Thursday, July 29, 2010

Business Plan Done. Truck really small. Hmm.

The business plan is written, completed, submitted for revisions, all 35 pages of it.  I think it looks pretty good, of course, since I did my best, although it could have been snazzier with better graphics if I'd bought a cool program or spent more time on it, I simply didn't have more time to do it, so it's pretty darn good. Besides, I'm mainly securing my own financing. 

I went south to meet an auto painter who lives near Ken, who sold me the truck, to see if the truck would fit in the painting bay and how much it would cost to paint it professionally. Three grand, and we're not sure yet, but I'll call him in the morning (I went to see my awesome sister and her lovely family before they head East to Newfoundland- the baby may be walking before they come back). The three grand seems pretty reasonable, according to my brother-in-law, but it's a whack of cash and the first amount like that I've considered spending that has no resale value. And the timing is tricky, since my bro has to leave before the truck could get painted, and we can't put the solar panels on until after it's painted, and he can't paint it until after my brother leaves. Oh spinny head.  Trust it will work!

Now, at first I thought it was so cute that the truck was small.  But today, it just looks really small, especially when I imagine the stove, sink and fridge in a converted freezer I'll have to put in there. So, do I spend $3000 on it?  And I'll have to spend on ventilation as well.  I wonder it I'd be better off selling it and finding something better....Hmm... the expensive trailer looks better and better, but the truck will be so cute.  It looks like this, only slightly larger. And the green will be like this.

Well.  Off to the Dharma Center tomorrow to cook for the meditators and meditate myself.  It should be so lovely... Maybe it will all come clear...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Renewable energy- figuratively and literally!

So.  The truck's going to be as green as I hoped for, sooner than I thought!  Just a couple of days after a casual conversation with my brother in which I mentioned I dreamed of running the electrical off of solar power on the truck one day, my awesome little bro hit upon a kijiji ad listing solar panels with everything that we need to connect them, plus a wind turbine I can sell, for a pretty darn reasonable price. He's even going to help me set it up- he rocks my world!  So we bought them.  Whoa. It's a money spending month here at the Stone Soup Headquarters on St. Francis St.  You gotta spend it to make it, right?  And everything so far is an investment. Well, except the iPhone.  Which rocks my world, by the way.

I'd be able to run a fridge if I had this many panels... Sweet.

I'll be able to run my small appliances, exhaust system and lights off of the sunshine and batteries, but still have to figure out the fridge issue so I don't have to plug into anything.  It may have to be propane- expensive, though!

The business plan is almost done and looking profitable, the website is almost ready, the bank account rapidly emptying and ready for refilling with a little credit (and then a lot of other people's hard earned cash) the ten days of upcoming cooking at the Dharma Center planned for (but how to take the time out? argh!), and the social life still ticks along, with my most amazing friends and family keeping my energy relatively renewed... Even after the great retox weekend of 2010...Plenty of time for renewed detox while cooking clean and light and meditating loads for the next ten days, I suppose. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Farmers Market Challenge!

This last Sunday, I was fortunate enough to do a demonstration on herbs at the Lansdowne Farmer's Market for the Red Apron.  We decided that the best choice for this week's herb theme was pesto, and went with a traditional basil pesto- the catch was that I made it using all ingredients bought at the market that morning.  

Luckily, the foods at the market are gorgeous- I found lovely basil from Roots and Shoots, amazing nettle pecorino made with sheep's milk, and instead of pine nuts and olive oil, I used a beautiful hemp oil and hemp seed from Stone Farms, right in the Ottawa Valley.  

It was really hot, but some wonderful friends came out to see me (thanks guys!) and the pesto was great, as was the final product- a pesto pasta salad.

Thank you to Justine for taking the photos- and for the Red Apron for asking me to do these things- also the source of the first cheque made out to Stone Soup Foodworks- can't wait to deposit that in to the new account!
The website should be up and running soon- keeping the fingers crossed!

Here's the recipe for the pesto. 

Farmer's Market Pesto

Make sure to carefully wash and dry the herbs!
1 3/4 c. organic basil 
1/4 c. parsley
1/3 c. hemp seeds 
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3/4 c. Sheep’s Milk Nettle Pecorino cheese 
1/2 tsp. Salty Don’s smoked maple salt
1/2 c. hemp seed oil 

Pulse everything EXCEPT THE OIL together in your food processor until it is are finely minced but not a paste.  Alternatively, you can chop it on a cutting board or use the traditional method of a mortar and pestle. 

Put in a bowl and mix in the oil.
 Serve it with a pasta salad, grill it on chicken or fish, make potato salad, eat it from the spoon, or use your imagination.  You can also freeze it in ice cube trays and eat it in the winter, recollecting the sweaty days of summer.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A radio interview!

I had a radio interview on CHUO a couple weeks ago for the urban chicken movement!  It's here, about 14 minutes, and I kinda rocked it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Websites and Business Plans

Sitting in front of the computer ain't my favourite thing to do, but with temperatures outside on the upside of 40 (with the humidex) I suppose it's better to be out of the kitchen for a couple weeks- but boy, this business planning thing is pretty intense!
It's great to be doing though- I've worked out my mission, am researching information on the industry and the shape of things to come in the food world (and am right at the start of a wave of interest in carefully sourced food) and crunching numbers.  It's good- it gives me a solid plan to work from, and the creative bits are pretty fun to do.  Not as much fun as being in the kitchen, of course, but definitely interesting, and I need it for the bank. 
Speaking of, I am setting up with the credit union Alterna Savings for a business account and loan.  They keep it in the community, and are also pretty hip to the idea of social enterprises, which I plan on working towards in the future.   A future that feels like it's approaching much more quickly than I would like, given the amount of work there is to do and the wicked heat that is preventing any physical labour- or at least making it difficult.
 The website is also being built- it has a host, it has content, but it doesn't really have a structure yet.  It's coming together, and I am using Drupal on the recommendation of a friend- which may just be too complicated for techno-mediocre me... I understand its powerful, but boy, the power to wield it seems to be slightly beyond my skill.  I'm thinking of hiring someone to get it done... My friend can help me, but not for a couple of weeks and I need it to go find myself a spot to park the truck...
Mostly, I'm tempted to go pick apart and chop up the basil I got to practice for my cooking demo of pesto on Sunday at the Lansdowne Farmer's Market- but I gotta get some writing in first!  Back to it!