Friday, August 22, 2008

Visiting Tonnemakers Farm

We had a wonderful visit to this organic small family farm in Royal City, WA. We've been buying Melons and other goodies from Tonnemakers, and when employed by a CSA program we used their produce. A beautiful oasis in the desert. Maxine runs the farmstand and she is such a warm WOW kind of lady! She gave us lots of delicious samples and a huge dose of inspiration.
Curt and Cole are brothers who run the farm, you'll see Curt regularly at Seattle Markets. We appreciate them taking time to chat with us. Nice guys who believe in what they are doing. They began working on the farm when it was their grandparents' homestead.
A couple goats, a couple horses, a bunch of chickens, lots of kittens all add to the mix of joyous characters. Wandering back into the fields to enjoy the plants and animals truly brings a sense of peace and hope.
It's about 140 miles south east of Seattle, close to great recreation at the Potholes Reservoir. Wildlife refuge, golf, camping, FARMS. A fabulous late summer getaway.
Thanks Tonnemakers Crew!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's good to work for the King

We have been fortunate to work for Tom Douglas restaurants for the past few years. We still work there when we have down times from GreenGo. There are lots of perks to this company, this weekend was the company party, dubbed "Beast Feast" at Tom And Jackie's farm in Prosser. They are very generous people and gracious hosts. We had lots of fun, Tom threw down a huge feast. We camped. The following morning, I reported to breakfast duty in the kitchen, and got to have some special time with Tom and Jackie. I got to cut cantaloupes while Tom whisked his delicious bacon gravy and Jackie whipped up fabulous biscuits. Unfortunately, I was tired and not yet caffeinated, so my conversation skills were not too sharp, but looking back, I am so lucky! I got to stand and cut cantaloupe beside restauranteur extrordinaire, James Beard award recipient, and Iron Chef Winner Tom Douglas, in his kitchen. 6 years ago, it was a big thrill just to see the man in public, or even, gasp, have him come into the restaurant I was working in! We are fortunate to be surrounded and supported by great people.
Thanks Tom and Jackie!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Goin' to the East-side

East side of the state, the sunnier, hotter side. The smell of hot Pine trees is so intoxicating. We have been working the hardest EVER in our lives and a brief (48 hour) Sabbatical is necessary. We plan to visit at least 3 farms, a couple wineries, camp under the starry desert sky and step away from the monster.
We'll return to Columbia City rejuvenated by Wednesday. Living the further mucking dream!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Congratulations Lindsey and Pat!

An AA-Ha Moment! August 9, our friends got married and we got to cook for the after-party. It was a super-fun backyard party. While preparing for the job, and working the party, we realized that THIS is what we are supposed to be doing. We've each done a gazillion catering jobs for various companies, but when it's your own food and set-up, it's so much better! We prepared the food with love and pride. A co-worker invited me to come cut beautiful flowers from his yard, which I did, and thoroughly enjoyed arranging them in several fun ways. There were really great guests who made us feel that warm fuzzy sense of community.
So now we have a better idea of direction....we need to stay in Washington because this is where we have connections and community. We need to do catering because we know how, we like it, and there's less risk since the food is already paid for. There's also so much room for fun and creativity and combining our many skills to make a profit.
So here is our prayer to the universe...A very small kitchen of our own where we can do small eat-in and take-out, along with catering prep. We would also like to use this kitchen as a community gathering place, think canning or pickling parties, kids cookie parties, jack-o-lantern carving parties. We also need a home where we can grow lots of food, including chickens and rabbits. Ideally very close to where we will work, or longer distance if easily commuted with transit and bike.
So congratulations Lindsey and Pat, Thanks for the best night of work ever, and helping us find our way!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Now that we found Love, what are we gonna do with i-i-i-t?

Here we are, summer at the peak of productivity, our fledgeling business supporting itself, and the markets will end in about 10 weeks. We are spun in every direction trying to figure out what the next smart move should be. The biggest lesson we learned last weekend, was that a mobile kitchen for festivals would NOT be a smart move. Sooo.....
Do we get a storefront to do small-time take-out and catering while we practice small agriculture on a large suburban lot?
Do we go farm a friend's land in Washington wine country and do catering for wineries while we grow food for restaurants and ourselves?
Do we mothball GreenGo Food and go back to working "McJobs" while we figure out what to do in the spring?
I keep talking to friends and acquaintances who share our vision of a farm and sustainable food-based community, several people seem very enthusiastic and even motivated, but enthusiasm doesn't buy land or equipment or seeds.......
We're open to whatever guidance comes our way...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Painfull Lesson

The Lesson: Average Joe America does not care! Does not care about the atrocities of industrial agriculture, meat processing, environmental devastation, or the list goes on and on..... They just want to feed their faces with greasy, crappy food.
The Teacher: Lake City Pioneer Days. Yup, we were warned, but we thought, "It's our neighborhood, our community, we do well at Lake City Farmer's Market. Our friendly banker said it would be great. It's a calculated risk, which every entrepreneur must be willing to take."
The Loss: Somewhere around $1,000. (Health permit-$226, Stall Fee-$150, Babysitter all day-$120, Help-$45, Lots of our labor, and food)
This was a very sad wake-up call. Our great Farmer's Market Customers are apparently the exception rather than a norm. Even with all the mainstream "Green" drum-beating, people still aren't making any real changes. They wanted nasty industrial burgers from the trailer 3 stalls down. (Which we had no idea would be there, the chamber of commerce organizer did not have the decency to tell us, despite knowing the gamble we were taking and being familiar with our product) They wanted yucky smelling chicken and rice bowls with mass-produced MSG sauces from 5 gallon buckets.
We will shut down GreenGo Food before we will serve thoughtless, industrial, cheap food. It's wrong on so many levels. We are operating a values-driven business. Will we make it? We're not sure.