YOUR INSIGHT OF THE DAY
You must have long-range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-term failures.
Charles C. Noble – 1916-2003, Engineer
I promised you an update and I have been slow to write this because I just have not be 100% sure I can pull it off. My optimism is strong but I have this nagging issue: my health.
Last summer I was a physical mess. Two summers ago I had twisted my arthritic knee and the orthopedic doctor I saw early said it was no big deal and I would never need surgery. I wasn’t asking for surgery, I was asking for help……and got none from him. I started physical therapy but there was no gain. About six months later I went to another orthopedic doc after having an MRI done. He said the same thing. Simply, I was miserable.
Last summer, a year after the incident where I twisted my knee, my opposite hip started complaining. Loudly. Perhaps, if you came by the farmers’ market, you noticed I was sitting on a high stool which kept me from moving up and down. I usually was well medicated…after all I was at the market for about 8 hours so using an edible helped some. So did being wired with my tens unit. But the pain…increased.
I really believed I would have to close Can-Do Real Food but my heart rebelled. I developed a plan with a new direction, still keeping the mission.
We had started developing more dehydrated products. Our Winter Squash Coconut Curry instant soup which won “Best in Division” at the 2016 Oregon State Fair, sold out quickly. A mole meal mix also flew off the shelves. We sold dried fruit easily. The dried tomatoes did not sell well, but that was fine since dried tomatoes are in a lot of our products, including our Garden Goodies (my answer to Lipton onion soup mix). So we knew we could make products people enjoy.
Meanwhile, my daughter and her dude are back backcountry enthusiasts. They back pack, mountain climb, raft, ski, bike and more, carrying their food, water and fuel on their backs. Listening to them explain how they pack their food lead me to an idea:
Can-Do Real Food can make delicious dehydrated items that do not contain any artificial anything! While the backpacking world will be our primary market, anyone who wants food that requires very little fuel and water to prepare will appreciate having some in their pantry.
Preparing the produce we get from our Farm Partners means cleaning and chopping or slicing or pureeing, similar to the prep work needed for cooking for canning. But then we place those items in the dehydrator, set the time and temperature and go home. When we return to the kitchen we bag up the dried items, put more in to dry, and go home. When we get all the ingredients to a recipe prepared, then we mix and bag. Done. About half the time in the kitchen compared to canning which means less wear and tear on my aching body. Also, the products are lightweight and can be marketed over the internet and mailed at a reasonable cost.
We will be canning a little. Over time we have developed contracts for a few clients. Our blueberry farm partner wants jams and sauces for their pick-your-own farm. A wine tour operator wants wine jelly made with wine from one of our farm partners. R Stuart Winery wants an onion “marmalade” to sell that they have been making inhouse to serve with their cheese plate. One of my farm partners wants Loaded Pasta Sauce to sell to her customers. And finally, one farm partner asked me to make a delightful huckleberry culinary syrup.
I will no longer be canning anything for public sale. So I will no longer be at the McMinnville farmers market every week, but I am hoping to have a booth in September when we have built up inventory of the dehydrated products.
We will be making the mole meal mix, garden goodies, the winter squash coconut curry instant soup, the Moroccan tangine meal mix, zucchini noodles (to use instead of pasta), and we have worked on a dehydrated pasta sauce inspired by our loaded pasta sauce recipe. It is a bit different but tastes fine! We will also have dried fruit in pieces or roll-ups or even powder. I even worked on how to make a gingered pear snack because one of my favorites was the Gingered Pear Preserves, and it tastes great!
As for me? I had a knee replacement in December that is healing beautifully and I am scheduled for hip surgery the end of June. I have had a cornea transplant and anticipate a cataract surgery (maybe two) before the end of the year. Bionic parts aside, I am doing okay, but I am recognizing I can’t run at high speed at this point.
So, I will be better at keeping you informed. Next task is to update the website to list all the new products. See you in September!!!