Our business is a small, family-run farm (producing chicken and duck eggs) and a cottage kitchen making a lot of yummy things in Mason jars. We have been selling these foods online and in person at farmer’s markets for the past two years. I am the cook and business person, Joanne helps cook when she’s home from college, and Evan and Felix are the muscle, setting up the booth and moving our heavy products. Felix is getting good at helping customers find the sweet or savory treat that’s right for them and is learning how to conduct retail transactions. We are building a new web store that will allow us more flexibility, including serving our local customers with convenient pickup, and we are going to open a retail location alongside our new commercial kitchen so that customers will be able to find us seven days a week, rain, snow, or sunshine all year round. I started the business during the early days of the COVID lockdown, taking a lifelong survival skill learned from my great-grandmother and grandmother, canning food at the peak of its ripeness and availability for eating later. I was laid off from my technical job at the start of the pandemic and needed to help support my family (and feed them!) People have responded very well to our fresh approach, recipes old and new that you can’t find at the grocery store, and quality ingredients.
I’ve been making jams, marmalades, and other canned goods for over forty years. COVID brought my daughter home from Smith College, and volunteering at the food bank gave us 100 pounds of oranges. “Let’s make marmalade!” Then Joanne said, “Let’s sell it on Etsy,” and we got half a dozen orders the first weekend. Dory Dozens Delights was beginning! We decided it might be a real business when we sold out of almost everything I’d made for the Holistic Homestead two-day Labor Day Farmer’s Market, where we made $1000.
Since July 2020, the business has grown to 650 mail-order customers and another 200+ local customers, many of them clamoring for my locally-sourced jams, marmalades, chutneys, and other products. We want to add some products which are not all allowed under the Colorado Cottage Foods Act to our selection. I believe in doing things the right way, legal and safe, and so the search for a commercial kitchen was on!
It took almost a year, but I have found a wonderful small restaurant six miles from home with a great kitchen, a clean sunny retail space, and fantastic drive-by traffic. Now I just need to finish many of the legal, technical, and mechanical things needed to move me from a cottage kitchen in my home to a well-educated, completely-legal food manufacturer and retailer.
I believe in using the freshest, local ingredients whenever possible, supporting other small businesses, and cultivating relationships. I hope you will help us expand our vision to make great food for as many people as we can by supporting our move to the Dory Dozens Market in Central City. This will also help increase the availability of fresh, quality food in Gilpin County, formally designated a “food desert” because we have no grocery store.