Sunday, July 27, 2014

Set Another Place at the Table

Since our youngest moved out in May, special meals at our house have become infrequent. It seems like dinner for Barry and me has been leftovers, "make-something-out-of-nothing," carry-out, or "let's just skip it." So it's a pleasant relief when either of us really plans a meal ahead of time. We find ourselves talking about the preparation and the food, and our conversation switches from the day-to-day recap of running a small business to the joy of cooking and sharing a good meal.
We've recently added a third place at our dinner table. My dad has moved here from Florida and has instilled us with new energy to apply to meals. We're excited to share recipes he may have missed since he last visited ten years ago. Since his diet is switching from frozen dinners to "real cooking," he's an easy customer to please. Among other food favorites, we enjoy sharing the fresh produce from Daisy Mae's and find our food becomes a launching pad for further conversation.
When you sense that meals are become more of a chore than a pleasure, why not add another mouth or two to feed at your table? I remember even when the kids were younger, we kicked it up a notch when a neighborhood friend joined us for dinner. Invite a relative. Encourage an old friend to come for dinner. Just by adding another face at the table, you'll find that your meals take on a new dimension and food can become fun again.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Small World

It's tough to get away on a vacation when you own your own business. It's a lot of work to get ready to leave for a few days, and it's always a lot of work catching up when you return. Yet this past weekend, we proved again that the rewards far outshine the efforts when you finally squeeze in a little time to unwind.
We headed to Hocking Hills for a quick camping getaway to reconnect with some of our best friends. After getting settled at the site, we briefly introduced ourselves to our neighbors at the adjoining campsite, admired their Airstream motorhome, and got acquainted with their dogs. We didn't see much of them for the next day or so as we were all off exploring the area and hiking the beautiful trails.
On Saturday, though, our neighbors were out walking the dogs. The first thing I noticed was that one of them wore a familiar t-shirt. "Over-the-Rhine?" I asked as I recognized the design as one that is popular in our Cincinnati Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. "Yep," he replied and smiled...It seemed we had formed an immediate bond. I mentioned that we owned Daisy Mae's at Findlay Market. He said they shop there regularly and love it. Next thing you know, he's telling us that they were about to make dinner with fresh local zucchini they bought at our stand!
What an unusual encounter! More than 100 miles from home, recognizing a clothing brand that connected us with our common neighborhood seemed coincidental enough. But what are the odds that our newfound friends might be enjoying the same fresh produce that we had just displayed at Daisy Mae's at Findlay Market? It truly is a small world.

Monday, June 23, 2014

What Do You Think About GMOs?

"Is this produce organic?" A few years ago, that was the most common question that I was asked at Daisy Mae's. More recently, the common question has become, "Is this produce 'local?'" In the last few weeks, however, I've noticed a new question has started to pop up: "What do you think about GMOs?"
The first two inquiries are fairly easy to answer. The organic question can be answered by explaining some basic economics and "what-the-market-will-bear" pricing. The local question is more of a geography question and is understood best in context of the growing season in Ohio. The GMO question, on the other hand, is a science question on the edge of philosophy, and so naturally it comes wrapped in controversy.
GMOs (Genetically modified organisms) are organisms whose genetic material has been altered due to genetic engineering. A television commercial ran in the 1970's in which we were reminded, "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature," yet entire industries of biotechnology and genetic engineering have sprung up that do just that. GMOs are used in medical research, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture. With regard to farming, advances in science have allowed genetic modifications to crops that enhance pest resistance, add nutritional value, and help crops thrive in extreme conditions.
Many people have no problem with genetically modified foods. Most of our corn and soybeans are genetically modified for the reasons mentioned above. There is broad scientific evidence that genetically modified foods cause no more risks than conventional foods. Yet, some people object to GMOs, claiming the risks have not been adequately explored. Others complain of a lack of regulation regarding labeling. The jury is still out, and the discussion will continue. Like it or not, genetic modification seems to be the latest food controversy.
What do you think? Are GMOs something you think about when shopping?