The Perfect Pairing
~ by Denise Gierula
Stemming from a love of all things savory and sweet, the owners of The Loving Spoonful, Rich and Amy Johnson, bring a variety of infused olive oils and vinegars guaranteed to liven up any meal! Rich and Amy are part of our community and live right behind the Antietam School District’s ‘A’ field where soccer is the main event. Many a soccer ball lands in their yard and they consider it a pleasure to witness the polite neighborhood kids who ring their doorbell. The Johnsons said, “We have just one policy for kids asking to go into our yard and retrieve their balls and that is just don’t step on Amy’s flowers, LOL!”
Rich and Amy met in early 2010 at one of Rich’s DJ gigs at the late Brass Lantern; little did they know a year later they would welcome their daughter Athena and the rest, as they say, is history! They family has grown with the addition of Julian and The Loving Spoonful couple just celebrated their third wedding anniversary.
Both Rich & Amy entered the workforce right after high school. Amy is a 1995 graduate of Exeter High School and worked as administrative and executive assistant during the day while also waitressing at night. Rich began doing mobile disc jockey work in the tristate area and later became a partner in the 024art gallery on Canal Street. Over the years, they continued in similar jobs to their early beginnings in the workforce. Rich has turned his love of music into his own production and entertainment company, and Amy left her company of 10 years after they moved their headquarters to Boston. It was just around that time when the Johnson’s heard the news that Antietam would have a farmers market and the spark was lit! They spent years researching and visiting nearby retailers to purchase infused and flavored olive oils & vinegars. While not ready to open a storefront because of the demands of raising their two young children, a farmers market was the perfect way to bring all the fun and flavor they cook with to the public.
The Loving Spoonful is operated as most retailers of olive oil & vinegar choose to manage their businesses. When I asked Amy about the specifics she replied, “We work directly with the importer, located in California. All balsamic vinegars are from a private, multi-generational family business in Italy. Olive oil origins can vary, however we carry olive oil from California, Italy & Greece. Our balsamic vinegars & olive oils are held to the highest standard of purity and are all certified by several organizations for quality including the Specialty Food Association.”
I asked Amy about the health benefits of their products. She said, “The health benefits of olive oil and vinegar are vast. While we could give never give up butter completely, olive oil is a fantastic alternative. It is low in saturated fat and has no cholesterol. Balsamic vinegar is low in calories, low on the glycemic index and can also have a good effect on cholesterol and blood pressure. With so many flavors and infusions, our olive oils and vinegars are amazing for dressings, marinades, roasting vegetables and even libations!”
Stop by, chat with Rich and Amy at the Antietam Valley Farmers Market, and feel free to sample any and all of their oils and flavored vinegars. They are knowledgeable, creative and can answer all your culinary questions. Amy lovingly said, “We are honored to be a part of the Antietam Valley Farmers and Artists Market. We not only get to share products we love, but we get to enjoy conversation with our neighbors and fellow vendors. We have tried so many delicious markets finds; it’s hard to pick which ones to try each week!”
And try this recipe from The Loving Spoonful!
LEMON-RICOTTA CAKE WITH RASPBERRY-LAVENDAR DRIZZLE
Lemon Ricotta Cake
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Meyer Lemon Olive OIl
1 cup sugar
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray then line loaf pan with parchment paper letting the extra hang over the sides. In the bowl of a stand mixer add & combine all ingredients. Mix at medium speed for a few minutes until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan & bake for 45-55 minutes. Use a tester in the middle of the cake to ensure it comes out clean. Once the cake is done, remove from the pan & let cool on a wire baking rack.
1/4 cup Raspberry balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Lavender balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp packed light brown sugar
In a small saucepan, add Raspberry & Lavender balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Let boil for a minute or two and remove from heat. Once the drizzle has thickened, use a spoon or spatula to drizzle over the Lemon Ricotta Cake.