A day in the life by Chef Jared Summers
Monday: order day
What do we mean when we say we support local?
As a person trying to live an everyday life, it can mean many things. It could be a feel-good personal choice or a moral high ground. Maybe it’s based on environmental ethics or just a sense of community. Sadly, for many, its simply a luxury they cannot afford for a variety of reasons. So, what does it mean as a business? While the same reasons may resonate, the scale is a bit different. For us at The Noble Pig and Underbelly, it means making very pointed decisions on what we stand for, what we believe is the right thing to do, and what we would like our limited influence to achieve. In more practical terms, it means a lot more logistics to consider.
Let’s take the universally loathed Monday as an example of how these decisions play out IRL. There are a few very organized, viable and well-run options for food service businesses wanting to make this part of their operation simple, consistent and user-friendly. There is nothing wrong with these options, we use them too and are grateful for their contributions. However, our Mondays are Local Order Day, and we work with over 20 local providers & individual suppliers. Each have different lead-time & delivery schedules, payment terms, seasonal influences, capacities of scale and a mountain of their own logistics to manage. Not to mention the reality of running a small, local and usually, family-run business selling highly perishable, depreciating assets in an intensely competitive market.
Sorry, back to Monday. After a quick inventory, its time to flex our emailing, texting and phone call muscles. Blackwell Dairy for 20*4L jugs of milk for bechamel, a few custards and sauces, done, we have 6 crates to return to them also. Then Rangeland. 6 prime ribs, 6 striploins, 60lbs of ground beef, some flank for a steak feature. Rainer Custom Cutting? More ground beef, 60lbs of custom double smoked bacon, beef bones, pork hocks and some ground pork for meatloaf, hope they can make it to town by Wednesday. Fresh rigatoni from Fratelli’s, and we need some olives too, pepperoni and more bacon from Gary’s Deli. Salami and yes Brody, we really need more chorizo again from Chop N Block. Tuna from Fisherman’s Market, and how does the Coho run look so far? Even more bacon and a rack of bone-in pork for testing recipes for the upcoming summer menu from Rocana Meats. And can we get boneless pork butts yet? I hate dealing with those bones!
Need produce of course.. Nuleaf is just starting to plant at their own farm in Heffley but is still getting great BC grown storage crops like potatoes & squash, lots of hot house produce from the Fraser Valley, and not to mention they are kindly helping us get Westyde Apiaries honey each week, 18kg should do it for the week. Can’t forget Paul, the dedicated educator at Aurthur Hatton Elementary for our microgreens, 6 flats a week.
We’re not done yet… Benny the Butcher is making great farmers sausage and bratwurst, need 10kg of each please! Did we forget cheese? Not likely. Tanto Latte, an artisan Italian cheesemaker in Salmon arm makes fresh bocconcini, creamy feta, shredded mozzarella & creamy ricotta, deliveries on Friday, supply might be tight till then if we sell a lot of ricotta gnocchi.
And praise the sunshine, the Farmer’s Market is coming back in full swing! First a tease of herbs, wintered root vegetables and tubers and some planting pots. But once the radishes start showing up, it’s on! Some good news, markets are on Wednesday and Saturdays, we can worry about that tomorrow.. But maybe Thistle Farm can deliver this week? My trunk is already full of kegs today and I really need to get Dieter his produce boxes back, they are taking over our dry storage.
Until next Monday!