About this blog...

Food has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. Food and the festivities surrounding its arrival to the table has always been a focal point in our family. For many years I have been amassing the cookbooks, recipe cards, cooking journals, diaries, manuscripts and clipping files of our once extensive family.

Personally, I’ve been professionally involved with food for over 40 years in numerous and varied culinary capacities across the country so I also have the collected stories, as well as current and on-going food-related experiences from my own life I’d like to share.

My idea has long been that someday I would bring all of this marvelous raw material together into a culinary journey through our family’s heritage. This journal is the beginnings of that journey.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Day in Flagstaff (Part 2): New Frontiers

NOTE:  The New Frontiers Natural Marketplace in Flagstaff was bought-out by Whole Foods Markets in 2014. We continue to supply them our cheeses & confections and they continue to be great customers.

Next stop on the Flagstaff trip was my big debut at the fancy natural foods grocery store New Frontiers
I'd never done a table at one of their events, despite having been a supplier for years.  This was an "Arizona Day" event, where the store had invited about 14 small, farmstead and local suppliers from across the state to do a meet-and-greet with their customers and supply samples for them to try.
It was about 11:45 when I arrived for the noon event, hoping I wasn't going to be late, but in wandering through the store on my way back to the cheese department, I saw at least 5 or 6 empty tables in different departments, waiting for their producers to arrive. I guess this was a "laid back and casual" noon starting time.  
In the dairy department I quickly found a small table with a "Black Mesa Ranch" sign on it.  There were two other tables awaiting producers near mine.  One was for a local bread baking company and the other, was for Fossil Creek Creamery, another goat dairy located in Strawberry AZ. We'd gotten to know the Fossil Creek proprietors, the Bintners a little over the years and they had visited our ranch and dairy as they were making their plans to start their own.  I was looking forward to seeing John again and see how his products had improved since our last meeting over a year ago.
I had plenty of time to set up my table.  I'd brought a 4 lb tub of or Fresh Goat Cheese and another tub with cubes of our Feta Marinated in Sundried Tomatoes and Basil. As soon as the lids were off, I had eager customers waiting for samples and I stayed busy like that for several hours.
Sales throughout the day were brisk for Black Mesa Ranch cheeses.  The poor guys in the dairy department were working double-time to keep the case stocked and they almost ran out of fresh cheese.  Fortunately, I had brought along an extra tub to sell them in case of just such a situation.
It was a pretty intense day (I was hoarse from talking so much by 3pm) but it was nice to see how well recognized our cheeses were among many of the New Frontier customers and then have the chance to introduce our products to so many more.
The folks from Fossil Creek never did show up (the kid behind the dairy counter kidded that my being there probably scared them off) but the couple representing the bread company at the table just down from mine came over several times for cheese to go with their wares and it was nice  chatting with them for a bit.
By 4pm things were definitely slowing down and I still had some big-box shopping to do and hopefully see a couple of my chef/customers before I could head back to the Ranch so I packed it up, said good bye to the guys in the dairy department (leaving them with my few remaining samples to give out) and headed off to my next stop.

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