Fans of North Market who have not yet met the new Executive Director may be a little curious about what he has in store. Rick Harrison Wolfe has a big heart and an overflowing passion for the Columbus gem he grew up with. To increase the already high quality of the market, (because “we can always be better”), Rick intends to be the “Jack Hanna of the market,” making sure North Market is known worldwide to be world class. Below, find out more about Rick’s background and his plans for the market. And while you’re at it, take a good look at his photo because you’ll probably see him around the market floor.—Leah Wolf
Leah Wolf: Tell us a little bit about your background.
Rick Harrison Wolfe: I was born in Manhattan but my parents were from here and we moved here when I was about two to Grandview. I lived here until college and then I went to Cincinnati, Chicago, San Francisco, L.A. and back. I remember coming here [North Market] when it was at the Quonset Hut.
LW: What’s your vision for North Market?
RHW: Well, that could take pages. I walked into something really great. I moved back to Columbus and the Quonset Hut was gone and we have this beautiful building that the city leases us. We have some big projects coming up: the ventilation (HVAC), which is not the sexiest thing on earth but it is actually going to be pretty darn cool. It’ll be state-of-the-art; the guest experience will be much better as well as the odors, which some folks love, some don’t. With that, we’ll be able to rearrange some things on the floor so the flow will be a little bit different. We’ll have to move some businesses and in that time, we can freshen up some things.
There are few things my dad loves more than salmon. I honestly think the man would eat salmon off the bottom of a shoe if that was his only choice. Any time I visit, I can bet my life that salmon will be in his fridge.
So naturally, when I learned how to make gravalax, or cured salmon, this week at The Seasoned Farmhouse he was the first person I told. And I imagine like many home cooks my dad did not believe for a second that he would be able to make his own cured salmon. I believe his exact words were, “I ain’t no Bobby Flay, daughter.”
For the next ten minutes I tried to convince my doubtful dad that as long as he had two hands and could use a knife, making gravalax was simple. Here’s how to do it:
For inspiration on how to balance life and art, take a stroll over to Molly Hays’ blog, remedial eating, where she balances raising a family with whipping up lyrical writing and delicious recipes. A mother and blogger, Molly has a signature style you may have come across in one of the articles and blog posts she’s contributed to Edible Columbus. Learn more about Molly Hays below as she talks about her relationship with blogging and food and shares some of the Columbus treasures she loves.—Leah Wolf
Leah Wolf: How did you get started with blogging?
Molly Hays: I began blogging nearly four years ago, not long after we moved to Ohio in 2009, because I’m terrible at writing letters and sending photos and wanted a way to stay in touch with friends and family back home in Seattle! I’d long admired the unique and wonderful way food blogs were able to shine a light on a meal, an ingredient or a recipe in a way that mainstream publications could not. We have such a split attitude toward food in this country, between high-flying chefs and glossy TV on the one hand, and fast food at every corner and aisles of pre-packaged meals on the other. I wanted to plow a middle ground between those two, give voice to the home cook and work out one veg at a time.
For Joe Mercurio, owner of Mercurio Produce, wine isn’t just about culture—it’s about family too. His grandfather started the business that has distributed grapes and fresh wine juice for homemade winemakers all over our community and beyond. Since then, different members of the Mercurio family have helped run the business, including Joe. Joe Mercurio has worked hard to maintain his grandfather and father’s vision and make homemade wine easier to obtain and more widely available to customers including, most recently, importing grapes and grape juice from Chile when they are out of season in California. Below, Joe shares advice for homemade wine enthusiasts.—Leah Wolf
Leah Wolf: How did you first get involved with supplying grapes to winemakers?
Joe Mercurio: The Joseph Mercurio Family has been selling wine grapes and wine juice to home winemakers and wineries for over three generations, starting with my grandfather, Mike Mercurio. Traditionally, many families made wine in the fall harvest season to have and personally enjoy throughout the year until the new fall season approached again. We are starting our 38th year of selling grapes for wine making. This is a part of our business and our culture and it is frankly something that my family feels passionately that we must continue to offer to the community. Our long-standing relationships with top producers from around the world continue to allow us to provide the best their vineyards have to offer. It is so gratifying to be able to share this with my customers in and around the state of Ohio. We were the first company in Ohio to expand from offering just fresh grapes to adding a line of premium fresh wine juice (not from concentrate).