February 2016 ALAP Meeting Recap

The ALAP gang met for our February potluck meeting and heard a presentation from Ajeeka founders George and Tanya Witkowski.  Ajeeka comes from a Ukrainian recipe handed down through the generations and is a garden fresh, raw condiment made from premium red bell peppers, garlic and hot chili peppers.  It is currently available in two variants:  Original and Medium Hot.  A Hot version is also ready for production.  We sampled a variety of delicious foods crafted from Ajeeka-based recipes including spreads, dips, and dressings.

George and Tanya are looking at alternative routes to grow their family business and take it to the next level.  Ajeeka is currently produced in Leelanau County and retails at regional stores like Oryana and Oleson’s, various farm markets, and online via http://www.ajeeka.com. Although most of the ingredients are currently sourced from outside the region, the Ajeeka team is hoping to begin partnering with area farmers this spring.

Ajeeka already has a solid fan base and is close to maxing out its current production arrangement.  We shared ideas with George and Tanya on how they might further identify resources to help them expand into a larger facility, commercialize new products, and boost online sales.  For those who would like to learn more, please visit http://www.ajeeka.com or email George and Tanya at gwci@charter.net.

During the remainder of the meeting, we discussed the recent Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference where we networked with a table at the trade show.  Other recent awareness boosting initiatives include an upcoming article in the Oryana newsletter.  We also chatted about our future pipeline of presenters.  Our next meeting (Thursday, April 14) will feature presentations from Alice Brydges (alternative health business) and Rolf Von Walthausen (low income housing developments).   We continue to look for future presenters, so please keep spreading the word!