Local suppliers

Dog Gone Treats

If your dogs have visited Essex Co-Op they have probably tried a sample Dog Gone Treats Chicken Chips.  These dehydrated meat chips are made in Georgetown, MA, by Steve and Linda Frary.  There’s only one ingredient in their Dog Gone Treats:  quality chicken, quality pork or quality beef.  The meats are sliced up and set to dry in one of the 10 huge dehydrators that the Frarys have running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Steve had heard of dogs getting sick from treats made with poor quality meats sourced in China. He started making dehydrated chicken for his own dogs but made with the highest quality meats he could find.   As they became more popular with friends and family he started selling them and now the treats are in such demand the Co-Op has to continually order them to keep them stocked up!  Steve or Linda drop off orders the Co-Op multiple times a week!

Making dog treats is not Steve’s first career.  In the 70’s he played in the band called The Monks whose members included Brad Delp (from Boston).  Later on he and his family had a wholesale sprout growing

business and later on sold produce wholesale until some health problems made him need a rest.

He and his family appeared on an Oprah show about the side effects of the medication’s he needed to take.  Oprah’s team followed them around for a day filming their day-to-day activities and then flew them out to be guests on the show. 

Steve and Linda share their success by supporting the Veteran’s Association and many senior dog rescues.  Stop in and grab a bag of their delicious dog treats. 

Salt Marsh Hay

Such a beautiful scene but did you know that the salt marshes of the North East Atlantic coast produces a hay that has been used since colonial times as a weed free mulch for gardens and fields?   Salt Marsh Hay resists rotting, doesn't pack down and smother plants, and is not weedy because the seeds never sprout.  The seeds can’t sprout because they require moist salty soil to germinate. 


In colonial times the hay was harvested using horses or by hand.  The horses would wear broad, wooden marsh shoes to work in the squishy soil.  Then it was stacked high and left out to dry in piles

on staddles and brought to shore with hay boats.  Salt marsh hay was highly valued as fodder for animals, mulch for plantings and as insulation.


Historic Ipswich offers a nice article on the history of Salt Marsh Haying in our local area, along with some period photos of harvesting.


Essex Count co-Op carries Salt Marsh Hay when it is in season and we recommend using it when starting your lawns or gardens.  It’s a great local product with a long and interesting history.

Harbor Sweets Chocolates

These hand-dipped sweets have been stealing the hearts of customers since 1973. Harbor Sweets is a chocolate making company based in Salem, MA. Founder Ben Strohecker was a marketing executive for Schrafft’s Candy Company in Charlestown, MA. He left this position to start making chocolate in his Marblehead kitchen. These chocolates became a success forcing him to move his operation to his basement and later open up the current establishment located on Leavitt Street in Salem near Salem Harbor.

Today the company has several product lines including Sweet Sloops, Sand Dollars, Marblehead Mints, Dark Horse Chocolates, and Salt & Ayre, a line of truffles and salted chocolates, they also recently added a line of Hot Cocoa to their company. The company still uses its original chocolate making techniques using copper kettles and wooden paddles, combined with locally sourced ingredients such as fresh butter, cream

and wildflower honey. Harbor Sweets does not outsource and makes all their sweets by hand in their factory.

The current Harbor Sweets President and CEO is Phyllis LeBlanc, a former part-time candy dipper. The company was recognized in 2011 and 2012 as one of the top 100 Women Led Businesses in Massachusetts. The company is very much involved in it’s community focusing on organizations that support local community outreach, children in crisis, feeding people in need, women’s programs, preserving open space and benefiting animal welfare.