Some of the whoopie pies baked at McClure’s Bakery in Gap end up encased in packing peanuts. That’s because the bakery sells some of its wares on Goldbelly — a New York-based company that connects customers to restaurants across the country. Owner Tom Keenan keeps an eye on McClure’s Goldbelly portal to see what orders are inbound. Then he packs them up, prints out messages to pop in boxes, sticks on the shipping labels and waits for FedEx to show.
“I don’t really look that hard at it to see where it’s all going,” Keenan says. “I do know that the majority are given as gifts … a lot of those messages are: ‘Happy Birthday, Dad.’ ”
McClure’s relationship with Goldbelly predates Keenan’s purchase of the bakery about 1 1/2 years ago, and he says he’s glad to have it. Part of Goldbelly’s appeal involves connecting people — homesick, curious or otherwise — with geographically specific cuisine.
“For travelers grounded during the pandemic, Goldbelly has been a godsend, feeding both their wanderlust and their stomachs,” Forbes magazine wrote last year about the company that’s been around since 2013.
Louisiana restaurants have trended in recent weeks on Goldbelly with their sparkly green gold and purple Mardi Gras king cakes. Type Pittsburgh into the Goldbelly search bar and you’ll find offerings like Isaly’s chip chopped ham and Primanti Brothers party packs. Type in Philadelphia and find no shortage of cheesesteaks. Somewhat surprisingly, when someone types Lancaster County into Goldbelly, only two options pop up that are actually in the county: McClure’s and Miller’s Bakery in Ronks.
McClure’s sells just three items through Goldbelly: whoopie pies, shoofly pie and Jewish apple cake.
“We’ve talked about expanding that out, which we will probably do sometime in the next couple months,” Keenan says. “But you need to be able to send something that’s going to travel well. ... I wouldn’t want to ship an iced cake.”
Know someone in need of some Lancaster County flavor? There are plenty of choices. Here just 10 examples of foods that will ship across the country via Goldbelly or via business websites.
McClure’s chocolate shoofly pie ($37)
The aforementioned McClure’s started selling a lot more of these molasses-based creations in November after Food & Wine magazine not only singled out shoofly pie as Pennsylvania’s entry on a list of best pies in every state, but mentioned McClure’s and Miller’s.
“We didn’t even know about that. Food & Wine never told us about it,” Keenan says. “We started to get all these Goldbelly orders for shoofly pie. Like tenfold. And we couldn’t really figure it out.” Then someone visited the store before Thanksgiving. “He said, ‘I want to get a couple of those pies that I read about,’ ” Keenan adds. “He sent me the link.”
Miller’s Salted Caramel Pecan Pie ($49)
You’ll pay a lot less than $49 if you walk into Miller’s Bakery in Ronks to buy this combination of flaky crust, butterscotch chips, chopped pecans and sea salt flakes. But people craving this pie from, say, Minnesota, could ante up and buy it — plus a few other Miller’s creations — through Goldbelly. And people do. This pie even carries a Goldbelly “editor’s pick”
1 pound of S. Clyde Weaver peppered bacon ($16.20, plus shipping)
Clyde Weaver was swinging his broad-bladed cleaver a century ago at the old Northern Market at North Queen and Market streets in Lancaster. These days, if somebody on the West Coast really wants a slab of fresh S. Clyde Weaver bacon, they’ve got the option to order it online through the company’s site. They could also order many of the other signature items — like dried beef, aged cheddar and hams — which the company is known for at its stores in East Petersburg and Lancaster plus several farmers markets, including Central Market.
“We have had sales all over the country,” says CEO William Roche. “As much as overnight shipping to the other side of the country may cost, we still see sales to California and Washington state.”
Additionally, sclydeweaver.com offers another Central Market regular: Long’s horseradish.
A Stroopies s’mores kit for five ($17, plus $10.20 nationwide shipping)
Remember the early days of COVID-19, when many people who stayed home were entertaining themselves with backyard fires? Grocery stores had s’mores ingredients set up in prime display spots. Lancaster Stroopie Co. also got in on that action. Born of the pandemic, the kits can still be shipped via stroopies.com. Instead of graham crackers, this includes two Stroopies (cinnamon waffles with a caramel center) plus a marshmallow and a piece of chocolate bark made by Groff’s Candies using Wilbur Chocolate. Lancaster Stroopie Co. has garnered national attention for the company’s efforts to employ refugees.
Regular gift box from Lancaster County Coffee Roasters ($50)
Recipients of this box get a coffee scoop and three coffees including Starbarn and Lancaster Signature blend — the two flavors that Lancaster County Coffee Roasters co-founder Scott Smith says are in constant competition for top seller. It meets the $50 minimum for free shipping at lancastercountycoffee.com.
But if you’ve ever received even a $15 order from this company, you’ve likely noticed a hand-written thank you inside. Smith says he isn’t sure how long that practice can continue as the company evolves. But for now? “The handwriting I feel personalizes things,” he says.
1 3/4-pound green tin of about 45 Hammond’s pretzels ($39.95)
The self-described oldest continuously family operated hand-made pretzel bakery in America will ship boxes and tins of hard pretzels anywhere in the country. But the majority that ship from Lancaster via hammondspretzels.com head to destinations in Pennsylvania and surrounding states, says President Brian Nicklaus. “And Florida, of course,” he says. “People move away from Lancaster — expatriates we like to call them — who love Hammond’s. We want to make sure they can still get what they want.”
While most of the pretzels Hammond’s sells online are individually wrapped to make sure they arrive in good shape, the company decided about a year or so ago to also offer bulk boxes of loose, plain pretzels.
“Breakage will occur during shipping,” notes the description for those. Nicklaus says it’s a tradeoff requested by customers — some looking to save on price, others looking to reduce the impact of shipping materials. “Some people don’t mind broken pretzels,” he says. “Funny thing is they start off whole. But they aren’t when they get there.”
Birthday cake popcorn from Emma’s Gourmet Popcorn ($3.80 to $23.50, depending on size, plus shipping)
This caramel popcorn with vanilla flavor drizzled in white chocolate and topped with rainbow sprinkles seems an obvious fit for an often tricky gifting occasion. Some folks buy that flavor — or the many others offered by Emma’s Gourmet Popcorn — from a small retail area inside the home of the New Holland family that pops it. Others grab it at area markets or gift shops. For others, it’s emmaspopcorn.com.
Anna Mary Esh, whose mother started the company, says the four most popular flavors online are consistent with in-person sales: chocolate and peanut butter, caramel, butter flavored and sweet cheddar.
Case of Spring Glen Fresh Foods chicken corn soup ($28.49, plus shipping)
Maybe your aunt in North Carolina doesn’t really want 10 pounds of soup made in Ephrata showing up on her doorstep. Then again, maybe she does?
Webstaurantstore.com sells cookware, flatware, janitorial supplies, spices and foods from all over the place. But it does have a “Made in Lancaster County” section of food to click on. As the website’s name suggests, this online arm of Lancaster-based Clark Associates Inc. serves a largely restaurant clientele. But there’s nothing stopping an individual from placing an order. A very large order.
1 pound of PA Dutch scrapple from Stoltzfus Meats ($9.99, plus shipping)
Zachary Stoltzfus, who heads up online sales for Stoltzfus Meats, doesn’t hesitate when asked to name the company’s No. 1 online seller. “Oh, that’s scrapple,” Stoltzfus says. He suspects that’s due in part to an episode of “Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations” which aired last year on the Food Channel and highlighted Stoltzfus scrapple — a combination of cornmeal and buckwheat blended with pork, pork skins and livers.
“There are people who know scrapple and want scrapple but can’t get it in their local grocery store,” he says. “They Google where to buy it. Stoltzfus Meats — which has a production facility in Gordonville, a store in Intercourse and quite the following at its longtime stand at the New Castle, Delaware, farmers market — redesigned its online sales platform in 2020 in response to the pandemic.
“We are up 40% this year (in online sales) and anticipate further growth as we move toward greener packaging solutions and a flat rate shipping fee,” he says. Stoltzfus’s site also offers products from other companies including Zook’s Homemade Pies out of Ronks, which Stoltzfus says have been picking up national sales traction.
Barn Raiser Basket from Dutch Foods ($65, plus shipping)
Elmer and Katie Stoltzfus, of New Holland, have been shipping baskets of food for about 10 years through their company Dutch Baskets. About 90% of what goes into the baskets comes from Lancaster County, Katie Stoltzfus says. Among the company’s more popular options on dutchbaskets.com is the Barn Raiser basket, which includes an assortment of items such as sweet dill pickles from Glick’s Homestyle Canning in Gordonville, a bag of mixed nuts from Solanco Nuts in Christiana, chips from Zerbe’s Snacks in Denver and some New Holland Coffee.
Stoltzfus says there’s an intrinsic marketing appeal to Lancaster County foods. “When people think about it, they think about homemade,” she says. “They think about food they can trust.”