Find the Niche
Being able to hit the road and visit farms throughout West Virginia is a lot of fun, not only because of all the spectacular scenery in this state, and not only because as the driver I no longer suffer from the malaise I had in the back seat as my dad drove the twisting roadways, but mainly because I get to meet so many interesting people.
The farmers of this state and the market and restaurant providers are pretty terrific people who work hard to bring us fresh local food. Each has a story of their struggle and everyone works rally hard. A few have found a niche and have been able to successfully market that product to the public.
It seems logical, even to someone like me who never took an economics course, that finding a niche-providing something no one else does-is a clear way of being needed.
For example, in my family we survived fine without a food processor until I got one, and now, it is one of the most used tools in my kitchen.
So, when I learned about CSAs (Community Supported Kitchen) and discovered that Fish Hawk Acres would MAIL my box to me, that was a no-brainer way to obtaining fresh produce on a weekly basis. I have also admired Dale Hawkins’ CSK (Community Supported Kitchen) concept where people can order ready-made meals that his chef expertise develops using fresh ingredients.
This morning I read about a new company, starting in the Northeast but expected to spread nationwide, that will provide a box of fresh and packaged ingredients for a 3 meals. All the recipient needs at home is standard pots and pans, salt, pepper and olive oil. They provide the rest. (To check out their model click here.)
By supplying all the ingredients and instructions for simple meal preparation, you give an interested home cook the ability to prepare healthy meals with local ingredients. I know many people who walk into The Wild Ramp Market in Huntington and look something offered that is fresh and wonderful, but they have no idea how to prepare it. I find that if I have actually prepared a dish with that ingredient I can enthuse about it and always sell the item. People are hesitant to try new things without someone providing some guidance.
We do not have to re-invent the wheel, just recognize a new concept when we see it and seize it for implementation in our own neighborhood.