The Long and Winding Road: Saying Goodbye to Cottage Law

Entrepreneurship: I don’t think that there’s another place where uncertainty and confidence meet with such gusto. I never understood how my father has been both an uber successful business owner for so long while being someone who’s able to sleep at night. Being responsible for everything is scary. I know that. But I’m doing it anyway.

20140428-144251.jpg

Moving Happy-Go-Lucky Granola from a steady Cottage Law business to one that’s fully licenced and able to distribute has been a bumpy road. I’ve learned more than I ever expected, but, then again, I never expected to find such success doing just one farmer’s market a week. I’ve been the “granola girl” at the Downtown Farmer’s Market in Daytona Beach for just four months.

20140428-143939.jpg

Starting the business was a whim, a moment to try something new, and I wasn’t sure that it would end up well. But, much to my surprise, it has. Happy-Go-Lucky Granola has oodles of regular weekly customers that come for their favorite flavors, unique seasonal flavors that draw market-goers to the stand, and a colorful chalkboard that allows customers to 86 any flavor that they purchase the last of. I sell out most weeks.

20140428-144059.jpg

At first, our baking process was clunky. We purchased the organic ingredients in small quantities from our local health food store, Love Whole Foods. We always had to run to the store; we were always short of something; we always forgot to get this or that. Now, we purchase in eco-friendly bulk, we inventory weekly, and even make bi-monthly trips to Costco for certain items we can’t get in bulk at Love’s.

My boyfriend and I have honed our prep and baking process to the point that our kitchen is like a well-choreographed musical complete with singing, dancing, and theatrics. We know our parts, communicate well, and sway to the sound of our favorite tunes. Heat, mix, fold, line, bake, rotate, cool, cut, store…it’s the rhythm of our lives most evenings of the week.

20140428-144139.jpg

And now it’s time to grow. I’ve been studying the Food Safety Management Principles guide in preparation for the exam, and I’m anxious.

20140428-164121.jpg

I want to do well. I want to pass, get my commissary inspected, figure out how to make granola on a larger scale, and distribute (*fingers crossed*) to stores and cafes. I want, more than anything, to see Happy-Go-Lucky Granola become a smashing success – and not just at the farmers market.

Wish me luck, friends, as I travel along this bumpy road. Send Happy-Go-Lucky thoughts my way as I bake, sell, and repeat.

Until next time,

Jenna

Advertisements

Organic Brands Partnering with Monsanto

Very good information here…

twicemodern

Is your favorite organic brand partnering with Monsanto? The answer to this question can be found at NaturalNews.

OrganicNaturalNews has wonderful information on health and the environment. It is really a great pro-active website!

If you have a thirst for what is happening in the State of Washington and their Initiative 522, then go to this wikipedia site and learn about GMO labeling and the status of the Washington Initiative 522 (I-522).

For further information on which companies own organic brands go to this wonderful infographic at the Cornucopia Institute. Cornucopia is another wonderful website full of current information on what is important to us as stewards of our health and environment.

View original post

Big Things are Growing in our Tiny, Urban Garden

Spring is upon us. The birds are chirping, the bees are buzzing, the trees are nearly filled in with lush, green leaves, and the garden is a-growin’. I’m always so hopeful in April. While I’ve already seen aphids, I’m not yet disappointed. (Click here for how to fight them organically.) Why? Because we’ve got gorgeous things happening:

Kentucky Wonder Bean plants, although tiny, are strong as can be…

20140419-080059.jpg

Stunning little heirloom crookneck squash babies are beginning…

20140422-090816.jpg

Heirloom tomato plants, all 23 of them, are green and working their way toward greatness. Some of them aren’t as grand as others, but they’re trying…

20140422-090523.jpg

I’m even pushing forward with several varieties of heirloom lettuce which is a bit questionable for this time of year in Florida…

20140419-080506.jpg

The carrots are looking good, the kale appears happy, the basil, sage, and parsley are enjoying the weather, and the onions and garlic should be ready to harvest soon. And what’s more is that we’ve already harvested one cucumber (oddly shaped little guy) and a handful of strawberries!

20140422-091050.jpg

Unfortunately, the swiss chard looks more like Swiss cheese, but…

20140419-175653.jpg

I can’t really complain about the minor gardening failures. Perfect is impossible, and I’d never expect as much; gardening is a set of learning experiences, wild experiments, and notes-to-selves.

I will say that, overall, the Spring has been good to us! How is your Spring going, fellow gardeners of the blogosphere? I’d love to hear from you!

Until then, happy sowing, digging, and playing in the dirt,

Jenna

20140422-091530.jpg

Organic Aphid Control for the Conscious Gardener

It’s that time of the year, my friends. For those of us in Florida, it’s already here. Aphids have latched onto my Calendula and Oleander already, and I fear it won’t be long before they’re on my flowering tomato plants. For those of you a little farther north and/or west, you may not have these little buggers yet (and hopefully you won’t), but just in case, here are a couple organic remedies to try:

1. Good, old-fashioned powerful blast of water: Yellow aphids have made their way to my oleander more than once. They latch onto newly forming flower buds and attempt to suck them dry. Instead of putting any harmful sprays or costly organic sprays on them, I go right for the hose. With the nozzle on the most powerful setting possible, I go for broke. Holding each flower cluster in my hand, I spray all sides. The aphids fall off in an instant amd the grass and neighboring plants get a nice watering. At first, I was afraid that the aphids would latch onto other plants, but that’s never happened. Because they’re soft-bodied, I’m not sure they survive the blast. This works every single time, but you’ve got to be thorough when spraying.

20140408-114711.jpg

2. Soapy water: My friend Justin Gay from the Seeds of Xanxadu has a YouTube video called “How I Handle Aphids.” Not only does he show how to identify them, but he shows exactly how to mix the concoction and how/when to spray. Besides, he’s a really engaging guy and fun to watch. Click here for the video.

The Crabbiest Cakes

20140402-203407.jpgWhat’s not to love about crab cakes? Barring any food allergies or other dietary restrictions, there’s nothing about this little piece of decadence that the tastebuds of the world shouldn’t fully appreciate. The more crab, the better.

I’ve had some of the tastiest Alaskan King crab leg meat frozen and just waiting for the right opportunity. Crab bisque happened. And now this. I painstakingly bashed those shells myself; I need this. I’m so happy, I could cry.

One of the best things about a top notch crab cake is the simplicity. They’re easy to put together and easy to make. They’re puuuuuurfect.

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces of crab meat (you don’t have to use Alaskan king crab legs)
  • 4 ounces of saltines or other plain Jane cracker, processed or crushed (for my gluten-free friends, go with your favorite gluten-free cracker)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Cornmeal (optional)
  • Butter or canola oil for frying

Method:

Make sure all of the crab is free of shell pieces and coarsely shredded or chopped.

20140402-202644.jpg

Combine all ingredients in the list except for the cornmeal and butter or oil.

20140402-202821.jpg

Form into patties, and choose any size you like. I prefer them on the smaller side. Then let them rest in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. This will help the patties set and stay together during cooking.

20140402-202944.jpg

One by one, coat in cornmeal. Just lightly press in the cornmeal and brush off the excess. A light coating is perfect. I love the added texture of this step, but you can omit it if you prefer.

20140402-203105.jpg

In your favorite skillet, add about a tablespoon of oil or butter and set the burner to medium-high heat. Gently add the crab cakes one by one to the hot skillet.

20140402-203147.jpg

In about two minutes, flip them over.

20140402-203407.jpg

See how easy that was?

No smoke and mirrors here…just delicious crab cakes. Oh, by the way, they freeze perfectly in an air tight container. Serve with a squeeze of lemon, a citrus aioli, or your favorite tartar sauce.

Crabby eating, everyone. Enjoy!