Lucy here on the actual non- recipe part of the blog. We’re still having some internet issues here on the farm. The store is open tomorrow 2-6 p.m. & Satuday from 8-5. Erin & Crystal will be running the store while Dan gives tours. SWMBO & I will be off picking up our kiddos and hosing them down after a full week of sleep away camp.
Ninja Cow Farm has a wonderful new product in stock. DUCK!!! Seriously, we now have Duck thanks to Blue Whistler Farm over in Bahama, NC. Blue Whistler is a wife and husband owned 5 acre farm. It may not seem like much land, they work it and are producing some great products.
Last year I was introduced to Amy at Blue Whistler Farm. I followed her for a while, light facebook stalking in truth. What drew me to her was the amount she loved and cared for her animals while they were on the farm. How she is able to provide with love and care yet realize this is a business and you must follow the rules of it to be successful.
She has tried several animals on her 5 acre farm. Amy shares her triumphs and successes along the way. Now we can share her ducks with you. Blue Whistler Ducks are pastured raised, while receiving conventional feed rations.
As you can see though they stay in the pasture not in a closed in cage on a factory farm. Amy is hoping this winter to bring us Duck by the cut as well. Blue Whistler ducks are currently sold whole in our store for $8.45lb. Drop by and see us for a new flavor on your table.
We filled up on appointments for July 5th so I added some more capacity. Anyone looking to take a tour while they have time off should find appointments suddenly available. Feel free to book till these too fill up.
First, a recap. Two weeks ago, on a holiday weekend, we had free tours with our traditional schedule. Spork gave one on one tours and I gave one on one tours. Both ran concurrently. This gave us 15 spots in the schedule for tours. We had 3 cancellations so we did a total of 12 tours. We had 40 total transactions in the store. For dollar volume, we totaled what would be a traditionally good Saturday. Not off the charts but on the upper end. That was sample one.
Last weekend, it was not a holiday weekend. Rather than two concurrent tours for 15 total per day, we ran three spots at once for 24 total per day. We also had the tours for free as well for a direct comparison. We advertised the weekend exactly as we had prior. To the same demographic, for the same dollar amount of advertising.
We had about 4 no shows (grr! I hate those) but one walk in unscheduled tour which took the spot of a cancelled tour. We also had a couple of notified cancellations so we probably did about 18-19 groups total vs. the 12 of the previous weekend. We had 54 transactions in the store vs the 40 of the previous weekend. The average ticket was less than the previous weekend but overall we did better than upper end dollar volume. In other words, we set a new top of the chart Saturday dollar volume (for a non-barn day, special event, etc.)
So what worked with our test?
Free tours and relatively inexpensive targeted Facebook advertising works.
Group tours worked very well. People didn’t mind touring together and often quickly began interacting with one another.
Even with three combined groups, our group sizes were by and large manageable. Most people are 4-5 per group so we stayed below our normal cap of 20 people per group.
No shows were not as much of a problem. When you book a normal one of one tour at 10am, and then no show/don’t answer your phone/blow us off (RUDE!) I generally wait till 10:15 to see if you’ll show. Then I call and probably get your voice mail. I give it five more minutes to see if you will call back. That’s 10:20. Then I figure you aren’t coming. I try to be available 10 minutes before the next tour, which would be 10:50. That means I have 30 minutes wasted, and 30 minutes to do something. That’s generally not enough time to really do anything meaningful so I end up doing next to nothing. The end result is I waste an entire hour for a no show, when I have a million things I could be doing. With multiple tours at once, I wait till 5 after, then whoever is here gets a tour. If you show, catch up. If you don’t, whatever. My time is utilized. Multiple tours mitigates the no shows.
People seemed to be just fine with group tours. They didn’t mind taking the tour with others and some even seemed to interact and connect. It worked better than I would have thought.
More on what worked, and what didn’t, in our next post.
Weeknight activities are the bane of my existence. By 6 p.m. at night I want dinner on the table with my family around it followed by Jeopardy & Wheel of Fortune. Yes, I’m a thoroughly middle aged Mom & nights as I described are rare. That is where Lemon Basil Broccoli Chicken comes into play, this has been my child’s favorite meal since she was a toddler.
In the NCF Farm Store we carry Boneless Skinless Breast from Brittany Ridge Farms for $11 lb. The birds are pasture raised and taste great. The color of the meat will show you the difference before the flavor. Once you taste it you will notice a difference between our chicken & large scale production.
Lemon Basil Broccoli Chicken over Pasta
A fast go to meal ready in 20 minutes to get the family fed and out the door. This meals packs in the flavor while delivering fast & easy.
Yesterday was a fun day in the store. Our clients for the first time received a taste of my cooking.
Most folks loved the London Broil, this time I cooked it Sous Vide style to make sure everyone got a delicious tender bite. Somewhere around 11 am my Sous Vie changed temp from the 120 degree holding temp to 299 degrees. One person got a very rubbery overcooked piece & I apologize. At this point I rushed out to slice up the 2nd London Broil & make a fresh batch of grits. Instead of relying on my counter top model Sous Vide I brought up my real deal Anova Model. Yes I’m a kitchen gadget junkie who owns 2 type of Sous Vide. Go with the Anova, I wish I had the first time. If using an oven please find instructions in the recipe notes section.
My favorite moment was when a woman who hated grits didn’t realize she was eating grits. She kept jokingly telling me I was lying as there was no way she enjoys grits. She bought a bag, I hand wrote the recipe so she could make herself a batch this morning.
We recently began carrying Yellow & White Corn Meal from Yates Mill. The Mill is less than 10 minutes from the farm & has wonderful classes for families throughout the year. Once a month they grin Corn Meal on the old mill. A few high end restaurants in Raleigh serve it and now we sell it. Most store charge between $10- $15 for Artisan Local Corn Meal. Here at NCF we sell a 2lb bag for $5. Not bad, eh?
I promised many folks the recipe would be up today. Please look in the note section for the traditional method on cooking the London Broil. There are no photos as I did this as a last minute demonstration and began cooking late Friday Night.
Herb Crusted London Broil
A savory marinated London Broil crusted with Rosemary cooked Sous Vide style. This recipe uses Tamari a Gluten-Free type of Soy Sauce.
Eye of Round every one loves it but they aren’t quite sure how to cook it. It is simple however it is all about technique. Eye of round is great when feeding a large crowd or hosting a holiday party. It is served medium to medium rare with its juices poured over it.
Our sizes of Eye of round range in small a little over 2 lbs or large getting close to 5 lbs. A 2 lb roast will easy feed 5-6 adults, a 5 lb roast will feed 15-20 adults or more especially if it is served as an hor’s devour. Add a tiny roll and some horseradish or fine grain mustard and 5 lb roast will feed a very large crowd. At $10 lb it is less expensive than a steak yet has a tender texture and fabulous beef flavor. There is very little fat and no bone involved to worry about either.
Eye of Round Roast Beef
No measurements are involved on spices, sprinkle them on evenly
Cayenne (just a very small amount)
1/2 lb-1 lb mushrooms
1 Spanish Onion
2 heads of garlic cut in 1/2
Remove Eye of round and bring up to room temp 2 hours prior to cooking
Preheat oven to 500 degrees
Season roast with spices
On a jelly roll sheet lined with parchment paper or foil place roast in center then arrange veggies around it
Place in oven, drop temp to 475 degrees
Roast at 475 for 7 min a lb, a 3 lb roast would roast for 21 min
DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR, turn off oven and let sit for 2 1/2 hours
Remove from oven remove veggies, slice very thin and pour juices over slices
So Miguel had an idea. We do so much work with our produce farmers that they take good care of us. The least we could do is help them out too.
And we have such good customers that we should do something for them. So Miguel said, why don’t we buy a pallet of watermelons, the really good ones that you have to know someone at the market to get. Then we can give them to our customers when they come through one day.
I thought it was a great idea. Especially since watermelon in the summer is my FAVORITE thing in the world. Besides a nice MLT, mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich (Who can name that movie?)
So this Saturday, anyone who stops by and purchases at least $50 worth of product gets a complimentary watermelon fresh from the market. We will be open from 8-5, no appointment needed. The girls will be back in the store and there will be fresh cookies as well (Dustin, I’m talking to you.)
And if you are like me and love watermelon and our farm fresh goodies, you can have two for $100 spent. Just make sure you leave a couple of watermelons in the box for my kids who will kill me if they don’t get some after staring at them all day.
We still have steaks in stock and plenty of pork, chicken, lamb, honey, etc.
As always, an appointment is appreciated but not required this Saturday for shopping. Tours still need an appointment.