Perspective, Bouncing Back, and Basil

Perspective, Bouncing Back, and Basil ...and exciting news for us!
Yes, this email title is a hodgepodge of seemingly random introduction. Thus is my brain these days! But let's see if you can follow me here. Despite having in-laws who have the most beautiful daylily garden, parents who grow grass for a living (as cattle ranchers), and grandparents who started a backyard iris and native Texas plant garden in the country that grew so splendid, it's now its own Texas destination and foundation park, I got none of it. Not a green thumb here. I can turn plants quickly. Good thing that isn't representative of my parenting style. (Or is it?!) But my basil. I forget to water it. I pass it every morning and every night and see it on the front porch - getting droopier with each pass. I know it needs water. But I just. don't. have. the. time. So I run by. And when it's on it's last shriveled up the leg, I'll quickly poor my water bottle on it - while rushing the kids to school or off to a networking happy hour. (Yes, I'm better at watering myself. Priorities!) And I'll be mad and depressed that I killed yet another plant. But low and behold, I come back two hours later, and that darn, resilient, beautiful basil plant will have somehow sprung back to life - with all its vigor, vibrancy, and luscious leaves again... within hours! It's the only plant that will do that for me, but I'm in awe of it every time. And I just appreciate that little basil for sticking with me and bouncing back and representing some metaphor in my life I haven't figured out yet.
Which brings me to cheese. (Yes, there's a point.) Or rather, to the business of selling cheese. You see, it was a year ago this week when the proverbial poo really hit the fan. I was up and at it again after back surgery that summer, and John and I were back to assessing the business. And the numbers. And why the numbers weren't adding up and where we'd gotten off track. And how we let ourselves get so far off track. So far in fact, that we weren't sure we'd recover. Our failed venture launching a downtown shop looked like it was going to bigger risk than we bargained for - one that could take our whole biz under. But we got scrappy. We got lean. We buried ourselves. (And when I say that, I mean the whole team.) And somehow, we weathered the storm (in large part, because y'all rallied to our side). But at this time last year, we didn't know all that - and that we'd make it. We just knew it was bleak, dark, foreboding, and the future didn't look good.
Interesting enough, it was 10 years ago this week that we signed our lease to what would be our first baby - Austin's first cut-to-order cheese shop. We were so young and fresh (and less gray and wrinkled). We knew challenging times lay ahead, but we were excited to greet them together. Everything looked new and hopeful. A striking contrast to our perspective last year. And I'm so glad and proud (yes proud! it's been hard work!) to say that we have that same youthful energy, love or work, entrepreneurial spirit, limitless gas back in our tanks today. Ten years since signing the lease and one year since it felt like our business was crumbling. And here we are today. Business is better than ever. (Knock on wood - and thank you.) Team Culture is better than ever. (Thank you team for your smiles and positive energy.) And we have done just what we set out to do at the beginning of this year - rebuild, recommit, and rebound.
With that, I'm beyond stoked to announce that you might just see our first ever custom wrapped delivery van out on the streets (or stuck in I-35/Mopac traffic). This is big to us. Very big. We've had a smaller delivery truck for years, but never wanted to use the funds to wrap it. It just seemed we could always use them somewhere else. (In fact, there was a brief time it might have had a duct taped sign. We know. We know. But we were scrappy!) And while that is still the case today, we decided as a team to take the opportunity to put a fresh look out there to the world - and to us. We wanted to look how we feel. Shiny and new. And we have a big, beautiful wrapped delivery van. Woohoo! It just feels like a tangible asset in what we've accomplished this year. So yes, perspective, bouncing back, basil...and a symbolic new delivery van. Thank you Austin for keeping us going. We have the fire in our bellies again, love beating each other to work, and are looking forward to crushing this holiday season. Stay tuned for other ways we're revamping ourselves.
Classes & Tastings
Since we've just reviewed where we were one year ago versus ten years ago, John reminded me that it was in the late summer of 2010 - nine years ago this week - that we launched our cheese tasting classes. They started small but mighty. Just John and I taught a group of 8 folks in the front of our shop around a picnic table from 8-10pm after we'd closed the shop for the day. It was delightful, intimate...and exhausting. Fortunately, we were able to purchase the Cheese House across the street the following year, which now allows us to host cheese tasting classes, private events, and space rentals 365 days a year, anytime of day. Yes! Much more sustainable. To that end, we've got some great events coming up. Check out our full events schedule here, noting a few highlights below. And remember, you can always view all our upcoming public classes or book your own private tasting. • Mon 9/23 (6:30pm) - Cheese 101 benefiting American Foundation for Suicide Prevention CTX • Tue 9/24 (6:30pm) - Prosciutto, Salami, and Cheese...Oh My! - perfect pairings series • Wed 10/2 (6:30pm) - Balsamics & Cheese Pairings with Con'Olio - perfect pairings series • Sat 10/5 (10-6) - Cheesey Bus Tour to Pure Luck Farm and Infinite Monkey Theorem
Hiring: Warehouse Cheesemonger
Greetings to our best referral base out there! We are looking for a new team member to join our warehouse team. This Production Cheesemonger will receive cheese, store and care for our cheese, and prepare wholesale orders for our 150+ restaurant partners in Central Texas. This is the ideal job for folks who can't stand a "desk job," like being on their feet, love a physical job and getting healthy at work, and like to eat lots of cheese. Seriously, we sample a lot of cheese. Comes with vacation and sick benefits, competitive industry pay, and other opportunities. Occasional perks include farm visits and deliveries behind-the-scenes to your fave restaurants. As of now, we're looking for someone who is available Mon, Tue, and Wed from 8-4 (although you could leave earlier if all work is done; we love efficiency!). Check out the details here. Looking to move fast as we head into our exciting and busy season.
In the Shop
Our feature in the Cheese Shop this week is a delicious ambrosia hailing from the threatened ecosystems of the Apalachicola and Altamaha river basins in Southern Georgia and Northern Florida. Tupelo Honey, known to some as the "Queen of the Honey World", is gleaming golden-yellow, light, sweet, and buttery. The Tupelo tree blooms for a short time each spring, making this honey one of the rarest and most coveted in the world. Another defining characteristic of this exceptional nectar is its lack of crystallization; Tupelo honey will remain flowing because of its unique sugar ratio, making it an ideal drizzler. We source our Tupelo Honey from the Savannah Bee Company, who strive to "live as bees live", dedicating themselves to living and working in harmony with the environment and seeking, like we do, to Improve Every Day. We offer this runny honey in two different sizes, an adorable 3 oz. jar, and a sleek 20 oz. bottle. And one of our fave things about honey? It makes a great pairing with cheese - marrying the contrasting flavors of sweet and salty. Whether you're spooning dollops of Tupelo over your favorite bright chevre or tangy blue, this mild and luminous honey is a foolproof pairing for your next cheesy endeavor.
Our Cheese Around Town
Opened in 1933 to celebrate the end of Prohibition, James Beard Award nominee Esquire Tavern in San Antonio is serious about being the 'Quintessential Downtown Bar'. Their list of libations range from good old Shiner Bock to a cocktail called Last Rites, and they're just as enthusiastic about their food. You can stay local with their Frito Pie, or go international with this Croque Madame, made with 1655 Gruyere from Switzerland!
Stay Cheese-y Austin,
Kendall & John
& The Most Amazing, Hardworking, Passionate Team of Good Food Advocates Around...