“Soft” Opening is a Hard Concept

I’m the kind of hostess who issues invitations and then worries that no one is coming – except when I’m in the grocery store buying twice as much food as necessary because suddenly I’m sure everyone is not only coming but also bringing someone extra.

Sunday, we are having a “soft” opening of our Full Flavor Farm produce stand (11975 Arno Road, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays). I can’t tell whether I’m not sleeping at night because I fear no one will come or because I think those who do will be disappointed by the limited amount of produce.

You see, it turns out farming is not an on-demand business. Ken can tell me he thinks the peaches will be ripe by a certain day, and I can create a marketing plan based on that guess. But when the trees don’t cooperate and the fruit stays hard, there isn’t much we can do.

By this time last year, we had bushels of tomatoes. This year, we have a few but most are still hanging from the vines, good sized but green. The blackberries are ripening now when I thought they would be ready in August. The squash, as squash always does, is outperforming everything. Today, we harvested our first Armenian (burp-less) cucumbers. We also have green beans, red and yellow onions, and a few Blenheim apricots.

Enter the “soft” opening. First impressions count. I don’t want people to come, look around, and decide it isn’t worthwhile coming back. So we are doing our best to lower expectations, just as restaurants do with a soft opening to give their staff experience while they work the kinks out.

In late July when melons are bursting with flavor and tomatoes are overwhelming us, I know we’ll be able to pack our stand with plenty of produce. We’ll have a GRAND OPENING gala to celebrate! Until then, I hope everyone will be patient with us as we grow this concept – a local, full-flavor food source for the Wilton community and our nearby friends!


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