The 50 Best Independent American Food Brands

From new-school start-ups to century-old regional classics, these scrappy companies make some of nation's tastiest eats.


Belle Chevre

From: Elkmont, AL
Specialty: Goat's cheese

Why we love it: Goat's cheese from Alabama? Better believe it. This is classic French-style chèvre with some Southern charm, using local goat's milk that expresses the unique terroir of Limestone County. The award-winning spreadable goat's cheese is a must, but don't overlook funkier offerings like pimento chèvre, chèvre cheesecake, and fig-infused breakfast cheese.

  • Martin’s Pretzels

    Hey, thanks for including Martin’s Pretzels, though I’m not quite sure how we rated a Niman Ranch logo!

    • First We Feast

      @twitter-204960183:disqus not sure how that happened—gremlins in the system!
      photo has been updated, thanks for the heads up.

  • Martin’s Pretzels

    …and by the way, the Martin brothers, Lloyd and Clarence, who have kept the Martin’s Pretzels brand going for the last 50 of it’s 80+ years. There are two locations with Clarence in PA and Lloyd in NY state…same pretzels, process, ingredients and ovens. Many pretzel fans meet in the middle in New York City at the GrowNYC Greenmarkets (primarily Union Square) where Martin’s have been a steady presence with zillions of fans since 1982! There’s a great episode of the Discovery Channel’s “How Do They Do It?” (Season 5, Episode 7, titled “Pretzels, Gondolas, Pearls) that gives a pretty good look at how Martin’s are made…or there’s a free brief video from Food TV that can be accessed through the website.

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