COVINGTON — Forty-three-year old Amber Lange defies one blade of grass to grow under her feet. The 1991 Covington High School graduate is a modern-day Renaissance woman whose business savvy and “go-getter” attitude has catapulted her into fame almost overnight.
As executive assistant to Chairman of the Board and CEO Dan French of French Oil & Machinery Co. for the past seven years, Lange is immersed in the world of scheduling meetings, maintaining minutes and arranging travel schedules or myriad other responsibilities for her employer. By 4:30 p.m., however, she switches gears to the Rosebud’s Ranch & Garden business where she is “owner, operator, chief cook and bottle washer.”
The cottage food business, explains this energetic entrepreneur, is a venture which began in the fall of 2013. Its mission, explained Lange, is to “help you make meal time easy and amazingly delicious with our chemical free, non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) seasoning mixes and honey-sweetened fruit butters.” In addition, Lange also raises much of her own food from garden veggies to non-GMO, pastured raised beef, pork and poultry.
“We strive to eat and prepare food the way God intended for us to,” added Lange, who cites a Kitchen Aid mixer and commercial food processors as her “best friends.”
From the end of her workday until 10:30 p.m. evenings, this dynamo keeps busy from the kitchen of her rural 1,100-square-foot home on Rike Road in Covington.
When not wearing an apron, you’ll spot her dashing off to a nearby farmer’s market, preparing a chopped salad at a food demonstration in a Troy business or teaching a class on “What to Do with a Gallon of Whole Milk.”
“My (initial) goal was to garden and provide my friends with chemical-free fresh produce,” she explained. “However, we were going into the winter and it was not a great time for produce. I wanted to teach people to take a real, unprocessed piece of meat or a fresh tomato and pepper and show them how easy it was to make something simple, yet amazing, and full of nutritional value. Having a love for cooking and realizing there were so many chemicals in the seasonings, sauce and jams that we bought at the store, I decided to package up a few of my favorite recipes and see if people would buy them.”
It didn’t take long for Lange’s concoctions, such as Jane’s Italian Seasonings, Chipotle and Sausage Mix along with her homemade apple butter, to disappear from the shelves.
“If I ever become famous, it will be because of Jane’s Italian Seasoning and Sassy Salt,” she said, laughing. “We currently have 12 seasonings in the lineup and I am trying to find time to add a few more. My honey-sweetened fruit butters are highly popular as well with Ghost Pepper Mango, Peach Pablano and Tutti Frutti and seasonal favorites like blackberry, vanilla, cherry plum and apple butter” among the favorites.
Lange emphasized that she only uses fruit and honey “with the occasional splash of homemade vanilla.” Products contain no bags of sugar or boxes of chemical pectin, but rather apples as the sweet source.
Several individuals are credited for helping this busy mother of two daughters. “My honey, Rodney (Stephenson), went to Sinclair Culinary Institute and has a passion for cooking. If his friends know he is at the grill or smoker, they come knocking on the door. He is responsible for Rodney’s Rub and is my best critic. Maria, 8, is Rodney’s daughter who “kid tests” the products.
Also instrumental in the success of Rosebud’s are Lange’s mother, Jane Lavy; daughters, Megan, a student at Ball State, and Samantha, of Dayton, and assistant Kelsey Dysinger, a student at Covington High School. Friends Lisa Myers and Amy Brittingham also lend an assist if Lange schedules more than one event per weekend.
“Through the farmers market season, we are selling over 150 items per week,” noted an ecstatic Lange. “We attend two farmers markets per week, have our products in a few stores in Miami County and attend at least one festival per month. We will be offering gift baskets this fall.”
Fans are encouraged to visit her website at www.rosebudsranchand garden.com or “like” her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rosebudsranchandgarden
Campfires and picnics with family occupy any of Lange’s free time. She is also actively involved with several organizations including Miami County Locally Grown and she is co-chair of the Miami Valley Locavore Dinner scheduled for Sept. 7 at the Lostcreek Memory Barn in Casstown.
“I want to make a difference in the world,” concluded Lange. “My passion is cooking and growing my own produce. I want to teach people how to eat nutritious food.”
Sharon Semanie is a journalist and longtime Piqua resident. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.