I believe the price is less than half down in Madison as it is here in Minneapolis.

Alain Roy said...

So what crackers are Lombardino's serving now?

Resident_Cheesemonger said...

I have also come across this problem of worse than average crackers to go with fantastic cheese. Usually my husband and I will solve it by giving up the crackers and opting for locally made bread instead. It's tricky though because there's a corner store that sells some amazing rosemary flavored bread, but it can overpower the cheese. And really, at the end of the day, I eat the bread as a means of bringing the cheese to my mouth, not as much for its own sake! ;-)

LaMancha Cheese said...

I am always looking for some decent crackers. We always have pounds of cheese this time of year.

I often opt to skip the crackers and use a garden fresh vegetable.