On this blog, I'm going to share a little of the behind-the-scenes of launching a small food business. I thought this may be helpful for anyone thinking about coming out with a food product of their own or just to inform those that are curious about it.
I'm happy to report that we survived our first market! As we've been getting the brand and the product up and running, I signed up to be part of the Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar to kind of give us a deadline to be ready for. Knowing my procrastinating self, I thought this would be the best course of action. I have sold at markets in the past with prepared foods but packaged foods is a whole other ball game. Of course there were things that went wrong, but all in all I was really happy with how it turned out.
So at the point I signed up for the market, we had all of our necessary paperwork, insurance, product testing, sourcing out of the way.. and of course our secret recipe:) Ben had already designed the logo and label, but we needed to get them printed and delivered in time for the market. What happened was the labels didn't arrive in time (not naming any names UPS!) so on the fly, Ben designed and printed circular labels for us to go on top of our jars - love that guy:) They looked awesome too:
The other major piece of the puzzle was preparing and packing our first large batch at a local commercial kitchen space. It's quite different to be making your recipe for a few units versus making it for a few hundred units. Before going into the kitchen, I calculated all of the ingredient measurements - bringing a kitchen scale was a really great asset to have, in addition to having my own thermometer, ph meter and funnel. Also having a car is a giant plus if you are going to be carting around a ton of glass bottles (fun!). This industrial size braising pan was my best friend for the day:
Here's part of my first batch of tomato achaar sealing and cooling:
For the first market, I had decided to also sell a prepared food along with samples. We served a tomato achaar tartine with Wisconsin cheddar (Ben's state:) and sliced cucumbers on SCRATCHbread sourdough (my fav!).
Markets have always been a lot of work but really fun for me because I love talking to people that come up to the table and of course serving them my food. There was a lot of opportunity for that as you can see:
The other part I love is trading food with and meeting my fellow vendors. There's always some old friends and some new.
Allison Robicelli - buddy from back in the day at the Greenpoint Food Market and co-owner of Robicelli's selling her delicious and crazy creative desserts (love her Jersey cookie made from sweet corn and fresh blueberries) and her new cookbook that is seriously funny and full of her and her husband's most amazing cupcake recipes:
Jenny and Jonny of Better Off Spread - new friends that sell super yummy and unique nut butter spreads (have their spicy and sweet made with jalapeños - so good!)
Thanks to Brooklyn Exposed and Brooklyn Makers for having Brooklyn Delhi at the bazaar and looking forward to the next one! Also wanted to send a special thank you to Christy Robb and Mabel Lebron at St. John's Bread and Life. You can view more photos from the Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar here and here.
Market photos courtesy of D. Robert Wolcheck for Brooklyn Exposed.
We will be selling at the Brooklyn Flea starting next year so look for us there!