A Drop of Joy
Business Builder Loan
A Drop of Joy is a food manufacturing company that works directly with local farmers and Vermont-based companies to produce cold and hot processed wet ﬁll value added products, including acid and acidiﬁed foods for distribution, cold processed juices for distribution, and condiments for restaurants. After 7 years operating as a part-time business, A Drop of Joy’s owner, Joshua Pfeil, decided to make it a full time endeavor in February 2016. Located inside Vermont Commercial Warehouse, they operate a 1200 square foot production room.
Joshua approached the VFF when he was approached by several Vermont farmers and value-added food producers about using his facility to process and package their juice and condiment products. Without large scale equipment, it was uneconomical to juice large quantities of vegetables, so a $10,000 Business Builder Loan allowed A Drop of Joy to invest in a Good Nature X-1 juice press and a Hobart 25 VCM (8 gallon Vertical Cutter Mixer) to blend then cold-press fresh produce into raw juice and to blend produce for sauces.
The purchase of this processing equipment helps local farmers by making it possible to p
rocess, value-add and season extend local specialty fruit crops and vegetables. This also provides farms with a market for crops that are not “attractive enough” for retail and would other wise be culled. A Drop of Joy works with a wide variety of local farms and food producers including Pulp Kitchen, Aqua Vitea, Shadow Creek Farm, Butternut Valley Foods, Burrough’s Chocolate, Vermont Pepper Works, Vermont Edible Landscapes, and Sayre Fields Farm to produce a wide variety of raw juices, hot sauce, grilling sauce and rubs, and chocolate.
By pairing the processing facility with cold storage and freezer space, A Drop of Joy is able to freeze the raw juices during the growing season for use throughout the year. One example is A Drop of Joy’s collaboration with Pulp Kitchen (PK). This fall PK was sourcing large quantities of local produce at a better price than what is on the market from California. The owner is building direct relationships with his farmer suppliers and developing a business model which the firm buys large amounts of produce in season, processes it for storage and uses these value added ingredients throughout the year. In Fall 2016, Harlow Farms and Cerces Farm supplied over 10,000 pounds of produce that was processed into raw juices.
The Bottom Line
By providing facilities for bulk processing of local fruits and vegetables into value-added products, A Drop of Joy supports many players in Vermont’s local food economy.