By Candice Wagener | Photography by Sunny Frantz
When Pasture and Plenty opened their doors in June 2017, they immediately gained a loyal following for their locally-sourced meal kits and farm-fresh menu. While their catering and restaurant business has taken a hiatus during the pandemic, their meal kit and takeout business increased, and they’ve created virtual events, classes and workshops to stay connected with their community. As owner Christy McKenzie dreamed up what their business model could look like post-pandemic, plans began unfolding for P&P Makeshop — a space that will allow them to grow “in all the right ways.”
While the concept of growth had been in the plans for some time, McKenzie says they initially considered an offsite facility. It was happenstance when the adjoining space and parking lot next door became available, and McKenzie snapped it up. With the added square footage, the plan is to build a new cold prep kitchen — which will allow expansion of their meal kit community and farm-to-freezer foods, plus added room for their Bakeshop team to continue experimenting and exploring their craft. And that means bringing even more fabulous goodies to customers, like their take-and-bake cinnamon rolls.
The biggest development, however, will be the production kitchen shared with five new and growing local food businesses owned by women and people of color, providing the infrastructure these small busi- nesses need to get started or expand their own growing operations. Tart Baked Goods, a women-owned bakery that is already familiar to P&P regulars, will have the capabilities to make even more small-batch sweet and savory goodies inspired by the bounty of our Midwestern seasons — and the occasional over-the-top treats.
New businesses to partner with P&P include The Vibrant Veg, started by chef Lauren Montelbano (formerly of Surya Cafe) as a means to provide healthy whole food options that are plant- based and gluten-free in the form of juices, meals and products. La Cosecha, owned by Jonathan Correa, makes authentic tortillas and chips from Mexican landrace and American heirloom varieties of corn grown in the Midwest. Shannon Berry and Miroslava Muñoz are in the process of launching Milpa, a line of locally-produced wholesale products inspired by the flavors of Mexico, from within the walls of the Makeshop.
Finally, Ice Cream Social, started by Katrina Ervin during the pandemic with a social-justice bent, is opening a scoop shop in the Makeshop, as well as sharing kitchen space for production.
With construction underway, Makeshop should be up and running by the end of summer. They met (and surpassed) their $35,000 fundraising goal for the production kitchen and to provide seed money for the partner businesses.
“We’re looking [to partner with] businesses that are making a difference where they are,” says McKenzie. “It’s a reflection of the community that they really believe in the work we’re doing. They’re behind us. It’s humbling and empowering and pretty special.”