Friday, October 24, 2014

Fresh Eyes

My dad moved from Florida in August to be closer to our family. After a few adjustments and one small medical setback, we're all settling into a nice routine now here in our home. Dad has been working hard to build up his strength, and today we decided he was ready for a trip to Findlay Market. He had seen pictures of Findlay Market, but none prepared him for this beautiful fall day with bright sun and blue sky. He took it all in, enjoyed meeting a few of my merchant and neighborhood friends, and lunched on one of Mimi's Gourmet Eggrolls. He kept saying how much Findlay Market exceeded his expectations, and I gradually realized that Dad was noticing things that I had missed. I guess I had started to take my regular trips to Findlay Market for granted, and it took a fresh pair of eyes to appreciate what we have.

Among the observations of this 90-year-old were:

  • "The market smells so good my mouth is watering."
  • "There are so many different kinds of people here. And so many young people!"
  • "I didn't realize so much of the market was indoors. I really didn't need this jacket because it's nice and warm inside."
  • "You can't go wrong owning any of the property around here."
  • "The parking is only $.50?!? It's close and they have nice ramps for my cart."
  • "That's a lot of food for just a little money."
  • "It would take at least a half day to see everything here."
I guess we all need to look at Findlay Market with fresh eyes. Whether you're a first-timer, or a seasoned shopper, take a look around and appreciate what we have here in Cincinnati. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Community of Findlay Market

Sometimes I think Findlay Market should have its own zip code. It's a small town within itself. Merchants are there when the sun comes up, and many of them are still there as the sun sets. They share common concerns. When a merchant is ill or has a family issue, everyone cares. When someone has a new grandchild, everyone celebrates. Dating, marriage, divorce, agreements, arguments, partnerships, and contracts have all occurred within and among the merchants. And you can be sure, just as in any community, gossip has been known to be exchanged.
The definition of community also includes "sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals." The merchants of Findlay Market definitely share the goal of sustaining the market as the focal point of Over-the-Rhine. They relish the tradition and share the passion generated by over 160 years of Findlay Market history. Change comes slowly, after careful consideration, but it does occur as everyone adjusts to new shopping habits, preferences, and procedures.
In addition to emotional support, merchants support each other financially. Did you know that several of Daisy Mae's best customers are actually other Findlay Market merchants? It's not uncommon for other merchants to purchase fresh produce from Daisy Mae's, rice from Saigon Market, beef from Eckerlin's Meats, or spices from Colonel De to use in dishes prepared to sell at Findlay Market. More than once, I've heard one merchant yell across the aisle, "Toss me a pound of bacon!" Why go to a wholesale restaurant supplier when everything you need is available from your neighbor?
Findlay Market merchants take the "Shop Local" message to heart. They support each other and all benefit from their cooperative efforts. More than 35 individual businesses all work together to survive not only individually, but also as a community.

Monday, August 25, 2014

I Hate Wrappers

I know I'm not the only one who hates wrappers and packaging. It's not just the irritation of trying to figure out which end to open or where the flap starts. I hate the waste and the smell, and if it's food wrapped in too much packaging, I wonder about the preservatives.

It also bothers me when the thing I want requires a 6-inch knife and a whole lot of patience to open--like this:

Or when way too much packaging is used for one little item--like this:

Or when it's not even necessary to put something in a wrapper--like this:

I also dislike the taste of commercially packaged baked goods--like this:

I much prefer my baked goods made at home with no preservatives, no packaging or wrappers, and healthy ingredients. Like these Healthy Carrot-Zucchini Mini Muffins. Who's with me?