Fed Up

PS to “Ingredients – Who’s Your Farmer?” on 21February2016

I might – scratch that, WOULD – also add “Fed Up” to this list.  Something about the style of delivery in this documentary strikes me as ‘commercial’, regardless I still found thought provoking.

Fed Up at IMDB

Fed Up – movie home page

Fed Up at Wikipedia.org

(NOTE – This started as a small PS and grew as I found more & more important things to share.)

The more I watch this documentary the more I come to believe it is important.  As I watch, I find myself additionally reflecting on what I (too) have done with my WIBC products.  A big part of this video focuses on sugar and processed foods.  Let’s be very clear about a few things with respects to my company & products:

  • WIBC is (presently) licensed as a Food Processing Plant (emphasis added).  I understand this as a general purpose title given by the Washington State Department of Agriculture.  When the name of this license is put beside the term “processed foods” it may give the suggestion that what WIBC makes is ‘processed’.  I didn’t choose the title of the license, and this assumption or confusion should not be made.
  • I consider WIBC to be a part of the Local Food or Real Food movement.   I did not set out to do this, it is merely that how I make food falls within this idea.  I make baked goods like a person would at home, just on a commercial scale.  In frank terms, if you look at a food product ingredient label and read ingredients you have at home (eggs, butter, sugar, flour, etc) then you are essentially holding real food; if the ingredients read like a cross between Greek, Pig Latin, and Medical Terminology in unpronounceable syllables, then you’re dealing with a processed food (substance of some sort).
  • WIBC products do include various sugars.  I have never denied this, I have never hidden it in any way – in fact, my ingredients have been a part of my company’s transparency and I have very gladly talked about the ingredients used in my products.  To this end, the sugars used in my products comprise of white and brown sugar; other sugars come from fruit juice, molasses, white and chocolate chips, and M&Ms (unless there are any other ingredients I am not thinking of off the top of my head).  When you read the ingredients of a product that include these, (I suggest that) the only one that may not read so straight-forward is one that includes M&Ms.  The not-so-pronounceable ingredients to these are preservatives in the M&M food colouring.  Further …
  • What WIBC (AKA I) does not add to its products are stand-alone ingredients you cannot pronounce, strange flavour enhancers, or dubious preservatives.  As said, I make baked goods like a person would at home.  As a result my baked goods have a short shelf life & are meant to be consumed soon after preparation, and should be considered ‘Real Food’.
  • Maybe if you can’t pronounce something on a food ingredient label, don’t eat it.  If you ask a company that produces & markets food items, and they won’t talk with you or all they give you is prepared spin, maybe don’t eat what they’re offering.  If you do ask a food company about their products and their ingredients and they’re happy to talk with you about them and speak in straight-forward terms, and you understand and believe in their ingredients, that’s probably a better bet.  If you go to a grocery store or a farmers market and you know that a vegetable is a vegetable, an egg is an egg, and a loaf of bread is a loaf of bread (etc), then it’s probably a much better bet.

Well, it seems this is a pretty important PS for me.

Fed Up – movie home page

Ingredients – Who’s Your Farmer?

This film is all about the development of the local food movement.  The food we eat is no better than the quality of the ingredients that go into them.  More and more farmers are growing real food.  More and more restaurants and food companies (as I did with WIBC) are moving to work with no less than real ingredients.  The local food movement takes root.  Find farm-to-restaurant venues & patronize them.  Cooking is a joy, not drudgery – go to your farmers markets and buy local.

You’re a real person – eat real food!
Enjoy, Don

Ingredients at IMDB

CargoFilm-Releasing.com – Ingredients – Whos Your Farmer

Ingredients – Who’s Your Farmer

A Place At The Table

This film was produced by the same folks who made Food, Inc.  It points out and questions the following:

  • The U.S. is one of the wealthiest countries in the world – we also produce more food than we consume.
  • How is it and why is it that the U.S. has a substantial number of people who cannot afford to buy food and are starving &/or cannot afford to purchase quality sustenance?

Apparently we had this problem in the 1970s, and we beat it.  Now it’s back, and it’s not a simple issue, but an extremely important one.  One of the things that I wanted to do with WIBC while a production food company was to join this fight.  When I finished watching this film I started writing a letter to Jeff Bridges (the actor), but I was so fired up that I couldn’t tie my many thoughts and sentences together.  Why Jeff Bridges?  Watch the film.

A Place At The Table at IMDB

TakePart.com – A Place At The Table

Supersize Me and Food, Inc.

I made the gross mistake* of viewing these two films in the same day, back to back.  At the end of these I was so disturbed I thought I might not eat for weeks.  To sum up each of these films … Supersize Me is a ground-level, personal view of the issues with our mass-produced food; Food, Inc. gives both a local & global view of massive production of food and how this affects health, national economies, and political decisions.  Watch these, just maybe with a longer break in between the two films than what I took.
(*and I mean ‘gross’ in both ways)

Super Size Me on IMDB.com

Super Size Me on Wikipedia.org


Food, Inc. on IMDB.com

Food, Inc. on Wikipedia.org


Kitchen Tips – Yours & Mine

Do you ever find yourself in your kitchen making something tasty thinking to yourself “You know, that one thing that I do in my kitchen is a good idea and other people would benefit from knowing about it.”?  Yeah, me too.  Well, here’s your chance!

Over this past weekend while doing a little baking I thought of something I might add to my current in-process baking book — KITCHEN TIPS!  What’s a Kitchen Tip?  Well, one of my ideas — and I would hope this should be obvious — is to always keep your oven mitts or hot pads in a consistent place so you’re not scrambling for them when the timer rings.  I thought up & wrote down about another 5 and then I thought “ENGAGE YOUR PUBLIC” — so……..

WHAT ARE YOUR BAKING-RELATED KITCHEN TIPS?  Comment below ….. yes, I’m actually going to allow comments for once.  These would be suggestions related to setting up your kitchen for baking or around the process of baking (etc).  Write your tips, hints, & ideas here — they might get included in my baking book!

“Collect your cookie crumbs – they go great on top of ice cream! For best results, serve soon.” Marion C. – Milwaukee, WI”.

If I publish your idea I will try to let you know in advance.  Also, I would like to put your name & location as written above.  Now, I should also say — while I like this idea for my book, I’m not sure how I might include them.  My original idea was to disperse these notes throughout my tome but that doesn’t fit with my mental image of the contents – so these might end up as their own section instead.

Submit your ideas & you just might get your name in print!
Enjoy ~ Don

WIBC Change Announcement

Yesterday was a big day, and today has been at least as big.

Around November 2015 I came to realize a number of issues for me/WIBC to continue doing business as it has during the past year+.  To this end, I identified that I wanted to keep going with a baking business in a different form and would need to cease my production of baked goods.  Yesterday & today I informed the managers of the various businesses WIBC sells product through, and today I’ve made my first general-public announcements.  It is my aim to transition (or in business language “pivot”) WIBC into a company that is about baking & other food preparation.

A number of things have gone very well for WIBC as a production baking company – particularly for being in business just over a year.  Of these attributes I have brand & product recognition, a loyal customer base, and the company has broken even.  The challenges, on the other hand, are numerous – and every new business has these – and as a small business owner you keep your chin up, eyes forward, and you constantly exercise your resourcefulness muscle.

In my case & for WIBC, there are a few primary issues and myriad secondary issues.  More than anything, based on hard data & my objective considerations, the company is not making enough money to be able to grow both as a company and to where I can help provide people in my community with much needed employment (these are related).  Additionally I have found the demands of this particular form of business to be very ‘grindstone’ – my passion for cooking lays in creating recipes and sharing the enjoyment of good food with others, and the labour involved in mass production leaves little time for any of this.

As said, I look to turn WIBC into a company ‘about food’ sharing my passion for creating recipes & the enjoyment of good food – but what does this mean & how do I intend to do it?

My plan is to start with producing cookbooks* and grow into presenting cooking videos and classes.  Since my November awareness I have started work on my first cookbook and I am PLEASED to say that this is already going very well!  At present it will feature the recipes for all WIBC products along with the recipes I had intended to bring to market – around 50 or more recipes along with other interesting beverage & cooking to-dos.

Some individuals may view the changes I am making to WIBC as meaning that the company has somehow failed or been unsuccessful – that would be a mistake, short sighted, and even to say dismissive.  In no way do I consider the past year, three months and three days to be in any way bad, in error, or failed – horrendously challenging at times, sure, however never unsuccessful**.  I am glad to have tried my hand at making a production baking company; I believe I have developed as an individual, a professional, and as a business person.  Also important to me, given the ingredients I chose to use and not use in my WIBC products, is having to helped further the local food movement both in content & concept.  From these past 428 days I have many experiences that I am grateful for and will always remember.

In practical terms ceasing production is relatively easy – on the day I determine as my last I will discontinue baking & deliveries, pack up my kitchen supplies and go home.  On a personal level however, while I see ‘brighter horizons’ ahead, stopping what I have been doing is not without difficulty – I have a lot of time invested in WIBC, enthusiasm for the products I have brought to market, and the relationships that I have built with others are significant to me.  While I am not closed to the idea of some day re-launching as a production baking company – it all depends on where my ‘about food’ cookbook-etc approach to WIBC leads and what looks like I will enjoy doing.  In the mean time as an accent to the new direction of WIBC I may consider re-launching as a cottage business – for now, however, my focus is on everything ahead & I am excited however about what I’m going toward.

As I worked toward launching WIBC I referred to the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin’”.  I had a dream of launching a baking business – and I’ve done it!  Now it’s just changing.  I am thankful for the support I have received from my customers – individuals who I share the view with that food should be tasty, healthy, and made locally – and I am grateful for the loving support my friends & family gave me when I started this venture and that they continued to give me when I said that I am looking to modify WIBC.  I will be pleased to have each of you join me as WIBC grows in this new direction.

Don’t Stop Believing – I still do!

All the Best, Don
Whidbey Island Baking Company – Owner & Soon-To-Be Author

* Before anyone (else) says something about the amount of effort and the years of work it takes for a company to begin to see a profit OR that you don’t make any money off of writing – trust me, I know already.

** Consider what I have done leading up to and during this production period of my business…

  • Founded a business with name, logo, and image
  • Developed & brought to market an array of original products
  • Established brand & product recognition in the market
  • Website development & online marketing
  • Managed all financial aspects of the company including purchasing, accounting, and taxes
  • Cultivated personal business relations with outside companies
  • Lead my business & support staff to markets & sales events
  • Contributed to local food banks & connected with military service personnel & their families by offering a military discount

I Am A Documentary Junkie

It’s true – I love watching documentaries.  I also love Sci-Fi and a slew of other types of shows, but documentaries hold a special place in my little entertainment heart.  Of all of these, in the past five years, three documentaries about food come to mind.  Really, I should say four – I’m watching another as I type this – but why am I blogging about it?

The documentary I’m watching right now, simply titled “Ingredients”, is making me think about what I’ve been pleased to do with my WIBC products.  What I’m doing is what you can do as well – in your home cooking, with the recipes in my coming cookbook(s), and when you go out to dine.

The ingredient labels on my products read the same as you will see in my cookbook – real ingredients with no added preservatives or artificial flavour enhancers.  I only used pure extracts, I use Shepherd’s Grain flour, Bob’s Redmill oats from Oregon – essentially, my recipes and ingredients are no different than what someone would themselves use & make at home.  Over the past year some individuals and businesses have challenged me with questions around the price and shelf life of my products.  These have been hand-crafted with real ingredients – much of what is produced on the market is mass produced from machines and full of things most of us can’t pronounce much-less easily identify.  Much of the food industry is about numbers – how much product is output and how much money is coming in – I see this largely as being completely regardless of quality and considerably regardless of the health of people.

On this topic, what follows are the four documentaries I encourage you to view.  I found them – and continue to find them – thought provoking, and I believe you will too.

Supersize Me and Food, Inc.

A Place At The Table

Ingredients – Who’s Your Farmer?

Fed Up

Food Stamped


Baked Goods On The Horizon

Products I’m Considering

  • Scones – I considered scones, experimented with them (Blueberry, brown sugar, and a little lemon zest), but I have decided to shelve the idea for the time being – scones only hold (decently) for 24hrs and don’t travel well.
  • Muffins – I’m thinking of a variety of muffins.  Like some of my products I think they’re going to come out in two general classes.  Products that are ‘healthier’ and tasty and tasty products that are relatively no better than other things on the market.  Still, no added preservatives & blah blah blah.
  • Breakfast cookies – I frankly don’t know much about these, but they seem to be quite popular right now.
  • Granola – I’ve been turned on to this idea.  Sounds easy, sounds like something I can express with, sounds like something people enjoy.

GF products

  • Other Cookie Square flavours – Chocolate Peppermint, Lemon Orange, Lemon Ginger, Lemon Cranberry, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
  • Experiment with biscotti flavours I’ve had in mind

If you have biscotti flavours or other cookie/baked-good ideas, please send them to me.

Make it Tasty,

Fall 2015 – The Months To Come

I would like to title today’s post quoting a line and character from a film.  Without further adieu, I give you…

SHIFT IT!” ~ Magenta

The farmers’ market season was great — that with the couple of other events I got WIBC into over the summer.  I enjoyed reaching new customers, getting to talk about my product & company plans, getting to meet both The Public and my fellow vendors — all of it.

Before the season started, I was told that my business would be influenced by the tourism light-switch — that one day I would be doing my thing and then the next I would be unbelievably busy, a few months would pass, and then suddenly I’d be at a near stand-still.  Well, that stand-still has come and THANK JUPITER FOR IT! 😉

Long short, I needed the change of pace.  Now I’m diving in on a number of things — working on….

  • Getting my business into upcoming events — Xmas bazaars, other conventions, and events into 2016
  • Myriad things I haven’t had time to work on for my company over these many months including developing new & additional products
  • Personal projects, work I haven’t had time to do these past months, and generally working on my to-do list

Among the many things for my company I haven’t had time to work on is new-product development.  I have so many ideas they are too many to tell ….. and until I’ve released them I’d rather keep them a bit of a secret.

Yeah, okay, there’s the quick update.  I’m in the kitchen & I have a little bit of stuff to turn out ….. and by ‘little bit’ I do mean only a little bit.

Tacos, Don

Sumer 2015

To put it lightly, WIBC has kept busy & kept me busy these past months.  In addition to supporting the shops & restaurants my products are carried in, most Thursday evenings and Saturday mid-days my company could be found at farmers markets.  On special occasions WIBC had the pleasure of appearing at a convention and a few annual events.

Farmers Markets – There is a pleasant number of markets on Whidbey Island, and WIBC participated in the Oak Harbor and Coupeville markets.  Similar to the product demos I’ve done at a couple of Island stores, it was great to connect with folks.  I enjoyed getting to introduce my products publicly and to talk about the direction of my company and my ideas for products – and often people would give me ideas for products, which was a real gift!  It was also through the farmers markets that I started giving a military discount.  Through this I get to help support the military, meet a lot of great people, and I get to say “Thank you for your service.”

Special Events – Bringing WIBC to various events was a considerable amount of work and it paid off in even more enjoyment.  The first experience was being both at the Coupeville Farmers Market while also being at a quilt show on the other side of town – I had a special tie-in because the show was hosted by one of my mom’s quilt groups.  I spent a weekend with my fellow sci-fi fans at Galacticon IV (a Battlestar Galactica & Firefly/Serenity science-fiction convention).  Soon following I was invited to bring WIBC to the Whidbey Island Highland Games – it was great to get to bring my products to one of my communities.  Toward the end of the season – last minute – I got WIBC registered to be a vendor at the Oak Harbor Music Festival.  Everyone came out for the great bands along with some sun & fun and more than enough rain.  I got to hear Willie Nelson’s son headline with his band – look out for a new star!

Summer 2015 proved to be a lot of work, and I’m already working on my list for 2016 events.

Okay, back to work.

Est. 1Dec2014