Drew Maggiore, creator and owner of Drew’s Stews, is The Farm Market’s newest bi-weekly vendor. Every other Sunday he sells his all-natural, locally-sourced hot and cold soups, stews, and dips outside at Mill No. 5.
Drew’s Stews came out of a midlife career crisis, Drew jokes. In his previous career he felt like something was missing; that he wasn’t getting much enjoyment out of what he was doing, so he took some time to better understand who he was and what brought him joy. One of those things was cooking. He loved sharing food, talking about food and had always had a knack for soups and stews and therefore the decision to create a business around soup and the love of food was a natural direction to take.
“Soup doesn’t always have the greatest reputation, like it’s only for old people or only something that you eat when you are sick. I want to dispel that myth,” he says. Drew wants to provide a product that is at or above the level his customers would make themselves.
Years ago when his stepmother was fighting ovarian cancer, Drew worked diligently to create healthy food to aid in her journey of healing. He read everything he could, researching healthy food combinations and how to source locally. Everything he learned stuck with him and guides how he feeds his two young children and makes his products today.
His products are influenced by his Italian and Eastern European family and his time spent in Europe years ago. There, he first realized the benefits of and fell in love with food grown locally in a true farm to table context. His menu for the markets includes meat and fish stews, vegetarian, and vegan options. He has partnered with local growers, including some from Sunday’s Farm Market, to ensure he gets the freshest ingredients whenever possible. This makes his soups and stews even better. He is currently using Nallie Pastures pastured chicken backs to make the “most delightful stock.”
Recently he has been working with Albie Corbelli, a true “chef de cuisine,” Drew calls him. The two have been collaborating in the kitchen to create new recipes and work on growing the business. “It was a big learning curve to go from cooking soup for 10 people to making 80-100 quarts of soup at a time.” He knows it takes a village to get a small business off the ground. Friends and family have all helped him get to where he is today. His husband Jeremy, deals with customers and orders and updates the website, so that Drew can stay focused on the soups and stews. “We’ve learned what our strengths are and working together we manage to do a lot of cool stuff. He keeps me organized,” Drew says. He also notes that even though their kids are small, they help where they can and are learning how to run a business. His mother in law is the business’s bookkeeper and his own mother helps to look after the kids and “always graciously runs to the market if I forget something.” Drew says.
Quickly outgrowing the rental space he shares, Drew is very close to opening a commercial kitchen and small retail space on Main Street in Reading, MA. The small retail section will also sell other local products, including Lowell’s own Craic Sauce hot sauce and he is looking forward to creating and providing new products, including prepared meals.
Drew quickly fell in love with The Farm Market and it is one of his favorite places to be. The Mill No. 5 vibe is “so quirky, with so much creativity, with folks from all walks of life. The clientele are really cool, really down-to-earth, dedicated people who I see every time I come.” Food brings people together and good food is nourishing both emotionally and physically. Those dedicated customers continue to buy his products because they know it will treat them well.