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Food marketing consultant and founder of Virginia Foodie, Georgiana Dearing, takes you behind the scenes of successful craft and local food businesses. For over twenty years, she's lead a team of creatives at Water Street Marketing. George is particularly passionate about her work in the food industry and now works to make her years of experience more accessible to emerging brands. This podcast is for you if you’re curious about the marketing tools, the business practices, and the stories th ...
 
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Diabetes is a frightening condition that affects 425 million individuals throughout the world. Since sugar and other processed foods are the main ingredients for most food products, we aren’t really left with much of a choice. Jose Hernandez, the Co-Founder and President of ChipMonk Baking, thought otherwise. He and David Downing, Co-Founder and CE…
 
Many people mark the start of a new year by renewing their commitment to improvement and growth. Setting goals is a practice most entrepreneurs have – you wouldn’t have started a business if you didn’t have some kind of life goal in mind. But where most people fall off track is by not having a plan in place to help you reach those goals. I’ve seen …
 
“As a woman of color, I felt the need to create a business whose mission was to elevate other people who are marginalized in their communities.” - Lia Ballentine The pandemic taught us two things. One, we want good, nutritious food and snacks that are easily accessible, simple enough that we can make in our own kitchens, and the taste and ingredien…
 
When it comes to marketing food brands, the primary challenge is to get your products seen and discovered. In 2020, US grocery sales topped 750 billion, and over 40% of shoppers under the age of 65 are purchasing specialty food items. Food and beverage sales will continue to rise in the coming year as the market opens post-pandemic. So when it come…
 
Shoppers – and Retail Buyers – may prefer deep discounts and promo bundles over a price hike, but a strong and stable business is built on a strategic pricing strategy, among other things. Raising prices is the flipside of giving discounts and promo bundles. Coming at the heels of Black Friday (where most retailers and businesses, unfortunately, di…
 
As we welcome the Christmas season, there’s an excited buzz in the air as we prep for all the parties and gatherings. What better way to bring on the holiday cheer than the perfect cocktail or mocktail to enjoy with your family, friends, loved ones, and peers. In this episode, I’m bringing back Megan and Bill Miller of Crescent Simples, a craft foo…
 
Thousands of small businesses find it challenging to deal with large distributors that don’t provide the depth of support and transparency they need to complement their logistical requirements. So imagine how refreshing it would be for emerging brands to find a distribution partner that can help them grow and expand their profits by helping get the…
 
As a business owner, you probably say thank you several times a day without even realizing it. But what if you could add to your social media following, increase website conversions, and even attract new customers by genuinely expressing your gratitude towards your customers? Gratitude is a valuable marketing technique since it helps you connect an…
 
We know you love those luscious pastries, in fact, they are some of the best performing images on Instagram. But have you ever wondered how baked goods actually fit into a local food system? The truth is, flour production is largely controlled by just a few corporations, so there’s not much in baked goods -- at least by volume -- that can be source…
 
The holiday season is just around the corner. Are you prepped and ready for this biggest selling opportunity of the year? A well-planned strategic campaign will drive sales, streamline operations, and give you space to authentically connect with your audience. In this week’s episode, I’ll be sharing with you campaign strategies you can use to make …
 
CO2 emissions went up tremendously over the years because of the increase in human activity, especially those related to manufacturing and trading of goods. Overconsumption has also resulted in a huge waste problem, which continues to exponentially increase our carbon footprint on this planet. Thankfully, more and more companies and organizations h…
 
In Virginia, October is such a beautiful and exciting time of the year. It brings the beautiful colors of nature, mountain views, pleasant temperatures, and so many things to do and see -- especially with local food and beverages. Virginia wine is always a great addition to extraordinary meals, special occasions, and family gatherings. This October…
 
We are heading into the holiday season -- which means lots of sales, but also lots of demands on our time. There’s a lot to do before the end of the year! In the heat of the busy season, it’s so easy to let operations often get in the way of completing marketing tasks. To make the most of your selling season take the time now to complete your campa…
 
“Eating local food is fundamental in building a more sustainable world.” - Amy McCann Locally grown food helps with reducing ecological effects in our community, offers good health benefits to people, and offers significant economic opportunities to communities. helps with reducing ecological effects in our community. Regional or community markets …
 
The food industry is highly seasonal, dictated by trends, occasions, the weather, and of course, what foods are actually in season. And the ever-growing demand for fresh produce and great flavors has gotten food industries constantly expanding their markets. The rapid changes in season and trends, coupled with intermittent demand require food manuf…
 
Tune into today’s conversation to meet Michael Reilly, co-founder of Foodshed Capital, and hear about his nonprofit loan fund, which helps clients in farming and beyond. Since making their first loan in January of 2019, Foodshed Capital has contributed over $600,000 in low- or no-interest loans to farms and food enterprises and 85 percent of these …
 
Today I'm answering some of the questions I'm frequently asked by clients and listeners. This year, I've been talking a lot about RangeMe, and the number one response I get is, “What the heck is RangeMe, and should I be using it?” (Spoiler alert: if you are a food brand considering retail sales, the answer is yes, you need it!) The other top questi…
 
Summer 2020 was not the best, but we found pleasure in simple things: like big scoops of craft ice cream. I this episode we are talking to the owners of Blue Cow, a craft ice cream business here in Virginia. Husband and wife team Jason and Carolyn Kiser offer their insights on what it takes to run a small food business, and for them, it’s all about…
 
Joye B. Moore is the founder and owner of Joyebells Sweet Potato Pie, and her delicious pies are now available on the shelves of 45 Food Lions. Joye has taken what is traditionally a fourth-quarter food item to a product that receives steady sales all year round. Tune in today to hear the story of how she has taken her family recipe, passed it down…
 
It’s another Marketing Monday and we’re here to talk about a theme we’ve noticed during recent conversations: just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should be doing it! You’ll hear about the epiphany our recent guest, Lesley Riley of Mama’s Biscuits, had: in order to grow, she needed to let some things go. Realizing that it wasn’t her …
 
Welcome back to the Virginia Foodie Podcast! In this episode, we have a very special guest who we’ve been admiring from afar as her business has steadily grown its reputation and its fanbase over the years. Lesley Riley is the founder and CEO of the gourmet food brand Mama’s Biscuits and she came to our attention when she was able to secure a spot …
 
I'm one year in and today's episode is the start of some new content. I'll still be doing interviews with craft food brands that are making waves. I'll still give you access to other industry experts, but we're shifting things up to make The Virginia Foodie a weekly podcast and my interviews will be interspersed with marketing tips and strategic ad…
 
Farmstyle hospitality, craft beers, fresh coffee, and baked goods, Fine Creek Brewing Company has something to satiate every palette! On today’s episode, we speak with head chef, Sarah Tocco, about the close-knit team, ever-evolving menu, and culture of foraging for flavor at this wonderful hidden gem. Sarah kicks off our episode with an introducti…
 
This episode is a little bit unusual for us: Instead of an interview with a local food producer, today’s guests are flower farmers. Stephanie Auville Duncan and Jessica Hall are the co-owners and operators at Harmony Harvest Farm, a women-owned online flower shop in Weyers Cave, Virginia. Harmony Harvest believes that everyone should have access to…
 
It's been a year since the tragedy of George Floyd and the swelling of the Black Lives Matter Movement, and we've had time to watch brands to see if they've made good on their promises to be more inclusive. As we take a break for the summer, today we thought we’d revisit a past episode. As a lot of us still have a lot of work to do in the area of b…
 
Women-founded, BIPOC-founded, up-cycled (yes, food can be up-cycled!), gluten-free; whatever your preference of small business snack brand, you can find it in Lia Ballantine’s Yumday’s expansive selection of snacks, subscription boxes, and other curated collections. A few years ago, Lia combined her passions for food and storytelling through a podc…
 
Back Pocket Provisions, makers of the most delicious Bloody Mary Mixes around, are on a mission to make life more delicious, healthy, honest and fun by helping small farms succeed. On today’s show, we talk to Founder and CEO, Will Gray about the inception of his business and the ways in which it has grown since then. He touches on the impact of the…
 
Do you ever wonder if you’re selling your products at the right price? If you have ever Googled what your target profit margin should be, you have probably realized that those figures have been calculated for restaurants and not necessarily “good” food businesses. Not only do good food businesses undervalue their products, but they also miscalculat…
 
Whether you are a chef with a recipe that you think would do well at retail or a food brand thinking about your next step, like a bigger space or moving your production to a copacker, then this is the episode for you! Today’s guest is Austin Green, one of the Cofounders of Hatch Businesses in Richmond. The innovative business offers a whole suite o…
 
It’s no secret that we here at VA Foodie think food is best when it’s made with fresh, local ingredients. Our guest today is passionate about all things seasonal and she lives out this passion every day through her blog, Brooklyn Supper. Although she now lives in Virginia, Elizabeth Stark decided to keep her blog’s original name as it had already g…
 
We all know that packaging is an important business decision, especially in the food industry. Today, Sharon Eucce AKA the Packaging Chic, joins us to talk about this crucial component of getting a product shelf-ready. Sharon is a value-add packaging broker who focuses on beauty and specialty food products and has helped countless clients create af…
 
Earlier this month, we had a chance to speak with Sam Edwards III, President, CEO, and Third Generation Cure-master from Edwards Smokehouse, famous for their dry cured, hickory smoked country ham. This fourth-generation family-owned business has been offering authentic cured meats from their Surry location since 1926 and, in this episode, Sam share…
 
March is National Noodle Month! And to celebrate we’ve put together an episode for all the pasta lovers out there. Our guest, Stephanie Fees, is a chef who spent a few years working in commercial kitchens before she started Scratch Pasta Company, and she has a lot of great insights to share with us. Scratch Pasta Company was originally conceptualiz…
 
Few things are more exciting for small brands than getting their first commercially-packaged food products off the production line. Allie Hill and Katharine Wilson, founder and director of Virginia Food Works, respectively, get to see this excitement firsthand through the work they do. This non-profit, located in the Prince Edward County Cannery & …
 
Baking can be about much more than creating beautiful and delicious confections. Today’s guest is Arley Arrington, and we talk about how she is using her homemade sweet treats to create a more equitable world–starting right here in Virginia. Arley’s business, Arley Cakes, is a cottage-style bakery in Richmond, Virginia with a focus on social justic…
 
January is National Baking Month, and the 13th is Gluten-Free Day. Paige Welch’s creations tick both of those boxes. Her business, Empowered Plant Cakes, produces eye-catching, nutrient-dense cakes made from nuts, seeds, and coconut and using only natural colorants. In this episode, we hear more about these no-bake vegan desserts, what business has…
 
We are officially in the thick of the holiday season! While our gatherings may smaller and closer to home this year, there’s nothing more festive than a quality cocktail or mocktail to make the season bright. With that in mind, we reached out to Megan Thomas and Bill Miller of Crescent Simples, a craft food brand that’s on a mission to elevate the …
 
Today we’re talking to veteran blogger, Liz Thomson. Based in Richmond, Liz runs the vegetarian food blog called “I Heart Vegetables.” A self-described “lazy cook,” she’s on a mission to show people that eating healthy can be easy, fun, and tasty. What started out as a hobby is now a full-time career. She creates recipes and content for large and s…
 
Biscuits have always been a staple in Southern cuisine, but now they are having a real moment in the craft food scene. Roanoke’s Scratch Biscuit Company specializes in this ubiquitous baked good, and now they’re capitalizing on the limelight. Nathan Webster, the owner of Scratch, joins us today for a look into his growing breakfast-and-lunch hotspo…
 
This episode is a little bit unusual for us: Instead of an interview with a local food producer, today’s guests are flower farmers. Stephanie Auville Duncan and Jessica Hall are the co-owners and operators at Harmony Harvest Farm, a women-owned online flower shop in Weyers Cave, Virginia. Harmony Harvest believes that everyone should have access to…
 
The healing power of plants has been well-known throughout history. But in our current consumer climate, we’ve started to lose the connection between humans and plants. Modern-day herbalists are here to change all that, handcrafting plant-based tonics to heal and connect with the planet. Today’s guest is Corey MacDonald, an herbalist and the owner …
 
Pairing food and beer seems easy until you remove bagels, burgers, and pizza from the menu. Moving beyond these staples and aiming to use locally-sourced, seasonal (and sometimes foraged!) ingredients turns beer pairing into an art. Today we speak with Sarah Tocco about her role as the Head Chef of Fine Creek Brewing Company. We’ll take a dive into…
 
Today’s show is a bit different, with regular host, and VA Foodie Founder, George Dearing in the hot seat. Abby McAllister interviews George, and in this episode, we get to know the woman behind VA Foodie. George talks about her journey into food marketing and her passion for helping small brands through Water Street, her manufacturing-focused bran…
 
Summer 2020 was not the best, but we found pleasure in simple things: like big scoops of craft ice cream. I this episode we are talking to the owners of Blue Cow, a craft ice cream business here in Virginia. Husband and wife team Jason and Carolyn Kiser offer their insights on what it takes to run a small food business, and for them, it’s all about…
 
Have you ever wondered just how local coffee can be in the US? Brandon Belland and Cordial Coffee are definitely doing their best to show us! Brandon joins us on the podcast today to talk about his local coffee business and how they manage to make their supply chain intimate, connected, and strong. Brandon tells us about the joy and gratitude he fe…
 
Welcome the first episode of The Virginia Foodie Podcast, where we pull back the curtain on the craft food industry and share the stories behind the good food, good people and good brands you love. Joining us today is Abby McAllister who shares what she’s learned about locally sourced food over a career as a chef, food distributor, and broker. In t…
 
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