Friday, November 30, 2012

Food trends 2013 - Innovation Kitchen video

We need more small scale, professionally managed food processing facilities and related business services.  It's the missing link.  This model make good community jobs and solves problems for small farms, consumers and communities. 

I see this issue every day.  The Innovation Kitchen model - one that emphasizes small, professionally staffed food processing and business services - can take problems for food entrepreneurs and small farms and turn them into profitable, sustainable solutions.

There's my food trend for 2013.  Food entrepreneurs and small farms - start your engines!

This new video was created by the University of Wisconsin Extension for a presentation at this year's Midwest Value Added Conference. Thanks to Greg Lawless for creating this video.

Innovation Kitchens

The 2012 Midwest Value Added Conference, La Crosse, Wisconsin.  Dec. 12th and 13th, 2012. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Congratulations Hook's Cheese!

I love Hook's Cheese.  Tony and Julie are globally cool, rock-star cheese makers.

What a great honor to work with them in Iowa County.

Their cheese plant is just down the hill from my office at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen in Mineral Point.

Their 15 year old cheddar is in my fridge.

Tony and Julie have been models of entrepreneurship for decades.  I love their cheese and I love their work ethic. 

Here is a quote from a Wisconsin State Journal recent interview:

Q:  Do you still work 100 hours a week?

A:  It's back to around 80 hours a week, but now it seems like fun.  I get to deal more directly with peopleand they're buying your product, that's got your name on it.  Even though it's hard work, it doesn't seem as hard anymore.

Thank you Tony and Julie Hook!  Rock star cheese makers and amazing sustainable entrepreneurs.

The article about Hook's Cheese was written by Jane Burns in the Nov. 14th, 2012 Wisconsin State Journal.

Hook's Cheese

Iowa County Area Economic Development

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My current Kiva report - November 2012

 I just made my 34th micro loan to entrepreneurs on Kiva.

My small contributions are now working in 27 countries.

85.29% of my loans are directed to agriculture, food and related retail, in roughly equal balance.

About 75 per cent of my loans go to women entrepreneurs.

To date, my Kiva loans have a 100% repayment rate.

Kiva is amazing. Thanks to all involved!

Kiva.  Loans that change lives.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Social Entrepreneurship - NY Times

Written by David Bornstein

Skoll Foundation

Thursday, November 08, 2012

2012 Iowa County Wisconsin Entrepreneurs of the Year

Congratulations 2012 Iowa County Wisconsin Entrepreneurs of the Year!

Our Iowa County Area Economic Development Corporation (ICAEDC) is proud to announce it’s first group of local business leaders chosen as Iowa County Area Entrepreneurs of the Year.

The awards are being presented in conjunction with Global Entrepreneurship Week, Nov. 12-18, 2012.

According the Global Entrepreneurship Week website,  “The celebration of Global Entrepreneurship week is about unleashing ideas and doing what it takes to bring them to life—spotting opportunities, taking risks, solving problems, being creative, building connections and learning from both failure and success. It is about thinking big and making your mark on the world—doing good while doing well at the same time.”

This year’s award winners highlight both established and new businesses popping up all over Iowa County.  This is an exciting time to be an entrepreneur, and Iowa County is a great place to grow new businesses.

As the ICAEDC slogan says, “Iowa County, Wisconsin.  Come Grow With Us.

Winners for 2012 Iowa County Entrepreneurs of the Year include (from the photo left to right):

Kristin Mitchell Design - Kristin Mitchell

Johnston Gallery / Brewery Pottery - Tom and Diana Johnston.  (Diana in photo)

Walnut Hollow - Dave Ladd, Sandy Bartelt, Chris Ladd.  (Dave and Sandy in photo)

Bob's Bitchin' BBQ - Bob and Judy Page.  (Bob in photo at center)

Sielaff Corporation - Alex, Ulrich and Jason Sielaff

Rick Terrien, ICAEDC is on the far right.

Congratulations to our 2012 Iowa County Wisconsin Entrepreneurs of the Year!

Iowa County Area Economic Development Corporation 

This article appeared in today's Dodgeville Chronicle (11/8/12) but is not yet online.

Photo credit - Barry Hottmann - Thanks!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen annual party!

The Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen is a wonderful place.

It creates jobs and opportunities for all kinds of people including those with disabilities.

Today we celebrated their annual Foodservice Party.

It is an honor to be involved with this amazing group of friends and co-workers.  And when they throw a party...

My contribution to the party is to choose and call out playing cards for a really cool bingo game that Foodservice Director and Mistress of the Universe Annette Pierce (top photo) conjured up.

Playing this game with my all friends at the kitchen is wonderful.    Adam and Mitch (middle photo) are always great to work with and have fun with - when the boss lets us. 

My friends also tastefully redecorated my office during the party.  Brooke and Margaret seem pleased with the results.  (bottom photo)

But I was not without my own surprises.  An interview I did a couple of years ago at the opening of the kitchen quoted me as saying the new kitchen enterprise was "like a shiny spaceship landing in rural Wisconsin."  Of course, my friends at the kitchen then presented me with a tin foil hat with antennae made from spoons and forks.  A really beautiful thing that I've hidden away - waiting for the right moment - ever since.

Today I brought that beautiful hat out to wear during our card bingo games.  Perhaps that photo may show up in a future post.  Or not.

A special thanks to Annette and her staff and the entire Hodan Center team for all you do to make this possible.

Thanks to all my friends at the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen for a great party! 

Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Andy Hatch and Uplands Cheese. World-class cheese, great music, and smart local economic development

I really admire Andy Hatch and Uplands Cheese.

Check out the great story below about the demand for Andy's work.  Have you tried their Rush Creek Reserve?  Yikes!

And their amazing Pleasant Ridge Reserve has been named the nation’s top cheese by the American Cheese Society three years in a row - unprecedented professional recognition.

I get to work with Andy in Iowa County, Wisconsin.  Watching Andy combine family and business and music and those wonderful, wonderful cheeses is an honor.

Uplands Cheese is owned by the Gingrich and Patenaude families.  When I'm really lucky I get to share a venue in Iowa County where Mike and Carol Gingrich are sharing samples of their Pleasant Ridge Reserve.  

There is a lot of business wisdom from Andy in the article below.  It's never a straight line no matter what kind of enterprise you're in.  How you adapt, as Uplands Cheese did, is the difference between sustainable businesses and those that aren't.

You'll see how the drought hit their operations and the temptation to stretch the brand beyond what made it so great.

“It took a lot of self-discipline to not make cheese this year, watching your costs rise and your income shrivel,” Hatch said. “It’s tough not to say, ‘Well, we can make a couple batches on hay,’ but we didn’t.”

Andy and everyone at Uplands Cheese have created an amazing economic development story in Iowa County, Wisconsin.  Great cheese.  Great brand.  Great business wisdom.

This Wisconsin State Journal article was written by Jane Burns.  Oct. 31 2012

Much-anticipated Rush Creek Reserve cheese hits store shelves early.

"This year, Rush Creek Reserve lived up to its name."

"The much-anticipated cheese was on store shelves ahead of schedule this fall, pleasing the eager fans of the seasonal release from Uplands Cheese Co. in Dodgeville while helping to take the sting off a tough year at the company’s farm."

"You can’t believe the amount of emails and phone calls I’ve been getting in the last two weeks: ‘Is it ready yet? Is it ready yet?’” said Uplands cheesemaker Andy Hatch. “I think, ‘You remembered? Did you write it on your calendar?”

 Thank you Uplands Cheese and Andy Hatch!

Wisconsin State Journal story: Much-anticipated Rush Creek Reserve cheese hits store shelves early.  Written by Jane Burns.  Oct. 31, 2012

Uplands Cheese Company,  Dodgeville, WI.

Iowa County Area Economic Development

Point Five. The wonderful band Andy plays with.  I love their music.  -  "Point Five is an Americana Acoustic Band from Mineral Point that really rocks!",  Americana Gazette Magazine. 

My favorite Andy Hatch quote from the article - because it vindicates MY favorite way to eat Rush Creek Reserve...  “My wife treats it like a Haagen-Dazs. I’ll come home and she’ll be sitting there with Rush Creek and a spoon.”