FARM NEWSEvery year, about the middle of October, an infamous Excel sheet is emailed to everyone involved in operations. The topic is simple: how do we change our schedule in a coordinated way so that the efforts of each team add up to do the same thing with new timing to avoid holidays. There are a lot of moving parts that are required to operate a fully integrated food system. The farm needs to harvest what you have selected. The warehouse needs to pack those items specifically to each of your requests. The delivery drivers need to take these finished boxes and place them on each of your doorsteps and all this needs to be done with the timing and communication that empowers our teams with the information to support all of you.
The fact is that for years, even decades, we have been perfecting the flow of communication and adjusting timing and subtle details between all departments to ensure the amazing set of logistics that adds up to get you the best seasonal selection of produce. You can imagine why everyone grumbles when the holidays show up and for this season only, we needed to reinvent the wheel.
The Excel sheet has dates down the left hand column. They start the week of Thanksgiving and end the week of New Year’s. The row across the top has the various operation activities: Harvest, Farm Operations, Cooling, Trucking, Prep Team, Packing Team, Customer Service, Sales Teams, Home Delivery, Restaurant Delivery, Farmers Markets, Office Services… you get the idea. Between the column on the left and row across the top, we decide how best to shift the schedule of the company to make sure the boxes go out. This generally requires that we harvest two days of product in one day or to shift packing up or back a day or two. Maybe we need to just cancel some delivery days. It is always a headache, and there are always crops in the field that need a home.
You can imagine our glee when we realized that this year Christmas falls on a Sunday and New Year’s Eve on a Saturday – no schedule changes needed!!! Best present ever – thank you, Santa.
I hope you are enjoying your holiday season, and I really, really, hope that after my explanation of how detailed we are about making your selection of local produce show up no matter what, you got yours just the way you were expecting it!
Our house is blessed with three little people ranging from 18 months to six years old. It is fun to see how special this season is to them, and it is humbling for my wife and me to realize that it took us being parents to understand how much our parents loved us a generation ago. Our holiday season is bustling, and I hope your holiday season is just as busy as you want it to be.
Enjoy your boxes - Thaddeus