Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bio-bags revisited

Remember that we are in the midst of switching to a new format for the blog.  And go to to sign up for the new networking site!   

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Vendor Hippo on the move!

All right!  So, the Hippo is beginning to look more like our vision.  The new blog will be up and going shortly but now we have an additional feature - a social networking site called the Vendor Hippo Network. 


Now you can add your profile, chat, add to the discussion or forum, share photos and videos easily, and lots more.

Now remember, this is still a work in progress but so far it looks great!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Website Development Update

Right now we are working on our new blog site. We are very excited and can't wait to launch it. We decided to start using Wordpress rather than Blogger. Now yes, this does mean a lot of extra work having to redo what we had already done. UGH! But, the important thing is to have a product that you can use and be proud of.
Also, if you have not checked out the interview between The Reluctant Eater and Food Concepts, Inc. be sure to go to our site and take a look. Ryan and I will be doing another shoot later this week up in Boulder at The Organic Dish!
On a final not today. Once the new blog is complete we will be starting our video series on "How to participate in Farmers Markets". Basically, we are going to walk folks through everything from insurance, applications and fees, how to choose a market, and even how to set up your booth. Should be a lot of fun so stay tuned!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Food Concepts Inc. Interview

On November 20th, 2008 Ryan Wanger "The Reluctant Eater" and Vendor Hippo visited Food Concepts Inc. in Lakewood, CO. Food Concepts is a food manufacturing company where small businesses who produce food products can take their business to the next level and have their products placed on store shelves.

Colleen Stephens, Food Concepts Sales Manager, was gracious enough to give us her time and a short tour of their factory. Below is a video of our visit.

If you are a food vendor and are considering taking the leap from the farmers' market to the grocery store you should give Colleen a call. Not only can she set you up with getting your product packaged but she also acts as a consultant and can answer any question you may have about how to get started. If you think the store shelves are out of reach, think again. Food Concepts makes is easy and affordable!

For more information contact Colleen Stephens at:


2545 Kipling Street

Lakewood, CO 80215


Also, I would like to give Ryan Wanger a special thanks for all his help. (He didn't know he was going to be in front of the camera until he showed up!) Thanks Ryan!

The Hippo

Editing videos - Food Concepts, Inc.

A couple days ago Ryan Wanger (The Reluctant Eater) and I visited Food Concepts, Inc. in Lakewood, CO. The sales manager Colleen Stephens was kind enough to explain the concept behind Food Concepts and even give us a little tour of the plant. I just happened to have my video camera along so I decided to put Ryan on the spot and do a video of the tour.

I am currently putting together the video - having a lot of fun with it but I am now realizing what it means to edit video. It's very detailed because you must deal with the whole thing second by second and try to make something interesting, informative, and somewhat entertaining at the same time. Seeing as how this is my first real attempt at editing a video it is taking me some time. I hope to have it up on the site later today.

Btw - Ryan was an awfully good sport considering he didn't know he was going to be in front of the camera. Thanks Ryan!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Community Garden Photos

Took some photos of the proposed area for the Henderson Community Garden. Below is one of the photos of the lot looking to the west. The ground is farily level and covered with only low level weeds. The usable are is about 120 x 60 feet.

Looking to the west from Dayton Way. Looking Southwest from the corner.

Check out more photos and details by clicking here More photos!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Community Garden update

Below is a photo of the proposed area for the community garden. You can see the area outlined in pink of course. The area inside the sidewalks is 120' x 60'. I am told there is already water available there so that would make life a bit easier.
The location is nice. It is close to the center of the Belle Creek Community and being just off Hwy 85 (you can see on the right side of the photo) it is easily accessible. Parking isn't too bad because there are two large parking lots just one block away.

One of the concerns from the community board is the appearance. What will the garden look like when it is up and working? Of course they want it to be as eye-catching as possible. If anyone out there is into landscaping perhaps we can take some suggestions - how would you design this garden?

Hmmm, that's an idea! Perhaps we could have a competition to see who can design the best garden?

Bio-bag update

Follow-up from earlier blog regarding the use of biodegradable and compostable bags

Basically this is a great idea but it costs too much. I would be great to see these kind of items in wide use at the farmers markets especially considering how many are given out each year. If you have any ideas or suggestions let us know.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New videos coming online

We are having a blast creating the new videos on the Hippo website. The new videos I am referring to are those going on the business solution pages (insurance, merchant services, review, etc.) These videos explain the services or programs. We hope that these short vids will allow visitors to get an idea of what the program is about without having to sift through all the text on the pages. Try as I might to make the pages about insurance and merchant services exciting they are still a bit.....well, dry. I'm not saying that seeing a video with me will get any one's heart racing but I think it is a step in the right direction. Perhaps also, the vids will give the site more of that 'interactive' feel . We hope to have several more up soon.

So far we have videos up on the Blog Room, the Hippo Review, and the Insurance pages. It is still somewhat of a struggle to embed the videos so some of them are simply links to our youtube or google video sites. They work just fine that way so it is not a big issue. Besides, I am still mastering the editing process and they may change as I improve. I have to say that some of this techno stuff is a lot of fun.

Anyway, check out the vids and let me know what you think. And yes, I am trying to 'liven' them up a bit.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Going green with the Hippo

What to do about all those bag?

So again, we are talking about helping the farmers markets go Green by using biodegradable and /or compostable materials for their trash bags, shopping bags, plates, bowls, etc. We need some feedback on this and may have to act quickly. Please send this to your friends who may need some of the products next year. Thank you! VH

Going Green

So, I just met with a gentleman about "100% biodegradable and/or compostable consumable plastics" and possibly using them at farmers markets. In the past I have had market owners ask if we could provide them with a "green" solution to the plastic bags currently being used at the markets.

One solution is of course to provide them with canvas bags or something like that. One issue with that is the cost - the material bags are expensive and most markets expect to be reimbursed for thier cost by selling them to the customers that visit their markets. Unfortunately, that has not caught on and any large scale as of yet. People are going to use plastic bags; the vendors, the customers, etc. because they are still cheap and easy.

Perhaps useing the biodegradable and/or compostable materials are an alternative. A market could still go green by using these items. They would pay more than using regular plastic but considerably less than using canvas or other materials.

I will talk to some of the market owners and get a feel for what they want and see if they believe it would be worth there time and money. But folks, we have to face the facts, we can't afford to keep using the products we have grown accustomed to. We are going to have to change and stop ignoring the problems.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Henderson Community Garden

Video shot at the corner of 104th Ave and Belle Creek Blvd in Henderson, CO.

If the community board decides they want to use this vacant lot as a community garden we need to start prepping the ground quickly before it freezes. Hopefully we could get to work before the end of November. We do need help and support however; everything from people willing to volunteer next year as far as local gardening experts, landscapers, and those who will be willing to use a shovel or a rake.

Click here to send an email to the Belle Creek Community Center. Drop them a line just to let them know you are interested in the project and would like to see it move forward.

Stay tuned to the Hippo for further developments.


A wise person once told me that to achieve your goals you must first look at what tools are available to you and then figure out how to reach your goal with those tools. In other words, you can't sit around and wait until you have exactly what you need or wait till the time is just right. Just do it!

So, I have been wanting to incorporate videos into the Hippo website. Using videos on the various pages to explain the business programs and services will help me connect better with our audience and also add a sense of interaction. The first one is at the top of the blog page for example.

Now my issue is that I am limited to a very old camcorder and a slightly outdated computer system which does not allow me to create high quality videos - at least not nearly what I had hoped for. But, as I said above, sometimes you just have to make do with what you have and stop waiting for the stars to align.

I will be creating videos for the different areas of the site as well as doing a video blog. Yes, the quality will be rather poor but perhaps in the future we can afford to buy some new stuff. I hope you enjoy them and please, if you have any suggestions or comments on them let me know.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Garden for 2009 going forward

We are moving forward with plans to start the community garden this week. It appears that if we are to be serious about this we must get started this year yet. According to some of the experts we are talking to we will have to break some ground no later than the end of November before the ground freezes.

It appears that our challenge right now is acquiring a water source. I will have to do some research but if anyone out there knows about this please let me know.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Gardening bloggers wanted

A great addition to the Hippo blog room would be a blog or 2 about community gardens; how to create them, how to use them, their benefits, costs, etc. If anyone out there is interested or knows of a good blog on the subject please let us know!

Hopefully, by the end of this week I will have met with the local community about the garden they want to start next year. I have already spoken to a couple of local experts and everyone seems very excited about the idea and ready to participate.