How to Leverage a Farmers Market to Break Through in the Food Industry

On this episode of StartupNation Radio, your host, Jeff Sloan, sits down with Angela Gustafson, founder and owner of Gustola Granola, a premium, all-natural granola company that got its start at a local farmers market. Later in the show, Jeff chats with two farmers market operators to discuss how aspiring foodie entrepreneurs can use farmers markets to their advantage to break into the industry.

Angela Gustafson, a lifelong runner, created Gustola Granola because she needed a healthy, post-run snack and couldn’t find anything on grocery store shelves to suit her needs. After tweaking her many recipes and ultimately landing on what is today Gustola’s mix of premium, low-sugar, high-protein granola, she began delivering her homemade and hand-wrapped granola to friends and family. She then took her product to the local farmers market, and Gustola’s Granola was born!

During the interview, Angela discusses:

  • How she took her product from her home kitchen to store shelves
  • The legal aspects/regulations of producing food in a home kitchen to sell at a farmers market
  • The role community support played in Gustola Granola’s development
  • The importance of branding and packaging her product
  • Where Gustola Granola is headed

Gustola Granola is now available in over 200 Minnesota-based retail locations.

For more information on Gustola Granola, visit the company’s official website, and follow along on Facebook.

Next up, Jeff chats with two farmers market experts, Christine Quane, Food Hub and Innovation Director at Eastern Market Partnership; and Cindy Stewart, Community Affairs Director for the city of Troy and Troy Farmers Market Manager, to dive further into how entrepreneurs can break into the food industry through this avenue.

Eastern Market is the nation’s oldest and largest historic public market. It’s also a great place for aspiring business owners to get their start, with low barrier to entry in a face-to-face environment. In her role with Eastern Market, Christine specializes in building relationships throughout the Michigan food ecosystem.

During the show, she talks about:

  • How Eastern Market facilitates the launch of new businesses
  • Cottage food laws associated with food startups
  • “Value added” products featured at Eastern Market
  • The process for choosing new vendors and products to appear at the market
  • Successful businesses that got their start at Eastern Market

One of the biggest and most successful startups that got its start at Eastern Market is McClure’s Pickles, which held a space in 2008. Today, they are a multi-national distributor doing approximately $7.5 million in sales.

For more information on Eastern Market, visit the official website and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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The Troy Farmers Market just completed its second season, hosting its very first farmers market in 2018.

During the show, Cindy shares:

  • The selection process for choosing vendors to feature at the market
  • The market’s choice to emphasize food vendors and entrepreneurs, rather than crafts, home goods, etc.
  • Successful businesses that got their start at the Troy Farmers Market

For more information on the Troy Farmers Market, visit the official website.

Tune in to WJR 760 AM radio next Saturday at 2 p.m. EST for an all-new episode of StartupNation Radio!

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