Spice Up Your Life!

The Casey Malone Show 


The Vindicator

July 25, 2015

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Italian Festival celebrates Italian Heritage

Those who wanted to add slightly nontraditional peppers to their meals likely found Dino Martin helpful.

“Our peppers have taken off locally in restaurants as appetizers,” explained Martin, who owns Bowling Green-based Monteleone Foods Ltd. with his wife, Susanne Martin. “We decided we should bottle and sell them.”

The business’s peppers have no vinegar and mainly are made with oil and garlic, said Martin, a 1986 Ursuline High School graduate who lives in Toledo. At the fest, he was selling mild, medium, hot and sun-dried-tomato varities.

The recipes are far from new, however. Martin’s 90-year-old mother, Connie Martin of Cornersburg, got them from a relative, tweaked the foods a bit and prepared them for many friends and family members, he recalled.

Decades later, the peppers continue to resonate with many Mahoning Valley residents and are steeped in local tradition, Martin continued.

“I’ve lived in Toledo for 15 years, and this is a Youngstown thing, and I’m happy to be from that,” he said.

Growth for Peppers in Oil Business Heating Up
Another CIFT Success Story

Monteleone Foods 

Monteleone Foods produces Italian-style hot peppers in oil, similar to the type originated in southern Italy and eventually brought to Youngstown, Ohio by Italian immigrants. The company is co-owned by Dino and Susanne Martin and got its start with the help of the Center for Innovative Food Technology’s (CIFT) Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK). “Our business would not have been successful or even gotten off the ground without CIFT and the NOCK,” Dino said. “We are lucky that we have access to such a great facility and the people to manage and coordinate it. They have been instrumental in helping us manage our business as we grew.” The company has grown tremendously since becoming a client with NOCK and enjoys a 50 percent annual revenue growth. Three employees have been added since their start in 2010. Today, their products can be found in more than 50 stores in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, including The Andersons and Sparkle Markets. Their lineup includes hot, medium and mild pepper varieties of the peppers. For restaurants, bakeries and delis, a two gallon container is produced. In addition, the organization sells stromboli and rustic Italian breads at the Toledo and Perrysburg (Ohio) Farmers’ Markets. “Everything started sooner than expected,” Dino said. “One of our new products that will be on the shelves soon (hot peppers with sun-dried tomatoes and basil) was test marketed and it has received an unbelievable response.” These new additions will increase the company’s sales and make them more attractive to grocers, restaurants and distributors. They will also gain new attention thanks to the introduction of a one quart shelf stable container that has a much longer shelf life than their current gallon containers.

From the Business Blackboard

November 11, 2014

Dean Ray Braun of Bowling Green State University and Dino Martin, co-owner of Monteleone Foods on The Business Blackboard Show talking about the success of Monteleone Foods as well as the upcoming Global Entrepreneur Week at BGSU. To listen to the show, click on the photo on the left. 

From the Fat Cat Cooking Show

October 18. 2014

Dino Martin, co-owner of Monteleone Foods, talks with Saundra and Jim from the Fat Cat Cooking Show on WCWA 1230 AM about the Toledo Farmers' Market and the growth of Monteleone Foods.

From the Sylvania Advantage

Locally produced Monteleone Peppers in Oil expands   

November 6, 2013

Sylvania Township residents Susanne and Dino Martin have expanded their capacity to package their unique product, Monteleone Peppers in Oil. “We were not able to keep up with the demand of our distributors,” Mrs. Martin noted, “We also had to develop a formula to make the peppers shelf stable, as we use the very old world technique of packing the peppers in oil using no vinegar or citric acid. Now, our peppers have a two-year shelf life.”
“We were fortunate to find a packager to follow our formula and will produce 2,600 cases or 31,000 jars of peppers this fall. We just could not do that many on our own,” she said. Now, Monteleone Peppers can be found in northwest and eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Michigan. “We also have developed a good online business and ship our peppers across the country,” Mrs. Martin stated.
According to Mrs. Martin, these old world peppers are very common in the Youngstown area where her husband grew up. “My mother-in-law, Connie Bruno Martin, put up cases of these peppers every fall. These peppers were on their table during every meal. Her peppers were also given to family members and friends as well,” she said.
Mrs. Martin credits Kyle Baker of Gordie’s Barbeque with encouraging her and her husband to begin packaging the peppers after sampling them at a neighborhood event. “He said we needed to make these peppers and introduced us to the Center of Innovative Food Technology (CIFT), the commercial kitchen near Bowling Green, suggesting we enter the annual food contest. Walt Churchill happened to be one of the judges and loved our peppers. He invited us to bring them to his store,” she recalled. “And, that is how we began.”
The Monteleone Peppers can also be found locally at Sautter’s Markets, The Andersons, Sofo’s, Kazmaier’s and both Churchill locations. In addition, the Martins can be found at the downtown Toledo’s Farmer’s Market offering their peppers along with Stromboli and several varieties of breads baked fresh by the  Martins. “We started offering Stromboli to demonstrate one of the uses for the peppers and found this to be such a success, we continue to have this available,” she said.
“As a hobby, we built a brick oven in our backyard so we could bake old style Italian bread and make pizza, which we also offer for sale at the Farmer’s Market,” Mrs. Martin added.
As the company continues to expand, the Martins have not forgotten their roots. “Monteleone Foods’ products are the inspiration of Dino’s mother and the name, Monteleone pays homage to his father, Joe, whose original name was Joseph Monteleone,” she said. “I also credit my son, Will, for all of his encouragement and support.”
Monteleone Peppers are sold in jars and in one- and five-gallon containers to the food service industry. There are three varieties: hot, medium and mild, all with a strong note of garlic and other spices. “These peppers have the perfect blend of heat and sweet peppers and are sure to add zing to any dish,”Mrs. Martin promised. “And, the leftover oil can be used as a marinade, salad dressing or for sautéing or frying vegetables, eggs and meats.”