Jessica Rerick is busy. She’s married, a mother of four, works, studies and runs Craveable Kitchen, a food company she aims to make “Staying In” the new “Going Out.”
Rerick has worked as a columnist for the Herald, personal chef, caterer and culinary instructor and had always wanted to start a business putting together packaged meals, but her busy life prevented that -- she would start and stop and start and stop. It wasn’t until March when she was furloughed from her “dream job” at US Foods that she saw her chance.
“I felt I really did have some free time on my hands, and I've never really been one to sit still very well,” she told the Herald. “I dabble in a lot of things, and I just said ‘you know what, I'm going to start making brownies.’”
Rerick’s family owns a dry edible bean company in Johnstown, N.D., between Gilby and Forest River, and it was at that business that she got her kitchen certified as a food processor. There, she puts together her dry mixes, and, when they are complete and packaged, she brings them back to Grand Forks for shipping.
She started with a brownie mix, then added her mother’s bean soup recipe. After that different flavors of beer bread and dips followed, along with a seasoning mix for burgers.
“I called her very matter-of-fact one morning; I said ‘I'm taking your bean soup recipe and rebranding it, and it's now part of my Craveable Kitchen line that I'm going to put out,’” she said.
Rerick said her business model is to “fly by the seat of my pants,” but sales mostly come online from her Facebook page and through word-of-mouth. She recently made a deal with the owners of Birdie’s Mercantile, a newly opened shop in Fisher, Minnesota, to carry her products.
Craveable Kitchen is beginning to make money, she said, after the initial expenditures on items, such as appropriate packaging and labeling. Getting some sales, and getting her products into a brick-and-mortar shop has helped her husband, Mark, move from “nervous” to “excited” for the new business.
And it’s no stopping for Rerick. She’s now back at work at US Foods and is studying online. She has an associate's degree from Le Cordon Bleu, and she is working towards an online bachelor’s degree from Johnson and Wales University. When asked what she does in her free time, or if she has free time, Rerick responded: “This is what happens when I have free time, I create Craveable Kitchen."
For now, Rerick is content to continue in her many pursuits. She would like to expand her product line and would even consider a shop of her own in the future.
The name of her business goes along with the products she creates, she said. When it comes to her children and beer bread, that certainly is the case.
“My 4 year old would actually come into the kitchen and burst into tears on mornings where I didn't have cinnamon beer bread,” Rerick laughed. “He’s yelling in front of the neighbors: ‘I want beer bread!’”