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Fresh Ideas

Why The Shut Down? Commercialization! (Part II)

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Why the shut-down (Commercialization) PART II

                  In case you didn’t read part one: We are in a planned shut-down as we speak.  As one wise customer put it: ‘sometimes you see what works and what doesn’t.’  Well, isn’t that the truth?  This is Part Two.  We have had a lot of products on our menu that are very popular.  Being responsive to you, our customers who support us, is our pledge.  In order to serve you better, we want to make our products available in more locations so you can pick it up more conveniently.

Bacon:

                  I have never had bacon like ours.  It is very flavourful; the water has been cooked out of it (so it doesn’t shrink) and the flavour is intense.  The bacon did well at farmers markets and in the shop.  We are pursuing ‘analysis’ of our bacon in order to have a proper ‘shelf-life’ estimate, in order to put it on store shelves.  We don’t have any selected partners yet, but we are looking for stores that would make things convenient for you.  Your suggestions would be welcome.

Brisket, Chicken Breast, Sausages and Pulled-Pork:

                  These are our most popular products.  Everything is fully cooked, as you know, it’s visually appealing, and it is very high quality.  We think that since there are no preservatives and everything is gluten-free, we should get a proper shelf-life calculation from the professional food lab and start selling these products at various locations.  Once the calculation is complete, we could sell these products at other stores.

We were really surprised at how many products are sold through Gordon Food Service and Sysco (Major restaurant suppliers) that are pre-cooked!  Not just seasoned, but pre-cooked.  Imagine being able to get D&E’s Premium Smoked Brisket, Chicken, Sausage and Pulled Pork at country stores outside of Amherst, or at other restaurants! 

Wholesaling:

                  We don’t have a significant mark-up on our products, so we’re not sure how this will work.  But, imagine our brisket as a fresh-sliced deli meat, or a restaurant having brisket on the menu without having to do the 16 hours of work, or being able to pick up gluten-free sausages made with high-quality pork ALL THE TIME at locations across Nova Scotia.

                  Gluten-Free real healthy food is not a fad.  We believe people understand that nutrient-poor food is the cause of obesity, cancer, diabetes, and many others I’m sure.  If we eat nutrient-poor food, we are hungry, again, shortly afterward.  Fast food and deep-fried food are the best examples of this.  We eat until we are full and then we’re hungry in two hours (or less).  That’s why.  There are no nutrients in the food.  Preservatives interrupt the digestion process and, again, the good parts of the food is not absorbed.

                  So, once tested, we hope to be able to provide these products more broadly in country stores and potentially grocery stores. 

Sauces: 

                  Blueberry BBQ Sauce – We live near the Wild Blueberry Capital of Canada.  This is a significant natural gift and we feel that we should be front and centre to use and promote our regional flavours.  So, we are working with experts to release a commercial version of our Wild Blueberry Barbeque Sauce.  Watch for this.  In the meantime, we will be selling it in jars from our kitchen. J

Vanilla-Lime Dressing – Make your salads taste like Dessert!  We have a lot of customers who love our Vanilla-lime dressing (Summer Dream and Magic Salads).  We use the best ingredients we can (fresh lime juice, local honey, and pure vanilla extract) to make a preservative-free high-quality salad dressing.  We think it will be convenient for our supporters to enjoy our flavours without having to pick up salads here.  If you’ve tried it, you probably wished you had some of the dressing in your fridge the next day.  Let’s make it easy for you to eat salad!  If there is support, we will go bigger with this!  Until then, the dressing will be available in our fridge, in jars or small bottles. J

Caesar Dressing – Our super-creamy Caesar dressing is well-known and highly recommended.  It is made from scratch here in our kitchen with fresh parmesan, garlic, oil, egg, Worchester, salt, and pepper.  What if we sold bottles of it?  We are having the recipe tested for refrigerated shelf-life so that we can offer it for sale in our fridge.  Depending on the lab-recommendations, we may commercialize this sauce as well.

Why the Shut-Down (Salads)? Part I

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Why the shut-down (Salads)? (PART I)

                  In case you didn’t read part one: We are in a planned shut-down as we speak.  As one wise customer put it: ‘sometimes you see what works and what doesn’t.’  Well, isn’t that the truth?  That’s part one.  We have had a lot of products on our menu for two years that never got popular. 

‘Salads’-

                  The beet slaw and corn salads never got popular.  Both have a shelf-life of a couple days before the quality is compromised.   If we made batches of those without having an event that consumed most of the product and put it in the fridge, two days later we threw out 95% of what went in the fridge.  They’re gone, except for when we have catered events.

                  We are keeping the Caesar salad and the Seasonal (Summer Dream and Magic) Salads available in the fridge.  We’ll be providing forks and napkins, and hopefully we’ll be able to have a smaller packaging option (so the price is lower and it isn’t a two-person salad).

  • So, we are getting rid of the side-salad (Slaw and Corn Salad) components of the menu.  Instead, as many customers have requested, we will start selling our salad dressings.  That’s right, we’re going to start selling the dressings.  One of the main changes we’re making is to commercialize some of our products.  For example, what if you could get our ‘summer-dream’ dressing at grocery stores?  Watch how this develops. J

Why the Shut-Down (Ribs and Pork Tenderloin are Gone)? PART I

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Why the shut-down (Ribs and Pork Tenderloin are Gone)?  PART I

                  In case you didn’t read part one: We are in a planned shut-down as we speak.  As one wise customer put it: ‘sometimes you see what works and what doesn’t.’  Well, isn’t that the truth?  That’s part one.  We have had a lot of products on our menu for two years that never got popular. 

RIBS and Pork Tenderloin are GONE!

                  RIBS:  I only had home-made ribs a few times in my life before we started this business.  It always seemed like a long arduous process for the people cooking in my life.  We wanted to make it easier to have GOOD, fresh ribs.  They never got popular, really.              

We have been making Delicately-Smoked, high quality Ribs from the start.  At first, we started with Side-Ribs.  The racks are huge and filling.  There is a fairly high bone-content for what customers pay for, but that bone-content (in slow-cooked juicy ribs) is what gives the most flavour.  That’s why we went that route.  When we first opened, ribs were popular (because good ribs had not been available for a long-time in Amherst), and then the interest went away. 

Then, we switched to back-ribs (still very flavourful, but meatier – seems smaller, but definitely more meat than side ribs) and there are some people who really like our ribs (once a month).  That said, we’ve tried to encourage people to pre-order and that doesn’t work.  People forget, or they ‘pre-order’ the day of, when we have to order the ribs four days in advance to have them delivered fresh on Thursday – to cook friday.  We hate to say ‘sorry, we’re sold out’ or ‘they have to be pre-ordered’ (people get quite upset about that, actually), so we think we could make you all happier if we focussed our time on other products you like, more consistently.   

Pork Tenderloin:  I don’t get it.  Our lovely smoked pork tenderloin is, by far, the best value in our fridge, if you like pork tenderloin.  In fact, it is the same price as our sausage.  We used basic ingredients, slow-cooked the pork with minimal ingredients (BBQ Rub or Herb and Garlic) and it turned out amazing.  Juicy, tender (like, cut it with a butter knife and watch the juice flow out, tender) and convenient to re-heat, slice for sandwiches, or use in a stir-fry… and it rarely sold.  A $10 piece of smoked pork tenderloin is likely enough to feed 3-4 people.  Plated suppers at fancy restaurants have ‘pork tenderloin and mushroom sauce’ for $25/plate!  We couldn’t get rid of it.  Gone!

  • So, we are getting rid of the Ribs and Pork Tenderloin.  We ‘may’ continue to offer ribs on an order basis because some people really like our ribs, but when we start-up the new menu will not have ribs or pork tenderloin on it.  Instead, we will offer fresh Smoked Beef Brisket and Beef Tenderloin on Fridays.  The ‘Friday Brisket’ seemed to be popular, so in an effort to offer you the freshest fine food we can, we’ll continue with that.  We have been encouraged to bring the beef tenderloin back.  We’ll give it a try, again. 

Why the shut-down (Meal Prep is gone)? PART I

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Why the shut-down (Meal Prep is gone)?  PART I

                  We are in a planned shut-down as we speak.  As one wise customer put it: ‘sometimes you see what works and what doesn’t.’  Well, isn’t that the truth?  That’s part one.  We have had a lot of products on our menu for two years that never got popular. 

We had to assess: 

  1. Is it a pain for our customers to ask what we have available whenever they want to order combos?  We feel it is.  People often come in and ask ‘what we have for combos’.  If we haven’t had any pre-orders, the answer is often ‘not much’, because we like to make things fresh and fill orders.  We feel customers ‘never know’ what’s going to be available.  For some people that’s okay.  For others, they want our food available when the arrive, and without pre-ordering.  They are annoyed, and stop coming here for quick and easy healthy food options.
  2. Does it work for us to always have ‘everything’ available?  Absolutely not.  There are many options available in the ‘meal-combo’ building sheet.  Things like asparagus, broccoli (when cooked right), string beans, grilled zucchini …etc – do not hold up well in a fridge when already cooked.  We do not want to produce mediocre food.  Conversely, some items that are in low demand don’t even last long in a fridge (uncooked).  Again, we refuse to sacrifice quality.
  • So, we are getting rid of the meal-prep component of what we were doing as it wasn’t that popular and it was a lot of work and food-waste.  Instead, we will offer five (high quality, but standardized) options in the grab and go, in smaller packaging, that is microwavable.  AND, we will prepare the meals in such a way that they will microwave well, and provide a microwave.

Brisket-on-a-Bun with Bread and Butter Relish

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            We’ve been using some of our products to show you what you can make at home.  For example, you ‘can’ make our Brisket-Mushroom Soup at home, or a stir-fry with our lovely smoked meats in them.  That’s really the idea:  You have our products available to you as a part of your meal that you can make on your own.

            We’re going to start focussing on dishes that use our products in a dish that you might normally make, and show you how easy it is to incorporate our products into your normal menu.  For example:  Maybe you make ‘Beef Stroganoff’ or ‘Stir-Fry’ often at your house.  The meat component of these dishes in important and they require pre-cooking before being put in the final disk.  We’ve got that covered.  Maybe you make a sausage soup, or ‘bangers and mash’, or jambalaya.  We’ve got you covered for that too.  Maybe you’re lucky enough to have friends or family that ‘drop in’ and stay for supper.  We’ve got you covered for that too, since vacuum-packed foods have a long shelf-life and freeze well.  If you’re a foodie and you don’t have time for the meat-preparation part of the meal, we’ve got you covered.

            Essentially, we believe a customer is buying time, and getting a little help to step their meal up a notch, but you can do it!  We take care of the meats and make sure your meal is bursting with flavour.  We’re going to start creating posts that show you how we use our products (the basis of our business) to make meals (an important part of your life) easier for you.

The Brisket on a bun with Bread and Butter Relish is a metaphor.  We make the Relish, and the Brisket (Or Sausage or Chicken, or Pork Tenderloin).  The assembly part, how many you would like to make, what kinds of buns (etc) is up to you, but we’re gonna help.  Stay tuned.

GoPro – Videos

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We use a GoPro HERO (2018).  I have been learning about how to take videos in the kitchen and recently started using the GoPro outside.  The new videos I’ve been making include beautiful outdoor scenery.  The GoPro HERO (2018) is a great little camera.  It has all the basic features (touch screen, voice command, several modes…etc).  It was relatively inexpensive and it lets us do cooking videos well enough.

Looking at my recent Fall videos (motorcycling), I realized how washed-out the colors are and how much crisper the imaging can be.  I also found out that because of the way the videos are captured, I can’t improve or modify the colour-contrast, or brighten the imaging.  Apparently, that makes it possible to show you how the world looks to me.

Fall in Cumberland County is in technicolor!  The way the world looks to me is vibrant!  When I’m on the motorcycle the world is aglow.  Have you ever experienced that?  I think that’s why GoPro exists.  I want to share what I see/ how I experience the world with you.  More videos coming soon.

Packaging – Pictures Coming Soon

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As most of you know, we don’t have an indoor seating area.  In our understanding, many people like the convenience of food made for them and enjoy the restaurant-quality treats, but prefer to eat at home or at the office.  We have been using 28-38 Oz plastic reusable containers for some time.  They are durable and they cost about $0.75 each.  We encourage people to reuse them, or recycle them, but we cannot reuse them here.

We have been making Large Meals (14 Oz of food) that are ‘supper-sized’ and selling them cold (tax included) for $12.50.  What if we were to make the meals smaller, drop the price, and make them easier to microwave?  We think these meals will be more convenient, easy to microwave, and we’re looking into a microwave for our customer service area.

The new packaging, ‘so far’ looks like it’s going to be compostable, with a cellophane (heat-sealed) lid.  In providing meals for senior citizens, we learned that most people resort to using a microwave for ease of use.  In many cases the result is food that is over-cooked and dry due to the microwave process.  If we add a sauce and include instructions, we believe we can provide high-quality ‘microwavable’ food and a microwave.  Some of the premade food options are listed in a previous article.

We Are Your Solution

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            In searching for a ‘niche’ or ‘a problem that needs to be solved’, it’s simple:  People want to eat *restaurant quality food without the expense of a sit-down restaurant or the compromise on quality that comes with low-price in a sit-down restaurant, if it’s ‘cheap’.  Our ‘niche’ is people that want Simple. Honest. Delicious Food at a reasonable price, that they can eat at home.  What we mean is food that is similar to what you would make at home, but with a final ‘touch’ that you may not use at home.  You can feel the convenience and familiarity of our food, and you can taste the difference. 

Our Caesar Salad, for example, includes ‘artisan’ bacon, Caesar-dressing, and Naan bread Croutons (ALL) made here.  It’s ‘like’ a home Caesar Salad, but it is special and, conveniently, ready.   Other examples include our use of : Lemon zest, freshly grown (at our hydroponic garden) herbs, fresh ginger root, local berries, fresh-cut vegetables, fresh crushed garlic, fresh ground peppercorns, fresh julienned (matchstick-cut) vegetables, gourmet cheeses (three-cheese MAC), Home-Made Bone broth instead of ‘stock’, home-made guacamole, High-quality hand-made gluten-free sausage, hand-selected ribs, 16-hour smoked Brisket, five types of vinegar, four types of high-quality sugar, four types of salt, judicious use of bacon-fat instead of butter, ‘just the right amount of ‘seasoning’, marinating…etc   

The problem is ‘we all need food that is convenient and preferable healthy food at a reasonable price’.  When we opened the business, there were a few influential factors:  We feel our dilemma (finding healthy, convenient, *restaurant quality food (see above), at a reasonable price) was common.  It was, and continues to be hard to find, in our town, other than at D&E’s Smoked Meats.  Our kids need healthy food, and THEY NEED TO understand that healthy food is a decision.  Our seniors deserve the respect and dignity of quality food at a reasonable, or even discounted price.

When I worked in the forest industry I travelled a lot and I had to eat restaurant or takeout food every day.  I truly got sick of it very quickly.  Lots of breads, heavily salted ‘sandwich meats’, low-quality burgers, lame salads, fried food… ugh.  Makes me feel a little heartburn just thinking of it.  Having a relatively sedentary job and aging (it’s true) and eating poorly just compound each other.  I struggled with weight and stomach problems.  So, how do we find better?  It doesn’t exist in any convenient way.  So, we opened with the goal of: Simple. Honest. Delicious Food, and that, we believe, we deliver with gratitude and appreciation to families like ours.

Our Weekends

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(Closed on Saturdays, for now)

The Weekends – We’re people trying to live a balanced life, just like you.  We recently discovered some balance in using the weekends, where possible, to do some things outside the Kitchen.

  • The Garden – We have a 75’x75’ Garden in the back-9.  We, like many of you, experienced food insecurity (we’re not sure we’re going to be able to get the stuff we want at all, let alone at a reasonable price) at the start of COVID-19.  This year we grew: 5 varieties of Tomatoes, Two types of squash, cucumbers, Two types of Basil, Jalapeno Peppers, Bell Peppers, Lettuce, and High-Bush Blueberries.  It was a very successful year. 
  • The Pugwash Farmer’s Market – For a short period (about 8 weeks) we were honored to be able to be vendors in the Pugwash Farmer’s Market.  The volunteers did a great job of managing the risk, controlling the numbers, and keeping us (the vendors) open.  We have many customers we met in our first year at the Pugwash Market.  They wanted Bacon and other cold products including all of our regular smoked meat products.  This tells us the vacuum-packed product idea works.  Many people didn’t come back this year due to Covid.  We hope to see them next year.  Unfortunately, we were not able to give out samples or provide hot food.  We tried breakfast burritos one time.  They went over very well, but it was a lot of work and people had already eaten breakfast.  We are working with the Farmer’s Market Committee to find ideas to provide healthy HOT food at the market for next year, consistently.  Keep an eye on the Pugwash Farmer’s Market for next year.  We are going to knock it out of the park with the help of the Organizing Committee.
  • The Wood Pile – We burn fuel wood in the house and we use Maple Firewood (to smoke) in the kitchen.  It takes time to organize for fuel-wood burning (clean up the basement, clean the chimney, batteries in fire detectors, wood into the basement, and piled).  We’re busily converting the basement back into winter-mode.  That takes a couple Saturdays. 
  • The Hydroponic Garden – As Many of you know, we experimented with Hydroponic Gardening this summer.  There were a couple aspects of the kitchen where we feel this is a really important initiative.  The quality and availability of fresh herbs and lettuce are important to us, because they’re important to you.  We had a hard time finding high-quality basil, cilantro, thyme and rosemary reliably.  So, we took it upon ourselves to try growing Our herbs and lettuce on our own.  The results were amazing.  We continue to grow our own Herbs, but we have slowed down on the lettuce for now.

Friday is Ribs and Brisket.

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We’re Closed on Saturdays

Today’s Brisket!!! :  https://youtu.be/hD9wL28A43Y

Howdy Folks, we’re cooking Brisket AND Ribs today (Fridays!  It’s a thing!).  You really seem to like our Fresh-out-of-the-Smoker Brisket, and we’re listening to you.  So, Thursday Nights I put on Brisket to have it ready for Friday Lunch.  Friday IS our RIB DAY!, so, of course, we have a dozen racks of ‘fall-off the bone’ Ribs in the Smoker, ready at 2:30.

Since we were at the Pugwash Farmer’s Market most of the summer, and closed the shop to keep costs down on Saturdays, we have evaluated whether or not it makes sense to open Saturdays.  Leading up to summer, it was dead (no customers) on Saturdays.  Covid-19 Isolation and the popularity of cottages were a big influence, understandably.  That said, it was not financially worth it to cook anything or even unlock the doors on Saturdays.

At this time, we’ve been using Saturdays for garden tending, kitchen maintenance, deep cleaning, and a little recreation time.  You can schedule an order for Saturdays if you would like something specific.  Just order online (www.smokedmeat.co) and pay online, or come in and pay in advance in the kitchen.  We’re happy to take care of you, we just don’t want to sit here (or, certainly, prepare food) and not have ANY customers.

My motorcycle:  I LOVE to ride motorcycles.  I picked up a used ‘street and trail’ bike a couple months ago and I am looking forward to enjoying some back-country riding this fall in beautiful Cumberland County.  I am feeling my ‘age’ [take that how you like 😉 ]  It makes me feel young to ride, but makes me feel old when I’m sore.  The attached picture shows the state of the bike after my most recent ‘tumble’.  ‘If ya don’t fall, you’re not pushing yourself…’ (Thank God for safety gear).  I’m loving the back roads, the gravel, Tantramar Marsh, the fall colours, and the smell of fresh air.  It’s truly therapeutic and it reminds me how blessed we are in our geography.  Hope you enjoy your weekend, too.  

Today’s Brisket:  https://youtu.be/hD9wL28A43Y

Did you know we have a Youtube Channel? Here is an example:

The Brisket-Prep Series of Videos:

  1. https://youtu.be/iDTBYs_7OgE
  2. https://youtu.be/vyC3TqGfgCA
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5fwEsnekmI
  4. https://youtu.be/aoGPxyHeAjA
  5. https://youtu.be/5XK3YrXjqF0