Yes, we are making our sweet potato dips in a REAL commercial kitchen now, up in Hardwick, at the Vermont Food Venture Center. If you want to start up a food company in Vermont, this might be your place. (We’ve made a few short little movies of Yummy Yammy’s expansion, if you want to watch!)
People ask me all the time, “How’s it going?” “What’s the expansion like?” Here are my answers:
• It is simply exhilarating to stir a big vat of food that you invented.
• It’s a long drive — an hour and a half each way. One week I was up there four days, and that was a killer week.
• It’s a long day — I leave here around 7am, get home around 8-9pm.
• My last days working at home, I had NINE crockpots all going at once heating up dips for hotpacking, and after 11 hours, I had made 10 cases. Now, it’s 13 hours (10 hours of actual work) and I usually get 14-16 cases. Next production day we should get 24 cases in the same amount of time.
• Doing it at home was free. This is not. Making it at home meant finishing before my kids got off the school bus; now I can work a whole day and keep my focus… THEN come home and focus on my kids.
• One word: stainless. It’s g-r-e-a-t to have a real kitchen to work in, with everything made of stainless steel, official sanitizers, all the trays and bowls and oven power you can imagine.
• There’s room to grow at this incubator kitchen. Lots of room. So we can nurture this fledgling business there, without having to buy lots of expensive equipment, as we figure out exactly what equipment makes sense for us, what scale we are going to operate on, what processes work best. The equipment is used nearly every day of the week, by other producers, and we only rent the time that we use. That gives us a chance to get on our feet before needing to build our own future nest.
This expansion to the brand new facility has made it possible for Yummy Yammy to keep making sweet potato dips into the future. Without it, I’m certain we would have shut down. Because it just was no longer feasible to hotpack food from nine crockpots in my kitchen. And no other facilities in Vermont have the equipment I need. So it was this or nothing, or go out of Vermont, and that just wasn’t an option.
So thanks for the encouragement, everyone! You are making it possible!