The Discerning Palate, a New Hampshire specialty food producer, is set to launch Genuine Local, a small food business incubator project. The Discerning Palate produces all-natural specialty foods that include Swineheart’s Signature Sauces, Our Local Table and Old’s Cool Wild Game Sauces. For the last two years these New England favorites have been produced in the Neighbor Made business incubator facility in Keene, New Hampshire. On Friday, August 28, 2015, the new Neighbor Made owners announced that they would be closing their doors effective October 1, 2015. In addition to The Discerning Palate brands, this leaves many small producers without an approved production facility.
The Genuine Local concept has been in the works for over a year, and was initially intended to be a separate, but collaborative effort with Neighbor Made. The idea was to have a comparable facility located in the lakes region that would further leverage buying power for small businesses and coordinate regional distribution efforts of products coming out of both facilities.
While it is likely that The Discerning Palate would not exist without Neighbor Made, it is a certainty that it would not be as successful as it has become. In recognition of the benefits realized by the use of Neighbor Made and the services and training provided, The Discerning Palate will “pay it forward” by creating Genuine Local.
Genuine Local’s mission is to expand production capabilities and create a community of small food producers and local farmers in central New Hampshire that will collectively benefit from technical support, regulatory guidance, introduction to innovative sustainable business practices, and help in leveraging individual buying power through collective purchasing (hence reducing input costs). Genuine Local hopes to enable existing and future small food producers to enhance their financial viability, expand their market reach and create additional jobs. It is anticipated that Genuine Local will also be able to create a home for some of the businesses displaced by the closure of Neighbor Made, as well as provide co-pack services for former Neighbor Made customers.
Originally slated to be implemented over the next six months and be fully operational in spring 2016, the Genuine Local project is exploring all support options in order to fast-track the opening and be operational by December 1, 2015. With help from Members First Credit Union, every avenue is being explored to establish a facility that can provide the same type of support and a similar range of services to small foodpreneurs and local farmers seeking to create value added products. This includes creating a crowd funding campaign to assist with acquisition of additional equipment.
With the assistance of NH Made, a survey prepared by The Discerning Palate introducing Genuine Local was distributed to over 200 members with food-related companies. Responses to this blind distribution survey provided valuable insight for equipment, services and training needs. NH Made’s mission is to increase awareness and demand for NH made products and services and to provide support programs that local businesses need to grow.
Everyone can help preserve the small businesses impacted by these recent events – buy local and donate today!