Rollercoasters 9/24/2020

Quick things:

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  • We’re open for pre-orders/curbside pickup ONLY. Click here for more info, or here to start shopping! Order any day; pick up Tuesday thru Sunday. pickup Tuesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday/Sunday!
  • You catch that? Starting next week, we will be closed for pickups on Wednesdays. More on this below.
  • We’re hiring! Not only could we use some help right now — we think we’re close enough that it’s time to start training. We write job ads as long-windedly as we write newsletters.
  • New & noteworthy: pie pumpkins, arugula, baby red kales, APPLE CIDER (somewhat limited quantity, perhaps), and some rather large Napa cabbage.
  • This week’s breads: Cranberry Pecan, Cheesy Bread, and Prairie (plus the standard Original, Sesame, and Irish Oatmeal).
  • Congratulations to Sarah, the winner of this week’s order feedback drawing and a $10 R&R gift card! As always, many thanks to all of you who have responded to the slips in your bags — we <3 feedback and we <3 you!

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 probably need to find a topic for this newsletter other than my current mood, but it sure does feel like something new every week.

Following last week’s revelation that the POS we selected couldn’t do like half the stuff they promised, on Friday I had a great phone call with the COO of the company about the troubles we’d encountered and what we were trying to do. Basically, the (cheaper, lighter weight, cloud-based) product they sold us is pretty new, and the sales guy wasn’t really clear on the differences between it and the server-based product they’ve been offering for years. All those features I thought I was getting? They’re in the “Professional” version, not the “Market” version. “Okay,” I said, “Then how about you deliver the product you promised by upgrading us to the Professional version at a steeply discounted rate?” “Okay,” said the COO.

Yay! Problem solved! Amazing! I spent the weekend uploading hundreds of product photos to the oh-so-close-to-ready new e-commerce site feeling that we were finally on track and it would be smooth sailing from here.

On Tuesday afternoon I had a phone call scheduled with the woman at the POS company who was supposed to tell us a little more about the differences between the Market and Professional versions and start the transitioning process. I was eager to learn more and to hear about the likely timeline. Instead, the first words out of her mouth were, “We don’t support inventory with [your e-commerce provider who we recommended you check out specifically because we could sync inventory with them]. WHAT?!?!?!

Actually my reaction was more like stunned silence. There may, in various parts of the ensuing conversation, have been some tears. There may have been some yelling. I have not been sleeping well the past two nights.

During the day, in addition to the normal operate-the-business and try-to-get-the-store-open stuff, I’ve been calling every POS company that ever seemed like a remote possibility to talk with them more about what they offer, can they accommodate our crazy need to track inventory (HOW DO YOU SELL PERISHABLE PRODUCTS WITHOUT DOING THIS???) and sync that inventory with the e-commerce provider, how long would implementation take, and just how jaw-droppingly expensive would it be? The answer from the company I’ve spent the most time talking to — one of the biggest grocery POS providers in the country — is: they offer a lot that would be awesome to have; tracking inventory is unusual, but yeah, they have a few other stores doing that so they definitely can; implementation would take significantly longer than I’d like it to; and how jaw-droppingly expensive? very. Maybe not totally completely out of our reach, but I’m still waiting for a final proposal.

But then this afternoon — an email from the woman I spoke with on Tuesday, the one who dashed all my hopes and dreams, to say that they’d been discussing and brainstorming internally, and they *would* have a perfect solution for us in Q1 2021 that would allow us to sync inventory as often as every five minutes and in the meantime here were some workaround ideas they’d come up with! And they’re actually, from my perspective, potentially workable, at least for a few months.

So that’s where I am now — do I extend my trust to these people again because we’re so.damn.close? Or is this all a Really Bad Sign and I should cut my ties while I can, even if it introduces further delays? I’m going to “sleep” on it tonight, and of course discuss with Dusty this evening while we drink some wine and make some Baby Badger pizza kits.

Anyway! These tales of woe are probably not why you read this newsletter. You’re probably more interested in the food and how to get it. On that note — as mentioned above, we will no longer be offering curbside pickup on Wednesdays (so that makes your options: Tuesday + Thursday-Sunday). If you pick up a CSA share on Wednesday afternoons, we’ll still be here to allow you to retrieve that, but you won’t be able to get an order at the same time, and we can’t guarantee we’ll be here after 5pm (that time cut-off was always the case).

We’ll be spending Wednesdays pushing forward the projects that are difficult to do while we’re trying to fill orders at the same time, finalizing layouts and displays, perfecting the systems we’ll need to operate in person and online, doing training on the new POS and new e-commerce site, etc. Wednesdays will come back when we’re closer to opening (or at least when we open), we just need a little more breathing room to facilitate getting there while maintaining everyone’s sanity. If you’re wondering, “Why Wednesdays?” it’s pretty simple — they’re trending as the day with the lightest pickup volume, and it’s one of only two days that everyone’s here all at once.

And now, if you’ve stuck with me all this way, I will reward(?) you with some food discussion. My best meal of the week was on Monday evening, when I wanted something that could hit both “comfort food” and “salad” kinds of buttons, and could be made only with things I already had in the house. And would be pretty fast and easy.

The result: rice (which I’d frozen some time ago), beans (same), chopped radish greens, wedges of the previously-attached radishes, crumbled feta cheese, and a shower of cilantro, all drenched in a cilantro/lime/yogurt dressing. It was such a winner that I will definitely definitely do it — or at least riffs on it — again. I want to try replacing both the rice and beans with some well-cooked farro; arugula instead of radish greens; maybe some roasted sweet potatoes somewhere in the mix? What I’ll definitely keep, no matter what, is that dressing — juice of one lime, a generous handful of chopped cilantro, a big spoonful of Greek yogurt, a glug of sunflower oil, and a pretty generous pinch of salt; hand blender; pour over everything. Yes yes yes.

I wish everything could be so easy.

-Julia


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