I didn’t get as many ideas from Steve Jenkins as I had hoped. Zanne Stewart, the former food editor of Gourmet Magazine and one of my favorite people, wrote, “
I’ll be eager to learn what Steve has to say. He’s one of my favorites and, possibly, the most entertaining of all…”
We didn’t have to wait long: Steve wrote that it is obvious what we ought to do:
“You absolutely MUST offer a half-dozen or so early-harvest monocultivar olive oils. Preferably all in dark bottles so as to protect them from the doubtless harsh shop’s light.
“Early-harvest monocultivar olive oils are the ones that offer that fabulous adult bitterness and pungency. ‘Fruity’ olive oils (late-harvest) are unworthy of anyone’s attention; they offer no pungency or bitterness, an indication of low polyphenol levels. High polyphenol levels are the raison d’etre of olive oil.
“I would also offer the best line of fruit preserves you can muster… Jams and olive oils. Nothing else.”
But I don’t think that’s right. We have so much shelving and I want to make use of it. Olive oils to be sure. Jam, yes indeed, and we have begun to make our own.
We are also making crackers, croutons, lavash, crisps, and four-packs of our English muffins. Caramels and brittle and soon bags of wonderful shortbread. And now that summer is upon us we are making pickled vegetables. They too will be on the shelves starting this week.
And next week finally the huge refrigerated case we imprudently ordered from Italy, the one that arrived not working, will finally be made to work. And then we’ll be able to offer soups and salads and a great diversity of spreads for bread (hummos, pimento cheese, olive tapenade, and the like) all of which I have been thinking about.
We’ll follow Steve’s advice although I am dubious about Washington’s appetite for monocultivar olive oils.
So then what? I haven’t gotten enough guidance about the uses of our shelving.
Bread Furst is a bakery but I am learning yet again that appetites here for breads and pastry are not great enough to make us prosper so I am groping for the answers to other foods customers might want us to sell.
We don’t have the answers yet.