Oser Communications Group

Gourmet News January 2017

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BY LORRIE BAUMANN Americans' hunger for food that's ethically produced as well as delicious is growing, but most consumers don't feel that they have the informa- tion they need to help them decide whether the food they're buying was pro- duced in alignment with their values. The Good Food Awards program is one attempt to address that conundrum by giving con- sumers an easily spotted sig- nal that guides them to delicious foods that are pro- duced with respect for the en- vironment and the people who BY LORRIE BAUMANN Farming wasn't the first choice of career for Brett Sippel and Sab- rina Mincey. Still less, storekeep- ing. Nevertheless, today they're growing food in Baltimore and selling it in their 600 square-foot neighborhood store in Highland- town, Maryland, an arts district within Baltimore City. The RoofTop HoT store's a bit like an urban farmstand, selling the kinds of things you'd expect to see at a farmer's market in an area of the country that has the climate for farming. Sippel and Mincey grow a lot of the produce they carry on their home's RoofTop HoT: Growing an Urban Farmstand in Baltimore Continued on PAGE 7 Continued on PAGE 10 Continued on PAGE 12 rooftop and on a three-acre farm not far away. They source meats and dairy products from other Maryland and Pennsylvania or- ganic farmers, and Chef Dan Ennis provides a small selection of prepared items and meal kits as well as the jams and sauces he makes in a nearby commercial kitchen. There are no other em- ployees. "It's important to us to manage the overhead so we can compete in this vastly growing market," Sippel said. "Most of our days start at 4 a.m. Most of our nights end at about midnight or 1 a.m. When we sleep, we sleep hard." They've been doing the farming full time for the past six years, and they view the coaching they offer to others who'd like to learn to garden sustainably in the city as part of that business too. "We use vacant lots. You can't really use the soil in these post-indus- trial cities; it's been contaminated, so we garden in containers. We also have a farm outside the city where we grow all the tomatoes and garlic and things like that. Eventually, we'd like to turn that into a mushroom farm," Sippel said. "It's just, you know, time." It all started with a garden on the roof of the couple's Baltimore row house. In those days, Sippel was working in sales for a com- pany in the action sports industry, and Mincey was a project man- ager for a real estate company. She'd grown up gardening in Georgia, though, so it was natural for her to suggest that one answer to Sippel's food allergies might be for them to grow their own veg- etables without chemicals. The space they had available to them was the flat roof atop their home. Local zoning regulations require that Baltimore roofs are able to bear about 70 to 90 Blue Zones Project Shoppers Make Healthier Choices Good Food Awards Honor Taste, Authenticity, Sustainability in San Francisco Ceremony make them. "We wanted to empower con- sumers to be able to identify and support and buy the kind of the food we all want to eat - that tastes really good, and is also made with environmental sus- tainability and social responsi- bility as a top priority," said Sarah Weiner, Founder of the Good Food Awards, the organi- zation behind the annual awards program. The Good Food Awards for 2017 will be presented to the winners in 14 categories on January 20 at the Good Food Awards Ceremony in San Francisco. This year's competition, the seventh annual, drew 2,059 entries, from which 291 finalists have been se- lected by a panel of 250 judges in a blind tasting. In order to BY LORRIE BAUMANN Chocolate Inspirations is a mom and pop company run by a family who are proud to call themselves a "soon to be famous family of chocolatiers." "Our big family makes up most of our staff. It's cousins and aunts and my 89-year-old grand- mother," says Marcy Goetz, the company's co-Owner, who's in charge of packaging, marketing and sales – all the business pieces that come after the confections Continued on PAGE 14 Inspired Handcrafted Chocolates from the "Soon to be Famous" leave the kitchen. "We combine the support from family, and add lots of fun, which makes our business feel like a family get together rather than work." It's Goetz's mom, Pam Vieau, who's the inspired ge- nius behind the product line of Boozy Brittles, barks, tea bars, caramels, caramel corn and toffees. The business started when Vieau decided to go back to school a couple of decades ago. Her col- lege classes were in- teresting, but on weekends when she wasn't studying, Vieau New research on food buying habits indicates it is possible to "nudge" people to make healthier choices by presenting food in a different product order or prox- imity. That is not news for Blue Zones Project ® cities throughout the country. In a growing number of communities, changes are being implemented in grocery stores to make it easier for shop- pers to make healthy choices and avoid the temptations of high- sugar and high-fat foods. Blue Zones Project, a growing nationwide well-being improve- ment initiative, is helping com- munities redesign the places we live, work and play to make healthy choices easier. That in- cludes working with grocery stores to highlight foods and bev- erages that support well-being, based on lifestyles in Blue Zones ® areas—regions of the world where people live longer, with less chronic disease. In many cases, the result is an increase in sales for produce and other fea- tured items. "Research shows that people gravitate toward better options when they are easy and accessi- ble," said Dan Buettner, a Na- tional Geographic Fellow and VOLUME 82, NUMBER 1 JANUARY 2017 n $7.00 NEWS & NOTES n A World of Creativity in Store at Las Vegas Market this Winter PAGE 6 RETAILER NEWS n Two Booze-Centric Cheese Spreads from Di Bruno Bros. PAGE 12 SUPPLIER NEWS n Traina Foods Ketchups Offer Intense Tomato Flavor PAGE 14 NATURALLY HEALTHY n Barney Butter Spreads the Product Line PAGE 16 SUPPLEMENT n Winter Fancy Food Show Preview PAGE 17 News ..............................................6 Ad Index .......................................22 Calendar.......................................22 www.gourmetnews.com G OURMET N EWS T H E B U S I N E S S N E W S P A P E R F O R T H E G O U R M E T I N D U S T R Y ® SUPPLIER NEWS: Sophie's Kitchen SEE PAGE 13 SUPPLEMENT: WFF Preview SEE PAGE 17 NATURALLY HEALTHY: Hope Foods SEE PAGE 16 PHOTO CREDIT RJE PHOTO

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