Side Hustles in the Suburbs (Part Two)
Visit any farmers market and you’ll find people selling food directly to consumers.
Every vendor has their own specialty, and for Plymouth resident Natasha Obuhov, her big draw is the traditional pierogi, an Eastern European dumpling that draws rave reviews from customers.
“It’s awesome,” said Heidi Haataja, a pierogi-lover from Blaine. “They’re gonna be authentic. We buy them in the store and they’re not… you know, they’re good, but it’s not gonna be like a real homemade one.”
Yet before Natasha’s Pierogi make its way to the farmers market, she first has to make them in a New Hope kitchen.
“It’s a process,” said Obuhov. “It’s very labor intensive, but it’s fun. I like to work.”
It’s a two-day process that involves boiling and peeling up to a hundred pounds of potatoes just to create the filling.
Then she has to make the dough from scratch and wrap each pierogi by hand.
“I like to cook,” Obuhov said. “And I came from Russia, and in Russia it’s very traditional to make pierogi. And I start my business from my home. From my basement I will say.”
Obuhov moved to the United States in 2003 and started making pierogis as a hobby while she worked other full time jobs.
“I was looking for more income for my family,” she said.
Much to her surprise, she tapped into a market that had a taste for her homemade blend of comfort food.
“My friends, my neighbors, and people told me, ‘Natasha, your stuff is so good. It’s real pierogi. You should go to the farmers market and try to sell them in the public.’ It’s what I did,” Obuhov said.
Five years ago, she found Premier Kitchen in New Hope. They provided her with kitchen space that allowed her business to grow, and produce more food in the process.
“I will tell you I can make 3,000 pierogi a day,” Obuhov said.
Her hobby has now turned into a full-fledged career. Granted, it comes with a number of fixed costs, from kitchen rental to boxes and labeling, to the food itself.
“All money from my pocket,” she said.
But it’s a small price to pay to do something you’re passionate about.
“You should work very hard to push your dream, but dreams come true,” Obuhov said.
And in this case, Obuhov‘s dream come true provides others with a sense of joy.
“We love everything about pierogis,” said Haataja, the pierogi-lover from Blaine.
This summer, you’ll be able to find Natasha’s Pierogi at farmers markets all around the Twin Cities. Her hope is to one day have her own booth at the Minnesota State Fair.