As a typical younger sister, I have a few things I’d like to add to Marada’s most recent dispatch.
While routing can be the subject of a long fun post, it is one of the greatest tools we have at our disposal. People around the country are trying to figure out how to make local foods distribution models work, and while we work our butts off, one of the ways we can make it happen is by doing the routing dance with the help of our producers and customers. The ability to adapt our schedules and routes has helped us to grow this business from our parents, in the family van, to the growing professionality we aspire to.
The latest buzzwords these days for happening businesses are ‘nimble‘ and ‘agile‘–we actual do have a flexibility with our schedule and our routing that’s nimble and agile in the way a trapeze artist is as long as someone’s there to catch them. That someone is our customers, who are, as Katrina would say, “Awesome-o” at flexing with us when we need to route things differently to make it all work.
So that’s the short version of routing.
The other thing is that we have a tendency to forget national holidays until we go to the post office and can’t get mail or stamps (ahem, Monday), because if we don’t pick up food on Mondays, it makes it hard to deliver the rest of the week. All 6 of us who make up the Crown O’ Maine crew, and all of our over 175 producers, go about our business during three day holidays, like small business everywhere. So while taking two weeks off of prime eating season may seem funky or anachronistic, it’s the thing we remind ourselves of in August, when we’re trying to fit everything in the cooler and figure out how to stack 360 ears of corn on a pallet without smooshing blueberries and greens. We promise to work hard 50 weeks of the year by promising ourselves we will not work hard for two.
Finally, holidays are a great excuse to take the time for food. We were talking about generations, and our mothers yesterday, and our status as Junior Females in our extended families. Most of us have memories of holiday traditions, many of them involving food. But we were recognizing that we don’t have the culinary skill sets of our grandmothers, or our mothers. We have different skills in our wheelhouses, including different culinary skills, but some of things we remember from our childhoods are not necessarily things we are doing now for the holidays.
Marada confessed that she’s contemplated choosing three things that will be traditions for her kids, however randomly, based on their degree of difficulty and fanciness in relation to her family’s normal kitchen routine. She joked about when her kids discover they were all published in the same issue of a cooking magazine.
Except then I remembered our mother’s cookbooks, and I’m sure my mother would confirm that that’s exactly what happens all the time. Our dogeared family cookbooks have our standbys penciled in for double and quadruple batches, and there are recipes torn from 80s magazines with time capsule advertisements smudging on the backside. Junior Females who aren’t allowed to cook the major traditions have to bring something, and so it goes, morphing from sugar cookie Christmas ornaments, to kelp potato salad, to Curry-Ice Cream-Slurry, to the Grand Ham.
As someone who lives alone (and relishes that situation), the holidays are a time for me to clean out my bachelor-fridge, and rest easy that I can bring home great food that won’t have time to sprout cultures. I can bake pumpkins to make fillings or meals, and I can make a batch of eggnog without worrying I’ll have to sniff test the leftovers in a week. I can bring home the amazing cheeses and try those Munchener Bier radishes that I relentlessly pronounce like one of the Brownies in Willow, and pair them with beer. There will be people to pair the beer with, and shindigs I can bring adventurous concoctions to and inflict on my
trial subjects neighbors and friends.
So ramblings aside, enjoy your holidays, and if you’re a Junior Female, enjoy the hell out of that, too!