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An update from Alice and Amy
 
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From Start to Finish

   
We hear from our customers, from the many people we feed every week, in a variety of ways and on many different topics.  We receive copious praise and appreciation.  We get constructive feedback that helps us to cook even better.  We field questions about ingredients, recipes, and nutrition. But the most recurring ponderance is "How do you do it?!?".  Meaning not only how in the world do we prepare 40-50 different menu items each week, but also, what processes does it take to pull that off? 

To answer the former, the short answer is LOVE.  The longer answer is we bring experience, creativity, dogged determination, focus, efficiency, endurance, and the deep desire to bring what is inside of us out into the world to make peoples lives a bit better. 

And to answer the latter, there is a LOT of thought, planning, and organization that goes into each week.  All week I read cookbooks, magazines and blogs, and absorb new ideas, ingredient combinations, flavor profiles.  When I plan the menus, the first thing I look at is what's available in our garden and from area farms.  Within each category of foods, I try to balance flavor (spicy/mild, sweet, sour, bitter, deep flavors, and light flavors), texture, colors, nutrition, regional areas of origin from around the world, and the cost of each menu item.  I try to include a few items that may have narrower appeal but are very interesting and some items that are familiar and comforting.  I make sure that the menu items as a whole do not demand too much advance prep., balancing high prep. needs with some less involved menu items.  I consider how many menu items need oven space vs. burner space and at what time of day we'll be cooking them to make sure we don't run into space crunches that reduce efficiency.  I think about which glass containers are needed for different items to ensure we won't run out during portioning time.  My mind wanders to the many possibilities.  Then I take pen to scrap paper and start scribbling (yep, ask anyone in the kitchen...that's not an understatement!!).  Sometimes it takes me a couple of hours and other times many, many hours.  I dive into many of my hundreds of cookbooks for inspiration.  I look to my mind's eye and imagine flavor profiles and ingredient combinations.  And voila...the new menu appears.  Check out the bottom of the Extras section for a special surprise this week!

I post the menu and write the newsletter.  I order ingredients from many vendors, put away deliveries, harvest garden produce with Amy, make tasks lists for each person, and get the kitchen ready for our major upcoming efforts.  Sunday is the big advance prep. day with loads of dicing and chopping, squeezing and shredding.  Marathon Monday is the cooking day.  I have the kitchen to myself from 6-9 and crank out massive amounts of food.  The rest of the gang shows up and we cook, clean, portion, laugh, and chat, but mostly focus on our tasks to create the most delicious foods possible.  Every burner, every oven shelf, and every square inch of counter space, sink, and refrigerator is utilized.  I keep cooking until everything is crossed off my list.  I grab some sleep, get started around 6 on Tuesday, and finish off the final menu items.  We pull the orders and pack coolers from around 10-1.  Then we head out on our deliveries, Hilary doing the Cummington run and me doing Ashfield, Goshen, Williamsburg, Florence, Easthampton, Huntingon, Worthington, and finally home around 6:00.  THEN I fall asleep on the couch, so if you try to reach me Tuesday night you're probably out of luck.  I'm content, happy, and used up...drifting off to sleep with images of tables being set, food being shared and enjoyed, and love being received. 
                                                            
Community Supported Foods Members AND A La Carte Customers
click here for this week's menu

For Carly's Cupboard click here for this week's offering


Amy's Nursery, Wing & A Prayer Nursery is open for business on Sundays and Mondays, 9-3, or by appointment (call 413-634-5659 or email us).  Here is the current list of plants.  All of Amy's plants have been chosen for their usefulness to bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.  We hope you will stop in for a visit and to chat about how to improve your garden habitat for pollinators.  The bees and butterflies are out and about and magic is afoot!

Please visit our website at www.aliceskitchenathoneyhill.com.  It is a joy to provide delicious, nourishing, and beautiful foods, prepared with care and love, for our community.
 
 


 

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