|Photo by Allison Jones|
Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
|Photo by Jill Oppenheim|
|Photo by Jill Oppenheim|
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
|Our first recipe book.|
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
So here I was facing said sandwich shop with a parking spot right outside. Being mostly vegetarian I knew there were going to be limited options for me to order from. But that’s ok, I’m not one of those demanding why-can’t-there-be-more-options-for-me-to-choose-from eaters. One (or two) really well done options are better than a menu full of half-hearted attempts, and in this case I knew what I wanted to try, the roasted mushroom sandwich.
The sandwich was everything I wanted it to be. Well seasoned portabello mushrooms, lightly pickled shallots combined with the tang of goat cheese and frisee on an onion roll. I was happy camper at the first bite. It was drippy and finger licking messy in the good way, and well worth $6.95.
A little while later (after more driving around), I was back at the Wednesday Portland Farmer’s Market to help pack up our stall and see what produce our friends from Rick Steffen Farms had brought.
Rick himself was manning his stall and had hot-housed zucchini in the past months finding himself with a bumper crop. He willingly (and probably gratefully, since he wouldn’t have to lug it back to farm) unloaded 50lbs to me on the spot.
Looks like we’re already off to a great growing season this year in the Pacific NW, and it’s a good thing I ate first, because at this rate, starting off with this much zucchini to process for tart-fillings, who knows when I’ll have time for another sandwich!
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Every farmers market opens differently. Most to their own amount of fan fair and/or Facebook ballyhooing, but always with anticipation. Our first day at Portland Farmers Wednesday market was no different.
Adding to our anticipation, and our own ballyhooing of our market appearance, was a well timed Oregonian article, there's nothing like a homemade hand pie, which showcased Little Pots & Pans Co. on the front page of the Food Day section. (For those of you following along with the paper version of the article, no, those are not my hands folding our tarts).
The opening of any market prompts the question “How do we know what to bring?”. The easy answer is, for the first market, it’s a crap-shoot. Flavors which are popular at one market might not sell so well at another. Markets have various volume of shoppers, various amounts of other food vendors (which compete for the same buying dollars) and weather dependant. (Even though Portland claims to be weather-impervious, too hot or too much rain and the crowds stay clear). So, we bring a smattering of all the tarts in our current shapes/sizes.
Once at the market, we watch what sells, and how quickly. This week I surprised at how fast our tartlets went (bottom photo, top shelf). Clearly, they were priced right, and by prime lunch hour, we only had a couple left.
Additionally, the opening market gives us a chance to catch up with fellow vendors and farmers we might not have seen since last season (and also find out what they have in season and or may be growing…). A few of our local friends and loyal customers also stopped by to show their support (and bought tarts), which despite the chilly overcast weather, kept us upbeat.
Overall, our first Portland Wednesday Farmer’s Market was exciting, hand freezing, and tart-full for all.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Fridays around here are like a revolving door and probably not too different from your working week. It’s all about getting our client orders organized, out and delivered as well as preparing for the coming week.
There are things that need to be taken care of prior to the weekend and items we push out into the coming week. Instead of meetings or reports, ours center around conversations such as “do we really need to break down (clean & slice) 100lbs of onions today?” (They can wait until Monday), and “what’s on the cleaning schedule for this week” (Scrubbing down the inside of the dishwasher).
Once the tarts are out the door, it’s time to start preparing for the coming week. Produce orders and ingredients (like 1000lbs of Shepherd’s Grain flour) which have started arriving Thursday continue to stream through the day and need to catalogued (we keep track of everything here!) and are either processed into tart fillings or put away for future use. Then we clean, scrub the kitchen end to end so we can hit the ground running come Monday.
As our current schedule is Monday – Friday, we use Fridays as chance to catch-up on the week’s events and upcoming ones (farmer’s markets, any catering), work on recipe development and figure out how we want the coming week to work (What’s that yiddish proverb? Mentsch tracht, Gott lacht - translation: Man plans, God laughs…Luckily we’re agile and can handle a little ribbing now and then.)
So as I’m writing this on a Sunday and you might be reading this early in your work week, just remember, if you ever feel like breaking out of your own routine, there’s a 100lbs of onions which could use your help!
Saturday, April 24, 2010
It’s a question we often hear while interacting with customers at the farmer’s markets, as well as inquiries by phone or email. Very few things are more gratifying than direct customer feedback which happens along the lines of “ I love your tarts, do you think you could put together a platter for our (insert event here) and also provide a few other dishes?”
Why would you say no?
For a couple of years, I held on to the idea that we should maintain catering menus, with items varied seasonally. Lunch, dinner, cocktail appetizers – I’ll email them right over to you, thanks for asking.
Then the great recession hit. Customers and corporations started (rightly so) and continue to measure their dollars.
This led us to the concept of creating custom menus, which we continue to do today. While it takes a bit more time to think through the menus, our sales success is greater because we’ve gotten the budget discussions out of the way and it can be all about the food going forward.
Catering also offers myself & my team a chance to think outside of LPPCo.’s weekly (mostly well managed) tart production cycle. For the time being, as we’re growing, it is still feasible for us to manage catering jobs with-in our week, and besides putting out some good food, offers some additional bonuses.
The process of pulling together a catering event have some similarities to how we produce our tarts. It also allows us to look at how we create other types of food and experiment with flavor profiles. If we notice an item seems popular (some menu items do get repurposed), it gets me thinking about “productizing” it. Could it stand on it’s own? (Sometimes yes, sometimes no. This will be an upcoming separate post in the near future).
These days, when I walk into LPPCo.’s kitchen and utter “hey, we have a catering job coming up” to my team, with-in moments someone’s grabbed a carrot out of the walk-in and is making carrot tulips, radish roses bloom profusely (except for the day we accidentally froze them in ice water) and platters are being sorted through.
A little diversity, for the moment, is a good thing at LPPCo.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Getting ready for the farmer’s market season is like planning for a trip (ah, yes, vacations… remember those?). Much like you sorting through bathing suits and hiking shorts of seasons past (do they fit? Are they too tatty to be shown in public to people I don’t know and will never see again?), I spend time rummaging through our storage area assessing our gear the same way. Tablecloths not stained or torn - great we’ll get those in the wash. Whiteboard looks like it was the puck in an air-hockey tournament. Perhaps a new one and while we’re thinking about it would a chalkboard look nicer?
In reality, the planning starts long before now, back in late January/early February when the market applications start to be announced. I don’t know how well you like to plan your lives, but sitting down in January and committing to show up every week somewhere in the (hopefully) coming nicer weather can be a little daunting. This also tends to prompt a few sometimes not-so-tactful emails out to family & friends saying things such as “Congratulations on your engagement, do you think you’ll be getting married this year? And if so… any idea which weekend that might be?”
Once the applications have been submitted, and we’ve heard back from which of the markets we’ve been accepted at (which is generally a 6-week process), it’s all over but for the tart baking and keeping our fingers crossed for good weather and loyal customers. And maybe the chance of a quick get-away before it all begins, shorts and bathing suit willing.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010