Free-Range Kitchen: A Culinary Incubator and Commercial Kitchen

Bridgett Crews and Krista Keithly, the ladies responsible for the awesome Hilltop Pop Shop, have another venture started early this year.  Free-Range Kitchen, a culinary incubator located on Tacoma’s 6th Avenue, is a way for small food businesses to get started in a relatively low-risk way. It’s a pretty cool idea, and one that was needed in the South Sound.

It was an idea born from necessity. Bridgett and Krista needed a permanent place to produce their local, organic fruit popsicles for Hilltop Pop Shop. They also wanted to share the knowledge they’ve learned from their own food business, while fostering a sense of community.

Free-Range Kitchen is more than just a commercial kitchen. Upon first meeting Bridgett and Krista, I was immediately impressed with their passion and dedication to the community and desire to help small food businesses become successful.

The concept: Free-Range Kitchen creates an low-cost opportunity for fledgling food businesses to start up and learn the business, as well as a commercial kitchen in which to produce their food or products. Businesses utilize the commercial kitchen part-time, and many sell their goods at local farmers markets.

Starting a food business is often a daunting process. There’s insurance, licenses, food handler’s cards…and that’s all before you can begin doing what you actually love, cooking or producing a food product. Then you add up the equipment costs to get started, rent for a production space, and you get the idea. It’s expensive and can be confusing for new business owners.

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Breakfast at Babblin’ Babs Bistro

If you’re looking for a gourmet, one-of-a-kind breakfast or brunch in Tacoma, look no further than Babblin’ Babs Bistro in the Proctor District. Their menu is a pleasure to read through, and gets your appetite going with the detailed descriptions and unique culinary combinations. Owners William and Shannon Mueller bring elevated food to a family dining experience, and breakfast is available all day on weekends.

It was a hard decision for my husband, who loves a sweet breakfast. The “Basse Busting Buttery Banana Butterscotch Bacon Bliss” ($15) caught his eye, with fresh banana waffles, butterscotch, homemade vanilla gelato and crumbles of pancetta. He ended up ordering “The Italian Swine Meets the French Pig Sandwich” ($15), with pancetta, pepper bacon, custard eggs, tomatoes and gouda in fresh baked naan bread. Yes, you read that right — naan. It’s a fun take on a breakfast sandwich, paired with either their nicely spiced home fries or sweet potato hash. It’s quite a hearty portion, and I didn’t think he’d be able to finish it, but in his words, “he couldn’t resist the harmony of flavors”. (I might be rubbing off on him a little too much. Do I sense a food writer in the making?) Continue reading →

Two Local Business’ Kickstarter Campaigns: Purdy Organics and Infinite Soups

Kickstarter can be a great way for a small local business to fund its goals. Take, for instance, the campaign to save the Blue Mouse Theater, which raised over $84,000. Or the Kickstarter for Tacoma Artist Playing Cards, by Tacoma Makes, which raised over $20,000.

Two more local Tacoma businesses have Kickstarter campaigns in progress — and they’re both delicious: Purdy Organics and Infinite Soups.

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