Not dead, just busy and spending my free time reading.
More to come. :)
(back down to one market as of next week, phew!)
Progress…Thursday is Clifton Park Farmer’s Market…
Friday I will now be doing a small market that’s just getting started in Colonie. I don’t expect much, but I can bring things from the previous day that are still good (ie cookies), and it’s not going to cost much.
Starting next Tuesday I’ll be at Malta Farmer’s Market.
So that’s three markets. Which all end by the end of October.
And I spoke to my hourly job about reducing my hours there and they’re cool with it, so hopefully I’ll be less on the verge of constantly collapse from exhaustion and stress. :) That’d be good. :) :)
What brand products would you say are the best for producing different types of frosting/toppings?
Buttercream Components (American and Italian)
Whipped Frosting Components
For my buttercream, I use whatever pasteurized egg whites I can find at the grocery store, Domino sugar, and Cabot butter. Flavorings vary widely but I try to go with high quality ones - I do a lot of fruit jams, and things like honey or maple, as ways to make frosting flavors.
(this is Italian buttercream, I don’t do American).
I don’t make ganache often, I don’t like working with it.
For whipped, I generally just make stabilized whipped cream - heavy cream, gelatin, and 10x sugar.
People seem to think it’s all pretty tasty, but I don’t know if it’s “best.” :)
milabaker said: So glad I came across your blog. Just reading your entries calms my anxieties. I just changed my position at work so that I can go into r&d for my bake shop. I’m going to sell at a green mrkt too. It’s nice to hear about what u have going on too.
Though I’m kinda shocked that my rather intensely anxious ramblings calm your anxieties…I’m really glad they do. :) I do find that sharing them helps calm me down…
simpleleighme said: I really, really wanted to try this one and couldn’t get things together fast enough to do it GF. Gluten would have been to hard to clean up on such a large project.
Oof, yeah, that would have been impossible with the gf restriction…and it definitely did get gluten everrry where. I wonder if it’s possible to build walls strong enough to support weight without gluten giving structure.
The plan! There’s a plan. Sort of. I’ve said THAT before…so we’ll see…but anyway, some background.
Since I started the Clifton Park Farmer’s Market in July, I have not worked less than 60 hours in a week (except last week, when I was away for five days…but it was not the relaxing recharging kind of away…). In September, I’ll be starting at the Tuesday market in Malta, too. And that’s good. My life goal is not to earn minimum wage working 29 hours a week at the YMCA forever. But the problem is, I am currently working 29 hours there for minimum wage, and I’m spending vast amounts of time on the business - a lot of it is still background work that won’t have to be done more than once (organizing recipes, for example) but it needs to be done NOW cause if I don’t do it right from the beginning, it’ll just get harder and harder to keep track of information. Or, like, if I don’t keep on top of my accounting, it’ll be a nightmare next time I owe taxes (which is Sales Tax, which I owe by September 20th…). There’s a shocking number of moving pieces to doing this by myself.
Today is pretty typical. So, I woke up at 4 AM. I left for work at 4:15, got there at 4:45, and worked until 9 AM. Then I met up with my dad and step mom (atypical, but you can substitute any social activity there). I had a doctors appointment at 10:30 (quite typical, since I’m still trying to get pregnant, which requires multiple doctors appointment a month, though this one wasn’t actually related to that). I got home just after noon, plopped my butt in front of the computer, and am still working, all of it on business stuff, much of it organizational in nature. (right now at 5 I’m at the “update my blog” item on my to do list, and I’m still hoping to get to “update my webpage,” though it’s looking less likely by the minute…). Today is kinda special, in that I didn’t just go to one job, come home and immediately start working on the other. Thursdays are a 13 hours work day every week just to get to the market.
I’m doing all that work, with the expectation that I will not earn enough in a month to cover my basic expenses, which with a mortgage and a couple credit cards total to around $1200. (this month, I’m short by almost $400, for example, due to an unexpected $100+ thing that came up.).
I’ve been resisting asking for help from my family - avoiding asking my dad because he doesn’t have much and I hate to ask, and avoiding asking my mom because while she has more, it’s not unlimited, and I’ve asked her to invest in the business when the time comes, and would prefer that favor to having living money now. But, that hope doesn’t mean the mortgage can be not-paid. So I bit the bullet and asked for help.
My dad is awesome and said he’d do what he could, to the tune of a couple hundred a month, which was the outside of what I hoped he’d be able to do - he’s retired and on a fixed income.
My mother’s response was not what I had anticipated. She said she’d be happy to help (which isn’t a surprise, I’ve known for months that all I had to do was swallow my not-insubstantial pride and ask), but on her terms, not mine. Her terms are way more generous than what I was going to ask. I was just going to ask for a couple hundred so that I could make ends meet and have a small cushion when unexpected things come up - which they do every month, in my experience. Instead, she said that she’d only give me money if I would take enough that I could work less at the Y and focus on the business.
To some extent, I was already starting to do that - I’ll have less hours next month, I’ve asked for Saturdays off so I can use them to get in another market, I’m definitely in markets on Tuesday and Thursday for the next couple months, and have a chance to get in a Friday market that I’m currently considering. Furthermore, I’m putting in applications two of the three Really Big local winter markets - one in Troy and one in Saratoga - which if I got them, would be awesome.
But that’s a big IF, and if I DON’T get them…well, I can stretch out bakery earnings through the end of December by doing holiday markets, and after that, I am back to depending on the Y income until the summer comes back. And the home producer rules means I can’t do things like earn extra money by taking a mess of orders for holiday pies and buche de noels and stollen - I’m not allowed to do ANY direct sales like that. So my current potential is capped pretty low.
The help from my parents means I can work less. If I’m working less, it opens up some wonderful possibilities - specifically, I can start focusing on my business plan, figure out how much mom can actually invest in the business, and then start speaking to banks about loans.
The sooner I can get my hands on a commercial kitchen, the sooner I can start doing custom cakes, eclairs, pumpkin bread, and all the other wonderful things that I’m not currently allowed to sell, that I KNOW people want. Not to mention direct sales.
It raises a lot of exciting possibilities…and involves a lot of risk…I was originally thinking I’d do the markets thing while also doing a part time job for the next few years, but now I’m thinking next year is the “open a business” year.
I can’ figure out if I’m terrified or not. I think I am. But also…I feel up to it. Usually.
Sorry to write an essay…I’ve got a lot on my mind… :)
The most frustrating thing about being a home producer is all of the rules. Like, today I discovered that I’ve been violating one without even realizing it - something I THOUGHT I was allowed to make, but it turns out I’m not. I mean, the list is pretty obnoxious - here’s everything I’m NOT allowed to make:
It’s a good thing that the current version of the plan involves having a commercially certified kitchen sometime next year. Cause any rule that forbids me from making cream pies and anything containing pastry cream has GOT to go…
Speaking of the plan…I think that gets it’s own post, actually.