Welcome to the Mill River Blog

Good Food Doesn't Have to be Difficult to Make


I'm the youngest of nine children, and while I don't want to give away my age, I was born before fast food was even a thing. I remember the first time I had Kentucky Fried Chicken. It was such a novelty that we spread out blankets on the living room floor and had a picnic. I was 12 before the first Burger King opened in my area, and it was 20 minut...

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​The Rising Cost of Food: How to Eat Well Without Going Broke


Food prices are going up. That's not news. Everyone's complaining about it. However, it's a little-known fact that in the US today we are spending a smaller percentage of our income on food than people did in 1960. The graph at the bottom of the page contains the most recent data we could find. It's well known that Americans have been spending more...

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The Future of Meat


Many of us have eaten meat our whole lives without giving much thought to where it comes from, how it is raised, or its impact on the environment. This may not be sustainable behavior in the future. Sustainable is the keyword. Before we dive into that, let's consider the current state of meat by the numbers in the US and around the globe. The USDA ...

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Keep Social Media Social


 When Facebook became the number one obsession in the US, it wasn't as an advertising platform. The same goes for Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms. However, today they are all used for marketing and sales. There are sponsored posts and companies we follow that show up in your feeds with a call to action to buy their product...

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Business By The Numbers


 Here we are post-Covid with more entrepreneurs than ever before. As entrepreneurship has grown, so too has the number of food entrepreneurs. For some, it might be a side hustle that was started when a relative said, "you should sell these!" For others, it was a way to make money while staying home with the kids who were e-learning. Whatever t...

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Got Drink?


Do you remember the long-running ad campaign for the dairy industry, Got Milk? It's since gone by the wayside as more and more Americans have given up drinking cow's milk for various other drinks. People may opt to drink a non-dairy milk substitute for a variety of reasons. Milk allergies aren't super common, but 2–3% of kids under three are allerg...

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Preserve the Fruits and Vegetables of Your Labor

20201001_092909 Frozen veggies in the blast freezer.

During the pandemic, many people started gardening as a way to fill their free time. For many, this hobby continues. With the harvest season being so short, it's often difficult to eat the abundance of produce picked in a few short weeks. Fortunately, you don't have to give away your excess harvest to neighbors or coworkers; you can preserve it to ...

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Our Friends, the Bees


While researching the non-sustainability of popular foods among the health-conscious, including almonds and avocados, I noticed how frequently bees and pollination topics popped up. We all know the importance of pollination for growing fruits and vegetables. We've also seen many headlines about the loss of bees in the last couple of decades. Sudden...

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The Journeys of Three Successful Food Entrepreneurs


Have you ever heard someone exclaim that it took over ten years to become an overnight success? We have! We also know that there's a lot to learn along the way, and many don't succeed. We recently sat down with three food entrepreneurs with a collective 38 years in business to ask them about what it took to grow a successful business. Each entrepre...

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Food As Medicine


We've been watching food trends for a while, and we see that people are becoming more interested in what they eat, where it comes from, how it's produced, and whether it's good for them. The trends show that more and more people now view food as preventative medicine for the mind and body. It's no longer enough to stay away from processed foods, ex...

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Help is on the Way

Starting a business is daunting, as any number of entrepreneurs will tell you. At some point, you'll need help, and the bigger your company grows, the more help you'll need. The good news is that there are plenty of people and systems ready and willing to help you. Running your food business requires expertise in areas other than the operation of t...

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Food is a Serious Business


The food economy encompasses the growing, distribution, and marketing of food. It includes farmers, lawyers, accountants, commodity traders, manufacturers, logistic specialists, marketers, chefs, grocery store workers, and eventually, the consumers. Consumers are increasingly becoming concerned as they learn more about what goes into their foo...

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The Success of Kimmer's Ice Cream


Have you ever wondered how entrepreneurs got their start? It's always an interesting story. They have usually had help along the way because not everyone with a good idea knows how to run a successful business. Businesses don't usually become successful overnight, and success doesn't happen without a lot of grit! The Startup Years Kim Elam grew up ...

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Calling all local food growers and producers!



We’re excited to announce that the Mill River Marketplace will be open on Saturdays starting in October!

Much like farmers’ markets in the summer months, the Mill River Marketplace will focus on local products grown or produced by small food businesses. We welcome the community to come and shop directly from a variety of local food growers and producers with fresh or frozen products and food businesses that include bakers and cooks of prepared foods.

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Grass-Fed Beef is the Answer for Local Food Producer, Matt Gehrke

62202596_2295090527405367_1103367408896180224_o Gehrke's Belted Galloway steers. Photo by Matt Gehrke.

We’re learning a lot during this pandemic. One thing is for sure: when the global food market is disrupted, local food producers are here to save us. Matt Gehrke, owner of Gehrke Grass-Fed Beef in DeKalb is one of those food producers.

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Sustainability Explained

IMG_4417-2-1 photo credit: Grace Gehrke, Gehrke Grass-Fed Beef

Sustainability is a hot topic in both politics and business. Large corporations, small businesses, and consumers are making decisions based on sustainability now more than ever. A sustainable business is an enterprise that has a minimal negative impact or, better yet, a positive effect on the global or local environment, community, society, or econ...

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The Evolution of a Food Business


Owning a food business is not just about making the product. As the food business gets bigger, there is more work outside of the time spent in the kitchen. All businesses have to start somewhere, and food businesses are no exception. Many grow out of a hobby and others grow out of necessity as we've seen during Covid. What continues to surprise and...

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Meet the Cottage Food Industry

kari-shea--DesRxj28Ns-unsplash Photo credit: Kari Shea

Social media is full of marketing for small-batch food products. Many people sell products exclusively through Facebook and Instagram. The pictures and description of the products are enticing. The price is more than reasonable. It's hard to resist. Stop! Think about this for a minute. Where is this food made, by whom, and with what ingredients? Ma...

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Woman-Owned Small Businesses


Here we are - deep into the Holiday season amidst a pandemic that is upending traditions and time together. It is also wreaking havoc on small businesses that are dependent on retail sales. Without the advertising power and physical store presence the big retailers and delivery services have, it is difficult for them to compete, and get your attent...

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I am a Pantry Chef

maddi-bazzocco-UhrHTmVBzzE-unsplash Photo Credit: Maddi Bazzocco

There isn't a definition for the term pantry chef, but if there were, it would simply mean 'someone who can prepare a healthy, balanced meal only with items on hand.' Pantry items are shelf-stable unlike the items in the crisper drawer that get mushy or moldy when left too long. I can't remember the last time I had to throw away something that was ...

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