Last night I was in a rush to get something out to sample our jam with. I used one of my all time favorite speed baking hacks. I take any butter recipe yellow cake mix and in place of the water I use half jelly and half milk. It infuses the cake with a nice flavor and it fixes some of the texture issues that can come when using boxed cake mix too. For an extra touch if I am doing a layer cake i will add a layer of jam to the cake as well and two tablespoons to the frosting. Such a yummy simple way to make boxed cake a little something special!
I have had some big ideas lately, and pursuing them takes resourcefulness and money. The first I have plenty of, the second I have less. So I have been pursing grants from many different companies. Here is a letter I sent out to my nearest and dearest about what I would like to do and how they could help Would you like to help too?
Hello friends and family,
I have a very big request from all of you. I have been working on two grants for some time now and both involve an internet voting element.
The first is a Small Producer Grant through Whole Foods. It would be a $5000 grant to develop a Bellini (Peach Champagne) Jam. It is currently the most popular product I make and I would like to expand production of it to a contract packaging (co-packing) facility. This would allow for grocery and specialty store distribution. This would be an easier process if I were willing to use any peaches I could get, but it is important to me to continue to use the peaches I get from Goldbud farms in Placerville, CA. The fruit from this farm is far and away the best fruit I have ever had. Their peaches are distinct in their flavor and the quality is second to none. In short, these peaches are the component that gives the jam its unique flavor and makes it stand out from the others. This choice has made it difficult to get a large first batch produced. This grant would allow for me to get the fruit peeled and chopped in bulk and then brought to another site for the cooking and canning. It is a product that Whole Foods has indicated that they would like to see on their shelves, and it has great potential in other retail venues. There is currently no product like it, and very few peach products of any sort in the jam aisle.
The second is a stretch goal. I am applying for a Mission Main Street grant through Chase bank. It is a $100,000 grant. One of the things that I have discovered in the process of trying to bring my jam to market is that the central valley has no “incubator kitchen”. This is a kitchen that offers small companies, like mine, a space to grow and increase production in an educational co-operative environment. There are some great examples of these in San Francisco or LA but they will not accept “out of town” companies. I would love to set up a space for small central valley companies to succeed, and this grant would jumpstart this dream.
Both of these grants have an online voting element, and they close soon. I would love any support you can offer in this area. You can vote via the links below, but it would be even better if, after you vote, you passed this along to your friends, coworkers or other family. I need as many votes as possible to win the Whole Foods Grant and I need 250 votes to continue on the process of pursuing the Mission Main Street Grant.
Thank you all for your love and support in this and always,
Ben and Max Snacks
Whole Foods Grant Voting Link
Mission Main Street Grant Voting Link
I have been very busy over the last few weeks completing grant applications. It's been an exciting time and I have been getting a lot of positive feedback from investors who are interested in supporting our company. Food really is the "next frontier" of venture capital, but more on that later.
For now, I am one of two finalists for the Small Producer Grant from Whole Foods Roseville! I am so excited to have this opportunity, and to help get additional voting support I am going to be doing in store sampling. I will update the front page of my website with all the dates and times, but for now I know I will be there 4pm to close Friday May 15th and 9am - 5pm Saturday May 16th. If you can stop by I will be giving a take home sample of granola to any one who mentions that they saw the tasting on the website.
Even if you are not able to make it please take a second to vote Ben and Max Snacks for the Small Producer Grant with Whole Foods. Thanks!
Voting procedure: click link, press button for Ben and Max Snacks, enter email at bottom of form, click submit vote. Thanks!
We have lost the concept of a treat. It's gone. The little things that used to make something extra special are now pedestrian, common, mundane. Cookies are in every meal, designer brands are common place, European cars are every where (at least in California).
We used to view these things as special, but with them being common place what is one to do?
I am not one to believe in the message a TV show promotes but I believe in what Tom and Donna said, we need master the art of treating ourselves again. To treat yourself you have to show restraint in daily life. This is not an easy task, but it is well worth it.
Lately, after a long season of restraint, I have had a chance in indulge in flowers, so so so many flowers. They are one of the things in life that remind me that life is worth living. While this may sound ridiculous there is something about the smells and textures that really gets me going. Whether its hydrangeas, cymbidium orchids, stock, roses, football mums, or just simple asters they all make me feel connected, alive. And isn't that the goal of a treat, to remind you of all the things that make this world wonderful?
So I challenge you to find great restraint to make the cookie more sweet when you eat it, the beautiful things more meaningful when you display them, the fragrance more lush when you wear it.
With so many tiny children sometimes sleep can be hard to come by. Thankfully until this week my children have been good sleepers. Some how this was all shattered a week ago, now no one is sleeping and rest and work have been slipping through my hands like the proverbial sand through an hour glass. But at least today we had fun making a giant painting that I look forward to turning into something cool with my Sizzix die cutter as soon I start getting my all too important sleep again. In the interim here is a fun project that you can do with your kids paintings and a die cutter. I just staple them to the top of a small clear bag and hand then out filled with caramel pop corn or granola to relatives for birthdays. A super simple and a great way to put kids art work to use! I will post some photos of the completed projects soon.
Filter Free Zone
Everything is put through a filter before it gets to us these days. This will be a space where photos will be unfiltered, simple projects will be showcased and more difficult ones will not be portrayed as things that only took a few minutes. This will be a place where I show in photos and short posts some of the things that inspire my family and business. I hope that you will be inspired to try something different!