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Actionable insights in making money in food Edible-Alpha™ is your source for actionable insights into making money in food. Hosted by Tera Johnson, we talk to a wide range of stakeholders about what it really takes to grow a successful food business. Learn more at www.edible-alpha.org

Actionable insights in making money in food Edible-Alpha™ is your source for actionable insights into making money in food. Hosted by Tera Johnson, we talk to a wide range of stakeholders about what it really takes to grow a successful food business. Learn more at www.edible-alpha.org
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Actionable insights in making money in food Edible-Alpha™ is your source for actionable insights into making money in food. Hosted by Tera Johnson, we talk to a wide range of stakeholders about what it really takes to grow a successful food business. Learn more at www.edible-alpha.org








#36 - How This Hard Cider Business Is Learning From "The Struggle" - Edible-Alpha™ Podcast

Brix Cider is a hard cider company in southern Wisconsin with about 1,000 trees, many of which were hand-grafted from local cultivated and wild apple varieties. After initially home brewing for many years, the hard cider company eventually connected with a local winery that had extra production capacity and began producing in small batches and self-distributing throughout southern Wisconsin. Their ultimate goal is to open a cider tasting room (increasing margins and cash flow); however,...

#35 – Growing A Successful Retail Food Co-op By Meeting Your Member's Needs - Edible-Alpha™

DROPP Cooperative is a food hub that is a department the Great Basin Community Food Co-op that serves the Reno, Nevada area. Nicole and her sister (now the General Manager) started the retail co-op in 2005 with the grassroots support of their community. Great Basin Started the DROPP food hub informally as a way to get local products into their store. The hub now has about $500,000 in sales and aggregates both local and non-local food. Nicole advises that the best way for aspiring co-ops to...

#34 – The Farmer Education Continuum In The Colorado Mountains - Edible-Alpha™

The Old Fort at Hesperus' team sees farming education as a continuum where different people are best served by discreet programs, depending on their interests and stage of development. Their sustainable agriculture program includes an educational garden internship, a farmer-in-training program, and market garden incubator. The incubator program provides educational classes, mentorship, access to land, water, infrastructure (irrigation, harvest sheds, cooler and root cellar), and marketing...

#33 – How Tribe 9 Foods Balances Economies Of Scale With A Changing Marketplace - Edible-Alpha™

Tribe 9 Foods is the result of merging Yumbutter, RP’s Pasta and Ona Treats. The new company also secured growth capital to bring manufacturing in-house for all three brands, something that has allowed them to have control over batch timing, batch size and product quality. In addition, in-house production allows them the flexibility to try new things and have a co-packing line of business for their core product types (nut butters, pasta, bars). Yumbutter’s team brings experience in...

#32 - Angela Mavridis Of TRIBALÍ Foods On Resonating With Your Tribe - Edible-Alpha™

TRIBALÍ foods is a national brand of freshly made, frozen grass-fed and grass-finished beef patties. TRIBALÍ’s products resonate with the “tribe” of people who are looking for convenient, easy ways to eat whole, nutrient dense and ethically raised foods. Their clean, simple packaging that communicates their organic, grass-fed and Paleo certifications stands out on the freezer shelf and helps communicate their brand’s promise to that tribe. TRIBALÍ has worked hard to find the right partners...

#31 – How Union Kitchen’s Ecosystem Helps Build Profitable Food Businesses - Edible-Alpha™

Union Kitchen is a shared-use kitchen and food business accelerator in in Washington D.C. While having a shared-use kitchen eliminates the need for capital for kitchen equipment, there are many other things food businesses need to raise capital for, which why they have distribution and retail outlets as part of their model. Their vertically integrated business and infrastructure – the kitchen, distribution and retail outlets – pairs with its accelerator program, which includes technical...

#30 – Value-Added Producer Grants With Jim Gage - Edible-Alpha™

James D. Gage Consulting is a firm that helps value-added farms and other agriculture clients problem solve in critical business areas so that they can be financially viable. His firm works as a value-added business strategist and creates a client-consultant relationship with entrepreneurs before writing a Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) for their business so that he can both write a better grant and provide more meaningful follow-up technical assistance to help them implement the grant....

#29 - Rightsizing The Ship: A Farmer’s Tale of Scaling Down - Edible-Alpha™

Rufus Haucke is the owner of Keewaydin Farms, a 200-acre diversified organic vegetable farm that also works aggregating local farmer's produce in a distribution business. The business’ sales peaked in 2012 at over $800,000 with Rufus coordinating production from over 100 different producers (including his own farm) throughout the season. However, he discovered that the bigger the business got, the more money it lost and that his moving aggregation functions off of his farm caused his...

#28 – Scaling Innovative Food Products At The Right Time - Edible-Alpha™

Shari Leidich, founder of Know Brainer, started down the path of being a serial entrepreneur when she found out she had Multiple Sclerosis (MS). She turned her love for healthy, sprouted raw whole foods that helped mitigate her MS into products under the brand Two Moms in the Raw (now Soul Sprout). Shortly after she left Two Moms in 2016, she began to experiment with incorporating grass-fed ghee and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil into consumer products like individual creamers. The...

#27 - Impact Investing In Regenerative Agriculture - Edible-Alpha™

Eric White is a Principal at Cogent Consulting, a firm which helps social entrepreneurs and revenue-generating nonprofits raise social impact investments. Cogent also works with social impact investors to source investment opportunities and helps them build their portfolio strategy, including the incorporation of tools like Program Related Investments (PRIs). Eric feels that cash flowing and making money can coexist with goals of social impact as long as entrepreneurs “translate” the their...

#26 – How Seal The Seasons Matches Mission With Scale - Edible-Alpha™

Patrick Mateer is the Founder and CEO of Seal The Seasons, a brand of produce frozen on a state-by-state or region-by-region basis that is then distributed to those same communities’ grocery stores. They began production in one of the partitions of a shared-use commissary kitchen facility where they installed an Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) production freezer. They began partnering with a co-packer in 2017 and almost doubled their gross margin contributions as a result, passing more...

#25 – How Top Note Tonic Pivoted Beverage Categories and Understood Their Market - Edible-Alpha™

Mary Pellettieri is co-founder of Top Note Tonics, a company that makes complex and layered American craft mixers. Mary’s experience in sales, marketing, distribution and new product development/research and quality assurance, including at Goose Island and Miller/Coors, has allowed her to take calculated risks. They have pivoted away from syrups towards the niche ready-to-drink, already mixed sparkling tonic, using their foray into syrups to further understand the mixer category and build...

#24 – Mobcraft Beer’s Creative Sourcing of Beer Recipes and Financing - Edible-Alpha™

Mobcraft beer is a brewery and taproom with a unique business model of crowdsourcing ideas for beer recipes from their customers. Their brewery/taproom in Milwaukee cost just over $2 million to build. When Mobcraft first started to raise money to finance their facility, they looked for institutional capital at first without much success and then pursued equity crowdfunding. Knowing how much equity they needed vs. debt to finance their facility build out and equipment needs helped them...

#23 - Growing Madison Sourdough Intentionally Through Vertical Integration - Edible-Alpha™

Dave Lohrentz is co-owner of Madison Sourdough, a bakery, café, patisserie and mill in Madison, WI specializing in sourdough breads. They have grown using a vertically integrated business model by adding a restaurant that highlights their baked goods and bakery. They have also added an artisanal grain mill to their production processes, sourcing much of the flour themselves from local producers. Dave has found it is difficult to get the local and unconventional grain supply chain to a...

#22 - Jonny Hunter Of Underground Food Collective On Thinking Bigger in the Food System - Edible-Alpha™

Jonny Hunter, one of the founders of the Underground Food Collective, talks about the Collective’s growing as a series of horizontally integrated businesses. Their business model works because of infrastructure like a centralized production facility behind them to support their interrelated retail and manufacturing/processing businesses in an efficient manner across multiple product lines (meat, baking, pasta, fermented products) and multiple retail outlets (restaurants, events, butcher...

#21 - A Steady, Slow Growth Path For Quince and Apple's Niche Domination - Edible-Alpha™

Matt and Clare Stoner Fehsenfeld are the married duo behind Quince and Apple, a national brand of small-batch, well-balanced preserves that are often paired with cheese and charcuterie. When they started their business, they realized that because they have a labor-intensive, artisanal product, their best strategy was not to compete on quantity or price. Instead, they chose to compete by dominating an emerging niche (pairing their products with specialty cheeses) while telling the...

#20 - How Love The Wild Built A National Brand For Frozen Farmed Fish - Edible-Alpha™

Love The Wild CEO Jacqueline Claudia managed a fish farm before launching Love the Wild with co-founder Christy Brouker in 2014 to fill the gap in the market for convenient, delicious and environmentally friendly, freshly frozen seafood. The knowledgeable food entrepreneur community in Boulder helped Jacqueline understand the realistic path to building a national food brand, including meeting investor expectations and how much money it would take to grow the company’s top-line sales. Love...

#19, Part 2 – Refining Your Processes and Building Great Financial Packages For Your Food Business - Edible-Alpha™

There is value in having a process for financial management and fine-tuning it as you learn more about your business. For example, if you project your needed cash or total sales based on a specific set of assumptions and track it accordingly, you can see how accurate you were and get better at projecting as a result. The more you have the ability to analyze what went right or wrong, the more useful your financial model and plan are to making business decisions. Being able to have both an...

#19, Part 1 – Building Great Financial Systems For Your Food Business - Edible-Alpha™

In Edible-Alpha™ episode #19, Part 1, Tera talks with Dan Lemmer of the Wisconsin SBDC’s capital access team about building great financial systems and realistic projections for food, beverage and value-added agriculture businesses. From the entrepreneur’s perspective, the most important thing when using an accounting package is to ensure accurate setup and data entry so that they are able to produce accurate financial statements. Dan cautions entrepreneurs to only track the information...

#17 – The Capital Conundrum of Rural Economic Development - Edible-Alpha™

In Edible-Alpha™ Podcast Episode #17, Tera talks with Sam Rikkers, former Administrator of the Rural Business Cooperative Service at the USDA. Sam talks about how the USDA’s programs serve not just agricultural producers but also rural businesses and rural people more broadly since farmers need strong small-town economies, institutions and infrastructure. And, many of the […]