Welcome to the Mill River Blog

Passion Vs. Business

Have you ever wondered why so many small businesses, restaurants, in particular, don't make it? The chefs and bakers are skilled at their craft. They make excellent food that keeps people coming back for more. They love what they do, but passion alone is not sufficient to run a successful business over the long term. In The E-Myth Revisited: Why Mo...

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Accidental Culinary Favorites

We've written entire blogs recently about the history of some favorite food items around the globe, like cheese and ice cream. That made us wonder about how other foods and beverages came to be. Some things, like cake, have been perfected over centuries, while others were entirely accidental. Many food items we love were discovered entirely by acci...

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The Value of a Shared Kitchen

Shared kitchens, like the Mill River Cookery, are a relatively recent business development strategy. Like coworking and maker spaces, a shared-use, commercial kitchen is where chefs, bakers, caterers, food trucks, and other culinary professionals create products they sell. By definition, shared kitchens are commercial spaces licensed by food entrep...

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Say Cheese!

Like many things we enjoy eating, humans have consumed cheese for thousands of years. Humans likely developed cheese by accident by storing and transporting milk in bladders made of stomachs of ruminants (sheep, goats, cattle, etc.). These animals have an enzyme called rennet in their stomachs that encourages curdling. Rennet is still used to make ...

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One Small Town. Two Co-ops.

What would you do if the only grocery store in town closed? That was the predicament in Mt. Pulaski, IL, five years ago. The town had shrunk to fewer than 1500 residents, which was not enough to sustain a grocery store. It left residents with the market at the gas station and its high prices as its only source of food. The nearest grocery store was...

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The History of Ice Cream

Chicago is now one of three cities in the U.S. to house an ice cream museum, alongside New York and Austin. The concept of the museum originated in Asia and is designed to energize the senses to reimagine the way we experience and love ice cream. Museum aside, we've wondered where the idea originated this summer while enjoying ice cream for dessert...

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The Pet Food Industry

During the pandemic, many of us adopted furry family members - millions of them. Most of these pets are still in comfortable homes. This increase in the number of pet companions translated into an increase in the demand for pet food. High-quality pet food is the choice for many to feed the loving companion who stayed by their side during "lockdown"...

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Bredwell, Ltd. Looks to Fill the Gap in the Dog Food Market

Over the past few years, we have used this space to provide information on new small food businesses, local farming, and food trends - basically all things food. We have unfortunately left out details on feeding some critical family members – our dogs. In the past decade or two, dog food has made headlines when we learn about problems with the food...

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Got Cow's Milk?

 A year ago this month, we published an article on the increased demand for non-dairy drinks made from nuts, oats, and coconut. Despite the high demand for these beverages, most people in Illinois still prefer milk from cows. Unfortunately, there has been a nationwide decrease in the number of dairy farms. Between 2003 and 2020, in the U.S., t...

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The Thrill of the Grill

Americans love to grill, and right now, we are in grilling season. The 4th of July is reason enough to light your grill. There are so many grill options. So many different items to cook on the grill. Here's a breakdown. Types of grills Charcoal grills have long been popular. They come in all shapes and sizes and range in price from $20 to $2000 dep...

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The Future of The Family Farm

The other day, I saw a photo on social media of a very wet but not quite flooded farm field. The comment was about washing the veggies before heading to the farmers' market the following day. Picking the lettuce and spinach didn't look like it would be much fun. Farmers have always had to contend with the weather. Will there be too much rain or not...

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May We Introduce you to Hand Pies?

We believe that less is more, simple things bring joy, and amazing food doesn't have to be eaten on fine china. That's why we love the hand pies made by Christy Sharp here at the Cookery. The Treehouse Pie Company is a welcome addition to our shared kitchen. Christy combines perfectly curated savory or sweet fillings with a "proper" pastry dough to...

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Eggs for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Dessert

Eggs are fickle things. They can be a one-ingredient meal or snack, but many people can't seem to cook them properly. Have you ever had a hard-boiled egg that has green on the outside of the yolk, scrambled eggs that have the texture of rubber, or a raw sunny-side-up egg? Chances are you have! When you buy eggs, which color should you choose? White...

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Holiday Food Traditions

Holidays bring us together with friends and family. Regardless of the holiday, all cultures celebrate with traditional foods. While Christians and Jewish people celebrate their respective holidays, Muslims also celebrate Ramadan this spring. Each celebration comes with festive meals. Ramadan Ramadan is the 9th and holiest month of the Islamic calen...

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The New Normal in Restaurants

If you've been out to eat recently, you may have noticed a difference in the post-pandemic restaurant scene. Smaller menus, higher prices, longer waits, and sometimes a change in food quality await many diners. Restaurant closures Crain's Chicago Business reported that over 300 restaurants in Chicago have shuttered since the 4th quarter of 2021. Th...

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Learning to Cook Through Time

How you learned to cook might depend on how old you are and whether you grew up with home-cooked meals. Generations of Americans cooked with whatever was at hand. Meals weren't fancy and were limited to what was canned from the previous harvest or what was in season and how often they could afford meat. Many early home cooks didn't rely on recipes ...

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Wanderin' Barefoot Farm Takes the Fast Track From Farmer's Markets to Wholesale

Introducing our newest Cookery member, Jillae Langman! If you visited the Batavia Boardwalk Shops this summer, you undoubtedly found Wanderin' Barefoot Farm's shop. You might have met its energetic, smiling owner, Jillae. Jillae and her husband Wesley Dalmolin are the owners of a six-acre homestead on the Campton Hills and Elgin border that kept th...

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The Basics of Starting a Food Business

Thinking of starting a food business? Or are you looking to take your Cottage Food business to the next level? Starting any business is always challenging. There are taxes, regulations, managing staff, managing inventory, and so on. A passion for your product will only get you so far, and then you'll need to consult an expert. If you've never run a...

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Your New Year's Resolution to Lose Weight

Did you make any New Year's resolutions? If you did, you might have resolved to go on a diet and lose weight. We all want to lose weight or watch our weight. However, there is plenty of evidence that diets don't work. When you're on a diet you are restricting yourself in what you can eat. it's not unusual to think of food all the time and therefore...

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Paths For the Food Entrepreneur in a Pandemic

Due to the pandemic, have you put your dreams of starting a food business on hold? Or maybe you are part of the Great Resignation/Reshuffling. Either way now may be the perfect time to become an entrepreneur and start your food business. Restaurants have been hit very hard by Covid, but out of the metaphorical ashes comes opportunity. You may not r...

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The Business of Food, LLC
1330 E. State Street, Unit A
Sycamore, IL 60178
815.991.5505