In 2008, when Elaine Steiger decided to sell up and retire from managing her highly successful company, Mountain Ash Farms, she wanted more than a financial return on the years she’d invested into the business. “I realized that preserving food was becoming a lost art,” she says.
Elaine met with Jay Yule and Steve Hopkins and expressed an interest in selling the business to the school district. “Because it wasn’t a good fit for the school board to buy an independent company, we brought it to the attention of PRESS’ Board of Directors.” said Steve. “We bought the good will and existing inventory of recipes and put the company under the umbrella of PRESS.” PRESS provided administrative and accounting services to support the operation of Mountain Ash Preserves as a student run business from 2008 to 2017.
Supported by a Red Seal Chef and a business instructor, students sourced local ingredients to prepare preservative-free food products in a commercial kitchen, and learned to process finished products using a hot water boil. In addition to their classroom work, they operated their own company, rebranded Mountain Ash Preserves. They acted as a team to market their company, to process, label and deliver their products, and to invoice clients and pay suppliers.