[Market-farming] restaurant update

Richard Stewart rstewart at zoomtown.com
Tue May 22 12:09:34 EDT 2012

None of our chefs commit to anything.  No contracts.  Nor do we ask.  We know that our pricing is acceptable to them and we ask a simple question:  "If we grow it, how much do you think you will realistically purchase per week?"

Some of our chefs will tell us up front others simply cannot.  A small restaurant  in a down economy may see massive swings in seating during a season.  Menus may remain static throughout the year while others change every three to four weeks.  Even though I do not supply in the Indianapolis area I am on a mailing list for R Bistro who changes weekly it seems based on what is available.  Others may have steady reliable business for a certain period of time because of their proximity or association with a hotel or entertainment district.

A lot of what we do is based on previous years' data.  Having been moving in this direction for only three years that data is slim.  If a chef tells as he plans on order 20# of salad mix and 20# of kale each week we do know how many row feet or transplants it will take to support that single customer.  Sometimes we get burned but its REALLY rare and usually involves specialty things.  Chefs, from our experience want staples and in large quantities.

We end up doing some value added stuff at no charge, like Sage Blossoms.  Too few to sell properly, extremely easy to spend 2 minutes to harvest stems with a half dozen flowers and throw into a bag.  We get known for being throwing in fun stuff like that and its another leg up...not on other local growers, but on Sysco and US. Foods.

Richard Stewart
Carriage House Farm
North Bend, Ohio

An Ohio Century Farm Est. 1855

(513) 967-1106
rstewart at zoomtown.com

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