Tasty fruit breads, pickled eggs, asparagus and snack mix are all available at Becky Zahn Walcker’s booth in the Commercial III building at the North Dakota State Fair this week.
Zahn Walker, from Minot, is the owner and operator of Memories of Home. The Minot business has been in operation since 2016 but this is Zahn Walcker’s first time as a vendor at the State Fair.
“I saw new opportunities to reach people” who might not have heard about her business, said Zahn Walcker, whose business is also a participant in Pride of Dakota. The State Fair celebrated Pride of Dakota day and North Dakota businesses on Monday.
Zahn Walcker grew up on a farm in Westhope and has always loved the outdoors. When she was a child, she and her grandfather made strawberry jam together and it was her job to mash the strawberries.
She “loves canning”, which she taught herself to do as an adult and always enjoys finding new things that she can pickle. Her pickled eggs are a food people either love or dislike, said Zahn Walcker, but she always tells people they make an excellent egg salad sandwich.
Rhubarb and lemon baked goods are especially popular with her customers right now. She said rhubarb is very popular in North Dakota.
Some of the fresh baked goods, canned goods and home goods on sale through Memories of Home are based on family recipes that Zahn Walcker has tweaked a little bit.
For instance, if she wanted a fluffier cookie than the one produced by the family recipe, she decided to add more flour.
She also questions her repeat customers and others about what they like or don’t like about how something tastes and might add or reduce the spiciness based on their comments. Zahn Walcker earned a degree in animal care and had been working full time in a different field entirely when Memories of Home got its beginnings. After they moved to their farm around 2012, Zahn Walcker started a garden and eventually grew too many vegetables for her family and friends. She ended up joining the farmers market and selling there and then started selling wholesale. Now her goods are sold at the Super Pumper gas stations in Belfield and New Town. They are also distributed at stores throughout the state by a wholesale distributor.
Zahn Walcker said she still has a garden, although she also purchases some of the ingredients she needs from local suppliers. She had help from a few people to help make all the baked goods, canned goods, and home goods ahead of the fair. She said the Pride of Dakota has also been a big help. Businesses that are Pride of Dakota members must produce and sell their items locally.
Zahn Walcker also has a website at memoriesofhomebybecky.com