Posted on

5 Things: January 24th, 2020

It’s my favorite time of year to be at work. I’m happy to see the business battling sales records all Summer long, and there is a certain excitement that comes with the furious tide of December mail order days, but I prefer taking life a bit slower.

The post-holidays Winter to early Spring segment of the year is the time when we try new things, be they grab & go items, like cookies, pasta salads, and condiments, or new smoked meat and fish products for our deli cases. Right now, our fish, meat, and grab & go cases are fully-stocked with goodies.

It’s also the time for larger projects, and planning for the aforementioned projects: A break from the routine, and, of course, time for a few more breaths between each movement.

Here’s a few things that happened this week.

Megan cleaned and organized the deep freeze.

No one asked, “Hey, Megan—would you like to clean the deep freeze?” In fact, it was Megan who asked, “Hey, is it cool if I clean the deep freeze?”

Four hours later, it went from a chaotic state—which, for my anxiety’s sake, I don’t have a photo of—to this nice, organized area in which I will still always irrationally fear becoming trapped.

This is much better.

Thank you, Megan!

Work began on our new office.

The plan is to knock down a few walls in our current third floor office, so we can fit another large walk-in cooler in our collective space, leaving only enough room for the mail order office and workstations.

Meanwhile, Rosewater Music has moved their operation to a new location, and we’re taking over that space—conveniently also on the third floor of the DeWitt-Seitz building—to accommodate our creative team, managers, and anyone else who would be displaced.

More details and photos will be coming in the next handful of weeks.

We finally have jerky.

This business may be in its third decade of life, but we haven’t run out of ideas yet.

Jerky is an often-requested item at our deli, and with the success of other take & eat items like our host of snack sticks, and Patricia’s various baked goods, Eric decided it was time to give the people what they wanted.

We’re currently offering three varieties of Smoked Jerky—Umami Tsunami Bison Jerky, Maple Bourbon Bison Jerky, and Sockeye Salmon Jerky—with plans of new varieties to come.

Learn more about our Smoked Jerky here.

Soba Noodle Salad.

Patricia came up with this delicious new use for our Teriyaki Smoked Tofu, which is now available out of our deli meat case for $8.50/lb.

I could say some more about it, or you could just read the list of ingredients:

The savvy cook will know what to do with this list better than I, but if you’d like to skip all the steps of smoking tofu, preparing the noodles, chopping and grating the ingredients, and more, just stop in and try it.

Patricia is working on a few other pasta salads at the moment, and always up to something new in the bakery. We’ll do our best to inform you as each of these new offerings occurs.

Sandwich Lab Specials return!

This is the preview to the preview: Next week we’ll be announcing the FOUR NEW SANDWICHES coming to our menu from the November 2019 Sandwich Lab.

And two sandwiches from last year’s cycle of monthlong Sandwich Lab Specials join the permanent menu: The Wagner and The Sebu-Chan. Each selected based on their successful sales numbers, as well as their popularity amongst our staff, who voted these the top two.

On top of all that, come March, we’ll be offering two new sandwiches: an as-of-yet unnamed smoked fish sandwich in development, and The Pack Lunch, our sandwich collaboration with our friendly neighbors at Duluth Pack.

2020 is going to be a big year for new options at the Smokehaus.


After all that I’ve said about this being a slow time of year, the news broke to me this morning that there will be two hockey tournaments in town this weekend, so gear up for a busy handful of days in Canal Park.

See you next week, with a bunch of new Product Features, and at least five more Things™.

Posted on

Cult of the Instant Pot

Instant Pot is a cult! NEXIVM, Heaven’s Gate, heck, even the Branch Davidians had nothing compared to this updated take on a very old (chances are your grandparents and great grandparents swore by them) piece of cooking tech- the pressure cooker. However, this hype is warranted! Unlike the pressure cookers of yore, the Instant Pot has a few other really useful features built in, such as a sauté setting, timed and automated cooking features, and the ability to hold food to serve just to name a few. Since most of us work for a living, having a device that cooks food from scratch in a fraction of the normal time is really appealing, but what that doesn’t tell you is how beautifully the pot cooks things. Waaay better than a crock pot at cooking meat to fork-tender. Waaay better than a rice cooker at cooking toothsome, perfectly defined grains. Waaaay better at giving you collard greens that are soft and full of flavor, but not decimated.  Pressure cooking really drives the flavor into your food (with pressure!) and may even make you prefer its outcome over that of, say, a slowly braised roast in the oven. To wit, here are some recipes that you could make with Northern Waters Smokehaus products in your own Instant Pot.


New England Boiled Dinner

Ingredients

-Half of a Northern Waters Smokehaus smoked Berkshire ham (3-4 lbs) or Corned Bison (3-4 lbs)

-2 T butter or oil 

-1 large rutabaga

-3 large turnips (save the greens if they have them)

-5 medium sized parsnips

-4 mediums sized red potatoes

-4 large carrots

-Half of a large head of green cabbage (or a small one)

-5 cloves of garlic, peeled

-1 small white onion, sliced

Preperation

1. Peel all the root vegetables except the potatoes. Cut the rutabaga into larger chunks (about two inches). Leave carrots, potatoes, turnips and parsnips whole. Slice cabbage up into 2 inch wedges (length does not matter). Be sure to save any turnip greens if attached to throw in with the cabbage at the end.

2. Crank up your Instant Pot’s sauté setting to high. Once preheated, add 2 Tablespoons of butter or oil and sear off the meat on all sides. 

3. Once the meat is seared, add the sliced onion, garlic, and about a cup of liquid to the pot (water, wine or beer are nice), close the lid and commence to pressure cooking on the high setting. You will want to adjust your cook time to meet the texture that you prefer: 20-30 minutes for a yielding-but-still-has-bite-to-it meat, 30-45 minutes for falling apart tenderness.  The cooking times are somewhat vague by design, as the musculature of the meat and a few other factors will contribute to how long it takes. The nice thing is that if you err on the side of less time, it is very easy to throw it back in for a little longer if It’s not soft enough.

4.  Once you have the meat cooked to your liking, remove it from the pot and into a roasting pan in the oven at 170 degrees. Add all the vegetables to the pot except for the cabbage and potatoes. You may want to add a little more (up to a cup) of liquid to the pot if it seems scant. Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and potatoes and pressure cook for 5 more minutes.

5. Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables from the pot and nest around the meat in your roasting pan in the oven. Remove meat from roasting pan to a cutting board for slicing. Taste the cooking liquid and adjust for salt.  

Serving

To serve family style: On a large platter (or even in your roasting pan) place vegetables in a ring around the outside, place sliced meat in the middle, and douse with several ladles of the cooking liquid.

To plate individually: Same thing, but smaller.

Serve with horseradish sauce and stone ground mustard. Don’t forget to make hash with the leftovers!


Greens

Ingredients

-3 bundles (about 3lbs) of collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, kale or any combination of these and sturdy leafy greens

-2 tablespoons red miso

-2 teaspoons soy sauce

-2 Tablespoons butter 

-1 packet Goya Sazon Cilantro and Achiote  seasoning

-1 Cup warm water

-1 ham bone or small chunk of ham (optional)

-Salt to taste

Preparation

1. Pick the greens- Before you start this step, set your Instant Pot to the high sauté setting. Remove the stems from the greens. You can do so by flipping the green over to its underside, folding the sides of the leaf to the center and pulling up on the thick part of the stem. Another method which is way slicker but harder to master is to make a small ‘o’ with your thumb and forefinger (think the OK signal) and pull the entire leaf through your ‘o-finger’ stem side first, thus ‘stripping’ the leaf from the stem. 

2. Combine miso, soy sauce and warm water

3. Add butter to the pot. Once melted and getting bubbly, add greens and sauté until they are all coated and wilting down. 

4. Throw it in the pot- Combine all the ingredients in your instant pot and set it to pressure cook on high for 30-40 minutes, depending on how well cooked you would like them. 30 minutes should yield a tender green, 40 minutes a very soft and falling apart green.

3. Season- This is the part of cooking greens that people often screw up. You absolutely should never salt your greens before they are done cooking. Once they are cooked to your liking, add salt until tasty.

Notes

It should be noted that this recipe has an easy vegan workaround- just sub oil for butter and omit the ham-bone. It’s also OK to experiment with some of the variables in this recipe- instead of water use wine or beer, use any kind of meat that you want instead of ham (bacon or chorizo spring to mind), and if you don’t have the Cilantro and Achiote seasoning or the miso or the soy sauce, just omit them and add more salt at the end. Greens taste good!

Posted on

How to Score Salmon

So, you’ve got yourself a beautiful fillet of smoked salmon, and your guests are scheduled to arrive soon. What next? Time to score that salmon! Here’s a simple way to get the perfect bite-sized portions.

With a serrated knife, cut horizontally along the side of the salmon fillet.

With a serrated knife, cut vertically from top to bottom of the fillet.

Garnish salmon fillet with herb, citrus, & crackers.

Posted on

5 Things: August 23rd, 2019

Summer isn’t over yet, but the morning air is crisper, and the pace of life is slowing down. The tall ships have come and gone, the flood of students is just beginning to trickle into town. Walking past our deli, it may not always appear this way, but life is on the calmer side, at least for a few weeks.

But that doesn’t mean life at the Smokehaus is any less interesting.

We have new faces in the deli.

Faces.

For those keeping score, over the past few weeks we’ve steadily mentioned that we’re hiring, and as a result, we already have a handful of new staff training in. I’d caution the world to be patient with and/or kind to them, since they are new and the pace of our little deli can be overwhelming, but they’re already performing like seasoned veterans.

Labor Day Mail Order Sale.

Labor Daybor

Beginning August 26th, we’re running a mail order special: 20% off your cart (online only) when you enter the discount code bluecollar. The sale runs through Labor Day (9/2). However, if you want your food to arrive in time for Labor Day weekend celebrations, place your order by Tuesday, August 27th—those orders will be shipped on Wednesday (8/28) and arrive by Friday (8/30). Otherwise, you can schedule your shipping date for whenever you’d like. Pro-tip: this is the best mail order sale of the year, so if you know exactly what you want to order for Fall and Winter holidays, this is a good time to do it.

Speaking of Mail Order, here’s our updated holiday shipping schedule.

Bookmark this page as an easy reference when ordering for holidays, and you’ll be guaranteed to get your orders at the perfect interval for gifting or entertaining. Become the master of your own destiny; know for yourself exactly when to place orders, and when to have them shipped for best results.

Monday night D&D returns to The Midnight Axe.

Images unrelated.

The Summer season of our unofficial office Dungeons and Dragons crew is coming to a close with a short adventure tying us back into our ongoing campaign, right before our DM heads on an extended vacation, leaving us to fend for ourselves.

This Summer, we set our main campaign to the side, in order to focus on a handful of smaller, unconnected adventures. Not only did this allow each of us to test out a number of character ideas, and novel settings, but it also gave us time to miss our main characters, as distance does indeed make the heart grow fonder.

“The Midnight Axe” is the name—generated by rolling percentile dice against a chart of fantasy party names—of our primary party. When we’re not embroiled in a scavenger hunt for a cache of money embezzled long ago from the treasury of the Manhattan-esque city of Waterdeep, and avoiding/averting the frequent pitfalls of gangs whose rivalry we earned incidentally, we’re just trying to earn a mostly-honest living running a tavern called The Malt Solstice. However, some way or another, we’ve gained some notoriety as adventurers—and it’s drawn some public interest.

In our session on Monday, Harrison (our Dungeon Master) presented each of us with three characters (shout out to Harrison for developing fifteen character concepts in a single weekend) who are looking, for one reason or another, to join our ranks. This coming session, we’ll be embarking on a mission with our chosen secondary characters to discover their strengths, and how they’ll fit into our adventuring party. Perhaps they’ll join us on the front lines, perhaps they’ll stick around headquarters and craft potions nonstop, perhaps they’ll alternate between venturing into the Undermountain (where our campaign has us heading) and providing security at the Malt Solstice. Only time will tell.

Character biographies forthcoming.

Patricia’s corner.

Let’s get personal.

Let’s get one thing straight: Any week that there are not five immediately obvious other Things™ to talk about, Patricia is going to get a nod. Ever since she moved to full-time baking, we’ve become accustomed to carrying an assortment of cookies—chocolate chip, ginger, peanut butter curry, carrot cake cookie sandwiches with honey cream cheese, coconut macaroons (which are gluten-free*), and most recently chocolate walnut flourless cookies (also gluten-free**)—pasties, cheddar crackers, savory scones, and even personal pizzas. This week’s pizza featured smoked bacon, blackberries, and chèvre, and her pizza sauce, in general, is composed of the odds-and-ends bits of tomato from the morning’s prep.

That’s honestly one of the best things about Patricia’s approach to baking for NWS—by utilizing more parts of the foods we use, we generate substantially less waste as a business, which improves our model of sustainability (not to mention profitability) overall, and in the process, we end up with these delicious, fan-favorite items in our deli

*/**: It’s worth noting that these are not baked in a completely gluten-free environment. In terms of ingredients, they are entirely gluten-free, but those at serious risk should be aware of the chance of cross-contamination.

I got to observe production of Country Pâté.

Observe.

Compiling recipes for the cookbook is great fun, but not without its challenges. In addition to needing to massively scale down some recipes—we’re operating under the assumption you’ll never need to make one-hundred pounds of Smoked Whitefish at home—other recipes in our own workbooks lack, well, instruction.

Country pâté, for example, is just a list of ingredients, which our skilled production crew understands how to massage—eh, grind—into the savory loaves we all love. Brandt happened to catch me during a fresh air break yesterday to let me know he was making it.

Seeing that static list of ingredients—browned bacon and onion; Berkshire liver, pork and back fat; brandy; cure; rosemary and thyme; etc.—ground once and then half again (to achieve the preferred inconsistent consistency), mixed with what could reasonably pass as TLC, and packaged to chill overnight before being packed into loaf pans and slow-cooked, was enlightening, and proof that someone needs to write down those steps, because there’s a lot of them. If not for our own benefit, certainly for the book.

Once again, I’d like to give a public shout-out to the smokers for the sheer volume of high-quality product they consistently churn out.

I’ve done it again. Yesterday, I stared at my week’s notes and wondered, “which five Things™ am I going to write about? Are there five Things™ that may intrigue or inspire our readership(?),” and here I am, writing Thing™ six-and-a-half. I hope you’re happy.

We hope to see you in our deli this weekend—whether you wait in line, or skip the line via pickup —or your name and address in our delivery system. If you’re going to be near Canal Park/Downtown, make sure you bring ear protection, because the Tribute Fest will be rocking hard.

Stay tuned in the next handful of weeks for some new sandwich options—including your blogger’s own contribution to the Sandwich Lab specials—and exciting collaborations.

Posted on

5 Things: April 19th, 2019

This week has gone by in a blur, or maybe it’s just me. Between the unexpectedly busy lunches, self-imposing limited hours on my office days, running out of gas on the freeway and showing up an hour-plus late, and three separate band practices each falling directly after a full day of work, I’m not quite sure where the week went.

But there’s a handful of Things™ to freeze-frame within that blur, so let’s take a brief moment to slow down together.

Bison Buddies are back in stock!

Bison, sourced to our specifications, is expensive. We took a brief break from making Bison Buddies, relying instead on our Royale With Cheese bacon-cheeseburger sticks, Big Jim hatch chili beef sticks, and Smoked Sockeye Salmon Buddies to sate your meat stick cravings, but Bison Buddies are back! All four of our snack sticks will be available all weekend (and beyond) in our deli.

We’ve got whole and half hams for sale!

We have slow-brined, slow-smoked, never frozen, locally sourced and processed whole and half Berkshire hams for $9.99/lb while supplies last. These hams—around 6-8 lbs/half and 12-16 lbs/whole—are perfect for a holiday roast or potluck, and great as leftovers.

Check out some ideas for Smokehaus ham here.

We’ll be open this Sunday!

This is a first-ever for NWS. Previously, DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace has closed its doors on Easter Sunday, but this year it’s staying open, and so are we. Our deli’s doors will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Unless they sell more quickly than anticipated, we’ll have the aforementioned hams for sale.

Speaking of sales: Wild-Caught Smoked Alaskan King Salmon is 20% off until it’s gone.

We launched the @NorthernWatersCatering Instagram account!

Although it has been live for about a month now, we finally feel like it is up-to-snuff, with comprehensive information about our catering philosophy, options, frequently asked questions, and beautiful images taken from actual catering events. Carefully crafted by our creative team, and approved by Catering Captain Hannah, it is, like our catering service itself, set up to expand elegantly in 2019.

For more information about catering, specific inquiries, or quotes, contact Hannah at catering@nwsmokehaus.com

We launched our Mother’s Day gift box!

Sure, it might be a bit early to announce this, but is showing gratitude to mothers ever out-of-fashion?

This year’s Mother’s Day gift box is simple, elegant, and affordable: A pairing of nourishing smoked sockeye salmon with sweet hausmade boursin cheese, alongside the subtle and steadfast support of Carr’s water crackers.

This gift box is available here for mail order, and is easily assembled in our deli, if you happen to be in the neighborhood.

AND A BONUS THING™!!

We’ve made a batch of Candied King Salmon & another batch of RedHot Candied King Salmon. It makes a fantastic small snack and would be great on any charcuterie platter. Get it while it’s here!

Posted on

Porketta & Pasta

Ingredients

1 Pound Pasta, Such as Linguine or Spaghetti—or better yet, homemade Tagliatelle 

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1/2 Yellow Onion, thin sliced

1 Pound Porketta, chunked at 1/2 inch (or so)

1/4 – 1/2  Cup Starchy Pasta Water

1/4 Cup Cream

Lemon Zest from 1 Lemon

1/2 Cup Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped

Salt and Pepper

Directions
This recipe works well as a come-together-quick meal, as the heavily-spiced porketta does most of the flavor work for you. 
1. Put a large pot of water on heat and heavily salt it. When it boils, cook pasta al dente. Reserve some of the pasta-cooking water.

 
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over low heat and cook the onions slowly, adding a little salt, until they are golden. Toss in the porketta and increase the heat and stir the pan so that the onion and porketta are well combined and cook long enough to heat the porketta and render it a bit. 


3. When it is browned, deglaze the pan with some of the starchy pasta water, lifting any of the glorious fond from the pan. 


4. When the mixture is loosened, add cream and heat. Adjust salt and pepper. Turn heat down to low. Add pasta and toss to coat. If it seems too dry, add more starchy pasta water.


5. When the pasta is thoroughly combined and heated through, top with lemon zest and parsley and serve.

Posted on

Smoked Maple-Sage Turkey Breast Heating Instructions

So it’s still a little frozen (or a lot frozen)?

You can defrost your roast in your fridge with a sheet pan underneath it. This will take less than 48 hours so plan accordingly.

So you want to cook this Smoked Turkey Breast up?

Heat Turkey at 375 degree oven in an uncovered baking dish, on a rack, until internal temperature reads 140 degrees.
Let it rest for approximately 10 minutes before slicing.

The lower the temperature and longer you roast, the more tender.

Want a fennel kick? Follow this link for our fennel braise recipe. 

Posted on

Smoked Berkshire Ham Cooking Instructions

 

So it’s still a little frozen (or a lot frozen)?

You can defrost your roast in your fridge with a sheet pan underneath it. This will take less than 48 hours so plan accordingly.

So you want to cook this beauty up?

Heat ham in a 325 degree oven in an uncovered baking dish, on a rack, until internal temperature reads 140 degrees.
We recommend 18 minutes per pound. Let the ham rest for approximately 10 minutes before slicing.

Are you looking for more creative and adventurous ways of cooking your Smoked Berkshire Ham? Follow this link to find five ways to devour Smoked Ham. 

Posted on

Pancetta and Egg Pizza

A near and dear Smokehaus tradition: the Pancetta and Egg Pizza

First off, the method in which you cook it is everything for this pizza, we’ll get to the recipe later… We cook this pizza at our staff parties in a wood-fired oven at our boss’ house, and if you’re not familiar with those, they reach a much hotter temp than a conventional oven. The intense heat and the fact that you’re cooking the pizza right on the ‘deck’ of the oven, which is lined with firebricks and gets really hot, is the way that we can put this pizza together from all raw ingredients and still have it cook uniformly. If you have a wood fired pizza oven, this is the optimum way.
A Weber grill with lump charcoal and a ceramic tile or firebricks is probably the second best way to achieve these results. If using that method, I would light up a chimney of lump (don’t use briquettes, they don’t get hot enough) and once they’re ready, make a rim around the perimeter of the grill with them (if you have an extra firebrick or two that will fit in the center on the bottom between the coals, that will help retain even more heat). Then place your grate as you would to grill normally and place firebricks or tile on top and in the center. Try to leave the lid on with the vents slightly open to keep the heat in and oxygen flowing until it’s time to cook. If you use a laser thermometer, you would want the cooking surface to be around 700 degrees F give or take 50 degrees.
With two of the methods I describe here you will need to build your pizza directly on a pizza peel or an inverted sheet pan. You will want there to be quite a bit of cornmeal under the dough in order to let it slide off easily onto the cooking surface, and try to build it close to the edge of the pan or peel for optimum sliding. In the wood fired oven our pizzas are cooked in less than 3 minutes, so figure a few more minutes on the weber. You could also build your pizza directly on a sheet pan and just cook it on that, but it is not optimum.
If you’re using your kitchen oven, you will want to crank it up as high as it goes and hopefully use a pizza stone or ceramic tile in it and again ease the pizza from the peel or pan onto the stone. Quick vibration while simultaneously sliding the pizza off is the best method. It’s a little tricky, but you can figure it out with a little practice. If you’re using your home oven, it definitely won’t approach 700 degrees, so the cooking time will be hard to determine. You just have to look at it and decide. I would guess at least 10-15 minutes at 500 degrees.
Also, if you’re using the oven, it probably would work better to at least par-cook the pancetta on a sheet pan before topping the pizza with it. You want it to be a little rendered but floppy enough that you can make a nice little nest for the eggs. I would not recommend par cooking the crust, because actually the egg is the last part of the pizza to cook.  Hopefully you like a runny egg (recommended by me!) because it would take a long time to cook the pizza so that the eggs are cooked through. Nothing is impossible, though!

So, here’s the basic recipe:

The dough (about one pizza, or a softball sized ball of dough) can be any you choose… They’re all pretty similar, but I would recommend using 00 flour if you can. Otherwise AP flour will work just fine. Here’s a basic recipe if you don’t have one:
—10 ounces flour (two cups)
—6 ounces water (if it’s warm the yeast will work faster, if it’s really really hot you can kill the yeast)
—Big pinch of yeast (1/2 teaspoon)
—2 big pinches salt (1 teaspoon )

 Well before you want your pizza (at least two hours and up to a week), combine the flour, water, yeast, salt.  Mix and kneed the dough till it’s smooth and elastic, about ten mintues (this is easiest to do by hand because there’s so little of it). A standing mixer works, too.

 

Put it in a bowl, cover it and leave it alone for at least 2 or 3 hours or up to a week (a finger indentation should not bounce back but nor should the dough be slack with air, but for pizza this isn’t really critical).

 

Once you have your dough ready, I recommend hand stretching it rather than rolling it out (but either way works). Hand stretching preserves the gasses in the dough better, I think, so you get big chewy air bubbles. To hand stretch, just basically take the dough, flatten it a little and then grab it by an edge and let gravity stretch it while you turn it.

 

Once your dough is stretched thin enough, place it on the corn meal coated peel or pan.

 

We use a mixture of minced garlic and olive oil on the crust. Not too much, just a couple of spoonfuls drizzled on it. Then top with mozzarella or provolone SPARINGLY (as with all pizzas, you can’t put large amounts of toppings on it or it makes it soggy). Finally, curve your pancetta into four little nests atop the pizza, then carefully crack an egg into each of the nests. This should contain them pretty well, but some may spill out and that’s ok.

 

Another party favorite of ours is a pizza topped with the olive oil mixture, some thin slices of our smoked pork loin, and pepperoncini. Our dry cured salamis are also killer on any pizza, if you haven’t tried them. Our staff pizza parties are pretty epic with just the range of potential toppings that we produce here.

 

Also, when I’m doing this, I always make extra pizzas (not the one with the egg, I don’t think it would work too well) and wrap them up and freeze them. They are the best frozen pizzas you will ever have, especially when kissed with fire!

Written by Greg Conley. 

Posted on

5 Things

Today I feel as though a veil has been lifted from my eyes. As I wandered the three levels of NWS HQ, observing and probing my co-workers with questions about the tasks at their hands, I realized that the small company I began working for nearly five years ago, and the small spaces I have haunted for the same amount of time are expansive and dynamic and chaotic enough that they can still surprise me. Today, I’d like to talk about my impressions and interactions while floating about pestering my co-workers, then hit you with some good ol’ advertisement. Let’s go floor by floor:

  1. 3rd floor: I entered the office and immediately saw two new faces hard at work. I haven’t even caught their names yet, they were so embroiled in their work, digging out items from the deep freeze, vacuum-sealing chunks of salmon, and taping shut fully packed boxes. The mail order department processed 87 orders this week alone, and they are still just at the foot of the mountain that is our holiday mail order season.

    Frozen bison buddies destined for insulated boxes

    The surroundings toe the line of order and chaos. Zip-tied bundles of flattened boxes are piled high in canted and zigzagging stacks top a labyrinthine arrangement of shelves. The wall of product label sticker spools is functional, if disorganized.

    This week, twenty pallets of recycled denim box-liners were delivered to DeWitt-Seitz and our off-site storage area. 4ish- by 3ish- by 6ish-foot boxes of them are stacked in the office, and various corners of the floor. We have even requisitioned a room down a winding path of hallways that I had not travelled before I began researching this week’s blog to stack our boxes and liners, which is filled to the ceiling/skylight.

    This is not my first Winter here. I know what to expect. It still struggle to imagine the extent of the activity that will occur in this small office suite over the next month-point-five.

  2. 1st floor: Upon entering the deli, I was asked to join a mini-band. Unsure exactly what that entailed, I withheld my decision and awaited their explanation. A mini-band, it turns out, is a band of individuals of any size which specializes in small instruments: mandolin, “tiny drums,” jaw harp, ukulele, kazoo etc. I was recruited as the hypothetical toy piano specialist. We probably would have had a song written within minutes had a line of customers not appeared. The future of the band is unclear, but it feels good to be exposed to these sorts of ideas on a regular basis.
  3. Loading dock: Pine bough is easily one of the best scents in the entirety of olfactory stimulus, and this week is the transition time into Winter decorations at DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace, so walking through the loading dock behind our shop (a roughly one-hundred times a day occurrence) has gone from mundane task to repeated entanglement with the Sublime. Right outside of our backdoor there is a stack of wreaths. I hope they hold off on hanging those wreaths a few days longer at least, because I don’t want to be the weird guy sniffing them once they have been hung.
  4. Basement: When I made it down to the basement, the production team was setting up to handle a massive volume of cabbage. In less than two hours, they told me, they’d have begun the pickling of 150 lbs of sauerkraut. Three of them divided up into one cleaner and two cutters.

    Cutters cut, cleaners clean.

    In my assumed mode of fascination, I asked, “what do cutters do?”
    “They cut,” was the curt response. “Would you like to know what the cleaners do,” they followed up.
    I bit.
    “They cut too.”

    After a good laugh at my foolishness, I learned that before the cabbage is cut, salted and left to pickle, the heads are thoroughly cleaned so that there are no contaminants in the mix or on the cutting boards. Sauerkraut pickles for a month before it hits our shelves and sandwich line. Our kimchi ferments for a week before we package it.

    Also in the basement, I found the mop closet still under construction, and snapped a photo.

    There are many lessons to be learned in the smokehouse proper, as the folks working down there have countless hours of hands-on experience creating the amazing food we sell.

    I also found a few purple tomatoes among the heirlooms. Purple is my favorite color, so this pleased me.

  5. Good ol’ advertisin’: There is a new mail order porketta option available this season. Previously, our porketta was available online in whole 4 lbs increments. Now it is available in 3 and 4 lbs increments. This is great for those who are shopping with a budget, or simply don’t have quite as many mouths to feed. Our porketta has been featured in Bon Appetit magazine and has been featured on many of my daily sandwich creations lately. It is simple to work with but highly versatile, made with the highest quality berkshire pork, seasoned to perfection and slow-roasted in the smoker.For a very limited time, we have smoked ciscos in stock. If you’ve been craving them, stop in this weekend, because they go fast.

    One final note before you go: Monday, November 19th is the last day of our mail-order turkey special. Any purchase of a whole turkey breast made by Monday will come with a free 8oz tub of crayo.

Catch you next week, Thingerinos.