Made in Georgia: Mad Mama Gourmet sells all natural, handmade soup

It’s the dinner party conversation any host loves to hear. Your guest is spooning up a dish and says, “This is so delicious, you should sell it.”

So flattering.

In 2011, Amy Smith was serving her San Marzano Tomato Soup at neighborhood parties and hearing over and over that she should think about selling it.

“I told everyone it wasn’t something I wanted to do professionally. But after being told that three times over six weeks, the more I thought about it, the more I thought maybe I should give it a try.”

Credit: C. W. Cameron

Credit: C. W. Cameron

That was the start of Mad Mama Gourmet.

Smith started by making her soup in shared commercial kitchen space and then selling it the former Chamblee, now Brookhaven, Farmers Market. “We tested our recipes by going to the farmers market. And that first year we only did the one market. It was very part time.”

Now she sells her soups at 10 local farmers markets and at several retail locations. She makes her gluten-free and cream-free soups in batches of 40 gallons at a time.

“Our first soup was our Southern Spanish Garden Gazpacho. It has fresh grated cucumber in it which gives it a noodly texture and it’s pretty, as well as being pretty labor intensive. And we made Cold Cucumber Soup that we call ‘liquid tzatziki’. We hand chop or grate all the produce to keep the flavor profiles distinct. We took those two soups to the Chamblee market and the response was amazing. People said, 'We want one of each, two of each.' We sold out in less than 30 minutes.

“We made our San Marzano Tomato Soup one day in June and took part of it refrigerated and part of it frozen. We sold out of the frozen soup quickly. We thought, ‘Maybe we’re on to something.’ And from a food safety standpoint, frozen is the way to go. So now all our hot soups are force cooled, then packaged and commercially frozen.”

Credit: C. W. Cameron

Credit: C. W. Cameron

Mad Mama Gourmet is a family business, with Smith and her husband Mark as the recipe creators. “My husband, Mark invested in the company and my children, Gabriel and Ava, love the food and love talking about it. They’re my best salespeople.”

Each week Smith makes sure to have at least nine flavors available for her farmers market customers – eight standard flavors such as her Truffle Tuscan White Bean or Shiitake Mushroom Madeira, and one soup of the month.

“My favorite part is selling and engaging with customers at the markets. I’ve never been happier than working with the community of farmers and artisans at our markets. It’s the most inspiring thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

Credit: C. W. Cameron

Credit: C. W. Cameron

Where can you find Mad Mama Gourmet products?

At local farmers markets :

  • Wednesday at Decatur and East Point
  • Thursday at East Atlanta Village and Tucker
  • Saturdays at Brookhaven, Marietta Square and Norcross
  • Sundays at Grant Park, Avondale and Westside

There are Mad Mama purple freezers at the Nuts 'n Berries in Brookhaven and Paul's Pot Pies in Marietta . Mad Mama soups are for sale at Lucy's Market in Buckhead and Smith occasionally will hold a pop-up market there as well.

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