Mixin’ it Up at the Hub!

 

Bow Hill Blueberries' original poster for the Mix it Up event.

Bow Hill Blueberries’ original poster for the Mix it Up event.

On Monday, April 15, NABC joined farmers, chefs, and food producers from around NW WA at Bow Hill Blueberries (Bow, WA) to discuss opportunities for regional food hub development in the region. Susan and Harley Soltes, owners of Bow Hill Blueberries, hosted the gathering. Susan and Harley recently bought the farm, formerly Anderson Blueberry Farm, and have been looking for a good use for the warehouse and processing space on site. Intrigued by the development of regional food hubs elsewhere in WA and throughout the US, Susan and Harley are interested in the potential of their warehouse and farm as a strategic aggregation site for locally produced products.

 

NSMarket-squareTo gauge interest and feasibility, Susan and Harley invited neighboring farms to check out their warehouse space and hear about online sales platforms to support local commerce through such a hub. The North Sound Wholesale Market is an online sales platform (powered by Local Orbit) being used by many producers in Skagit, Whatcom, Island, and San Juan Counties. Unlike other online markets, the NSWM is lacking a regional aggregation site. Bow Hill Blueberries, NABC, and producers in attendance on Monday are considering whether the Bow Hill facility could fill that gap.

Check out pictures from the Mix it Up gathering below!

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The Bow Hill Blueberries storefront, attached to the warehouse (behind)

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The side entry to the possible future food hub

 

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Producers and chefs alike were encouraged to showcase their wares. Both were asked to bring samples of what products they grow and what dishes they prepare, respectively, in hopes of finding some good overlap!

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Producers, chefs, and regional food system advocates gathered to discuss possibilities for a food hub at the site.

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Susan, of Bow Hill Blueberries, shared her experience of working with the 21 Acres Food Hub in Woodinville, and her hopes of what the Bow Hill facility could become.

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NABC’s Lucy Norris explained the role of regional food hubs in WA and nationally, and explained some of the assets of a regional aggregation facility and supportive online sales platform.

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Here, Lucy gives guests a ‘tour’ of the North Sound Wholesale Market online sales platform.

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Even though the hub is a ways away from being open and operational, a handful of producers used the community gathering as an opportunity to deliver orders. Here, Anna Martin of Osprey Hill Farm delivers an order processed through the North Sound Wholesale Market to Ellen of the San Juan Island Food Coop.

To see more pictures from the Mix it Up event, visit our Facebook album. To learn more about NABC’s role in regional food hub development, and about other online and bricks and mortar hubs that NABC supports, visit our regional food hubs page.

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