This is the busiest time of year for us here at the Soup but that’s the way we like it. I say we but really it is my team that is carrying all the weight for me as I try to get this farm thing off the ground. I am proud to say that I have one of the best teams working with me right now that I have ever had. I couldn’t do all this otherwise.
We are still receiving a tremendous amount of local food right now. Collards and Kale, Butternut, greenhouse Bibb lettuce, Chickens, Beef, Eggs, Lamb, Ham, Potatoes, Apples and various random other things.
Tomorrow we will be bringing an entire cow into our kitchen from Timbercreek Farms. This is how we are able to sell local, pastured, grass finished Beef at sandwich shop prices. If we had any processing done prior to receiving the meat we would have to charge fine dining prices just to make any earnings on it. I also appreciate the challenge and education in learning how to butcher large sections of a cow and I am glad to train my staff on it as well.
It is difficult to work with local foods because of the pricing. I understand where farmers in this area are coming from. They are trying to raise vegetables and meats that are better for the environment and the consumer. I would not want to be in the business of selling anything else. The question is how do you make sustainable farming into a sustainable business model for food sellers? We are in a much better situation to do this because in soup we are working with large quantities and are often able to get better prices. That said, I still pay about $10-$15 for a chicken to use in my restaurant. Think about that next time you’re biting into a meaty 90’s club sandwich.
There is no easy answer. The wonderful thing is that we live in an area where farmers and businesses are in constant dialogue trying to figure these matters out. So many people have made so many good strides in making sustainable foods a sustainable way of life in a worrisome economy.
Meanwhile we here at the Soup keep rolling along with the support of all of you and I am constantly and deeply grateful to all of our customers for their support. Keep an eye on the stores as we have some amazing recipes and ideas for the beef we will be preparing tomorrow. John and Shawn will be busting out some excellent braises downtown and I have heard talk of some awesome sounding steak sandwiches. Sarah and Jerrel have the master stew recipe on the corner to keep the UVA area folks warm.