meet the maker: Onesto crackers
interview by Kelly Rizzo | photo by Jennifer Jeanne Adams
Jane Ciccone grew up in a large family where homemade, delicious food was the staple. But after she and her husband, Jesse, had children they were disheartened by the lack of wholesome, preservative-free snacks available to them at the grocery store. Inspired by Jane’s upbringing, they committed to providing their family with wholesome delicious food and Onesto was born. Onesto (oh-NEST-oh) is Italian for "honest”, and Jane and Jesse are dedicated to be honest in every way, They will never use chemicals or preservatives and will continue to produce delicious snacks that we can all feel good about.
1. Have you always been inspired to create things in the kitchen?
I grew up in a wonderful home where my mom was always cooking and baking something. I have six brothers and sisters and my parents worked very hard to make sure that we always had good, nourishing, healthy food available to us. We had "that" house where we'd get off the bus and run through the door, and the kitchen would smell amazing. I am inspired every day to create those memories for my own children as they grow up.
Because I grew up with that example, the kitchen has never been a scary or intimidating place to me. I feel so happy and peaceful when I am in the kitchen (preferably with my husband, who's' an amazing cook) creating dishes for my family and friends.
2. You're very environmentally conscious, your products are preservative-free and your packaging biodegradable. Can you talk a little bit about this and how it has inspired not just Onesto but your way of life?
It was very important to us when we started Onesto to find packaging that would not only look nice, but wouldn't contribute to the growing land-fill problem. When my husband and I had kids, we became so much more aware of our impact on the planet and the example we are setting for others.
Each time I went grocery shopping, I was thrilled to see how many people were using re-usable shopping bags, and that inspired us to find something that could either be re-used or if not, would be recyclable/biodegradable. The plastic lining of our pouches is recycled corn and our outer layer is a recycled paper that can easily be broken down. Because the philosophy of our cracker recipe is to be honest and not contain any junk, why should our packaging be any different?
3. Onesto has seen tremendous growth over the past year, where do you hope to see it five years from now? How would you choose to grow the brand?
Over the past year and a half, we have had various opportunities to grow our business at a very fast pace. We have said no to a lot of them. It is very important to us to grow Onesto in a true, organic way. We don't want to just be another food business. We want to do things thoughtfully and with patience. But our immediate goals are to launch more food products, and see where that takes us.
4. How has living and working near the coast affected your work?
When my husband and I were first married, we moved to San Francisco for five years. Living on the West Coast, we were exposed to so many wonderful fresh foods that were different from what we had experienced growing up on the East Coast. Everyday felt like we were on some kind of culinary adventure. New England is home for both of us and I feel so lucky to have been able to live on both coasts and experience the local food that each has to offer. I love the change of seasons, especially living so close to the ocean. It never ceases to amaze me that I can go apple picking with my kids at a local farm and then drive less than 10 minutes and we are at the beach. This part of the country inspires most of my cooking tendencies. I love having fresh, local seafood in the warmer months, creating dishes that are light and full of briny, clean flavors. Then, once it starts to get colder, I love the smell of rich sauces simmering and the fireplace crackling.
You can find Onesto crackers at select gourmet markets, or online at: http://www.onestofoods.com