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The Snap Way

We are a team of experienced catering and event professionals. We love sharing Vermont-grown produce, pasture-raised meats, craft beers and locally distilled Vermont spirits in expertly executed parties with you. We connect people through food, events and celebrations.

Our Story

19 years of hard work, great food and amazing community partnerships.

By Abbey Duke, Founder & CEO

Way back in 2002, I decided that I wanted to pursue my dream: to start a farm-related business. I had worked as a journalist, a field biologist and a marketer, but I kept learning that I didn’t want to work for someone else. In 2002, I quit my job in content marketing at Gardener’s Supply Company and enrolled in (Abbey) Duke University—my own personalized graduate program.

I designed the program to gain experience and learn skills so that within two years, I could open a business that involved growing product in Burlington’s Intervale and selling the end product. I worked for Will and Judy Stevens at Golden Russet Farm in Shoreham. I attended business workshops, and I spent a winter in Costa Rica working on an agroecology project. In 2003, while applying to rent land in Burlington’s Intervale, I had the opportunity to rent a small kitchen and retail space at the top of the hill on Riverside Ave.

The little building had been a late-night fried chicken wing place and was in disrepair. Yet, all I saw was potential. I didn’t quite know what I was getting into, and that was probably for the best. I teamed up with two chefs, Kirk and Katie Fiore, and together we founded Sugarsnap and built the original business together. We renovated the building together. We even rented a jackhammer to make space for new plumbing.

We opened Sugarsnap in December 2003. The original business model focused on freshly prepared take-out lunches and take-home dinners with catering on the side. I ran the business and the farm, and Katie and Kirk ran the kitchen. I would work on the farm in the morning, scrub my hands and then work the counter during the lunch rush and pay bills in the afternoon. The business grew—especially catering. By 2008, we had maxed out the 1,000-square-foot building, and it was time to make a decision: do we get bigger and put in a new kitchen, or do we stay small? Kirk and Katie decided it was time for new challenges and left the business. And I decided to grow.

I raised money and put in a 4,500-square-foot catering and commissary kitchen in Technology Park in South Burlington. We added a bar service and expanded catering even more. We added a café at our new kitchen, kept the Riverside store and then took over running the café at ECHO on Burlington’s waterfront. It was a challenging time. Ultimately, it became clear that the business was too complicated, with three cafes, a farm and a large catering operation.

Over two years, we closed down all three cafes so that we could focus exclusively on catering. That focus has paid off. We grew to be one of the largest off-premise caterers in the area.

2020 was on track to be our best year ever, when… well, we all know what happened. We immediately launched a home delivery service and looked for opportunities. I was able to secure a contract with the state of Vermont providing meals for people the state housed in area hotels. For 13 months, the Snap team cooked and delivered over 600,000 meals to unhoused people in four VT counties. I am really proud of my team and our ability to adapt during such a challenging time.

In July 2021, we transitioned back to event catering, and we have been busier than ever. As we look to the future, we are really excited about the partnerships we have with our venues, vendors and partners. And we are excited to keep growing, adapting and improving—as individuals and as a company.

 

“We love Vermont and showcase award-winning foods and beverages produced and harvested in the Green Mountains ”

— Abbey Duke, Founder & CEO

Our Principles

19 years in business and our core principles remain the same: community, teamwork, integrity and quality products.

Our Local Network

Access to world-class local suppliers and ingredients from our own backyard. It’s amazing how much the Vermont marketplace has expanded compared to when we started in 2003.

Meet the Sugarsnap Team

The best Management, catering and event professionals in the business!

“Our dedicated team of skilled, creative culinary pros have years of experience and take great care of you and your guests.”

— Abbey Duke, Founder & CEO

Truly Vermont.

Enjoy our catering at one of Vermont’s best venues.