Wow! What an insane two months it has been. Apologies for not having given any updates in the interim but I'll certainly try my best to keep whoever reads this up to date on my adventures and doings, and boy have there been some.
First off, I have for the summer decided not to vend at the Saturday City Market. I know that a lot of you either met me there or haven't the opportunity to find me at the Wednesday market and I apologize, shoot me an email and I'll try my best to get some granola out to you. I promise there's a great reason why I have to use my Saturday's differently and I think you'll be just as excited as I am about this.
I started a farm! And not just any farm... I started a HEMP FARM!
Imagine your favorite hemp seed granola with locally sourced hemp! For those of you unfamiliar, hemp is a huge passion in my life and having the opportunity to be a grower this year (legally) is a dream come true.
I'm at about 700 square feet... I think
For those of you totally unfamiliar with hemp I imagine I'll be writing a blog post entirely on that subject in the near future. But long story short, it is an incredible plant with a plethora of applications in many different fields. This past year saw the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill which essentially delineated hemp from recreational marijuana, a huge move which allows enthusiasts like me to start growing in states that likely will not legalize recreational marijuana for some time (if ever).
Anywho, I'm stoked. And this is why I've been unable to make a posting in the last 2 months and have withdrawn from doing the Saturday Markets for the time being, I've got a ton of work to do and not much time left to get seed into the ground. I sometimes sleep.
The Wednesday Markets have been going outstandingly and I just recently completed my first bulk order and delivery. Kim first found me at an event I had agreed to vend at that I've mentioned before, a 5k for a Horse Charity. From there I think I got her hooked. She eventually tracked me down, found me at one of the rare times I was at the Saturday market and put in the first order! Thanks Kim! I'm super thrilled by how much you love the granola that I make and I hope to be able to keep supplying you with my heartfilled delicious and nutritious snack!
This post is getting to the point of being too long, so I'll cut it short for now. But in the words of one of my favorite movies, "I'm not dead yet!"
P.S. Here's a picture of one of my older hemp plants
Figured I'd give ya'll a break from the bad pun titles this update. And what an update it is!
In the last couple of weeks things have really been picking up for Solar Granolar. Every Saturday it seems I'm making new and amazing friends at the market, and even more fun, seeing new friends again. Being Cville's local source of tasty nola seems like a niche I'm more than happy to fill, and there seems plenty that needs filling. Not only am I now sharing snacks with folks at the Saturday Morning City Market but I was also welcomed into the Wednesday Night Market, which I can safely say, is my jam.
If you haven't yet been to the Meade Park Market let me tell you, its awesome! A ring of merchants around a sweet water park, comfortably situated in the grass under the trees, everything your everyday nola merchant could possibly need. Not only did I nearly match sales with the more populated City Market, I was able to spend a solid chunk of the day barefoot, earthing in the park. Can't ask for life any better than that!The view from be
My Shady spot at Meade Park
Frequent nola munchers will also notice a subtle shift in the flavor profile of all my recipes. Earthy, wholesome, nutty, crunchy, roasty. All wonderful adjectives happy taste helpers supplied. What exactly did I change to add these great qualities?? The answer my friend is in the hemp. In the past I've been purchasing hulled hemp seeds, which are awesome and supremely delicious, but also missing a crucial aspect... their hulls! Besides clothing our favorite naked hearts, these hulls are an amazing source of natural fibers and tasty to boot!
I'll also take this opportunity of a blog post to share some future events and happenings.
Next weekend and the weekend afterwards (the 11th and the 18th), Solar Granolar will not be present at the Saturday Markets. One of those reasons is a backpacking trip with a dear friend, and the other an amazing music festival up in West Virginia. If you are desperately craving some nola during those times there are opportunities for you, have no fear! You can either find me at the Wednesday Night Market at Meade Park or you can send me an email for any orders 14oz and above, and I'll deliver!
Until next time my friends!
The sun is out, birds are chirping, flowers blooming, chacos rocking... Spring is here! And with it more chances for you to find Solar Granolar out and about slinging delicious granola.
Since wrapping up at the IX Winter Market, I've been busy updating my bar and business for the Charlottesville City Market. For those of you who are unaware, the City Market is a huge opportunity for me to grow this company as well as a great chance to meet and be a part of my community. Its held on Saturday mornings just off the downtown mall and the last two weekends have been great! I've been able to give so many tasty samples and shared so many great moments with new friends!
I also just found out that I was accepted to be a vendor at the Wednesday night Market at Meade Park, aka "Farmers in the Park", AND have been invited to vend at a charity 5k event on May 5th. As winter thaws away it seems we all start to get busy!
With all these new plants springing up out of the ground you best believe I'm ready to introduce a new seasonal flavor, I've had a few running through my mind as the availability of local fruits starts to increase. I'm definitely already playing around with strawberries, blueberries, and maybe some more exotic fruits as well.
This post is just a quick update for everyone so no fancy pictures for now. But I hope to see you sometime at one of the markets (you've got TWO to choose from now)!
Be well ya'll!
For those of you not fortunate enough to live close to me in Central Virginia, you may be unawares and the very bizarre Winter-Spring Weather we've been having. Truth be told it would seem that the entire planet is experiencing absurd weather patterns. Maybe climate change is a thing after all?
Regardless, this past Saturday was a true Winters Market. Friday before the market we experienced what was predicted to be a "light" snowfall, which ended up becoming around a foot of total fluffy stuff. With the temperature actually staying above freezing all day, the snow still managed to stick and stack until as I was finishing up getting ready for the market at around midnight, I was looking at a full foot, with snow still falling.
Stoked! I couldn't wait to set my booth up in snow and start making snow angels in front of the bar. Maybe an occasional snowball could be thrown to get a customer to come over and talk to me, that works right? Well as it turned out, with the temperature staying literally just above freezing the whole night, I instead show up to set up with no snow on the ground, merely visible in the treetops across the park. Sigh. Fingers crossed for one more snowfall this season, maybe it'll stick around, though the following day we were looking at mid 60s.
My sweet spot with the IX Art Wall as a backdrop (Handmade bar is holding up and I continue to find cool ways to make it more effective. This week I installed a non viewable shelf, critical)
Nevertheless dedicated market goers continued to walk past and.... Drumroll....... I was able to operate on a net profit! In businessy terms I've been told they call it operating "in the black" I've been telling everyone "in the green", I mean I'm a cash only business it makes sense to me.
After all the ingredients, jars, and vendor fees I was actually able to calculate a profit! Granted, the profit wasn't quite enough for my celebratory beer later on in the evening, but that's what my day job is for! For being my third week of operations I couldn't be more stoked that this experiment works.
I did ultimately decide to take a full time day job to support this venture. Luckily my friends at Snowing In Space Coffee Co are at terms with my relative nomadic tendencies and have let me start tending their bar on a frequent basis. This should allow me to start investing more in Solar Granolar, specifically the solar equipment.
Hopefully this positive trend of business will continue! There's only 2 more weekends left for the Winters Market. If you haven't had the chance to come hang out with me yet please do! Would love to see you, and there might be a treat waiting for you... just sayin, perks of being a business owner.
Today was an incredibly auspicious day, my second day at the IX Winter Farmers Market!
My first appearance at the Farmers Market was spectacular. I was able to show up (just barely in time) and start finally selling granola to eager stomachs in the Charlottesville area. Although the weather was... lackluster (consistently drizzly and low 40s), and my bar wasn't near as complete as ideal. I was able to show up with full spirits and was blessed to have met my first major stepping stone as a small business owner.
To aid my quest of cheerful spirits on a gloomy day, I was blessed with the phenomenal neighbors of "Waddle Om Farms". Two incredible new friends, one of whom is an accomplished yoga teacher! Seems you just can't keep your vibe from attracting your tribe. Between the three of us we were able to entertain not only ourselves, but whatever dedicated Farmers Market Attendees that were willing to brave the weather, including some very excellent local friends of mine that came out to support. A truly outstanding day! Although I didn't sell all too much granola, I was able to trade with some market friends (barter system for the win), and most importantly learned some incredibly important lessons (such as having the name of my company visible... duh)
Cue round two.
After spending much of the week recapping and identifying all of the things I would like to improve on. I was able to improve on several key features of my bar. For one, I attached my name to the front... that just seems key for some reason. I was also able to slap together a makeshift logo as I await a close friend to finish on my custom one. Pictures will follow.
It would also seem that the weather was on my side today, after a whole week of forecasted doom and gloom, the morning actually brought reasonable early March weather. Although the sun didn't make its appearance until about 10 minutes till the end of the market. We all saw an incredible increase in foot traffic, AND I was able to make substantially more sales. I even made enough to cover the market fee! Talk about success. Once more I was next to my Waddle Om friends, and we were joined by a local coffee roaster as well. Between us three vendors we were able to bring a veritable atmosphere to our small section of the market, and once more I was blessed to have a few close friends come out to visit and support!
Although I wasn't able to get everything done to the bar that I had envisioned, I was able to get several improvements done, and at least this way I have plenty of other tasks to take care of. It just doesn't seem like it would make sense for me to have everything put together by my second appearance.
Thanks for continuing to keep up with my website, and together lets see what next week brings! (Possibly snow)
All great stories have a beginning. Actually I think all stories have to begin somewhere, but I hope you find this story to be a great one, I certainly do.
Tomorrow is the first day that Solar Granolar will be actively running as a business! What does that even mean?!?
It means that tomorrow, I'll be getting up bright and early to set up a booth at the IX Winter Farmers Market to let my wares meet the ultimate test, the public. Up until now Solar Granolar has been a dream in my head manifesting in granola gifts for my friends and family all around the country (and Canada). This tasty treat has been made in literally every clime and place from the sunny shores of Oahu to the frozen mountains of Wyoming. Guaranteed tasty by yogis, medical professionals, water protectors, hippies, nomads, friends, family and neighbors. It has gone through several iterations, tests, and tastings until the "perfected" recipe is finally ready to be offered for sale.
The oven has been going constantly the last two days as I prepare my initial batches for consumption
Ready for batch #1
The first three batches out of the oven cooling down for eating... someone may already have nibbled on the Not your Appleage Granola and Coffee CaPow
Cue the countdown, cue the craziness and all nighters, the desperate scramble to get anything and everything done at the last possible minute...
Actually scratch that, this is my business, and I'm choosing to do it a little differently. Granted there is still some craziness and scrambling, but I'm doing this at a bit of a different pace. Nothing is perfect, and this business certainly won't ever be that. Sorry Corporate America, someone is coming to play ball under a different set of rules.
My dream has always been to run a business that walks a different path. A business that commits itself to minimal amounts of waste, sustainable practices, well sourced ingredients, and an overall commitment to our Planet and all living creatures that find themselves sharing this incredible World with US. Together we can show that there is a responsible way to run a business, as a benefit to our communities and our world, not for personal gain and wealth.
My handmade bar out of old fence pieces and other recycled materials that seems to be doing its job quite well
I've still got a fair checklist of things to get done by tomorrow morning. But I have faith that what needs to get done will get done. If not, welllllll at least I can laugh about it.
This is the start of our great adventure. I hope you choose to ride along. I can't promise it'll be incredible, but you'll probably smile, laugh a bit at my extreme failures, and maybe you'll decide to taste some of that tasty 'nola I've whipped up.