Market Hours: Mon-Thu 7a-7p,
Fri-Sat 7a-9p, Sun 8a-6p

Domu Hours: Mon-Fri 5:30-10:00;
Sat-Sun 11:00-2:30; 5:30-10:00

Menu

Blog

  1. 4 Food Business Start up Myths


    If you’ve attended a food truck rally, farmers market or local food hall recently you’ll have noticed that small-scale food businesses are firing on all cylinders these days.  Customers are hungry for thought provoking and novel food concepts and savvy foodpreneurs are capitalizing on this trend.

    Maybe you’ve been doing some dream hatching of you own, imagining what it would be like to bring your own unique culinary concept to market and share your food passion with the world.

    There has never been a better time to start a food business than RIGHT NOW.

    If you’ve ever thought that “Hey I could do this….and probably better” but you haven’t tied on the apron and gotten started, what’s holding you back?

    Farm & Haus Savory Toast ChristineLet me guess?

    • You know you can make a damn tasty product, but you doubt your ability to put all the pieces of the business side together.
    • You love the idea of creating a truly authentic and unique culinary concept, but you hate the idea of having to be “salesy”.
    • You’ve got a foolproof concept in mind . . . however, you’re not sure how to market your product and get it in front of your customers or onto store shelves.

    Start-up food businesses are usually begun as a side-hustle, and since the hours outside the 9-to-5 are so limited there is not a SECOND to waste on activities that aren’t directly linked to profit.  But where to start?  The list of To Do’s seems endlessly long and many would be foodpreneurs get stuck in analysis paralysis.

    So….to help demystify the process of starting your food business I’m going to debunk a couple myths about the process and give you a roadmap toward a successful launch of you concept.

    We’ve all seen others do it successfully and with the right training I’m here to tell you that you can too.  Once you’ve read through the 5 Myths….if you’re wanting to go deeper check out our Food Biz Start Up workshops.  There’s once coming up soon.

    Myth #1:  I need to make my product in a commercial kitchen or commissary kitchen. 

    While producing you food product through a commercial kitchen will probably become a necessity as your grow your business, thankfully for certain concepts it’s not absolutely mandatory at the get-go.

    In recent years many states have approved Cottage Food policies that enable applicable food start-ups to start producing their food products at home without needing to be in a licensed kitchen.

    These policies let foodreneurs get up and selling without many of the required permits, certifications and inspections associated with more established food businesses.

    Cottage laws vary from state to state, but there are some common restrictions worth mentioning.  First of all, approved food under the regulation are usually non-hazardous foods like baked goods, jams/jellies, granola, dry pasta, honey, etc.  Here is a list of some of the typical approved and prohibited cottage foods.

    Cottage Food Regulation Approved Foods

    David Crabill at Forrager.com has provided some dynamite resources for Cottage Food operations and if you think starting a home-based cottage food business is the path for you, check out his website.

     

    Myth #2:  I don’t need to work in a commercial kitchen or commissary kitchen. 

    This one goes hand in hand with Myth #1 and it’s because cottage food regulations have some significant drawbacks. Beyond restricting food type, cottage foods are generally approved for sale direct to consumer only and can’t be sold to grocery stores, restaurants or online.  Not being able to get your product on store shelves is reason enough for some folks to bypass operating under the cottage food regulations and sign up with a commercial kitchen instead.

    Plus look back at Myth #1, the list of approved foods allowed under the cottage food policies is pretty narrow and I bet your local farmers markets are full of foodprenuers already making and selling these food types. The little bit of extra effort to get licensed to use a commercial kitchen can pay dividends in freeing you up to pursue your culinary dreams without restriction.

    I haven’t even mentioned the gross sales cap on Cottage Food businesses. If you start your business from home and are met with success and growth right off the bat you could sail right past your state’s sales cap. Florida, for instance, has a gross sales cap of $50,000. Even as a hobbiest it’s easy to hit this cap since it’s based on gross sales, not net sales or profit. There are no caps for businesses working from commercial kitchens and for some food concepts it might just be the best place to start.

    Myth #3: You’re happiest when you are cooking and starting a food business would be the perfect way to profit from your passion.

    I so wish this wasn’t a myth, but far too often the things that bring us joy quickly turned sour when they become the means to a financial end.

    Jessica, our chef-in-residence at East End, calls this the Food Network myth. Each day of your food business is like an episode of a highbrow cooking show. Everything neatly in its place, the fridge and cabinets perfectly stocked and all your ingredients pre-measured…..oh and all the dishes cleaned through the magic of television.

    The reality is that while most people enjoy making a Thanksgiving meal for their whole family to enjoy the thought of having to do it EVERY DAY is a scene from Groundhog day. As a food start-up if you don’t feel this monotony at some point in your early days you will be one of the exceptional few.

    Honestly, most of your time getting your culinary concept off the cutting boards will be spent sourcing ingredients, packaging, labeling, accounting, negotiating, cleaning….and more cleaning while the part you love, the making, gets relegated to a tiny 10% of your work week.

    Believe me friends, I take no pleasure in debunking this myth, but it is vital that you go into starting a food business with a bit of grit and fortitude.

    Now….it’s not all doom and gloom. Far from it! Keep in mind, launching your culinary concept means you are piloting your own ship. Finding success under you own efforts is far more satisfying than doing so under someone else’s employ and direction.

    A food venture can be, and should be, deeply fulfilling and profitable, even fun, but it takes forethought and business acumen to run a successful food start-up. Knowing this and setting healthy expectations is vital. Taking time to do some foundational planning will put you miles ahead of others who start their concepts on a whim.

     

    Myth #4: I’ll find a couple farmers markets to sell at and be off to the races

    Let me start by saying the resurgence of farmers markets in the last decade is proof-positive that consumers want local, fresh and artisan products over store bought commodities. This bodes well for aspiring foodprenuers for sure!

    Chances are good that attending your local farmers market is part of your inspiration to stake your claim in the food industry.

    The rub is that the explosive growth of farmers markets has been met with a panoply of new market ready food businesses and you’ll find most established markets at, or close to capacity.

    Point being, getting the green light to set up at your local farmers market might be more challenging than you anticipate. If there is an established vendor in your food category the chances of the market manager giving you a shot are next to nil.

    There is hope however and I’ve seen many upstart foodpreneurs break into markets I thought were closed up tighter than Fort Knox. Here is how they did it.

    1. Try to put a new spin on an existing category: Can you be “local”, “organic”, “hand-made”, “gluten-free”, etc. where the established brand is not. Sometimes the market manager just needs a valid argument for letting you in so as to not piss off their established vendor. Make it easy for them. Figure out just how different your concept really is from what they already have and pitch them.

    2.  Start by setting up at any place that will let you. Outside a popular coffee shop that doesn’t sell your type of product, at your local church or club, one off festivals and civic events. These pop-ups will help you hone your craft and build your audience. It also gives you time to get your visual merchandizing and branding down.

    3.  Be willing to drive out of the city and serve some of the outer lying or brand new markets that are eager to have new merchants join their ranks. In many cases you’ll be doing them a favor and in turn they’ll be willing to put in a good word testimonial for your when you try to break into a more established market in the city core.

    Think about getting into your first major farmers market like trying to get a date with someone you really admire. You’ve heard the term that in dating and marriage someone is usually a reacher and someone a settler. We can admit that as a start-up you are the reacher. So…the goal with your pop-ups is to build some stories of success, a track record of social media posts full of the smiling faces of happy customers and some testimonials from the business owners who testify that your presence at their shop or market brought in more business.

    Your goal in the first few months should be to close the “reacher/settler” gap as much as possible. As a market manager my ideal tenant has an existing customer base, even if it’s just a few hundred fans on social media and on their e-mail list. This gives me confidence that they will at least be bringing something to the picnic and not just sucking at the umbilical chord of our established customer base.

    Last thing to mention about getting a farmers markets: Even if you are a cottage food business many markets will require that you be licensed and a carry insurance regardless of your business status.

    Want to go deeper on these topic and really get the low down on starting your business.  Check out our annual Food Biz Start up Workshops.  We have one coming up soon and you can click here for all the details.

     

    ­­

  2. In the Market Garden: Italian White Sunflowers

    At FarmGal Flowers, we like to grow sunflowers that come in nontraditional colors like red and chocolate. We also primarily grow multi-branching sunflowers as opposed to the “one and done” varieties because we grow in urban spaces. So I am always on the lookout for new multi-branching varieties to try. I came across Italian White Sunflower (Helianthus dibilis) seeds as I perused the aisles at Eden Brothers Seeds just outside of Ashevillle, North Carolina last summer.

    Italian White Sunflowers checked all of the important boxes:

    • Easy to grow
    • Multi-branching – LOTS and LOTS of blooms
    • 4”-5” wide flowers which is a great size for our bouquets
    • Unique color (Note: it is close to white but not a pure white.)
    • Great vase life

    I am particularly impressed with its vase life (about a week and blooms do not shatter easily) but what I really love is how each bloom has a little bend in its neck yet remains sturdy. This helps create that garden style look in our arrangements.

    Italian White Sunflowers are currently blooming in the market garden at East End Market. Come check them out! Also, don’t forget about our next Girls’ Night Out at East End: Let’s Make a Wreath Workshop! Click here for more information! Hope you can join us!

  3. The Urban Farmer Curtis Stone Florida Workshops and Keynote

    It is with great pleasure that we announce that we are bringing The Urban Farmer Curtis Stone, best selling author and YouTuber down to Orlando, November 7th – 11th.  While in Florida, Curtis will be giving a keynote and teaching some profitable urban farming workshops.  Whether you are just ag-curious or a seasoned gardener looking to up your game, you are not going to want to miss being around this inspiring farmer and entrepreneur.

    Almost 5 years ago I was upstairs here at the market pitching to IDEAS for Us a pedal powered urban farming concept I was calling Fleet Farming.  As part of that pitch I showed a video of my inspiration, a revolutionary young urban farmer named Curtis Stone, who was profitably farming just a 1/4 acre of borrowed land in Kelowna, BC Canada and creating a system to share his hard won knowledge with other aspiring urban farmers.

    Since that time Curtis has become an indispensable authority on small scale urban agriculture.  Through his best selling book The Urban Farmer, his online courses, his YouTube channel with almost a quarter million subscribers and countless international workshops, conferences and consultations, Curtis continues to push the boundaries of urban farming and is at the cutting edge of urban ag’s innovation.

    Whether you are looking for a sustainably minded side-hustle or you’re ready to make urban farming you’re main gig, Curtis has a time-tested system to make that dream a reality.  To put it frankly, he is going to show you how you can make up to $100,000 on just a quarter acre of land.  He’s done it and now it’s your turn.

    As our communities increasingly look to know where their food comes from and who’s grown it, urban farming is poised to answer those questions one backyard farm at a time.

    It is totally possible to farm profitably in backyards and small underutilized parcels of land.  Profitability is often elusive for beginning farmers because they don’t use the the specific farming techniques these small plots require and aren’t growing the right crops for their farm and market.

    Curtis will be sharing how specializing in high value crops with short growing cycles is the key when selling to niche markets like restaurants, CSA’s and retail store.

    Since 2010, he’s been successfully farming on multiple urban plots in his city’s downtown and he’ll be demystifying his process for you.  You too can farm on very small plots of land without the burden of buying you own land or the debt typically required to start up the usual infrastructure that most farms need.  The truth is the financial barrier to entry in urban ag is actually pretty low.  Thanks to his efforts and other pioneers, there are now tools that have been specifically designed and uniquely adapted to the small scale intensive farming Curtis’ espouses.

    With the tips, strategies and tactics you’ll discover in his workshop you’ll shave two to three years off your farm’s start up and avoid the countless mistakes he made getting started.  Even with more than a decade of hobby farming under my belt I always walk away from his workshops with a boatload of a’ha moments and knowledge bombs.

    If you’ve even wondered if your passion for growing veggies could be a viable business, then these workshops are for you.  You don’t need to make a huge financial investment or even own the land you want to farm.  It’s all totally doable with the right ‘know how’ and that’s where these workshops come in!

    Here is how you can Catch Curtis while he’s in our neck of the woods:


    Wednesday November 7th:

    His time with us begins Wednesday November 7th at 6:45pm at East End Market with a FREE keynote he’ll be giving at The HIVE, IDEAS for Us’ monthly Think + Do Tank. Details HERE.


    Saturday and Sunday the 10th and 11th: TICKETS HERE

    Then Curtis’ main workshop is a 2 day workshop Saturday November 10th and Sunday November 11th here in Orlando.

    Day 1 is being hosted here at the market and will be a classroom / lecture style blitzkrieg distilling the the organic intensive techniques, tools and infrastructure he uses and focuses additionally on the business systems, software and labor efficiencies he’s developed to streamline your production.

    Day 2  will be hosted at Sugar Top Farm in Clermont and is an on-farm demonstration / workshop day.  Curtis will be demonstrating the small machinery, hand tools and DIY infrastructure that makes managing these mirco-farms efficient and keeps overhead expenses down.  You’ll also be getting a behind the scenes look at Jessica and Jordan Coopers’ fantastic farm.

    More details and ticketing information for the Orlando workshop is HERE


    I do sincerely hope that you’ll join us for one of Curtis’ workshops and take your urban farming and market gardening to the next level.  Besides being a friend, Curtis is truly an inspiration for the style of farming I do and a constant source of wisdom.

    If you have any questions leave us a comment below and we look forward to seeing you soon.

  4. In the Market Garden: Cranberry Hibiscus

    Hello East Enders! Eileen here with FarmGal Flowers. If we haven’t met yet,  I’m the flower gardener at East End. I receive a lot of questions when I’m working in the market garden so I thought I’d start sharing some information here with you on the East End blog about what’s growing. If there’s anything in particular you would like to learn about, please let me know!

    First up is Cranberry Hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella)! I learned about Cranberry Hibiscus  when I began working in the market garden several years ago. Our Fleeting Farming friends planted it and it has remained a staple for many reasons…

    At FarmGal Flowers, I always like to have a large crop of Cranberry Hibiscus for Fall bouquets. Let’s face it – we do not have a true Fall season here in Central Florida with the leaves changing colors, pumpkins on the vine, or apple picking. However, I’ve found that Cranberry Hibiscus foliage with its Maple leaf shaped leaves and vibrant red color make our bouquets feel like Fall. It also has a pretty flower later in the season too.

    You can grow Cranberry Hibiscus from seed. In fact, it often self-sows in the market garden. I have also found that it is very easy to propagate from cuttings. Cut a piece from the top of a plant at a 45-degree angle, remove any leaves at the bottom of your stem, and place in a couple of inches of water. Within a week…

    You can start Cranberry Hibiscus at the beginning of each growing season here in Zone 9b. It prefers full sun. I usually start growing it in preparation for the Fall season. That would be in August/September here. Sometimes we have it year-round although it does take a beating in the summer. It doesn’t need anything extra besides the usual compost and organic fertilizers that we give to all of our flowers. Pinch the main stem after 3 or 4 sets of leaves have grown to encourage a bushier plant. We do not have issues with any pests either!

    In the Fall, we cut it in the morning or late afternoon. Sometimes it will wilt and I let it rehydrate for 24 hours or so. It always bounces right back. It has excellent vase life and eventually those stems may root for you as mentioned earlier.

    Cranberry Hibiscus leaves are edible and very nutritious. Use caution though as they contain oxalic acid and should not be eaten in large quantities. Cranberry Hibiscus flowers bloom in the late fall and can be used to make tasty teas.

    Watch for Cranberry Hibiscus in our bouquets this Fall. Come visit the market garden at East End to see it up close. If you are ready to add it to your garden, I might be able to share cuttings with you (sorry local gardeners only) – leave me a comment above. Please share your experience growing or eating Cranberry Hibiscus below (you can also reach me at farmgalflowers.com)! I’d love to hear about it!

  5. Beaver and Bison – Beyond the Counter


    .

    One of our beloved retailers when we first opened was Old Inc.  From home decor and customer furniture to vintage rentals Old inc. had a little something for everyone.  By far the most notable pieces were custom built signature furnishings that were individually designed for their customer.  Using reclaimed wood, metal and sustainable materials these items often became the show piece of many local homes, offices and restaurants.

    That custom work has been a mainstay for Josh and Kristen Allen, Old Inc’s founders.  Some of their most recent work can be seen in the outfittings at the recently opened Hunger Street Taco’s.  While the custom work is arguably what Old Inc. is most known for, there has been a burning passion in Josh’s soul to take the brand in a new an exciting direction.

    After leaving the market to expand their operation in a showroom/warehouse north of town, Josh met Paulina Wisniewski who would in many ways serve as a co-conspirator for the transition to Old’s new endeavor.

    A Montreal native Paulina had earned her stripes working in design.  Everything from children’s and men’s fashion to a stint in jewelry design for local non-profit.  It was on a side gig as Old Inc’s administrative assistant where she began drawing Josh toward a new an exciting change for the Old Inc. brand.

    Enter Beaver and Bison – The fusion of Josh and Paulina’s vision for a brand new aesthetic with clean lines and a strong utilitarian element to the design.  The offering have a sense of dependability and simplicity.  There is a feeling like the corner mirror and this seasons’s sofa for instance will grace the home of a customers for a lifetime if not reach heirloom status.

    The name too is a fusion of sorts.  With the Bison, America’s new national mammal, coming out of extinction and steadfastly anchoring the brands and the Beaver with its industriousness and wood worker skills is a nice nod to Paulina’s Canadian roots .

    You can see the evolution of their brand in Beaver and Bison’s first capsule.  This Winter / Spring collection hosts 12 items and furnishings made in house and 12 from makers and designers that the B&B team curate from the best-of-the-best around the world.  Each year will showcase 2 capsules with the look and feel shifting to lead local and international trends as well as give a nod to the season of the year in which the capsule debuts.

    Here is a link to their latest.

    What I love most about Old Inc’s story is this ongoing evolution.  From operating their 200 Sft. shop in the market to now expanding into an internationally aware, yet locally based business, Old Inc. has adapted to both external trends and paid credence to internal yearnings.

    One of the great assets of East End is its ability to provide a venue for small-scale entrepreneurs to get market validation for a concept without having to commit to a long term lease or exorbitant rent.  The ability to pivot is part-and-parcel of the way the market was designed.  By listening to their customers and to their heats the Allens have matured their business and brand in a way that feels really authentic and sustainable.

    We wish them and Paulina the best of fortunes with the launch of Beaver and Bison and are totally stoked with their first capsule.  With more high design and quality furnishings / decor in the pipeline we’re confident the brand will flourish.

    Beaver and Bison has a brand launch coming soon to showcase their current offerings so pop-over to their Facebook page to get all the details.