Wednesday, December 29, 2010

10 Things I Learned in 2010

Like everyone else, I thought I'd look back at 2010 before I look forward to 2011. Here's what I learned this year at Daisy Mae's Market:

1. Cactus leaves are edible.
2. People smile when fresh produce is delivered.
3. Findlay Market is an international tourist attraction.
4. There aren't enough hours in the day.
5. Twitter is the best way to spread a message quickly.
6. Sunshine is more important than temperature.
7. My iPhone is critical to our business.
8. If you organize it, they will come.
9. Quality is more important than price.
10. Everyone appreciates good service.

Most of all, I've learned there is much more to learn about Findlay Market, historic Over-the-Rhine, fresh produce, customer service, merchandising, and social media...We look forward to 2011 with the anticipation of expanding our knowledge and broadening our network of friends.
Best wishes to you for a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year! See you at Findlay Market...year-round!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Santa's Helpers

Can you imagine Santa Claus trying to do his job without his helpers? All those things that need to be done require a well-qualified team. Santa's helpers are hard-working, organized, conscientious, and work year-round for the benefit of others. 
We have a team of well-qualified helpers at Findlay Market as well. Since they are easily identified by their jackets, we call them the "Orange Coats"  They're hard-working, organized, conscientious, and work year-round for the benefit of others. Very early each morning, the Orange Coats prepare the Market for opening. They unlock doors, turn on lights, sweep sidewalks, and shovel snow on wintry days. Once shoppers start to arrive, the Orange Coats direct traffic and monitor the parking lots. They assist customers with directions and merchant information. They make endless trips with cardboard to the recycling bin, with garbage to the compost area, and with trash to the dumpsters in order to maintain the nice appearance of Findlay Market. In warmer months, the Orange Coats water and weed the beautiful flowers that surround the Market. They know many of the regular shoppers, and they have a sense of what's happening in the general neighborhood. They're often overlooked and frequently underappreciated. They do all those things that the merchants don't have time or energy to do... 
So today, in recognition of all the help they give us behind the scenes at Findlay Market, we offer a tip of Daisy Mae's hat to the Orange Coats. 
(Hey, Santa...give 'em something a little special this year.)
Thanks, guys. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

When Your Name's on the Store...

I remember a tv commercial from a few years back that featured Radar O'Reilly (Gary Burghoff) of "Mash" fame. I can't remember the sponsor (not good for the ad agency), but I do remember the premise. Radar answered one phone line with the company name. When the caller asked for "Shipping and Receiving," he'd put the call on hold...He might pick up another phone line, put that on hold, return to the first call with a slightly different voice, and then reply, "This is Shipping and Receiving." Then he'd return to the second line with another voice and say, "This is Accounts Payable." Phones kept ringing and he'd keep answering in different roles at the same company. Radar was wearing all the hats of a small businessman.
When I think of that commercial, I realize that's exactly what we at Daisy Mae's Market do every day. We wear lots of hats. The same people that you see at the Findlay Market location are the people who manage our Purchasing Department, our Sales Department, our Marketing Department, our Accounts Payable Department, our Maintenance Department, our Payroll Department, our Accounts Receivable Department, our Human Resource Department, and our Administrative Department. When something needs to be done, WE do it...
I look around Findlay Market, and I see 37 other merchants doing the same thing. Some of them have been there for years; others are just starting out...Either way, they're wearing all the hats year-round for 6 or 7 days a week. Sure, some may use outside resources to help with some tasks...But the ultimate responsibility lies with each business owner to see that what needs to be done is done and, most importantly, to see that it's done right. I guess it's like another tv ad I remember: When your name's on the store, you care a lot more.  

Monday, December 6, 2010

We Deliver Fresh Produce to You!

'Tis the season to be running around like crazy...holiday shopping and socializing, kids' Christmas plays and concerts, church programs, work obligations...you know the routine. The last thing you want to do on your way home from work is stop at the grocery store. Now there's no need to sweat the small stuff...Daisy Mae's Market can eliminate that one extra stop. We can bring the fresh fruits and vegetables you want to your downtown Cincinnati office location. We call it Downtown Delivery!
We have been successfully delivering fresh produce for the last few months. It started as a spin-off from our Healthy Breaks fresh fruit that we supply to many downtown offices. Some people started asking if we could drop off a few things for their personal use at the same time...someone else heard about it...and away we went!
Regular delivery days for custom orders are Tuesdays and Thursdays in the 45202 zip code. Place your order by Monday at 4:00 pm, and we'll deliver on Tuesday. Place an order by Wednesday at 4:00, and we'll deliver on Thursday. (Just between you and me...if we're not too busy at our Findlay Market location, we're happy to deliver Tuesday through Friday...and sometimes with just an hour or so notice.)
So how does it work? I send out a weekly price list and gentle reminder on Monday to anyone interested in our program. If you want to place an order, you can send a simple email message with your grocery list, or you can scan, fill-in, and reply with the price list order form. Either way, I'll get back to you shortly after that with your total price. On day of delivery, you can leave payment in the form of cash or check with your office receptionist, or you can charge your order by phone using Mastercard or Visa. We'll leave your order at the receptionist's desk in a bag labeled with your name.
Of course, we guarantee everything is fresh...and if we make a mistake, we try to fix it or give you a credit toward a future purchase. We try to get to know our delivery customers so that we learn your personal preferences...
We've found almost everyone who orders once orders again...They may not order every week, but from time to time they decide to make life just a little easier and let us do the running around.
Trust us on this one...Try it, you'll like it!
To receive this week's price list, send your email address to daisymae@daisymaesmarket.com.
.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's Pomegranate Season!

"Do you have any pomegrams? Do you have any pomegrannies?" Whatever you call 'em, we've got 'em! Pomegranate season is here!
Pomegranates are one of the earliest cultivated fruits...They've been around so long that some people claim it was a pomegranate rather than an apple in the Garden of Eden. All I know is that pomegranates around the holidays are a tradition for many families. And, they're good for you, too!
Pomegranates are high in Vitamin C and potassium. They're also a good source of fiber and low in calories. Best of all, they're high in antioxidants. If you're not familiar with the fruit, the goodness is in the shiny red arils found inside. You remove the hard peel and the inner white membrane to expose the arils. Each aril is filled with delicious juice and a tiny edible seed. You can eat the arils as is, toss them in salads, or use as a garnish. You can also squeeze or blend the arils to make juice. (Be careful. The juice stains!) When you're picking a pomegranate, the heavier the fruit, the juicier it will be.
Visit www.pomegranates.org for some good tips and recipes as well as instructions on an easy 3-step process to enjoy your pomegranate.
Whatever you do, hurry to Daisy Mae's Market at Findlay Market to pick up some pomegranates today. They'll probably only be here until January!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful for These Tweeps

Twitter users understand that it's a bit of a ritual to send out a #FF each Friday. The # makes it an easy way to get picked up by the Twitter search engine, and the FF stands for "Follow Friday." It's a way to keep growing your Twitter network and get connected with new people that may share something in common with others who follow you. Each week, I like to select a handful of Tweeps who have interacted with me by mentioning @daisymaesmarket with a comment, question,  or link that tells me they're reading my posts.
This week I wanted to #FF all the wonderful people who reacted to yesterday's misfortune at Findlay Market. These people either re-tweeted my blog link, expressed sensitivity and support, or offered other words of encouragement. As I started to make a list, I realized there were far too many to thank using the 140 character Twitter limit. So this week, I've created my own #FFsuperduperblogpost list. Thanks to all of you (and I apologize in advance to those I may have missed). You make it all worthwhile. 
geekjames
TaketheCakeCafe
mojojacob
merubin
positivelycinci
cbesl
joshosbo
msred513
CincyNomerati
WillCook4Shoes
UneasyPink
feoshiawrites
foodstuffsnati
Twitricia
TasteofBelgium
TravisFessler
Megebee
classicgrrl
kendurbin
GoMariaGo
Sophiaz123
sdugas
TheRealFadi
Nikki
WestEnder

Thankful for These Tweeps

Twitter users understand that it's a bit of a ritual to send out a #FF each Friday. The # makes it an easy way to get picked up by the Twitter search engine, and the FF stands for "Follow Friday." It's a way to keep growing your Twitter network and get connected with new people that may share something in common with others who follow you. Each week, I like to select a handful of Tweeps who have interacted with me by mentioning @daisymaesmarket with a comment, question,  or link that tells me they're reading my posts. 
This week I wanted to #FF all the wonderful people who reacted to yesterday's misfortune at Findlay Market. These people either re-tweeted my blog link, expressed sensitivity and support, or offered other words of encouragement. As I started to make a list, I realized there were far too many to thank using the 140 character Twitter limit. So this week, I've created my own #FFsuperduperblogpost list. Thanks to all of you (and I apologize in advance to those I may have missed). You make it all worthwhile. 
geekjames
TaketheCakeCafe
mojojacob
merubin
positivelycinci
cbesl
joshosbo
msred513
CincyNomerati
WillCook4Shoes
UneasyPink
feoshiawrites
foodstuffsnati
Twitricia
TasteofBelgium
TravisFessler
Megebee
classicgrrl
kendurbin
GoMariaGo
Sophiaz123
sdugas
TheRealFadi
Nikki
WestEnder

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

One Bad Apple Won't Spoil the Whole Bunch

An Open Letter to the Creep Who Stole Our Cash Box:
Thanks for ruining our day. It was unfortunate that our staff member was engaged with a customer and turned his back for an instant. We're not worried about the money. In fact, we hope you use the money for a nice Thanksgiving with your family and some Christmas gifts for the kids. We know we can earn the money back by working harder and longer.
What will take a little longer to earn back is our trust. Now we'll have to decide if we should walk to the other side of the stand to discuss a recipe with you or if we should guard the cash box. We'll give you a second look if you just hang around and don't buy anything. We'll hustle to pack up at night so we don't meet you on the way to the car. 
What you won't change, however, is the faith we have in the Cincinnati community. Shortly after you helped yourself to our money, support poured in from customers and friends encouraging us to keep our chins up.  We love the energy, the diversity, the pride, and the history of Findlay Market. We love being a part of the urban atmosphere and offering a much-needed service in Over-the-Rhine. We feel appreciated by the locals, the weekend suburbanites, the other merchants, and the tourists. 
We'll assume you're going through some tough times. When things turn around for you, we hope you come back and spend your hard-earned money at Daisy Mae's Market. In the meantime, we'll be here...working hard to help YOUR community. We're digging in our heels. One bad apple isn't going to spoil the whole bunch.
Happy Thanksgiving,
Daisy Mae's Market

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Be Thankful for Findlay Market

If you like traffic, parking headaches, and long lines, don't read today's post. If, however, you like one-stop shopping, continue on...
We just ordered our fresh turkey for Thanksgiving from Busch's Country Corner at Findlay Market, and that got me thinking about how I really can get everything I need for the holiday right here at the market. Think about it...park your car once and shop 'til you drop (or at least until you have everything on your list.)
First you'll need to do a little decorating...maybe a centerpiece or candles or another holiday craft. All are available at Findlay Market. Next, you'll need a few appetizers...maybe some boiled shrimp or special cheese--lots of choices. Along with the turkey, you'll need fresh produce, and ALL of your favorite produce is available at Daisy Mae's Market. You'll also need bread or rolls...plenty of options in that department. Of course, you'll need to pick up a bottle of wine...easy. And what about dessert? You'll have a tough time choosing between pies, cakes, gelato, and other sweet treats when it comes to dessert from Findlay Market.
But what if cooking a huge meal isn't exactly your cup of tea? You can order fully prepared meals and leave the cooking to someone else...or just pick up a few prepared side dishes so that you can concentrate on the main course. Yes, you can do all of this at Findlay Market. Why would you go anywhere else?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fighting Misperceptions

So I pick up the Cincinnati Enquirer today, and I see "Man Killed Near Findlay Market." I check out www.cincinnati.com and there's the headline again. I turn on the radio, and the same thing is repeated on WLW news. I'm sure it was on other local media as well. I don't get it.
The shooting in Over-the-Rhine yesterday did not involve Findlay Market. It did not occur on the Findlay Market premises. Why didn't the headline say "Man Killed in Over-the-Rhine" or "Man Killed on Green Street?" Or better yet, "Another Drug Deal Turns Deadly."
This morning another robbery and shooting took place in Price Hill. Cincinnati.com posted an article detailing the crime but making no mention that it took place "near Kroger." I guess "Near Findlay Market" is more sensational than "Near Kroger." 
It bothers me that Findlay Market is often perceived as a dangerous place. It bothers me even more that our hometown newspaper contributes to this misperception by publishing an irrelevant headline. Someone is missing the big picture...Findlay Market is a vibrant urban market that thousands of locals and tourists visit each year. They come for the history, the food, the atmosphere, the entertainment, and the fun. I really doubt if they would come if it was "dangerous." Findlay Market is no more dangerous than Kroger. Drug deals, however, that's another story...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

There's an App for That!

I just got back from a few days in Florida visiting my father and stepmother. The bulk of the time was spent conducting an "iPad Boot Camp" for my 86-year-old dad. I'm glad to report he was a terrific student and is now reconnected with the children, grandchildren, and the rest of the world via email and the internet.
While I was away from Daisy Mae's Market, I continued to conduct many of the tasks required by a small business...thanks to my handy-dandy iPhone. Sure, I talked and texted regularly with Mr. Daisy Mae at Findlay Market, but I also did a lot more with my phone. Not only did I continued my daily online interaction with our followers using "TweetDeck" and "Facebook," but I also took delivery orders by email and posted the orders for our staff using the "OurGroceries" application. I kept track of payments using the "Zenbe Lists" app, and for customers that wanted to pay with credit or debit, I used an app called "Credit Card Machine." I could even enter employee hours using Intuit's "Online Payroll" app while I was away from the office!
In addition, I've found several other apps invaluable for managing our fresh produce business. I regularly use "The Weather Channel," "Specialty Produce," "CincyMobile," and lots of the built-in iPhone apps like "Calendar," "Camera," "Photos," "Contacts," "Maps," "Calculator," and "Clock." I truly felt like I had a computer in my pocket while I was away from the office...And, when it was time to head back to Cincinnati, I checked in using "Fly Delta." After all, there's an app for that!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Take a Walk Down Memory Lane

Almost every day someone picks up one of the stalks of raw sugar cane that we sell at Findlay Market and exclaims, "I haven't seen this since I was a kid!" True, it's not something you see every day around Cincinnati.
Raw sugar cane is harvested in stalks grown in tropical areas. The raw sugar is then extracted in mills and refined to make the sugar most commonly used on our tables and in our cooking. Sometimes, however, the newly-harvested stalks are cut into 6" pieces and end up as a special treat for someone looking for nature's chewing gum!
"So how do you use it?" ask the customers who are unfamiliar with raw sugar cane. You simply wash it, dry it, and chew and suck on the sweet inner core to get at the natural juice. You'll want to pull or cut away the hard outer stalk and discard any pieces of the cane you come upon while chewing. You don't actually swallow any of the sugar cane since it's hard to digest just like Wrigley's chewing gum. Another use for raw sugar cane is as a natural swizzle stick for tropical drinks. It adds just a touch of sweetness to the drink while also making a great presentation.
Raw sugar cane is just one of the many specialty items you'll find at Daisy Mae's Market. Maybe you'll find something else at Findlay Market that you haven't seen since you were a kid. Isn't it time you take a walk down Memory Lane?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fun at the Fall Food Festival

We had a great time at the Fall Food Festival yesterday. Findlay Market was a beehive of activity with food presentations, musicians, dancers, and kids' Halloween activities all sponsored by the Findlay Market Business Association. Daisy Mae's was so tickled to host Anna and Milovan, a terrific father/daughter duo. While they entertained us, the trio from Cooking with Caitlin offered samples of two of Caitlin's favorite dishes. Meanwhile, the kids ran their parents ragged throughout the market searching for Halloween "things" during the I Spy Hunt. Thank goodness, Bridgett, from 365 Cincinnati was there to help me hold down the fort and pass out the prizes for that!
We really enjoyed talking with some folks who were new to Findlay Market, but it was also fun to see family and friends in a different kind of setting. The Findlay Market Business Association is hoping to make the Fall Food Festival an annual event. In addition, we hope to present more special activities throughout the year at Daisy Mae's so that as many folks as possible realize that Findlay Market is more than just a place to shop...It's also a wonderful place to eat, meet new friends, see great entertainment, and experience one of our country's most historic urban markets.
Thanks again to all who stopped by yesterday!

For those of you who were asking, here are the links to Caitlin's culinary creations from yesterday:

http://www.cookingwithcaitlin.com/dish/buttercup_mustard (a version of what she drizzled on the sweet potato fries)


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Twitterific!

I was looking back at some of my old posts and saw that a year ago I was writing about the wonders of Twitter. A post from October 2009 focused on how I had become acquainted with Findlay Market merchants Josh @worldfoodbar, Jean-Francois @tasteofbelgium, and Michael @dojogelato...all via Google and Twitter.
A year later, I continue to be impressed by the power of Twitter. Just yesterday, Mr. Daisy Mae ran into someone on an elevator while making a delivery. When he told them he was with Daisy Mae's, the woman immediately replied, "Oh, sure...I follow you on Twitter." You'd be surprised how often that happens or how often someone makes a reference to a specific tweet.
Reflecting on those first three Findlay Market merchants that I met, I wonder how much Twitter has helped them grow their businesses...Josh now operates a restaurant called Mayberry and will soon open a small grocery store in addition to his Findlay Market World Food Bar. Jean-Francois seems to be everywhere with his waffles, crepes, and more...including his most recent expansion at the Wexner Center in Columbus. And, Michael has nothing short of a legion of dojomaniacs who make pilgrimages to Findlay Market and follow his DojoGelato cart around like 8-year-olds follow an ice cream truck. I have to believe the growth of these businesses can be partly attributed to the use of social media. The connections made not only between company and customer, but also between businesses have surely contributed to rapid expansion.
I'm amazed www.twitter.com/daisymaesmarket has 700 followers and keeps growing. I hope our use of Twitter is valuable and somewhat entertaining for those followers. I also hope our use of Twitter allows Daisy Mae's to grow like the businesses of my first three Twitter acquaintances. Twitter is quick, targeted, and perfect for busy entrepreneurs like us. A tip of Daisy Mae's hat to Josh, Jean-Francois, and Michael for showing us how twitterific social media can be. Here's to continued success for all of us, and I'll tweet ya later...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Suppengrün!

The French have Mirepoix---the culinary combination of onions, carrots, and celery that is used as the basis for so many delicious stews, soups, and sauces. Some people call it the "Holy Trinity" of cooking. Now, in celebration of German Heritage Week at Daisy Mae's Market, I'd like you to meet the German version...Suppengrün.
Suppengrün means "soup greens" and generally consists of leeks, carrots, and celery root. Like mirepoix, this German threesome is often used like herbs to impart strong, hearty flavors in soups and sauces. The Germans keep these cold climate roots on hand because of their long shelf life and because they adapt so easily to many traditional recipes. It's common to find the trio sold together in a small bunch...sometimes the bunch also includes parsley, onions, or even thyme. The suppengrün may be boiled to make a stock, or it may be chopped and browned or pureed for a sauce.
This week at Findlay Market we will have baskets of suppengrün ready for you. It seems like a good time to try a new recipe for soup or sauce...and what better way to start than with this touch of Germany.
Auf Wiedersehen bis morgen!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Around the World with Daisy Mae

Last week we celebrated Hispanic Heritage Week at Daisy Mae's at Findlay Market. It was such a success, we've decided to take the ball and run with it...We will continue to highlight different countries and cultures. Next week, October 19-24, we will celebrate the German heritage.
In Cincinnati, the German influence is everywhere...Over-the-Rhine, goetta, Oktoberfest, German brewing traditions, and even a street named Essenstrasse at Findlay Market are just a few of the connections. I can understand why our community has such an active German-American Citizens League that coordinates the various German societies and organizations.
Next week we will feature some favorites for your special German recipes. We will have plenty of potatoes, apples, cabbage, onions, radi, and more...So make it a point to stop by and share a cooking tip or recipe with us. We're open Tuesday-Friday from 9-6, Saturday from 8-6, and Sunday from 10-4. Start planning your menu today...potato pancakes, apple strudel, cabbage rolls...sehr gut! 



Monday, October 11, 2010

Squash...Not Just for Squanto Anymore!

Even though we have temperatures like summer this week, the trees are changing colors and it's looking like fall. Fall means Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and now I know why Squanto was so anxious to share his bountiful harvest...The squash was "good to go" and definitely a cause for celebration. 
At Daisy Mae's Market at Findlay Market, we carry a variety of squash this time of year...Yellow squash, acorn squash, kabocha squash, butternut squash, and everyone's favorite...spaghetti squash! 
Our newest DaisyMaeologist, Dan from Prospect Hill, shared a delicious spaghetti squash recipe that we recommend...It's really simple to prepare, but it will definitely bring a new look and taste to your table. 
Thanks, Dan, for a great new suggestion that might really impress the relatives this time of year!


1 spaghetti squash
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and skinned, chopped
1/3 cup black olives, sliced
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
fresh basil, chopped
parsley, chopped
salt, pepper, to taste
dash of hot sauce
fresh parmesan, optional

Halve and seed the squash. Bake 40 minutes at 350, cut side down, on a greased baking sheet. Remove from oven and let cool briefly.

Meanwhile, saute garlic and onion in olive oil until softened. Add tomatoes, cook about 5 minutes. Add olives and season to taste.

In a large bowl, use a fork to shred the squash pulp into strands resembling spaghetti. Toss everything but the parmesan in with the squash.

Serve, topped with parmesan.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Hispanic Heritage Week


It's Hispanic Heritage Week at Daisy Mae's Market. We are featuring many of your favorites like tomatoes and avocados, but we also have some items that may be new to you. Tomatillos, chayote squash (cho chos), cactus leaves, and jicama are just a few specialty items waiting to meet you. It's been fun sharing samples and recipes. One woman warned us that she was from New Mexico and knew good fresh salsa when she tasted it...When she sampled ours, she gave it her "seal of approval!" Several other visitors turned their noses up at our chayote soup samples, but most who tried it picked up a couple cho chos and a recipe and went home to try something new.
Hispanic Heritage Week will continue through Sunday at Daisy Mae's. Look for the colorful flags and rainbow umbrellas  decorating our stands at the Race Street end of Findlay Market. We're waiting to meet you to hear about your own ways of preparing and cooking Hispanic favorites. After all, food is fun...whether it's something traditional or something new...and it's more fun when you share it with friends and family!

Monday, October 4, 2010

I Spy at Findlay Market

Mark your Halloween calendar now to join us at the Findlay Market Fall Food Festival on Sunday, October 31 from 10-4. The Findlay Market Business Association will be serving up food samples and celebrating Halloween, inside and out, throughout the market area. Not only will the event feature the wonderful food of Findlay Market, but there will also be beer and wine, music, cooking demonstrations, and various booths set up by local non-profit groups. Daisy Mae's Market is proud to announce that Cooking with Caitlin will join us at the Race Street end of the market house from 12-1 to grill up some of our famous fresh produce. In addition, Daisy Mae's will present Cincinnati's favorite father/daughter duo Anna and Milovan for your musical enjoyment from 12-3. And for the kids, we're organizing a fun, family "I Spy" Halloween Hunt. Bring the kids to Daisy Mae's to pick up your instructions. The whole family will have fun trying to find hidden Halloween objects all over Findlay Market. Complete the hunt any time between 10-4, and you'll win a prize.
This is an event you won't want to miss and is sure to please everyone in the family. The Veggie Gals will be there--and so should you!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Today, I Digress.

I know you've arrived at my blog with plans of reading more about fresh produce from Daisy Mae's Market at historic Findlay Market, but today, I digress. You see, today I have a hangover...a happy, feel-good virtual hangover that keeps reminding me of how much fun I had last night. Yes, the Cincinnati Reds beat the Houston Astros last night on a walk-off home run by Jay Bruce. With the win, the Reds are back in the MLB playoffs for the first time in 15 years. The best part of it all: I was there.
I've been a lifelong baseball fan...tested the waters by collecting baseball cards in a shoebox, put my toes in with Lou Brock and Bob Gibson when the Cardinals won the World Series in 1964, and jumped in feet first when Roger Maris arrived in St. Louis a couple years later to help the Cardinals to two more pennants. After college, I found myself in Ohio, and continued to follow the Cardinals from afar, but I also developed an affection for the Reds. When the Reds went wire-to-wire in 1990, my conversion began. By the time I experienced the one-game playoff with the Mets for the 1999 Wild Card position, I was diving in...I was a full-fledged Reds fan.
But then began the lost decade. Players, managers, owners coming and going...fans jumping on and off the bandwagon...griping, complaining, second-guessing...but still the faithful followed. Last night was for the faithful.
As I watched the game unfold, I looked and listened to those around me. It was a cross-section of what baseball is all about. I sat with family...the same as I had done so often through the years. Next to me was a young couple, barely old enough to buy a beer but certainly doing more than their share of drinking, sitting with the young man's father. I overheard references to Barry Larkin, Jose Rijo, and others. They were there to remember and compare. In front of me sat a mother with her 10 or 11 year old son. They were dressed in full Reds regalia and knew every Reds player by name. The boy was too excited to sit down most of the night, and his mom cheered as loudly as anyone in our section. They had definitely planned to be there to witness Reds history. On their right sat a 70ish gentleman, alone, with a Cleveland Indians hat. He charted every pitch in a ringed scorebook, and we found out he was from Albuquerque, NM and on a pilgrimage of sorts to visit various ballparks. He was, by chance, at Great American Ball Park last night. On the other side of the mother and son, sat an African-American man, mid-thirties and alone. He arrived in about the third inning and carried his bicycle helmet. We found out later that he had recently moved to Cincinnati from Alabama, and he decided this game was the place to be. He told us how happy he was that he had chosen to move here THIS year. Across the aisle, two men in their forties drank Coke all night and yet were so intoxicated with the excitement of the night, they stood and danced and high-fived like it was New Year's Eve and they were teenagers. Behind us was a group of 7 or 8 professionals, but 3 or 4 of them were speaking French. It was obvious that the visitors had never seen a baseball game. Their hosts explained foul balls, bunts, and innings to the curious guests. Again, a chance occurrence that the first game seen by the Frenchmen would mean so much to the Americans.
This was baseball as it was meant to be. Young and old, seasoned and casual fans alike, some who had planned to be there and others who just happened to have a ticket...all lucky enough to be in the same place at the same time to share a special Cincinnati sports moment...together as a community. It couldn't have been scripted any better.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Taro Root: Not Just for Poi Anymore


The most commonly asked question the last week or so at Daisy Mae's Market has been, "What do you do with it?" As you know, we've expanded our offerings and now feature not only our standard fare, but also some of the more unusual and exotic examples of fresh produce. It's been a great way to strike up conversations with our customers, and we're noticing a definite interest in trying new things.
One of the items we now carry is taro root. Taro root is the main ingredient in poi. However, we've also discovered it makes great chips! A big shoutout to DaisyMaeologist Dan from Prospect Hill who shared this simple recipe and the great photo.

Peel taro roots and slice...not too thin. In a food processor, a 2mm blade works well, or just slice by hand about 1/4" thick. The slices will be a little "slimy" to the touch.

Soak the taro slices in cool water for at least 1/2 hour. Some recipes recommend changing the water a couple of times.

Dry the slices in a single layer between two kitchen towels.

Deep fry the chips for approximately 7 minutes, until lightly browned.

Drain on paper towels and season with salt.

They're great plain, but we also tried them with a little malt vinegar for a "fish and chips" kind of taste. Dare to be different!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Not Your Grandmother's Beets


The beets I remember from my childhood were bright red and slimy, and they came in a jar. They always seemed to be alongside something good on a plate at my grandmother's house. I remember hating them...mostly because the icky juice ran all over the plate and seemed to taint the good stuff like roast turkey or beef.
Now that I'm all grown up, I've discovered a whole new world of beets. This root vegetable is available year-round, is inexpensive, and is high in folate, manganese, and potassium. Beets are most tender from June through October so it's a perfect time to give beets a try. Many people enjoy pickled beets, but I prefer roasting. The easiest way to roast beets is to clean them, wrap them in foil, and place them in a 400 degree oven about 45 minutes or until tender. After roasting in foil, the peel will slip right off and then you can slice the beets for a salad, or mix them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a little goat cheese. The natural color adds so much to your plate...Your imagination is your only limit as to how to prepare and serve.
You can find hundreds of recipes on the internet for how to prepare beets. Here's a simple one for roasting. The chopped walnuts add a great crunch to the earthy flavor of the beets.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and cube fresh beets (about 1 beet per serving). Place the beets and some chopped walnuts on a cookie sheet. Brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast about 45 minutes or until beets are fork tender. (After the first 12-15 minutes, remove the walnuts and set aside.) When beets are the consistency of baked carrots, they're ready. Toss with chopped walnuts and serve.

Trust me, these are not your grandmother's beets. In fact, you can't beat this root vegetable!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Are You a DaisyMaeologist?


It's always fun when someone surprises me with a picture or a recipe of something they've whipped up with Daisy Mae's fresh produce. Our friend Tom recently did just that.
Tom is originally from Germany, but has lived in the U.S. for the last 6 years. I've become very good friends with him, both in real life and on Facebook. I tease Tom that he's quite the Renaissance man...but it's true. He can talk carpentry, software, politics, or home-brew with equal ease...and, in fluent English, no less!
A few days ago Tom posted the attached picture on his Facebook page. He had taken a study break for a "brain-food-veggie-snack." It looked like a lot more than a snack to me, but I loved the photo and the accompanying description of "green beans sauteed, carrots with french onions in butter, garlic, and lemon, topped with manchego and cherry tomatoes..." It's part of his "secret yummy nom nom place." So without really thinking, I called him "my favorite DaisyMaeologist."
Thus, I've coined a new term...DaisyMaeologist: One who makes creative things with our stuff. If you think food is fun, and you like to create dishes with Daisy Mae's fresh produce, you're a DaisyMaeologist. Maybe it's an old family recipe that just works well with our fresh veggies, or maybe it's a new combination you're trying for the first time...maybe it's even just cut up fruit in a bowl that looks pretty before everyone digs into it...However the culinary spirit moves you, if you're using Daisy Mae's fresh produce and enjoying the preparation and presentation, you're a DaisyMaeologist.
We're looking forward to meeting more of the DaisyMaeologists out there...We'd love to see a picture or hear about your creations. And from time to time, we'll even offer special deals just for you. So in honor of my new word, today (9/9/10), 10% off at Daisy Mae's Market at Findlay Market if you say you're a DaisyMaeologist!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Calling All Cooks!


In the last week, we've doubled the size of Daisy Mae's Market at Findlay Market. We now occupy the space on both sides of the Race Street entrance to the market house. You'll recognize our display tables, rainbow umbrellas, our smiling faces, and fresh produce, but you'll also see that we're introducing some new items at Daisy Mae's. Whether you cook for fun or you take it as seriously as the Iron Chef, we'll have more specialty items to spice up your recipes. You'll see fresh produce from near and far. You'll find ingredients for cooking your favorite international dishes as well as things you need for that good, old-fashioned homemade soup. We'll experiment with different items in the next few weeks to see what's popular with you, our customers. If there's something you'd love for us to carry, just let us know.

Here's a list of some of the items you'll see this weekend at Daisy Mae's:
Diakon Radishes
Bok Choy
Snow Peas
Lemon Grass
Sugar Cane Batons
Cactus Leaves
Tomatillos
Dried Peppers
Chayote
Yucca Root
Purple Yams
Meyer Lemons
Endive
Arugula
Bunch Radishes, Beets, and Parsnips
Leeks
Fennel
Rutabaga
Coconut
Plantains
Jicama
Bean Sprouts
Thai Basil
Asian Pears
Ugli Fruit

Friday, August 20, 2010

What's in Your Lunchbox?


Yes, I had a Flintstones lunchbox, but I don't miss school lunches. Maybe it was just one too many bologna and cheese sandwiches back in my elementary days, or maybe it's because I never really did figure out what was in those things the lunch ladies called hamburgers. I didn't thrill in making lunches for my own kids either. I was not one of those moms who made smiley faces out of sandwiches or who surprised my kids with homemade treats. School lunch was school lunch--take the money or the brown bag...just make sure you don't forget your homework!
Looking back I realize I probably should have done better...It's so easy to include healthy foods in a school lunch. Nothing packs quicker or easier than an apple, banana, or orange that comes in its own "wrapper." Some may find oranges difficult for little fingers to peel, but you can "quarter" them and put them in a plastic sandwich bag, and the kids will find out right away that food is fun. (Admit it--you know you've put an orange peel in your mouth to make the monkey face!) And then there are grapes..so easy to eat and almost like candy if you freeze them ahead...and strawberries that have their own "handle"...And don't forget the veggies. With store-bought dipper cups of peanut butter or ranch dressing, celery sticks and baby carrots take on a whole new meaning.
So this year, make it your back-to-school resolution to include more healthy foods in your kids' lunches. We've got everything you need at Daisy Mae's Market at Findlay Market. It will be quick and easy for you...and oh-so-good for them.
Stay Healthy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Transitions


Wow! A lot has been happening since my last post. First, part-time job #3 ended for me (on good terms, mind you). The owners of the company are nearing retirement and so are passing the torch to the next generation. There will be a period of reorganization before a new company is formed so the time was right for me to move on.
Next, our #2 kid is off to college. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I have a sudden interest in the Gamecocks. For the near future, you'll find my sports allegiances shared among the Reds, Bengals, Bearcats, and Gamecocks. By the way, Mr. Daisy Mae has the only wife in town who prefers ESPN to HGTV.
Finally, opportunity has knocked for Daisy Mae's Market. The space adjoining our current location on the Race Street end of the markethouse at Findlay Market has come available. We've decided to "double our pleasure and double our fun." We'll maintain our current space on the right side as you exit the markethouse, and we'll also operate the fresh produce stand on your left as you come out the door. We installed additional tables today and will start to fill out the new space in the next few days. We hope to be fully stocked and staffed by the weekend. (And you'll see a lot more of me around the market!)
Things may be a little different during this time of transition; however, not everything will change. We'll still be the only full-time, year-round fresh produce merchant at Findlay Market, and we'll continue to be passionate about serving you, our loyal customers.

If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies. -Anonymous

Friday, August 6, 2010

Watermelon Time!


We have been getting some great watermelon at Daisy Mae's Market this summer...both seedless and seeded. It's fun watching people thump them, smell them, lift them, and turn them to try to pick "a good one." Everyone has their own techniques, but the experts at the National Watermelon Promotion Board say a watermelon should be "heavy for its size" since it's about 92% water. They say to turn it over and see if there's a creamy, yellow spot where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun. Whatever your method of choosing a watermelon, you're sure to enjoy the refreshing taste and health benefits of this summertime treat.
Most people think of just cutting a watermelon into wedges or cubes, but here are some more recipes to try with watermelon. And how about the simple idea of just freezing pureed seedless watermelon into cubes to add to summertime drinks? Talk about your taste of summer...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Findlay Market Scavenger Hunt


When I was 9 years old, I went to "the best birthday party ever." It was my first scavenger hunt. Maybe it was my collection of Nancy Drew books that made me enjoy following clues, or maybe it was the excitement of finding the prize at the end, but whatever it was about scavenger hunts, I was hooked.
This Sunday at Findlay Market, you and I have a chance to take part in a scavenger hunt hosted by Bridgett Raffenberg of 365Cincinnati. Bridgett writes a great blog about all the things you can do around Cincinnati...one for each day of the year. She has thousands of Twitter and Facebook followers who are inspired each day to get out and do something fun.
On Sunday morning, August 1, Bridgett will post the first clue on her Facebook page. That clue will get followers moving toward Findlay Market where participants get to be young at heart again. You can participate any time between 1:00-3:30. If you complete the tasks, your name will be entered in a drawing for a Cincinnati prize basket that includes gift certificates, merchandise, and, of course, fresh produce from Daisy Mae's. Don't worry, it's not a race, and any age can play. It's free, too, and the only requirement is that you want to share a good time with some of the other followers of 365Cincinnati.
When we're done, we'll gather in the Biergarten to see who will take home the prize.
Hope to see you there!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summer Raspberries


Summertime and my thoughts turn to childhood vacations in Door County, Wisconsin. Every July we piled into the station wagon and made the 10 hour trip north to share a week with family and friends in a lakeside cottage. My memories include not only learning to sail and swimming in ice cold Lake Michigan, but also playing hide-and-seek among the pine trees and shopping for souvenirs on rainy days. Ours was always a simple vacation with no tv, mostly homecooked meals, long "Happy Hours" for the adults, and late nights for the kids.
Of all the things I remember about driving to Wisconsin, I remember how I always anticipated one of our first stops after we got to Door County. Before we even checked into the cottage, we stopped at a roadside produce market for fresh fruits and vegetables and especially for one of my favorites...red raspberries! Sure, Door County is known for its cherries, but for me, the raspberries were always the reward at the end of the long drive. Maybe it was because they almost looked like candy or maybe it was because they seemed hard to get, but raspberries were my fruit of choice.
It seems today as if raspberries are a little easier to buy. We have the traditional summer season, but we also have the fall season of the everbearing variety. They're still a little tricky to grow as they need full sun and just the right amount of water as too much moisture leads to fungus and other problems. Raspberries are soft, bruise easily, spoil quickly, and don't ship well. As a result, they're considered relatively expensive compared to other fruits. Also, as a result, we don't always have them at Daisy Mae's Market at Findlay Market. The raspberries must be fresh when we buy them, and we need to sell them in a day or two as they are extremely perishable.
So my advice to you is, "When you see raspberries, grab them." They are rich in iron, potassium, and Vitamins A and C, and they are a good source of fiber. Try to eat them right away, but definitely refrigerate them as soon as possible. They are just too good to let them spoil.
Fresh raspberries are like so many things in life...The things you want most are often the things most difficult to get.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Whad' Ya Know?



Daisy Mae's Market was honored to be the Findlay Market representative on the Aronoff Center stage this weekend for Michael Feldman's "Whad'Ya Know?". The show is a 2-hour comedy-interview-quiz show that airs on various public radio stations including WVXU and WMUB. As a backdrop for the show, a Cincinnati vignette was assembled and the Corporation for Findlay Market asked us to supply the fresh produce piece for the display. We were "tickled pink" that they asked us and would like to thank the Corporation for giving us the opportunity to be "center stage."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Where's the Streetcar When I Need It?


So today I headed to Fountain Square for the Strauss & Troy Market on the Square. I was planning to join the crew from Cooking with Caitlin to share some fun and promote our fresh produce from Findlay Market. Unfortunately, it was raining so it wasn't the best of days for the Square. Nevertheless, I thought I'd breeze downtown, pull into the Fountain Square garage, and be with Caitlin, Molly, and Kelly in just a few minutes. Little did I know that as I rounded 5th onto Vine, I'd see the FULL sign at the Fountain Square garage. It was 11:00 am on a lousy, rainy day. How could the garage be FULL?
I pulled in anyhow and went to the automatic gate, pushed the button for the ticket, and waited for the gate to rise. Surely someone had vacated a spot and I'd just pull in...But, nooooooo. The gate didn't open, and I had to back up. I left the garage and continued on down Vine only to find several other FULL signs greeting me. After circling a few blocks, I finally ended up in a surface lot that was unattended. I needed to get out in the rain with my umbrella, decipher the instructions on the cash box, fiddle for my money, take a receipt, return to my car and leave the receipt on the dash, and then walk the 3 blocks to the Square. Not exactly visitor-friendly...
For my $5, I got to spend exactly 1 hour at Fountain Square. Sure would have been nice to park at Findlay Market, pay a buck or two to ride the streetcar to Fountain Square, relax and enjoy the lunch hour, and return when I was good and ready. Hmmmm. Seems like the streetcar might be a good thing to go not only TO Findlay Market, but also FROM Findlay Market. Never thought of that.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Strawberries Take TLC


Everyone knows that the best strawberries are the ones you pick yourself right from the fields. There's nothing like the "pick one, eat one" method, but the U-Pick season has now come and gone in this part of Ohio. We're fortunate, however, to live in an area where fresh strawberries can still reach us a few days after picking. In fact, many argue that the best strawberries come from Driscoll Farms in California, Florida, Central America, and the Baja.
The trick to good strawberries is in the timing. A shipper like Driscoll's hand-picks in the morning, inspects and refrigerates immediately, and has the berries on the truck as soon as possible. Once picked, the berries do not ripen any further so they must be picked at just the right time.
At Daisy Mae's, we inspect the strawberries before placing them on the shelf and remove any that show signs of spoilage. You should do the same before you purchase, looking for signs of moisture in the container. Because berries are among the most perishable of fruits, your berries may look fine on the stand, but if not refrigerated right away, problems can develop within a few hours. If you see a strawberry with signs of spoilage, remove it so that it doesn't contaminate the others in the container. If you don't plan to use your berries right away, store them in the original container in the refrigerator. Don't wash them until you're ready to use them, and then wash gently with the caps on under cool water. Remove the caps after cleaning.
We do our best to make sure the produce at Daisy Mae's is fresh, and we try to be honest about how long we think something will last. Especially in the hot, humid months of summer, we recommend you make Daisy Mae's your last shopping stop so that berries and other perishable products can quickly be put in the refrigerator. If, however, despite our precautions, your careful selection, and your proper handling, you still find strawberries not up to par, please let us know...but then salvage what you can and make smoothies!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fountain Square is Back!


Fountain Square has always been the focal point of downtown Cincinnati. For years, political gatherings, Reds celebrations, concerts, and festivals have all found a home on the Square. Everything seemed to function fine until a few years ago when someone decided we needed to move the historic fountain of Fountain Square. What? Why? How could someone decide to CHANGE something that was such a fixture?
Well, folks, if you haven't been to Fountain Square for a while, you need to get there to see how things work now. Yes, the fountain is in a different location, but everything works beautifully. The trees have grown up to shade tables and chairs, a huge video screen is available but unobtrusive, the walkways across the Square are practical, and parking is easy.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of taking it all in at the Tuesday Market on the Square. I was a guest of Cooking with Caitlin, and I got to experience the lunchtime environment on Fountain Square. People everywhere--eating lunch, socializing, exercising, watching the World Cup on the big screen...all in a relaxing, urban setting.
The Market on the Square continues throughout the summer on Tuesdays from 11-2. Burgers off the grill, lasagna, crepes, ribs, sandwiches, and smoothies are just a few of the lunch choices on a Tuesday. In addition, other local vendors offer fresh produce, craft items, and cookies. This is just one of many activities that take place daily on your Fountain Square. If you haven't visited lately, put it on your "summer bucket list."

Friday, June 25, 2010

A New Look


We've been working on making the Findlay Market stand more customer-friendly. This week we installed new display tables. Barry designed the tables specifically for the space we have and the needs of our customers...a perfect example of "form follows function." Not only are the plastic bins removable for storage, but they can also be arranged at different heights, with or without lids. We're still fine-tuning, but the early reviews are great.
In the meantime, look for the original tables "on the road." The wheeled carts will be used exclusively for our mobile produce stands. "Have veggies, will travel."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happy Father's Day


I just spent 4 days in Florida helping my 85-year-old father deal with the outcome of a fender bender. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt, but his car had to be towed. We spent most of our time together dealing with the insurance adjuster, the doctor, the body shop, and the rental car company.
As I helped my dad get back to his normal routine, I had time to reflect on our relationship through the years. My dad has always been fun AND funny. Whether playing catch in the backyard, reading poetry to me on the couch, playing a round of golf, or telling stories about his Army days, he's always been great to be around. Sure, I've learned tons from him about owning a business, dealing with customers, prioritizing, and making ends meet, but the most important thing he taught me is that a little humor goes a long way.
So as a Father's Day tribute, it's time to say "Thanks, Dad." Thanks for teaching me not to take myself too seriously. Thanks, too, for all your encouragement along the way...especially with our Daisy Mae's Market venture. We couldn't have done it without you...Even if you do hate broccoli.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

We're Mobile, too!


With all this talk about street vendors and mobile food, I thought you should know that Daisy Mae's Market is getting on the bandwagon. Of course, we're firmly fixed at Findlay Market where we're open every day except Monday. We've also opened our Mini Mae's stand in Golf Manor on Friday afternoons. But yesterday we entered a whole new world by taking Daisy Mae's on the road for an Employee Appreciation Day at MediSync.
For this particular event, we laid the groundwork a few weeks ago by meeting with members of the Health & Wellness Committee. They began offering our Healthy Breaks and personal delivery service for their employees. The excitement started to build as people got to know us and our fresh fruits and vegetables. The final introduction was our "traveling produce market" that allowed the staff to meet us face-to-face and try a sample or two.
Barry and Jeff set up our yellow awning in the company parking lot and took a full range of fresh produce from our Findlay Market location. The weather cooperated, and MediSync encouraged their employees to shop during breaks and in small groups throughout the morning. Everyone was so thrilled to see such a variety of healthy foods available for purchase at their workplace.
Now wouldn't it be nice to see our traveling produce market at your location? We can come for Employee Appreciation events, church picnics, senior citizen meetings, and more. That's Daisy Mae's Market---providing easy access to the finest fresh produce in the Cincinnati.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cincinnati's Easiest Graduation Party

If you've been wondering where I've been lately and haven't been following my adventures on Twitter or Facebook, I've been on the graduation train for the last few weeks. A son graduating from college and a daughter graduating from high school can certainly fill up the May calendar.
This weekend was the culmination of it all as we hosted a party for about 100 people. I know, it sounds daunting...but it really wasn't. The weather cooperated so most of the fun was outside; thus, primping, cleaning, and fussing inside the house were kept to a minimum. So our main focus was on the food, and eat well we did. If there is a celebration in your future, I recommend you follow these easy step-by-step directions to make your graduation party a hit:
1. Go to Findlay Market. Park in one of the 3 convenient adjoining free lots, or grab a meter on the street.
2. Decide on your main entree. We chose fajitas. We got Amish chicken breasts from Busch's Country Corner and flank steak from Mackie Meats. We marinated everything overnight. If you need help with a marinade, talk to the Colonel at Herbs & Spice. (If you prefer more of a traditional cookout with sausages, metts, or brats, check out Kroeger & Sons or Eckerlin Meats.) To make the fajitas complete, we grilled whole peppers and onions, too.

3. For side dishes, think fresh produce. We served veggies and dip, fruit salad, slices of watermelon, tossed salad, and sweet corn. You can feed A LOT of people with fruits and vegetables at a very reasonable price. You can even call ahead to Daisy Mae's Market at 513-602-5601 and we'll package your order and have it ready for quick pick up.

4. For dessert, choose gelato from Dojo Gelato, waffles or pastries from Taste of Belgium, or a special cake from Skirtz & Johnston.
5. Or if you're not quite the planner that I am, just wander around until you see or smell something you like at Findlay Market. Whatever you decide to serve, it's easy to find, reasonably priced, and convenient. You'll be glad you chose one-stop shopping at Findlay Market.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How to Know When a Pear is Ripe


One of the most common questions we get regarding fruit is "How can you tell if it's ripe?" With some fruits, you can tell by the color, but with pears that doesn't really work. Bartlett pears, for example, turn from green to yellow as they ripen. However, some varieties of pears turn from dark red to bright red....or other varieties like Anjou and Bosc change color very little. USA Pears has come up with a clever little tag line to help you determine ripeness: "Check the Neck." Since pears ripen from the inside out, it's best to check the narrowest part of the pear (the neck or stem end) to tell if it's ripe. Gently press your thumb against the neck and if it yields slightly, it's ripe and sweet. If you wait until the pear is soft around the middle, it may be overripe.
If you find the pears you've bought aren't quite ripe enough for your taste, put them in a bowl or paper bag and let them stand at room temperature for a day or so. Continue to "Check the Neck" until it yields slightly and you'll then find the pear is ready to eat. If your pears are at your preferred ripeness, you can then put them in the refrigerator to slow any further ripening.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Prost! It's Findlay Market Biergarten Time


Several years ago, I was lucky enough to spend a summer vacation in Germany. That trip, plus my annual visits to every Oktoberfest in the Cincinnati area, have confirmed my belief that Germans know how to have fun.
In Germany, it's common to take a weekend hike. Sometimes a walk through the woods is a semi-organized "Volksmarch." Families, groups of friends, or individuals, young and old, follow a designated path on a non-competitive fitness walk. Sometimes patches or pins are offered as incentives to finish the walk, but for the most part the walk is as much about socializing as it is about exercise.
When I was near Munich, we went on such a Sunday walk. I remember the beautiful scenery, greeting others along the way, and hearing whistling and singing in the forest. But what I remember the most about this wonderful walk was what was at the end of the trail. After walking for several hours, we magically ended up at a quaint, outdoor cafe seemingly in the middle of nowhere. We had a delicious meal, wine and beer, and lingered for a bit with the locals. No one was in a hurry. No one worried about making the trek back home. Everyone just enjoyed the time spent with family and friends.
Now we have a chance to experience our own piece of German heritage at Findlay Market. The Biergarten opens this weekend and will continue throughout the summer. For those who live downtown, the Biergarten could be the end of your weekend walk. If you drive to Findlay Market, your stroll through the market house and farm shed might lead you to a cold beer. Either way, this Biergarten is the perfect spot to enjoy food and drink, and linger with the locals. Prost!

Monday, May 10, 2010

You Say Tomato...


As the days get longer and the sun begins to warm the earth, thoughts turn to gardening and homegrown produce. There's nothing like eating a tomato right from the garden.
Tomatoes are among the most popular item at Daisy Mae's Market. At various times, we carry globe tomatoes, roma tomatoes, plum tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, green tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and grape tomatoes. There are literally thousands of varieties of tomatoes, and the fun comes when you try different kinds.
Botanists classify the tomato as a fruit, and the State of Ohio even named the tomato as the state fruit in 2009. To most of us, however, the tomato is a vegetable, and a culinary favorite because it can be eaten raw or cooked and has so many different uses.
The most common question we get this time of year is "Are they homegrown?"
Currently, we're getting most of our tomatoes from Florida. It's way too early to find homegrown tomatoes in Ohio unless they have been grown in a greenhouse. Tomato plants can't be put outside until after the danger of frost, and they need plenty of sunlight and warm temperatures to mature. Once plants are set outside, it takes 50-90 days before it's time to harvest. As you can tell, we won't be seeing ripe, local tomatoes until July in most parts of Ohio.
In the meantime, we're bringing in a nice crop from the South. These tomatoes should satisfy your taste buds and supply the Vitamin C and betacarotene that contribute to good health. Here's a link to a recipe for one of my favorite ways to use tomatoes...Give bruschetta a try!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mini Mae's is Coming!


Beginning this Friday, May 7, Daisy Mae's Market hits the road to a second location. We will be open every Friday from 3:00-6:00 pm in the Village of Golf Manor. You'll see our smiling faces in the public parking area across from the Fire Station at 6450 Wiehe Road. We will offer a scaled-down version of the Daisy Mae's you've come to know and love at Findlay Market, but you can be assured that Mini Mae's will have all of your favorites like potatoes, apples, onions, and greens. In addition, we'll have a Crazy Daisy loyalty card for the Golf Manor location. Spend $5 on 5 separate visits, and you'll get $5 off on your sixth visit. We know it's crazy--It's like giving away free food...but we love our loyal customers and want to show our appreciation.
Yes, we're branching out a bit, but we're still open FULL-TIME at Findlay Market, too.
Golf Manor hours: Friday, 3-6
Findlay Market hours: Tuesday-Friday, 9-6/Saturday, 8-6/Sunday, 10-4

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Grab Your Partner, Do-Si-Do


Anyone who works in marketing knows a thing or two about partnering. Successful corporations use it very effectively as a way to get more bang for their advertising buck by linking up with another well-established company. I've seen a perfect example lately with Scott's Great American Ball Park grass seed. Scott's and Great American (and the Reds) have teamed up to sell "actual varieties of seed that are used at Great American Ball Park." It's a win/win for all parties involved.
I realized today that we've been "partnering" on a smaller, local level without even realizing it. It started gradually when we first arrived at Findlay Market last year. Kroeger & Sons came to buy onions and peppers for their sausages. Next Dojo Gelato needed bananas for Bananas Foster gelato. Then Taste of Belgium bought mushrooms for crepes, and Areti's came for onions and tomatoes. These fine Findlay Market merchants often "tweeted" that their recipes contained our fresh produce. Not too long after that, Cafe de Wheels, the mobile burger company, began to be a regular customer. At one of the early special events for Cafe de Wheels, they were so kind as to advertise that the burgers featured veggies from Daisy Mae's Market. We were no longer dancing alone...we had partners!
Earlier this year we connected with Crock of Love. Nikki is a loyal customer who returns each week to buy ingredients for her personal chef/crockpot service. In addition, Crock of Love has recently set up shop at Neon's serving Happy Hour food including Daisy Mae's produce. What a great way to spread the Daisy Mae's brand and the Findlay Market theme!
The excitement continued to grow today as I was doing some planning with Cooking with Caitlin. This trio of fun-loving gals seems to be cooking everywhere these days and telling the world about it...They're on Twitter, Facebook, writing blogs, sending newsletters, on the radio, and coming soon again in June, they'll be on Fountain Square for Market on the Square. When Kelly said, "We're excited to have partnered with you," I realized that's exactly what we've been doing..partnering. We're building a community of businesses that work together because the joint return is better together rather than separately.
Best business lesson learned so far: Grab a partner and do-si-do!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

YOUR Produce Guy


A friend of mine observed not long ago that it seems people have shorter tempers these days. She attributed that to the fact that we so often have to "Push 1" for Account Balance, "Push 2" for Questions about your Checking Account, "Push 3" for Questions about your Savings Account, and often have to wait on hold for several minutes before being redirected...often to the wrong person in the end. She reminisced about the days when she had "her banker." He was a real person with a name and a face that she saw regularly. If she had a financial question, she called "her banker." If she had a complaint, she reported it to "her banker." My friend recounted a recent issue at the bank where she was passed from one person to another to a voice mail until she was totally frustrated and at her wit's end. "If only I could have talked to 'my banker,'" she said.
I'm starting to think my friend is right. I know others who talk about "my plumber," "my yard guy," "my florist." They look to these specialists as authorities in their fields. They call them with problems, ask them for advice, and recommend them to others. My friends exhibit a weird sort of ownership...as if these people are known only to them...and that you must get a referral before talking to "their guy." When they can't get "their guy," they become edgy and uncomfortable...How can a stranger really help me? How can someone who doesn't understand me know what I really want?
If you often feel lost in our fast-paced world of answering systems, passwords, and customer service representatives, I'd like to direct you to Findlay Market. This Cincinnati landmark still exists as a place where you can talk to "your butcher," "your baker," and (yes) even "your candlemaker." The merchants at Findlay Market are real people with real names...and after a while, they will come to learn YOUR name. If you need advice, have questions, want to complain, or just want to chat, come to Findlay Market. You'll find real people just waiting to meet you. (And by the way, "my produce guy" is under the silver tent at the Race Street entrance...tell him I sent you.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

So Who's Daisy Mae?


Daisy Mae's Market is named after the grandmother of Barry and Jeff Cooper. When the brothers decided to start their own fresh produce business, it seemed logical to name the market in honor of this special woman.
Born in the hills of Kentucky in 1903, Daisy Mae grew up poor but probably never knew it. Even though she went to school through the 8th grade, most of her true education probably came through the experiences she gained on the farm and in home. She was one of 6 girls...so you can imagine that the home was a busy place with many of the activities focused on cooking and farming. Over time, she refined her cooking skills and came to be known as the woman who could take whatever was available and make it into a meal. She could cook squirrel or rabbit, or make a "Bob-White" syrup from butter and molasses--perfect for dipping homemade bread. Home was a farm so whatever the family could grow became a part of the meal. If berries were available, Daisy Mae made cobbler. If vegetables were ready, she made soup.
At just the right moment in her life entered Luther Cooper. He grew up in a similar rural setting. As a boy, he often took an all-day trip with a wagon full of apples to Somerset, Kentucky to sell the apples to buy sugar, flour, and other household necessities. After Daisy Mae and Luther married, they put their talents and work ethic together and moved to the Cincinnati area to raise a family of their own. Luther worked off and on as an itinerant farmer, but he also found employment in a cardboard box factory. Daisy Mae carried on the family traditions of cooking and quilting while providing a solid foundation for her children and grandchildren.
Working hard, providing fresh produce, sharing the secrets of good food...Grandsons Barry and Jeff do it every day at Findlay Market. Wouldn't Daisy Mae and Luther be proud?