Guide To: Home-Craft Kits and Specialty Tools
Marketplace Link: Cookware & Tools
Want to make your own cheese? Brew your own beer? Start a rooftop beehive and make your own honey? Whatever your home-craft hobby, you need tools to make it happen. Here are a few places we've found that sell hard-to-find equipment for the adventurous kitchen DIYer.
Home Winemaking, Brewing, and Cheesemaking Supplies: Eileen and Jim Leverentz opened Leeners Home-Craft Suppliers in 1996 as a beer brewing and wine making supply store. This continues to be their primary focus, though they have expanded to offer kits and supplies for sake, mead, cider, and sodas. Their brick and mortar store is in Northfield, Ohio off of I-271. Lucky for us, their inventory is also available online and they ship globally.
Apiary (Beekeeping) Supplies: Last year in San Francisco, a lovely little store opened that is the only urban apiary-supply store in the city. Called Her Majesty's Secret Beekeeper, this is your one-stop shop for beekeeping supplies such as hives, combs, and protective suits. They also sell bee-related products such as honeys, beeswax candles, soaps, and the like. The store has a website, but you have to call for ordering info.
Hydrogarden Supplies: Online and brick-and-mortar store Fifth Season was founded in 2000 by current owner Richard Quinn and his brother-in-law in Ashville, NC as a resource for quality organic hydroponic garden supplies for indoor gardeners. Since then, the store has expanded to 5 stores between NC and VA, and increased their product offerings to include a broad range of unusual items—from beer and wine making supplies to high quality specialty garden tools.
Seltzer Bottles and Chargers: Located in Philadelphia but available to everyone thanks to a huge online inventory, Fante's Kitchen Wares is a well-known source for all kinds of kitchen supplies. They have a good selection of seltzer bottles, chargers, and siphons for homemade soda water, as well as guides for how to use them, but don't stop there. Check out their entire catalog for almost any hard-to-find tool you've been seeking.
Specialty Baking Goods: New York Cake and Baking Supply is a one-stop shop for supplies that aren't always easy to find. There are pastry tips and fondant icing for making more detailed desserts, racks of copper cookie cutters, and blocks of Valrhona chocolate. There are great finds, such as stacks of tiny loaf pans, and then there are the scary things you're sure have been in someone's attic - like dusty, paint bucket-sized tubs of buttercream frosting. If you don't live in New York, the store has a website, but you have to call or fax to place an order.
Clay Pot Cookware: Clay pots provide a vessel for very old and traditional methods of cooking, like slow braising of meats and beans. They are similar in size and function to cast iron Dutch ovens, but less expensive, and they can go from stove to oven to table. Bram, owned by Ashrf and Shelly Almasri, is a fabulous resource for clay pots and bakers. Prices are reasonable, with most large pots under $100. They have a store in Sonoma, California, and a website where you can purchase pots online.
Canning and Preserving Supplies: Lehman's Non-Electric Catalogue is a great online resource for old-fashioned kitchen supplies, including apple cider presses, hand-crank coffee grinders and pasta makers, and cast-iron cookware. They have almost anything you could need for home canning and preserving—dehydrators, jars, lids, etc.
Photos: Leeners, Cameo Wood, Trent Johnson, Fante's, Elizabeth Passarella, Bram, Lehman's