The Economics Of Artisanal Food Production

The Economics Of Artisanal Food Production

Local artisan food producers face a number of challenges that can make it hard just to break even, from finding commercial kitchen space to balancing the high costs of quality ingredients. Kojo talks with local producers and businesses about how one crafts a business model around a tasty idea.

Thanks to a recent a boom in small-scale independent food production, food lovers can visit local farmers markets and neighborhood pop-ups to find homemade ice cream, artisan croissants and hand-bottled soda. But consumers shouldn't be deceived -- turning artisan goods into profitable business takes more than delicious recipes. Local artisan food producers face a number of challenges that can make it hard just to break even, from finding commercial kitchen space to balancing the high costs of quality ingredients. Kojo talks with local producers and businesses about how one crafts a business model around a tasty idea.

Guests

Erica Skolnik

Owner and head baker, Frenchie's Artisan Pastries and Desserts.

Jonas Singer

Co-owner, Union Kitchen; co-owner, Blind Dog Cafe.

Katy Chang

Producer, Artisanal Soy; Owner of forthcoming Eatsplace.

Related Links

Make Your Own Kimchee And Kimchee Dumplings

EatsPlace founder and artisanal kimchi producer Katy Chang demonstrates how to make spicy red kimchee and kimchee dumplings at Three Little Pigs in Washington, D.C. For Chang, the process of making kimchi is a family affair, a time for sharing gossip, stories and laughs. In the video, she walks through the steps of preparing kimchi and wrapping them into dumplings, and shares recommendations for tailoring the flavors to your own taste.

Spicy Red Kimchee Recipe

Cabbage Brine Ingredients:

1 head napa cabbage (approximately 2 lbs)
1/2 cup sea salt

Kimchee Seasoning Ingredients:

1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/4 carrot, julienned
1/4 cup of cooked edamame (optional)
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
Chili, to taste (approximately 1/2 cup of red chilli powder if coarsely
ground or 2 tablespoons if finely ground)
1/2 cup water

Directions:

Quarter cabbage and place in a container. Sprinkle salt evenly throughout cabbage. Use your hands to mix it in evenly. Cover and let cabbage pickle for 3 hours. Toss and turn over and pickle for 3 more hours. Add enough water to cover and pack into a crock, tamping down to force air and water out of the cabbage.

Weigh down cabbage with a heavy plate so it is submerged in the brine. Cover the entire crock with a cheesecloth to allow air circulation. Leave the crock to ferment at room temperature (around 70 degrees). The cabbage will start tasting tangy after a few days, and the taste gets stronger as time passes. After a few days to a week, the cabbage is done pickling and it's time to make the kimchee seasoning.

In a mixing bowl, combine all the seasoning ingredients. Let the seasonings stand for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. With your hands, spread the seasoning all over the cabbage -- wear gloves as the chilis will burn.

Ready to serve or tightly pack the kimchee in a jar and cover loosely with cheesecloth. Store at room temperature for 24 hours for further fermentation. Store covered in refrigerator for several weeks.

Kimchee Dumpling Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups of flour
3/4 cups of water
3 cups of kimchee or other filling

Directions:

Mound flour on work surface, creating a hollow in the middle. Add water to the middle of the flour and mix together with your hands. Knead for about 3 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. If you need more water, add it sparingly about a tablespoon at a time. Cover and let dough rest for 30 minutes. Roll dough out into dumpling wrappers, fill with Artisanal Soy Edamame Kimchee, and seal shut.

Heated 2 tablespoons of oil in a cast iron or nonstick pan on medium. Add the dumplings and cook till the bottoms are brown about 4 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of water and cover the pan with a lid. Let dumplings steam for about 7 minutes or until the water has been absorbed. Turn dumplings out on a plate and serve with hot sauce.

Pickleback Recipe

1 shot of good whiskey
1 shot of pickle juice

Drink the whiskey and chase with the pickle juice. If you used naturally fermented pickle juice, the drink has live probiotics and is called a "liveback." It's good for your gut flora so have a few!

Artisanal Soy Recipes by EatsPlace founder Katy Chang

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The Kojo Nnamdi Show is produced by member-supported WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC.