Scaling Up Artisanal Food: How Big Is Too Big?

America has a growing appetite for handcrafted gourmet food products. With this high demand, small-scale food producers often wrestle with questions of growth. How big can they get while remaining true to their values and maintaining the quality of their product? Has the word “artisanal” lost its meaning in the marketplace? How can one identify responsible small businesses that use authentic ingredients and value craft and transparency?

Join CUESA, Kitchen Table Talks, and the Good Food Awards at the Ferry Building for a panel discussion on Monday, January 20, from 6 – 8 pm with three successful artisan food producers who have found their way in the expanding market. The panel will be followed by a reception with refreshments generously provided by Bi-Rite Market.

Panelists:

Elias Cairo is the salumist for Olympic Provisions, a Portland-based handmade charcuterie shop. He has set out to approach the craft of charcuterie with purity and patience, recreating a nearly extinct old world technique that’s seldom seen in America.

Sue Conley co-founded Tomales Bay Foods and Cowgirl Creamery with Peggy Smith to help support Marin’s farms and dairies. Two decades later, Cowgirl Creamery cheeses are sold to over 500 stores, independent cheese shops, farmers markets and restaurants, and nationally through Whole Foods Markets.

June Taylor is the founder of June Taylor Company, a company dedicated to the revival of traditional handmade preserves. She also teaches her craft to students at the Still-Room, consults with small business owners, and sells her products throughout Japan.

Marcy Coburn (moderator) is the executive director of the Oakland-based Food Craft Institute, which works to improve the viability of small and medium-scale value-added food businesses. She is also the event director for the Eat Real Festival.

Admission: $5 (no one turned away for lack of funds). Space is limited.

Location: Port Commission Hearing Room, 2nd floor of the Ferry Building (Embarcadero at Market St.), San Francisco

3 thoughts on “Scaling Up Artisanal Food: How Big Is Too Big?

  1. Thanks for the notice! Will this event be broadcast/recorded and made available on the web? I imagine there are a number of Civil Eats readers interested in this topic who are not local to San Francisco, such as myself!

  2. Hi Matthew! We usually do a recording and will try to make it available when the recap is posted on Civil Eats. Thanks.

  3. I select artisanal foods because they are not available to just everyone. That is the point. I want to feel special when I consume these products. Producing them at scale makes them common, no longer artisanal. How big is too big? That’s easy — truly special artisanal foods are laboriously produced by one individual using only the most primitive resources — direct from the earth, as much as possible for the price.