Today was spent juggling my time between meetings and the little kitchen in the back of the shop. The plan was to teach Angela how to make fruit smoothies. Angela, originally a supplier, is soon to take over the running of the shop. A food technologist by training, she started up her own business in mushroom production a few years ago. As with most products, you find the reality of sales can be a little below your expectations, and where there was a huge drive to introduce mushroom production in the country as an alternative source of protein, Angela soon found the obstacles were not in production, but rather in consumption. We’re not a mushroom eating nation, ……….we’re Africans, we like meat!
During her mushroom producing days (which we hope to revive) Angela spent much of her time educating people on the nutritional benefits and cooking options of mushrooms. She was at every farmers market and soon had a variety of products including dried mushrooms and dried powder mushrooms.
One of the biggest strengths of any entreprenuer is being able to recognise when it is time to fold the towel and put it on the shelf…………….as opposed to throwing in the towel. Angela uses the terminology of ‘bleeding’, her business was bleeding money and it was time to shut it down. Her products were exceptional and we miss them in the shop.
Her opprotunities in the shop allow for her to expand her creative ways in a variety of products. I feel very happy and confident she will be exceptional and look forward to the future of having a whole range of exciting new products.
So today was largely about getting a hang of the machinery. Our shop kitchen, kitchenette……more like transformed 1.5×1.5m wash room……….more on that later………barely allows for two people to work at the same time. We did however manage to produce fresh organic carrot juice, carrot and pineapple juice, and a smoothie blend of papaya and pineapple. And just because we could, we developed a fantastic new product, a baby banana,yoghurt and vanilla smoothie, the first of our dairy smoothies range! I’ve always cringed at the idea of blending yog and fruit…..so this was quite out of the box for me. I was however pleasantly suprised at how delicious it was!………so tomorrow, Kim (who you will hear about later……..) will send us some of his fantastic yoghurt form the dairy and we will launch a new product!!
Angela amazes me with her patience and eagerness to learn and learn and learn. Another exceptional quality she has is that she is ever ready to teach too and plans to show Ndichu……(more on him and his mum later too!)……and his crew on the farm how to produce mushrooms.