Successful food and farm businesses are critical to our region’s economy, environment, and ability to keep everyone fed and healthy. This blog series looks at some of the hardworking, enterprising people in this sector and how they have been helped by the Agricultural Viability Alliance, of which Vital Communities is a partner.
By Cameron Huftalen, Upper Valley Everyone Eats Project Manager
Take & Bake Kitchen is a new business in Laconia, New Hampshire, that offers take-out family-style meals “ready to heat & eat,” as the website says. They offer an assortment of cuisines with a focus on “fresh produce, quality proteins, and healthy ingredients.”
With backgrounds both in the restaurant industry and the leadership development and marketing sector, owners Jim and Karyn Chylewski felt pretty confident as they prepared for their summer 2022 opening.
Some aspects, however, were challenging, said Karyn. “We had to basically change commerce systems. Up until that point it was going pretty well. We were feeling pretty confident that we could do it, but all of a sudden, we realized that we were going to have to do a whole other ordering system, based on our needs.”
The Chylewskis are grateful for the help of the Agricultural Viability Alliance in getting past that and other hurdles in what turned out to be a busy opening summer. The Alliance helped them fine-tune the transition between commerce systems and develop a website that is user-friendly and enticing to potential customers. Now, after having set up the systems that let them keep up with a successful summer, they have the space to ramp down for the winter and begin an intentional planning process for their operations in the coming year.
Judging from comments on Take and Bake’s website, their systems are working:
“Thank you! The food was delicious. I was initially concerned that a chicken dish might dry out on reheating, but we followed the instructions and it was perfect. The chicken was moist and tender with plenty of sauce and the amount of peas was perfect. The potato wedges also reheated very well and were equally delicious.” – Mary M. from Laconia.
The Alliance strives to equip farm and food businesses with the resources to take their endeavors to the next level. We seek to support these businesses in a number of ways, including financial assessments and planning, whole farm and business planning, recordkeeping, targeted goal setting, land purchasing, succession planning, and more. With partners from Vital Communities, Land for Good, the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, NCAT/ATTRA, UNH Extension, Farm Credit East, and the Center for an Agricultural Economy, our partners cover a variety of expertise.