November’s Member Spotlight features our Winter Farmers Market Partner Members.  Years ago it wasn’t uncommon to meet the farmers and makers behind the food we eat and beverages we drink.  Then food production got big and went behind closed doors for many years. With the rise in appreciation of artisan and craft food and drink, new smaller growers and makers have emerged and meeting the desire for transparency, quality, a self-sufficient food system and a thriving local economy.    We are fortunate to have such a diverse food system with growers and makers in just about every product you could want; many are also sourcing local ingredients completing the cycle in your local food chain.

With 31 members to feature, we sent them each the same questions about why they got into business, an interesting story about getting started and the advice they would give someone starting a new business.  We received over 20 responses! Not everyone was able to send in their survey (it is hard work farming and making delicious foods), so you can everyone them at the bottom with a link to their profile page.  We hope to see you at the market this Saturday for our Thanksgiving market!

To start, here is a little history about the Winter Farmers Market.  The market began in 2006 as a Be Local activity to bring attention to the local makers in Fort Collins.  The market established its home in the Opera Galleria from day one.  The location is a topic of discussion every year, but for the moment the venue is the best one that meets the our needs and budget. The Northern Colorado Food Cluster took over the markets in 2014.  Many of you have probably seen Debi, the market manager, who runs the show each Saturday.  Volunteers also help staff the market.  The market has seen consistent growth over the years (last year was an overall 4% growth with 6-7% in fresh and value added foods).  We are most proud of the SNAP (food stamp program) redemption match which increase by 241% last year.  This is partly due to a market match of up to $30 that we offer as well as Colorado Double Up that matches up to $20 giving shoppers up to $80 to spend on locally grown and made foods!  The redemption rates have increased due to a Farmers Market Promotion Grant that the food cluster is part of that provides a person on the ground signing up low-income participants and explains the benefits of the matching programs as well.

The market schedule can be found at www.focomarket.org and we look forward to seeing you this winter season!

Agustina's

Agustina’s, started in 2012 by Jessi Godinez, is a salsa and tortilla company. Also in her family, is El Burrito, a Mexican restaurant in Fort Collins that started in 1960.

Why did you start your business?
I knew it was a good way to get good advertising for our family’s delicious foods and restaurant.

How did you decide on the name?
Agustina’s Mexican Foods is named after Agustina Godinez, my grandmother.

What is an interesting story from when you were starting your business? What did you learn from it?
Nothing funny or interesting just a lot of time consuming work. I.E. several different license are needed, bank accounts , book keeping, etc.

What advice would you give another entrepreneur if you had to do it all over again?
Take your time, do it right, definitely don’t take short cuts, once your business is up and running it feels great!

What are you excited about for this year?
We have a great active community, which makes for great markets. I’m hoping to sell a lot of my salsas including my SPICY RED CHILE, which is now vegetarian.

What are your social media handles?
Facebook: agustinasalsas

Bee Healthy Candles

Founded in 1997, Jim purchased Bee Healthy Candles in 2009 and is a small family owned business with three employees from diverse backgrounds.  They make beeswax bars and candles of all shapes and sizes.

Why did you start your business?
Jim purchased the business because he was interested in bees and it fit in with beekeeping.

How did you decide on the name?
Jim’s daughter, Andraya chose the name.

What is unique about your business?
We create and sell candles made from beeswax, a renewable source with no waste. Beeswax does not emit toxic substances, however it releases negative ions which promote health and wellness.

What is an interesting story from when you were starting your business? What did you learn from it?
After purchasing the business, Jim did not know what an ear candle was, what they looked like or what they were for. After a crash course in the product Jim tried his hand at making one. His efforts did not go well. Margaret was hired as the ear candle expert and has been making them ever since.

What advice would you give another entrepreneur if you had to do it all over again?
Start small and grow. Start young.

What are you excited about for this year?
We are excited about coming into a market venue, since we haven’t gone to many of them. Spreading the word about our beautiful, sweet-smelling candles and meeting new people.

Bootleg Boocha

Benjamin Governale, Devin Egger and Joshua Johnson are the three owners of Bootleg Boocha, started in 2015. Ben is our Production Manager, Dev runs our Distribution and Joshua is the Founder/Brewmaster.  The three of them strive to make the healthiest & highest quality of kombucha, made in oak barrels, on the market.

Why did you start your business?
Bootleg was started in order to change the perspective view of commercial kombucha. Our most heard comment when sampling out our product is “I don’t like kombucha, but I like this!” So I’d definitely say we are making our mark here in Fort Collins.

How did you decide on the name?
We really enjoy that feel of the Bootlegging era…yes we are not producing “hooch” by any means, but our slogan is “with a taste so good, it should be illegal” and in a few ways we feel that we are truly producing a unique and one of a kind kombucha here at Bootleg. We are really wanting an old school ford one day for our deliveries, or just as display in our building…haha dream big right? I (Joshua) honestly was watching a lot of Boardwalk Empire at the time I came up with the name…I think that may have helped inspire the name a wee bit.

What is unique about your business?
We brew in brand new 65 gallon Hungarian Oak, made from the rich wood from the Zemplen forest. We then cold steep unsmoked yerba mate tea on a 5 stage filtered water for 24 hours in our walk in fridge. After the cold steep is finished I PH balance the 45 gallon batch to a certain range dependent on time of the year & then add sugar until the desired Standard Gravity *measurement used to measure level of sugars* is reached. We then transfer the batch into our Hungarian Oak barrels & let ferment until desired PH & SG are met, usually 16 – 20 days. We additionally only produce original kombucha. My focus as Brewmaster is to create a dry *low sugar* ferment, without leaving the finished product tasting too vinegary. I’ve found that the barrel really smoothes over that back end acetic acid/amino acids “punch” to the back of the tongue taste & leaves the kombucha with a nice balance of sweet, sour, & the taste of our tea…unsmoked yerba mate. We are the only kombucha company in Colorado who ferments out of barrels & only produces original kombucha. I’d really like to find anyone else replicating anything close to what we do because I don’t think they’re out there! We also donate nearly 10 cents from every bottle sold to a non profit bee company who teaches winterizing techniques for keeping hives over winter, instead of shipping them to California. Check them out @ savethebuzz.org & check us out @ bootlegboocha.com as well. There is a ton more value stated on our website so do enjoy!

What is an interesting story from when you were starting your business? What did you learn from it?
I (Joshua) started fermenting in 5 gallon glass carboys & then couldn’t get the scoby out….duuuuuh. Needless to say, that only happened once! It also took us 3 months to find a distributor in the states for our barrels…what a headache brewing in barrels is, but extremely worthwhile.

What advice would you give another entrepreneur if you had to do it all over again?
Never quit!

What are you excited about for this year?
We always really enjoyed the Winter Market and it’s really helped us expand into the community and make great contacts.

Facebook: bootlegboocha

Cranked Up Coffee

Cranked Up Coffee is a Fort Collins born company, owned and operated by Larry Conlon. We originally started serving specialty coffee on tap from a kegerator bicycle. Now the company has expanded to include several bikes, is served in Tap and Handle, Snack Attack, Gilded Goat Brewery, Lee’s Cyclery and the soon to be open Cranked Up Coffee Brewery and Coffee Bar inside Scrumpy’s Cider.

What is unique about your business?
Being a bicycle based business, Cranked Up helps cut emissions in Fort Collins, all of our byproducts are compostable or recyclable cutting down on waste for our community, and our organic coffee grounds are utilized by gardeners here in town and available for pick up.

We feature different local roasters from along the front range, who have direct relationships with the coffee farms outside of the country where the product is grown. This ensures a higher level of social responsibility and care which compliments and surpasses certain labels such as fair trade, organic, etc.

What is an interesting story from when you were starting your business? What did you learn from it?
Starting at the Winter Farmers Market last year was a great experience. I am so excited to be back and have made so many great connections and friends through it. Its truly a blessing for the vendors having such a great weekly event inside the Opera Galleria and having farmers markets go on year round. We are thankful to the community and organizers for making it happen. I know it inspires me to create things on the next level.

What are you excited about for this year?
Cranked Up is thrilled to announce the opening of its new location at 215 North College inside of the Scrumpy’s Cider

Facebook: crankedupcoffee

The Fox & The Crow

The Fox & The Crow opened its doors in 2014 as a cheese and meat shop. Owners, Tina and Alan, a couple who are originally from NYC with four children in PSD schools. Tina, is a CCP (a certified cheese professional) and Alan is the grilled cheese maker master!

Their menu is focused on charcuterie boards and simple sandwiches, soups and salads for dining in or have them make you a party board for your next event.  You can also get meat and cheese cut to order.  They serve beer, wine and cider and make our own bread, crackers, soups, and pickles!

Why did you start your business?
Got the small business bug after another business we wanted to open fizzled.

How did you decide on the name?
Its based on an Aesop fable.

What is unique about your business?
We have very low staff turn over, making our staff more like family than employees. I think our customers feel that genuine warmth.

What is an interesting story from when you were starting your business? What did you learn from it?
We agreed to do a marketing coupon when we first started. I didn’t read the fine print. The coupon came close to killing us..we still regard that time period as the “coupon times”..still gives us chills.

What advice would you give another entrepreneur if you had to do it all over again?
Listen to your demographic. Do extensive customer research. Your idea not resonating with the public? Don’t be afraid to pivot!

What are you excited about for this year?
So excited to offer a wide range of different meats and specialty cheeses to the broader public.

Instagram: thefox_and_the_crow
Facebook: foxandcrowcheese
Twitter: @foxncrowcheese
Snapchat: The Fox And The Crow Cheese

Founding Foods

Competing for the newest food business in FoCo, Rachel Irons launched Founding Foods in July of 2017.  She creates tasty nutrition-based foods for people to enjoy while doing what they love best. Savory, sweet and affordable.  I’m from Alaska and came to Colorado for school, I graduated with degrees in Environmental Studies and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. After that I spent a year doing lots of different things, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and eventually landed on starting this business.

Why did you start your business?
I’m from Alaska and came to Colorado for school, I graduated with degrees in Environmental Studies and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. After that I spent a year doing lots of different things, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and eventually landed on starting this business. I wanted to find a way to have a larger positive impact on the world around me, and I’ve always been really into food and nutrition. Providing healthy and sustainable snacks seemed like a good way to go.

How did you decide on the name?
It came from a group brainstorming session. Feeding ourselves well is one of the most important things we can do for our well-being, our community, and our world. Therefore, food is the foundation of our bodies and so much of our lives.

What is unique about your business?
Our wild boar jerky comes from an invasive species instead of farmed animals. Invasive species are species that were introduced by humans in an area where they do not naturally occur, and have since reproduced rapidly and are causing harm to their new environment. It is therefore beneficial both to our environment and our economy to eat them. Wild boar are also far healthier than farmed animals as they have no hormones or antibiotics pumped into them, and they forage on natural vegetation. Our meal bars provide a quick, on the go meal option that’s also extremely healthy. They are organic and vegan, with no added sugar, and are gluten and soy free. We strive to be as sustainable as possible in all our practices. We use biodegradable packing, organic ingredients, and reduce waste wherever we can.

What are you excited about for this year?
I am very excited to be starting a new product line – invasive boar jerky.

Instagram: founding_foods
Facebook: foxandcrowcheese

Just Plain 'Ola

Possibly the newest food business in the market, Just Plain ‘Ola was started this summer by Hannah & Chris Zwakenberg.  The pair make a delicious grain-free granola perfect for breakfast or a mid-day (trail) snack.

Why did you start your business?
Hannah makes a mean grain-free granola. People wanted to buy it!

How did you decide on the name?
Since our granola is grain free, take the “gran” out of “granola” and you have “Just Plain ‘Ola”! Also, Hannah’s grandmother’s name happens to be “Ola”. Ola has always been a lover of adventure and the outdoors, which is infused into the spirit of our product.

What is unique about your business?
Many are gluten free by choice, many by dietary restrictions. But even for those who aren’t gluten free, we have an all-natural, gluten free, vegan, and paleo product that is absolutely delicious.

What is an interesting story from when you were starting your business? What did you learn from it?
One of our biggest struggles is not eating all of our Just Plain ‘Ola before we sell it! It takes a lot of self-control to come home to the aroma of baked maple syrup and not take excessive samples.

What advice would you give another entrepreneur if you had to do it all over again?
We are still in the very early stages, so we need advice from others! But I would just say… take it one step at a time.

What are you excited about for this year?
We started with just our original flavor (maple syrup & cinnamon) and launched our second flavor (pumpkin spice) this fall. Pumpkin spice was a big hit, and now we are working on a Christmas/winter flavor.

Instagram: justplainola
Facebook: justplainola

Pasta Pazza

Nan Zimmerman is the owner of Pasta Pazza. She & her husband Kurt have a small cow/calf operation in the Waverly area. She has sold pasta from Pappardelle’s Pasta ( Denver, CO ) for 10 years at farmers’ markets in the summer until “the cows come home”.

Why did you start your business?
I had been selling extra vegetables from my garden at local farmers’ markets since the children were born. My husband said, “if you are going to spend all this time at farmers’ markets, could you find something that will make a little money?”

How did you decide on the name?
Pasta Pazza means Crazy Pasta. Or Pasta Crazy.

What is unique about your business?
Providing locally made restaurant quality pasta to farmers’ market customers.

Facebook: pastapazza

Rocky Mountain Pecans

Rocky Mountain Pecans began less than a year ago by Evelyn Knowles.  She creates roasted pecans with honey and spices in several varieties and sells at farmers markets and several small retail stores around Fort Collins and Loveland.

Why did you start your business?
To share my favorite healthy treats with other people

How did you decide on the name?
People normally think of baked pecans as very sugary, like in pralines or pecan pie. I wanted to differentiate my roasted pecans by describing them as “not sweet southern pecans” they are “Rocky Mountain pecans”.

What is unique about your business?
We provide a healthy treat in small packages for active people by using natural foods: pecans and honey with spices.

What are you excited about for this year?
We had a new flavor for the holiday season, Mocha Mint

Teach Me To Grow

Owner and founder Andrea Vanderbilt began Teach Me To Grow in May of 2017.  She has six years of experience in horticulture and has installed and maintained numerous food-producing gardens and landscapes in her career.  Andrea is wildly passionate about sharing the joys and endless benefits of edible gardens and seeks to empower, support, and provide a platform for others to achieve these benefits with their own unique edible garden or landscape. Teach Me To Grow specializes in the design, installation, and maintenance of edible gardens and landscapes customized to the clients’ space and preferences. They also offer fun and engaging gardening workshops and one-on-one garden coaching to help our clients cultivate a wildly successful garden themselves!

Why did you start your business?
After experiencing the compounding benefits of growing my own food and then hearing from an increasing number of people who wanted to garden but were held back by lack of knowledge, not knowing where to get started, space, time or what have you, it occurred to me that this skill and passion is something that I needed to share. I feel that the benefits of a food-producing garden or landscape way overarch just the quality of food that comes out of it. Those benefits extend from creating community to connecting to nature to exalting a more self-sustaining lifestyle and more! I started Teach Me To Grow as a platform and central space for new gardeners to easily access knowledge and support in their gardening venture and to give more people access to the benefits of having an edible garden or landscape.

How did you decide on the name?
It popped into my head one day while working in my garden. I felt like it had a nice ring to it and it highlighted the educational piece that I feel is so important to cultivating successful produce.

What is unique about your business?
People are realizing the adverse effects of exposure to synthetic and toxic chemicals and pesticides that are sprayed on grocery store produce. Even something that is labeled “organic” in the grocery store may still have been exposed to harmful agriproducts. An increasing number of people are interested in growing their own produce for a myriad of reasons but many people don’t know where to get started or feel that they lack time or knowledge to be successful. Teach Me To Grow offers a solution with our unique garden design, installations, and maintenance plans as well as educational workshops and one-on-one garden coaching. Whatever it is that can help the client reach their gardening goals, we are there to help every step of the way.

What is an interesting story from when you were starting your business? What did you learn from it?
A lot of people relate the word “edible” to cannabis production! It is important to clarify your message in your given environment so that people can understand what you provide right away.

What advice would you give another entrepreneur if you had to do it all over again?
What you have to offer is already off to a great start if it is seated in passion.

What are you excited about for this year?
Our Four Seasons of Learning workshops are now available to take individually or with a group! We are also looking forward to working with local restaurants to provide a hyper-local food source and amenity via restaurant patio and container gardens!

Facebook: teachmetogrow

Turtle Mountain Tea

Natalie DiSanto began Turtle Mountain Tea in 2014 making kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut.   She is the owner, brewer and fermenter and Hannah DiSanto handles marketing, sales and accounting.  You can often find one or both of them at the many summer markets and at the Winter Farmers Market.

Why did you start your business?
I saw the positive affects of probiotics on my body and wanted to share that with others.

How did you decide on the name?
two of my favorite things: turtles and mountains

What is unique about your business?
We were the first kombucha and/or fermented foods company in Fort Collins. We have been providing the front range with delicious small-batch probiotics for three years. We create each of our products by hand and use as many ingredients from our friends at the local farmer’s markets as possible.

What advice would you give another entrepreneur if you had to do it all over again?
Work hard and you will reap the benefits. There have been many 14+ hour days and I wouldn’t take any of them back. Those are the days that make or break you.

What are you excited about for this year?
We are opening our own store front this December where we will have six flavors of kombucha on tap along with our raw sauerkraut and kimchi for resale.

Instagram: turtlemountainkombucha
Facebook: turtlemountainfermentery

Meadow Maid Foods

Mike and Cindy Ridenour are a husband and wife team with previous careers in chemistry, who are now devoted full-time to their ranch they started in 2009 and in 2003 added 100% grass fed, grass finished beef and vegetables to sell to their community.

Why did you start your business?
Meadow Maid Foods was created to bring our 100% grass fed beef and all natural vegetables to our regional community.

How did you decide on the name?
Our cows live on pasture year-round, and they are the true producers of our grass fed beef. Thus, we pay homage to our lovely female bovines with the name “Meadow Maid”.

What is unique about your business?
We converted a conventional crop-based farm back to grasslands, and restored and continue to maintain a diverse eco-system of prairie, riparian areas, and wetlands free from pesticides and herbicides, while producing wholesome foods for our local communities.

What is an interesting story from when you were starting your business? What did you learn from it?
We were still living in Rist Canyon and had moved our cattle here to the ranch when, one frigid November day with infant baby on my back, I struggled to fix a fence at the ranch before returning home. Within two months, we finished moving ourselves to the ranch, too. Lesson learned – don’t just dream the dream, be here to live it!

What advice would you give another entrepreneur if you had to do it all over again?
Be very hesitant to take on debt, and be sure to have money in the bank or supplemental income for several years until you get established. And, don’t wait for “someday” – do it while you are young!

What are you excited about for this year?
We were recently included in America The Great Cookbook, and I am excited to share the news with our customers at market this year. It’s always nice to greet our old friends and make new ones inside the lovely Opera Galleria.

Facebook: meadowmaidfoods

Bayberry Fresh

A combination hydroponics/aquaponics science fair project in high school became the obsession that grew into Bayberry Fresh.  Founder and farmer Haydn Christensen, grew up on a family farm in the San Luis Valley where he learned producing food was the lifestyle he would always be involved with.  He graduated from CSU Bachelor of Science in Soil and Crop Science in 2013 and entered the Upstart Farmer program. Bayberry Fresh is operated with a mixture of old knowledge passed down through generations of family farmers as well as the newest science from top agriculture experts in various fields.

Bayberry Fresh, launched in 2013, grows tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, beets, strawberries, root crops, greens, herbs and more.  They have both field production and year round greenhouse production.

Why did you start your business?
I enjoyed farming and wanted to make a business out of it.

How did you decide on the name?
It was the street I lived on when I started the business.

What is unique about your business?
I aim to grow high quality but more affordable produce that I generally wholesale making it accessible to a wider population.

What is an interesting story from when you were starting your business? What did you learn from it?
I have made a ton of mistakes from poor planning that led to hand picking 15,000 pounds of carrots to greenhouses nearly collapsing and losing my entire basil crop (and income) one year. When I lost all my basil that year I took random minimum wage yard work jobs, sold personal items, and donated plasma for awhile. have learned to just keep going and figure it out.

What advice would you give another entrepreneur if you had to do it all over again?
Start small and experiment before investing a lot of time or money.

What are you excited about for this year?
I am very excited to offer summer vegetables out of my experimental year round greenhouse. I will have tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and more starting in December.

Facebook: BayberryFresh

Bones du Jour

Makers of gourmet dog treats and birthday cakes, Bones du Jour began in 2006 and is owned and operated by Sue Carrol.  You have probably seen Sue at one of the many farmers markets she attends over the last decade.  She employs one part time employee from Foothills Gateway, Buster has worked for with her since 2009.

Bones du Jour

Why did you start your business?
I started my business to bring healthy treats without added sugars, oils and preservatives to dogs. Using mostly local ingredients and as many organic ingredients as possible I originally wanted to use farmers’ market produce and make seasonal treats. It became challenging and financially unfeasible to use seasonal vegetables and fruits and still maintain the required USDA standards. I bake treats where I can source as locally as possible and use organic ingredients year around.

How did you decide on the name?
I wanted a name that fit my product. I bake fresh treats almost every day of the week, so bone of the day or Bones Du Jour was a great fit.

What is unique about your business?
I offer treats in several different flavors and three product lines to make treats available to all dogs including those with allergies or special nutritional needs. Bones Du Jour are also available in several sizes and shapes so dogs, from Chihuahuas to Great Danes, can enjoy a fresh treat.

What is an interesting story from when you were starting your business? What did you learn from it?
Even in the early stages of my business when I didn’t have as many flavors as I do now, I had folks rushing up to my table wanting to purchase a “cookie” and realizing as they reached the table that my products are for dogs. Many of them commented that “they look good enough to eat” or “I wish I was a dog”. That’s where my tag line (Treats so good, you’ll wish you were a dog!) came from. I knew from the start that my treats had to taste good to the dogs, I realized quickly that having eye appeal to the humans was an asset as well.

What advice would you give another entrepreneur if you had to do it all over again?
If you are starting a business, adding a new line, moving to a new location or making any changes to your current business, it will always take more of an investment of time and money than you have allocated. If you love what you do, every penny and minute spent will be worth it!

What are you excited about for this year?
I am doing an event this weekend (11/12), Bake It Forward for Animal House Rescue and Grooming. If it is well received we may do it more often. I have a few new Christmas shapes, including a big Christmas tree where you can take a limb at a time off to feed to your dog. I’m hoping to have some new flavors to offer in the spring.

Facebook: bonesdujourpage

Colorado Catsup

Tell us about the people involved in your business:
Matt and Shane joined forces just a year ago (2016) to make the best Catsup, Mustard, Cocktail Sauce and BBQ Sauces Colorado has ever seen!

Why did you start your business?
To offer a superior product in the condiment sector. Starting with Catsup (Ketchup), then Mustard, then BBQ, etc.

How did you decide on the name?
We modeled after other successful companies that display a sense of regional pride. Hence, Colorado Catsup!

What is unique about your business?
Our goal is to bridge the gap between mass produced products filled with corn syrup and overpriced and under-tasty alternatives. Ultimately we wanted to create a product that looks good, tastes good, and doesn’t break the bank. All the while using ingredients you can find in your cupboard.

What is an interesting story from when you were starting your business? What did you learn from it?
Out of one’s passion for great soups and another’s passion for great bbq sauce – We landed at the corner of ketchup and mustard. We learned that it ultimately wasn’t what we did that was as important as just getting started.

What advice would you give another entrepreneur if you had to do it all over again?
Just get going! Don’t get caught up in the roadblocks, just go around them. Don’t be afraid to pivot.

What are you excited about for this year?
New products, new sizes. Capturing more awareness.

Instagram: coloradocatsup
Facebook: Colorado Catsup
Twitter: @coloradocatsup

The Colorado Peach Co.

Nathan Meyer, started selling Palisade peaches in Fort Collins in 2015 and sets up at summer markets selling peaches and local fruit and vegetables.  Just this year he is Introducing pie & preserves featuring Palisade peaches including peach pie, cobbler, preserves, jam, jelly, and more.  All of his goods are Handcrafted in small batches using organic and all natural ingredients.

Why did you start your business?
I fell in love with tree-ripened peaches several years ago working a farmers market in another state. They reminded me of the apricots we ate from the tree when we were kids. I had never tasted a peach like that in my life! I thought that was it. How could peaches possibly be any better than that? But then one day, I tasted a Palisade peach for the first time…it was then I realized there’s a whole different level of tree-ripened peach growing happening in that valley. I was hooked. I’ve long been a strong advocate of small local food systems & I’m excited to be a part of Northern Colorado’s by bringing Palisade peaches to Fort Collins for as many months out of the year as possible!

How did you decide on the name?
Honestly, it was the first thing that came to mind. I wish I had a better story for that…but I was just like, The Colorado Peach Company yep that’s it! And though it’s admittedly somewhat generic…how can you possibly go wrong with the words “Colorado” and “peach” in the same name? You probably want a Colorado peach right now just reading this, huh? I know I do…

What is unique about your business?
Bringing Palisade peaches to Fort Collins for as many months out of the year as possible! We help buy up excess harvest from the orchards at the end of the season to help minimize food waste. Our goal is to expand in future seasons with additional varieties of fruit, grown by local Fort Collins area growers.

What is an interesting story from when you were starting your business? What did you learn from it?
I learned you can only make 1,400 lbs of peaches into preserves so fast before you have to start flash-freezing peaches to use in pies & jams later on. Because preserves require fresh, never frozen peaches to get the chunks of fruit, I had to work around the clock at the commercial kitchen making preserves. What did I learn? Next year I’m hiring helpers!

What advice would you give another entrepreneur if you had to do it all over again?
If I had to do it all over again, what would I do differently? This particular business is new enough there’s not a lot of that yet. With my first food business in 2003, if I had to do that one again. I would have been better capitalized. I would have added up everything I thought I was going to need, down to the last detail (which I did), and then I would have multiplied that number by 4 and raised that much capital before starting (which I didn’t do).

What are you excited about for this year?
I’m excited to be joining the winter market for the first season! And I’m especially excited to be offering a new item…the most amazing Palisade peach pie you’ve ever eaten, guaranteed.

Instagram: ColoradoPeachCompany
Facebook: coloradopeachcompany
Twitter: @fcoloradopeachco

Fort Collins Pickle Company

Mykel Brawley began Fort Collins Pickle Company in 2016 with three varieties of delicious, from scratch pickles.  She started with cottage foods and is transitioning to working out of a commercial kitchen so she can sell wholesale to local retailers and in bulk for restaurants and breweries.

Why did you start your business?
I learned how to pickle from my mom and grandmother and grew up pickling. I continued to pickle as an adult for friends and family. After a 16 year career in child protection and with the encouragement of my husband I started Fort Collins Pickle Company. I am passionate about pickling and am loving the journey of starting my own business.

How did you decide on the name?
I am a native of Fort Collins and my husband moved to Fort Collins in junior high. He actually came up with the name and once he said it we both knew it was the perfect name.

What is unique about your business?
I think what makes Fort Collins Pickle Company unique is I am a native of Fort Collins and know the town well. As far as I know there is not another pickling company in Fort Collins and most people love pickles. My goal is to keep all my produce local year round.

I make the pickles myself and use local farms for my cucumbers, dill, habaneros etc. when in season. Old Town Spice Shop mixes all my spices for me. I am really trying to keep everything local.

What is an interesting story from when you were starting your business? What did you learn from it?
When I first told co-workers and friends that I was leaving my full time position to start a pickle company I know people were thinking I was a bit nutty. However, everyone has been incredibly supportive. I honestly learn something new everyday about starting a business and I am hopeful that everything I have learned this first year will make this next year even better.

What advice would you give another entrepreneur if you had to do it all over again?
I would say the Small Business Development Center has been a wonderful resource for me and would be great place for a new entrepreneur to start.

What are you excited about for this year?
I am excited about the possibility of collaborating with other vendors on new products. I am also working on a Bread and Butter Habanero Pickle that hopefully will be ready in the next month or so.

Instagram: FortCollinsPickleCompany
Facebook: focopickles
Pinterest: FortCollinsPickleCompany

High Point Bison

High Point Bison, a third generation family farm/ranch, is owned and operated by Glen and Jill Klawonn. In 1995 Glen began raising bison to utilize the native prairie grasses in a more sustainable way. Glen has a vet tech degree and a lifetime of ranch experience and Jill has a degree in Agricultural Business and Economics from the University of Wyoming. Son Carl, age 10, is a good help with all the ranch chores and enjoys the farmers markets.   We grow grass fed, grass finished beef and bison and sell all cuts of steaks, roasts, ground, sausage, and jerky from our animals. We also offer bison tallow soaps and bison fiber items such as hats, scarves, mitts, pillows, rugs, sweaters, etc hand knit by Jill.

Why did you start your business?
To better utilize the existing natural resources of the ranch and to diversify income opportunities.

How did you decide on the name?
The ranch is located directly on the tri state area of CO,WY, and NE and the highest point of Nebraska is located on the ranch.

What is unique about your business?
High Point Bison is a natural grass fed, grass finished bison and beef operation. Only 4% of all bison in the U.S. are grass fed, grass finished. We offer a large variety of steaks, roasts, ground, sausages, and jerkies year round. Our sausages and jerkies are free of preservatives, gluten, soy, pork, eggs, and dairy.

What is an interesting story from when you were starting your business? What did you learn from it?
When we first started we had just a few bison and we worked hard to market the meat. We went to a Big Boys Toy show and met a key customer who opened a lot of opportunities for us. We never thought that kind of a show would we such a marketing opportunity.

What advice would you give another entrepreneur if you had to do it all over again?
Know “why” you are doing what you are doing and then work hard at accomplishing your goals. Don’t be afraid of change and ask for help when you need it.

What are you excited about for this year?
We are excited to continue bringing our delicious meats to our front range customers who so faithfully supported us at the Larimer County Farmers Market all season.

Facebook: highpointbison

The Pig and the Plow Farmstead Bakery

The Pig and the Plow was established in 2014, by Erica Glaze, with our online farm and ranch directory. In 2016 she launched a digital local food magazine, From the Field, and in 2017 is launching a bakery under the cottage foods act.  The bakery features naturally leavened sourdoughs, yeasted treats and rustic sweets with organic ingredients.

Why did you start your business?
I started The Pig and the Plow to help folks source local food direct from the farmer’s and ranchers in our community. The bakery is an extension of that goal. By sourcing local ingredients we can continue to support local farmers by making great local products.

How did you decide on the name?
It was an evolution from a chapter title in Alice in Wonderland, Pig and Pepper.

What is unique about your business?
Unlike many online forums, we offer a personal and curated touch to what we do. In addition to providing information we offer customers seeking local food education, introductions, and resources for using local products.

What advice would you give another entrepreneur if you had to do it all over again?
Keep it simple and take the time to do it right.

What are you excited about for this year?
Launching the bakery!

Instagram: pigandplow
Facebook: thepigandtheplow

Sunray Natural

Josh and Kirsten Hillhouse started Sunray Natural with a dream of growing the tastiest, nutrient dense foods possible in a sustainable and natural way. We are joined by our son Gabriel and an awesome group of interns, woofers, and friends who have helped make our small dream into a viable and productive small scale enterprise.

We began stewarding our land to provide for our family in 2007. In 2012 we had an excess of abundance and was able to start selling at farmers market which has now snowballed into offering amazing eggs, grass fed meats and a huge specialty line of spices, teas and more.

We organically grow many different varieties of medicinal and culinary herds, raise chickens and ducks for eggs, offer grass fed meats, and have developed a product line of over 200 varieties of herb/spice blends, tea blends and we have our own apothecary with most things an herb lover might require.

Why did you start your business?
Our aim is to provide our community with the tastiest and nutritionally dense foods on the market today by focusing on our soil health and growing within a more sustainable and natural cycle.

How did you decide on the name?
Our idea is to utilize the suns energy and the soils wealth to grow the healthiest foods around. We do not use tractors and a bunch of fancy gadgets, we are predominantly human powered and aim to break free from the conventional farming techniques of seed modification, and fossil fuel/chemical dependence.

What is unique about your business?
We aim to bring back our more traditional techniques and help prove that the old ways were and have always been much more sustainable, cost effective, community supportive and able to deliver a vastly superior and healthy product.

What is an interesting story from when you were starting your business? What did you learn from it?
We decided to take the road less traveled when starting our farm. We dove in head first and tried everything an inexperienced homesteader might dabble in; chickens, goats, rabbits, turkeys lamas, a pony, tending a huge garden, building a food forest, dreaming up a solar sauna, growing fodder, and making all kinds of home made goodies from the land. Many of our attempts went sideways, the goats ate everything they shouldn’t, the coyotes and foxes loved to pester our chickens and rabbits, the llamas turned out mean while our cows and pigs like to be at everyone else’s farm but their own! Needless to say we have learned, laughed and cried a lot over the years. Bottom line is by allowing our land and community to help guid our farms creation it has been able to develop more naturally into what the people of Northern Colorado truly need!

What advice would you give another entrepreneur if you had to do it all over again?
Start small or jump all in. It’s great to start slow, build up your infrastructure and learn those hard lessons early before you go big. But if you have the means to put everything in right off the bat then get it going now!

What are you excited about for this year?
We are always making new products and growing cool new varieties of herbs and greens. Right now however, we are most excited to announce the soon to be open Sunray Natural Homestead Store! We have been working hard to get it ready and hope to be open by December 2017 for everyone’s holiday and healthy shopping needs!

Facebook: SunrayNatural

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