Time to Rattle Those Pots & Pans

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This is the slowest time of the year for me, business wise. I get a few calls each week from loyal customers needing a dog treats delivery (I have some customers on the other end of the island so we often schedule a delivery rendez-vous in the Safeway parking lot. Gotta love small towns) but my baking is at a minimum and I actually start to miss the hectic weekly baking sessions of my Farmer’s Market season. This "down" time is a when I can experiment with different recipes. As official taste tester, Gracie is in dog heaven but many recipes just don't make the cut simply because of the cost. I'll file those away to use in a better economy. Amen

After four years I can make a batch of my current recipes in my sleep. To streamline the process for any recipe I make up "kits" with all the dry ingredients. I keep at least a dozen kits of my standard treats in the freezer. When it’s time to make a batch I can simply combine the dry and wet ingredients and I’m ready to roll..... and cut and bake and package and sell and repeat as needed.
This kit -with six dry ingredients-is ready to go into the mixer with the wet stuff. Since I make my living selling my dog treats I don't share my recipes but all the ingredients are listed on each package. (I think it's crucial to know exactly what you're feeding your dog.) It amazes me but every so often some one will come back to my booth and have the brass cajones to ask "My dog just adores your treats!! Could I get your recipe?"  Just once I'd like to say "You bet! Got $5000 in your purse? Let me write it down for you while you look." Probably not the best response but I'd like to see the expression on the soon-to-be-ex-customers face.

In anticipation of the Farmers' Market season starting in May, I'll be working on some new treat recipes. I may be adding another Market to my schedule so I want to have some new jaw droppers. I've had a number of requests for wheat/gluten free treats for dogs with allergies. I've been dragging my feet because the gluten-free ingredients are so expensive and I’d have to price them accordingly. With the current economy being what it is, I’ve already cut my prices to the bone (no pun intended) to make them as affordable as possible. It seems I'm getting more frequent requests for treats for dogs with allergies so I'm working to develop a wheat/gluten free treat that's as well received as my original chicken treat- and not too costly. I also want to find a couple more good flavors to add to the line. That's on my agenda for next week.

Besides different flavors, I'm trying some different shapes. The classic dog bone shape gets boring so I made some pseudo-donuts using my standard peanut butter recipe. Police dogs should love 'em. Police. Donuts. Get it? Never mind.

I like the way these mini donuts turned out- especially with the yogurt  and carob chip frosting. They're a good size too- just a couple of yummy bites... and as an added bonus the donut holes are just the right size to use for training treats- two products in one process. I like that. Next up? I think I'll try a biscotti type treat but we'll have to come up with a different name because Blue Collar dogs don't do biscotti.

       In the next few days I'll be playing with some of these ingredients.
  Rye, Oat and Gluten-Free Flour         Sweet Potato, carrots & zucchini
                                           Parsley and Mint
I get frequent requests for breath-mint type treats. This should be interesting.

I'm really not looking forward to this one:                          
                                                Ewww.... Liver!
That be-floured kitchen isn't going to clean itself so until next time.....Chow!



Packrat said...

Asking for a recipe is the same as asking a retailer who their supplier is. You are doing this for a business. Why should you give away your secrets? :)

adozeneggs said...

Oooh, I've been away for a while and I love the changes to your blog!!
LOVE the lighter color and now I'm going to actually read this post!! Just wanted to say how much I liked the changes before I go ahead and read the actual content.

Andrew's Mom said...

I got it - police dogs! Ha ha ha.

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