The privilege of working with and supporting small local farmers and producers is one of the biggest reasons I get out of bed and come to work each day. This work is central to who we are and what we do at Willy Street Co-op. In the spirit of this, I often speak at conferences and workshops for beginning vendors, to give them tips about how to successfully work with retailers.
After one of these speaking engagements, in August of 2015, I was approached by David Bachhuber, a beginning farmer with a dream. I was struck at the time by how excited and passionate David was, and how certain he was that he would attain his goals.
David described to me his idea for a business called Lovefood. He planned to grow all kinds of organic herbs and vegetables with an emphasis on flavor. At that point, he didn’t have anything more than a dream—no land outside of his own backyard on Madison’s East Side, no plants in the ground, and no firm marketing or business plan. He asked for my card and for any advice I could offer him, which I gladly gave.
What’s in a name
The name Lovefood stemmed from the time of the birth of David and his wife Abby’s daughter, Soleia. With Abby busy tending to the new baby, David stepped in and did the bulk of the family’s cooking during that busy first year of their daughter’s life. The food he cooked became a daily act of love as well as nourishment for the new family, and they took to calling it Lovefood.
Since that first meeting, David and I kept in touch, and I did my best to provide what support I could as he quickly turned his dream into reality. He acquired land at the Farley Center, a farm incubator near Verona, worked to get it organically certified, and planted herb starts in 2016. I wrote a letter of support for his application for a USDA Value Added Producer Grant, which he was awarded. This grant gave him the resources he needed to write a successful business plan, and develop his logo, brand, and packaging.
In the spring of 2017, I attended a “Discovery Session” for Lovefood. This amounted to a panel of “experts” (including myself) who were presented with the close-to-finalized business, marketing, and branding plan for Lovefood. We gave feedback about what we saw, and helped David give his new business some final tweaks.
On the shelves
Then, finally, in the autumn of this year, Lovefood herbs finally hit our shelves! I’ve never worked with a farmer who has put as much care, attention, and thought into developing their business, and the end product shows it.
Because fresh herbs can’t be harvested year round in Madison, David decided to partner with a high-quality organic herb grower on the West Coast (Jacob’s Herbs) to supply herbs in the off-season. To make it very clear which herbs are locally grown and which aren’t, the herbs from Jacob’s have a “Trusted Partner” logo printed on the back, along with some information about that farm.
Look for Lovefood herbs on our shelves year-round. Each time you add some of these flavorful herbs to your own food, you are not only nourishing yourself and your family, but spreading that love to David, his family and beyond!