Case D. Fischer & Mark Wieser, Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods

From by Jessica Elizarraras.

Case D. Fischer and Mark Wieser admit their first foray into publishing was at least 20 years in the making.

“It was something we were always thinking about in the back of our heads,” Fischer says.

“Fredericksburg Flavors” (Bright Sky Press, $24.95), the first book by the sauce masters written with John DeMers, hit shelves this fall. It contains more than 125 recipes that use their gourmet products in appetizers, entrées and desserts.

The book not only pays homage to the popular jams and jellies but also Fredericksburg and its heritage.

Weiser first met Fischer as his tennis coach when Fischer was in high school. He later hired the young Fischer to help him harvest berries and peaches. After four years of working in Weiser’s Das Peach Haus, Fischer went to Texas A&M University to study food science and marketing in the mid-’80s and later returned to partner with Weiser and help expand the jam and jelly business.

The pair talked about what “Fredericksburg Flavors” means to them and their hopes for the book.

Why did you decide to do it now?

CF: We have been wanting to do a book for a while. It was one of those things, always in the back of your head. We decided we just had to do this thing and started the process well over a year ago. We wanted something that told the story of Fredericksburg, which is an important part of our lives. We grew up here and it strongly shaped our morals and the food we eat. It’s why we called it “Fredericksburg Flavors.”

What recipes had to go in the book?

CF: That’s like asking what came first, the chicken or the egg. What came first for us was the sauces and the jams, jellies and the flavors we put into the sauces; what came after was the recipes we use the products on. Recipes we’ve done in our home and from people who bought our products and shared their experiences with us. It was hard to pick from so many recipes. We have several appetizers that we use that are easy and fun, like the Raspberry Rumba Salsa, which is done a lot during this time of year.

MW: The Berry Good Shrimp Tacos came from a contest winner in East Texas. His wife came into the store and discovered the cookbook. She opened it to see if her husband’s recipe was there and she was floored. It was nice to see people happy and leave the store with memories.

Who’s the better cook?

MW: Definitely Case (he laughs).

CF: Mark is an excellent cook. I’m learning every day. I’m a self-taught cook; I’m always experimenting. We’re not chefs by any means, but we’re people that love flavor in the foods we eat. We tried to do that with the cookbook.

What was the process like?

MW: The process was easy — we knew what recipes we wanted to add. So many people ask us how to use our products. The book helps illustrate what the dishes look like. It amazed me that people didn’t know what to do with jelly, especially jalapeño jelly in the early ’80s. A lot of the ways people use the products we couldn’t have possibly come up with. I hope people take the product and experiment and the book really becomes a guide so they can explore and be more adventuresome (with their food).

CF: Our mission as a company is to create farm-fresh unique foods that inspire people to enjoy food and share it with others. If people didn’t share our products, we would not have grown to where we are today. We wanted the book to get people sharing and get them to talk about it. It’s what’s fun about being in the kitchen.

Why do you think you’ve made it so far?

CF: One thing I saw when I went into the store was the time Mark took with the customers when they came in and how they became friends. It’s about the relationship you build. What tied it together was the food products they were taking back.

MW: Case is right. I learned that from my mother, whose goal was to have the customers come back by giving them good service.

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