Five years ago, Martha Davis Kipcak opened Mighty Fine Food in Milwaukee to produce her personal recipe of pimento cheese for the marketplace. As a third-generation Texan, Martha had made and eaten pimento cheese with abandonment all her life. When she moved to Wisconsin, she was surprised to find the iconic Southern staple of pimento cheese missing from grocery shelves, so she rolled up her sleeves to fix that omission by introducing Martha’s Pimento Cheese.
Martha had spent years advocating for a robust, just, equitable, and sustainable food system, yet had no experience as an artisan food producer. She rearranged her food hats a bit by adding a hairnet, joining her dedicated assistants to produce pimento cheese by hand every week for five years renting space at Milwaukee’s urban cheese factory. Martha’s Pimento Cheese offered a chance to promote her own Southern foodway tradition combined with the best of local ingredients, namely great Aged Wisconsin Cheddar
The goal of Mighty Fine Food was to introduce the Midwest to first-rate pimento cheese with uncompromising dedication to high quality, clean, preservative-free ingredients, homemade taste and good design. Hiring young folks from the city to provide opportunities for personal growth and well-being in small food production has been a priority.
After five years in the marketplace, Mighty Fine Food will be handcrafting their last batch of Martha’s Pimento Cheese. Martha is closing the business at the end of 2017.
“I am grateful for the privilege of being an artisan food entrepreneur, especially in Wisconsin’s exceptional dairy industry. I never dreamed we would win awards and build so many wonderful relationships on both sides of store shelves. But it’s time to hang it up. I feel like we checked all the boxes we set out to accomplish except high sales volume. Without those rising numbers, it’s simply not sustainable to continue. Pimento cheese hasn’t caught on like I hoped it would. It’s okay. I’m at peace. We had a delicious product and, hopefully, won a few pimento cheese converts along the way.”
— Martha Davis Kipcak, Founder
Martha’s Pimento Cheese will continue to be available in the new year until inventory runs out. Whole Foods stores across the Midwest, natural foods coops, high-end grocers, and many specialty food stores will receive the last of the handcrafted pimento cheese from Mighty Fine Food before the holidays.