Simple summer food 8/10/2021

Quick things:

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  • Curbside pickup fees continue to be waived for online ordering. Click here for more info, or here to start shopping!
  • New & noteworthy: WATERMELON. CORN. Lasagna (one with ground beef, one with roasted eggplant). A selection of chicken sausages. And, of course, peaches, tomatoes, peppers, and more!
  • This week’s soups: Another rendition of Jota, with white beans, smoked kielbasa, pork shoulder, and sauerkraut. We’ve also got a good freezer stock of Cheesy Broccoli and White Bean with Chicken and Kale (and maybe some of the Cheesy Potato Cauliflower, too?).
  • Want to see what produce we have without scrolling through the online store?  Click here to view our current(ish) availability and when we expect various deliveries to arrive. (Updated mostly daily a few times a week; no guarantees it’s perfect.)
  • Masks are encouraged and appreciated as Dauphin County passes back into “High” community transmission and the CDC recommends them for all. sigh


Happy Tuesday, all!

This week my excuse for not writing last week is that I was on a “work retreat”, visiting my aunt and spending my days getting caught up on a pandemic’s-worth of R&R bookkeeping away from the distractions of daily life at the store. Also on Tuesday I had a Circle School Board meeting, so it really just definitely wasn’t going to happen.

But now I’m home, with mountains of paperwork, now dealt with, ready to be filed. I’m not, like, 100% caught up, but all those months of accumulated backlog were really weighing on me, and I am feeling a huge sense of relief to have them all but wrapped up. Then I’ll be able to start on our 2020 taxes! Woohoo! 🤣

In all seriousness, another piece of relief for me is that getting caught up on all those books gave me an opportunity to see how we’re doing financially. Pre-pandemic, I did all our bookkeeping reliably every single week, and I always knew where we stood. Lately….not so much.

I mean, I’ve been keeping an eye on our bank balance and paying our farmers and suppliers in a mostly-timely manner, and wages for the moment are being subsidized by our USDA grant, so I knew we were like, fine, but I also knew that occasionally I’d realize that I really needed to submit a grant reimbursement request stat, and with the grant coming to a close at the end of September I felt like I had literally no clue as to whether or not my budget projections were on target and how we’d fare after the grant ended.

I’m super happy to say that doing the books provided me with optimism and relief (and fear of the opposite may have been part of what fueled my previous procrastination. I mean, along with being genuinely overwhelmed by all the things to do.). I think everything’s going to be okay, even when the grant ends.

I mean, I’m not going to pretend that we’re raking in the dough. Spoiler alert: not quite. But it looks like we’re about halfway to where I thought we needed to be when I wrote our anniversary post in June, and since we’ve got about another two months to go (a little less) until the grant help ends, the trajectory looks good.

I like to think about different ways to get there. Higher sales volume! Increased employee efficiency! Better systems! Lower wages! Higher prices! No, not those last two. They get ruled out not just on philosophical grounds, but because I think higher sales volumes, increased employee efficiency (sure to happen as our relatively new staff becomes more seasoned), and better systems do a much better job of setting us up for long-term viability. But also, you know, I always want to be a better place to work for our employees and a better place to shop for our customers and community.

I’ve just realized that I’m in danger of subjecting you to a brain dump about boring business things, and while maybe eventually some of those thoughts will work their way into a future newsletter, what I really want to talk about this evening is FOOD.

Pictured is last night’s super simple dinner — sweet Italian chicken sausage, pan-blistered sungold tomatoes, cascatelli pasta, and a shower of parmesan. (I feel guilty about the parmesan; I actually brought home a chunk of Shepherd Basket to use, but then realized Dusty bought a chunk of parm on a recent trip for non-perishables, so….) Anyway! I’ve been imagining some form of this dinner for the last few weeks, and it did not disappoint. I LOVE HOW SIMPLE SUMMER FOOD CAN BE. I mean, all the time food can be simple, but man oh man does summer food really shine.

On a slightly more complicated note, we also made my favorite corn salad this week, with some corn lightly charred on the grill, a lime from Green Ridge Acres, and otherwise all R&R ingredients (well, and a little dollop of mayo) — jalapenos and green chiles, cilantro, scallions, and feta. It’s seriously so freaking good. We’ll do it again, for sure. (And I recommend a big batch as it’s the kind of thing that’s better the next day. And the day after that. Call me weird, but yesterday I mixed some of the leftovers with a can of tuna for a fast lunch, and I thought it went so well I did it again the today!)

This week I’m excited for a watermelon, basil, and feta salad. A cantaloupe with Caputo ricotta. Pork chops and corn on the cob on the grill. Blistered shishitos. Roasted peppers. Caprese with juicy August heirloom tomatoes and Caputo’s CapoMozz. More things, I guess, than I’m likely to be able to eat. Summer will be around for a little while — I’ve got some time — but I’m not going to procrastinate on this.