We welcome another new tenant to the Food Enterprise Center (FEC), Artisan Deli Foods which produces raw fermented white cabbage sauerkraut.
Ursula Thomas-Masshard, who operates the company with her husband Barry, said she “grew up” at her grandfather’s sauerkraut company in Switzerland.
“He bought a small farm in the hilly region outside of Zurich in 1920 and started to make sauerkraut,” she explained. “My father took over the family business in 1960 and, throughout my childhood, I was always in the factory helping out.”
Historic photos of oxen-drawn wagons full of cabbages from those early days of the family business are featured on their website artisandelifoods.com.
“Barry and I worked at my dad’s factory after we got married,” Ursula said. “My dad then decided to sell Masshard Sauerkraut, and we moved back to the States. We always wanted to own our own sauerkraut company, and in 2013 we founded and incorporated Artisan Deli Foods in Wisconsin.” The two entrepreneurs presently work at other jobs while they’re developing their kraut business.
The word “Artisan” in their name reflects the “made-by-hand traditional methods” the couple follows in their business. “Really good cabbage-along with quality control-is key,” said Ursula. Following their long-established family tradition and recipe, they use only white cabbage grown by “local Amish farmers who do not use harmful pesticides.”
Two part-time employees help Ursula and Barry produce their white cabbage sauerkraut, which they describe as “a powerhouse of healthy probiotics, vitamins and minerals. This great, long lasting, healthy super food is high in fiber, gluten and dairy free, and low in calories.”
“All of the processing is now done at the Food Enterprise Center,” Ursula said. Although they have the capability of doing large volumes, they’re focusing on flavor and quality of small batches right now. They hope to expand into other flavors at some future point, possibly a white wine sauerkraut and a red cabbage kraut.
“We are still a small company selling to local stores in the Madison and Northern Illinois area. Some of the stores are Metcalfe’s Market in Madison and Wauwatosa, Lake Mills Market, and Millers and Son in Verona.” Besides at grocery and health food stores, their product is featured at a restaurant in Park Ridge, Illinois, and its probiotic benefits are part of a cleanse at Return to Youth spa in Chicago. They are also working on getting their kraut available in local markets soon. Currently Artisan Deli Foods sauerkraut is available in 16-ounce special ferment-vent pouches.
Ursula feels connected to Wisconsin because it reminds her of her homeland in Switzerland. She’s also found a lot more support for small businesses in our state than in Illinois. “Wisconsin is the right business location for us,” she said. “The FEC gives us the opportunity to grow our business. We have met so many good people in Viroqua. We are really excited to be a part of Vernon economic development!”
Sue Noble, Executive Director of VEDA, noted, “We’re pleased that the Food Enterprise Center is able to provide the infrastructure that motivated Artisan Deli Foods to move their production here. Our facility created an opportunity to help their business expand and grow.”
Besides leasing physical space at the FEC, Ursula and Barry have the added benefits of co-locating with other food related businesses and having support and resources available to them through VEDA.
For more information on leasing or renting opportunities at the Food Enterprise Center, contact our office at 608-638-8332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
VEDA receives $85,000 Bremer Foundation grant
VEDA recently received an $85,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation, a private charitable trust with an office in Onalaska.
“We appreciate this support from the Bremer Foundation to expand our work throughout the region,” Noble said. “It’s an important piece in the many components that go into our operating budget.”
Donations from individuals, businesses and other grants are also needed to fully fund the organization’s day-to-day activities.
For more information, go to www.veda-wi.org.
Neidert is a member of the board of the Vernon Economic Development Association in Viroqua.