Wednesday, May 18, 2016

It's Farmers Market time again!


Hello my Peeps, and welcome back to our blog!  Terry and I have had a lot going on over the last six months, so apologies to all for being away for so long.

Once again, it is our favorite time of year; Farmers Market time!  The weather has finally warmed into Spring (with the exception of last Saturday's windy cold snap) with the grass and trees greening and flowers abloom. Vendors, artisans and growers are bringing out their first offerings for purchase, with the promise of fresh fruits and vegetables coming later in the year.  For some folks in the Twin Cities area, the opening of the Markets are the true First day of Spring!

For Winter Goddess Foods, a few changes are afoot for the 2016 Market season.  As always, we will once again be a fixture at the Midtown Farmers Market, which is our home market, selling our wares and once again collecting tips for the Second Harvest Heartland food shelf.  Our company was able to collect enough funds to provide Second Harvest with the ability to serve over 2800 meals to our hungry neighbors in the Twin Cities last year, and we are hoping for an even better effort in 2016.

Richfield Farmers Market

We will also be vendors in two new Markets this year, with an emphasis on being closer to our home in South Minneapolis.  While Mary Ellen and myself will be at Midtown on Saturday, this weekend Terry will be starting our first year at the Richfield Farmers Market at Veterans Memorial Park at 64th Street & Portland Ave S, in Richfield MN  (held under the picnic pavilion) It is a well established venue swinging into its 25th year of operation, and we are please to be a part of this well run community institution.

Centennial Lakes Park

On Thursdays this year starting in June, Terry and I will be introducing our products at the Centennial Lakes Farmers Market at 7499 France Ave S, in Edina, MN. It is situated within a beautiful 24-acre community park and a 10-acre lake surrounded with beautifully landscaped grounds, formal and informal seating areas, swinging benches and fountains.  Operating our stand near the water will be the perfect change of pace from the "concrete jungle" and we are definitely looking forward to it.

Click these links for more info on each of our Market venues.
Midtown Farmers Market
Richfield Farmers Market
Centennial Lakes Farmers Market


We are also pleased to tell you that in advance of the Midtown Farmers Market opening, Terry and I were interviewed by Kelly Savage of the Corcoran News, the community newspaper in our area.  We received a nice write-up from her, which increased our visibility at the market and was remarked upon by a large number of customers who visited our tent.

There article can be viewed here!

For more timely news about our goings on, please check out our Facebook page at Winter Goddess Foods!

Blessings and Peace!

Nehemiah


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Holiday Season from Winter Goddess Foods!



Over the last weekend, Terry, Mary Ellen and I finished our final show for 2015, at Jaimie Myer’s three day Winter Solstice event.  With our activities complete for the year, this gives us an opportunity to reflect on 2015, and look with anticipation to 2016.  While we have had a few disappointments this year, and have dealt with a number of health related issues, the positives far outweighed the negative.  We have added a few new retail partners, showed up on the radar of a sustainable food association, and caught the eye of our neighborhood business association, who has declared our company, “the best kept secret in the Twin Cities.”  We’ve also learned how much you folks out there love our company through your votes and well wishes during the Mission Main Street Grants competition.  In addition, we were able to raise a goodly amount of money through the generosity of our local Peeps for our local food shelf Second Harvest Heartland, and feed thousands of people in the Twin Cities.

Looking forward, in 2016 Winter Goddess Foods will be working closely with the Neighborhood Development Center to identify and implement strategies to make our business better than ever.  We are considering the development of a few new products to add to our growing catalogue, and we are also looking to add more retail partners to our Winter Goddess family.  2015 was a great year for us, and we expect that 2016 will be even better!

Terry and I would like to thank you for your continued support of Winter Goddess Foods.  We ask that not only during this season but throughout this year and into next, that you consider doing something good for those who are less fortunate.  Everyone needs to be shown that they matter, and by doing good for others, you shine as a light of hope for humanity, and as a positive example of how we should be with each other.  Here’s wishing all goodness, blessings and prosperity to you and yours, our dear Peeps, from the bottom of our hearts.

Blessings,

Nehemiah and Terry

Friday, August 21, 2015

Our Farmers Market Love Letter

Midtown Farmers Market

Our Farmers Markets are in full swing now, and of course, Winter Goddess Foods is in the thick of the season.  But why go through all that hard work and aggravation, not to mention getting up at curse-word dark thirty to get everything ready and loaded into the car?  Why battle the threat of bad weather, or the competition from scheduled events drawing customers away?  Why go through the hassle?  Well that explanation requires a short trip back to memory lane for an answer.

 With all the growth that we have experienced over the course of time, it's hard to believe that just 6 years ago we started selling at our first market - the Midtown Farmers Market in South Minneapolis. Back then, market management relegated us to the Tuesday Market day, since we were an unknown with no experience or following, reserving the more financially lucrative Saturday Market for the more experience, and bigger name growers and artisans.  Undaunted, through hard work, and at some points sheer force of will, Terry and I survived and thrived on Tuesdays.  Like a phenom minor league prospect in baseball, eventually we received "the call," and took our spot in the Saturday market, where we have been ever since.


Through those years, we have tried and failed with a number of ideas for products that seemed like a good idea in theory at the time, only to fall flat in practice. (Frank's Oh-so Crispees, I will never forget you *sob*)  At times our desire to create clean food items directly clashed with the realities of food preparation and preservation.  No matter how green you want to be, some foods do require some sort of preservative, even a natural one, to allow for a decent shelf life and to retard spoilage.   Finances also played a big part in what we could do as a Mom and Pop Shop compared to the big boys.  Still, we did what we could while remaining true to our ideals, and to the trust that folks show for our products.
 
Having never operated a business before, Terry and I had a steep learning curve to overcome.  We learned that not all packaging suited our product needs; especially for durability. We struggled through horrible, uninformed and incompetent suggestions for branding, labeling, printing and marketing, throwing tons of money away in the process.  Our biggest lesson learned was that not everyone has YOUR best interest at heart.  We found out that there are those out there who will talk a good game while doing whatever they can to siphon away your hard earned dollars, or your time and effort, based on promises they could not or would not keep.  To those folks we say, thank you for being our teachers.  Now, we know you.

Prior Lake Farmers Market
Why mention our struggles?  Quite frankly it was the Farmers Markets and our love for them that kept us going even through the dark times.  We love the Midtown community and the drive of the people here to make something worthwhile, sustainable and just plain fun for everyone in the area.  Changes in Market management have improved the mindset and follow-through to new heights, sparking positive changes, ideas and innovation, and we are so proud to be an active participant.  The wonderful communities of Prior Lake and Elk River are also near and dear to our hearts, and we are happy to serve and educate our friendly market attendees.  Their kindness and openness make us feel like honorary members of those communities as well.


Elk River Farmers Market

Our desire to serve and to be a part of such a wonderful family (The Farmers Market Community), as well as our desire to be good citizens in the world helped us to endure the adversity that molded and shaped us into who we are as a company today, and it will continue to shape our business in the future. We took our lumps, and while we were knocked down, we were never knocked out.  At each challenge, we rose to the occasion and not only succeeded, but improved as a business.  Each market day brings a smile to our faces in anticipation of seeing and serving our "Peeps," educating the public about healthy food choices and sustainability, and combating the misinformation or confusion about organic produce and products.  Terry and I would often say that even if we were to hit the Lottery, we would still do the Markets because we love them so much!  This is where we live, this is where we dance, and we are so very glad to be here.  Thank you, Farmers Markets!


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Grant Opportunity Update



Voting wrap up: Folks, we received our required 250 votes by the fifth day of voting. By Friday June 19th, our final vote tally came to 270 votes! That is truly amazing! You guys have boosted us into the judging or "panel review process" phase. Between now and September, the panel from Chase, and Mission Main Street Grants will review the qualifying applicants, narrow them down, and choose their favorites. While there is no doubt that there are other businesses who have generated more votes for their own campaigns, we believe that to be irrelevant. Terry and I feel that our process in creating our organic products, our work acumen, our desire to act globally by acting locally, and our community involvement along with our unique story, provides us with a good enough cause for the panel to choose Winter Goddess Foods as one of the twenty recipients of a $100,000 business grant. However, we would have never arrive at this point if it weren't for you.

Seeing so much outpouring of Love and support from our community of "Peep" is truly humbling. (And especially those of you voting from around the world!) Terry and I not only shared tears of joy when we reached our goal, but we both marvelled as we watched some of you go on campaigns of your own, mobilizing your family, friends and co-workers to vote for us. Some of you went beyond that point and encouraged folks they didn't know to vote. To think that folks care enough for us and our business to go so far to help us succeed speaks volumes as to how rich we truly are. If Terry and I have learned anything at all from this entire process, it is that we are Loved. Thank you, each and every one of you who joined with us in this endeavor to help grow our business. You are the reason we do what we do; to make available good healthy chemical free products at an affordable price, that are "Made with Love for your Well-being." We are in your debt, and we Love you right back!

Thank you! ~ Nehemiah and Terry

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Voting update


As you know, we are currently vying for a chance at a $100,000 business grant from Chase and Mission Main Street Grants.  In order for our company to move into the next step of the judging phase, we must first gain 250 votes on their special voting page before June 19th, 2015.  So far, you have responded resoundingly!  As of June 9th at 8am, we have received 189 votes!  Terry and I are humbled by your amazing show of support.  If you have voted, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  If you haven't voted yet, we ask that you do so now.

Voting is so easy breezy!  Follow the link below which leads right to our special voting page and click on the voting button on the right.  That's all there is to it.  If you are a fan our business, a satisfied customer, enjoy our blog, resonate with our organic/sustainability practices, or are just excited about our future prospects, we ask that you vote for us below.

https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/b/71889

Stay tuned for further updates.

Thank you, and Blessings to you all!

Nehemiah

Friday, June 5, 2015

Call to Action! Winter Goddess Foods needs your Votes!



Peeps, THIS IS HUGE!  This opportunity changes everything! Terry and I have entered our business in a contest sponsored by Mission Main Street Grants and Chase, who are giving away $2 MILLION in grants to 20 up and coming businesses. Each winning business will receive a grant of $100,000 to expand their company. As I'm sure you already know, this would be a powerful game changer for our business, and allow us to secure our own commercial kitchen and equipment, which has been our dream for a long time!

This is where we need your help. As part of the process, each business in the running for a grant must secure at least 250 votes within the next 14 days to qualify for consideration in the next round. We humbly ask that if you love our blog, love what we do, and enjoy our tasty organic products, that you take ten seconds and cast a vote for Winter Goddess Foods. You can find the direct link at the top of our navigation page on the website, next to the "Contact us" link, or you can click this link:

https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/vote/businesses

Enter Winter Goddess Foods in the search window. When our listing comes up, click the VOTE button on the right hand side. That's all there is to it! The voting must be done via Facebook which means you must have a Facebook account in order to vote.

To all our friends in the Farmers Market Community, Renn Fest Community, Tech and Geek Communities, Shamanic Community, and everyone else far and

wide, this is a call to action, and we are in need your support!  Help us to make our dream of expanding our business a reality.  Thank you so much for your consideration in advance! 

Blessings,

Nehemiah and Terry

Winter Goddess Foods gives back to the community



Prior to the start of the 2015 Farmers Market season, Terry and I had decided to up our game on our community giving. We believe that there is no excuse for people to go hungry in this world, and especially not children. Over the years, we gravitated toward supporting Second Harvest Heartland; the primary food shelf in the Twin Cities. Sure, when we shopped for groceries at the local supermarket, we always rounded up at the register so that the extra change could go to charity. We've even purchased bags of food for the needy outright, and then placed them in the collection area for later distribution. Still, we thought that there was more that we could do.

Starting with the first Midtown Farmers Market at the beginning of May, We have made the commitment to give 100% of all tip monies and contributions directly to Second Harvest. Each market day until the last event in October, we will be collecting to assist Second Harvest in feeding our hungry neighbors in the community. We have also published our collection results weekly on our Facebook page and on the Midtown Farmers Market Facebook page, in order to lend true transparency to our efforts. Once a month, we plan to submit the monthly total as a check delivered directly to Second Harvest.

The great thing about this wonderful organization, is that through their extensive contacts, they can leverage $1 into 3 complete meals, or $8 in buying power for bagged groceries. We think that is phenomenal! Their dedication toward serving the hungry people in our community makes it very easy for us to honor their efforts with our support.

This past Tuesday, Terry and I gave our first official donation check to Second Harvest Heartland. We met up with Julie who was happy to share a photo-op with us as we presented her with our grand total collected for the month of May - $135. While this amount may be considered trivial by some, it is very much appreciated by Second Harvest. While they will accept actual food and supply donations, cash works the best since they are able to do more with it. As a result of the liberality of our Farmers Market patrons, 405 meals will be provided to needy folks in the Twin Cities area.

To our generous fans, Terry and I say THANK YOU so much for your contributions, and for your giving hearts. We will be continuing this effort throughout the entire Market season. If you are so led, we ask that you please help us with our initiative to make even more meals available in the coming months!

We are humbled to be a small part of giving back to our communities, and assisting our less fortunate neighbors. It's just the right thing to do.

Blessings to you all!

Nehemiah