by John Wiest, Sponsorship Chair
Jane St. Claire is the founder of SavorCalifornia.com, a showcase for gourmet foods and beverages from California.
Jane grew up in South America, Asia and Africa. Those early eye-opening eating experiences developed Jane’s wide-ranging palate and curiosity about food. When she moved to Sonoma County in 1988, St. Claire was attracted to the wine business. She was asked to produce the first tasting for a group of California wineries that make Italian varietals.
For seven years she produced the Consorzio Cal-Italia wine and food tasting event and met many gourmet specialty food producers. In 2003, she decided to switch from wine to food. While many producers and artisans make amazing gourmet food products, few had the skills or inclination to market them.
Initially, Jane started out writing a book, but then it seemed that the web had become the logical place to “publish.” Thus, St. Claire developed SavorCalifornia.com to showcase the best of the diverse gourmet specialty food and beverage producers in the Golden State. The group approach also makes some things possible (such as exhibiting at the Fancy Food Show) that are tough for individual companies. She finds these producers at trade and consumer shows and they often find her…it’s been very gratifying to have present members tell other producers about their good experience with Savor California.
When asked about challenges, Jane faces the usual small food business challenges: time and money. Savor California acts as a cost-effective multiplier for producers’ individual efforts, as a one-stop location for media, retailers, restaurateurs to find out about new and exciting products. Jane has promoted “Savor California” in the San Francisco Chronicle, KGO Radio, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Specialty Food Magazine and The New York Times.
When asked about future trends and next steps for Savor California, Jane said “We’re helped by the fact that to many people “California food” implies gourmet, artisan, premium. More and more people describe themselves as “foodies,” throughout the U.S., and that’s very good news for the companies on SavorCalifornia.com.” She continued, “We’re getting into recipe videos and social media and having a blast! We’ll use (almost) any means to showcase our members’ products.”
Jane has been a member of SFPFS since 2006, and finds meeting people who are also passionate about fine food is very encouraging, both professionally and personally.
We’d like to thank Jane for her contributions over the years and also for supporting the upcoming Annual Barbecue with tastings by Savor California. Members should look for Jane and say hello!