Simple Origins is a place to discover nourishing food. A place where the community can explore the kind of food that makes our bodies healthy and brings vitality to New England’s food system. Today is another deposit in that bank. With The Foodery’s full-scale commercial kitchen located in Malden, Union Square in Somerville is just a stone’s throw away. And nestled in Somerville’s favorite roundabout is one of The Foodery’s local suppliers, Capone Foods. Al Capone’s business supplies The Foodery almost weekly with products made from scratch and hand-delivered. It’s a chilly fall day but I pedaled the short distance to take a couple hours away from Foodery operations to visit Capone Foods to understand the care that goes into these products.
Capone Foods – A Family Tradition
Al Capone’s family, originally from Italy, settled in Argentina. The family came to New England in 1966. His father, too was a craftsman of food and in 1968 Capone Sr. opened the family’s original store in Haymarket in downtown Boston. Alongside the traditional weekend shopping spree of fresh vegetables and fruits at Haymarket were also some brick-and-mortar stores. Capone Foods was one of them as their store pumped out 12,000 pounds of cheese per week and was frequented by famed late chef Julia Child and other local food industry leaders. In our meeting in his small office in his store, Capone recalled “We were focused on producing the best products we could. Through the 80’s we would produce cheese, pastas and sauces. Sometimes 2000lbs a week of a given product.” By 1984, Capone and his father were supplying some of Boston’s best restaurants with their hand-crafted Italian and Argentinian products. In 1984, Al Capone took the company reigns, picked up operations and moved them to their current location in Somerville. “It was an old bank building but I saw potential. I called the seller and in a matter of days, we had the deal negotiated and Capone Foods had it’s new home.”
Fast forward to today. Capone Foods has a thriving wholesale arm where they sell to The Foodery, Whole Foods, Au Beau Pon, Gordon Foods and many other companies. Capone also runs a successful storefront where Somerville pedestrians rely on the fresh goods for home cooking. His 5 daughters and wife help him run the company. “Several years ago, my daughter Jennifer pushed us to make prepared foods. She’s quite the salesperson, that Jennifer.” Turns out, her instincts spell success. While witnessing the operations in action, Jennifer rings up a store goer whose arms are full of 6 handcrafted, frozen pizzas. “Well sell 500 of those [pizzas] a week out of that freezer” Capone noted.
Capone Foods and The Foodery
So what is Capone Foods doing for The Foodery? Michael Bruson, Foodery Executive Chef, likes to infuse the freshest products every chance he gets. In June, Chef Bruson reached out to Mr. Capone about Capone’s fit with The Foodery’s stringent ingredient standards to see if Capone Foods could craft products that encompass The Foodery’s Food Manifesto. Capone Foods is now furnishing fresh made pasta to The Foodery’s production processes. “We like what Capone brings because we gather customers’ orders and the next day we have Al’s daughters showing up with fresh pasta at The Foodery’s door. They’re making our job easier.” says Brunson. As one of America’s oldest cities, Boston and the surrounding area is full of local food artisans. A tip of the cap to Capone Foods for pursuing their craft for over 45 years and nourishing their local community with handmade goods.
To visit Capone Foods, visit them at 14 Bow Street Somerville, MA 02143 or call them at (617) 629-2296. You can also email Mr. Capone himself at firstname.lastname@example.org