182 episodes

Podcast by Meaningful Marketplace Podcast

Meaningful Marketplace Podcast Meaningful Marketplace Podcast

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 24 Ratings

Podcast by Meaningful Marketplace Podcast

    #182 Nothing "Goaty" Here - Lindsey Washkoviak & Ben Elzay, Medicine Bow Creamery

    #182 Nothing "Goaty" Here - Lindsey Washkoviak & Ben Elzay, Medicine Bow Creamery

    Before starting the interview, some great news from our Wyoming host, Melissa Hemken. The Wyoming Business Council in conjunction with USDA’s Mountain Regional Business Center has created an online directory of Wyoming food and drink. More great resources from RFBC. Today’s guests from the southern part of Wyoming are Lindsey Washkoviak and Ben Elzay, founders of Medicine Bow Creamery at Brush Creek Ranch. It’s a big name of a big operation. It began 12 years ago when Lindsey and Ben fell in love over food. Lindsey is a Wisconsin native, so cheese is part of her heritage. Ben is a Wyoming native and hunting, fishing, gardening and the processing of food is his background, so their union was destiny. A year after meeting, they began making goat cheese leasing part of a friend’s farm to feed and milk their goats. But when the Wyoming Food Freedom Act passed and they could make value-added products in their unlicensed kitchen, they started Slow Goat Farm. Volume grew to the point in 2017 they needed to grow past their own home. Then in 2019, Brush Creek Ranch contacted them because the Ranch had put in an infrastructure to have a food-to-table program, including craft goat cheeses. The Ranch initially wanted Slow Goat Farm to supply them milk, but Slow Goat could not legally sell them milk, so the conversation turned to cheese and creamery production. Brush Creek wanted to start such a program and since Lindsey and Ben already had the business dialed in, it was a natural to have the couple start up the business inside Brush Creek. The timing was excellent as the couple helped finish the design of the creamery and cheese facilities then fell right into production. COVID lockdown slowed things temporarily but the license came through in 2021 for their new company, Medicine Bow Creamery at Brush Creek Ranch. Every business has startup pangs and Medicine Bow has had theirs. When cheese ages, it needs a specific level of heat and humidity. Wyoming is a dry climate and the first batches of goat cheese did not turn out as planned. However, the company has enjoyed strong sales with feta being a big favorite. Interestingly, Brush Creek Ranch is the biggest client, buying all the yogurt that is produced and much of the other production as well. But as Medicine Bow Creamery ramps up production, the couple is confident they will be reaching markets will outside of the Ranch. The couple is excited about all the varieties of cheese they are making as they experiment to find the cheeses that will be most popular when they are able to expand their marketplace. And the chefs at Brush Creek are terrific sounding boards. A quick look at the Brush Creek Ranch: Going back to its founding in 1884, the ranch has stayed alive by evolving into a luxury resort that has upheld its past and western ranch heritage. The spirit of recreation, adventure, and good times shared together prevails, from famous barn and campfire cookouts to cattle drives and fishing on the renowned Brush Creek. This authentic heritage is visibly apparent and despite a plethora of modern amenities, Brush Creek Ranch is still a true working cattle ranch. Lindsey and Ben keep those standards high with their herd of Alpine, Nubian, and Mini Nigerian goats. Guests can meet and learn how the milking process works from the Dairy Managers, play with the kids, shepherd the herd through a relaxing pasture walk, and get a behind the scenes tour of the goat operation. Their award-winning creamery masterfully instills complex flavors into a variety of cheeses, blending old-world and old-west traditions. Their fresh and lightly aged cheeses lack a strong “goaty” flavor due to special diets and gentle milk handling practices. Visit the website at: https://www.brushcreekranch.com/the-farm/medicine-bow-creamery. Follow them on: Instagram andFacebook: Slow Goat Farm Our hosts: Twitter - @sarahmasoni and @spicymarshall, Instagram - @masoniandmarshall.

    • 45 min
    #181 Fit for a Cowboy - Tyler McCann, Wyoming Cowboy Cuts

    #181 Fit for a Cowboy - Tyler McCann, Wyoming Cowboy Cuts

    It’s the middle of calving season for ranchers, and if you don’t know what that means, you’re not alone. Tyler and Angela McCann fifth generation ranchers and owners of Wyoming Cowboy Cuts can tell you. It’s when the cows are giving birth to their baby calves and as Tyler says, averages about three a day. That’s intense work and Tyler admits he’s rather tired as he gives his interview. Calves are born and raised on the undulating sagebrush steppe of the family’s Hancock Ranch and when weaned from their mother cows, travel 72 miles to Tyler and Angela McCann’s farm. There, the beef cattle reside in irrigated pastures, and, in addition to their grass diet, eat a corn, oat and barley grain supplement. The McCanns’ daughters, the family ranch’s sixth generation, often pet the beef cattle at their twice daily grain feedings.Here’s the family story on how all this came about. Angela’s grandfather and grandmother purchased the ranchlands where, today, the McCanns’ cattle graze. When Angela’s grandparents married, her grandfather owned a saddle and bedroll, and her grandmother had a few cooking pots and a sewing machine. The McCanns’ honor their family’s hard work by furthering the ranch business’s environmental and financial sustainability for the next generation — their daughters. The family is the epitome of the American Dream. Technically, the ranch is a commercial beef herd raising a mix of Red Angus, Black Angus and Hereford cattle. The idea of “finishing beef” started about 12 years ago when Tyler and Angela married. Finishing is a process of essentially fattening up the cattle with the corn and grain feed instead of selling off the cattle after only grazing them in the pasture. Deciding that they would be losing money on the grazed cattle by selling them at auction, they chose to keep and finish the cattle and found the taste after processing was incredibly good. That led to the path of selling their choice beef direct to the public and eventually added pork and lamb to the product line. Business must be good, as a look at their website shows they are sold out of almost every offering. The company will ship their products, but shipping from central Wyoming poses some challenges. Luckily, the McCann’s have experienced such high sales locally that they haven’t had to do much shipping. The process of landing that delicious piece of beef on someone’s plate is quite an odyssey. The McCann’s time their calving for the spring of the year and after the calves reach around six weeks of age, the branding activity begins. That’s when the company has a solid count of future cattle and the mothers will then continue to raise their calves through the summer. In the fall, the company begins gathering the herd in the pasture, which is 56 square miles in size. The cattle are in pairs, mother and calf, so the calves need to be weaned away then sorted into steers and heifers (boys and girls for us beginners). The ranchers then select the best heifers to keep breeding then sell the majority of steers to a backgrounder, someone who will take the steers from their weight of a little over 500 pounds and put them in a yearling program, meaning keeping them in pasture another summer. The McCann’s also take the cattle they keep and put them in the same program where the beef will grow to the 850-950 pound range. They are then brought to the pasture for the finishing stage, being grain fed twice a day and checked carefully for any maladies. Occasionally, the lucky ones even receive a name (check the website). The company has found that the grasses in their pastures produce a unique flavor and have been experimenting with the combination of grasses and cross-breeding to offer multiple flavors of their products. When products are available, buy online at: https://www.wyomingcowboycuts.com/. Follow them on IG: @wyomingcowboycuts, FB: @wyomingcowboycuts Our hosts: Twitter - @sarahmasoni and @spicymarsh

    • 45 min
    #180 No Gluten? No Problem - Sara Woods, Wyoming Heritage Grains

    #180 No Gluten? No Problem - Sara Woods, Wyoming Heritage Grains

    Today, we welcome a fifth generation farmer, Sara Woods of Wyoming Heritage Grains. Wyoming is great for spreading out and having lots of elbow room to be a farmer, as the population is not huge nor all that concentrated. The family came out to Wyoming in the early 1900s as homesteaders and their current farm, located in Northwest Wyoming, 70 miles east of Yellowstone, was established in 1946. They have grown just about every commodity crop that exists and also raise beef cattle and alfalfa hay. They are focused on regenerative practices and use multiple species of cover crops and mob grazing to ensure rich biodiversity, and healthy soils. As an interesting note, the land once belonged to Buffalo Bill Cody, and was used as a Country club at one point in time. Irrigation became possible from the Shoshone Water Project from 1899-1947,and the water is fed by the Yellowstone Eco-system. The family farm had started a malting company a few years ago and sold to beverage brewers quite successfully. The pandemic put a hold on that business, but the farm began milling flour as the lockdown put a huge demand on that commodity. Sara left the farm at adulthood, but after having a corporate life and kids, she desired a slower lifestyle. So Sara quit her corporate job and returned as the mill had become a thriving business. It turned out to be a very steep learning curve for Sara as producing flour is not the simple process it appears to be from the outside. The company now offers five to six different grains from their mill and their equipment has been upgraded as the company expands and becomes more efficient. Sara also has gone down the proverbial entrepreneur rabbit holes, experimenting with heirloom vegetables, varieties of animals and other commodities that in the end were not good business ventures. Sara points to our changing diet as a driver for their choices of grains. After World War II, wheat was hybridized in order to feed a growing population. That phenomenon has created a very large population of people who are now sensitive to gluten, so that has served to take wheat out of the mix of grains that can be raised and processed for Wyoming Heritage Grains. Now the older varieties of grains are more tolerable, but of course the yield per acre is smaller than the hybridized wheat, so it becomes a price/quantity/quality puzzle for Sara and the family. The big breakthrough has been finding customers who could not eat grains previously and can now eat Wyoming Heritage Grains every day. Filling that market segment of people who cannot tolerate wheat but want the “wheat experience” has been the family’s success to date. For example, their White Sonora grain was originally brought to the Americas in the 1500s and has been very easy to digest for people with gluten sensitivity. And since the company makes a pancake mix out of the flour, it’s a real treat for every family. Wyoming Heritage Grains also sells Einkhorn grain and flour, a grain that has stayed essentially the same for 10,000 years. The family also has experimented with red and blue corn kernels. There is some great news about cooperation amongst food producers who care about the consumer who is eating what they produce. The family communicates with other millers to coordinate what is being grown and milled to make sure consumers are supplied with all the healthy food they desire. You can find their products in farmers markets in Cody and others around Wyoming. They also are about to be stocked in Bayard Grocery stores. Be forgiving when buying online from their website, as it is being re-built and all the recipes were deleted in the process: https://www.wyomingheritagegrains.com/. Follow them on IG, FB and TikTok: wyomingheritagegrains. Our hosts: Twitter - @sarahmasoni and @spicymarshall, Instagram - @masoniandmarshall.

    • 40 min
    #179 It Takes a Scientist - Daniel Stewart, High Country Fungus

    #179 It Takes a Scientist - Daniel Stewart, High Country Fungus

    As the Meaningful Marketplace Podcast Show continues its mission connecting food entrepreneurs with resources for success, we explore the six-state Regional Food Business Center one state at a time. Having spent the first two months of this year with Oregon foodpreneurs, we begin learning from Wyoming’s best by joining with co-co host Melissa Hemken from Central Wyoming College. Melissa is the community food systems specialist at the college. Her role is to support market infrastructure and sales channels, boosting food companies from their current level to their next level. Wyoming has a state law that is a big help to entrepreneurs by allowing their cottage industry to flourish. Sounding similar to the Tennessee law discussed in episode #177, entrepreneurs can sell directly from their kitchen to the end consumer without licensing or inspection. The entrepreneur also can sell on consignment through a retailer, expanding their reach far past traditional farmers market sales. Melissa’s program also has put on well-attended multi-day workshops touching on all aspects of the food industry from farming to production to consumer acceptance. Today, the trio is interviewing Daniel Stewart, founder of High Country Fungus offering functional mushroom products for everyday living. They are a small, family-owned and operated business in Riverton, Wyoming and their goal is to offer the highest quality mushroom infused products plus fun merchandise. A physics major in college, Daniel was taking a botany class in 2012 at Washington State University. On an outdoor hike with a group of friends and family in Idaho one of the party came running up with their hat full of morel mushrooms, talking excitedly about all sorts of recipes and what they planned to do with them that week. Daniel had never seen a mushroom before and was fascinated. That moment was Daniel’s "ah-hah!" moment and sparked his continued love and curiosity for mushrooms. Idaho was a perfect spot for mushrooms to grow and while Daniel was working in a restaurant, he began foraging for them. He joined an association, started reading books and began introducing mushrooms into the restaurant. Daniel subsequently moved to Missoula, Montana and had been thinking about starting his own company for some time. He started his first company there in 2019 supplying mushrooms and offering not only mushrooms but also the necessary products for cultivating mushrooms. Then the “roadblock” hit, as happens to all entrepreneurs. It was the beginning of the foraging season for the business. Not only did COVID begin to hit, but while out foraging, Daniel stepped in a wasps’ nest, then blew out his knee running away, requiring surgery. Moment of truth: Keep moving forward to quit? For Daniel, he used the recovery time to think about his next move. The business did not survive, having missed the foraging season, so he and his family moved to central Wyoming, where his wife grew up. It was a high desert climate as opposed to the rain forest Daniel had experienced before. So naturally, he turned to indoor cultivation, which the scientist in him loved as it opened up a whole new world to explore. This was in April of 2021 and started in Daniel’s garage. Daniel has been fortunate to have many mentors along the way and encourages all entrepreneurs to find and work with a mentor if possible. High Country Fungus products are USDA Certified Organic, 100% Mushroom Fruiting Body Extracts. Their mix is made of Lion's Mane, Cordyceps, Turkey Tail, Reishi and Chaga. This mix is at the core of their lifestyle and the foundation of their infusions. The High Five Mix is for all-day energy and clarity; reduced inflammation, bloating, and over all wellness. Shop their products on their website: https://highcountryfungus.com/, Follow them on IG @high_country_fungus and FB@highcountryfungus. Our hosts: Twitter - @sarahmasoni and @spicymarshall, Instagram - @masoniandmarshall.

    • 44 min
    #178 Better Butter - Iliana Maura, Iliana Maura

    #178 Better Butter - Iliana Maura, Iliana Maura

    In this episode, our hosts interview yet another Oregon State University, Food Innovation Center “graduate”, Iliana Maura, Founder of the company that bears her name, Iliana Maura. The company produces dairy-free products for those who wish to or need to avoid dairy. From the start of the show Iliana credits the FIC, for which Sarah Masoni is the Director, for helping refine her product to be ready for the consumer market. The journey to the FIC was a familiar story. Iliana Maura comes from a family of experienced cooks and bakers. Fresh out of college, Iliana was one of the first entrepreneurs to start a line of fruit juice-sweetened cookies. She donated part of her profits from each sale towards helping animals. Her four flavors of gourmet cookies caught on quickly, were sold throughout California and ultimately gained national distribution. Passion for a healthy lifestyle and her love of animals and natural sustainability have always been a big part of who Iliana is. It was only natural for her to explore producing dairy-free products and after experimenting with recipes, began selling in local farmers markets. Iliana Maura foods were an instant hit and Iliana not only had a line outside her booth, but sold out every single week she attended. These markets are the genesis of many successful food products and any food entrepreneur (foodpreneur) who isn’t selling their products in one is urged to check out their local market. In this episode, Iliana has many survival hints for all those entering into farmers market for the first time. It was in that farmers market community she was introduced to and joined the Pacific Northwest Food and Beverage Group, a real family according to Iliana. People in the group told Iliana about the FIC and all the resources available to foodpreneurs. After an introduction to Sarah Masoni, Iliana worked with one of the food scientists and began the process of taking the recipe from kitchen to consumer sales. Iliana Maura currently offers “Divinely Dairy-Free Butter”, an incredible alternative to regular butter, and sugar-free protein bars. Iliana sells both online and currently has one local market carrying her products on the shelf. However, she is always thinking of new products to expand the line and urges the visitors to her website to sign up for her newsletter and offer recipe ideas. In fact, Iliana is launching a new and improved butter product this May, 2024. She has extended the shelf life to five months, for which she again credits the scientist team at the Food Innovation Center. Besides tasting good and a long shelf life, products need great packaging not only to get the consumer’s attention, but to emote an image of satisfying taste, healthy and sustainable processing and the hands-on, caring touch of the founder. Iliana’s logo mark is a stylized self-portrait and says it all for her. It is very feminine, a standout from the more generic butter and bar packaging and is a reflection of her desire to bring wholesome and healthy foods to the world. Besides the one store location and the farmers market, you can order online at https://ilianamaura.com/. Follow Iliana o Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ilianamauraofficial/ . Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ilianamaura/. Our hosts: Twitter - @sarahmasoni and @spicymarshall, Instagram - @masoniandmarshall.

    • 42 min
    #177 A Star in Music City - Donna Parker, Blondy's Baked Goods

    #177 A Star in Music City - Donna Parker, Blondy's Baked Goods

    We interviewed Donna Parker, founder of Blondy’s Baked Goods, back in March of 202l - episode 66 for all you baking enthusiasts. A quick background on Donna: Living with allergies for over a decade and always having to compromise on foods, Donna made up her mind to create and share delicious treats that cater to everyone, regardless of dietary restrictions. Her gluten allergy turned Donna into a self-taught cook and baker specializing in dairy and gluten-free baking. It’s been three years since we talked with Donna in Portland, Oregon, so what’s changed? For one thing, she’s moved to the Nashville, Tennessee area with her son and pretty much started her business again from scratch. At first, Donna wasn’t sure if she would restart Blondy’s Baked Goods. In Oregon, she had placed her baked goods in some excellent grocery stores, was in 20 different coffee shops and had kept the business alive during COVID. However, Nashville was an unknown in the gluten-free food category. Donna wanted to keep her company going, but also had a parallel career in the beauty industry and she finally had to choose one. It was a lot of effort and heartache to restart and keep going, but her passion to deliver healthy, nutritious treats was the spark to keep Blondy’s going. Now in her fifth year a big turning point was this January. Donna gave up her career in the beauty industry to be full time Blondy’s. There have been some big challenges. In the Portland area, there were lots of foodies who loved paleo and dairy-free and gluten-free foods but her new market was unknown. However, the town in which Donna now lives has more west coast people moving to the area and demand for allergy-free foods is increasing. Also, the one gluten-free bakery in the area recently closed down, leaving an opening for Blondy’s. Still baking from home, Donna is appreciative of the fact that Tennessee is more lenient when it comes to cottage law than Oregon, but she is extremely careful to have all her corporate papers, permits and licenses in order to be in full compliance. Right now, working from her home kitchen is perfect for the volume of business, but Donna knows she will need to keep an eye on possible expansion. Our host Sarah Marshall of Marshall’s Haute Sauce has a certified commercial kitchen in her family home and urges Donna to operate from her home as long as possible to work out the kinks of production and to keep down the headaches of overhead. And on top of the business at home, Donna is home schooling her son, so not doing a lot of commuting certainly helps Donna keep it together. Donna’s approach in her second business incarnation is backward from her first. In Oregon, she started out as a wholesaler; Donna went right into a commercial kitchen and right into wholesaling. But in Tennessee, she changed her mind after discovering the difference between the state laws. Donna still does wholesale business and caters to cafes and restaurants in the area but without needing a commercial kitchen. There are new items in the product line since our last interview. Many people had come up to Donna asking how to bake gluten free and then were overwhelmed with the number of ingredients it took to do so. That inspired Donna to create baking mixes to simplify home baking. First, Donna took her paleo chocolate chip cookies and turned them into a mix. Next, it was the Blondy Brownie mix and the journey has been very educational for Donna to show that baking paleo doesn’t need to be impossible. Being in this new market segment has also given Donna a chance to be in some fun specialty stores and expand her own professional background. Blondy’s Backed Goods are available in a half-dozen coffee shops in Donna’s local area and online along with the mixes on her website: https://www.blondysbakedgoods.com/. Follow Donna on: IG @blondysbakedgoods and FB @blondysbakedgoods. Our hosts: Twitter - @sarahmasoni and @spicymarshall, Instagram - @masoniandmar

    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
24 Ratings

24 Ratings

Shannonthethird ,

Such a supportive team of ladies

I love my food community and this pod really makes each maker, baker, entrepreneur or creative shine! It’s so cool hearing everyone’s stories!

evonafide ,

So much info packed into this show

Sarah & Sarah are such great interviewers. They have a knack at getting to core questions that all f&b entrepreneurs and aspiring f&b entrepreneurs want to know more about. I’ve not only learned so much about my fellow makers, but also tons of tips and insights that have helped my business.

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