It’s been two very busy weeks around here at Wildwood Grilling. Being a sponsor and food vendor at The Festival at Sandpoint was a very rewarding experience, but also an overwhelming one at times. It was a project I had been planning for about 5 months, and seeing it come to completion was exhilarating.

While there were some low points (“What do you mean no one brought the graham crackers for our s’mores?”), it was filled with many, many more high points. I can sum them up in three points: The team, the community and the food.

 

The Team

An event of this size is hardly a one-man show. It takes many capable individuals working together to pull off a project like this.

When I first approached The Festival team about becoming a food vendor, they made sure to reiterate to me just how much work is involved in putting together something like this. I know, I know… But honestly – I didn’t know! Months of planning meals, finalizing schedules and carving out as many details as possible. It takes a village.

But that’s what made it so fun. We were able to use our unique skills to work together in a way much different than our day-to-day roles allow. Our New Business Development Coordinator, who also happens to be a trained chef, helped pin down the details for our menu. Our Logistics Coordinator is a master keeping the till balanced. And what better place for our Quality Control Specialist than to make sure our plating was immaculate?

And what a fun group of individuals. We worked hard – and we laughed a lot! Team bonding at its finest.

The Community

When customers ask where we are located, we proudly tell them: Sandpoint, Idaho! It is a place we love to call home. Mountains all around, a beautiful lake to enjoy in the summer, and a charming little town, full of wonderful people.

Shipping our products all over the country, and even around the world, has gained some national and industry recognition, but we’ve been mostly under the radar in our community. We’re not a restaurant, and not a catering company, so seeing people enjoy food cooked on our products is mostly limited to when we cook for our friends and families at home.

Customers were watching our Director of Operations on the grill, as our Customer Service Specialist placed their order. It was a unique opportunity to interact with people right here from our little town in North Idaho. And what fun we had!

People would ask: “Where is your restaurant located?” and our standard (but somewhat cheesy) answer was: “In your backyard!” 

We got to show off these wonderful products that we work so hard to make to our neighbors, our community.

The Food

Oh, the food. Cedar planked salmon, Cedar skewered chicken satays with blistered cherry tomatoes, Cedar planked peaches (which came to be known as Festival Peaches), Alder smoked corn on the cob. We had a variety of dishes all showcasing the wonderful flavor imparted by wood grilling products.

Our two biggest sellers were the Cedar planked salmon (no surprise), and our Cedar planked peaches. We hadn’t expected the peaches to take off like they did, but were not surprised that they immediately became a Festival favorite. We had collaborated with some wonderful local businesses on this tasty dessert. We had fresh, juicy peaches from Yoke’s Fresh Market, blueberries from our neighbors at Shingle Mill Blueberry Farm, and Wildwood Amaretto & Alder ice cream from Panhandle Cone & Coffee (our very own ice cream flavor).

Bonus: The Festival

I can’t finish this post without mentioning The Festival at Sandpoint. The people were wonderful, the music was fabulous and our fellow Festival Street food vendors were delightful. It is amazing how much work goes into this event year-round, and it was exciting and an honor to be a part of it.

Hi guys. Jule here. I wanted to share some of our experiences at The Festival at Sandpoint with you and give you the behind-the-scenes look at those fun two weeks.

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