Got up early to drive one of our 30’ refrigerated delivery trucks from our warehouse in NYC to the farm. Plan was to drive back another similar truck which just got serviced.
An hour away from the farm in northern Mass, the truck lost power. I had to drive it back with my four ways on in the breakdown lane at 20 mph. That and the 2 hour delay south of New Haven due to an accident set me back 3 hours. I quickly loaded all of tomorrow’s veggies into the newly fixed truck and left the farm at 7pm. Drove down to Holyoke Mass (saw a huge black bear sidling down the side of interstate 91!!), exited the interstate to go to Red Fire Farm to pick up more veggies, and my truck broke down. Drive shaft snapped.
I’m now texting from a Mobile station waiting for tow truck. With any luck, I’ll manage to get the rest of the veggies and make it back to NYC by tomorrow morning so we have time to pack everyone’s orders… Wish me luck!
I haven’t publicized it until now, but Holton Farms has joined forces with the Steak Truck and will be competing in tomorrow’s competition in Chelsea. 21st and 22nd streets between 10th and 11th avenues will be blocked off and home to 24 of NYC’s most popular food trucks from noon to 3pm. Come check us out during lunch if you’re free!
So week 1 of CSA Select deliveries is almost a wrap. We had a tough but ultimately satisfying week. It all started on Sunday evening…
Bradley, Adam and I left our warehouse in the Bronx around 9 pm for Vermont arriving around 2 am.
Woke at 6:30 Monday, where I headed to Westminster Meats, our local abbottoire (I don’t like the term ‘slaughter house’, guilty conscience perhaps?) to pick up 4 black Angus for delivery to Adam Tiberio of Tiberio Custom Meats in Hudson NY. He and his team of 3 meat cutters had to process them by day’s end, 1600 lbs of beef. No small feat when starting the processing at 8 am sharp.
Because my truck wouldn’t start (people familiar with our operation will discover that mechanical issues are a recurring theme…), I was unable to embark on the 3 hour drive until 8 am. I arrived around noon. After off loading, I drove from Hudson NY to the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts north of Springfield and just south of historic Deerfield (for any history buffs, look into the Deerfield Massacre) to pick up asparagus from Smiarowski Farm and arugula, spinach, chives, rutabaga and golden turnips from Red Fire Farm. Charlie Smiarowski is a real character. We had a nice chat. Red Fire Farm is impressive, Ryan has been farming organically since childhood and runs a tight ship. I really liked their solar array and cool logo. Their produce is delicious.
In the meantime Adam and Bradley were back at Holton Farms preparing all the equipment we needed to haul back o NYC and attempting to get the Farm Truck, our small Ford F350 with refrigeration unit (“reefer”) and our 26’ International reefer truck road ready with mixed results… We got the Ford on the road, and Adam left at 6 pm for Hudson to go pick up the beef. There were a few hiccups along the way (to understate things) and Adam got to NYC at 4 am Tuesday morning (day 1 of the 2011 CSA Select season).
Bradley and I finished prepping Monday evening by 10 pm an hit the hay. Up at 6 on Tuesday with Bradley driving the Farm Truck and me in my pickup to NYC. All good until Springfield MA where the Farm Truck decided to quit.
We quickly found a Chevy dealer and hobbled into the lot where we got them looking into the engine while Brad and I off loaded everything we needed for our Tuesday deliveries into my pickup. Brad drove like the wind to NYC while I spent the night in a Motel 8. Highlight of the evening was a cold brew and dinner at Outback Steakhouse (I ate a seared tuna app and a shrimp Caesar salad).
Tuesday was a disaster needless to say on the delivery front of things, but our kick ass members were extremely understanding and we muscled through.
Because the Farm Truck repair was going to be extensive and take over week, Teddy drove from NYC to pick me and the rest of the goods needed for Wednesday up. He left NYC at 4 am and arrived in Springfield a little before 8. When we finally arrived back in NYC with our only working truck, we went straight to our warehouse in Hunt’s Point to begin packing for the day’s deliveries. Adam had rented a U-Haul for our second truck to replace the uncooperative Farm Truck.
We made it through Wednesday deliveries with the help of Teddy, Courtenay and Haitao on the pack line. By the time we finished up it was midnight.
On Thursdays and Mondays there are no deliveries. we use those days to pick up product. Bradley went to Vermont and Massachusetts. Adam worked on member correspondence and other mission critical things like ordering from suppliers, updating inventory and entering new items onto Farmigo (our web based CSA ordering system). I woke up at 4 and began working on our newsletter (which is supposed to go out every Thursday). Then I had a 7 am call with Seth to prepare for a meeting with the Farm Service Agency to discuss a potential loan for our pack house. Needless to say I got behind and have yet to finish this weeks newsletter.
I had to go to our warehouse to meet with Hicham (owner of the warehouse space and commissary where we park our Farm Truck), Aaron Houser (formerly chef at Jimmy’s 43), and Adam Tiberio to discuss an event we were catering that night at the Element Times Square Hotel.
The event was a media launch to announce our CSA partnership with the Starwood Hotel brand and we asked to cater it as a dry run for the Zagat Food Truck Frenzy we’re competing in on Monday, May 23 in Meatpacking District from Noon to 3 pm. It’s a collaboration between Holton Farms, the Steak Truck, Aaron and Tiberio Custom Meats. (if free everyone should come and cheer us on)
To be continued…
Note- I know this is probably pretty dry reading, but this week will go down in infamy and I wanted to record my thoughts and have a place to point to when people question the price of my spinach…