Biz Beat 12-18-2014

Alice Doyle of Log House Plants in Cottage Grove has been working for the past five years with Dutch and American horticultural researchers to refine and market a “Ketchup ’n’ Fries” grafted plant that grows potatoes underground and tomatoes above ground. Potatoes and tomatoes are related, and the first such graft was recorded in the early 1900s by Luther Burbank. The local Territorial Seed Company will have a national exclusive to sell mail-order plants and “I’m sure they‘ll see quite a bit of action,” Doyle says. Log House will have the plants available in April. The grafted “TomTato” plant got national attention on The Colbert Report recently. See the video at

A new program offered by Fertilab Thinkubator launched this fall called ID8. It has been helping founders working on “concept stage companies” to connect with mentors and learn about resources in the area. Companies in the first class of ID8 include Flash PV (Andrew Ritenour and Matthew Robertson), Cognitopia (Tom Keating), (Tony Marostica), Restatement of Style (Danny Kim), Third Ocean (Kevin Bull, Esteban Vollenweider, Garrett Dunlavey and Richard Harris), ValleyChem (Danielle Murphy), Sit with Me (Nathan Gustafson, Galen Mitterman, Krell TheHuman, Mateus Carvalho
and Dena Zaldua) and LightDance (Paul Garrett and Dylan Garrett). The series will conclude with a public pitch event at 5 pm Thursday, Dec. 18, at 390 Lincoln St., Suite 250. Contact David Youngentob at

Hop Valley Brewing and the Lane Blood Center are teaming up again this year hoping to bring the total tally of the partnership to 10,000 donations of blood. Everyone over 21 who gives a pint of blood between now and the end of January will receive a voucher for a free pint of Hop Valley brew or any non-alcoholic beverage (redeemable at both Hop Valley Brewing Company locations) and a souvenir pint glass. Hop Valley has also brought back “Strong at Heart” stout, last year’s seasonal brew named in honor of blood donors. A special blood drive will be from 4 to 7 pm Monday, Dec. 29, at Hop Valley at 980 Kruse Way in Springfield. Call 484-9111 or visit 

Will your restaurant or food cart be open Christmas Day? We figure the chain restaurants and Asian eateries usually stay open. We have mixed thoughts about restaurant workers having to show up on a family-oriented holiday, but if you will be open, let us know and we’ll add you to a list we’ll run just before Christmas on our website and on Facebook. Some folks really enjoy dining out Christmas Day and the tips should be good. Email