Saturday, January 30, 2010

1st Quarter Grades Are In!

I'm a former teacher who can't help evaluating things with grades. Daisy Mae's Market has been open 3 months at Findlay Market so it seems appropriate to do a little review. Here are our 1st quarter grades:

Marketing 101 B
Teacher Comment: You're off to a good start. Hope to see you add new media to your approach in the near future.

Economics 101 A-
Teacher Comment: You seem to have solid understanding of cash flow. Concentrate on supply-chain logistics.

Local History and Culture 101 B
Teacher Comment: Don't underestimate how history and culture connect to your other subjects.

Political Science 101 C+
Teacher Comment: Continue to work hard to understand the political climate and its effect on economic conditions.

Botany 101 B
Teacher Comment: Build on your strong foundation. Don't be afraid to explore different fruits and vegetables and their uses.

Thanks to our fellow Findlay Market merchants and all of our social media friends for tutoring us during this first quarter. We've still got a long way to go before we earn "Straight A's," but I'm confident we can stay on the path to success.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Super Bowl=Super Parties

I really like Super Bowl Sunday. I like football, but I also like joining friends and family for good food and drink. Believe it or not, the day of the Super Bowl has become the second largest day of food consumption in the United States (after Thanksgiving).
The first Super Bowl was in 1967 and was a game designed to determine a champion between the old National Football League and the American Football League winners. Lamar Hunt, architect of the AFL and owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, came up with the name of the game. He chose "Super Bowl" as a take-off on his daughter's favorite toy, the "Super Ball." The first game took place in Los Angeles and featured the Chiefs against the Green Bay Packers.
As they say, the rest is history. With each year, the Super Bowl has grown to be bigger and bigger. Even though the game itself has become a celebrity mecca and ticket broker heaven, the public has latched on to the Super Bowl concept as a relief from winter doldrums and a wonderful excuse to have a party. The Super Bowl is the most watched television broadcast of most years, but the actual game almost becomes secondary to the beer, dips, chili, and wings.
So it's time to start planning your Super Bowl Sunday, February 7, 2010. This year's event, featuring the New Orleans Saints vs. the Indianapolis Colts, is sure to be a thriller. Plan your menu and get pumped up for fun. Stop by Cincinnati's Findlay Market for fresh produce, meats, Belgian waffles, gelato, and all your Super Bowl supplies. Check out our Super Guacamole Bowl display, too, at Daisy Mae's Market. We've got everything you need to get your party started!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

All Parsley is Not Created Equal

Fresh herbs are "tricky" this time of year. At Daisy Mae's Market, we like to feature specialty items when we can. However, since we are an outdoor market, we have to be careful with what we stock. Yes, we have a covered stall with heater; however, many items are delicate and we'd rather not stock an item due to cold temperatures than buy something that we eventually throw away because it's damaged by the temperature.
Parsley is a good example. There are many kinds of parsley, but the most popular kinds are curly parsley and flat-leaf parsley. Curly parsley is most common but is usually used just as a garnish. Flat-leaf parsley is most often used for cooking. It is easier to cut and is more flavorful so the best cooks always choose flat-leaf parsley.
At Daisy Mae's, we try to stock flat-leaf parsley when possible. We find that it's most popular with our weekend shoppers so we tend to have it toward the end of the week. It doesn't make sense for us to buy flat-leaf parsley on Tuesday if we don't sell much of it until Friday. In the three days that pass, the parsley tends to wilt so why would we want to offer half-fresh parsley to our weekend buyers?
Our mission is to offer fresh produce and if it's in doubt, we believe in "full disclosure." If we think you need to use it the day it's purchased, we make a point of telling you. Produce is perishable, and there's no way to get around it. If you are looking for a particular herb, just call ahead (513-602-5601) and we'll let you know what we have available. Our supply meets your demand so feel free to let us know what you'd like to see at Daisy Mae's.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I'm On Board with the Cincinnati Streetcar

During the last year, I've changed my mind about the proposed Cincinnati streetcar. Up until the last year, I thought it was another silly waste of time, energy, and money that would be discussed for years by the Cincinnati "powers-that-be" and would never actually be completed. Gradually, however, I have been swayed.
As I started reading more about other cities where rail plays a major role, I saw the economic development that follows once plans for a rail line are in place. In addition, I heard from my son during his college internship this past summer in Washington, DC, about how wonderful it was to just hop on and off the Metro and not have to worry about parking, traffic, or getting home after a night at a bar. About the same time, I began to get acquainted with the Findlay Market neighborhood and started to understand what a vital link the streetcar could be to this historic Cincinnati location.
The final convincing argument was today when I opened the January issue of Builder magazine, a publication of the National Association of Home Builders. There it was: #2 in "Ideas to Build On---Getting On Track." The article was a detailed explanation of rail as "the glue that makes or breaks cities in the near future." Where there's public transportation, or even a proposal to build such infrastructure, housing is sure to follow. (Thus, the tie-in to Builder magazine.) Author Jenny Sullivan proceeds to explain the new relationship between the U.S. Department of Transportation, the EPA, and HUD to create "Sustainable Communities" while promoting affordable housing, low-cost transportation, and reductions in carbon emissions. Her main focus is that federal dollars are already flowing to support public transportation. Cities are lining up to get plans in place, and though private investment will also be needed to supplement tax dollars, I now understand how crucial it is that Cincinnati has begun moving in the direction of a streetcar system. Los Angeles and Denver are blazing ahead with plans and have already discovered that new development is springing up around proposed transit lines. As more businesses move in, housing follows, attracts employment, and leads to continued investment. Gradually the tax base increases, and cities grow.
It will still be years before I can actually step on and off a Cincinnati streetcar, but the proposals in place are the seeds to urban growth and renewal. I'll be keeping an eye on progress and hope you do the same.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

One Degree of Separation

So I just got back from a quick visit to see my dad in Southwest Florida. As you may know, they've experience a record-breaking stretch of cold weather in Florida since New Year's. In fact, I actually got to be there for the coldest day ever in Ft. Myers this past Sunday when the temperature never got out of the 30's.
The weather was the only headline on the news, and I found it fascinating that a degree here or there could make such a monumental difference. Local farmers had spent the last 12 days agonizing over the thermometer. They covered and watered plants, stayed up all night monitoring The Weather Channel, and prayed to Higher Powers to spare their crops. Yet just when the end of the cold snap was in sight, Mother Nature chose to drop the temperature to the mid-20's in Southwest Florida. Overnight one farmer suffered $1 million in damage, and overall Southwest Florida estimated damage at $100 million. Farmers had not suffered such a disaster since 1989. Peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, and squash suffered the worst damage near Ft. Myers. In addition to the farmers themselves, truck drivers and pickers are looking at several months before things get back to normal. It was eye-opening to see the effect that just one or two degrees in temperature could have on the local economy.
Next time I worry about whether business will be a little slow for us at Findlay Market because of colder temperatures, I'll remember the folks in Southwest Florida whose losses are much greater than ours. However, I'll also be reminded that farmers who've lost it all continue to replant and look forward to better days ahead. What an inspiration to "keep on keepin' on."

Thursday, January 7, 2010

You Meet the Nicest People on the Internet

Contrary to what your mother always told you, it's possible to meet the nicest people on the internet. Thanks to Twitter, I've met several professional chefs, a few budding entrepreneurs, some restaurant owners, and a whole bunch of nice people who like to cook and eat. The weird thing is I've never really MET any of these people--we are only acquainted online. Yet, we share recipes, shopping tips, cooking tips, personal observations, and a lot of clever comments every day. 
Last Monday, I had a particularly amazing experience. I participated in Foodies' Night In as sponsored by the team at From 4:00-6:00 pm, Daisy Mae's Market was one of the hosts for an online chat focused on recipes and how social media is used to share cooking ideas. All kinds of people chimed in with thoughts and comments--some from as far away as Italy, but many were also Cincinnati locals that I had previously crossed paths with on Twitter. From this 2-hour exchange, my network of contacts grew, I acquired several tempting recipes, and I learned one or two new cooking techniques. Now THAT'S what I call "Social Media." 
I'd like to thank the Cooking with Caitlin team for including me in this online exchange. You can be sure that I'll be checking in every Monday for Foodies' Night In. To join in, use the hashtag #fni and follow me @daisymaesmarket

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Quick Pick Produce is Here!

We all know the fun of shopping at Findlay Market is the chance to take your time, chat with the vendors about your purchases, watch the people, and enjoy some food while you're there. However, we also know we live in a fast-paced world of rushing out of the office, picking up the kids, racing to the store, and throwing something together for dinner. We've come up with a solution at Daisy Mae's for part of your hurry-up world: Quick Pick Produce! 
We've designed a convenient plan where you can call ahead with your grocery list. Tell Barry what fruits and vegetables you need, and we'll pack it up and have it ready for your pick up at our Daisy Mae's stand. Or better yet, we'll deliver your produce to your car at the curb on Race Street! There's a convenient loading zone right at Daisy Mae's so when you pull up on Race, we'll run your purchases to your car. Imagine: Drive-through groceries!
Quick Pick Produce works for large or small orders. Maybe it's a 5-pound bag of potatoes you need, and you don't want to carry the bag to your car in the parking lot. Just call ahead, drive up to the loading zone on Race Street, and we'll bring the bag of potatoes to your car. Or maybe it's a larger order...Maybe you need 6 oranges, 3 tomatoes, a green pepper, some garlic, and a pound of bananas. We'll pack it up in a convenient shopping bag and have it ready and waiting for you to pick up either at our stand or at the drive-up loading zone.  No need to worry about quality either. Our reputation means the world to us so if you're not happy with something, just let us know and we'll replace it. 
So what are you waiting for? We know you're in hurry...Call 513-602-5601 to place your order for Daisy Mae's Quick Pick Produce. And don't forget to store Daisy Mae's phone number in your cell phone for those last minute pick-ups! 513-602-5601

Note: At this time, Quick Pick Produce is a "weekday only, cash only" program. 

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Food Trends for 2010

As we head into the new year, I seem to be inundated with messages, posts, blogs, and articles predicting what will be "hot" in 2010. Every expert has an idea as to what will be the next fad in fashion, music, technology, or some other aspect of our society. While I certainly don't pretend to be an expert, I have done enough reading to see that there is a general consensus about what will be "hot" in the food world in the coming year.
The recurring theme is locally grown produce. 1800 professional chefs surveyed by the National Restaurant Association voted local produce the hottest trend for 2010 ("What's Hot in 2010 Chef Survey"). Not only is produce often a good economic choice, but its versatility and nutritional value make it easy to understand how fresh local produce reached the top of the survey. Society's interests in health and sustainability have been supported by television cooking programs and websites online featuring fruits and vegetables and making it easy to combine good eating with good nutrition.
A close second in hot food trends according to The Packer is a return to "classically simple" and traditional "comfort food." As we eat at home more often these days, we're recalling more of the meals that mom or grandma used to make. Along with the comfort of the food itself, we remember the comfort of gathering around the table for a family meal. With this renewed interest in food as a family connector, it's no wonder that old-fashioned, authentic preparation of food is poised for a comeback.
The other items on the list of food trends for 2010 include things like farm-branded food, gluten-free and allergy-conscious foods, nutritious kids' meals and more. If you like to cook, eat, or just enjoy keeping up with trends, check out the entire list here. It's "Food for Thought."