This week’s post will be the final part of a three part series where I discuss the philosophy that makes up the core of my business. If you missed part 1, you can find it here.
Part 1: Protecting and enhancing the environment and human health
Part 2: Building a local economy
Part 3: Creating a community of entrepreneurs
While parts 1 and 2 were heavy, this final segment is a bit more light. It’s light and fun because it’s the thing that I enjoy most about my job. It’s also central to everything, because parts 1 and 2 – protecting and enhancing the environment/human health and building a local economy – would not be possible, or at least much more difficult, without a community of entrepreneurs working together in some fashion. There is a lot going on behind the scenes in our local food movement, and I’d love to tell you about it.
There are a couple ways that this community can manifest. First, many of the producers who I supply from use ingredients from other producers who I supply from. For example, Fran and Mark from Castle Valley Mill supply Claire from Ursa Bakery with flour to bake bread. Tom from Kimberton Hills (where I also get herbal products) Dairy supplies raw milk to 7 Stars Creamery (they have their own herd but it’s big not enough so they get extra milk from down the street at Kimberton) for yogurt and Stefanie from Valley Milkhouse to make cheese and butter (butter from her coming soon). Jennifer and Chris from Piggyback Treats use organs/feet for their pet treats from Earl from Kaiser’s Peasantry, and we a working on getting them fish skins and belly from Amanda at Otolith Seafood and from Steve’s trout. While all of the items that you see on my stand are displayed as individual products, there is a hidden web that connects them.
Second, many of us sell each other’s products. Many even produce in the same location. For instance, Brian from Mycopolitan mushroom farm, located off Erie Ave in Philadelphia, subleases space for Ken to make and can his kombucha. Matt from Nilaa Coffee cans his coffee there as well. Brian also sells goat cheese from Catherine at Yellow Springs, which he picks up from me to save Catherine an extra trip. When I pick up eggs from Birchwood Farm, I also drop off my microgreens for them to sell.
Third, there are a couple chefs who I work with as well. Those of you who have been on this list since at least April may remember Max (same guy I mentioned in part 1 re the garlic). He made things like fresh pasta/pierogis (using Castle Valley flour), pasta sauce, and soup in my commercial kitchen (located in my house). I sold his food when I had market out of my driveway. Max has since found a more permanent location to cook, and I’ll be offering his amazing food again soon. He also has a food truck that he parks around town. You can follow him on Instagram here. There’s also Jon from The Omelette Bar. We both had a stand at the Bryn Athyn Bounty farmers market last year. That market didn’t happen this year so Jon started making and delivering quiches. He picks up all of his ingredients from me. You can follow him here and here and place orders on his website here.
I’m always thinking about how I can help expand and strengthen this community. I believe that we are all more likely to succeed if we all work together as best we can in some capacity. And, if we all succeed, parts 1 and 2 will more likely be realized to their fullest potential.
Finally, the friendships that I’ve made in this whole process are invaluable to me. The best business relationships are often extensions of personal relationships, especially when there is a common environmental and economic vision.
So, as we approach Thanksgiving, I want to extend my immense thankfulness to all those I work with and to all those who support us. Have a lovely Thanksgiving.
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