2020 Lifetime Achievement Awards: Tim Metzger, Metzger Specialty Brands/Tillen Farms

“What’s the new normal going to look like?” Tim Metzger wonders, sequestered in Lenox, Massachusetts, during the coronavirus shutdown. The founder of Tillen Farms brand of cocktail garnishes (which he sold to Stonewall Kitchen in 2018) thinks that changes in the specialty food industry will be felt for years to come.

“There will be no more sampling, only pre-packaged samples or mini jars,” he says. “There’s no model for salad bars anymore; no one will want things that have been touched. The basis for developing relationships is one of the biggest casualties, the most troubling from a professional standpoint.”

Metzger has been developing strong relationships in the industry for decades. His first Fancy Food Show was in 1981 when he worked for Pasta & Cheese, Inc., learning aspects of importing and distribution and becoming its vice president of sales and marketing. He held a similar position at The Gilway Co., another specialty food importer, and also became the sales agent for a pickled vegetable line produced by a Washington winery, Hogue Cellars. Its drink amenities brand was called Hogue Farms, and included Bloody Mary-friendly pickled asparagus and spicy dilly beans, which got him involved in the bar and restaurant industry.

To read the rest of the story, please go to: Specialty Food Magazine