Tag Archives: June Taylor
The only time Susie Wyshak had parental sanction to play hooky from school was to go see Julia Child do a cooking demo; which is to say she grew up in a food-loving family in Los Angeles. So perhaps it is no wonder that, some years ago, she thought about launching her own artisanal food product.
She had fallen in love with forbidden black rice and started experimenting with roasting it to transform it into a crunchy, savory snack. But, right away, she faced seemingly insurmountable challenges; not least the fact that everyone thought it looked like mouse poop.
Wyshak was in the process of looking at roasting drums and considering having a co-packer produce it for her, when she realized the cost of getting the ingredients to the co-packer was prohibitively expensive. … Continue reading »
Last month, Berkeleyside held its second Local Business Forum, concentrating on “Startup Berkeley” — the strengths and weaknesses of the city for startups. If you weren’t able to attend, or if you just want a quick refresher on the evening, we’ve condensed the two hours into a little more than six minutes of highlights (above).
Speakers at the Forum were Mayor Tom Bates’ chief of staff, Judy Iglehart, Stupid Fun Club founder Will Wright, MOG founder and CEO … Continue reading »
What makes a city a magnet for startups? Why do entrepreneurs and financiers flock to the South Bay even though there are so few good places to eat there? Does Berkeley want to be Silicon Valley anyway? (You can guess the answer to that one.) Maybe Berkeley is just not hip enough to attract young talent? Does the city’s red tape makes it too cumbersome to be innovative? And, perhaps most significantly, is there just too much distrust of businesses as they thrive and grow? Perhaps Berkeley should focus on what it already does well: incubating startups then allowing them to fly to pastures new, be that San Francisco or Palo Alto.
All these questions were raised and debated at Berkeleyside’s Startup Berkeley Local Business Forum, last night in downtown Berkeley. An estimated 220 people gathered at the Freight & Salvage to listen and engage directly with two sets of panelists, and to discuss the issues among themselves both before and after the program.
Berkeleyside recently dropped in on June Taylor at The Still Room, the artisanal jam and preserve business she started in west Berkeley.
It’s citrus fruit season and Taylor and her small staff were nose to the grindstone turning Meyer lemons and blood oranges into candied peel and marmalades. Taylor is one of the country’s most respected artisan preserve makers and a shining example of a successful Berkeley-based entrepreneur. She is currently working to fill orders for scores of accounts in Japan, where her brand has something of a cult following.
For several decades, Berkeley — and the East Bay more generally — has looked longingly at the vibrant enterprise and job creation on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. Why can’t Silicon Valley spread its secret sauce across the Bay?
After all, Berkeley has two great research institutions — UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab — churning out innovations and the young scientists and technologists that spawn them. All too often, however, those ideas and people go elsewhere to commercialize their activities. Part of the discussion on March 5, at the Berkeleyside Local Business Forum on “Startup Berkeley” will examine whether that dynamic can change.
A recent comment by “Vbkly” on Berkeleyside provided a case in point: “Ah yes how do we overcome the Great Wall of Berkeley? You know the Wall that has stopped Sun, Linux, Medical Radioisotopes, the Manhattan Project, Andy Grove and most of the key people in Silicon Valley, Genentech, Intel, Apple, Inktomi, Google and not to mention RAVE (which overcame a major barrier to Moore’s Law). All of these companies started in Berkeley or were founded/run by Berkeley people.” … Continue reading »
Kalimah Priforce describes himself as “a madman on a mission”. Through his startup Qeyno Labs, Priforce works with local partners and schools to bring technology-enabled career discovery into under-served classrooms, using game-like rewards and mentorship from real-life professionals.
Priforce will be joining the panel at Berkeleyside’s Local Business Forum on March 5th to discuss his experience moving his project from Brooklyn — which is a considerable tech hotspot these days — to Berkeley.
“I needed to be tied into the ecosystem out here,” Priforce said. “There’s a lot happening in New York, but there’s no ecosystem there yet.”
He originally thought he’d locate in Silicon Valley or San Francisco, but decided the East Bay would be more fertile ground for his work in under-served classrooms. … Continue reading »
Berkeleyside is thrilled to announce that on Monday March 5th we will be hosting the Berkeleyside Local Business Forum 2012: Startup Berkeley.
The Forum’s focus will be the strengths, and weaknesses, of the city of Berkeley for startups. What does it take to turn an idea into a successful business, how can one nurture innovation, and what can be done to improve the startup climate here?
Featured panelists joining the conversation at the Forum include: Will Wright, creator of The Sims and founder of Stupid Fun Club; David Hyman, founder and CEO of streaming music service MOG, June Taylor, founder of jam and marmalade company The Still Room; and Rauly Butler, Senior Vice President Retail at Mechanics Bank.
“An extraordinary amount of innovation comes out of Berkeley in a variety of realms,” said Lance Knobel, one of the founders of Berkeleyside. “But Berkeley is still seen as rough ground for business startups. We want to examine the realities of Berkeley for new business ventures.” … Continue reading »
She will also share the recipe for candied Meyer lemon peel and give away some of her organic candied citrus peel.
The British-born Taylor runs her business from The Still-Room, a kitchen and storefront space on Fourth Street in West Berkeley. She has practiced preserving for more than 20 years and is as interested in the history … Continue reading »
Dafna Kory discovered the delights of jalapeňo jam during pre-dinner nibbles at a Thanksgiving gathering. She went out to buy a jar, couldn’t find the mighty spicy condiment anywhere, so she began experimenting with making her own. It became an instant hit among her posse.
At first, the self-taught preserver thought her D.I.Y. hobby would just make nice gifts for friends and family. The she moved from San Francisco to South Berkeley, saw the abundance of plums, apples, and lemons growing in her new backyard, and a jamming business was born.
Kory foraged fruit in a hyper-local fashion. She made batches of jam in her home kitchen. She personally delivered by bike. Demand for her jams grew by word-of-mouth.
Friends who had friends who owned stores began encouraging her to branch out beyond her inner circle. So she started shopping INNA jam (the name is, indeed, a playful pun) to places like Local 123, Summer Kitchen, Rick and Ann’s Restaurant and The Gardener.
About a year ago, with orders coming in a steady stream, it became clear that Kory, now 28, needed to either gear up and focus on turning her after-hours pastime into a fully fledged business or scale back and remain a hobbyist. She decided to take the plunge.
A freelance commercial video editor, Kory hasn’t looked back. She began working in a commercial kitchen in North Berkeley, selling her pickles and preserves at events like ForageSF’s Underground Market and the Eat Real Festival, and offering workshops for other D.I.Y.ers.
The UC Berkeley graduate now spends nine months of the year working full-time on her budding food business, and supplements her income in the winter months with editing gigs.
In a year, she hopes to devote 100% of her work day to INNA jam. Kory also pickles though that product line is on hiatus while she ratchets up production to meet demand for her increasingly popular jams. She delivers locally by bike, ships interstate, and offers an annual, seasonal subscription (a 10-ounce jar retails for $12). … Continue reading »
June Taylor crafts the kind of conserves and fruit confections that make food writers swoon.
Case in point: Amanda Hesser’s description of Taylor’s preserves. “They are unlike any commercial preserves, not simply because she uses esoteric — virtually all organic — fruits like bergamots, kadota figs, and Santa Rosa plums, but also because she cooks them in such a way that underlines their essence,” wrote Hesser in a New York Times Magazine piece. “Sugar is used not as a crutch but a tool. Her silver-lime-and-ginger marmalade has a sting to it; her grapefruit-and-Meyer-lemon marmalade is bright, concentrated and vigorously bitter.”
Don’t just take a food scribe’s word for it. My son is partial to Taylor’s candied peels — Rangpur Lime, Oro Blanco grapefruit, and Citron — popped into porridge (oatmeal), granola, or directly in the mouth for a bittersweet treat. … Continue reading »
Today, we are delighted to welcome Romney Steele into the Berkeleyside fold. Romney will be writing a regular report for us all on what’s fresh, in season, and available at our local farmers’ markets and grocers — she will also throw in some suggestions on what we might want to do with it.
Early March teases with the heralds of spring — artichokes, mâche, and rhubarb, some of my favorites — and yet remains a notoriously in-between … Continue reading »