“I first met Michelle Alcorn at the Farmers Market in Hillsborough, no surprise there. I was selling my Fundy Farms produce at my booth. She approached me about providing her with our locally grown veggies for the Atlantic Canada – Cooking Club she was starting. The cooking club had many elements that all came together nicely to form a creative version of food education. It would teach people how to eat more healthy, how to eat in season, what grows in our area, it would bring people to our area virtually from all over the world, creating new friendships. On another token it would also help people whose first language was not English to learn and improve their English skills around a common ground, food. She would do it from her own kitchen, giving it a real personal and welcoming feel. She said, ‘We’re going to connect people… with food’. And that is how our story began.
Now fast forward through two market seasons, saying yes that day has benefited my business is so many ways. Michelle has put my products into the hands of people I never would have been able to. As a market gardener, value-added product producer and owner of two small businesses, I just simply do not have time to initiate this type of publicity on my own. It has made a huge difference in my customer base.
Michelle is the queen of local. She talks the talk and walks the walk, and she spreads it everywhere. She is creative, has great ideas, is witty and comes up with catchy slogans, she gives off great energy and people are drawn to it.
Because of her business background, she can bring to light that aspect of things. In that sense, she has also been helpful to me with problem solving and product improvement suggestions.
The reach of the Cooking Club has been extensive. Having my products on the live show has created a relationship with the members and given them a sense of familiarity with not only my products but with me as relatable person who cooks and eats, which you just do not get from selling products on a shelf.
Seeing other people from around the world use my products in their own food culture gives me inspiration and ideas for new flavours and product recipes. It also points out gaps to be filled with products no one local is making yet.
Michelle and the club have increased peoples knowledge of my product. What I love it about them seeing it be used in the kitchen is that that they learn many more ways to consume and use them, as opposed to just seeing it on a shelf.
The club is bringing like-minded people together who are striving to eat better, use local food in their home-cooking, and get creative. It helps create a community for those people and gives them a place to start.
I feel that Michelle has really impacted my business with her online reach, she has brought many people my way. I also feel she has made a big difference for our local Farmers Market. She comes weekly to pick up her items for the cooking club and talks to all the vendors, she gets them excited about what they’re doing, she gets to know them and their products and then she tells other people about them. She brings people there, by word of mouth and physically. She doesn’t just talk about it, she does it.
We’ve also been using some of the recipes for our local Newsletter, Connecting Albert County, that goes out once a month. There is a section for the letter that is specifically for in season and local eating. The amazing recipe bank from the cooking club website has been very useful for finding and sharing the great recipes Michelle and the members have cooked up.
I’m very excited to be part of this cooking community, and I’m looking forward to what the future brings.”
Fundy Farms: local harvest
Herb n’ Joy 2021