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- Beginning this coming week, pickups will be available Tuesday through Sunday. We will be closed for pickups on Mondays. You can still order online on Mondays!
- Exciting new additions to the store: an expanded selection of Keepwell vinegars and sauces, ramps are still around, a whole slew of sausages came back in stock, and sometime in the next few days we’re expecting a big replenishment of the virtual cheese case (so stay tuned)!
Scroll down for the full list of what we’ll have this week! Check out the website for everything we’ve got right now!
I started writing this newsletter in my head on Monday. It was windy. We were coming off a record-shattering week, followed by the first day off I’d taken in several weeks. I was feeling battered by the intensity of the days leading up to Easter, awestruck by business we’d done, and, truly, blown away by the phenomenal work of our staff. The theme of the post would be, “blow me away”. You know, for better or worse.
I never did sit down to write on Monday.
On Tuesday, it was less windy. I was a little more recovered. My theme didn’t feel quite as relevant. For some reason I started thinking about The Three Little Pigs. “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow this house down!” That was how I’d felt, on Friday especially, like someone was trying to blow my house down, and I just didn’t know if we were made of straw or bricks.
On Tuesday, I kept writing this newsletter in my head, but I never did sit down to write.
This morning I thought, “I’m going to make writing this darn post my top priority. Well, right after I get the prep list updated and print the orders we have for the day so far and try to resolve some inventory questions and write some checks to our farmers.” It’s about 4:45pm now as I start writing, and I’m just getting around to my top priority. But — for the first time in weeks, I’m feeling pretty calm about it.
I didn’t remember much about The Three Little Pigs, except that line about huffing and puffing, and maybe something about a chinny-chin-chin. So I googled it and read the (very brief) version I found.
What I’d forgotten was that the whole moral of the story is about doing the best you can. Those first two pigs, with the flimsy houses, they didn’t lack access to appropriate building materials — they were just lazy. They ignored the advice of their mother to always do the best job they could in anything they undertook.
I assume there’s some dark version of that tale where those first two pigs got eaten, but in the version I read, they’re okay. They run to their pig-sibling’s house, the brick one, and they’re all safe there together. The unstated moral of this story is something to do with having a supportive family, which I sure am feeling these days.
There were moments, on Friday especially, when the wind was blowing open our doors and sending order sheets flying down through the stand, when I wanted to scream, “DON’T YOU KNOW WE HAVE ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH RIGHT NOW?!?!” Like there should be a universal moratorium on anything that in any way complicates or inconveniences or makes more painful our lives right now. Just flat out, this is enough. No more. …If only.
Maybe I couldn’t sit down to write until now because it’s taken me this long to feel settled in myself enough to say: we are made of bricks. (From locally sourced clay, of course.)
We get a lot of inquiries about our well-being throughout the week, as we deliver orders to people’s cars, or set their basket on the table and back away. Sometimes it’s just chitchat, but sometimes — often — there’s a seriousness, a sincerity, an intensity to the question. Like the asker really really cares about the answer and wants to know. You might be one of those askers.
Sometimes the questions seem like they’re about our personal well-being. Sometimes they seem like they’re about the health of the business. Sometimes it seems like both. So I just want you know — we are okay.
On a personal level, this is hard. Dusty and I are working too many days for too many hours. Veronica’s working overtime and going to school full-time. Elliott and Lara are both working six days a week. In our effort to do our “best”, we maybe were too ambitious about what we as people could accomplish. But it’s okay — we just have to adjust. Moving forward (see those quick things above), we’ll be closed for pickups on Mondays. We’re further limiting the number of orders we’ll take for any given time slot in an effort to avoid a repeat of last Friday. (When, I might add with a hint of pride in my voice, even in the craziest moments, no one was waiting more than about five minutes past their scheduled pickup time. Our staff rocks.) I’m trying to let go of some of the anxiety I have that things might not be perfect. We’re doing our best, and we’re adapting and adjusting to try to meet your needs and ours. We’re made of bricks.
On a business level, well…you notice how all the things that are making this hard are related to our desire to get people the food they want when they want it? There are a lot of people who want food right now. A lot of businesses, small and large, have seen their revenues plummet. We feel so lucky that we’re not one of those businesses. Starting just as things were getting scary, before everything shutdown, we started to see sales increase, and dramatically. When we moved to all online we figured doing so would mean sacrificing some sales, that things would drop off a little. They haven’t. Last week — bolstered by the holidays — we did a full 50% more business than we would have in a good week pre-pandemic.
This is a more expensive way to do business, for sure. We’ve kept our prices the same as they were in-store. But Veronica’s working overtime! Elliott and Lara are both working six days a week. We’ve given all three of them raises. I have not stopped to tally up the fees we’re paying to various services for the various components of the ecommerce site; I know it’s at least a few hundred dollars a month. I know our credit card processing fees are much higher than they were before, because every transaction is now on a card, and because the fees for “card not present” (ie, online) transactions are higher than those for swiped transactions. I know that these additional costs are well worth it in the interest of keeping all of us as safe as we can.
And I know that this business is made of bricks. We’re not going anywhere.
Our goals remain the same as they’ve ever been: to support local eaters and local farmers both, and to provide a link between the two. We are humbled, delighted, gratified, and awestruck at your support of us.
We’re made of bricks, and we are blown away.
P.S. We hear, too, questions about our supply chain — will we continue to be able to get the food you’ve become accustomed to? While working with small farms and producers always has some…vagaries…the short answer is that we are not experiencing any significant disruption to our (very short) supply chain. Many of the farmers and producers we work with usually do a brisk business with local restaurants, and so are able and even eager to get us what we need, even as those needs have increased. On a larger scale level, it’s difficult to re-route food intended for restaurants into grocery stores and other consumer outlets, but on our small scale, working directly with producers, buying things that are minimally packaged, it’s no challenge at all. On average, around 70% of our revenue goes to our farms and producers, and we’re very grateful to be able to support them as other markets have waned.
P.P.S. We’ve had a lot of requests in the past few weeks for a cashless way to recognize our staff’s service. To facilitate that for folks who feel so moved, we now have an online tip jar on the web store. All tips will be split between Elliott, Lara, and Veronica.