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Blue Crab Bay Co. Changes Hands

Pamela Barefoot, founder and longtime President of specialty food company Blue Crab Bay Co. in Melfa, Virginia, has sold the company in an asset sale to Elizabeth Lankford. Barefoot, 66, said her decision to sell Blue Crab Bay was initially difficult but was made easier once she knew the company was going to stay local. “I have been fretting over an exit strategy, and all the businesses that approached me did not want our property in the (Accomack Airport) Industrial Park,” she said.

“Two years ago, I received an email from Elizabeth Lankford, and I knew in my heart she was the right one,” Barefoot continued. “She cared about the brand. She cared about the Eastern Shore and my employees. Her father had tons of experience in the food industry, and with her very supportive family, I knew she would be a great caretaker for my Blue Crab Bay family.” Lankford’s family is well known in Maryland and Virginia. Her grandfather Stanley began Lankford Produce in 1964 and soon was joined by her father, Tom, and uncles Fred and Jim. In 1981, Lankford Produce merged with Sysco Corp.

Elizabeth, 32, recently resigned from her job in Washington, D.C., where she specialized in state government affairs for Healthcare Distribution Alliance. “I had always been looking for an opportunity to return home to the Eastern Shore,” she said. “This is a perfect fit. I have been a longtime fan of Blue Crab Bay’s brand and high-quality products. I look forward to leading the company and expanding our national reach.”

Barefoot plans to continue to work at Blue Crab Bay for at least two more years. “I’ll just have more time for my Airbnb cottage and to go RVing with my husband to state and national parks, an interest we picked up about four years ago,” she said.

Founded on Barefoot’s kitchen table in 1985, Blue Crab Bay has evolved into a nationally recognized, award-winning specialty food brand and a leader in its community. Blue Crab Bay’s line of specialty foods and gifts includes award-winning Virginia peanut snacks, Bloody Mary mixers, seafood seasonings, and Blue Crab Stoneware. The company operates from a 24,000-square-foot building in the Accomack Airport Industrial Park in Melfa, where a retail shop also is located. Products are available in thousands of stores nationwide and on the company’s consumer website.

Rare Edibles Partners with Regalis Foods

Regalis Foods, a New York City-based luxury food distributor to chefs and restaurant groups, is aquiring a stake in Rare Edibles, a specialty food purveyor in Dallas, Texas.  As part of the merger, Rare Edibles will change its name to Regalis Texas in first quarter of 2017.

“We look forward to bringing our diverse, extensive relationships with some of the country’s most respected foragers, farmers, fishermen and producers to Rare Edibles’ already robust offerings,” says Regalis Foods Founder Ian Purkayastha. “With expanded ties to regional and international high-end food producers, Regalis Texas will now offer a broader portfolio to the state’s growing high-profile culinary industry.”

The idea for Rare Edibles occurred to its creator, Chef Bryan Dunn, in 2011 while working under Donald Link, chef/owner Herbsaint and Cochon in New Orleans.  Rare Edibles quickly established itself as the authority and source for heritage meats, artisan cheeses and seasonal foraged items to top Dallas chefs and restaurants, helping to elevate the dining scene to one of the most exciting in the country.

“Our focus has always been on the rare, unique and delicious.  Now, through Regalis’ access to exceptional suppliers in the Northeast and Europe, we can deliver a richer, deeper inventory of luxury products to cities throughout Texas,” explains Dunn.

Purkayastha began his career by selling truffles at age 16 and founded Regalis Foods in 2012.  After partnering with David Yourd and Karrie Kimble, Purkayastha expanded his offerings to include Regalis-branded caviar, wild foraged mushrooms and greens, live seafood and direct European imports.  The company boasts a devoted clientele of world-renowned chefs such as David Chang, Sean Brock and Eric Ripert.

Complementing Purkayastha’s expertise in luxury ingredients, Regalis Partners Yourd and Kimble bring 20 years of industry experience in building multiple specialty food distribution and import companies.  Their business acumen and depth of connections will fuel Regalis Texas’ growth.

La Crema Promotes Craig McAllister to Head Winemaker

Artisan winery La Crema has promoted Craig McAllister to the position of Head Winemaker. McAllister, who first joined the winery as the harvest enologist in 2007, has been a passionate steward of La Crema’s Monterey program and played a vital role in elevating the winery’s Sonoma Coast portfolio throughout his tenure. In addition, he has helped to further develop the winery’s collection of single vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. In his new role, McAllister, who has most recently served as associate winemaker, will gain increased responsibility for the oversight of all winemaking operations.

“Craig’s long tenure with La Crema and passion for cool-climate winemaking make him a natural fit,” said Mitch Davis, Senior Vice President of Production for Jackson Family Wines. “In particular, his expertise on the Central Coast, in the Monterey appellation, a region in which we see tremendous potential for La Crema, coupled with his skill, experience and passion, will continue to enhance the strength of the La Crema winemaking team.”

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to hand the helm of La Crema over to Craig,” said Elizabeth Grant-Douglas, the company’s most recent winemaker. “He has been my partner and right hand at La Crema for so many years and has the passion and commitment to take La Crema to the next level,” she added.

A New Zealand native, McAllister earned a bachelor’s degree in viticulture and enology from Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand. His deep passion for winemaking has taken him all over the world, from New Zealand to Australia, Chile and Cyprus. Since moving to California, McAllister has also made wine for Wild Ridge, crafting elegant Pinot Noir from vineyards on the rugged Sonoma Coast. In his expanded role, McAllister will continue to build La Crema’s portfolio, ranging from coastal regions as far north as the Willamette Valley, Oregon to as far south as Arroyo Seco, California, with a particular focus on raising the profile of the winery’s Monterey series, which includes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and a soon-to-be-released Rosé of Pinot Noir. Previously only producing small batches of Rosé, La Crema will be releasing its first nationally-distributed bottling this spring.

“This is a dream job for a winemaker who enjoys the challenges and rewards of producing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from cool-climate regions,” said McAllister. “I am thrilled to be a part of this this special team and look forward to carrying on the legacy that has been entrusted to me by continuing to produce the stylistically elegant wines for which La Crema is known, while elevating the winery to new levels of success.”

For more information regarding La Crema, visit www.lacrema.com.

Sugarlands Distilling Co. Introduces Mark and Digger’s Hazelnut Rum

Sugarlands Distilling Company has announced Hazelnut Rum as the newest addition to its award-winning line of spirits. The east Tennessee distillery partnered with distilling legends Mark Ramsey and Digger Manes from the hit series “Moonshiners” to develop the spirit.

Hazelnut Rum meets the nose with sweet aromas of toasted hazelnut and brown sugar. It is a smooth, full bodied spirit that blends the tastes of vanilla, cinnamon and honey. At 80 proof, this brown spirit finishes with a sweet, oaky kick.

“Our Hazelnut rum really became a labor of love, mainly because our wives became the first big fans of it,” said Manes. “Because of them, we were determined to make it better than any other homemade liquor that anyone had ever tasted.”

Mark and Digger created hazelnut rum while filming for the Discovery Channel program. The duo combined real hazelnuts and rum in their backwoods still to create a one-of-a-kind flavored spirit.

“In the words of our mentor Popcorn Sutton, ‘this is some of the finest liquors that’s ever been,'” said Ramsey. “Now it is our pleasure to share it with the rest of the world. We’re really humbled that folks are eager to try it.”

Rogue Creamery Celebrates B Corps Certification

In 2016, Rogue Creamery celebrated becoming a member of the Certified B Corporations™ (B Corps) community; this worldwide group of 2,000 B Corps™ meet the highest standards of verified, overall social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. This certification represents the consummation of a year- long thorough evaluation and verification of Rogue Creamery’s social and community contributions, environmental performance, financial accountability, public transparency and team member practices verified by the non-profit B Lab company.

Rogue Creamery was acclaimed for its holistic business methods and its “Top of Class” scores particularly in environmental practices, community practices, which includes civic engagement and giving, as well as overall governance, including transparency and accountability. This certification will allow the creamery to set a transparent example of a company that can act as an instrument of change and make a greater impact by helping to influence other organizations to follow this example of verified social and environmental performance.

In 2014 Rogue Creamery registered as the first benefit company in the state of Oregon, so attaining the B Corp certification was the next logical step for the business to take. Its 75-acre USDA-certified organic dairy provides safe and fair working conditions; ensures the health and humane treatment of animals; does not use hormone or antibiotic supplements; does not raise genetically modified crops or livestock; protects water resources; protects and enhances soil resources; provides wildlife habitat and continually improves practices. The creamery currently has three solar projects in place that produce 50 percent of its electrical needs and is well on its way to generating all its electrical needs by 2021. In addition, Rogue Creamery provides its sustainable templates to all businesses that inquire. President David Gremmels is a director on Oregon Governor Brown’s Sustainability Commission Board.

Goya Gives to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark

Goya Foods, the largest Hispanic owned food company in the United States, headquartered in New Jersey, will give 125,000 pounds of Goya products and $10,000 to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark, one of New Jersey’s oldest and largest social service agencies that helps nearly 70,000 individuals and families each year.

Goya will provide the first installment of 15,000 pounds of food for the holiday season, followed by 10,000 pounds each month throughout the year. “As an institution in the community, we strive to be a company of compassion and to do our part in helping others who need it the most, especially during the holiday season,” said Rafael Toro, Director of Public Relations of Goya Foods. “We will always support the work of organizations like Catholic Charities, who are directly helping to improve the overall wellness of our communities.” The donation of $10,000 will go to the Hope House Homeless Shelter, located at 246 2nd Street, in Jersey City, New Jersey and St. Rocco’s Emergency Family Shelter, located at 368 South 7th Street, Newark, New Jersey.

“Catholic Charities is very grateful for Goya’s generous donation. The much needed food will be given to the many people who come through our food program during the Christmas season. The $10,000 donation will be used to purchase presents for the families that live in our family shelters,” said John Westervelt, Chief Operating Officer of Catholic Charities. The shelters provide housing, meals and supportive services such as counseling, educational workshops, job assistance, housing placement and resources to homeless families including 36 single mothers and 58 children.

Natural Grocers Brings 18 New Jobs to South Jordan, Utah

Natural Grocers will open a new store in South Jordan, Utah next spring, bringing 18 jobs to the community. Natural Grocers employs more than 3,000 people and operates 130 stores in 19 states. The new South Jordan store is located at 10622 S Redwood Rd and is approximately 15,000 square feet in size.

Natural Grocers will be hiring store leadership, department managers, cashiers and a Nutritional Health Coach. Candidates must be at least 18 years of age. Applicants can apply for consideration at https://www.naturalgrocers.com/about/careers/.

Peapod Predicts 2017 Will Be the Year of the Home Cook

Will 2017 be the year Americans finally ditch fast food in favor of homemade? With the New Year on the horizon, Peapod, the country’s leading online grocer, and ORC International conducted a national survey to see what food resolutions will be topping many lists. Peapod found that the home cooking trend – 72 percent of Americans already report cooking at home four nights or more per week in 2016 – is not slowing down for 2017. In fact, over a third of Americans surveyed (34 percent) are planning to cook dinner at home even more in the New Year! Leading the cooking movement are Millennials, who are twice as likely as their older counterparts (49 percent of Millennials vs. 24 percent of Boomers) to make this a resolution for 2017.

After a season of holiday indulgences, Americans are looking forward to more mindful eating. Of those that cook at home, 53 percent would like to meal plan more in 2017. It seems Americans think a little more planning will pay off for many reasons. The top three reasons for meal planning are to save money (60 percent), eat healthy (59 percent) and waste less food (55 percent).

“On our recipe inspiration web site, FromthePod.com, we’re definitely witnessing the trend of meal planning with consumers looking for new dinner ideas. In fact, traffic to our recipes increased 120 percent in 2016 from the previous year,” explained Andrea Eldridge, Peapod’s Senior Vice President, Sales and Merchandising. “Some of the most popular recipes were those that require 15 minutes or less of prep time or utilize a slow cooker for easy cooking.”

What are Americans looking for when they plan dinner?

  • Something easy.  The number 1 factor, regardless of age, when choosing what’s for dinner? Having the ingredients on hand. After that, Millennials and Boomers are split. Millennials say it has to be how easy/quick the recipe is to cook (63 percent) while Boomers say it’s the nutrition of the meal (74 percent).
  • Inspiration. 51 percent of Americans would prepare dinner at home more often if they had new ideas. Millennials need the most inspiration at 63 percent compared to the more experienced Boomers at 42 percent.
  • Stovetop Recipes.  Overwhelmingly Americans will be looking for stovetop friendly recipes as they prepare dinner. Forty-four percent report the stovetop as their top tool at least four nights a week compared to just 25 percent of Americans that will be turning on the oven and 24 percent that are microwavers.

Schuman Cheese Employees ‘Say Cheese’ to Holiday Giving

Throughout this season of giving, Schuman Cheese and its employees across the country demonstrated acts of caring and sharing in numerous ways. The annual holiday giving activities are one way Schuman Cheese and its employees put the company’s core values, including a commitment to community, into tangible practice.

For the past several months the team in Elgin, Illinois, has been participating in a unique program that combines weight loss motivation with charitable giving, affectionately known as the Spare Tire Reduction Program. In addition to donating approximately 350 pounds of non-perishable food to a local food bank, employees lost more than 60 pounds during the course of the program. The company matched the food donation, and employees were so encouraged by the results that they are launching a new session after the holidays.

Employees at the company’s headquarters location in Fairfield, New Jersey, and the nearby office in Woodbridge collected more than $1,000 worth of toys for the annual Toys for Tots donation.

Lake Country Dairy, located in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin, and its employees contributed nearly $1,400 to the community through donations to local school and civic groups, as well as a 50/50 raffle to support two local families in need.

Holiday giving is just one way of Schuman Cheese gives back to the communities it calls home. In addition to various local school and civic causes, Schuman Cheese and its employees also proudly support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through its employee giving program and other initiatives; community food banks through food drives, monetary donations and employee volunteer events; the Susan G. Komen North Jersey chapter and the Junior Achievement student mentoring program.

Introducing the Dash Robotic Shopping Cart

dash-robotic-shopping-cartDash Robotic Shopping Cart was designed with the frustrated shopper in mind. The consumer simply walks up to Dash and transfers a shopping list from a phone or creates a new list using the store search feature. Then the robot leads the way, mapping out the most effective route to the listed items.

Dash is equipped with a scanner and payment system so the customer can scan and pay for their items at the cart. After paying for items, the cart follows the customer to their car for unloading. Once empty, the cart returns itself to the store and its docking station.

If that isn’t cool enough, Dash features a Virtual Reality interface which shows the store to the customer as she walks down the aisles. Looking up, the customer sees the store. Looking down, the customer sees the VR representation of the store and aisle they are in with their next item highlighted on the screen.

“The Dash Robotic Shopping cart will absolutely transform the way we do shopping. Once these robots are in the stores, we will not be able to imagine how we ever shopped without them,” says CEO Wendy Roberts.

Five Elements Robotics is expecting these to be in stores in 2017. For more information, visit www.5erobotics.com.

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