Nearly $700,00 and counting – UP, that is!
Keep your eye on this page. We have several new loans that were made in the last month throughout NC. Their stories are coming soon - like Heeks Farm, in Rougemont, NC who is expanding this year from one acre to three acres of production of winter vegetables. They received a Slow Money Loan to purchase a precision seeder and another walk-in cooler.
Massey Creek Farms in Madison, NC received funding to expand their livestock operation.
And you can read about some of the projects that still need capital on the Potential Slow Money Projects page.
Local Tempeh in Asheville
Shortly after getting laid off from her job as a secretary, something fortuitous happened in the life of Sarah Yancey – she had her first taste of fresh, handcrafted, unpasteurized tempeh. Yancey was hooked after the first bite, and thus Smiling Hara was born. Soon she was making thousands of pounds of tempeh per year out of the Blue Ridge Food Ventures kitchen and selling it to local restaurants and natural foods stores. Smiling Hara came to Slow Money NC in the fall of 2012, looking for help to expand their production so that they could retail their fresh tempeh in more locations (including Whole Foods stores) around the state.
Cotton Club 2.0
In early 2012, a number of Slow Money NC lenders came together to finance the harvest of the first certified organic cotton grown in NC, as catalyzed by the local visionaries at TS Designs. This cotton was turned in to apparel right here in North Carolina – like t-shirts, jeans, ties, and socks. They came back to us in January 2013, and another 5 local lenders funded their second harvest. We’re excited to be a part of this project, and are looking forward to even more organic cotton in the future!
An Italian Eatery in Pittsboro
After decades as a teacher, Donna Bianco was looking for a different way to make a difference in her community. Growing up in an Italian-American family, Donna had always been an avid cook and loved how good food had the power to bring people together. She opened Bella Donna’s Italian Restaurant in 2007, which quickly became a local favorite. Her space was small, however, and when the opportunity arose to purchase a building down the road (which was formerly a Pizza Hut) she jumped on it. This was a big project, however, and Donna needed all the help that she could get from her community. Donna was able to utilize a variety of resources, including Slow Money loans, to finance the purchase of their new building and renovations. Bella Donna’s plans to reopen in their new space in Spring 2013.
A Meadery in Pittsboro
After years of making mead in their home and winning awards for their creations, Ben & Becky Starr opened a commercial meadery in Pittsboro’s Chatham Mills complex. They had no idea, however, just how popular their Starrlight Meads would be! Ben & Becky came to Slow Money NC in 2012 looking for funding to increase their production capacity. Two local lenders provided them with the capital they needed to purchase more ingredients (like local honey), bottles, and additional equipment so that they could expand their wholesale distribution and make sure they never again run out of mead to sell. You can find their delicious beverages at their location in Pittsboro, and in several beer and wine stores around the state.
A Coffee Shop in Durham
Leon and Areli are a young couple with a self-declared obsession with coffee, chocolate, and tea. For the past year, they have been working to translate the success of their mobile unit, bikeCOFFEE, into a brick-and-mortar location from which they can showcase their wares. Cocoa Cinnamon has recently opened in downtown Durham, and Areli and Leon couldn’t be happier. This was made possible through community support from a variety of sources, including a successful Kickstarter campaign and Slow Money loans from a number of local lenders. Congrats!
More Chickens in Transylvania County
Michael and Casey Lance, owners of Calee’s Coop’s Farm, started their farm in 1998 as a hobby. Now they have 500 chickens and 15 hogs, and provide eggs and pork products to the local tailgate market and other retail outlets in Transylvania County.
Since demand for their eggs is greater than their supply, the Lances needed to expand with an additional coop. A Slow Money loan enabled them to build the coop and expand their flock right away to satisfy the growing demand for their products.
Honey Liqueur in Durham
When Rim Vilgalys and his brother first started making Krupnikas, a Lithuanian spiced honey liqueur, they never dreamed it would be so popular.
The story really begins and ends with what’s inside the bottle. Their recipe uses whole spices, North Carolina wildflower honey, and pure neutral grain spirits. The final product is 80 proof, or 40% ABV and has a delicious and complex flavor that appeals to almost anyone. As they say on their website, ”It’s strong, sweet, spicy, and smooth. It can make a black bear hibernate in early July. It can turn a bandit into a poet. It can even warm your cold, dark, cynical heart and make you happy those kids are tearing up your lawn on their dirt bikes.” Put simply, this is an absolutely delicious drink, which nobody is currently offering to US consumers.
After securing their start up funds with help from Slow Money lenders, finding a space, and receiving the myriad of permits necessary to produce spirits, The Brothers Vilgalys‘ Krupnikas is in ABC stores and bars around central NC.
A Skidsteer in Goldston
Tucker, the owner operator of Lilly Den Farm in Goldston, NC, has been farming since he was 15. He raises grass fed beef, lamb, chicken, and goat that he and his wife, Mackenzie sell at local farmer’s markets, and to local restaurants. He wants to keep providing quality products to the local community and hopefully expand production. For several years he has been renting a skidsteer, but as his farm grew he needed it more and more often. Then one day he found a used skidsteer for a great price and in great condition. A Slow Money loan meant he could purchase it quickly, which is making it much easier and more efficient to feed his cows and other animals, and to clean and maintain the farm and barns.
A Deck in Durham
Ninth Street Bakery in downtown Durham was one of the very first bakeries in NC to use organic flour from Lindley’s mill to produce European pastries like croissants and danishes. Now they have started brewing their own version of the fermented drink kombucha, that they call ‘Bull City Booch.’ It is available on tap, along with several beer choices and and hard apple cider, and it’s delicious! The cafe area is being expanded and they just installed a beautiful bar, made with red cedar from trees off of the owner’s land in Orange County. They are expanding their hours to be open till 8:00 or 9:00 PM, with an after hours menu to go along with the alcoholic beverages. Bluegrass and old timey music, open mics and more evening events are planned. Several Slow Money loans helped cover the cost of building their handsome new deck, to expand their seating capacity and provide a venue for music and arts events.
Biofuel Buses in Durham
Want to buy a bus? When Marc Dreyfors of Greenway Transit in Durham called to say Duke was unloading nine 32 passenger transit buses at a very good price, we all wanted one. We thought it would be fun to fill it with our local biofuel and run shuttles to our twice annual world music festival in Silk Hope.
Marc had another idea, actually two. One plan was to convert a bus to a mobile farmer’s market, and use another for local farm tours. He had talked about the farm tour idea with several local agricultural extension officers who have run tours with Duke students, and for NC State Agricultural Extension training programs. In speaking with farmers at the Durham Farmers market, Marc had found them whole-heatedly interested, and he already had a sign up list of folks who wanted to participate. Buses could leave from each farmers’ market in Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh and take riders on an farm/eco-tour. The farms could sell produce directly to tour participants, who would then stop to eat at a local farm-to-table restaurant. Cooking and ‘shopping the seasons’ lessons could be integrated, along with horticultural lessons. Farm tours could be extended to include wineries and artisanal food production operations, truffle groves and orchards. There are so many great ways to fill a day with local food entertainment!
In the hopes of getting one or both of these projects off the ground, a Slow Money lender came up with $5000 to cover one of the bus, and Marc is working on getting grant funding to up-fit it into a mobile farmer’s market.
An Urban Farm in Durham
Homegrown City Farms is our first Slow Money NC loan to an urban farm. Located on a 1/4 of an acre in East Durham behind a collection of interesting looking houses, are rows of raised beds with rich, dark, nearly black soil mounded high. A farm in the making, and a dream come true for Collier Reeves and Maryah Smith-Overman.
Their plans are for Homegrown Farm to serve a 15 member CSA and restaurants, serve as a meeting place for community workshops (free to the CSA members), and to be a model for intensive food production in urban areas. Collier and Maryah plan to integrate home vegetable garden design, installation, and maintenance services for the 2012 summer and fall seasons.
A Slow Money loan of $2000 will buy seeds and other supplies and support their mission is “to promote community food sovereignty, self sufficiency, and good land stewardship practices…..We hope to create meaningful work and provide the community with critically necessary services and products. Safe, healthy food!”
We’re sure they will!
A Bakery in Sanford
Mykal Harp makes amazing cupcakes. A recent transplant to NC, she started Dandalia Bakery, producing cakes, cookies, brownies, and her signature cupcakes from her Sanford, North Carolina home. She quickly outgrew that space and will soon move to a retail spot downtown. And she found the perfect industrial oven for her new kitchen, Abi’s oven (scroll down to Our sixth loan.) Having received a Slow Money loan to purchase this oven a year ago, it seemed only fitting to Abi that she make a loan to Mykal. Abi went from Slow Money borrower to Slow Money lender, and for $4000 Mykal got a nearly new industrial oven and a new friend.
Mykal and her husband are delighted to have signed the lease to open a store front at 1907 Bragg St (and Horner) in the Stadium Center Strip Mall in Sanford, NC. Soon fresh baked goods and coffee will be available EVERY DAY at her new Dandalia Bakery & Coffee House!! Maybe we can commission a special Slow Money NC cupcake!
Organic Cotton T-Shirts in Burlington
The press release went like this: “TS Designs announces financing from Slow Money NC to purchase the first certified organic cotton in North Carolina.” Exciting. Impressive. And it continued… Burlington, NC – Monday January 30, 2012
Last month the first certified organic cotton ever grown in North Carolina was harvested and ginned. With the support of Slow Money NC lenders, TS Designs will be able purchase and convert this organic fiber into yarn and apparel products in North Carolina. “This financing was critical to move this project ahead and keep the organic cotton fiber in North Carolina where it can best impact NC jobs, said Henry.” “Working with Slow Money NC was the logical financing source, local people loaning for local needs.” Now that the financing is secure the fiber will move to spinning with t-shirts and polo golf shirts coming out this summer. “By utilizing local organic cotton, manufactured in a local, transparent supply chain we will make the most sustainable apparel in the world,” said Henry.
The public is welcome to join TS Designs and Slow Money NC at a celebration on Monday evening at 5:30pm at Company Shops Marketplace Coop, 268 East Front Street, Burlington, NC.
And celebrate we did. Not only did TS Designs get the $30,000 they needed from five Slow Money lenders, so they could pay the farmers for their organic cotton – that 30k meant that Slow Money NC had facilitated over $500,000 in Slow Money loans in North Carolina. Bravo team! I’ll toast to that!
A Produce Truck in Chapel Hill
Part of rebuilding our local food economy requires moving that food around. LaTarndra Strong, owner of Allen Transportation in Chapel Hill knows about trucking. With the help of Slow Money NC she is purchasing a refrigerated trailer to transport produce and other food products throughout Central and Eastern NC. This will give small to medium sized local, sustainable farmers access to local markets that have traditionally been difficult to target. It’s a win/win for all. LaTarndra can grow her company responsibly and farmers can focus on what they do best – farming – knowing they have a reliable transportation partner. The businesses on the receiving end can now have easier access to locally produced food. And us eaters?
We get more fresh, local food – rather than faraway food aged by a lengthy shipping process. Watch for the grand opening of our Slow Money NC carrier serving Central and Eastern North Carolina’s local sustainable food producers.
Local Honey in Raleigh
Bees have always fascinated Alice. In the spring of 2010 she set up her first two beehives at her home garden in Raleigh and helped establish two more hives on the rooftop of a local restaurant. Last May she harvested her first batch of honey. It wasn’t until she had 80 pounds of honey sitting in buckets on her kitchen counter that she realized she had a business in the making – selling honey. Girl Honey is pure, raw, local, small batch craft honey sold locally at the Saturday Market at Rebus Works and by word of mouth to restaurants and individuals. 10% of honey sales are donated to the Beehive Collective, a Raleigh group that raises money for local non-profits.
In October, 2011, Alice heard Carol Hewitt give a presentation about Slow Money NC at Central Park NC’s Annual Gathering. Later, waiting in the beer line with local musician, Greg Humphreys and Carol’s mutual friend Jane Norton, creator of Our Community Green, they got to talking about bees, and a possible Slow Money loan to increase her honey business. Jane promptly volunteered to be her lender.
Alice worked out a business plan to increase her hives from the four she currently has to a full-fledged apiary, pollinator garden and honey business with thirty hives over the next two years and a budget of $5000. With her Slow Money loan, Alice can make lots of Girl Honey, using biodynamic beekeeping practices to raise the healthiest and happiest bees possible and offer the purest honey available. This may be our sweetest Slow Money NC loan yet.
Homemade Soups in Southern Pines
There is a special spot in downtown Southern Pines called Lula’s Cafe, and her specialty is soups. Roasted red pepper, portabello mushroom, carrot ginger. They are all good. In fact they are so popular, Lula now extra to package and freeze so her customers can take them home in quantity. And she is building her wholesale accounts.
Which that packaging, labeling, and a website come costs – and that’s where Slow Money was able to help. It wasn’t a big loan, but $1000 was enough to boost her take-out business and get her inventory up to supply the new wholesale business. Do you want Lula’s soups carried in a shop in your town? If it’s not too far away, you may be in luck. And if you’re in Southern Pines, you can get buy them fresh, and add a sandwich and salad as well!
Local Flour in Asheville
Jennifer came to one of very first Slow Money NC meetings in Pittsboro in 2010, all the way to from Asheville, several hours west. She had owned and operated her a bakery for 14 years, but now wanted to do something unique in the state. She wanted to mill local flours that you could trace right back to the individual farms, to produce “fresh, stone ground, whole grain and sifted flour– a flour whose vibrancy and quality will be recognizably local. For lovers of good bread, this means even better bread, and for the farmer and baker, it will mean a tangible level of security and sustainability.” We loved the idea and wanted to help her right away, but we were hardly getting started matching folks to lenders in our own area of NC, Chatham County. We offered to do whatever we could to be helpful, and we stayed in touch. She sent long emails, which evolved into a lovely newsletter, and we felt confident that, as difficult as it was, she was going to succeed. Given her timeline, we hoped to be ready with enough Slow Money followers in her area to at least fund the last several thousand dollars that she might need to get open in late 2011.
She pushed on, and “Carolina Ground, L3C,” was formalized. Jennifer and her group of bakeries “working to close the distance between the farmer, miller, and baker in the Carolinas through reviving the community mill,” had a location, equipment and grain ready to mill. She was just 15k short of turning on the switches. Now it was our turn.
In the last week of October, 2011, Carol traveled to Hendersonville and Asheville to speak to several groups interested in locavesting and local foods. And she asked for help for Carolina Ground. The response was overwhelming, and within days Jennifer had the last $15,000 she needed. She wrote about us in her blog. After jumping a few more high hurdles, the grinding began. This is an impressive beginning for the emerging mountain region of Slow Money NC!
A Food Co-Op in Pittsboro
On November 1st, 2011 we made our biggest loan by far – 398k for the Chatham Marketplace, our much-loved coop grocery store in Pittsboro, NC that sells lots of local foods. We called it “Bringing It Home Chatham” because that’s exactly what we did. Sixteen folks participated and reduced the coop’s monthly loan by a third. This was the first project of it’s kind and we hope to do many more of them.
Meat from Chatham County
It is always a pleasure to find Mackenzie and Tucker and their children at the Saturday Chatham Marketplace Farmer’s Market, amidst their locally grown, naturally raised Lilly Den meat from their farm in Goldston. For over three years Lilly Den Farm has been producing a variety of quality meats and selling them in local Chatham County farmers markets, restaurants, and businesses. Part of their feed comes from spent brewers grain from the Carolina Brewery, local cows on a local food diet. Tucker likes breeding, raising and selling beef and chicken. He’s also passionate about his herd of dairy show calves, heifers, and cows. He takes them to cattle exhibitions across the country with his four-year-old son, Dennet, and three-year-old daughter, Lilly.
Meanwhile, the meat production at Lilly Den Farm has been growing and required new labels on all of the meat packages to meet health department regulations, and to better inform customers of what they were buying. These nice new labels meant a one-time cost of $500 and made for a perfect small Slow Money loan. This time the lender chose to be paid back with a $500 gift card at Chatham Marketplace. Over several months that amount will be deducted from the money that the store would be paying Lilly Den Farm for chicken and beef. Isn’t that convenient? It’s a win for everybody all around, and another “first” for Slow Money NC, as we keep finding innovative ways to finance our local foodshed.
A Produce Stand in Tarboro
Aaron Carpenter has been selling produce, and some fresh NC shrimp, at various locations in Edgecomb County for about eight years. Some he grows in his home garden, and some he buys from other farmers to sell three days a week at the Tarboro Farmer’s Market, the weekly Down East Partnership for Children Farmer’s Market Day, and the monthly Heritage Hospital Farmer’s Market Day. But those only happen from April to November. Selling locally produced food year-round in North Carolina without indoor space is a challenge. Aaron has a building on his property that, with some work, could store jams, jellies, honey, peanuts, and a refrigerator for winter produce like collards, kale, turnips & sweet potatoes. And that would provide him with locally grown food to sell year round.
We met Aaron the first night we visited Tarboro in June 2011, and he spoke to us about his desire to expand his business. When his loan application for funds to renovate that building arrived a few months later, we were able to connect him with a lender in the Rocky Mount area. He needed $2500 to upgrade wiring, add heat, insulation and plenty of shelving, and do some advertising. And he got it.
Those of us who want to eat locally as much as we can, and not just in the summer, appreciate Aaron’s commitment to increasing our access to good, local food through the winter months. The 2011 Tarboro Farmer’s Markets are over, but you can still find Aaron at 1209 East Northern Blvd., Tarboro, NC. Call and schedule a time go by and say hi, (252-823-4080) buy something local, and tell him the folks at Slow Money NC send their fond regards.
Building a Farm in Cedar Grove
Alfred is possibly the most industrious person we’ve ever met. He started baking bread and selling it at the Eno River Farmers’ Market, while he getting a working farm started in Cedar Grove. Because of hurricane threats to his house in Galveston in 2006, he had brought his family to NC, escaping the flooding the house received in 2008. Right away away he started planting things. Like trees – 19 apples, 5 pears, 6 figs, 3 jujubes, 2 edible timber bamboos. Then 3 varieties of blackberries, 130 asparagus plants, 30 muscadine grapes, as well as walking onions and chile pequin peppers. And he put up four water collection containers that can collect and store 1000 gallons of water. When he came to us for Slow Money for an irrigation system to get that water to the fruit trees we were glad to help him find $1200.
Now he plans to add mayhaws, medlars, quince, pears, peaches, plums, and some more apples. Plus elderberries, blueberries and raspberries. And all this with minimal machinery, since he lacks a tractor. Once the farm is established he intends to develop a farm-nursery business, and propagate plants to sell. Because Alfred know a tremendous amount about plants. He has a PhD in plant biology and his wealth of information is becoming a great resource to our farming community.
When he came back for another loan to build a solar greenhouse his timing was excellent. We had just had a pledge from a couple in Hillsborough, which is just up the road from his place. They all met and loaned him $1000 toward that project.
With the greenhouse comes three types of palms that survive in the Piedmont, ornamental succulents, like Kalanchoe, other cacti, agaves and Aloe spp., a long list of herbs, and starts for tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables to sell at the farmers market.
Fancy chickens are coming later, and the bees are already in place for honey and pollination. Industrious is an understatement. If you get a chance, go meet Alfred and talk plants. It’s fascinating. Galveston’s loss has certainly been central NC’s gain.
A Bakery in Apex
Jackie initially called Slow Money NC to talk about her plans to open a bakery. She was looking for 40K and at the time that was way out of our league. A few months later she called again. Jackie had tracked down that 40K, and started “Sweet Cheeks, Heavenly Baked Goods.” She was selling her cakes to Whole Foods, brownies to Ben & Jerry’s, and had built a strong following of loyal customers. And she had outgrown her 26 quart mixer and needed a bigger one, and had found a used 80 gallon Hobart mixer in Florida at a great price.
This was our first loan request in Wake County, and we had a lender from Raleigh ready and waiting to make a Slow Money loan. $4600 covered the mixer and shipping. Jackie is back filling orders for Southern Pecan Pie with Bourbon Vanilla, Classic Butter Pound Cake, Old Fashioned Buttermilk Pie, Sweet Potato Pie, Red Velvet Cake and much more. And she’s plotting to have a storefront in Holly Springs where she can retail her cakes, pies and cookies, and serve coffee and donuts as well. But for now you can order from her directly. Everybody deserves a fabulous birthday cake – even you!
A Butcher Shop in Tarboro
Crystal and James Bullock, both third generation farmers, had been working to get a butcher shop going for two years, purchasing on credit, and accumulating debt in a variety of places. What they really needed was a way to consolidate all their various creditors into one affordable loan. But, how? They put the solution in the hands of God, hunkered down and kept working. They found a great space a few miles west of downtown Tarboro that would do perfectly for the butcher shop with plenty of room for shelves of local pickles, jams and chow chow, and they named it the Blazen Cattle Company. Now they just needed funds.
On July 23rd, 2011, Crystal and James got their miracle. A friend invited them to a talk about Slow Money NC where they met a physician from Rocky Mount who was looking for ways to invest locally. She loaned them $5000 and they have been filling the shelves and coolers of their farm market and butcher shop ever since. If you’re ever East of Raleigh, make sure you stop by. The thick cut bacon alone is worth the trip.
Free Range Chickens in Pittsboro
Patrick Walsh’s customers at the Carrboro Farmer’s Market like everything about his Castle Rock Gardens free range chickens…except one thing. They play hard to get. With a production of 1000 broilers a year, Patrick routinely runs out of chickens to sell at the market long before the customers stop asking for them. His Slow Money loan will change that by affording him the opportunity to increase his production to 4000 birds, and result in many more happy customers. His three acres of production will also continue to provide them with vegetables, fruit, and a couple of hogs in the fall.
We visited Patrick on a sunny February day. Fluffy white Cornish Crosses pecked happily at the ground cover. They would be ready for market in about two weeks. 150 week-old chicks huddled under lights in their mobile chicken coop. In a few more days they would be investigating their fenced in corner of the farmyard, filling themselves up on sunshine and bugs and whatever they could forage.
It was a happy place and we are delighted to be part of the expansion of this friendly, local, sustainable farm.
Gluten-free Bakery in Pittsboro
Abigail Wilson comes from a long line of Chathamites. Her father, or grandfather, has probably served as the dentist to a large percentage of our eater’s teeth.
When she came back to Pittsboro after completing her degree at the University of North Carolina, she decided to open a gluten free bakery. Abi writes, “Accessibility to food drives the creation of this business. Just because a simple allergy eliminates wheat from your diet doesn’t mean you should never have a brownie again! Instead of focusing on the restrictions imposed by allergens, Abilicious Bakery celebrates healthier available options.” Abi arranged to move in with the people of the Center for Natural Medicine in downtown Pittsboro, which already had a commercial kitchen available.
Abi had the plan. And the kitchen lined up. What she needed was some patient capital. Carol introduced her to a potential lender in the cafe of Chatham Marketplace. Abi brought heart shaped gluten free cookies. She left with $5000.00 to buy an industrial oven and launch her business. Two weeks later, a second investor loaned an additional $2000.00 for her mixer. She got busy filling orders, selling at local Farmer’s Markets and built an appreciative, very loyal following. [2012 update - Abi closed her business at the end of 2011, and made her own Slow Money loan to another baker for the purchase of her oven. She is moving on, to another part of the state, there's a wedding being planned, and we wish her all the best. Luckily for her customers, Angelina will still be making several of her products and offering them in her Pittsboro restaurant, Angelina's Kitchen.]
Poultry in Goldston
Kelly Brott runs Yknot Farm in Goldston, North Carolina. Goldston is on the southern edge of Chatham County. And she has a list of capital requirements as long as your arm. Kelly graduated from Central Carolina Community College’s Sustainable Agriculture program, and has been raising chickens and pigs and goats for awhile now. She keeps a llama to protect her goats. She sells a lot of her meat through the legendary CSA down in Southern Pines.
So we went down with her to Southern Pines and met with several local food enthusiasts at Hunter Stovall’s office on Valentine’s day, and Kelly made her case. She wanted to buy 150 chickens and 60 ducks along with the feed and supplies to bring them to market. What she needed was $1500.00. And that’s what she had by the end of the evening. The people who are accustomed to getting her chicken in their CSA boxes are now helping to finance their operation. Eaters lending to producers. There’s an idea. Pastured poultry that lives instinctual lives will continue to make it to the dinner tables of Southern Pines.
After the loan was struck, Kelly sent out an email to the group. Here is what she said, “Your financial support indicates to me how serious the local community is in supporting small, local businesses and in providing consumers with healthier food choices than what is available through current mainstream options. Knowing I have the backing from individuals who push the envelope of change in their environment like yourselves makes my resolve stronger in making my sustainable, grass/forage raised meat business more than just a fleeting opportunity.” Perfect. That’s exactly what Slow Money is supposed to be about.
A Cheese Shop in Durham
Patrick Coleff is the creator of the Reliable Cheese Company in downtown Durham, the one and only place in the Triangle to get the level of service and quality one would expect from a Paris fromagerie. Patrick wrote in his Slow Money application, “Our nationally celebrated food scene has been calling out for a cheese shop of this level and, until now, no one has adequately answered that call. We believe our shop will become a destination, drawing people interested in good food from all around the triangle. Our customers are people who are no longer simply be satisfied by a cheese that is free from hormones or “all natural”. They want one that is produced using traditional methods (some dating back thousands of years), from the milk of well cared for animals, and shaped by the hands of real people, not machines.” The shop offers easy access and parking, his cheeses are extraordinary, and his selection of local cheeses is unsurpassed. He raised a bunch of money for this project. $3000.00 came from a Slow Money lender.
[Update: Reliable Cheese's retail location closed in October, 2012. Patrick hopes to continue being a part of our local food scene. We have a feeling we'll be hearing a lot more from him in the future.]
A Vegan Bakery in Chapel Hill
Stephanie Perry and her team started Sweeties Vegan Eats and Treats, a bakery and catering service in the Chapel Hill area specializing in vegan, Southern style soul food. Their first, and very delicious, creation was a Vegan Apple Cider Donut featuring regional ingredients and marketed through local restaurants and private orders. The donuts are featured at the Coffee Barn at the twice annual Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance in Silk Hope, NC and are always a big hit. Stephanie, and her partners, Damita and Kim, are working hard on various new recipes, and on building up their customer base. Watch for them at a local farmers’ market, or contact them directly. We were proud to help get started with a $1000.00 Slow Money loan.
A Greek Restaurant comes to Pittsboro
Our second loan went to Angelina, of Angelina’s Kitchen, a wonderful Greek restaurant in Pittsboro, NC. Angelina got her start in the area as a caterer and we were all soon asking, more like begging, for her to open her own restaurant. When a spot opened up a few blocks west of the courthouse she moved in and offered take-out, and catering services.
When the space next door also became available, with the help of her husband, John, they expanded and added a seating area. Capital required? $6000.00.
I am not sure which makes Angelina happier, making and serving delicious, healthy Greek food to loyal and grateful customers, or using fresh, local ingredients purchased from her area’s sustainable farmers to do so. Either way, we all win. She is often a farmer’s last stop on their way home from the farmer’s market, and she is happy to take what didn’t sell and turn it into the daily special. The Slow Money project was pleased to help Angelina find lenders to make low-interest loans that meant this exciting expansion was a bit easier to do. Because strengthening farm-to-kitchen relationships makes for a more resilient food shed, and that’s our goal. Indoor seating also means more time spent listening to the happy sounds emanating from Angelina’s kitchen, and more time with friends eating deliciously prepared local foods. Angelina’s enthusiasm, her zest for life, and for good food, are contagious. For location and hours, check out: Angelina’s Kitchen!
Our first loan!
Our first loan went to Lynette Driver, a talented local baker. Lynette produced over a hundred loaves of bread for a local CSA, and received rave reviews. She needed money to buy a massive mixer, racks and some other baking gear. Lynette’s loan was for $2000. She borrowed the money in the spring of 2010, and paid it off by the spring of 2011, without missing a beat along the way. We like Lynette. We liked buying, and eating her homemade bread. And we like helping new bakers come to our community.