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Connecting Crops to Cuisine

  • The Ranch 5280 Arena Circle Loveland, CO 80538 USA (map)

Connecting Crops to Cuisine will connect Northern Colorado food service and wholesale purchasers to farmers, ranchers and food service manufacturers. This half-day workshop will teach you about food safety practices  and provide information on State and County regulations; give you insights about how best to work with local producers and purchasers and provide one-on-one technical assistance to help you with your specific business needs.

This workshop will benefit purchasers interested in starting or expanding a local-sourcing program and to producers at all capacities, from those thinking about growing into wholesale or foodservice contracts to those already doing so.


8:00 Registration & Check In

8:30 Welcome & Introductions

9:00 Food and Agriculture Regulation Panel

This panel will address State and County food safety regulations for both restaurants and food manufacturers with local County Health Inspectors and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. This panel will also offer producer-focused regulatory programs managed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture. This includes Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Certification, Good Handling Practices (GHP) and meat and egg regulations.  

All are topics that buyers, producers, and food manufacturers should be aware of when making business decisions.


Nicole Aguilar, Environmental Health Specialist, Larimer County Department of Health & Environment
Steven Blunt, Regulatory Specialist, Colorado Department of Agriculture
Mark A. Gallegos, Program Administrator, Colorado Department of Agriculture
Justin Trubee, Environmental Protection Specialist, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment
Tracy Vanderpool, Fruit & Vegetable Inspection Service Section Chief, Colorado Department of Agriculture

Moderator: Martha Sullins, CSU Extension

10:00 Industry Panel

Learn best practices about purchaser-producer relationships from chefs, distributors, institutional purchasers and producers who have done it successfully.

Jesse Doerffel, Owner & Manager, The Farmhouse at Jessup Farm
Brent Jackson, Executive Chef, The Kitchen
Natalie Leffler, Food Hub Manager, Weld County School District 6
Elizabeth Mozer, Founder & Owner/Operator, LoCo Food Distribution
Paul Reilly, Co-Owner & Executive Chef, Beast & Bottle
Aaron Rice, Jodar Farms
Anthony Zamora, Leffler Farms

Moderator: Dawn Thilmany, CSU College of Agriculture

11:00 One-on-One Technical Assistance: marketing, social media, graphic design, business plan development and improvement, financing, bookkeeping, legal, regulation and more

8:30-12 Resource Exhibitors: wholesale purchasers, distributors and non-profits working in the food system

Technical Assistance Providers

Aspen Grove Marketing: Amy Alcorn of Aspen Grove Marketing will be available for one-on-one meetings to help you navigate your Social Media.  If you aren't sure where to begin or have some specific questions, set up a time to chat with Amy. She can help you figure out how to effectively and efficiently use Social Media to connect with you customers and grow your business.

Colorado Department of Agriculture: Offering assistance with regulations managed by the Department and answers to questions about Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Certification and Good Handling Practices (GHP).  Also learn how to register to become a member of Colorado Proud. Perfect for buyers and producers alike.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment: Offering information on State regulations for restaurants and food manufacturers. Perfect for buyers and producers alike.

CSU Extension: Dawn Thilmany will provide assistance for marketing and pricing decisions, and if you are quickly growing, can help you assess how you can address financing and legal organizational issues. Dawn has provided business plan and feasibility guidance to over 500 farms and food businesses over the past 25 years, and helped enterprises to secure funding and grants to grow viable enterprises.

Freelance Bean Counter, LLC: Molly Hoff Kanter, Chief Bean Counter and Jesse Anne Lee, Accounting Associate II, will be on site to help answer questions (specific or broad) about all things related to bookkeeping for small business. Molly and Jesse are both QuickBooks experts and Certified Professional Bookkeepers who are compassionately committed to small business in Northern Colorado. Molly is also a consultant with the Larimer Small Business Development Center, which offers a wide range of free services to business owners in Larimer County.

Inhouse Creative: We eat first with our eyes so serve your potential customers and partners with the best your business has to offer. Meet with Emily Zaynard of Inhouse Creative to get technical assistance on the story you tell with your branding. Emily will help you get started in launching your new website or re-branding the site you already have with a mini site audit focused on using business identity to build customer familiarity, loyalty and trust.

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union: RMFU has helped a number of producer groups consider benefits of cooperative development, and if chosen, provides legal technical assistance in organizing producer marketing co-ops.

Resource Exhibitors

CSU Extension
Colorado Department of Agriculture
Colorado Enterprise Fund
Colorado Restaurant Association
Freelance Bean Counter
Fortified Collaborations
Living Soil Investments
LoCo Food Distribution
Northern Colorado Food Cluster
Rocky Mountain Farmers Union
The Pig & The Plow

Connecting Crops to Cuisine is presented by Fortified Collaborations in partnership with CSU Larimer County Extension and Colorado Department of Agriculture with kind support from Aspen Grove MarketingRocky Mountain Farmers Union and Northern Colorado Food Cluster

Earlier Event: August 19
Three Forks Progressive Farm Dinner
Later Event: April 14
The Taste