Thursday, July 29, 2010

My gourmet products restocked at local stores

Several local stores were out of stock but have just purchased additional inventory of my gourmet products so you can can continue to enjoy the convenience of purchasing my gourmet products at popular local retailers Davenport's Farm Market, Gil's Farm Market & Fleisher's Meats.

I invite you all to share your experiences with my products. I'm curious to know about the recipes you've made and view any pictures you may care to share.

Hot fun in the summertime!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My gourmet products are now available at Emmanuel's Marketplace

My gourmet products are now on the shelf at Emmanuel's Marketplace on Route 209 in Stone Ridge, New York.

They are featured in the "local/hudson valley" section of the store which is on the right and left when entering the store. I'm excited to be featured at Emmanuel's because I love the store and shop there all the time. To me, it feels like a nice NYC market that carries everything I need. They have the yummiest cold cuts, meat and veges and a pretty wide selection of organic items. The store is always stocked and the crew is very helpful. If you live locally and haven't visited the market yet, you've got to make it a point to stop in and check out this gem. It's the kind of place where you love to browse the aisles.

Thanks Jim and Pat for the opportunity to be showcased at Emmanuel's Marketplace. I'm looking forward to working with you,


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

First company event successful!

The Rosendale Music Festival was this past Saturday and Sunday on the main street in Rosendale, NY. There was a good amount of traffic to my booth throughout the day as there were lots of people who stopped by to try a sample of the Caribbean Hot Sauce and the Portuguese Repolho Relish. The overall reaction of those who sampled these gourmet products was positive- I got lots of "mmmmm"s, "that's really good" and "delicious!" which was rewarding to hear. There were several hard core hot sauce junkies who sampled the Caribbean Hot Sauce straight up, just like an alcoholic shot which was impressive and some kids who though young were already discriminating hot sauce Connoisseurs - also impressive. Many who sampled my gourmet products ended up making a purchase which I think demonstrated quite clearly just how important samples are in the (gourmet food) sales process.

I got to see Cory Kessler- the Ulster County Health Dept. Inspector- again. What a super nice guy! Cory was right there with me last year helping to get me going. He recommended the Reservoir Inn restaurant as the right kitchen space to rent and Shawn the Proprietor as a great person to work with. He helped finalize my gourmet product labels & pricing. Thanks so much for all your support Cory and for responding to my thousand and one questions over the past year :) It felt great to be at the Rosendale Music Festival with you now given where I was a year ago. I got a picture with Cory which I shared below.

One of the owners of Fleisher's Meat Market in Kingston stopped by and shared a recent experience. Fleisher's Meat Market which currently features my gourmet products served my Portuguese Repolho Relish and Caribbean Hot Sauce on hot dogs and burgers at an event and they were a big hit! Thanks for sharing that experience. I'd love to know more.

I also met a ton of just super nice and supportive folks at this event. First, there were the vendors who accepted jars of my 2 gourmet condiments and provided them as condiment options to their customers - thanks so much guys for helping to get the product to more people so they could try it. Genie and Ginette, my neighbors in the next booth baked delicious pretzel rolls in a variety of flavors and despite the incredible heat on Saturday (it sure did feel like 103 degrees out there) they kept their sense of humor and helped make the event fun. Genie and Ginette (sorry if I'm butchering your names here guys :) have built up a following at the local farm market over the past 4 weeks and from the positive reactions to their product at the Rosendale Music Festival, it seems it won't be long before they're ready to outsource the production of their gourmet food too. I also met Aimee who had just started her own handmade jewelry business- hang in there, Aimee. It's hard work and long hours but I suspect you'll find it a rewarding endeavor. Pat a fireman at the Rosendale Fire Company purchased some Jerk Sauce and mentioned he was planning to use the sauce to make some baby back ribs. He was going to marinate the ribs in the Jerk Sauce then slow cook them in a smoker. That sounds really delicious, Pat! I'm looking forward to knowing how they came out. I hope you'll post a comment here along with a picture or 2. I also met Franny an independent representative of several different brands who enjoyed my Caribbean Hot Sauce so much that she made a wholesale purchase which she was excited to resell. I'm looking forward to knowing how that turned out, Franny. Marty of Beechwood House Sauces, Marie of Kangen Water (it was cool that you'd just come back from Antigua, Marie!), Rory and Barbara Pinto (it was so great meeting and talking with you. I do hope we stay in touch) and of course, Johnny McLaughlin of Hearbreaking Dawns. Thanks a ton Johnny for all the great tips and advice. I'm psyched that you like my Caribbean Hot Sauce and I'll definitely take you up on the offer to pick your brain in the future. To all the potential future partners that I met at the Rosendale Music Festival- I'm looking forward to exploring partnership opportunities with you that benefit both our businesses. It really is about local businesses helping local businesses be successful. Finally but by no means least, a HUGE thank you to my hubby Josh for being my shlepper boy and helping out through the incredible heat wave (I know how much you hate the heat) and to Norman and Joyce for hanging out with our little ones Mina and Jake so I could do this. Lots of love to you all!

Well, I had a lot of fun but I'm glad it's over. It was a lot of work. I've attached a few pictures from the event. There's a picture of me with Cory and a few of my booth. The pics were taken on Saturday morning just as the event kicked off. I was hoping to get some pictures of the traffic to my booth throughout the day or on Sunday but it proved too busy to capture those. Maybe next time.

Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by to say hi and try my gourmet products. I really appreciate all your support.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Baron's International Kitchen's first event

I'm getting ready to exhibit at the Rosendale Music Festival (aka The Rosendale Street Fair) which is happening this weekend, Saturday the 24th and Sunday the 25th on the main street in Rosendale, NY. It's pretty exciting, the company's first official event.

We've been going to the Rosendale Street Fair for a couple of years now just as visitors. It's actually a pretty cool event. It's 2 days of good food and music featuring local bands/artists performing live. There are a couple of stages set up along the main route and bands perform all day throughout the 2 days. Of course, there's lots of great food and crafts for sale and there's no fee to attend the event. It's been a bit of a dream to have my gourmet company be an exhibitor at the Rosendale Street Fair and it's pretty neat that now that dream's come true.

Baron's International Kitchen will have a booth and I'll be sharing free samples. My hubby Josh will be helping me at the booth and grandma and grandpa will have our little ones. Stop by and say hello if you'll be in the area. If you've been thinking of making a purchase but would like to try before you buy, it'll be the perfect opportunity to try my gourmet products and pick some up for yourself or family and friends.

Looking forward to meeting/seeing you there!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Production test runs successful!

As you know, for the past week I've been getting ready for the production outsourcing test runs at Farm To Table, the co-packing facility that may begin producing my gourmet products.

It was an exhausting and at times stressful experience and the hot, humid weather didn't make things easier. Long days were filled with either shopping for ingredients or ordering ingredients and 1 ingredient in particular, the hot peppers were impossible to find. One day I decided to drive to the Hunt's Point Produce Market in the Bronx (a 4 hour round trip) for the peppers because they were not available from sources here in West Hurley, NY but thankfully, Jim the Produce Manager at Hannaford on Rt. 9W in Kingston was able to get some. Whew! Glad you saved me the trip, Jim. I remember visiting the Hunt's Point Market as a child with my parents but I haven't been there in years. It's an amazing place. You can pretty much get any produce, meat or seafood there.

Another day I drove to Waterford, NY to pick up the jars and lids as there was a risk they might not arrive on time if they were shipped. I have to admit, I actually don't mind the drive to Waterford, NY. It's about an hour and a half away, further north, never any traffic and it's a nice ride. Here's a little factoid about Waterford, NY that you may not know- Waterford, NY is the oldest incorporated village in the US -- I didn't know that. Waterford, NY is on the Champlain Lock Canal but as my supplier, Burch Bottle & Packaging is not located directly on the canal, I have only caught fleeting glimpses here and there of it as I drive by. One of these days I'll hopefully get a good snapshot of it.

Well, anyway, all the time and energy paid off. The production test runs of all 4 products were scheduled over 2 days (yesterday and today). I was nervous that the pH of the gourmet products would be out of range which would mean it would all have to be thrown out but everything worked out fine. The pH was within range, the consistency looked good and the taste was on target--Yey!

A huge thanks to Jim at Hannaford for helping get the hot peppers, Jackie and Amy at Burch Bottle & Packaging for helping to get the jars and lids and of course Jes, Carlos and the rest of the team at Farm To Table for all their help and patience. I'm really looking forward to working with those guys.

In a few days, I expect to receive a price quote from Farm To Table for producing my gourmet products. I hope the quote will be within my budget making it possible to move forward with Farm To Table so I can maintain a focus on building relationships with partners and clients and growing Baron's International Kitchen.

Finally, I'm excited to introduce a new feature to my blog posts. Since Clayton at Dragon Search Marketing suggested the idea of adding pictures to my blog posts, I've been dying to give it a try so here are just a few pics from my travels to get the items needed for the test runs. Thanks, Clayton! Keep an eye out for more photos in the future.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Increasing production to meet growing demand

I'm just back from a much needed 2 week, totally unplugged vacation. It was a rejuvenating and relaxing time and it felt really good to reconnect with my little ones Mina and Jake and especially with my hubby Josh. You know, after a vacation I'm always amazed at the realization of just how stressed out I was before the vacation. I guess after dealing with stress for a while, it gets harder to accurately gauge how stressful life's gotten- if I explained that well. Anyway, I highly recommend taking time for R & R with those you love if it's been a while. It's energizing for body and soul.

Now that I'm back to work, I'm getting ready for 2 days of test runs at Farm 2 Table. Farm 2 Table is a co-packing facility located in Kingston, NY and if all goes well, I will be outsourcing production of my gourmet products to these folks. I have mixed emotions about outsourcing production of my gourmet products. On the one hand, I have really enjoyed making the products myself and have found that very satisfying. There's nothing in the world like hearing folks say, "I tried your gourmet products and they're delicious!" because I made the gourmet products with my own hands, do you know what I mean? On the other hand though, being a one woman show has made it a big challenge to keep up with demand or expand the business further. I'm also nervous because I'll be making 20 gallons of each product- the largest quantity made at one time so far and whenever production is scaled up like this, there's always a risk that the pH of the batch will be off. If the pH is off, the entire batch will have to be discarded and that's very costly for this small business owner. Regardless though, I must overcome whatever challenges arise if the business is to grow and go to the next level. We'll just have to wait and see what happens.

So this week, I'm a shopping machine :) I'm buying labels, jars, lids and all the fresh produce and other ingredients that will be needed and delivering everything to the Farm 2 Table facility. Monday and Tuesday next week are the big days. Keep your fingers crossed that the test runs go great and that the pH comes out just fine! I'll let you know how it goes.