Behind the scenes: PROVECHO meal prep

We all remember the time I proudly announced I had an Etsy store, right? Update: Not much happened from that. I never took the time to promote it well, and beyond that, I started it at a time when I didn't have a computer. (This was pre-my blessed Mac.) The mobile app crashed every time I tried to create a new posting, and I found it really tedious to populate all the blanks/tags it called for. So I quit.

Well, I learned a few lessons from that.. but I'm leaving the URL live because it's not really hurting me any. Maybe one day soon, I'll find the motivation to pull all my artwork out of storage and take the photos it deserves to create postings. Until then, my current focus is on meal prep.

I mentioned awhile back that cooking is one of my few pure joys in life. (Note: This in no way includes the part after where I have to wash dishes.) Recently, a coworker approached me about beginning a meal prep business. He was interested in having recipes prepared and in the freezer so that he could cook/bake/grill/roast them at his convenience. One customer quickly grew to two, and to date, I've been able to prepare recipes for five customers, several of them on a repeat basis. I'm currently working on trying to get "Bob" from my credit score lesson to give meal prep a try.
buen provecho: Spanish for "bon app├ętit"
Here's how I describe what I offer: I prepare freezer packs of what I call “organic-ish meals,” with generous servings of marinated protein (hormone and antibiotic free, not pumped up with broth and who knows what else) and fresh vegetables, all ready to defrost and throw on the grill/in the crockpot/in the oven. I say organic-ish because, while at this time the USDA wouldn’t be attaching any certified labels on my products, I do my best to choose a better quality of ingredients with fewer added chemicals, while balancing better eating with reasonableness. Fooducate's slogan made a big impact on me years ago.. "Eat a bit better."

No pressure, just do a little better than you were, folks.

There are challenges: organic meat is expensive! Providing an affordable product is hard when the meat can be really pricey, but now that I've tasted the difference of higher quality ingredients, I wouldn't want to serve anything less to people I care about. 

Also, space is a factor. I don't have a ginormous kitchen with space for days. I live with roommates, so I can't make multiples and stockpile pre-made meals in order to be more efficient because we'd run out of freezer space. And buying bulk ingredients can be tricky too, because I don't have a large enough customer base yet to anticipate future demand. I wouldn't want something to spoil before I could use it. 

Here's a biggie: I know nothing about marketing. Building a customer base can be difficult for any business. Basically, the only thing I know to do is annoy the people in my social media circles until they give me a chance. :) Sorry about that, guys.

However, I really enjoy getting to do this. I love trying out new recipes, and it's especially gratifying to hear from my customers that they've enjoyed what I made. I hope this side hustle sticks around.