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Prescott Farmers Market Blog

What’s Cookin’: An Interview with OMO Crisp

Melinda Hambrick, NoCo Community Kitchen Manager
Melinda@prescottfarmersmarket.org   (928) 458-4163

Food as medicine is nothing new, but only some experience it in multiple forms. Anna Kiep, founder of OMO Crisp, is one of those people.

Not long after her 40th birthday, the chronic gastrointestinal issues Anna had dealt with since her teens took a dramatic turn for the worst. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, she couldn’t eat more than a few bites without experiencing severe pain. The choice, she says, “was to be hungry or be miserable.” Allergy tests revealed nothing, and she suffered for more than a month before finding a doctor who recommended a stringent elimination diet that left Anna with little more in her pantry than oatmeal, maple syrup, peanut butter, and carrots.

At the same time, Anna had a demanding position in the tech industry, in addition to being a committed athlete and former competitive mountain biker. High-quality, nutritious, and convenient food was paramount to her lifestyle. The new dietary restrictions, which included the elimination of many conventional “superfoods” and ready-to-eat options, posed a significant challenge to Anna’s staying nourished and maintaining a connection with her roots.

Hailing from northern Germany, Anna’s parents spent their lives working hard, saving money, and then sailing around the world. It was pure happenstance she was born in the United States while her parents were sailing off the coast of Maryland. Anna’s arrival did not interrupt her parents’ travels; she spent her early childhood living throughout the French Caribbean. During this exciting and ever-changing time, European-style breads (including crisp bread) were one of the few constants in her life. And it was to this sense of “home” and stability she would later return.

Anna officially started OMO in September 2023 as an antidote to corporate tech career burnout and a way to satisfy her lifelong fascination with entrepreneurship. She began making her crisp bread in Sedona under cottage law and selling it at both Flagstaff Mountain Town and Flagstaff Community Markets. (For those unfamiliar with crisp bread, it resembles a hearty cracker and can be used to make small open-faced sandwiches, as a snack, or as part of a charcuterie board.) After repeatedly selling out, she realized operating under cottage law was not sustainable. Furthermore, to offer her product wholesale or sell across state lines, she would have to use a licensed commercial kitchen that was registered with the Food and Drug Administration.

According to Anna, her experience at NoCo Community Kitchen “[has been] a game changer for many reasons.” Using commercial-grade ovens immediately improved the quality of her product and the quantity she could produce. And while the ultimate goal is to enlist a co-packer, NoCo “gave her the ability to take the first steps in scaling her business.” Another benefit, she adds, is “not interfering with my home kitchen. Daryl (her partner) is very supportive, but at some point, dinner needs to be made; being able to compartmentalize work and home has been huge.”

In addition to providing a nourishing, convenient food that works within her dietary restrictions, OMO is another kind of medicine. As an intellectually curious individual who thrives when faced with a challenge, launching a unique brand with a unique product has provided Anna with an incredible journey of personal growth and an outlet for creative expression. No endeavor is without its downsides (neither twelve-hour days in a kitchen nor doing dishes are highlights), but these are quickly offset. ‘It’s the people who say to [Anna] “This is so much more than a crisp bread, this nourishes me, I love the packaging, I can feel the care and thought that goes into this,” …that makes it all worth it.”

You can find all four flavors of OMO Crisp (sesame, caraway, pecan, and rosemary) at Omocrisp.com, in Sedona at Interdependence Natural Foods, and at JesseLee’s Craft Beer Marketplace in the Village of Oak Creek. If you want to know what OMO stands for, mark your calendar for June 15th! Anna Kiep and OMO Crisp will make a guest appearance at Prescott Farmers Market under the NoCo tent.

 

Check back next month for more of the “What’s Cookin’ Series”! We’ll will give you the inside scoop on what’s cooking at NoCo Community Kitchen, and more importantly, allow you to meet the amazing chefs and artisans behind the food. If you want to be the very first in the know, follow NoCo on Facebook and Instagram.

CONTACT US

Phone: 928-713-1227
Email:  info@prescottfarmersmarket.org

Mailing address:
PO Box 1853
Prescott, AZ 86302