After a lot of consideration and with bittersweet feelings, I have decided to put Peapod aside for a while. Thanks for coming on this amazing journey with me. It’s been truly fun.
In case you’re wondering what’s been going on in the background, here’s a short update.
With the start of the Covid pandemic last year, Peapod took a hard hit. It was disappointing to close down our stand at the farmers market, but it seemed like the right thing to do. I considered some different options for pivoting the business. However, the timing didn’t seem quite right for a couple of reasons. In addition to the uncertainty of the pandemic, James and I welcomed our baby daughter into the world last year. She is amazing, and I took some time to be exclusively with her.
Professionally, when I am not running Peapod, I am a structural engineer. I have taken on a new position in structural engineering that is challenging and fun, and I am excited to devote my full energy to it.
Peapod is still very much alive in my thoughts and interests. It’s exciting to think how its spirit might show up again in the future.
One of the best parts of social distancing over the past months is that James, Kiddo, and I share a lot of meals at home. I like cooking for my favorite people, and they like eating.
In order to sharpen my cooking skills and delight my family with some new recipes, I’ve been working my way through Samin Nosrat’s book “Salt Fat Acid Heat.” The book is part food education and part cookbook. She simplifies the art of cooking into four simple concepts: salt, fat, acid, and heat.
One of the highlights has been Samin’s Persian-ish Rice recipe. Here is my second attempt. It got horribly crushed during the final flip, but it tasted great.
Now I’m trying to apply Samin’s concepts to my own recipes. It’s great fun.
The Grossmarkt Stuttgart services not only Stuttgart but also a radius of 300km around Stuttgart too, feeding around 12 million people in the region. Only food businesses with a permit are allowed to shop there. The prices are low, and everything is sold in bulk. It’s a gigantic wholesale grocery store just for the middlemen.
The Grossmarkt opens at 2:30am every morning. It’s packed with trucks, people, and pallets piled high with food. I went by foot, and I could barely navigate the crammed, narrow alleys.
It’s almost like a small village lined with warehouses. Each of the warehouses carries a different type of product, usually either vegetables, fruit, or flowers, but sometimes meat or specialty items as well. Space within the warehouses is rented to individual distributors, and these distributors sell food from farms located all over the world.
I have so many questions about the food supply chain! I’ll keep you posted on my findings.
Ever since I discovered chia seeds while creating the recipe for our Strawberry Beet Leather, I’ve started putting chia seeds in everything. Did you know you can even use chia seeds to help make perfect jam?
Usually jam has tons of sugar in it because the sugar interacts with the pectin in the fruit to act as a thickener. If you leave out the sugar, you get runny jam. This means that most jams you find in the grocery store, and even most recipes for making your own, are all overly sweet. So what happens if you add chia seeds instead of sugar? The chia seeds have a magical thickening property that make them the perfect substitute.
I’ve started making our own perfectly-sweet strawberry jam. I use roughly 500 grams of strawberries to 3 tablespoons of chia seeds and only as much sweetener as we want. You just heat the berries over medium heat until they soften, mash them in a bowl, add the seeds and optional sweetener, and then wait a few minutes until it all thickens. Delightful.
I’ve been diligently working on setting up our Amazon shop for more than three months. The various obstacles/approvals/exemptions required by Amazon are astonishing and exhausting. Maybe they are secretly screening all seller-candidates for endurance?
Many small businesses and freelancers here in Germany are suffering through this Corona crisis. Thankfully, the government stepped in quickly with emergency financial relief. As of April 9th, small businesses and freelancers in Baden-Württemberg qualify for aid up to the following values, spread out over 3 months.
9,000 Euros for for businesses with up to 5 employees
15,000 Euros for businesses with up to 10 employees
30,000 Euros for businesses with up to 50 employees
The application form is short and pretty straightforward, and processing time is just a few business days. I’m impressed.
For the first time in over 30 years, the Easter bunny stopped by! Kiddo was delighted. We spent the morning listening to German kids’ songs and hunting eggs. This song has been on repeat in our house. Kiddo giggles like crazy when everyone shakes their butts.
Small businesses everywhere have been hit hard by Coronavirus, and Peapod is no exception. After a lot of consideration, I’ve decided to put Peapod’s stand at the farmers market on pause until the crisis has passed. It just seems irresponsible to be out in public encouraging everyone to exchange germs. I’m disappointed to share this news, since the farmers market has been a lot of fun and a great learning experience, but everyone’s health is the clear priority at this point. I hope everyone is staying healthy and in good spirits.
There’s a neat organization here in Stuttgart called Tafel (Schwäbische Tafel Stuttgart). It collects food which would otherwise be headed for the garbage can and makes it available to people in need. Its stores offer things like like day-old bread, products nearing their expiration dates, or wilted produce, all for deeply discounted prices. Whole loaves of bread which might sell for 3 Euros in the bakery are available for less than 50 cents!
The organization is fueled by volunteers and donations. Volunteers take vans to surrounding bakeries and grocery stores, and they bring back heaps of food which the stores can no longer sell. More volunteers sort through the heaps of food. Large bins go out almost immediately onto the shelves to feed grateful customers.
When the vegetable stand at the farmers market mentioned that they donate their leftover produce to Tafel each week, it piqued my interest. This was the second time the name was mentioned to me in the last months, and the concept had somehow stuck. So I took a trip to our local Tafel store. It turns out their work is as neat as it sounds, and they are thankful to anyone willing to donate some time to this helpful and rewarding cause.