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June LAUNCH|Talk: Cultivating a High Growth Food & Beverage Business

June 6, 2019 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm


We are back at PLEXIS in Ashland with a LAUNCH|Talk aimed squarely at food & beverage entrepreneurs! Join our expert panel to learn how to grow a successful food & beverage business, how to scale beyond the Farmers’ Market, develop a national brand and break into major retail distribution.

Our Expert Panel Includes:

Tom Marks-Ladd – Founder of Rogue Natural Foods, the Valley’s Premier Certified Organic Food Distribution Hub, located in Ashland, Oregon. Tom’s Mission is to be an integral partner is our regions food system, helping small producers and manufactures access Natural Foods stores along the I-5 Corridor from Mt. Shasta to Vancouver, Wa., Bend, Klamath Falls, Cave Junction, and Williams. In business since 2004, Tom has witnessed the rise of the “Artisan Food Niche” and it’s transition into a “Commodity Market”, providing key insights into the future of food.

Stefan Schachter – Founder and president of ECOTEAS, an organic tea company specializing in the South American herb, yerba mate. Stefan, a long-time Ashland resident, is in love with the lifestyle that Southern Oregon affords. When not actively running his business, Stefan enjoys gardening, swimming, playing music, and adventuring with friends and family.

Elizabeth Fujas – Elizabeth Fujas is the founder and CEO of Rising Sun Farms, one of the largest and fastest growing food companies in Oregon, producing 75,000 pounds of organic pesto a month! Founded in 1982, Elizabeth and her husband Richard have grown Rising Sun Farms from one of the very first organic farms in Oregon into a multi-million-dollar-a-year operation with 35 employees, rising to 70 during the peak season. As a result of such impressive growth, Rising Sun Farms has been ranked on the INC5000 index of fastest growing companies in the US, a total of 7 times since 2008.

Kelly McNamara – Specialty Gourmet Food Manager, Ashland Food C0-Op. Kelly works closely with local purveyors of fine wine, specialty foods, beverage, cheese, bakery and mercantile. In addition to managing product at store level, she assists local food and beverage producers go from concept to a finished product that is ready for retail.


As part of our LAUNCH Southern Oregon initiative, LAUNCH|Talks are a regular series of events aimed at providing inspiration, networking and knowledge-sharing for entrepreneurs, start-ups, investors and the wider business community. Come along to hear from an expert panel on relevant subjects, network with fellow entrepreneurs, give a shout out to your latest project, find the help you need to take the next step and more……

LAUNCH Southern Oregon is made possible by our generous sponsors:



June 6, 2019
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


Plexis Healthcare Systems
340 Oak Street
Ashland, 97520 United States
+ Google Map
(541) 494-2500


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SOREDI Refund Policy:  Unless specifically stated on registration materials, the deadline to receive a refund for a purchased ticket is (10) ten business days before the event.  The deadline to receive a refund for a group purchase or a table (8 or more tickets) is (7) seven business days before the event.