The Homestead Organic Journal
July 20: Sunday: time to email some chef customers with a Fresh Sheet. Tricky business if I'm to maximize sales. I have 60 lb of cabbage, 40 lb of salad greens, and 30 lb of baby zucchini to sell this week, for instance. None of our five chefs will take all of any of these items. I could offer each a fifth of what's available, but there's no way they'll all be interested. If I offer each the total of what I have, I'm likely to be oversold. The key is to stagger my offers, but that strategy depends on the chefs giving me timely replies. I'll take my chances. I start with my longest-standing customers, to whom I give first kick at the can.
Chef A is offered 10 lb greens (he told me not to expect more than 5 lb per order this year), 20 lb cabbage, and 20lb zucchini. One reason I have as much as I do is that, last winter, chef A told me I could expect 20-30 lb of zucchini ordered per week. So far he has been ordering 5-10 lb. Chefs' winter eyes are often bigger than their summer stomachs. Chef B: 10 lb greens, 20 lb zucchini (already over-offering, but it should work out), 20 lb cabbage. I could easily offer 40 but I know he won't take it, and that he knows I know that, and I don't want to look desperate.
July 20, later: Chef B replies with an order: fifteen greens (five more than offered, which I'll strive to give him). Zero cabbage. Five zukes. If Chef A writes back by bed time, I can send out the next offers, and I'll be in good shape.
July 20, later: He doesn't.
July 21, Monday morning: Chef A hasn't replied. I send out orders to Chefs C, D, and E anyway. Sending to E is wishful thinking. He never responds to email. I usually have to try and catch him by phone. If I don't, he doesn't order.
Later: Chef D orders. No zukes. No Cabbage. Five salad. Chef A's order comes in. Ten zukes. Zero cabbage. Twenty five salad. I call A to tell him that twenty five is impossible. I promise to send him ten.
Later: I catch Chef E on the phone. Ten Salad, ten cabbage, five zucchini. Chef C sends me a text message. Ten salad. Ten cabbage. No zucchini.
Final tally: I've sold fifty pounds of salad, ten more than I have. I can either short each chef (never popular), or cut into next week's immature supply, and screw over Future Jordan. Sorry, FJ. Twenty zucchini. Not bad; might be able to sell the rest at a market. Only 20 lb cabbage sold. Rats.
July 22: Cabbage soup for dinner.
July 23: Sauerkraut for dinner.
July 24: Cole slaw for dinner. Next week I hope I undersell my eggplants. I like them better.