Friday, October 2, 2009

Operation Porcupine Update

As mentioned previously, Wooly Pigs has begun marketing its expanded production in the Bay Area. Wooly Pigs's* code name for this is Operation Porcupine. The ultimate goal is to make Mangalitsa available to Bay Area foodies.

There's two major areas we are operating: Yountville and San Francisco.

Yountville is a small town full of high-end restaurants. Most famous is The French Laundry, Wooly Pigs's first customer and a major Mangalitsa consumer; in 2008, I estimate they consumed 20% of all Mangalitsa produced in the Western Hemisphere (produced for them by Red Mountain Farm, a California Mangalitsa producer).

I'm happy to announce that Ad Hoc in Yountville has ordered Wooly Pigs Mangalitsa. Ad Hoc is owned by Thomas Keller, the owner/founder of The French Laundry. Ad Hoc's Chef de Cuisine, Dave Cruz, ordered a few days ago and should take delivery early next week.

My hope is that they'll like the product enough to use the product regularly in uncured applications - e.g. braising, roasting - ensuring they'll buy lots of Wooly Pigs brand Mangalitsa.

Michael Mina (l) and SubCulture Dining (r)

Looking at San Francisco, we've got the SubCulture Dining event on October 16th. That's one dinner. Hopefully SubCulture Dining will continue purchasing Mangalitsa. SubCulture Dining's customers are sophisticated foodies; exactly the sort to tell others about how great Mangalitsa is.

Also, San Francisco's Michael Mina's Chef de Cuinse L'Hommedieu will order very soon, likely taking delivery next week. That restaurant has two Michelin stars. It is one of the best restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the most sophisticated restaurant markets in the USA.

If Mangalitsa goes on their main menu, approximately 80% of the customers that will eat Mangalitsa. In the best case, it will get a course - Mangalitsa three ways. E.g. a plate with three dishes, like loin, belly and shoulder.

I don't like to count piglets before they are weaned, but given that Michael Mina already owns their own live Mangalitsa pigs (bought from Suisun Valley Farm) and that they've said they'll order in the next 48 hours, I figure it is safe to announce they'll order.

As with Ad Hoc, the hope is that Michael Mina will order regularly, allowing us to say, "if you want to eat Mangalitsa in the Bay Area, just go to Ad Hoc in Yountville or Michael Mina in San Francisco."

As a native San Franciscan, I'm hoping we can saturate San Francisco's fine dining establishments with Wooly Pigs brand Mangalitsa.

One neat thing about SF, compared to many American cities, is that it is so dense, it is relatively cheap to make deliveries. Just as Mosefund's Michael Clampffer (one guy) can serve a handful of New York's best restaurants, Wooly Pigs ought to be able to distribute its product in San Francisco relatively easily, because the customers are all so close to each other.

If you live in the Bay Area and are interested in ordering some Mangalitsa, please contact Wooly Pigs's VP of Bay Area Operations, Tom Canaday, at 415-648-4762.

Mangalitsa feeder pig sales, 2009

I really enjoy using maps to chart Wooly Pigs's progress. I've done that with live swine sales already. So if time allows, I intend to keep updating the map as major events occur. Google Maps is really useful - worth trying out if you haven't used it.

* According to the late William Safire of the New York Times, Wooly Pigs's is the correct possessive form of Wooly Pigs.

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