The Specialty Food Association recently launched a podcast as part of Heritage Radio Network’s programming. Hosted by SFA’s content and education team, Spill & Dish: A Specialty Food Association Podcast tells the stories of SFA members, the entrepreneurs, makers, and buyers behind the foods and beverages in the specialty food market. Listeners can discover the inspiration, recipe, craft, culture, ingredients, and production methods that make specialty food special and get a deeper understanding of the people and motivation behind the products.
Here is a sample of some conversations taking place in Spill & Dish episodes:
“What we wouldn’t do again is think that we can belong anywhere. You want to be sure you grow sustainably and organically. Buyers are enticing. A big buyer comes in and says, we love your product, we want you to be in 3,000 stores. And you think, great opportunity! But maybe you don’t belong in those 3,000 stores. Test first in maybe 300 stores.”
—Michael Antonorsi, Chuao Chocolatier, on what he would do differently when building his brand
“All women. It’s never lost on me that it was a group of women who were saying, yes, join our community, we will mentor you and teach you and you’ll learn from our wins and mistakes, and we’ll welcome you into the fray.”
—Jill Giacomini Basch, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co., on cheesemakers welcoming newcomers to the early specialty cheese movement in California’s North Bay
“There are a significant—not huge—but significant number of buyers who don’t care about the romance of a family business and heritage and that these are our personal recipes. You’d occasionally be interrupted by someone barking, ‘Can you or can you not give us six free jars per item per store?’ and didn’t want to hear about my grandmother.”
—Doug Renfro, Renfro Foods, on the biggest surprise he encountered in the specialty food business
“We came here not knowing a word of English and had to start from scratch and didn’t have anything at all, but I loved the opportunity we got from support of the government and the people in this country, and I wanted to try my best. I had a dream to give back to the community.”
—Channy Laux, Angkor Cambodian Food, on fleeing the Cambodian genocide as a child and eventually starting a specialty food career
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions. No one expects you to know all the answers. No one thinks less of you for not knowing. It’s worse if you pretend you do know and barge into something and make a huge mistake with it.
—Laura Sorkin, Runamok, on advice she’d give new specialty food companies
Listen to episodes here or follow wherever you get your podcasts.