Margaret Witham and Rebecca Hennessy know a little about garlic. Their business, Backyard Garlic out of Eliot, Maine, has been growing and selling dehydrated garlic for over five years. “It’s like garlic powder on steroids! A simple flick of the wrist adds an instant blast of flavor without having to mess around with mincing or pressing garlic. I grind it on everything from tomato sauce to tacos to steak tips and salad,” says Stephanie Deihl, chef.
Backyard Garlic was born out of friendship and love for the environment. “The idea grew like a magic bean…although we weren't sure what the business would be, we knew that we wanted it to be grounded in community, promote soil and human health, and be sustainable as a 'second career.' We wanted to feed people good food and make a little money while we were at it,” says Margaret.
The couple learned about Seacoast SCORE through a referral and approached SCORE with questions about their business plan and their projections. “Steve Ostrow and Brenda Richards helped us with the specifics... they helped clarify things and kept us on track,” says Margaret. "We were delighted at how available and supportive SCORE was."
Now, they are selling their garlic online and through 35 local farms, marketplaces, and shops. After working with Seacoast SCORE, they feel they have gained more confidence. “They gave us a roadmap to work with,” says Margaret. Backyard Garlic’s success has made it possible to purchase land and expand their dehydration facility to four times its original size.
When asked if she had any advice for new entrepreneurs, Margaret said, “There’s not a dumb question. Get a mentor and don’t hold back on asking questions that you think are insignificant. If you are not good at something, ask.”