Tim Woods

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What's Hot in Restaurants in 2014? The Same Suspects

Here's the latest (kind of) news from the National Restaurant Association.  What's Hot in 2014.  Hudson Riehle states in the article - "Today's consumers are more interested than ever in what they eat and where their food comes from."  "Local" is not going away.  It's been at the top of the What's Hot list since before we started the MarketReady training back in 2010.  It's worth looking hard at this as a structural shift in food preferences in the U.S. rather than a flaring fad. 

"Local" hits the top of a list of 258 potential food concepts.

Farm/estate branded products is also now in the top 10.  It's been rising steadily each year since I've been tracking this survey. 

We have so many great restuarant, catering, state park, and school options for our producers here in Kentucky.  I applaud the investments made by the KY Ag Development Fund and the KY Department of Ag supporting the Restaurant Rewards program.  This has a huge impact for our local food system development.  Have a skim over the participating restaurants and schools and dining services.  This list has grown to over 250 from the two dozen that started back in 2008.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Go Chef Doug!

One of our MarketReady alumni and also Food Systems Innovation Center heros launched some great products at the Incredible Food Show in Lexington.  Great to see Chef Doug finding his niche, ramping up his business, making new buyer connections, and putting all the "book work" into practice.

See Doug on this neat YouTube featurette:


Monday, October 21, 2013

More on-line retailing growth buzz

We keep stressing this in our MarketReady training.  Local foods suppliers (fresh foods, processed products, anything with a local label on it) need to get caught up with the on-line buying trend.  I just loved this recent articel by Marshall Marcovitz in The Gourmet Retailer.  Check it out - quick and fun read - Going Digital is Marketing Magic.  Digital media is here to stay and is being consumed in huge doses.

I love seeing the growth in markets like Penn's Corner, Hoosier Harvest, and Fair Shares CCSA.  Many other great examples, not to endorse any one specifically, where farmers are selling through aggregation on-line sites like these.  And some pretty creative entrepreneurs are connected with each group.  These go way beyond the simple directory of "here's where you can find local food" application of the ecommerce world.  Lower search costs for shoppers can provide a huge boost in market interest.  Ask the autotrade.com folks.

These sites are not a full substitute for the experiential dimension of local foods (visiting the farm market or a u-pick orchard) valued by locavores, but they sure are a nice complement. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Insurance Basics & FAQs

The MarketReady team gets a lot of questions about insurance, so we decided to pull some information together for you! If you need to learn a bit more about insurance, or if you need to ensure your current coverage is adequate, check out our Insurance Basics & FAQs resource by clicking below.

Insurance Basics & FAQs
  • Click on Additional Resources at the bottom of the page
  • Find the document "Insurance Basics & FAQs"

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Appalachian Grown Regional Brand

Very nice feature about the Appalachian Grown brand here - the ASAP folks do a great job getting this brand out.  Wish we supported it better in KY.

I personally resist rigid definitions of "local".  I like the richness of everything from communities to micro-regions to states to regions of the country to parts of the world.  It all can provide various textures of geographic indication that are meaningful to different consumers.

I mention in the MR training that New Mexico stores defines "local" as anything from within a 4-state area.  Why not?  Shared cultures and food interests aren't bound by narrow food miles definitions.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

KyFarmStart Beginning Farmer Conference

When: Saturday, Oct. 5 from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm

Registration: 7am

Cost: $15 (Includes light breakfast, breaks and lunch)

Location: Ky State Univ Farm, Center for Sustainability 
                 (5 miles south of I-64; 1.5 mi. off rt. 127)

Topics: Financial planning; market access; land access; loans 
             and grants; legal questions – and more

More Info?          

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Food Safety Conversations for KY-TN Food

I wish I had known about the Tennessee Food Safety Task Force sooner.  What a great coalition working to help develop food safety solutions for local food.  I wish we in KY could do this program along with them.  Buyers, scientists, various state and local governments, school foodservice buyers all meeting to talk about local food and how to do it as safely as possible.

You can see what you missed skimming over the program.  Many excellent presentation - - every MarketReady alum should check in. 

The good news - - I'm promised by the program organizers that they are going to post the presentations.

Sarah Johnson, (Nashville Grown Food Hub) Jon Dicki (Nashville Schools FSD), and Jeremy Barlow (Sloco Sandwich Shop) sharing the innovative things they are each doing to support local food in the Nashville, TN area.

Also especially enjoyed hearing about the Food City's buy local program.  Great news for the KY/TN/VA region.  Hooray for the regional that is getting this local food merchandising right.  Mike Tipton, the FC Produce buyer, has been doing an awesome job.  I really hope you can check in soon to the TN Food Safety Task Force site and see his presentation.