Les Dames D’Escoffier Cleveland Chapter at the Hildebrandt Building

By Erin Toohey Naso
Photos by Erin Toohey Naso and Elaine T. Cicora
Edited by Shara Bohach

What’s the best way to beat the January blahs? Head to a Les Dames d’Escoffier meeting for delicious food, spirited beverages and lively and interesting culinary conversation!

On a cold Tuesday evening, two dozen Dames brought their potluck courses and curiosity to the Hildebrandt Building – a former historic meat processing plant in the Clark Fulton neighborhood. Organized by Paula Hershman from Storehouse Tea (and tenant of the Hildebrandt), Dames got an up close and personal tour of the iconic building that is now home to artists and food entrepreneurs.

The Dames nestled into the community kitchen for presentations from three of our own business owners, Laura Adiletta, Shara Bohach, Paula Hershman and non-Dame (but Hildebrandt tenant) Molly Murray.

Laura Adiletta kicked off the spirited business presentations with her just-launched Farm Fare – a mobile marketplace for local foods and business management software for food hubs and small to mid-sized farms.

The online and app service aims to move agricultural product from farms to restaurants and retail stores through a logistic system that is cost effective and efficient.

Realizing that farmers spent nearly 40% of their time in deliveries, Laura and her team are looking to reinvent the supply chain by centralizing the product and streamlining the delivery process to allow farmers more time to do what they do best – farm!

Farm Fare takes sales through its online store and manages delivery, dispatching and loading for wholesale buyers and food hubs such as the Oberlin Food Hub.

Laura candidly shared the start-up’s trials and tribulations with a consistent eye and positive spirit on the future of her business.

Shara Bohach of Unity Design shared her thoughts on best practices for business branding. Derived from more than 17 years experience in designing logos and identity systems for clients in the culinary, health and beauty, medical and technology industries, Shara emphasized consistency is key in presenting and maintaining a brand.

Well beyond the typography and colors of a logo, an on-point brand is also reflected in how a company and its employees conduct itself.

Shara believes integral to building a brand is understanding the audience. She encouraged budding entrepreneurs and seasoned owners to understand what motivates the target market and tailor the message, while staying true to the brand promise.

Noting Starbucks and Whole Foods as examples of an integrated brand, she challenged Dames to determine what a brand should feel like – the promise, the name, the spirit – all being driving forces to the bottom line of a top of mind and trusted brand.

Along with her wisdom, Shara and Paula Hershman shared the identity system and gorgeous packaging of Storehouse Tea – which were designed by Unity Design.

Demonstrating a brand in action, Paula explained her company is as much about sourcing and hand-blending Certified Organic and Fair Trade teas and ingredients as it is about empowering women refugees to chart a path to creating a better life in America. The company employs refugee women from Rwanda and Iran to hand blend and produce the tea offerings and is committed to growing the company by staying committed to this same cause.

Storehouse Tea can be found in area restaurants, online, coffee shops, organic and health food stores, private label and in crates from specialty gift providers.

Molly Murray concluded the business presentations with her tour of the Wake Robin processing facility in the basement of the Hildebrandt. Wake Robin produces live, naturally cultured vegetables made in small batches using lacto-fermentation – or no heat preservation technique. Started with her father, the company is built on a triple bottom line concept: community, planet and profit.

That means livable wages for employees, zero waste through composting and recycling and efficient manufacturing techniques to provide consumers with a high-quality product at an affordable price all while keeping the business profitable.

Wake Robin produces nine products with five being flagship and four rotating offerings. Contracting with local farmers, Wake Robin hand processes organic cabbage, carrots, turnips, daikon and beets from Northeast Ohio farms and non-organic cucumbers and apples.

These fermented and probiotic products include Sauerkraut, Kickin Kimchi, Carrot Escabeche, Ruby Ruben, Garlicky Dill Cucumber Chips along with other seasonal flavors. Fermented products are growing in popularity as they provide access to fresh vegetables through the year delivering probiotic properties to allow the body to absorb nutrients better.

Wake Robin products are available for purchase at the West Side Market, Krieger’s, Mustard Seed, Heinen’s and various small shops in Northeast Ohio.

A big thanks to the Dames who organized and shared their delicious potluck items with the dynamic group.

Delicious loose leaf Certified Organic and Fair Trade flavors offered
by Storehouse Tea. Branding and packaging design by Unity Design.

Feasting in the community kitchen on potluck dishes.

Laura Adiletta from Farm Fare talks about the vision for the company.

Molly Murray from Wake Robin explains the impetus, business
model and other background on the father-daughter company.

Wake Robin deliciousness undergoing lacto-fermentation.