Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Gordon “Zola” Edgar: Finally, a Moment to Spare…

By Gordon Edgar

Hey there. Perhaps I should have mentioned that I wouldn’t be posting in the last couple of weeks of 2009. Cheese enthusiasts are forgiven for not assuming that, but cheese professionals should have expected it. After all, between the food holidays and New Year’s parties, no person who really works in cheese retail has any free time.

Year after year I am surprised by vendors, reps and cheesemakers who try to conduct business during the last two weeks of the year. The best thing I can say about them is that they are bored and trying to find something to do. But seriously, every year some people try to call me up/drop by to talk about non-timely matters. Do they not understand that I am trying to sell their cheese for them?

Even the best-laid holiday staffing plans fall apart. Every year there is illness, family emergencies, (drunken) accidents, vacations etc. If those things have no happened to me personally, be assured that they have felled other members of our department. We have to cut (roughly) $10,000 worth of cheese a day this time of year just to keep pace and that is while doing about 5 times as much hands-on customer service. I don’t wanna hear about anything not directly related to that until January 2.

Three weeks ago: The backstock is overflowing!
backstock cooler near x-mas 2009

The following is a list of acceptable reasons for cheese professionals further back in the distribution chain to contact a cheese retailer at the end of December:

1. Changes to delivery schedules
2. Bringing in emergency replenishment of stock
3. Amazing deals that need to be bought right away
4. Bringing in presents: chocolate, booze, cheese, or holiday cards
5. Personal shopping

Seriously. That’s it.

A few years ago a certain rep turned up at the store the day before Thanksgiving. That is traditionally the biggest day of the year for grocery retail. Our little prep area was jammed with workers. The customers were elbowing each other out of the way to get to the counter. At least 5 different cheese conversations were going on. This rep walked in – completely oblivious to the commotion — a started talking to me, actually interrupting someone who was asking me what kind of Gruyere she should buy. My co-workers had to push past her to get to the cheese case. She was all, “Hi there, I brought you a schedule of promotions for February. Can we discuss them?”

I looked at her. I took a deep breath and – despite the fact that she was the only rep I had who often came through with free Niners tickets for me and my co-workers – I said, “Get out of here! Don’t come back til January! Look around you. What are you thinking?”

She looked surprised but backed off, murmuring some kind of sales rep pseudo-apology as she left. I was immediately re-engulfed in customers.

I don’t actually know what happened to her. Either she lost her job or got transferred to a different region (not because of me! I never mentioned this to anyone until now) but I never saw her in the store again .I’ve never gotten any more free football tickets either. But it was worth it.

Timmy, the P’tit Basque shepherd, gets in the holiday spirit. See how he is at home, in his apartment, and not visiting retailers:
DSC00497


Recipe: How to Make the Perfect Pancake

When most people think pancakes, they think breakfast. But for Amy Halloran, breakfast is only the start. Halloran, author of The New Bread Basket, is a self-described pancake connoisseur. From a young age, she was entranced by the magic of bubbly batter rising to fluffy cakes on the griddle. Over time, her love of pancakes […] Read More..

What in the World is a Pawpaw?

Have you heard of the pawpaw? A few generations ago, most would say “yes!” You could ask just about anyone and they could tell you what this fruit looked and tasted like, and more importantly, where to find it. But today, the pawpaw remains a mystery to some and entirely unknown to others. In Pawpaw: […] Read More..

5 Creative Summer Drinks to Help You Cool Off

Now that we’re in the “dog days” of summer, the heat can feel a little unrelenting. There’s no better way to cool off than with a refreshing, cold beverage – especially when that beverage is made with local, organic ingredients and can give you an added health boost! While our experienced foragers and nutrition experts […] Read More..

Beat the Heat and Be Good to Your Gut: Dairy-Free Ice Cream Recipes

Recent research has shown that the trillions of microbes living in our gut, also known as our microbiome, can affect both our brain function and our mood and can be linked to a number of disorders ranging from allergies and asthma to autism, ADD, depression, and more. What we ingest can either help or hurt […] Read More..

Inside the Rise of the Local Grains Movement

Our daily bread. Breaking bread together. Bread and butter. These are all common phrases that reflect bread’s foundational role in our diet and in the building of our civilization. The stored energy of grain first allowed our ancestors to shift from nomadic hunting and gathering to building settled communities—even great cities. So why in an […] Read More..