Gorge Grown, Next Door aid food entrepreneurs

Gorge Grown Food Network, in collaboration with Nuestra Comunidad Sana (a program of The Next Door, Inc.), organized a recent event for Spanish-speakers interested in opening food businesses.

Starting a food business is no easy task. Several local successful business owners offered their time to come talk to other Spanish-speakers about their food-based businesses recently at the Hood River County Fairgrounds’ Community Building.

Each panelist shared their story of what it took to get started and the struggles and successes they have had along the way. They also answered questions from an enthusiastic audience.

Dan Thall, co-owner of Hood River Organic, talked about their business model and how it has grown into a thriving community supported agriculture operation (sometimes known as farm shares or CSAs) that runs year-round and sources some of their offerings from a number of local farms.

Thall shared tips on cleaning and storing vegetables to maintain freshness and to increase shelf life.

Sylvia Delgadillo grew up in a family that ran a food business. Her parents still own and operate La Mexicana market on the main street in Odell so it was a natural progression for her to open her own food business.

Tropic Fruit a la Mexicana, which is located inside Juanita’s market on the Heights in Hood River, opened in August 2012. As the owner, Delgadillo makes a variety of reasonably priced fruit dishes that represent specialties from almost every state in Mexico. All the dishes are made fresh on a daily basis and Delgadillo is happy to tailor each delightful dish to suit customer’s tastes.

Lucio Matias and his family run Chicken & Teriyaki located at 1314 12th St. on the Heights in Hood River, OR. While visiting their daughter in Hillsboro they realized that there were no teriyaki places in the Gorge. They were inspired to give it a try.

The name of this restaurant is only the beginning of what you will find on their menu. While there are several varieties of teriyaki dishes available, there is also a full menu of Mexican specialties. The dishes are created to be fresh, low in fat, and offered at prices that won’t break your pocketbook.

Humberto Calderon, owner of Novedades El Portrillo on the Heights in Hood River, shared his story of working two jobs and fighting to save every penny he could so that he could make his dream of having his own store a reality. His words of wisdom were, “Don’t give up and give it your all.”

Gorge Grown Food Network and The Next Door, Inc. seek to support aspiring and established food and agricultural businesses by connecting them to the resources they need to be successful, financially sustainable businesses.

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For more information contact Gorge Grown Food Network at 541-490-6420 or gorgegrown.com.

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