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.
Last week I told you about our mad scientist plan to see how our marketing was working. After a busy day on Saturday, the results are in.
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.
|Prep Time||5 minutes|
|Cook Time||10 minutes|
- 1 Pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast cut into bite sized chunks
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil I have switched to Avocado Oil in my own household
- 8 Ounces Cooked Pasta I recommend Gemelli
- 1 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- 1/4 Cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 Cup White Wine
- 1 Tablespoon Crushed Basil
- 8 Ounces Fresh Broccoli cut into bite sized chunks
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Season Chicken with Salt
In a large skillet on Med Hi add EVOO
Add Chicken & brown about 5-7 minutes
Add liquids & Basil bring to a simmer on med heat
Stir in Broccoli & Pepper cover & cook for 3 minutes
Add Pasta & serve with your favorite cheese
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.
|Prep Time||10 min|
|Cook Time||8-10 hours|
8 oz servings
Heat a Large Skillet on High, Heat Sous Vide water bath to 135 degrees
Sear each side of London Broil
Season each side of meat with Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, & Crushed Rosemary
Combine Liquids place in vacuum seal bag with London Broil
Seal bag place in Sous Vide bath for at least 8 hours.
Remove from Sous Vide bath slice and serve over Cheddar Grits
Combine Liquid in a 4 Quart Pan
Heat on Medium Heat until simmering
Slowly stir in grits with a whisk. Lower heat to Low and stir often Cook for 10 min
Stir in Cheddar Cheese
Season with Salt & Pepper
Below is a Steak Temperature Chart from Google
|Rare||130 to 135°|
To cook London Broil in the oven
- Season meat add marinade place in bag with marinade for 8-10 hours
- Heat Broiler to 500 degrees
- Place meat on rack over jelly roll sheet pan
- Cook for 10 minutes on each side for rare meat (add 2 min. to each side for each additional level of meat temp)
- Let sit for 7-10 minutes
- Slice thinly opposite the grain of the meat.
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
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Cayenne (just a very small amount)
- 2 carrots
- 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.
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.
I used to think that cooking was a chore. I knew the basics, but I viewed cooking as something that needed to be done each day like taking out the trash or checking the mail. On December 27, 2014 my wife and I were blessed with healthy baby twins. That gave us three kids under two for a few days. A handful, right? My wife literally had no time to cook and I took it upon myself to feed us. A few weeks later, we moved down the road from Ninja Cow Farm and I was fortunate enough to meet Dan. Cooking with fresh, local, grass fed and sustainable meat from Ninja Cow inspired me to step up my game and I have never looked back. The primitive instinct to provide for my family combined with the catalyst of Ninja Cow sent me down a culinary rabbit hole that has provided us with a lot of happiness and has also helped me to find a welcomed passion.
Once you learn a few basic techniques, you will be freestyle cooking in no time and I plan to share those techniques. I am not a chef. I have no formal training in cooking. You might find that many of my recipes are quantified as a pinch of this and a pinch of that. The human palate is incredibly subjective and that is what makes this creative process so beautiful. Make your food the way that suits you, your family and your friends. The more I learn about cooking, the more I realize I don’t know. That said, I believe if something is worth doing, do it right. I have learned a lot in the past year including tremendous trial and error, learning from professionally trained chefs and taking online culinary classes.
I can tell you that when you start using local meat that is raised right, you will immediately taste the difference in your meals. It is a wonderful thing to be able to feed your family meat that is locally grown without hormones, pesticides, antibiotics or inhumane practices. We have visited Ninja Cow on numerous occasions and have witnessed first hand ethical farming, sustainability, delicious food and reasonable prices to the consumer.
Cooking isn’t a chore. It’s a physical expression of creativity and comfort. It is a language that can speak to the soul, create memories for your family and take us all back to nostalgic times. You have to eat your whole life, so you may as well learn how to cook. Let’s have fun with it and learn from one another.