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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.

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