Event Generates $1 Million in New Sales Annually for Local Food Industry
On Monday, March 21st, FORKS will present the 10th Farmer-Fisher-Chef Connection at Bastyr University in Kenmore. Known as F2C2, the full day event brings together regional food and beverage producers with businesses seeking to buy direct from them. The event is attended by food producers and buyers from Portland to Port Townsend, Seattle to Spokane, Bellevue to Bellingham and all points in between.
“Our region boasts an incredible number of people who take pride in producing amazing food while focusing on sustainable business practices,” says Chef Justin Newstrum, President of FORKS, which stands for Fields, Oceans, Ranches, Kitchens, Stewards. “The challenge for many of these independent food producers is finding time to make new business connections when their daily tasks take all the time they have and then some. F2C2 offers a space for producers and potential buyers to meet and develop new sales relationships. In addition to creating a networking opportunity, F2C2 offers guests educational sessions that address the nuts and bolts of the business of good food.”
Biologist and author Thor Hanson will be this year’s keynote speaker. A Pacific Northwest native, Hanson’s research has taken him to Central America, Africa, Alaska and many other places that don’t begin with the letter ‘A.’ His most recent book is The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses & Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History. His presentation will offer a look at the coevolution of seeds and humans and why the seemingly humble seed is the keystone of civilization.
This year, the F2C2 program will include educational sessions on topics for restaurants and food and beverage producers such as how to reduce waste while increasing profits; strategies for making the most of farmers markets; and how to stay on top of social media. A structured business-to-business networking session is always vibrant, and past surveys have shown it to result annually in $1 million in new sales in the region annually.
“F2C2’s annual gathering offers us a chance to meet potential new customers and connect face-to-face with current customers,” said Nick and Sara Jones of Jones Family Farms. “Each year we look forward to the event sessions. At F2C2 we connect with industry folks and see what’s happening on the ground in Seattle. The event is more than worth our while to help expand and strengthen our business.”
F2C2 is not all presentations and panels. As a food industry focused event, the food is an integral part of the day. Attendees are greeted with a buffet breakfast and treated to ‘the best lunch of the year,’ all provided by attending food producers and prepared by local chefs. After F2C2 wraps up for the day, guests are invited to take part in a tasting reception featuring bites and sips of local food and beverages sampled directly by their producers. Included in the tasting will be beer, oysters, wine, cheese, cider, sausages, spirits, fermented foods, sweets, coffee, other nonalcoholic drinks, and more. The tasting reception offers the guests a chance to continue networking at a more casual pace and recap the day’s sessions.
About FORKS: FORKS (Fields Oceans Ranches Kitchens Stewards) works with chefs and the greater food community to celebrate local foods and foster a more sustainable food supply. The Washington based nonprofit organization inspires action by translating information about our food into tools for making knowledgeable purchasing decisions. Through these actions, our members embrace seasonality, preserve diversity and traditional practices, and support local economies. Learn more about FORKS at http://seattlechefs.org