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Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in From the Director | 0 comments

Happy Ohio Agriculture Week!

Happy Ohio Agriculture Week!

Ohio Agriculture Week is celebrated the second full week of March each year.  In honor of this event, Ohio Agriculture Director David Daniels will be traveling across the state (March 10-14) to visit agriculture and food businesses of all sizes to promote and celebrate Ohio’s $105 billion food and agriculture industry.

The Bob Evan's team welcoming ODA and Ohio Proud

The Bob Evan’s team welcoming ODA and Ohio Proud

We are very proud to kick off this year’s events with a visit to Bob Evans’ headquarters in New Albany, Ohio. Director Daniels was able to meet BE’s leadership team to learn more about the company and take a tour of their new facility, including the test kitchens.During our visit with Bob Evans officials, we were able to get a little history about this iconic company from CEO Steve Davis.

Steve Davis, CEO of Bob Evans, with Director Daniels

Steve Davis, CEO of Bob Evans, with Director Daniels

Company founder, Bob Evans, began making sausage at his Southeastern Ohio farm back in the late 1940’s for the diner he owned near Gallipolis, Ohio.  Eventually, the first Bob Evans Restaurant opened right there on the farm in Rio Grande, Ohio.As the product grew in popularity, Bob Evans contracted with his cousin, Tim Evans of Evans Packing Co., to package Bob Evans Sausage products.

Founded in 1953, the company is now a 1.7 billion dollar restaurant and retail food products operation. The original farm is now a major tourist destination featuring the first Bob Evans Restaurant, the company’s homestead museum and home to the popular Bob Evans Farm Festival, celebrated every October.

Director Daniels checking out the Bob Evans timeline

Director Daniels checking out the Bob Evans timeline

As a part of our visit, the folks at Bob Evans were kind enough to show us around their space. Executive Chef David Eisel gave us a tour of the two-story test kitchen, which can be viewed from windows on the second floor. The main kitchen is surrounded by smaller spaces where recipes are created and food is taste-tested.

Chef Eisel shows Director Daniels around the kitchen.

Chef Eisel shows Director Daniels around the kitchen.

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A bird’s eye view of the Bob Evans test kitchen.

In addition to the kitchens, we were also able to tour the rest of the office space and take a look at more than a few historical items at the BE facility:

A white Chevy delivery truck with the original Bob Evans' Farms Sausage logo

A white Chevy delivery truck with the original Bob Evans’ Farms Sausage logo

Bob Evans’ white Stetson hat and glasses sit in a case close to the BE entrance.

Bob Evans’ white Stetson hat and glasses sit in a case close to the BE entrance.

 

A big “thank you” to Bob Evans for hosting us today. Stay tuned as we will have daily updates on our trips around the state this week, in celebration of Ohio Agriculture Week.

 

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