Jenn and Adam Stein, of Steindry, are the hardest working couple in the jerky business. Some days, they're in the Fork kitchen as early as 4AM, trying to beat the rush and complete a 14-hour day in time for dinner. You can usually find them slicing local cuts of beef, marinading them in craft beer and coffee, running 4 dehydrators at a time, and still making it in time for work at Foundation Brewing Co (where Adam runs the tasting room). If you haven't tried their delicious jerky yet, there's one for everyone in the family: beef marinated in coffee or beer, fruit jerkies made with local berries, and even dehydrated dog treats. You can order right from Steindry's website, or catch them around town at local breweries and markets!
What was your first job?
My first job was working at a farm stand - it was at Schoolhouse Farm, in Warren. I was 11 years old. Child labor! My mom is very proud.
It sounds like you’ve always been interested in food work!
I used to spend almost everything I made on strawberries during the season. So you can understand why I want to dry them and have them year-round! But really, I've worked in restaurants everywhere from LA to NY and a huge draw to move to Maine was the quality of food available and knowing where it came from.
Where did the idea for Steindry come from?
We used to home brew beer in our tiny NYC apartment, and I hated that we threw out all the spent grain that still had so much nutritional value. I got my first dehydrator to try to make flour from the spent grain, spent an entire weekend on it, and had maybe one tablespoon of flour for the effort. It wasn't a good use of my weekend! I had to justify the space the dehydrator took up in our apartment, so I started making beef jerky, a favorite of Adam's. When I left corporate America, I started experimenting with beer in the recipe and then coffee too. We started testing if you could taste different types of beers in recipes for jerky. And you definitely can - you can taste the difference between a stout and an IPA!
What motivates you to continue and grow your business?
All the positive feedback in the community. Also, the creativity of changing up what we’re doing. We’re always changing - for example, we’re about to do a bourbon beef jerky. It’s fun to think up new ideas and actually be able to run with them.
Who are some food entrepreneurs that you admire?
The people at Good To-Go! And the whole beer industry, watching it grow and succeed and how good the stuff they’re making is.
What’s your go-to weeknight dinner?
Zucchini boats! We have a CSA so we get a lot of it. And my mom has a huge zucchini patch.
Where do you like to eat in Maine?
We like to eat at home - we have a great deck we like to spend time on. And all the food trucks and restaurants in Portland are so good, it's impossible to choose a favorite! I can’t pick just one.