Back in 1997 I worked for Dixons Group (owner of PC World, Currys, The Link and Dixons), a massive £5bn turnover, multi-national FTSE-100 mega-corp. I wanted the full-fat corporate experience and that's exactly what I got.
My job was to improve the business through identifying opportunites (easy and fun) and making them happen (bloody hard and very frustrating). Dixons started out as a true entrepreneurial business, with instinctive decision making and a bucanneering style of "JFDI". Sir Stanley Kalms makes Alan Sugar look like an intern.
As the 1990s ended, it had gone stale, and growth had stagnated. Most of the 2500 people working in head office (that is not a typo) were manager-mentality. Don't rock the boat, don't risk new things. Avoid failure at all costs.
I used to hear the phrase "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", an awful lot.
Why wait until something's broken to make it better?
Existing customers of Organic veg boxes don't just buy from existing operators because it's a convenient service with great products.
They buy from them because it means actively not buying from a supermarket.
The fact some supermarkets all-but deserted Organic during the recession will have strengthened this view even further.
The results will be interesting.
Great local food festival tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday in a local town, Neath.
Pulling out all the stops by baking lots of loaves so hope it's busy or I'll be ringing my mate Iolo and swapping stale bread to feed his chickens, with eggs they've laid, and eating eggs on toast for the next 3 weeks....
If you're fed up of rolls like these (above) then come visit us at Usk Farmer's Market, this Saturday 1st Sept, and try some of our real rustic rolls. Natalie is manning the stall - pop along to say hi.
Hot and sticky in the bakery this week. All the ferments are bubbling like crazy and the air is thick with sourness. Gotta watch the prove closely as it's a fine line between just right and overproved in this weather...Oooh, the danger
Doing festivals is always interesting because you get to talk to customers directly.
Having done a few so far this year I've been amazed how many times I've been asked "do you have any loaves without sugar?"
Adding sugar speeds up the fermentation process so you can make more loaves in less time.
It also adds flavour to loaves that have none of the complex flavour that long fermentation brings.
None of our loaves contain sugar. All are naturally fermented, the slow way.
(This is why we always look so tired and have no social life...)
You can't rush real bread.