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!