Every other distributor in New England was short for their fiddlehead orders this week. I am saying this proudly and mindfully as the record sales this past week delivered out-of-stocks on several hot ticket produce items – just not on those fiddleheads!
As Leah and I pounded out the orders Friday evening in an attempt to make the last 20 minutes of Rivera’s show I kept thinking – ‘I can’t believe the size of these orders. I hope everyone comes through.’
810 pounds of fiddleheads picked between frosts on Friday and Monday. Hundreds of bunches of radishes coming out of new greenhouses. Rhubarb popping in 20-30# from two different Mount Vernon farms – one of whom borrowed the other’s scale to pack and weigh it properly. 36 pickups on Monday. 200 heads of romaine from a greenhouse two hours north of Bangor – and SO tasty.
We’re doing it. Not ‘we’ Crown O’Maine. We, Maine. Hundreds of consumers consistently purchasing these foods, considered just a short time ago to be marginal roadside offerings, now the stars of our supper table. Hundreds of Maine producers stretching their capacity to meet trucks, orders, and increasingly stringent food safety requirements (a topic for another post). And just in time.
Tuesday we had our second FDA inspection (this is a requirement for an inter-state food vendor). It occured to me as we reviewed our progress since the first inspection that our company and our vendors could not have withstood this process five years ago. Not enough money, not enough uniformity, insufficient systems both at COM and on the farms – our national food climate is shifting dramatically and we are responding with courage. On one side of the spectrum a renaissance in small scale, local food production. On the other side, a law-enforcement agency dedicated to protecting the public and mastering the dionysian nature of food.
Note the greenhouse in that photo…actually a dome (but that story, too, is for another time).
Being the tiny operation that we are, an inspection ties up Leah and I all day, so about 12AM we finished packing out today’s shipments. We looked at the cooler full of stacked pallets of Maine food. Inside that Appollonian array of boxes on pallets with labels are the wild foods of Maine. And though we have to appease the FDA to get them to you, give those ramps a good long whiff when they arrive at your doors. That’s the aroma of local producers and distributors coming through for those knew we could.