4. Full Circle Catering
Jenny Elmes
Lexington, Va.
This holiday season is a particularly special time for Jenny Elmes, owner of Full Circle Catering. Not only is it the busiest time of the year for her business, but it will also means a 10th anniversary celebration.

The accomplishment is big for Elmes. She started her business as a single mom with a young son, wanting to be home with him as much as possible but knowing she needed to support herself. What started out as Elmes taking jobs periodically has turned into a full-fledged catering business.

"It's not for the weak of heart or body," Elmes acknowledges. "It's really hard work. It definitely takes a special person that can do this type of work and make a living out of it."

Full Circle Catering is run out of Elmes' home and her health department-approved kitchen.

Elmes' other passion is the environment. From the beginning, she says, she wanted to source her food as locally as possible and use environmentally friendly procedures to stem the amount of waste she produced. In addition to the hours spent cooking, Elmes labors to create compost for a neighbor running an organic farm. (Elmes buys her eggs from him.)

"I live here and these are the people that are supporting me," Elmes says. "I need to and want to in turn support them. There's a farmers market where I get 80% of my produce and cheese and butter."

The holiday season is where Elmes especially gets to give back to her community.

"For my business the holiday season is really wonderful because it's much more personal. I get to work for many of my clients as opposed to a big wedding where I might not know the people personally," she says. "People can forget for a little while what's going on with our economy and eat some good food and be a little more upbeat."

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