A couple weeks ago- one of our farmers sent an email and in it he asked what sets us apart. I decided to spend some time thinking about it and wrote a little manifesto for ourselves. Here it is:
1. In addition to grains, everything all the way down to our sugar, is sourced ethically. We also make things by hand with ingredients that were used before people became afraid of things like lard. We use ingredients for the way they taste/function- not because they're trendy or understood. We're willing to re-educate people if that's what it takes. We're also constantly studying the history of food- searching for ingredients that were used before the industrial revolution.
2. We've bought our own mills and are now a distributer of small stone mills that people can use to mill in their own homes and restaurants. We also use those mills to grind all of our own grain/corn and we bake/cook with that grain.
3. We've recently learned that bigger isn't always better and are willing to do whatever it takes to seek what's better. For the past couple years we've had a very successful restaurant but we felt like our visions of high-quality food and sustainable lives were getting lost in the success. We recently sold the restaurant to figure out a new way to find balance in our lives.
4. We're willing to go farther and work harder than anyone else with ingredients. Some people are willing to bake bread but we're willing to go to the farm pull weeds, harvest the grain, learn about it, grind it, ferment it, and then bake it into bread. People who value their time have a hard time justifying this with margins. We don't have as hard a time because we're not trying to get rich quickly- just creating a modest living. We're willing to sacrifice profit and to live more modest lives because we believe it will be more fulfilling in the long run and allow us to do this for the long-haul.
5. We believe in rest. About a year into owning our last restaurant- we decided to open 7 days a week. It was one of the worst decisions we ever made. Our restaurant immediately began to make more $ but we found ourselves constantly tired and having a hard time being creative. We also started to have health problems. We've built a day off into our new restaurant for both ourselves and our staff.
6. We believe that it's okay to run out of good food. A year into our last place- we also decided to try keeping up with demand. We found ourselves serving thousands of people and the food quality immediately decreased. We also found ourselves spending more time managing people rather than food. We refuse to allow that to happen with our next place. When we're sold out- we're sold out.
7. We like to challenge the status quo by learning from others who have shown balance and creativity in the food industry. We seek advice and try to learn from others who've proven it's possible to be different.
8. Finally, our only goal is to find the beautiful inherent flavors in each and every ingredient and to combine them in new, balanced, nostalgic and memorable ways. Then we mark them up in a fair way that allows us to share them with others- while creating sustainable lives and jobs for ourselves and our employees.