From Recipe to Retail with Virginia Food Works

33:44
 
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Few things are more exciting for small brands than getting their first commercially-packaged food products off the production line. Allie Hill and Katharine Wilson, founder and director of Virginia Food Works, respectively, get to see this excitement firsthand through the work they do. This non-profit, located in the Prince Edward County Cannery & Commercial Kitchen, specializes in the creation of value-added foods from locally-grown ingredients. In today’s episode, we hear about the founding vision of Virginia Food Works and how they have upheld it over the years. We learn how they share the space with Prince Edward County Cannery & Commercial Kitchen and how their services differ, in respect to their work with small businesses. Allie and Katharine also offer insights into the range of clients they work with, along with the equipment and support they provide. As they can exclusively for resale, they use glass jars with metal lids and have specific systems for what can and cannot be processed. Our conversation also touches on the pandemic, community support, and fundraising. Stay tuned right till the end, where Allie makes an interesting pitch to farmers on how to create value-add products at the facility.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Get to know Allie and Katharine and what Virginia Food Works does.
  • The history of Prince Edward County Cannery & Commercial Kitchen.
  • Hear more about home canning and what it entails.
  • The two services at Prince Edward County Cannery & Commercial Kitchen; home canning and Virginia Food Works.
  • Virginia Food Works makes foods exclusively for resale.
  • How the pandemic affected Virginia Food Works and the adjustments they made.
  • The impetus for starting a non-profit inside of an existing cannery and the support from the community.
  • Virginia Food Works’s canning niche and why they do acidified food.
  • The range of clients Virginia Food Works has and how they meet clients where they are.
  • Some of the recipes Virginia Food Works owns that farmers can use.
  • How farmers get help scaling recipes they might have produced at home.
  • Why Virginia Food Works does not have batch minimums.
  • The difference between Virginia Food Works and Hatch.
  • Some of the equipment available at Virginia Food Works.
  • How Virginia Food Works raises funds; the support they get from Prince Edward County.
  • What the future has in store for Virginia Food Works.
  • A pitch for farmers who might be listening: how you can create a value-add product.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Virginia Food Works

Katharine Wilson

Prince Edward County Cannery & Commercial Kitchen

Michael Pollan

Hatch

Crescent Simples

Dayum This is My Jam

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