When I began this olive oil business, I imagined, and planned, that food would be a huge part of my business. After all, olive oil and good healthy food go together. But little did I know 10 years ago, how important this aspect would become.
As we have developed the cooking school, the Kitchen in the Grove, at our Farm, many, many, amazing things have happened, and we have learned so much. In addition, there are so many stories to tell.
We have learned new ways of ordering, new companies, economies of scale. Learning how to compost with 350 tons of byproduct from the milling. Food costs, food waste, and efficient ordering. Oh my, oh my…so busy.
We learned to use our fruit from the farm to its best purpose. Marmalade, preserved lemons, juice, Buddha’s hand conserve, rose petal jelly, and blood oranges.
I have learned to relocate snakes, and dispatch the scary ones. On one occasion, the Sheriff’s department knew the rattlers were living under the front porch, and actually looked, face first, under the porch! I was hanging on to his belt to pull him out in case the very present snake bit the Sheriff. Then we fed the Sheriffs, who responded with lights and sirens when animal control was busy, homemade polenta with ragu sauce. The Sheriff is still alive and the snake is not, and my guests are safe.
We have learned a lot about sustainable seafood, and that cleaning fresh octopus is outrageous fun.
We are learning about caring for chickens and benefit with our farm fresh eggs. In addition, to how to manage the death of some of the said chickens, and then figuring how many more chickens we need. Getting too attached to Henrietta Hen, our escapee chicken. The experience of battling a very large hawk in the chicken coop…I won and the hawk flew away. However, I am sure she is only temporarily absent.
We have learned that a full tasting room and a full cooking class are a lot of work, but the rewards are triple fold.
Finding competent people, and then finding out that they have never had the opportunity to set a proper table. Google helped me find a proper formal table-setting plan.
Burns, cuts, and sore feet. Did I mention very sore feet? My phone says that during milling season, we walked well over 15,000 steps a day. We milled for 60 days, so why am I not skinny?
In Kitchen in the Grove, we teach proper knife techniques to participants who have had a little bit of wine. From now on when the knives are out the wine is away!
Finding out that I can cook with the best, and have a huge amount of fun. And learn something every single day. That is the experience of a lifetime.
Ever changing staff with new ideas every day. Re-inventing the wheel in a new direction that makes our business grow.
BUT! The best story is falling over the open oven door and not landing on our Executive Chef who was standing on the other side…and saving the seafood pies I was carrying. With the entire, very shocked, cooking class wondering if I would pop up from the floor, or remain hiding behind the Chef for the rest of the class.
The best was living to laugh about the whole thing. Bruised shin and embarrassed ego. But, most importantly, we saved the seafood pies!
Here is to more stories, and fun. Come, enjoy our laughter, and laugh with us.