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The original item was published from 1/29/2015 1:14:48 PM to 3/30/2015 3:08:05 PM.

News Flash

County Administrative Office

Posted on: January 29, 2015

[ARCHIVED] Specialty foods workshop coming soon to Northern California

Everyone considering bringing a new food product to the market is invited to a one-day intensive workshop, “Starting a SUCCESSFUL Specialty Food Business,” offered by UC Cooperative Extension.

In this workshop, participants will learn the fundamentals of the specialty food marketplace and how to start creating their own success story. They will spend the day with specialty food business experts and hear specialty food producers tell their stories. All participants will receive a copy of the book, “Sell Your Specialty Food,” and will leave with a clearer understanding of the industry and real-world answers to their questions.

The workshop will be held at the Hamilton Community Center, 503 B South Palm Drive, Novato, CA 94949, on Monday February 9, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Lunch and snacks are included in the workshop fee. Online registration is encouraged. The fee is $20.00 for online registration by February 2, or $35.00 (cash or check) at the door. More information and registration is online at

An additional Specialty Food Business workshop is scheduled in Oakland on Friday, February 13, 2015 and three others will be scheduled in Northern California this spring.

“Specialty Food experts will discuss the business realities – from production to promotion. We’ll cover financing, marketing, sales and distribution, as well as essential lessons about safe and legal production methods,” said workshop organizer and speaker Shermain Hardesty, a UCCE Specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis.

“Participants will also learn how to build their brand, get their product on the shelf, and price their product correctly for the market,” said Hardesty.

Other presenters will include Linda Harris, a UCCE Specialist in Food Safety and Microbiology at UC Davis, and Tim Sullivan, a specialty foods consultant with Sage Food Group. Harris will teach a section on “Staying Safe and Legal: Food Safety & Regulations.” Sullivan will discuss multiple aspects of pricing and marketing specialty food products.

“This is a great opportunity to learn directly from local farmers and specialty food producers about what worked, what didn’t, and why,” said Julia Van Soelen Kim, North Bay Food Systems Advisor with UC Cooperative Extension.

Specialty food producers will tell their own stories, including Janet Brown of Allstar Organics and Dave Ehreth, founder and CEO of Sonoma Brinery. Allstar Organics produces a growing line of high-quality dried herbs, spices, and herbal salts and sugars. Sonoma Brinery is known for their handmade fresh pickles and sauerkraut.

The workshop will include opportunities for attendees to ask questions. Those participants who already have a specialty food product are invited to bring it to the workshop for everyone to taste.
Register online:

Download the workshop agenda:

For more information, please contact Shermain Hardesty, (530) 752-0467 or

This project is funded by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

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