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Side Dish: New-edibles hatchery




Yes, I'm going to talk about the folks at Gotta Love It! Market ( again. It's totally their fault, not mine.

We told you back in September how the business had moved from Colorado Avenue to a larger location at 1625 W. Uintah St., Suite K, transitioning into more of a shared commercial kitchen and commissary hub than market. But now, co-organizer Jerry Downing has added a whole new element to the space with the formation of Vision Foods, essentially a co-pack facility (and separate LLC, for the record) that allows virtually anyone to bring a food product out of conception and into the marketplace.

Geoff Hyche of Blake's Ugly Dawg Salsa co-owns Vision Foods with Downing and uses the house equipment to bottle his product for sale at 14 Whole Foods locations, four Denver-area Tony's Markets and other specialty stores.

"We have set our sights on taking and building others' food-product dreams," says Downing. "Our equipment list has grown and has allowed us to help others produce their vision. [We're] just trying to build the local food base one small business at a time."

Downing references R.D. Sharp Yard Sauce, brainchild of a client who came by with a label sketch and recipe for a barbecue sauce that he'd dreamed of seeing in stores. Downing helped Sharp do everything from cost out jars and ingredients to create and print professional, market-ready labels with bar code and nutritional requirements. Days later, Sharp walked out of Vision with 56 cases of his sauce, ready to pitch retailers.

Other locals have been further along in their process, but still needed a co-pack facility from which to work. Vision provides an option closer than Denver. Plus, it's working to create contacts within area and national distribution chains. "It's about getting plugged into the right vehicles," says Downing. "There are around 140 independent grocery stores in Colorado [like neighboring Mountain Mama Natural Foods]. All these independent producers need to know is that it's not that hard to get your product into them ... I'd say if we play our cards right, Vision Foods will have to move out of here and into a much larger facility."

Two live brew

The prolific local brew blog, Focus on the Beer ( celebrates its second anniversary this weekend with two special events that should make any ironic mustache bristle with anticipation.

First, from 5 to 11 p.m., Saturday, Trinity Brewing Co. (1466 Garden of the Gods Road) will host a special anniversary tapping with rare beers provided by the likes of Crooked Stave and Strange breweries. It's no cover charge, pay-per-beer.

Sunday, Front Range Barbeque (2330 W. Colorado Ave.) hosts a $50, six-course Beer Bacon Breakfast. It already has a waitlist, but you can view the menu online for further evidence of bacon's universal pairing power.

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