Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Ways the Innovation Kitchen contributes to profitable local farms and innovative local foods

The following is borrowed from a column posted at Madison's Isthmus Newspaper's online version called 'The Daily Page'.

New items from the winter Dane County Farmers' Market
From tortillas to trout
Terese Allen on Thursday 02/24/2011
(emphasis added)

Sweet potatoes and dill tomatoes.

"Mary and Don Uselman's dehydrated sweet potatoes might be the market's most unique new product. The carrot-colored, candy-sweet disks come in four-ounce bags. You can nibble on them out of your hand if you like, but they're not chips — they're denser and chewier. Mary Uselman suggests adding them to stews and soups. The Uselmans' new line of pickled and canned goods (processed at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen, a new shared commercial-food-processing facility in Mineral Point) includes catsup, tomato sauce and bread-and-butter pickles. Not to be missed are their dill tomatoes — small, garlic-seasoned green tomato wedges that are as sassy as a Marcia Ball honky-tonk tune."

Wow. Ms. Allen writes about local foods with the language license of a sports writer. Local foods needs more of that! Thanks Isthmus and their Daily Page.

What's most important beyond all this fun is the emerging business models that are getting proven out. Local farms and food enterprises that were wise enough to experiment with us in 2010, the year we opened, are returning with new orders and new innovative food products.

That's the thing to celebrate. A new platform and new business models are emerging to help local foods and regional food systems become more profitable.

It is vitally relevant that people who experimented with food processing at the Innovation Kitchen made money, advanced their enterprises, and are coming back and continuing to innovate. This is the most important Innovation Kitchen metric of all right now.

It's a great place to start or grow a food enterprise. Join us.

New businesses. New jobs. "Garlic-seasoned green tomato wedges that are as sassy as a Marcia Ball honky-tonk tune."

Almost like we planned it. Forward local foods!

Isthmus Daily Page article. New items from the winter Dane County Farmers' Market. Sweet potatoes and dill tomatoes from the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen. Article written by Terese Allen.

Don's Produce write up at L'Etoile. That's our friend Mary in the photo above.

Marcia Ball

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