You know what they say: It’s the little things in life, and when it comes to sandwiches, the condiments can make all the difference. New to the Brit + Co Shop is family-run gourmet mustard company Green Mountain Mustard. Made in Vermont with classic to wacky flavors, your summer picnics, back-to-school lunches or post-work-day meal will thank you!
Michael, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’ve been obsessed with food since I was a kid. From my mom teaching my siblings and me to bake to my Dad teaching us how to never use a recipe, food has always amazed me — the flavors, the packaging, the stories and the people. When I’m not thinking about, talking about or making food, I love to explore Vermont. Backroads, antiquing, country stores, creemees (Vermont’s version of soft-serve) and hiking to beautiful summits — it’s an amazing place to call home.
Why did you decide to start Green Mountain Mustard?
This is my third food business. When I was 15 years old, I started making cookies in my parents’ house. I’d sell them in front of a hair salon in my tiny hometown of just 4,000. After a couple summers selling cookies, I moved to energy bars (also baked in my parent’s kitchen). I ran that company from my dorm room until I graduated. Then, I moved to mustard. I’ve always loved mustard on pretty much anything. After family and friends said “You should sell this!” about 1,000 times, I figured… what the heck? I had just graduated college, so I gave it a a go. And here we are.
What do you enjoy most about making mustard?
Mustard is a blank canvas. Making it from scratch means starting with mustard powder or seeds and vinegar, water or beer. From there, you can add literally anything to create super tasty, fun mustards.
What is your personal favorite mustard and what do you love to put it on?
Each mustard we make becomes my favorite, so it’s a tough call. But, my current favorite (and our most popular) is our Golden Grain Maple Wholegrain Mustard. I like it on a classic grilled cheese, but I’m kind of specific in how it’s made. It has to start with three-year-aged cheddar from Grafton Village Cheese Company, Sicilian bread from La Panciatta Bread Company, caramelized Granny Smith apples and two tablespoons of Maple Wholegrain Mustard. Mind-blowing is probably the best descriptor.
What does the making process look like for you?
It’s actually quite simple. We prep all the ingredients in large five-gallon pails. Then, mix in the liquid ingredients in a large 20-gallon kettle. Once heated, it’s transferred to a piston-filler, filled, capped, labeled and boxed. And then it’s on its way to my parents’ basement. Or, I should say, “shipping and receiving.” Some recipes are a little more complicated, but that’s the gist.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Our customers send me flavor suggestions all the time. But most of the time, I’ll find a recipe online for something that’s far from mustard and want to incorporate it. For example, I was at my favorite bakery in town staring at the fresh bagels. The everything bagel was covered in spices. I thought, “Man, I should make an everything bagel mustard!” And that’s where Deli Dirt came from.
What other creative hobbies do you have?
They all seem to center around food. I’m trying to master the art of food photography while running and hiking off all the food I eat. I love breakfast at small, hole-in-the-wall diners. Not really a hobby to most, but eating really is a hobby to me. And I love to go antiquing. I have a collection of vintage maple syrup tins, old Vermont license plates and even a one-way road sign.
Tell us how technology has changed and supported what you do.
Definitely by communicating our story — I’m working on fun videos to better tell our customers who is behind Green Mountain Mustard, to show them who our suppliers are and even do some cooking demos about what to do with every flavor of mustard. Beyond that, our online store has been amazing for connecting with people all over America who have fallen in love with our products. I live for those stories, and technology has only helped make them more visual.
What’s up next for Green Mountain Mustard?
We’re working on launching a couple fall and holiday seasonal flavors and contemplating a beer mustard for next summer. And a cookbook — the cookbook puts everything I love in one package — cooking, photography, design and mustard. I’m excited to see how it turns out!
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other makers?
Know your finances. I love making things — the creativity and innovation are a natural high. But, you’ve got to make money doing what you love. Plus, I like to remind myself to dazzle every customer, regardless of their level of support in my business. Whether it’s one jar or a full case, every customer helps propel you to success, one customer at a time.
Hungry for some mustard? Head to the Brit + Co Shop to get a gourmet flavor for your next meal!