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Thread: FarmerChads GreenHouse/Market Garden Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-23-2020 01:39 PM
sonya1 How are you doing? Our market has opened up again, but if it keeps raining all our veggies are just going to rot

We sold EVERYTHING , all the meat we took ( we usually only sell maybe 5 lbs, it's not cheap) which was about 20 lbs, all the bread, all the veggies we had which are not a lot right now, all the eggs too. People here don't seem too worried about corona, but they are making all the vendors wear a face mask of some sort
04-05-2020 11:03 PM
FarmerChad
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weedinhoe View Post
Wow, that was some marathon! I hope you got your reefer back on line without too much trouble and that you've gotten caught up in the sleep department.
Yeah, the fridge is back to normal operation. The vents in the bottom had got covered up by a wayward sheet pan. It couldnít pull air out of the fridge, causing the compressor to freeze up. Lesson learned.

By last Sunday, I was caught up. I went outside and mowed grass. I was never so excited to do something that didnít involve being in a kitchen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonya1 View Post
Well,looks like ours is not going to happen for now. Virginia governor has decided farmers markets are not essential ( but liquor stores are...go figure). You would think being outside and buying local stuff would be safer than buying stuff at Walmart that has passed through i don't know how many hands and been coughed and sneezed on by even more

But then we all know our governor is an idiot
Iím shocked. And I donít mean that sarcastically. That really makes no sense at all. But regardless, Iím sorry to hear that. I have heard about other Farmers that have lost 75% to 90% of their business, due to the various shutdowns. I know one lost almost everything, due to being a major supplier to a school system. I donít care what business your in, you need more then 1 large customer. Iím a fan of having several smaller customers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Creek Walker View Post
Be that as it may, extending the deadline to June 10th just one day past your Republican primary of June 9th hints at something a little more sinister.
Isnít it Roanoke that pretty much speaks for the whole state when voting time comes? I could be mistaken.

The post weekly update, today.

So last week did see a sight slowdown on the Wholesale front. The grocery store only needed 4 deliveries as compared to 5, the previous week. The Downtown Bakery hasnít ordered from me for a while now. Thatís ok. Honestly, my business is booming. I canít complain.

Yesterdayís Market was busier when compared to the previous Saturday. I took more bread and bagels then I ever had. I brought home very, very little. Our customers like the open air of our Market, and hopefully the State doesnít mandate a shutdown.

Internet orders, or preorders, for Saturday are growing each week. Im shocked at how many people utilize the service. If you would have asked me 3 weeks ago.. I would have been dead wrong. Pretty consistently my orders start coming in on Tuesday. Wednesday evening sees the bulk of orders. A few more come in on Thursday, just before my established cutoff time. I print all the orders out, to make a plan for Friday.

A lot of orders come thru my Square Store. Folks can go there and read descriptions of the assorted breads. Some customers prefer to text their order. I send them a link where they pay. Ether way, they pay in advance.

That pretty much sums it up. Right now I have loaves of Wheat bread in the oven. In the morning Iíll be delivering to the Grocery Store. Yeah, itís almost midnight, and Iím baking. I like baking at night when I can. Helps keep the house a lot cooler.
04-01-2020 03:42 PM
Weedinhoe
Quote:
Originally Posted by Creek Walker View Post
Be that as it may, extending the deadline to June 10th just one day past your Republican primary of June 9th hints at something a little more sinister.
Uh huh..... I hear ya.
04-01-2020 08:01 AM
Creek Walker
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonya1 View Post
Well,looks like ours is not going to happen for now. Virginia governor has decided farmers markets are not essential ( but liquor stores are...go figure). You would think being outside and buying local stuff would be safer than buying stuff at Walmart that has passed through i don't know how many hands and been coughed and sneezed on by even more

But then we all know our governor is an idiot
Be that as it may, extending the deadline to June 10th just one day past your Republican primary of June 9th hints at something a little more sinister.
03-31-2020 06:24 PM
sonya1 Well,looks like ours is not going to happen for now. Virginia governor has decided farmers markets are not essential ( but liquor stores are...go figure). You would think being outside and buying local stuff would be safer than buying stuff at Walmart that has passed through i don't know how many hands and been coughed and sneezed on by even more

But then we all know our governor is an idiot
03-30-2020 10:13 AM
Weedinhoe Wow, that was some marathon! I hope you got your reefer back on line without too much trouble and that you've gotten caught up in the sleep department.
03-29-2020 09:00 PM
FarmerChad Awake 30 hours, I thought it was going be the death of me...

So... this last week was crazy. My Wholesale orders went thru the roof. I was baking and delivering to the Grocery Store every day. Normally I only bake and deliver twice weekly. People are panic buying, which explains a lot.

Thursday into Friday my refrigerator froze up. All the dough that was in it, ruined. Had to remake all of that dough, plus everything else for the Saturday Mkt. I finished baking at about 6:45 AM Saturday morning. Just in time to start packing internet orders, then get everything loaded up for the Market.

My wife went to the Market with me. I had so much product to take, took both vehicles. She also knew I was sleep deprived, and help would be appreciated.

The Market was a blur. On the way home, swung in a drive thru for some lunch. My head hit my pillow about 1 pm. Next thing I knew, it was 6 pm.

30 some odd hours awake. I pulled thru.
03-22-2020 11:53 AM
FarmerChad
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonya1 View Post
Hi there! Is your market shut down or still open? I am wondering if ours will happen next month...
If still open, are you doing anything different?

Thanks
Hey there..

Funny you would ask, I was going to post some updates. Good and not so good....

Hereís whatís going on in my world:

Saturday Market is still going strong. A few changes had to take place, but overall all is well. I did bake extra because the Farmers Mkt. competition across town shut down. That is a Mkt. that is run by the city. We assumed (rightly so) that we would have extra customers. Our Mkt. is privately owned, and on private property. Weíre damn lucky. We did have an influx of new customers who seemed to be pleased with what we had to offer.

We have encouraged customers to preorder their goodies. Preorders go to a special area that is out of the way of the normal crowd. Preorders are prepaid, so customers can just head directly to that area, get their orders, and leave. Yesterday was the first day roll out of this preorder system. I had several orders that came in over the course of the week. All went well with no hiccups that I know of.

Thursday Mkt. slated for mid April or early May. I have no idea if they plan to open. Nothing has been said publicly.

One of my Wholesale Customers has reduced down to being open 2 days per week. That hits home. Less product they will order. If anything at all.

The other Wholesale Customer is adding an extra day! They have pretty much quadrupled their orders with me.

Thatís pretty much it. Hope all is well with all you folks out there..
03-20-2020 12:05 PM
sonya1 Hi there! Is your market shut down or still open? I am wondering if ours will happen next month...
If still open, are you doing anything different?

Thanks
03-11-2020 10:05 AM
FarmerChad Homestead Bakery Update

So... I have been busy. Baking for the Store, the Downtown Bakery, and for the Saturday Market. About mid-April the Thursday Mkt. should open for the season. I have really been contemplating how to add in additional baking, in order to have enough product for Thursday. Iím only one person.

Like any small Bakery Operation, the biggest bottle neck is the oven. I knew sooner or later a solution would be needed. With the Thursday Mkt inching closer and closer, a solution really needed to happen. Sooner, rather then later. Besides, I have my eye on expanding my Carbohydrate Empire a good bit more.



Look what I won via an internet auction. Now this my friends, is an OVEN!

An Imperial ICVG-1 Turbo Convection oven. This unit is natural gas, which is a huge plus. It has gobs more room then your standard residential oven. This is meant for baking. Period



Came with 5 racks, but can handle 12, depending on your product. 5 is good for me.



I wanted to see how many of my loaf pans would fit. 6 pans per rack. A second rack would easily fit. Itís possible a third rack of pans would fit! Compare that to my regular oven which will only handle 4 pans at one time. This should definitely save some time.

Right now this oven is in my cargo trailer. I have to build a rolling stand for it. Then, run a gas line to my back porch. Probably be a couple of weeks before I can get this up and running. Thatís ok. It can wait.
02-11-2020 05:55 PM
FarmerChad
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weedinhoe View Post
Ahhhh! Business is rising. More opportunities for making dough. Proof of a good thing.

Do your neighbors ever comment on all the good smells coming from your place?

I'm proud of ya, FC!
I see what you did there, clever.

No, my neighbors are too far away, and are never home. They have regular jobs. Unlike me, the ďartisan bakerĒ..

Thank you for the kind words.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonya1 View Post
Sorry for the late reply just saw this...

Our market is from May till about mid October. Too cold in winter, we need an indoor place. The Christmas market was in a store , not the usual place

Are you concerned about coming into contact with all these people this year yet ( China virus) if your market is year long? I would be....

I am hoping this issue will resolve itself one way or another before we have another market.
I was just curious about your market. No, Iím not to worried.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonya1 View Post
I baked some bread that looks just like yours today

Not to sell, just for us. I like to make French toast out of it.
Yeah those white loaves were part of a larger order. I might eventually try baking 8 at one time. I think my convection oven can handle it.probably have to play with the temps a bit.

For French Toast we prefer a smaller loaf. Something like an Italian loaf.
02-11-2020 03:53 PM
sonya1
Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmerChad View Post

With all thatís going on, another oven is just about called for.



Just some loaves of white bread... baking away.
I baked some bread that looks just like yours today

Not to sell, just for us. I like to make French toast out of it.
02-11-2020 03:51 PM
sonya1
Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmerChad View Post
Just curious, is your regular Market year round?

t.
Sorry for the late reply just saw this...

Our market is from May till about mid October. Too cold in winter, we need an indoor place. The Christmas market was in a store , not the usual place

Are you concerned about coming into contact with all these people this year yet ( China virus) if your market is year long? I would be....

I am hoping this issue will resolve itself one way or another before we have another market.
02-11-2020 03:33 PM
Weedinhoe Ahhhh! Business is rising. More opportunities for making dough. Proof of a good thing.

Do your neighbors ever comment on all the good smells coming from your place?

I'm proud of ya, FC!
02-11-2020 11:45 AM
FarmerChad Homestead Bakery Update

Been a while I have been able to post. Just been busy. Since my last update, I have had two, new opportunities.

Along with my bagels, I am now supplying the Downtown Bakery with Sourdough Bread, twice per week. I am also taking Sourdough with me to the Saturday Mkt. Originally I hadnít planned to sell any Sourdough until mid April when the Thursday Mkt. opens for the season... The opportunity opened up for me at the Bakery, just by chance, I jumped on it.

In order to supply the demand for the Sourdough, you need a good bit of starter. How much???



Yes, this is 4 quarts of stirred down starter. It will triple in volume when ready. I keep this quantity on both Thursday and Friday, to have enough for both the Bakery and the Sat. Mkt. On Monday, I make about half as much.



This is a typical loaf. I make these in several varieties. White Wheat, Rye, Whole Wheat. Some with seeds, some without.

The next update, or opportunity, I recently acquired a second Wholesale Customer! This new customer is a small ďMom and PopĒ type of Grocery store. All items are locally made. I made the first delivery last Friday. They sold out of some of my breads, and came close to selling out on the others, on Saturday. They are closed Sunday and Monday. I made another delivery to them early this morning after dropping off the Downtown Bakery order.

With all thatís going on, another oven is just about called for.



Just some loaves of white bread... baking away.
02-08-2020 06:16 AM
Velvet Elvis Nifty single slice bread miter box in those pics on the last page!
01-11-2020 03:52 PM
FarmerChad
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonya1 View Post
I do enjoy selling at the market and we have quite a few repeat customers that come there just to buy stuff from us ( like goat meat, we are the only ones selling that). We had one Christmas market and I baked a bunch of cookies. I sold just about all of them, plus some German Christmas bread. We did really well considering we had no produce, and only a little bit of goat meat besides the baked goods. I think we will bake stuff before summer produce season so we have more to sell .
Just curious, is your regular Market year round?

I was invited to a couple Christmas Markets, but they were on Saturdayís, so a no-go for me. I canít justify giving up my predictable Saturday Market for a one off Holiday Market. Itís a gamble though. Could be profitable, could be handing out lots of business cards. And you know how it goes, when your trying to estimate how much product to bake for an event that you have never been to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonya1 View Post
There are a lot of other people selling baked goods. So I always make sure I bake things nobody else sells, or only bake extra stuff if someone is not selling that day ( we have a email list to sign up for who is going to be there)
Oh yeah, the 2 Markets that I attend use Facebook for that purpose. I look at it as ďstrategically marketingĒ. Generally speaking at my Saturday Market, I have 2 direct/indirect competitors. I say indirect because our main money makers are different product. I make bagels, no one else does, etc. but I say direct, because we all sell bread. But we all respect each other s well.

Todayís Market

After missing 2 weeks, it was good to get back to the Market.

Today was off and on rainy, but in the upper 60s. It was very comfortable for January. Strange this time of year, not worrying about taking the propane heater. I do know though, cold weather will be back soon enough.

Customer flow was fantastic. I sold out of everything by about 11:45. No complaints. Even the Italian Bread sold itself, without the need for samples. For some reason, itís a hit or miss. One Saturday it seems to be what everyone wants, next Saturday itís a dud. Samples or not, itís a struggle. Maybe I hit the right streak today. Who knows.

All in all, a fantastic Market.
01-09-2020 05:42 PM
sonya1
Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmerChad View Post
Oh I understand. I guess you just have to decide what works best for you. The key take away, you have a variety of products to offer. You might slowly eliminate baked goods, item by item, until you find a happy balance.

Whatever you choose, feel free to post here. I always enjoy talking shop with other Market folks.

.
I do enjoy selling at the market and we have quite a few repeat customers that come there just to buy stuff from us ( like goat meat, we are the only ones selling that). We had one Christmas market and I baked a bunch of cookies. I sold just about all of them, plus some German Christmas bread. We did really well considering we had no produce, and only a little bit of goat meat besides the baked goods. I think we will bake stuff before summer produce season so we have more to sell .

There are a lot of other people selling baked goods. So I always make sure I bake things nobody else sells, or only bake extra stuff if someone is not selling that day ( we have a email list to sign up for who is going to be there)
01-09-2020 07:14 AM
FarmerChad After dinner, last night, I got the Bagel Fridge put back together and running. The part arrived around 3:30, so I worked on it for a bit, then waited to finish up after chow time.

It took about an hour and a half to get down to refrigerator temps. Thatís pretty good. Thatís about on par with normal operating procedures. I put my wireless thermometer in it, to keep an eye on it. As of this morning itís holding. For the bagel dough, I keep it set on about 40 degrees. This allows the dough to slowly rise, just a bit. Incidentally, thatís a good temp for a lot of bread dough. The cooler temps slow the rise, forcing the yeast to work longer. This action imparts more flavor in your finished product.

If this fridge still has problems with freezing up, it will be a few more days before that becomes evident. If that does happen, then Iíll reevaluate at the time.

Gotta make bagel dough now..
01-08-2020 08:56 AM
FarmerChad
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonya1 View Post
That's awesome you have such great success with the market and the bagels!

I hope our 2020 will be better than 2019, hope no accidents this year...

I would kind of like to do the opposite of what you are doing and eliminate some of the baking. The thing about our farm I enjoy most is my livestock. I wished we could just sell produce, eggs and meat, and skip the bread baking. I enjoy baking, but it becomes a chore when I have to do a lot of it. Plus I hate printing and sticking on all those labels.
We do make a larger profit on the baked goods than the produce of course, but we make decent profit on the meat also
This year if all goes well we want to add meat chickens and a few pigs
Oh I understand. I guess you just have to decide what works best for you. The key take away, you have a variety of products to offer. You might slowly eliminate baked goods, item by item, until you find a happy balance.

Whatever you choose, feel free to post here. I always enjoy talking shop with other Market folks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weedinhoe View Post
Yep, just when things all seem to be going smoothly...wham! That's two kinks in the hose there. I'm really hoping The Rule Of Threes doesn't apply!

You know, I hate to even mention to myself those words , "Things are going really well. Nothing bad happening," because the minute I do... well, you can guess the rest.

Fortunately most kinks are short term. It's the long term outcomes that count.
Indeed. And no, I donít need a 3rd.... not even going to say it.

The Culprit



So this is probably what caused my refrigerator trouble. This is a defrost thermostat. It appears to be dead. This little doo-dad tells the defroster to get busy, to keep the coils from freezing up. And freezing up is what caused my problems. And thatís actually a good thing. With it freezing up, you at least know that the compressor is still working. If the compressor was dead, it wouldnít be worth fixing this fridge.

So while weíre here, how about a little DIY fridge repair? You can save yourself a crap ton of money, with a little effort. There are parts that you can easily replace.



For the most part, user replaceable parts will be found in the freezer compartment. This particular fridge has the freezer on the bottom, with the slide out door. We bought this fridge way back in 2004, but generally speaking, all refrigerators work the same way.

To get to this area, in your freezer, you remove the back panel. Usually 4 screws. Then pull out the panel, and voila, here you are.

Hereís what you looking at. The metal fins with the curved pipes are the evaporator coils. Freon flows thru those pipes from the compressor, which is at the bottom and behind the plastic panel. Donít mess with compressor. There isnít anything there that the average homeowner can fix. And you canít do much with this fin assembly.

Above the coils, the cream color plastic bit, thatís the evaporator fan. It draws air across the coils, blowing it into the freezer and fridge. This fan is easy to replace if it needs it. Either it works, or doesnít. Pretty simple. Sometimes the propeller breaks, or the fan seizes up. You can easily replace the fan.

To the right on the coiled copper pipe, thatís where the defrost thermostat goes. It just clips on the pipe. It detects when frost is building up. It tells the defroster to turn on and melt the ice. Easy fix, and one of the most common failures.

In the left and right corners you can see thick black wire, that is the defroster. Itís literally nothing more then a heat strip, that runs along the bottom of the metal fins. It heats up, melts the ice, shuts off. You can replace this as a last resort. But it is highly unlikely to fail.

Depending on the fridge, you will have a defrost timer, or a circuit board. This fridge was ďstate of the artĒ when it was new. Therefore, it has a fancy circuit board. Usually the timer or circuit board is located in the fridge section....



Up top, you find the controls for the temp. Like I said, this was fancy way back in 2004. The plastic has come loose, and has discolored. The black spots are not mold, just discoloring of the plastic. 16 years old, it has some battle scars.

Inside of that you would find the circuit/control board, or if it had a mechanical timer, it would be there. Those are absolutely replaceable, if needed.

In the very back, the fancy motorized damper that controls the airflow. Could be replaced if needed. It just has plastic trim that goes over top of it.

So there you go. If your fridge is giving you some trouble, you can tackle some basic repairs. You just have to ask yourself how much you want to spend. Is it better to keep repairing, or replace? The defrost thermostat I ordered, and should arrive today, cost me $40. If that doesnít take care of it, then I can order a new control board for around $50. If that doesnít fix it, then Iíll have to decide.

The good news, you can do a temporary work around for a fridge that is freezing up. It usually take 2 or 3 days for a fridge to completely freeze up and show problems. In my case, I only have to refrigerate my bagel dough overnight. So I could plug it in, the night before I need it. Then just unplug it after Iím done using it. Thatís an option. Inconvenient though.

More to come.
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