Plate Local Expo puts local businesses, buyers together

 

HARRINGTON — Although the intention of the Plate Local Matchmaking Expo was to bring local suppliers and businesses together to make connections, John Carter, a retired Milford farmer who’s worked for Fifer Orchards in Camden-Wyoming for 8 years, was taking the opportunity to share some secrets on how to best enjoy the orchard’s famous apple cider doughnuts.

“If you ever buy a package and don’t finish them, wrap them in saran wrap and throw them in the freezer,” Mr. Carter said. “When you want a quick desert, take them out and cut them like you would a bagel and throw them in the toaster. After they’re nice a warm, serve them with some ice cream and caramel syrup on top and they’re delicious.”

The second annual Plate Local event featured food industry buyers, restaurateurs, local vendors and suppliers at Harrington Raceway and Casino on Monday. The free expo, targeted at people in the food industry, was built to acquaint those who buy and those who sell in the food industry in central and southern Delaware. This year, the event was expanded to include suppliers, producers and buyers from Sussex County, as well.

“The event is a great opportunity to try to make business connections,” said Mr. Carter. “We started using some products from State Janitorial Supply Company last year because we met them here and got to talking.”

Fordham & Dominion Brewing Company’s regional sales director Brittney Thomas pours a sample of their beer at the second annual Plate Local Matchmaking Expo. Fordham & Dominion has had a booth at both expos.  Delaware State News/Ian Gronau

Fordham & Dominion Brewing Company’s regional sales director Brittney Thomas pours a sample of their beer at the second annual Plate Local Matchmaking Expo. Fordham & Dominion has had a booth at both expos.
Delaware State News/Ian Gronau

Dover brewer Fordham & Dominion Brewing Company also made its second appearance at the expo.

“We like to come out and support anything local, especially here at Harrington Casino because they have our beer on draft,” said Brittney Thomas, Fordham & Dominion’s regional sales director.

Last year’s expo drew about 26 vendors and 60 food industry professionals. Although an official count hadn’t been taken as of Monday, Kent County Economic Development Director Jim Waddington said the numbers were headed in the right direction.

The growing event is the product of a partnership that includes Harrington Raceway & Casino, Kent County Economic Partnership, Visit Southern Delaware, Central Delaware’s Chamber of Commerce, Kent County & Greater Dover’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, Delaware Electric Co-op, and i.g. Burton.

“The event started out in the Kent County Economic Development office’s food innovation district,” said Hank Rosenberg, chief operating officer of hospitality for Harrington Raceway & Casino. “This year we expanded to get Sussex County’s tourism department involved and we’re working with the Delaware Restaurant Association, too.”

Making his second appearance at the expo, John Carter of Fifer Orchards shares a shot of fifer’s apple cider. Mr. Carter says the expo is a great place to make business connections, and spread the word about Fifer’s products.  Delaware State News/Ian Gronau

Making his second appearance at the expo, John Carter of Fifer Orchards shares a shot of fifer’s apple cider. Mr. Carter says the expo is a great place to make business connections, and spread the word about Fifer’s products.
Delaware State News/Ian Gronau

Part of Mr. Rosenberg’s involvement is a personal mission to support local businesses that he started at the Harrington Raceway & Casino five years ago.

“We decided that we wanted to start an initiative to really push out into the community and develop a bigger presence,” said Mr. Rosenberg, “We figured the best way to do that was with our buying power. We started sourcing out local vendors like farmers, butchers and dairies. Since then, we’ve been able to expand our effort, and last month we did $57,000 worth of business in the community with local suppliers.”

For questions about future events, contact Jim Waddington or Rose Wurzel at the Kent County Economic Development Office at james.waddington@co.kent.de.us or 678-3028.

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.