Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Year's Resolution: Experience Downtown Cincinnati

I was born and raised in a suburb of St. Louis. We went to "the city" for Cardinals' baseball games, Blues' hockey games, occasional shopping at Stix, Baer, & Fuller, and special-occasion dinners. Other than that, we went to school, worked, shopped, and played in our little suburban world.
I went to college at Miami University in the picture-perfect rural collegiate town of Oxford, Ohio. Then I moved to suburban Cincinnati where I taught school at a suburban school for 9 years. After that, my husband and I started our business of building homes primarily in suburbia. We raised our 2 children in the suburbs and sent them to a typical suburban school. We go "downtown" to conduct business with the building department, to attend Bengals and Reds games, to visit my urban professional brother, and to dine out for that special occasion.
However, something strange has happened over the last year or so. I've always enjoyed visiting big cities---New York City, Washington DC, Chicago, Paris, and Copenhagen are among my favorites. I've also enjoyed visiting my brother's Liberty Hill townhouse near Over-the-Rhine and occasionally walking to a Reds' game from there. However, in the last year, I've felt the lure of downtown Cincinnati in a strange new way.
Part of the attraction stems from our new fresh produce market venture at Findlay Market---the challenge of a new business, the diversity of the clientele, the risks involved in trying something different. But a bigger part of the lure is the downtown buzz I've felt from the Twitter followers I've connected with through @daisymaesmarket. When I hear about who is eating gelato or waffles at Findlay Market, who is shopping at Gateway Quarter, who is looking for a condo at 12th and Vine, I feel a new sort of excitement. Believe it or not, I actually feel younger. I admire the entrepreneurs who dare to take a chance and get in on the ground floor as Cincinnati undergoes a renaissance. I envy the urban dwellers who have their choice of where to eat or shop within a few blocks of their homes. It makes me want to leave my mundane world of cul-de-sacs and garage door openers and head downtown to experience something creative and electric.
Yes, this middle-aged suburbanite has actually considered New Year's Eve on Fountain Square. Wouldn't it be fun to be ice skating and drinking at an ice bar as we bring in the new year in downtown Cincinnati? Wouldn't it be fun to share a drink with others who live, work, and play in the city? So much potential, so many people to meet...What's holding me (and you) back?
Let's start 2010 with a resolution to experience more in this wonderful city of Cincinnati. I'll be looking for you on Fountain Square, at Findlay Market, and in the Gateway Quarter. Cincinnati is on the move---Don't be left behind.
Here's to a Happy New Year! Come share it with me in 2010.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas, Officer K!

We absolutely love the police officers at Findlay Market. 2 or 3 of the officers have regular duty on foot patrol around the market. Others seem to come and go around the neighborhood--either on foot, bicycle, or by squad car. Some just smile and say hello as they pass. Others stop for fresh produce as they finish a shift.
Officer K made quite an impression on us the first time we met. We had a special price on boxes of bananas that caught his eye. After deliberating a couple minutes, he bought several boxes...more than any household could need. He thanked us, turned and walked across the street with the the local soup kitchen.
This week Officer K came back to buy a couple items for himself. After making his purchases, he turned and hurried away as Barry shouted, "Merry Christmas." Officer K immediately came back and shook Barry's hand...a small gesture, a simple if to say, "You've made my day better."
To Officer K and the other Cincinnati police officers, thanks for all you do...And have a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Keys to Success at Findlay Market

Maybe you heard yesterday about the announcement that the "Big Piano Gig" is coming to Cincinnati. In August, 2010, Cincinnati Public Radio will present Play Me, I'm Yours by Luke Jerram in celebration of the 50th anniversary of 90.9 WGUC, the 40th Anniversary of 91.7 WVXU and the 60th Anniversary of 88.5. Jerram will install painted pianos throughout the Cincinnati area for anyone to discover and play. 
We were in Chicago in 1999 when we stumbled upon "Cows on Parade." On every street corner, there seemed to be a colorful painted cow that presented a perfect "Kodak moment." Cincinnati responded in 2000 with our own "Big Pig Gig." You may remember how the community was overrun with pig-themed events and activities, and tourists actually came to town especially to see the painted pigs. 
2010 will be our turn to combine art and music with Play Me, I'm Yours. Long considered a hotbed of jazz, pop, and classical music, Cincinnati will have its chance to shine on the world stage  with pianos on display. Not only can visitors enjoy the artwork on the pianos, but they can also play or listen as others perform. 
Findlay Market would be a terrific location for one of the Play Me, I'm Yours pianos. I can imagine tourists and native Cincinnatians gathered around a piano right alongside our fresh produce stand. As people come and go in the bustle of the market, they'd pause for a moment to listen, exchange greetings, or maybe even play a duet with the performer. What better way to bring people of all ages and backgrounds together...Hmmmm...Pianos: Keys to Findlay Market Success. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

10% Tuesday

It's 10% Tuesday again. Today's charity is Cincinnati's own Freestore Foodbank. The Freestore Foodbank began 40 years ago and has developed into a leader in fighting hunger and its causes in our community. The Freestore "provides food and services, creates stability, and furthers self-reliance for people in crisis." The organization serves Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, assisting approximately 200,000 people per year through 350 partner agencies. This past Thanksgiving alone the Freestore provided meals for 24,929 people!
Daisy Mae's Market will donate 10% of today's sales to the Freestore. If you can't make it to the market, you can donate online. Be generous for those in need this Christmas.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fun with Fennel

We have had several requests for fennel lately. Fennel consists of a white or pale green bulb with stalks. The stalks have leaves near which flowers grow that produce fennel seeds. The bulb, stalk, leaves, and seeds are all edible and are commonly used in Mediterranean dishes as well as Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. The fennel bulb is a crisp, hardy root vegetable and may be sauteed, stewed, braised, grilled, or eaten raw. The seeds are used as a spice and are sometimes confused with anise as they are similar in taste and appearance. Fennel is high in Vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber, and it is also thought to be a good antioxidant. Saute´ fennel with onions for a delightful side dish, or pair fennel with salmon for a perfect combination.

Here's an easy way to try fennel:

Roasted Fennel Recipe


  • 2 fennel bulbs (thick base of stalk), stalks cut off, bulbs sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar


1 Preheat oven to 400°F.

2 Rub just enough olive oil over the fennel to coat. Sprinkle on some balsamic vinegar, also to coat. Line baking dish with silpat or aluminum foil. Lay out piece of fennel and roast for 15-20 minutes, until the fennel is cooked through and beginning to caramelize.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Findlay Market Myths

We continue to be surprised by all the misconceptions about Findlay Market. Here are the Top Myths that seem to circulate:
1. Findlay Market is hard to find or too far.
From most Greater Cincinnati suburbs, you can get to Findlay Market in 20-30 minutes. Check out the map showing easy access from I-71 and I-75.
2. Parking is a pain once you're there.
There are 3 FREE Findlay Market parking lots and over 400 parking spaces within one block. The main Findlay Market lot connects directly to the Market House via a covered walkway that opens into a unique courtyard area. The Findlay Market information office and several specialty shops surround this courtyard marked by benches, tables, and street entertainers.
3. It's dangerous. Findlay Market has two full-time uniformed "beat cops" assigned by the City of Cincinnati Police. These friendly, helpful police officers walk the market and are available to answer questions or help with any problems. In addition, other officers on bicycles or on patrol in the neighborhood are frequent sights. Findlay Market traffic attendants also help monitor the parking areas.
4. Panhandlers are everywhere. The Corporation for Findlay Market has a strict policy prohibiting panhandling at the Market. Anyone caught panhandling is reported to the authorities immediately.
5. There are a lot of "strange" people at Findlay Market. It's true that you will see people of every color, age, nationality, and socioeconomic background at Findlay Market...but isn't that a GOOD thing?

And last but not least, the biggest myth about Findlay Market is: It's only open on Saturday morning. That was probably true years ago when the market existed solely so that farmers could bring goods to sell on Saturday. If you didn't get there early, the farmers had sold everything and gone home.

Today Findlay Market is open Tuesday-Sunday year-round
. (Yes, that's every day except Monday.) It's possible to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, bread, pastries, gelato, waffles, prepared meals, tea, coffee, wine, and gifts from 9:00 am-6:00 pm on Tuesday through Friday, 8:00 am-6:00 pm on Saturday, and 10:00 am-4:00 pm on Sunday. Plan to come for lunch or a snack and plan to spend a few hours.

Help be a market myth-buster and spread the word about all the good things at Findlay Market.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's 10% Tuesday!

Today Daisy Mae's Market will be donating 10% of all sales to the Neediest Kids of All. This organization has been around since 1952. It's mission is to help local children with everyday needs and educational opportunities. NKOA supplies hats, coats, shoes, clothing, and eyeglasses to children in need within the WKRC-TV viewing area. The group also supports over 700 schools and Head Start programs by contributing for field trips and special school needs.
Stop by Daisy Mae's today to help support this worthwhile charity, or make an on-line donation today at

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Minestrone Soup, Anyone?

Today is gray and windy, and we may even see a passing snowflake. It's one of those days that demands a piping hot bowl of soup. Here's a great recipe for Minestrone, and you can pick up most of the ingredients at Findlay Market. Add a glass of wine and a loaf of bread, and you'll have a good hearty meal.

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 large stalk celery, chopped

2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 teaspoon basil

½ teaspoon each dry rosemary, oregano leaves, thyme leaves

¼ cup pearl barley

2 medium-size thin-skinned potatoes, peeled and diced

1 large carrots, diced

8 cups chicken stock or broth

1 large turnip, peeled and diced

1 can red or white kidney beans

⅔ cup small shell or elbow macaroni

¼ cup tomato paste

2 cups finely shredded kale leaves or green cabbage

Salt and pepper

1½ cups shredded jack cheese

Heat oil in 5-quart pan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, garlic, basic, rosemary, oregano, and thyme; cook about 10 minutes until onion is soft.

Add barley, potatoes, carrots, stock, and turnip. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Mix in beans and their liquid, macaroni, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover, and boil gently until macaroni is tender (about 15 minutes). Add kale and cook, uncovered, until kale is tender-crisp (about 5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with cheese.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

10% Tuesdays

Today is the first of our 10% Tuesdays. Maybe I'm just in the "giving" spirit around the holidays, but I thought it would be good to designate each Tuesday in December as a day we will donate a portion of our sales to a local charitable cause. I think the presence of the red kettles outside the Kroger store reminded me that it's time to put my idea in motion.
Today, like every December 1 since 1988, is designated as World Aids Day. To call attention to the reality of HIV and AIDS, and to contribute our small portion to the fight against AIDS, Daisy Mae's will give 10% of today's sales to Cincinnati's STOP AIDS organization. This local group fights HIV/AIDS through education, services, and compassionate care one person at a time.
Maybe by our tiny bit of marketing, others will recognize a need and choose to donate, and a cure for AIDS will come closer to reality.