Six new and expanding local food businesses made their pitches to a packed house of investors, business coaches, and other enthused Missoulians at Farm Fresh Pitchfest last Thursday evening. From a farm-to-table butcher shop to a U-pick strawberry farm, the business owners shared their goals, needs, and excitement with the crowd.
The pitches covered a wide range of diverse and innovative business types. Sunrise Coffee Shop & Moonlight Kitchens is a new business in the Franklin-to-Fort neighborhood that offers two rent-by-the-hour kitchens to community members interested in catering, processing food for sale, and more. Red Hen Farms, a U-pick berry farm and orchard in Target Range, is looking to let more community members know about the opportunity to pick sweet, fresh berries mid-summer.
Homestead Organics in Hamilton has been operating for over ten years, but is expanding their on-farm learning opportunities for youth of all ages. The Golden Yoke, Montana’s first new built-from-the-ground-up dairy in more than 20 years, will be making “cow-to-cone” ice cream in St. Ignatius.
Several farms have developed a new co-operative business in Triple Divide Organic Seeds Co-op, offering locally grown and adapted seeds to farmers and home gardeners. Missing Link Meats is a new start-up neighborhood butcher shop that will provide fresh, handcrafted cuts from local, sustainable family farms and ranches.
“All of the businesses that pitched mentioned how much the event had helped them better define their ideas and refine their plans,” said Annie Heuscher, Program Manager for the Community Food & Agriculture Coalition and organizer of the event. “And several folks who are very involved in local food said how surprised they were that there were new businesses they didn’t know about! It really demonstrated how important this event is for our community!”
“Local food economies are built through both relationships and business savvy,” added co-organizer Jenny Mish of the Sustainable Business Council. “This was a fun event that stirred the pot.”
See below for video footage of the event and click here to see videos of the individual pitches!