New Products and Farm Stories...Read Below.
New Product - Pierogies (a la carte purchase option)
For the past few months I've been working with Autumn Johnson, the Pierogi Lady, to come up with some uniquely Fresh Fork pierogies. I think we have succeeded.
Many of you have likely seen Autumn at different festivals and farmers markets around. She is quite busy and arguably the reigning pierogi queen. She hand rolls on average 8,000 pierogies per week! Let's just say Popeye would bow down to her in an arm wrestling competition.
Anyhow, I come from a family with a tradition of homemade pierogies. For over 75 years now, our family has celebrated a traditional Polish Christmas Eve with a Wigilia - a meatless celebration of Christmas Eve. Pierogies are at the center of the plate and my grandmother taught me how to make them probably 15 years ago. Now, every Christmas I'm responsible for making the pierogies and pan frying them for dinner.
So when I first sampled Autumn's product I was cautious. Her dough crisps up nice and holds together well in a skillet. Her fillings are also quite tasty.
Being that I'm the pickiest buyer around, I had to work with Autumn though to make sure all the inputs were local - flour, oil, potatoes, and other fillings.
At the end of the winter season, we worked with Autumn to start making pierogies with some of the seconds our farmers had - like potatoes with scab and cabbage that wasn't the prettiest. The result is two different pierogies, both made with whole wheat flour:
- Potato and goat gouda
- Potato with homemade sauerkraut
The pierogies are available for pre-order via our website, and they are sold 6 to a pack, frozen. The cost is $7.5.
To preorder, place your order before Tuesday at midnight at http://csalogin.freshforkmarket.com
Sausage and Meat Training for my staff
Tomorrow night, my staff will be going through Sausage and Meat Training. They will learn about the different retail cuts we offer, including sausages, ground products, and breakfast products. We'll taste them all and talk about the proper way to cook them. I'll share the sampling notes and cooking suggestions next week via this e-blast.
High Waters and Tough Times on the Farms
Has anyone noticed that when it rains as of late it rains like 2 inches at a time? I know the farmers sure have noticed.
Last week was certainly a good example. Below is a photo Mickey (the driver in Solon, Beachwood, Hudson, and Mentor) took last Wednesday morning in Hartville. On Wednesday early morning this farm recorded 4 inches of rain in under 2 hours.
I called this farmer in Wednesday morning as Mickey was on his way to the farm. "Kay, just letting you know Mickey is on his way. He should be there by 7:30 AM."
'Well, we'll try to get him loaded. The farm is under water now. It's up to the roof of the apartment.' (He has an apartment for his farm manager down by the packing house)
"Oh. How solid is the ground under the water?" I ask. Before he replies, I suggest the solution, "Now if he gets her stuck, you'll drag him out with the dozer, right?"
'That ground is solid as rock. We won't sink him. He might float some. By goodness, we'll get him out. Don't you worry.' Apparently I had ignited a fighting desire in Kay. He wasn't letting Mickey get out of there without the product.
"And Kay, all I'm saying is we need that food. If all your guys and Mickey have to swim one box at a time out to the truck, let's get it done."
So I called Mickey to warn him. "Mike. You're heading into high water. Kay says the ground is solid and he'll get you loaded up and out of there. Don't do anything you don't feel comfortable with, but don't worry about the truck either. If you get in water, keep your foot off the clutch and petal on the accelerator. We don't want to drown her." Mike chuckles. He's used to this craziness by now.
By the time Mike got there, a lot of the water had drained and the pond was maybe a foot deep instead of four. They were able to load up as usual and get him on the road in no time.
But the long term effects are now known. Kay lost an entire field of spinach, one of radishes, and another of sweet corn from all the water.
Substitutions and Changes in Bag Contents
We are hoping for a drier week this week. Last week the rains kept many farmers out of the fields to pick strawberries and this week it is threatening our peas and beans (which you can't pick wet or they will rot in the box). This has been frustrating for us because we end up shorting you what we had hoped to get you and we have to scramble to find product.
Below you'll notice we have the projections for what will be in this week's bag. I want to point out that this is purely a suggestion rather than reality. Weather conditions or even pests, like deer, can change what is available from Tuesday to Friday. Because we do farm pickups each day to get you the freshest food, we have to roll with the punches and adapt as conditions change.
You may see substitutions throughout the year in the bag. Sometimes weather is to blame. Sometimes the farmers mis-estimated what they might have hanging on the plants. Sometimes we simply do our math wrong and load the trucks improperly.