Well dang. March had the potential to be a really great month for us. Instead it was rough - both mentally and financially. We haven’t had a regular wholesale order in over 30 days. We have lost more than 85% of our sales from the closures of restaurants nationwide. We’ve submitted an application for the Payroll Protection Program in order to keep our staff paid (fingers crossed!) and as business owners, we haven’t paid ourselves since February. Not exactly how we thought we’d be transitioning into business ownership!
I want to share a BIG THANK YOU to all the folks who have purchased our spices and olive oil either for yourself or as gifts to friends and family. Special shout out to Harry & Sherri for the most orders placed in 1 week! March was our best month of online sales and we’d love to replicate that again in April! Want to send a care package to a friend? I recommend the Piment d’Ville Collection or the Boonville Barn + Piment d’Ville Pack. Looking to restock your own spice cabinet or olive oil supply? Visit our website and make it happen. We have only about 40 jars of the Poblano powder left, and this year's crop hasn't left the greenhouse! We’re making trips to the post office about every other day to send out orders in a timely fashion.
Changes to What We Grow
As a farm business, our crew isn’t able to sit inside and work from home. Nacho and Martin are keeping the starts alive, spreading compost and preparing the fields for planting, we've put in a crew garden, and soon enough we’ll all be in the strawberry patch picking berries (sorry we can’t ship those!). Our farming costs haven’t changed. Instead, increasing slightly as we’ve adapted and are further diversifying the farm.
Since we don’t really know how long the collapse of the restaurant industry will last, we’re cutting back on the number of chile plants we grow this year. Don’t worry - we have a literal stock pile of Piment d’Ville for you. We also know that finding shelf stable goods at stores has been hard. We were bummed to have sold out of our dry beans so early in the year and didn’t have any to sell during these strange times. So we’re leaning into beans this year - planting 3 Italian heirloom varieties (Sorana, Controne, & Zolfino) along with Eclipse Black beans and Peruano beans. Gideon and I are getting married in October, and any of our friends that come to see the Valley after the wedding will likely be put to work threshing this year's harvest!
Buying food is weird right now and we’ve all been cooking more than ever. I put together some resources for where to find food online and a selection of things we’ve been cooking at our house for inspiration. We’re continually adding to the recipe section of our website for ideas of what to cook with our spices. And share a photo online of what you made and tag us in it @pimentdville. We want to see what you’re cooking!
Alright y’all. We can do this.
Krissy & the Boonville Barn Team
P.S. In the picture above, Martin is applying an organic foliar spray with seaweed and nutrients to yield some of the best strawberries I've ever had!
What We're Eating
In order to find comfort and stability, I continue to cook an absurd amount of food. I even started keeping track of what we’ve had for dinner each night while we’ve been under Shelter in Place here in CA (we’ve had to start a second page). Here’s some of our highlights:
- Samin Nosrat’s Ligurian Focaccia - You might have jumped on the homemade bread situation too. This focaccia takes a bit longer than others but is totally worth it. I season the top of our first loaf (is focaccia a loaf?) with Piment and then added 1 or 2 tablespoons of Piment to the dough of the 2nd batch. It was delicious.
- Baked Poblano Mac and Cheese - This has been in the back of my brain since the release of our Poblano powder, but we didn’t actually make any until last week. This is Gideon’s family recipe and it was exactly what we needed. I had a jar of our Pimenty Pepitas on hand that I ground up and mixed with panko breadcrumbs for the crust. It was great.
- Bacon, Spinach, and Mushroom Pierogies - Gideon made this Bon Appetit recipe (needed more bacon!). We ate it with a pile of onions caramelized with Piment d’Ville and a big dollop of sour cream.
- Cast Iron Skillet Nachos - No recipe needed for this one. Just build your nachos into your cast iron skillet, season your ground beef with a bunch of Smoky Piment, and eat it on the floor in front of the tv while watching whatever show you’re deep into at this point..
- Comapeño Carne Adovada - It has been SO GREAT to see folks making this recipe that our friend Emily Teel wrote for us. It has been our comfort food and what we ate for Gideon’s birthday while we mourned the cancelled trips our friends and family had planned for the month. The recipe is for pork shoulder, but we’ve had success with chicken breast and brisket too.
- Piment d’Ville Chile Cream Sauce - Roast up a pan of potatoes, pour this chile cream on top, and then take a bath in the rest because nothing matters anymore. Too doom and gloom? Just make a pot and drizzle it on everything.