The Survey

What a wonderful and enriching trove of ideas we enjoyed from your response to our three question survey. We learned so much about what we are doing right and where we can do better. Stack on top of that the many positive comments that came along with it and it was a great opportunity for us. We promise to and in fact already have begun implementing your suggestions on where we can do better. You should see that list grow throughout the year. Can’t do it all at once but we can do it over time.

The survey also gives us the chance to address what is possible in our business and some of the “impossibles” of what we do. I’ll cite just one example of each in the hope that you will better understand your meat supply.

We had fallen into a rut with our sausages. Too much of the same instead of the rotating of brats, Italian and Andouille. We’ll get back to that soon. It was also suggested that we add a kielbasa sausage. I’ll be honest with you – I didn’t know the term, so I went to the butcher shop, sat down with the mom-and-pop owners, and confessed my ignorance. I learned that the term was the generic way of describing the German, Polish, Chech recipe of smoked sausage brought to our land by those immigrants that so dominate our hill country. But the smoked part seemed to create a road block for I already knew that our behind-the-times health department required that all smoked sausage required nitrate preservatives (that’s why our 3 regulars are “fresh”, not smoked – no preservatives required unless smoked). When I raised that obstacle with mom and pop, voila! They had the answer. The health department had recently approved a natural, nitrate- and chemical-free process for smoked sausage. So I told them to go forward asap with our new kielbasa. Look for it in the March delivery. This revelation has even further reaching impact. We can now serve smoked, cured bacon without nitrates. So it’s a double bonus. Our health department is recovering from the era of “reforms” implemented following Sinclair Lewis’ The Jungle, published in the 1920’s. I never thought I would see the day. A glorious and healthful decision!

Now for one of the impossibles. We had mention of the scarcity of the tenderloin filets. Customers who had been with us for a good while knew we had the cut because they had gotten them infrequently. So why not more regularly? Here’s the problem: per every one steer, we get 4 packages of  tenderloin. So on average, we will have 12 packages for distribution. That means that only about 6% of our members will ever see a tenderloin in the cooler. Drop that % by half again if you take every other month and happen to miss your tenderloin rotation on a skip month. That indelible fact and the logistics of trying to pack coolers evenly for all is why your hope for a tenderloin will be a very chancie proposition. I wish I had a better answer, but I don’t. But the good news is that the strip loin, the ribeye and the sirloin yield many more beef steaks than the tenderloin, and you will always get one of those cuts.

JVF