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 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 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!