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2011 Beginnings

January 5, 2011 1 comment

It’s 2011! I rang in the New Year with 60 friends at a hotel, way too much booze, and really good catered BBQ. I hope you all had a fine time.

I then followed that up by attending the Wisconsin Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Conference. Jenne and I attended with the intention of doing some research for our jam business and the more pie-in-the-sky vision of fruit growing on the home farm. Only mixed success on both fronts. We did talk with a business owner who is currently canning a wide variety of products, although her emphasis is mostly on pickles. The fruit growing panels were a little bit low on useful information for me, and I didn’t try to work the crowd to talk with any growers directly as I think we’re still a few years away from actually growing anything.  I’m glad I went, but I don’t know that I’ll spend the money to go next year.

We’re still moving forward on the jam business. The biggest hurdle remains affordable kitchen space, and I don’t see an easy way out of that one. There are a few kitchen incubators that rent space by the hour. I don’t really want to use the ones that are in the city of Chicago, as you need an city of Chicago sanitary license to operate in the city, as opposed to just the regular state of Illinois license. That leaves one, and it’s all the way in Evanston, a 1.5-2 hour drive depending on traffic. No better than driving to Chicago. I’ve also uncovered a catering kitchen or two that may be willing to rent space at off hours, but again…far away. We may have to accept an hour drive, at least this year. And maybe I should start cold-calling all the catering businesses in McHenry and Lake counties to see if anyone is willing to rent space.

So that planning proceeds apace. This blog is also continuing into the New Year; although probably quietly as it’s not a front-burner sort of project for me. I have one or two ideas for future posts, just need to sit down and flesh them out.

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