If you’ve been to one of Boulder County Farmers Markets (BCFM) weekend or weeknight events, you’ve likely had the opportunity to taste several items from locally packaged food producers.
But, with the pandemic, tastings went away, even though they were a critical way local food companies taste-tested, earned revenue, built their businesses and fostered a relationship with the community.
“Many of them rely on sampling to sell product, which makes sense,” BCFM Executive Director Brian Coppom says. “If your customers are not familiar with the product, a sample can answer so many questions you have about quality and whether you’re going to eat it after you get home and whether your children are going to eat it.
“Organizations that don’t have a lot of brand recognition at the Market, they can start to develop loyal customers,” Coppom continues. “They can get feedback from customers on what works and what doesn’t. They can start to dial in pricing and see how people value their product. They can get research that will help them drive their business forward and they can get paid doing it.”
These packaged food makers serve a vital role in the local food ecosystem — though many use nuts, salts, oils and other ingredients that come from other places (out of necessity) the fact that they’re helping grow Boulder’s natural foods industry can’t be lost.
“These food artisans, these entrepreneurs … are creating variety and discovery and creating interest with the customer base,” Coppom says. “That helps keep interest in customers coming for the vegetables — and they do primarily come of for vegetables. It enhances the experience of the market.”
Best of all, you can get these foods throughout the year, either in retail stores or from the companies themselves via their websites. Here are a few to check out, but go to bcfm.org/our-vendors to see the full list.