I’m Michael Adams. I own Green Mountain Mustard in the beautiful town of Richmond, VT. I’ve been growing Green Mountain Mustard for 6 years and my product is currently sold in 150 stores around New England. Plus, we sell online and at events and fairs across the Northeast.
This isn’t my first food business.
When I was 15 years old, I launched my first food business, Adams’ Cookie House. I made chocolate chip cookies and sold them in front of a hair salon downtown. After I earned a couple hundred bucks for the summer, I wanted to do something else. I launched an energy bar company as a senior in high school – Eddie’s Energy Bars (named after my Dad). We were producing 500 energy bars a weekend in my parent’s house.
And it failed.
Eddie’s Energy Bars had a 2-week shelf-life. Plus, I was taking over my parent’s house. It was crazy. I even gave my Mom carpel tunnel. I shut the company down at the end of 2010 and re-invested the cash in the bank (about $8k) into starting Green Mountain Mustard.
This time around, I was going to grow this food business differently.
Green Mountain Mustard was first made by my Dad and I – a whopping 12 jars at a time. We were selling at farmer’s market and in a couple of retailers. The feedback was awesome. So we scaled up.
I started co-packing my product in 2010 – just after graduating. It was a nightmare and I learned a lot. Currently, we work with a much smaller co-packer in northern Vermont who is much more of a partner than our first “partnership”. I can tell you all kinds of stories if you’d like. To sum it up: I burned through that $8,000 in a matter of weeks.
What’s going on now?
Green Mountain Mustard is growing like wildfire. And I’m writing about it on the Gredio blog – raw, transparent experiences I have on the road, in production, and marketing my tiny mustard company.
Do you need help starting your food business?
I can help! Please keep in mind, I run my own business, too. But, I’m more than willing to help you grow your own food business – from costing to packaging and operations, I’ve done it all. Please email me to discuss consulting rates: email@example.com.
27 Comments on this post
on June 24, 2014 at 12:11 am -
Is Gredio still online? I’m getting errors with all the non-blog links…
Bites with Spice
on June 24, 2014 at 12:43 pm -
Gredio (the software) is up for another week or so. The podcast is being taken down and the blog will remain up.
on August 19, 2014 at 2:12 pm -
Wow Michael!!! Thank you so much for all the awesome information you’ve shared on this site! I really appreciated The 25 Mistakes guide. The post on pricing was very educational also! I really needed it! I was not adding in the cost of distribution because I am the “distributor”. But now see how that can lead to problems when I do need to look into finding a distributor while still trying to actually make money. I’m excited to read more posts! Thanks again for taking the time to share your knowledge and experiences. I wish you much success.
on August 19, 2014 at 6:13 pm -
Yay! So glad you’re finding everything helpful, Janet. Best of luck with your company!
on October 6, 2014 at 12:57 pm -
Hi Michael, Can you please let me know if there is a difference between your Kindle book compared to PDF version? One is 54 pages and one is 70 pages. Is it due to formatting? Just wondering because I want to purchase but if one has more info than the other, I want more info, LOL!! 😉
on October 6, 2014 at 1:42 pm -
Hi Viviana — yes, the difference is in formatting. The Kindle is a smaller page format so it’s perceived as longer. Same info, though! Thanks for asking!
on October 8, 2014 at 8:53 pm -
My one-woman business is starting to grow…and quickly. I am at a total loss for how to handle to next step of growth. I need to find a package designer who can print all necessary information on the box, without spending a lot of money. I have been quoted up to $.95 per box, which I cannot afford. Do you have a company you deal with that provides a great product without breaking the bank? I just don’t know where to start, and I can’t keep up production as a solo-preneur. HELP!
on October 10, 2014 at 9:49 pm -
Hey Angie! Thanks for your comment. Printed boxes at a great price are hard to come by. You have to order at least 10k to get a good price. I just read a post about Salazar Packaging http://www.salazarpackaging.com/ — maybe give them a call? Hope this helps!
Also, I looked at your product. You may be able to package in a paperboard tube or plastic tube. I’m not sure of your shelf life, but it could be cool packaging that differentiates you on the shelf.
on October 10, 2014 at 11:23 am -
i am small scale food processes in western new York I need your help to market my gluten free and vegan veggie burgers , please visit our web site and face book for more detail.
on October 10, 2014 at 9:44 pm -
Great product – they sound delicious! What can I help with?
on November 1, 2014 at 2:02 pm -
After realizing the needs of many new & small businesses we started Snack Foods Brokerage Firm. We are Co Packing finders for all your Bakery & Snack Foods Product lines from Fresh, Ready to Eat,
Package Goods, Shelf Stable,Thaw & Serve, Frozen Raw, Par Bake, Beverage Product lines, Sauces, Condiments, Bars, Savory Snacks, and Gluten free lines.
on November 1, 2014 at 2:06 pm -
Hey Ricardo! Thanks for the letting me know about your business!
on May 16, 2015 at 12:29 am -
Does this costing software not exist anymore?
on May 19, 2015 at 4:37 pm -
Unfortunately, we had to shut the costing software down. To remedy the situation, I have a free Google Doc I send out that helps you calculate basic food product cost:
Hope that helps! — Michael
on November 4, 2015 at 7:07 pm -
First off let me start off by saying your website is tremendously helpful and I learn something every time I visit it, thank you. So I’m trying to start my own sauce business and I’m at the R&D stage with a food tech for my product but the shelf life is really hard since I’m trying to go preservative free.
My question is this in your professional opinion how concerned is the general demographic about preservative included products if the flavor is good? I don’t want to end this project as an expensive hobby and I want to get into retail stores but preservative free is really hard to work with at this point.
Thanks for your help
on November 4, 2015 at 9:43 pm -
So glad you’re getting value from my posts, resources, etc. What type of sauce or you making? I would avoid preservatives if you can. With that being said, you could use tartaric acid or citric acid if it’s an acidified food – those are considered natural by Whole Food’s standards. If you have any questions, feel free to email me — michael [at] gredio [dot] com.
on November 5, 2015 at 7:23 am -
Thanks for the quick response. I’m currently working on a ginger based salad dressing that contains raw vegetables instead of heat pasteurized vegetables. My ph lab test is at 3.6 so it is acidic due to the vinegar but ground/root based raw products are hard to work with (unless I go through the HPP process which adds more to my cost). With that being said I’m also looking into natural preservatives myself but I wanted to get your opinion because a shelf life of 1 year is more flexible in terms of sales than a shelf life of 3-6 months.
Thanks for your response,
on November 5, 2015 at 10:52 am -
Hi Taiga — in that case, refrigerated may not be awful. Sure, a year is more flexible, but there are plenty of people who sell refrigerated salad dressings. It just needs to be supported with demoing, good branding, and the right product placement to be successful.
on May 24, 2016 at 7:49 pm -
Great site, but I can’t see any updates. Are you still in business? I am involved with Flavor Fanatics In Store Marketing business in CA and just about to launch software service for food demo coordination. Where can I find information about advertising on your site?
on May 25, 2016 at 11:42 am -
I will email you separately about advertising on the site. I write 1-2 blog posts per month and plan to launch a video series soon, too.
on July 24, 2016 at 10:08 pm -
I’m in the process of launching an all purpose food seasoning. Feedback in general seems to be very positive, most people really like it. My thought was to give out as many sample packs as I can. Online, locally, facebook, etc. My cost would be like $0.25 if I don’t ship them and was thinking for that price, I should be giving out as many as I humanly can. If even 25% of those turn into an order, I’m thinking that would be very well marketing dollars spent since those customers would now be repeat customers, tell their friends, family, etc. Hopefully, word of mouth continues to grow & pour. All assuming most people really like it and feel like they want to tell everyone they know.
Thoughts? I have a lot of ideas in my head and I will know in the next few weeks how it will turn out but was hoping you had some insight.
on July 25, 2016 at 10:06 pm -
Thanks for your comments. I’d say you should give away a ton of samples considering it costs next-to-nothing to get out there. However, your 25% conversion rate is not realistic. It’s more like 3-5% if you’re lucky…. Nice job on building your Amazon presence, too — looks like a great product and best of luck!
on October 3, 2016 at 9:48 pm -
Please contact me via email or Skype, I would like to propose a partnership that makes sense – aligned with what you do.
on October 5, 2016 at 3:22 pm -
I will email you directly. Thanks,
on January 10, 2017 at 7:06 pm -
I bought your Food Startup Business Course about a month ago and I still haven’t received an invite to FB group page. Please send me an invite. Thank you and Happy 2017!
on January 10, 2017 at 10:05 pm -
I will email you a link. Sorry for the confusion.