Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Brattleboro Vermont Internet Marketing

Brattleboro Vermont Internet Marketing Firm SizzleSnap Media proudly announces the launch of two new websites. 

Alison Cummings has created Escape Skiing, a tourism company specializing in Women's Guided Ski Trips

Creative Financial has launched a new site featuring their Vermont Financial Advisor services.

The Beez Kneez Garden Supply has a new e-commerce site coming soon, featuring the best in New England Hydroponics and Garden Supplies.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Brattleboro, Vermont Web Design, Search & Creative

Last week we launched sizzlesnapmedia.com, the newest in new for Brattleboro Web Design. This week we signed our first two clients, a women's guided ski trip operator and a financial adviser. Pretty exciting stuff. We've also pitched a few other folks, deals pending. Hopefully I'll be able to continue to set meetings, sign deals, and most importantly help small businesses in the area get their online businesses going. My goal is to build two Brattleboro websites per month for rest of the year, moving up to 3 or 4 per month in January going forward. Wish us luck, but most of all wish us energy to work hard enough to make this happen. Preferred Montpelier, Vermont Website Designer at WebsiteDesignersList.com

Friday, August 31, 2012


This week has been pretty amazing. We started booking our first appointments for www.sizzlesnapmedia.com as well as received the KoolPants prototype. I've been living in the pants for three days. So comfortable, and amazing for cooking. No stains, keep you cool. Everything we hoped. We'll see how they do under real pressure when I take them to the Killington Classic for Pizza Hippo. Hopefully next week will go even better, with our first Brattleboro Web Design client signed, sealed and delivered. Stay tuned....

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

SizzleSnap Media and the Pizza Hippo

It's been quite a long time since I left you. Much has happened. In a nutshell, Pizza Hippo has evolved from a stationary restaurant to a strictly mobile pizza and catering company. This is not a terrible thing, as we can work fewer days per week (I am hesitant to call it working less!) while earning substantially more. This week we head to the Killington Classic to feel 5000 hungry motorcyclists! In other news, we recently launched SizzleSnap Media, a new service aimed at small to medium sized businesses offering amazingly clean and simple websites fully optimized for search and user experience as well as full service creative. The idea is to take the creative energy and technical know how that launched Pizza Hippo so quickly and effectively and leverage it to help other outlandish dreamers chase their own passions. Along with Vermont's Best Organic Pizza, we'd also like to be known as one of the freshest, most effective Vermont Web Design Firms around. So far, after one week of prospecting business acquaintances, we have several meetings booked. Only time will tell for sure, but I'm feeling good about my level of expertise compared to many other local firms and designers I've talked to and checked out.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Time to Fly: Pizza Hippo Launching Townshend Pizza May 19th

Man, there are so many things I'd love to write about to clear my head, to inform my 50 or so readers and any newbies out there about the crazy ten days we've just experienced.

Unfortunately, with the Bellows Falls market this afternoon and the potentially HUGE Community Jam tomorrow aka Pizza Hippo's grand opening of our flagship store aka Pizza Hippo #1 aka the Townshend VT Pizza Stand I still have a million details to take care of now.

I do, however, want to take the time to thank a few people who've been especially helpful with all we're trying to accomplish.

First, to my wonderful wife.  Nothing happens without you.  Thank you for being my partner in life and pizza.

Miles *gaping* Enough said! 

Next, Drew at Kindle Farm.  You're a visionary powerhouse.  And guess what? We're doing it, baby!  Ditto to all the other Kindle Farmers from the kids on up to the leadership team.

Brattleborology -  you guys RULE.  My most supportive partnership/friendship outside of my house.  Thank you both.  Your site really does equal Things to Do in Brattleboro, Vt.   Keep up the great work.

Steve West.  The Reformer. The Commons.  Cider Mag.

Ann and Philip.  Mom and Dad.  Mark Hood.  Williams Family.

Kickstarter supporters.

Time to get to work.  See y'all for pizza!

The Hippo

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 19th Music and Events Townshend, VT near Brattleboro

The Kindle Farm School and Pizza Hippo jointly present The Super Spring Community Jam and Plant Sale to benefit the Kindle Farm vocational logging program May 19th from 10AM to 10PM.

Musical guests include: Flabberghaster, Acoustic Roots, Medicine Warriors, Black Mountain FM and Toni Atari. Flabberghaster kicks off the music from noon to 2pm. Everyone else to follow.  $5 suggested donation.

The Annual Kindle Farm Plant Starter Sale features a variety of cold weather plant starts to give folks a head start on their home gardens. Currently there are approximately 12,000 starts growing in the KF greenhouse. Varieties include: broccoli, cauliflower, kales, chards, lettuces, spinach, radishes, multiple herbs, eggplant, tomatoes, and more.

Additionally, there will be a bake sale, a cord wood raffle, and the opening day for Pizza Hippo’s Townshend Pizza Stand, serving local, organic pizzas all day long.  All activities to take place at The Kindle Farm School, #1 Route 30, Townshend, VT 05353.
Pizza Hippo and Kindle Farm have formed a sustainable partnership dedicated to transforming communities through the power of organic food. Kindle Farm will grow the lion’s share of Pizza Hippo’s organic vegetables on-site. Additionally, the Kindle Farm vocational program is building the Pizza Hippo Townshend Pizza Stand from wood grown on campus, logged by the students, milled on-site, and finally transformed into a traditional New England architectural form by students under the supervision of staff carpenter Earl Cook.

“Growing everything from the tomatoes, herbs, and vegetables to the wood for the Pizza Hippo building here at Kindle Farm and then creating value added products just feet away from where it was grown minimizes our carbon footprint in a very meaningful way. It’s a level of sustainability most farm-to-table operations can only dream about, and most importantly, the Kindle Farm students are involved in this unique entrepreneurial enterprise on every level,” says Malcolm Hood, Pizza Hippo’s founder and executive chef.  

Amber O’Reilly, Kindle Farm’s farm and vocational program manager adds, “Pizza Hippo’s operation has given new meaning to the work our students are doing as part of their education. Not only are they gaining hands on experience in farming, logging, and carpentry, they’re seeing first hand how to turn these skills into a small business enterprise.”

More details and the full music schedule can be found at www.pizzahippo.com.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Spring Community Jam and Plant Sale featuring Flabberghaster, Green Zone & Toni Atari

Things are starting to fall into place in the land of Pizza Hippo.

As of today, we have three musical acts booked for our Townshend Pizza Stand grand opening May 19:  Vermont funk rock upstarts Flabberghaster, Deadly cover jammers Green Zone and renegade indy-pop lust siren Toni Atari.

Flabberghaster kicks off the day a noon with a two hour set, followed immediately by Green Zone.  Ms. Atari and crew hit the stage at 6pm, and several other guest musician sets seem to be in the works for the in between times.

The Kindle Farm Annual Plant Start sale starts at 10am, and Pizza Hippo starts slangin' pies at 11am.  It promises to be an amazing day of family fun & sun featuring the best our southern Vermont community has to offer. 

Cold weather plant starts include broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, several lettuce varieties, cabbage, cauliflower, marigolds, cosmos, amaranth, onions, and many, many more. Get your garden started fast and be ahead of the game with Kindle Farm organic plant starts straight from the Townshend, VT Greenhouse.  Grown with love by the Kindle Farm students and my beautiful wife Amber O'Reilly.

Can't wait to see everyone there - let us know if you have any special menu requests.

The Hippo

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Vermont Health Dept gives Pizza Hippo an "A"

This morning we fought heavy rain and the associated mud along with a sprained back to load up the Pizza Wagon and set up our temporary shop at the Kindle Farm School in Townshend in time for a 9AM VT HD inspection.

To get out of the weather, the inspector and I popped into the greenhouse.  He immediately commented on how clean and organized the area is kept.  "Of course," I said, "my wife is in charge of this thing."  The inspector gave his complements to Mrs. Amber O'Reilly for a job well done and seemed genuinely sad he lives over two hours away from Pizza Hippo.

Added bonus: Inspector said, "It's got to Hit the Spotamus with all the fresh herbs and vegetables on site."  My thoughts exactly!

The rest of the inspection went fairly quick.  I had a detailed list of notes from a prior conversation with the inspector, so everything was in perfect order at the fire grilled pizza station.  The Kindle Farm kitchen was next, and we came pretty close to a perfect score (the hot water is too hot and we have to finish repairing one counter).  The inspector was very pleased, and noted that we must have spent a lot of time getting everything  spic and span.   It's nice to receive complements from a guy who's paid to be knit-picky :)

Now that we're officially legal, it's safe to tell everyone our Grand Opening is May 19th in conjunction with the Kindle Farm School Plant Sale.  So far, Toni Atari and a Grateful Dead cover band have committed to playing, with several other bands potentially signing on in the next few days.  Can we hear Mo Ambesa???

We are looking forward to kicking off this year at the Pizza Hippo Townshend Pizza stand in just under three weeks, and hope all of you can join us.

More to come - stay tuned - and remember, Pizza Hippo hits the spotamus!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pizza Hippo at Taylor Farm "Fresh Air Day"

Pizza Hippo will make our second mobile appearance of the season this Saturday, April 28 from 11AM to 3PM.  This great cause brings inner city kids out to the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont to commune with livestock, walk barefoot in the grass, and better understand "where our food comes from".  Kites will be made and flown, and pizza will definitely be served.  A portion of the proceeds go to the Fresh Air Fund, which makes days like this one possible.  Forecast is 50 degrees and sunny...another beautiful spring day in New England.  Come on out and join us at Taylor Farm in Londonderry...

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for an update on our Townshend Pizza Stand, farm-to-table pizza in Townshend, Vermont, in progress.

Amber and I worked several hours yesterday at the Kindle Farm School greenhouse and on the grounds.  We tilled a new bed and planted twenty beautiful little blueberry bushes right outside the Sacred Seeds garden.  Amber then spent several hours transplanting tiny starts to the six packs folks can purchase for their gardens at the upcoming annual Kindle Farm plant sale (and Pizza Hippo Townshend Pizza Stand opening day) May 19th.  Miles and I worked on planting two hundred new seeds, fifty each of thyme, dill, parsley, and cilantro.  These, along with the 60 basil plants we've already started, will be eventually planted in the new herb garden in front of our house on Windham Hill Road.

For me personally, starting so many things from seed and nurturing them along to flower and then fruit gives so much more meaning to the cooking process.  Using herbs started in April to flavor sauces in August adds a sense of time, a sense of the life cycle, and a sense of the earth's minerals you just can't get from ordering spices that get delivered on a truck from some far off location.

Developing a personal relationship with the garden, with each individual plant, also gives meaning to the process.  Checking each, say, broccoli crown daily for weeks before harvesting just at the optimal moment and then using that produce IMMEDIATELY to feed the community a delicious, healthy value-added food product on-site (can you say ZERO carbon footprint?) just does something for me.

Look for more updates as we progress towards the West River Valley's first Farm-to-Table Pizza in Townshend, Vermont.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Townshend Pizza Hippo Stand is a GO Baby

Pizza Hippo thanks everyone who generously gave both financial and emotional support to this now funded project.  Especially the financial supporters.
All joking aside, the overwhelming support of my friends is nothing short of an extraordinary vote of confidence to me, to the Pizza Hippo concept, and to the philosophy of sustainable agriculture.
While the uncertainties of opening a business often ravage my psyche and rape my confidence, your belief in me never allows me to fall too far.  I laugh at my self doubt and walk fearless into the unknown, knowing I will not fail.  Knowing failure is a possibility, but that I will somehow evade it.
Now that I can completely turn my attention away from fundraising, the real work and the real fun can begin.
In the next four weeks, we will pass health inspection, mill trees into boards and then build a building, work several mobile events, start the farmer's market season, and kick off the grand opening of our Townshend Pizza Stand at the Kindle Farm School. 
Of course we won't get a dime of the Kickstarter money for about three weeks, so this list is slightly more challenging than it may seem at first :)
Never fear friends.  I have a plan.  More updates to come.  
Thank you all again for your phenomenal support.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Townshend Pizza goes Baba!

Townshend Pizza got a little better, y'all.

Yesterday, at the Putney School Earth Day Fest, we debuted a new pizza.

Baba Ganoush with Taylor Farm smoked Gouda cheese and arugula, brainchild of my lovely wife, Amber O'Reilly. Man, was it awesome.  We sold out of it pretty quickly (not quick enough for me - I made one for the staff and we ate it during service).  I was surprised at how many people didn't know what baba ganoush was, but decided to go for it anyway.

In case YOU don't know, baba ganoush is roasted eggplant blended with tahini, garlic, olive oil and spices.  I've been eating it for years thanks to Lebanon's Cafe in New Orleans and a ton of other middle eastern eateries I've found since.

The Kindle Farm School grows several outstanding varieties of eggplant, and I've planted thirty seeds for my (my = Amber's) home garden.  Y'all are going to love all the things we're going to do with it.

Come see us next week at Taylor Farm (details at www.pizzahippo.com) to try some more and to support their Kite Day set up to expose inner city children to the wonders of walking in grass barefoot, communing with cows and playing outside in the Green Mountain State.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pizza Hippo in the Press (Townshend, VT)

Pizza Hippo had a nice write up in The Commons newspaper for our soon to be open new business, organic farm-to-table pizza in Townshend, VT.

You can check out The Commons article here.

Thanks to Thelma O'Brian for the write up.


The Hippo

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pizza Hippo at Putney School Earth Day Fest

Hello hello!

What a gorgeous week we've been having here in southern Vermont!

We're in our last week of fundraising at our Kickstarter Campaign.  Click here to contribute!

It's also only five days until Pizza Hippo opens the season at the Putney School's Earth Day celebration.  The weather is supposed to be less than stellar on Sunday, mirroring last year's auspicious start.  Hopefully we'll have more cloud and less rain!

It will be an amazing feat when we set up Sunday morning, though.  Svetlana, our 88 Volvo Pizza Wagon, needs a new transmission and will not be getting one.  She's on the auction blocks...anyone who wants a great parts car can check out our craigslist ad here.

Instead of Svetlana, we'll likely be converting Amber's Toyota to the new Pizza Wagon and saving up for a little pickup truck.  Should be a fun rest of the week scrambling to make this happen!

Pizza Hippo has also been approved vendor status for the Frendly Gathering this June 14-16 right here in Windham, Vermont!  Great line up, great people, and now great pizza, too!  Can't wait to for our Windham slash Townshend pizza to represent the local food scene in a very legit way!

Finally, Pizza Hippo is officially going to be the newest addition to the Townshend Pizza scene here in Vermont.  Opening day coincides with the Kindle Farm stand plant starter sale and a KF fundraiser.  Any bands interested in donating their playing time should call Malcolm at 802.874.0321 to make arrangements.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pizza Hippo: Get Ready for Organic Pizza Townshend, Vermont

And I'm bringing you a love that's true
So get ready, so get ready
I'm gonna try to make you love me too
So get ready, so get ready, 'cause here I come (The Temptations)

Incredible to think about.  Pizza Hippo will in fact open our first organic pizza stand in Townshend, Vermont at the Kindle Farm School in May.  (Tentatively May 19 for you calendar watchers :)

As we hurtle towards May 19, time management is becoming my biggest challenge.  For example, I just lost 30 minutes trying to get my plumber OUT of the house after he finished the job.  Every second counts at this point as we attempt to cross every t and dot every j before inspection May 1 and then opening day.  

Will we have our portable sink built, the building construction under way, have all the little chemicals the state says we MUST use in our food operation.  We must use chemicals! Not to mention the insurance costs.  High!  Like you needed me to write that to know it.  When will I get our sign painted and hang it up with a coming soon notice?  What about completing the mobile unit?  Piece by piece by piece.  

We are also working on a bid for our first Pizza Hippo wedding catering.  Exciting bit of news.  Really wonderful young woman who has no idea how she heard about us.  Will keep y'all posted on this progression.  As someone who just got married, these things are always more involved than you think they're going to be...

Speaking of time sucks, I just took the Food List challenge on Facebook. I know.  In the middle of writing about time management.  Sorry!  My cousin Stacy Williams has tried two more foods than me!  This is not totally surprising, but it does bother me.  She also travels more than me and is probably better at non English languages.  

Our PR machine seems to be working.  People are starting to recognize the Hippo and have spontaneously shouted "It Hits the Spotamus" to me in the streets.  Well, I had a dream where this happened.  And someone did tell me they have seen the Pizza Hippo fliers around town.  So, yeah, it's working.  Look for a feature on Pizza Hippo and Kindle Farm in The Commons next week...

Speaking of PR machines, when I retweeted an article about Monsanto potentially suing the state of VT if the GMO labeling bill passes, someone from Monsanto replied directly to my twitter account with a link to a Monsanto response page disputing this claim.  Freaky!  

What do y'all think about this last bit?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Vermont's Best Organic Pizza Update: The Hippopotamus is Alive

Just a quick update on Pizza Hippo dream.  It's going to happen!

As of April 3rd, our little project on Kickstarter.com has been funded to 90% of our minimum goal of $5000.  Yes, we probably need more than $5K in all honesty, and yes, we may end up raising more than that, but either way, we'll have the baseline capital to at least get this project off the ground.  Exciting!

It's nice that 51 people so far believe I'm smart enough to make this dream into a reality, and have, on average, invested $87 per person.  Hopefully more folks, specifically more local folks, will get in on the action, pre-buy some Vermont Organic Pizza and help us crush our minimum goal.  Perhaps our upcoming press piece in The Commons will push us over the edge...stay tuned Vermont.

Hey Brattleboro!  It's official!!!  Pizza Hippo has been accepted by a jury of our peers to sling organic goodness at the Brattleboro Farmer's Market this summer.  We'll be there on Wednesdays starting in May.  It was an awesome feeling to hear Martha, membership director, complement our pizza so warmly and welcome Pizza Hippo to Brattleboro.  Hopefully we'll hear more of the same from the other market's we're still waiting to hear from...come on y'all, the Pizza Hippo Pizza Wagon is nearly complete and ready to roll!

We also wanted to mention a strategic partnership in the works with Jamaica Cottage Shop.  Still working on the terms, but it feels like we should end up with a great structure for the Kindle Farm Stand location.  Hope we can work this deal out and keep it classy, Vermont.

That's all for now...sweet dreams.

Mr. Hippopotamus

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Halfway to Hippo Heaven

So we completed our little pizza film and launched our crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.com three nights ago. As you may have gleaned from the title here, we've raised half of our minimum goal of $5K.

It's pretty inspiring to get emails AND financial backing from people all over the country saying, "Yeah! Go for it. And your pizza looks amazing. Please make it happen and take Pizza Hippo national so we can eat some, too!"

Hey, I'm totally down with that! I really do hope to make it happen.

The one thing I'm a little bummed about is that Jamie Oliver, the Naked Chef on a mission to bring organic food to the masses himself; Emeril, Mario Batali, Anthony Bourdain, and all the other food celebs I've contacted via Twitter haven't promoted our campaign, not even a retweet! WHAT THE HECK?! I know they don't really manage their own social media, but come on fellas. Yeah, you too Bobby Flay. How about helping out the Pizza Hippo? If any of my four to seven readers know someone who knows those guys, send them the link to our video. I think they might be down with the cause. At least a throw down. Something.

On another topic, I had to kill one of our two roosters a few days ago. He was at the bottom of the pecking order and getting pretty beat up, as well as overcompensating by violently mounting our hens as much as possible. Since we turned him into gumbo (excellent stock, kind of tough and stringy meat - someone suggested this can be mitigated in the butchering process - anyone know more about this?) egg production has gone up 33% per day. Yes, we track daily egg production. Plus with only six layers it's pretty easy math :) So I'm looking forward to Amber getting her flock of meat birds later in the spring, and hopefully a few ducks as well. No, this has nothing to do with Pizza Hippo, but it is part of my outlandish dream. The part that says I don't go to the grocery store ever again.

I know this is kind of an impossible dream, but with Pizza Hippo's new wholeseller accounts we really might be able to pull it off. Buy the things we can't grow in bulk at cut rate prices and, well, grow the rest. Definitely going to preserve A LOT more veggies this year. And apple juice for that matter. But that comes in the fall.

For now, Spring is in the air, and we have all season to watch things get big, grow fat, and soak up the earth's energy to sustain us later on.

Until then, I can't wait to get back to making organic pizza Vermont style and pushing my limits as a businessman, a farmer, and a person.

Out of my comfort zone is where I feel the happiest, after all.

PS I just wrote Jamie Oliver another letter. I hope he writes back.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pizza Hippo and the Brattleboro Farmer's Market Jury Day

Today is the Brattleboro Farmer's Market Jury Day.

"What is this?" you ask. It's the day where everyone who wants to take part in the market shows up with product to be judged by a very, how do I say, tightly... knit group of folks who run the show.

Its a little nerve wracking as these things have a reputation for being political and similar to Greek Rush week. As you may or may not know, I never rushed. Draw your own conclusions as to why ;) Hopefully, these are just rumors, everyone will be pleasant, and we'll get accepted without being hazed.

Regardless, Amber and I will be there today with bells and smiles on. Below is the document we're attaching to our food, which by rule cannot speak for itself today. Check it out.

Pizza Hippo - Vermont's Best Organic Pizza

Pizza Hippo's Fire Grilled Pizza is Vermont's Best Organic, Farm-To-Table Pizza.

Pizza Hippo is a local, sustainable business at the forefront of the organic food movement. World Headquarters: Windham, Vermont.

Our mission: Transform communities through the power of organic food.

Made to order and grilled to perfection over real, non-chemical treated charcoal and hard woods, our gourmet pizzas feature homemade Organic Sourdough crust, Local, Organic Vegetables, Local Meats, hand-crafted sauces, Artistanal Vermont Cheeses, and a wide variety of combinations, textures, and flavors.

Some of our food sources include, but are not limited to:

Kindle Farm Organic Vegetable Stand, Wild Sheppard Farm, Pizza Hippo’s home garden, Grafton Village Cheese Company, Taylor Farm, West River Creamery, Cabot, Wild Carrot Farm, River Bend Market Butchers, Snow Farm, and Guerilla Grown Produce. We also source the most local products available from Hillcrest Foods and Dole & Bailey.

All pizzas are single portion (feed one person) and will be served on compostable paper plates (on order) with unbleached, recycled paper napkins. To-go boxes will be available on demand, but will not be encouraged.

Today’s Menu:

Veggie Freestyle Pizza on Classic Marinara featuring Vermont Cheddar Cheese. Organic onions, bell peppers, broccoli, garlic scape pesto and tomatoes.

Yeah You Right BBQ Pizza featuring Vermont Cheddar Cheese. River Bend Market’s own Italian sausage, organic onions, and baby portabella mushrooms over Pizza Hippo’s award winning New Orleans Yeah You Right barbecue sauce.

Creole Sweet Potatopotamus and Sopressata Pizza. Creole spiced sweet potato topping with organic onions caramelized in balsamic vinegar and thinly sliced sopressata featuring Vermont Cheddar Cheese.

Other specialty pizzas include, but are not limited to:

· Peaceful Hippo Thai Basil

· Hippo Bandito Ole Mole

· Hippo Hawaiian Pineapple & Ham

· Blancopotamus Alfredo

· Swingin’ Hippo Crawfish Etouffee

· Spicy Hippo Eggplant Creole

· The Classic Hippo (sausage, onion and mushroom on marinara)

· Margaritapotamus

· Creole Muffalettapotamus

Pizza menu changes weekly. Contingent on what’s fresh and chef’s whimsy.

Wish us luck, and have a great weekend. With any luck, we'll see y'all on Wednesdays this season at the market!


Friday, March 23, 2012

Pizza Hippo, Organic Vermont Crowd Sourcing, and Long Distance Bike Riding for Hippopotamus

Hello, and welcome back to the Outlandish Dreams blog. I've got to say that un-outlandish dreams are okay, like dreaming for a dishwasher, but the bigger ones really get me going.

Today we booked our inspection with the health department. May 1 at 9AM. The inspector seems incredibly reasonable, and to boot, he LOVES the name Pizza Hippo. I even got him to say, "It Hits the Spotamus!" Yeah! Nothing is more entertaining to me than getting serious adults to say, "It Hits the Spotamus!" How anyone says it with a straight face is beyond my comprehension. Some people do, however.

This May 1 deadline means we have to buy a bunch of equipment and have everything set up in roughly five weeks. Luckily we finished our video and submitted our Kickstarter.com campaign for approval this morning. With any luck we'll start raising the capital we need early next week. Stay tuned for the link.

If you believe a national farm to table organic pizza chain should exist, you'll want to support us. Its so important for the country and the world for this to happen. This will be your chance to contribute to a feel good project that can truly change the world for the better.

On a different thread, I've been training to ride my bike from Vermont to Key West, Florida this November. Yeah, it's March 23 and I'm starting way early. Today I did 33 miles, a lot of it uphill, and it was pretty tough climbing the hills that ended my trek.

To get to Key West in a reasonable amount of time, say 30 days, I need to average 70 miles a day. Keep in mind it's going to be rough for the first several hundred miles in November with winter weather creeping in. So I need to be able to ride six to eight hours per day for an entire month by November 2. Does the superior athlete I think I can be really live inside of me? Only time will tell.

Biking, IMHO, is fantastic because, like many other sports, it is a metaphor for life. When you're climbing hills, you have to dig deep. The closer to the peaks you come, the harder you have to pedal. When you're approaching your goals in life, the time you have to focus most, strive the most, give the most, is the time when they're just out of reach. If you stop, biking or in life, you'll inveritably roll backwards. There are too many other setbacks (flat tires and Murphy's Law) to lose focus at the critical moments.

When obstacles arise, there are only four options. Go over, under, around or straight through them. Momentum must not stop! It's physics and psychology, plain and simple.

Once you reach the peaks, you're instantly rewarded with a period of coasting, shooting down the hill like a rocket, wind in your face, effortless flight, a condor floating on currents in the blue beyond, fish carving bubbles in the sea riding the riptide with reckless abandon. It's why I love riding in Vermont.

Soon, another hill rises up, smiling mockingly. Can you master your pain and keep going forward? Was the ecstasy of the last down slope enough to push you onward? Will you cower or throw your head back, mouth agape, tusks shining in the sun, Hippopotamus yawn of domination!

Just like life, the bicycling. So tell me, how fit can you get? How far can you push yourself? What kind of amazing can you accomplish today?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Vermont's Best Organic Pizza Dreams, Nickels, and GMO Labeling H.722

I don't own the clothes I'm wearing
And the road goes on forever
And I've got one more silver dollar - Gregg Allman

Yesterday I broke a promise to myself I've kept since 2006. I broke into my change jar, although this desperation was painted in joy and promise, a fresco illuminated by the first vestiges of morning sun creeping through the stained glass. After all was counted and rolled, my table looked like it was covered in strange, colorful sausages. Pizza Hippo banked nearly $400 in total. And a quart of pennies left over! Counting to 100 to get $1 just takes too long.

This week we've made substantial progress. Svetlana, our 1988 Volvo wagon whose odometer kindly stopped working at 257K and change over a year ago, is in the shop being fitted with a trailer hitch for the soon to be operational Pizza Hippo wagon. She's also getting a new muffler which should be enough to pass inspection for another year.

With the nickel sausages in the bank we have enough loot to apply for our commercial catering license, register our business name, and cover a fair chunk of what's needed for liability insurance. It's incredible how far we've come since last season operating illegally from our front yard.

As my fingers were transformed to arthritic talons counting and rolling coin, I recalled several conversations with entrepreneurs I've had through the years. So many of them, when questioned about getting started, said they had every nickel they had invested in their business. Man, I never knew they were being so honest! I truly have EVERY nickel I have invested in Pizza Hippo. (At least I still have a quart of pennies if times get tough!)

The interesting thing is the more and more I put into the business, the more I know we're on a world changing mission. Pizza Hippo is going to be the first fast food chain that solves the problem of being national and sourcing locally. When this model proves viable and profitable, look for Bob Langert and McDonald's to come a knocking. (I know, I'm obsessed with changing McDonald's. A worthy mission, no?) When McDonald's buys in, the world is a different place. I keep repeating it because its true and because the things you visualize become to be. Let's make it happen!

On another front, H.722 (GMO Labeling in Vermont) sees to be destined to die in committee. Rep. Catherine Partridge tells me they are reviewing it for constitutionality, and that "its not being put to bed yet", but I am extremely skeptical.

I hate to sound revolutionary, but when we're using a 235 year old document to study an issue so steeped in modern technology, one thinks about burning the Constitution and tearing down the fabric of our money stained political process.

To me, bringing affordable, organic food to the masses is best way for me to fight GMO. People, keep voting with your wallets.

Buy local, buy organic, grow your own! Planting season is upon us in Vermont, you know.

Monday, March 12, 2012

GMO Labeling, H.722, Take Action Now in Vermont

The following is the correspondence between my local state representatives in Windham, VT concerning H.722 requiring labeling of genetically modified foods for sale to consumers. It would appear our representatives are happy to let us know the bill is in committee, and they'll support it IF it gets out of committee.
As someone who's been a political operative before, you can take it from me this is NOT supporting the bill. Please take the time to contact Carolyn and/or Matt to let them know they need to take action!
Carolyn Partridge - cpartridge@leg.state.vt.us
Matt Trieber - matrieber@gmail.com
Dear Mr. Trieber and Mrs. Partridge,

Thank you both for writing back to me.

As a former lobbyist in Louisiana, the tone of both of your emails
sounds like the bill is going to be put to bed in committee.

My neighbors, friends, and colleagues all urge you to TALK to the
committee chair and use all your influence to push the bill onto the

NOT TALKING TO THE COMMITTEE about such an important issue is the same
as NOT SUPPORTING THE BILL in my humble opinion. The day will happen
whether or not we get out of bed, after all.

This is the most important agricultural bill in Vermont at the
present. Please do more to support it than offer lip service. Take
action! We, your constituents, are counting on you.

If I can personally be of any service to you, I live down the street
from Mrs. Partridge and am easy to reach in person, by email at this
address or by phone at 802.874.8120.

Thank you both again for writing back to me.

Best regards,
Malcolm M. Hood

On Sun, Mar 11, 2012 at 5:37 PM, Matthew Trieber <matrieber@gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear Malcolm,
> Thank you for contacting me regarding H.722. I agree with your e-mail, and
> as such, was a co-sponsor of H.367 which sought to require labeling of
genetically-modified food. H.722 has been referred to the committee on
> Agriculture. My understanding is that the committee has taken testimony on
> the bill, although, I have not spoken to anyone on the committee directly
> about it. Please know that I do intend to support this legislation should it
> come to the house floor. Feel free to contact me again if you have any other
> concerns.
> Regards,
> Matt
> --
> Rep. Matthew A. Trieber
> State Representative for Windham-4
> (802) 376-1134 or
> Sergeant-At-Arms: (802) 828-2228

Friday, March 9, 2012

Shooting down McDonald's is not the solution

Just read an interesting article about McDonald's and the London Olympics.

Gist of it London Olympics is attempting to source all of the food needed to feed the event locally. What a giant challenge!

McDonald's, of course, is not being held to the local guidelines and is sourcing 90% of its chicken from Brasil. People are upset. Like the London Assembly.

Organizers site huge amounts of (we're talking tons) of chickens required to meet demand as well as the amount of chicken McD's buys annually from UK farmers ($475 million!) when explaining the McXimption.

However this might make us feel, being upset at McDonald's isn't going to change anything.

Here are two things that actually can make a difference.

1. Stop buying things from McDonald's. Anything at all. Not so they'll go out business, though.

Then why? Check out Jamie Peck's blog on Rush Limbaugh and free market speech.

Dollars are the only thing multinational corporations care about. We all know this to be true.

In fact, Bob Langert, McDonald's VP of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, has stated the reason many sustainability measures have taken root within the corporation is because they "save millions and millions" of dollars, ie using napkins made from recycled materials.

If we as a state, country and world stop buying from the McDonald's of the world, they will listen. Guaranteed.

IMHO, the keys to the organic movement in America and beyond is McDonald's and Wal-Mart. The day these two companies say, "We're only selling organic produce and humanely raised meats, and will not sell any food products made with GMO ingredients past this date" is the day the world will change.

Farmers big and small would be forced to change production. We would, as a country, be eating better, healthier food in a matter of years.

So instead of bashing the McDonald's and the Wal-Marts of the world, let's embrace them. Embrace them with open hearts, open minds, and empty wallets. (Southern Vermonters, until they fall in line, save your cash for the likes of Vermont's Best Organic Pizza and Seitanic Kitchens.)

2. Bombard Bob Langert with INTELLIGENT emails. Let him know we can't buy his food products now, but look forward to eating a quarter pounder with cheese the way it was meant to be sometime in the near future. You can reach Bob at Bob.Langert@us.mcd.com.

Wal-Mart doesn't have such as easily accessed person as far as I can tell, but you can reach them via Twitter @Walmart or through their green blog.

Be active and be well.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pizza Dreams, Social Fundraising, and Getting Out of the Way

"You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away, and know when to run" - Kenny Rogers

"Everyday, it's a-gettin' closer, Goin' faster than a roller coaster" - Buddy Holly

Yesterday I received a call for which I'd been waiting for some time. As soon as I picked up the phone, I knew my bid for a kitchen and land lease for Pizza Hippo's first legitimate pizza stand was going to be rejected. Nothing can kick the knees out from under a great plan like a meeting with a lawyer well versed in imagining liability scenarios. (They really out to use their creativity creating something fun like Hippo Joke Jeopardy for once!)

We must have been into the conversation about three minutes before I realized what was said in the first two seconds. Pizza Hippo was approved! They decided to go against council and at take a chance on my dream. Yeaaah, cabbage patch time, baby!

Then it hit me. Everything I've been working so hard to accomplish was happening. Whether I was ready or not. Despite the fact that a few weeks ago I lost the backing so critical to getting this operation up and running. Despite the fact I might not know exactly what I'm getting myself into, or that "I might get rich or I might get busted" (Steve Miller). As they say, the day does always go on whether you get out of bed or not.

Of course I deferred my decision to strengthen my negotiating position, but knowing all along this opportunity is something that cannot be passed up. No excuses.

Al Copeland of Popeye's Fried Chicken fame started with one fried chicken stand in Arabi, LA. If you've ever been to Arabi (or St. Bernard Parish), lovingly known as "The Parish", you'd say starting a national brand from the front of your house on Windham Hill Road doesn't sound so, um, I don't know, outlandish?!

Sometimes the best strategy is to stay out of your head and out of your own way. Why worry about what isn't possible?

"But hey!", says the internal critic, "What about the $5G's (that's $5000) you need to secure the lease, buy a few mandated pieces of equipment, and pay for the licensing? You're only working a few days a week in a seasonal kitchen that's about to close for two months!"

Like I said, stay out of your own way. So far, a positive relationship with the universe and my command of long division have gone a long way. Want something? Draw a picture of it and look at it every day. Visualize it in your possession. Then divide the big amount you need into manageable chunks. Where am I going to get $5000? Who knows? Where I can get 10 bunches of $500? Um... How about 100 bunches of $50? Yeah, that sounds more like it!

It reminds me of stacking wood when I was a kid. "Two chords! TWO CHORDS!!! I'll NEVER finish this job..." A few hours later, a few pieces at a time, the wood had magically transported itself (on my now scratched up arms) to its new home. Every long journey starts with a single step or, in case you don't like that one, insert your own cliche by clicking here.

Enter KickStarter.com This social site for entrepreneurs gives people like me a safe, legitimate way to raise capital. In the coming days (post final terms negotiation with KFS) I'll be creating a kickstater.com account and sending it out on the social network superhighway to see if I can get my cheddar.

Don't worry. Our community, your community, the entire country and world needs for this to happen. Great tasting, affordable, organic fast food. It's not just my dream. It's a right. So off to work I go.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hippo Joke Jeopardy - How Well Can You Think Like a Hippo?

What do you call an extremely witty hippopotamus? Hippojokesalotamus!

Hippo Jokes are taking the country by storm! These simple, creative witicisms are more than silly, more than just plain fun...they're the most addictive word game you'd never think you'd love, but you do!

You can play anywhere, anytime, with anyone, or you can play alone.

To see more jokes and to find out how well you can "Think Like a Hippo", click the link below.

Play Hippo Joke Jeopardy Now!

Hippo Jokes: Not just for hippopotamus anymore!

Come up with tons of your own Hippo Jokes? Post them on our Pizza Hippo Facebook Page

Friday, March 2, 2012

Vermont Food Revolution (NO GMO!) and Beyond

Good morning good morning. It's a great day to be a hippopotamus!

Yesterday we printed our first Pizza Hippo fliers of the season and have already posted a few on the local message boards. Vermont is great for low cost marketing as people still stop to read the boards and there are not so many messages (road side signs are outlawed!) bombarding folks that simple posters get lost in the mix.

Hopefully the first phase of re-branded marketing (from Chefadelic to Pizza Hippo) will go off smoothly. Fire Grilled Pizza is from last season's campaign, and in the same font. We'll see how much new web traffic they generate...

On a more global topic, Vermont has pending legislation requiring FRONT of the package labeling disclosing genetically modified foods (GMO) used as ingredients.

Many of us in the organic food movement believe (based on scientific research) GMO's are unhealthy. Also, current laws make organic crops unintentionally cross pollinated with Round Up Ready varieties of the same kind susceptible to intellectual property lawsuits. There is a ton of information out there on GMO's. Here is good place to start reading up if you want more info.

At any rate, Vermont's legislation would be the first of it's kind in the country. I personally believe people will STOP buying these poison "food" products if they realize the ingredients are tainted. Besides the genetic modifications (which pose any number of severe health risks), these crops are drenched in Round-Up. This stuff will kill you if you drink it. Why buy food products you know are sprayed with it??

Consider my father's on going battle with cancer. Superior athlete, in great shape, healthy diet, non smoker, moderate to light drinker, mostly wine and beer. When he asked his doctor why this happened to him, the doc said because of where you live, cancer alley in Louisiana. The same cancer causing chemicals being produced on the banks of the lower Mississippi river are being sprayed on our food. Go organic or go to bed, er take a dirt nap. Or at least raise the probability you and your family will have to go through emotionally, physically, and financially destructive chemo therapy. Trust me, you don't want this!

My advice, grow your own food. Live in the city? Get access to your roof and grow vertically! You can do it.

When consumers demand change, corporations listen. Talk with your wallet.

Support your local farmer's markets. STOP buying food based on what's cheapest. Just like everything else, what you PUT IN to your body has everything to do with what you GET OUT of it.

Trust me, I'm a hippopotamus.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Self Sufficiency, Autonomy and Being a Hippopotamus

And there's always another point of view
A better way to do the things we do - The Raconteurs

I left a good job in the city
Working for the man every night and day
And I never lost one minute of sleeping
Worrying 'bout the way things might have been
- Tina Turner

Take a match and break it. Now take a thousand, hold them together and try again. Impossible.

While there is safety and strength in numbers, when you go out on your own, you will end up pushed to the brink. Don't expect support from those around you, even your most avid supporters, every step of the way (unless your business is producing cash flow immediately!).

Tim Ferris makes a great point about setting up your next income BEFORE you leave corporate. While this is common sense, for me, leaving NOW was a health decision that couldn't wait.

At any rate, you can count on the fact that people, important people, will not understand many actions you take to make your transition from coal mining slave to community building entrepreneur a successful one. For example, people tend to marginalize technologies they don't understand. "What's the big deal about Twitter? It's stupid, I don't get it, anyway." Never mind that 250 Million, that's a quarter of a billion, tweets are being posted daily. And don't get me started on the power of Facebook and YouTube!

If you can reach only a fraction of these people with some product or service, you can easily support yourself and your family. A website (or any business) that produces $200 in profit daily (average or otherwise) makes $6000 per month! Pre-tax of course, but you get the idea.

Ask Sarah Johnson hows she's doing selling travel sized perfume sticks! You can buy them here. "Because you should always smell lovely."

I don't love the idea of perfume sticks, but that's the whole idea. It only takes a few customers per day to equal freedom. That really flips the matchstick analogy on it's head, too!

The real question is, how to we turn Pizza Hippo into a website that produces cash, not just a brochure for the location of Vermont's Best Organic Pizza.

Any ideas are welcome. It's not easy being a Hippopotamus!

This just in... Pizza Hippo and the Pizza Stone have begun talks to organize a Pizza Throw Down to fund raise, potentially for Music for Minors. Thanks to Twitter, of course.

The moral of the story is to trust yourself, even when you don't trust yourself and no one else does either. Stay focused, and you too can become a hippopotamus.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Southern Vermont Pizza and the Art of Being a Hippo

"Hey, look at him", I'll never live that way
And that's okay, they're just afraid to change - Blind Melon

Let's change the way we eat, let's change the way we live
and let's change the way we treat each other. - Tupac

Change. The universal constant. Lifeblood of the galaxy. The antidote to a boring existence.

Today's question is: "How do you change...yourself, your life, the world around you?"

The answer is at once simple and elusive. Action. Where you go from there, what actions you take TODAY, who you enlist for help, and how smart you move when you start moving are all important parts of the puzzle.

Now let me personalize today's question. How do you quit your job, spend all your corporate money, and start a community/world changing business from your front yard with less than $100?

So far, it's been going pretty well. Quitting my job and spending the money was easy. Traveling for a year was so amazing. Even moving out of NYC to the green hills of Vermont was pretty easy, thanks to Amber and Miles. Falling in love shines a new light on many "illogical" courses of action.

Starting Pizza Hippo was a little more involved. In fact, it was an act of desperation. Sometimes it takes extreme circumstances (and a broken down Volvo) to kick start our dreams.

At any rate, selling Vermont's Best Organic Pizza from my front yard in South Windham, Vermont was an incredible experience and a great beginning. But it was just that, a great beginning.

Pizza Hippo certainly transformed our little community on Windham Hill Road, but the reach was too small. And it was probably illegal. (Like I said, an act of desperation.)

This season, we're planning to expand to five farmer's markets in Vermont (Brattleboro, Townshend, Bellow's Falls, Londonderry and Putney) as well as potentially opening an actual legal and legit pizza stand.

We're also partnering directly with Kindle Farm School to bring you the best in local, organic vegetables, all the while supporting the Kindle Farm kids' and staff's hard work.

My dream is to transform communities through the power of organic food (and to become a hippopotamus).

Today's action include starting this blog to chronicle our struggles.

What are you doing today to change the world around you?