By Douglas J. Guth | Photo by Jim Baron
“I was living on Aleve at the time; I was desperate,” Dimacchia, 43, says.
The broth, essentially a powered up soup stock made with animal bones, helped diminish the Rocky River resident’s discomfort. Dimacchia then began to drink the broth for general maintenance, at the same time studying its health benefits on wellness websites and food blogs. Soon Dimacchia was preparing bone broth herself and delivering care packages of the brew to friends and family.
Almost a year later Dimacchia is cooking up 240 gallons of broth monthly out of the Cleveland Culinary Launch and Kitchen downtown. As owner and sole proprietor of Erie Bone Broth — business partner Ellen Leamon left the enterprise recently for family-related reasons — she meets customers at the North Union Farmers Market at Shaker Square, online at eriebonebroth.com and at the share commercial kitchen from which her business operates.
“The business came about organically,” Dimacchia says. “I recognized the need for it. My love for the work came later.”
Dimacchia currently makes and sells chicken, turkey and beef bone broth per guidelines of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Her bones, sourced from local farms, are soaked in organic apple cider vinegar and filtered water prior to simmering, which aids in releasing their minerals.
The budding entrepreneur simmers the pre-roasted animal bones using only organic vegetables and herbs. Chicken bone broth is generally simmered for 24 hours, while beef stays in the kettle for 48 hours. The broken-down bones produce a flavorful broth rich in naturally occurring proteins, collagen, amino acids and minerals.
Dimacchia and other bone broth backers maintain the nutrients from broth have healing and immune-system boosting properties. Some people use broth to alleviate joint and gut pain, or as a preventative measure against fatigue. Others drink a cup every day with an aim to smooth their skin or even make their hair shiny.
While Dimacchia cannot attest to bone broth’s aesthetic benefits, she has sold it to folks recovering from surgery who swear the tasty concoction helped them with their pain and inflammation.
“This is not a quick fix,” Dimacchia says. “It’s all part of supporting a healthier lifestyle.”
Bone marrow is the densest source of fat-soluble vitamins, and so releasing those vitamins into an easily digestible, no salt liquid is preferable to a pill for some people. “If you take a pill your body is not going to fully absorb it,” says Dimacchia. “This (broth) is in a form your body recognizes.”
Word about Dimacchia’s product is getting around. The Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine recommends bone broth to patients, while a local professional sports franchise utilizes the mixture as an alternative means of treating the aches and pains of its athletes.
“Broth is a great recovery drink after a workout because it contains compounds that act like growth hormones for your joints and connective tissues,” says the newly minted businesswoman.
Nor is broth exactly a new food – grandmothers have been making it for ages, Dimacchia points out. Her particular recipe comes from Nourishing Traditions, a cookbook that shares information on how to prepare bone broth and other enzyme-rich goodies.
It took Dimacchia months of experimentation to come up with what she deemed a perfect batch. Along with naturally grown vegetables, she will add a bouquet of herbs that includes garlic, peppercorns, thyme, oregano and parsley.
Thanks to word of mouth, Dimacchia is selling 24-ounce bags of broth for $17 each, with most customers stocking their freezers in lots of 10 -20 packages. When she brings 50 or 60 bags to a farmers market, she is routinely cleaned out before the day is through. It helps that bone broth has yet to catch on in Northeast Ohio as it has in California and New York, she notes.
“The Internet is my biggest competition right now,” Dimacchia says.
The fledgling business owner expects bone broth to make it to North Coast, which is why she wants to strike while the broth is simmering. In October, Dimacchia received a $2,500 fourth-place prize during the Female Entrepreneur Summit, a pitch event presented by Contempo Communications, owner of Cleveland Business Connects.
Dimacchia used the money to purchase a larger kettle, which allows her to make 160 bags of broth at a time, as opposed to the 50 she was originally producing. By the end of 2015, she plans to be selling out of local grocery stores. While nutritionists may not agree about every health claim associated with bone broth, Dimacchia firmly believes in the robust way of life her creation promotes.
“I’m offering a healthy farm-to-table product,” says Dimacchia. “I love being a part of people’s healing journeys.”
For more information: eriebonebroth.com
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