Has anyone ever tasted one of your recipes and exclaimed, “You should sell this!”?
Bringing a recipe to market is no easy task. It’s one thing to know how to cook something delicious, but it’s entirely another to learn how to sell it. The entrepreneur has to address issues from accounting to marketing to production. It’s hard to do on your own!
If you are reading this with recipe in hand, don’t despair. Help is on its way!
Vision Foods, a business known in the industry as a Co-Packer, has grown out of the expanded Gotta Love It Kitchen, with the mission to be part of our local food system. We think of farms when we think of local foods and Vision Foods takes that one step further. They make the locally-produced products we buy in stores.
The co-packer’s job is to mix up and package the recipe for its owner. I visited a couple weeks ago to talk to the visionaries behind Vision Foods, Jerry Downing and Geoff Hyche. They work with entrepreneurs to create a marketable product and then they manufacture it. The owner places an order and picks up the finished product, ready to distribute to stores and sell to consumers.
They showed me around and I got to see all the huge equipment used to make big batches of everything from salsa to dressing.
Every cook has stories of disaster and Jerry told me a funny one about the giant blender. It’s not like a home blender where you could pour in more liquid while it’s running. He knows that because someone tried it once.
“He poured the mix right onto the moving propeller! It moves at 1700 RPMs and we had dressing everywhere!”
Every product has a story too, including Blake’s Ugly Dawg Salsa. Ugly Dawg is Geoff’s product and it comes from a family recipe. He tells stories of how he and his son used to host “Salsa Saturdays” and they would make 700 pints of salsa!
Geoff’s son dreamed of bringing the salsa to market, but he died in 2005 with the dream unrealized. Geoff didn’t say why he and a friend decided to market the salsa, but I suspect it’s a kind of memorial.
The ‘vision’ in Vision Foods is more than just a name. It’s the story and the dream behind every product. “It’s coming together fast,” says Jerry. I’m not surprised. Look for the products they make in local stores.
Our community is full of good recipes, stories and dreams. With Vision Food’s help, I suspect we’ll see more and more of them come to fruition.