Westport, Connecticut: One woman, two obsessions, a family farm – and a Connecticut gourmet and specialty foods company is launched. Renee DuMarr Hooper, who has a clothing design firm in Manhattan, needed to cook. She also wanted to show her love for fresh food, local farmers, and natural produce. At the Connecticut farmers’ markets, she saw more than a shopping experience; she saw a veritable playground of fresh ingredients.
Hooper’s new company, White Oak Farm and Table, feeds both her obsessions: food and local produce; and she has been - for the last nine months – creating all-natural fruit spreads, mustards, grilling and finishing sauces, salad dressings, and marinades, mixing up unanticipated flavors and surprising combinations. She is, by her own admission, “stubbornly artisan” and “borderline obsessive” about the products she produces.
White Oak Farm and Table is based out of Christie’s Country Store, a Westport icon loved by the locals since 1926 when Christie Massiello sold her family’s fruits and vegetables out front. Hooper continues to serve the Connecticut community local produce, but with her own special brand of passion.
White Oak Farm and Table announces Marple Hall ketchup as the newest addition to their line of gourmet and specialty food items. The ketchup is an old family one brought here from England over 150 years ago. The family’s farm to table experience dates to the early 1600’s at Marple Hall, the sprawling estate of John Bradshawe, the famous judge who presided over the trial of King Charles I, found him guilty of tyranny, and sentenced him to death. The Bradshawes emigrated to America, bringing their favorite condiment recipe with them to Danbury, Connecticut.
With grilling sauces, salad dressings, mustards, marinades, and jams, Hooper is building a brand which celebrates farmers, family, and friends. Each of the products is created with her obsessions in mind – like strawberry rhubarb jam, blueberry-basil jam, Cajun peach grilling sauce. And now, a ketchup whose roots are firmly buried in the fields of a 400-year-old family farm and a recipe which has a history of English kings, tyranny and beheadings.