Sunday, December 29, 2013

Forecast for Findlay Market

The new year at Findlay Market will begin with partly sunny skies. Even though severe storms (Cincinnati streetcar debates) have passed, occasional clouds (construction disruptions) still linger. Low pressure will struggle to reappear, but a strong front (Believe in Cincinnati) will resist. Fair weather will persist in the coming weeks, but a lack of precipitation (in the form of revenue) could be detrimental to the merchants. Nevertheless, bright and sunny dispositions will continue to attract the most loyal customers and create a calming effect as we move toward spring. 
We predict a 100% chance of blue skies (nothing but blue skies) by Reds Opening Day. The market may be flooded with activity by spring, but shopping here will still be a breeze. Throughout the summer, merchants will report sales are hot. As fall approaches, however, we anticipate interest will cool a bit. With the beginning of winter, cold waves will become common (with an occasional cold stare). Merchants featuring holiday items will see brisk activity.
In spite of the ups and downs predicted for 2014, every cloud has a silver lining. The future is bright for Findlay Market and you can be assured of one thing: We'll be keeping it fresh at Daisy Mae's

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Help! I'm Running Out of Time!

Christmas is next week, and I sense a little panic starting to set in. Traffic is picking up around the malls, people waiting in lines are starting to fidget, and the to-do lists seem to be getting longer instead of shorter. While we're supposed to be feeling peace and goodwill toward all, instead we're feeling cranky. Eight more shopping days! Seven more shopping days! Last minute sale!

How can you get it all done?

Just in time, we've created Daisy Mae's Top 7 Ways to Save Time this holiday season.

1. Order a fruit basket online from Daisy Mae's with just one click at our Square Market. (Small or large: $15-$25)
2. Purchase a gift certificate for a future Taste the World at Findlay Market food tour. (With or without wine tasting: $20-$25)
3. Pick up (or order) fresh local salsa from Daisy Mae's. ($5.50)
4. Pick up (or order) Amish jams, jellies, and butters from Daisy Mae's. ($3 each)
5. Pick up (or order) Windy Acres dried fruits, candies, and snacks from Daisy Mae's. ($2.50 each)
6. Save a stop at the grocery store by ordering fresh produce online.
7. Avoid the malls and big box stores, and shop at Findlay Market for groceries, wine, beer, gifts, and floral arrangements.

As Mr. Daisy Mae always says, "Work smarter not harder." And have a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Recipes: The Tie That Binds

A few years ago our family started a new Christmas tradition. I asked for a favorite recipe from each family member, and our Cooking with the Coopers book was born. I gathered the recipes and gave each member of our extended family a looseleaf book that included a few photos and comments regarding each contribution. (Note: There are many ways to make a family recipe book. I chose to use the Tastebook version of compiling our recipes just because it's easy, relatively inexpensive, and stores our recipes online for future reference.) Each year, a new (or old) recipe from each member is added to the book.
Now as our kids become young adults and our extended family spreads across the Atlantic, we still reconnect each year when the call for recipes goes out. One by one, the messages trickle in, but each one reminds me of a person, an event, or a special taste sensation that jogs my memory and reaffirms that we're all connected. Believe me, recipes can be the tie that binds. If your family hasn't found a way to connect through your favorite foods, meals, or recipes, do it now.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

R.I.P. Green Giant

I grew up with the Green Giant. Society was in the midst of change, on the cusp of the women's lib movement. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, always there when we came home from school and always making sure dinner was a family affair. She volunteered at church and was a member of several clubs and organizations, but she didn't hold a paying job. Several of her friends were teachers and nurses and my mom had a college degree, but society hadn't yet accepted the fact that women could hold significant positions in business, law, or medicine. So life for my mom revolved around our family, making sure that all the parts ran smoothly.
Even though my mom almost always made dinner, her cooking was pretty basic. I remember meatloaf, pot roast, and spaghetti were in the regular rotation. Side dishes were often potatoes, jello, and Green Giant vegetables boiled in a bag.
I suppose Green Giant was a breakthrough for women in the kitchen at that time. No longer did you have to go to the market to purchase fresh vegetables. You could pull a box out of the freezer and have vegetables on your plate in just a matter of minutes. How easy! How quick! But, oh, how flavorless…
I remember liking the corn, probably because of the buttery sauce. I think the green beans were like plastic, and the carrots tasted like cardboard. Yet, housewives embraced the idea of the convenience of filling the plates. And with the help of the Green Giant, kids got their vegetables.
I know the Green Giant still exists today and fills a need for quick side dishes. I, however, have chosen to go in a different direction. In about the same amount of time it took my mother to take the Green Giant from freezer to plate, I can cut fresh vegetables, drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning, and roast them to a caramelized deliciousness. I have to believe the taste is better and the nutritional value is improved. At least at our house, I say "R.I.P. Green Giant."

Friday, November 15, 2013

I Believe in Cincinnati

An Open Letter to Mayor-Elect John Cranley and City Council Members:
Last night I attended the Town Hall meeting to show my support for the Cincinnati Streetcar. I went to represent a segment of people who could not vote in the prior elections yet have a vested interest in the direction our city is headed. I don't live within the city limits, but my husband and I started a business at Findlay Market in 2009 and purchased a vacant building on West Elder Street in 2010. We were excited about growth and development in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, much of it ignited by talk of the streetcar.
During the last few years, the streetcar has become a political football. Yet, I've watched as one piece of property after another has been purchased around Findlay Market. Historic buildings are being saved. New businesses are being started. The Brewery District has been reborn. Young people now come from the suburbs to socialize and dream of the day they can move Downtown. The city has become a hub for startups and entrepreneurship.
Cincinnati is on a roll, and the Town Hall meeting only confirmed the passion that so many of us feel. I was inspired by the sense of community in the room. It quickly became obvious that the streetcar is a nonpartisan issue that concerns citizens of all ages and from all neighborhoods of the Greater Cincinnati area. These citizens believe, as I do, that the streetcar is just the first step in increasing population, attracting new businesses, retaining top talent, and growing the tax base of the entire area.
Please consider the fact that many of us have voted with our dollars. We have invested in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood and Downtown Cincinnati because a plan is in place to use light rail to grow the community. Any money that you think can be saved by stopping the streetcar will be lost to the individuals like us who have invested money, hired employees, paid property and income taxes, and spent dollars within the district. Some of you think we can't afford to build the streetcar. We think we can't afford to stop.
Yours truly,
Barb Cooper
Daisy Mae's Market

Sunday, November 10, 2013

My Thoughts on November

It's November, the month when I know winter is coming and there's no stopping it. The days are suddenly shorter, the trees drop their leaves almost overnight, and the furnace cranks back into service. I start to complain, but then I notice those three special dates on the calendar: November 11, 21, and this year, 28. My mind shifts, and I imagine my dad at age 20.
It's the fall of 1944, and my dad is just a kid, younger than my own are now so everything takes on a new perspective. He's in a forest in Germany, hunkered down for a month, and in his own words, "miserable, cold, wet, muddy, and under fire." He's there because he wants to be there, fighting the enemy on foreign soil, alongside his buddies. 
I try to get a handle on the image. It's difficult to imagine my 89-year-old father celebrating his 20th birthday on November 21, 1944, in a foxhole. Thanksgiving that year, even with real turkey rather than the usual military rations, surely leaves an empty feeling without family. In another few weeks, he will be setting up mortars in someone's backyard when an incoming shell knocks him to the ground, resulting in an injured leg. I imagine an angry yet scared young man, disgusted that "they got him" and frustrated that he has to spend months transported from aid station to field hospital to a chain of military hospitals before ending up back in the States. With the war ending, his rehabilitation and service complete, my father, like so many others, resumes life in post-war America.
I pause to consider these three significant November dates. November 11, Veterans Day. We honor those who have served. Honoring World War II veterans takes on added significance as the memories fade and the survivors pass. November 21, my dad's birthday. An 89th birthday is worth celebrating as Dad continues to amaze me with his good health, sharp wit, and terrific sense of humor. November 28, Thanksgiving Day 2013.  I'm thankful for family and friends near and far, sharing good food amid lively conversation, in the land of the free and the home of the brave. 
I take it back, November. You're not too bad after all. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Five Things You Should Know about Selling Houses and Tomatoes

Before we made a sharp turn in 2009 to start Daisy Mae's Market and enter the fresh produce business, my husband and I spent 24 years in the building and remodeling business. We suddenly went from selling $450,000 homes to selling $.75 tomatoes and managed to survive. Looking back at the last five years, I wonder how in the world we did it. Then I realize that much of our success in making the transition stems from what we've learned along the way.
Whether you're selling houses or tomatoes, these are my five bits of wisdom that I think apply to any small business:
1. Know your product. Know everything you can about it. Read, read, and read some more. Google can be your best friend. Learning never stops.
2. Know people. Remember names. Get to know your customers, suppliers, and your competition. Sincerely ask how people are doing. Care. (Remember the names of kids and you'll get bonus points.)
3. Know your limits. You will never finish everything you want to finish in one day. You will never have all the money you think you need. The sooner you realize that everything needs to be broken down into manageable parts, the happier you'll be.
4. Know what has happened in the past. Keep a paper trail, or in today's world, a digital trail. Get organized. Don't reinvent the wheel. Whether you are completing a credit application or doing your taxes, scribbled notes on Post-Its don't cut it.
5. Know that someone is always watching. Think before you speak or act. In today's world, everything is shared. Make sure what's shared about your business is something that makes you proud.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Spaghetti Squash, Mediterranean Style

As the seasons change, so do the fruits and vegetables we stock at Daisy Mae's Market. Our winter squashes are always popular, yet we still have customers who are unfamiliar with Spaghetti Squash and don't know how to prepare it. A couple years ago, we had fun making a short video showing how to make Mr. Daisy Mae's version of Spaghetti Squash, Mediterranean Style. Hope you enjoy it, and hope to see you soon at Findlay Market!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Anybody Really Can Cook!

Last Sunday we took part in the Fourth Annual Findlay Market Fall Festival. This event has grown each year, and this year's celebration featured farmers market specials, live music, pumpkin painting, and an Instagram Photo Hunt. Of all the activities, though, my personal favorite was the cooking demonstration and here's why:

1. Merchants shared their talents. Thanks to Sam and Mimi from Mimi's Gourmet Eggrolls, Barry from Daisy Mae's Market, and Debbie from Gramma Debbie's Kitchen for showing us how the professionals do it!

2. The community got involved. Brigitte Cordier from Anyone Can Cook, LLC demonstrated her pumpkin soup and even encouraged a few youngsters to help her stir the pot. Thanks, Brigitte!

3. Curious shoppers paused to listen and ask questions...and we hope to be inspired.

4. Hungry folks stopped by to enjoy the samples, talk about food, share a recipe, and complement the chefs.

We're excited about the idea of hosting more cooking demonstrations at Findlay Market. There's even talk of a shared community kitchen where budding chefs could try out their skills. Now wouldn't that give you another great reason to come see what's cooking at Findlay Market?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The High Price of Honeycrisp Apples

I was floored when I read an article recently that mentioned that Honeycrisp apples were selling for $4.50 per pound in New York. Sure, they're delicious and seem to satisfy the pickiest apple-eater, but $4.50 a pound? Isn't that a little much? The writer went on to explain that Honeycrisp is a "designer apple" and the law of supply and demand has driven the price up.
At Daisy Mae's in Cincinnati, Ohio, Honeycrisp apples currently sell for $2 per pound. Yes, they are our most expensive apple, but that's because we pay a higher price to our supplier than we do for any other variety of apple. The popularity of the Honeycrisp has increased quicker than the trees can produce the fruit. For the teachers out there, an analysis of the price of the Honeycrisp in relation to its popularity  might be a perfect assignment for a basic economics class.
While I love a good Honeycrisp, I also enjoy many of the other varieties of apples such as Northern Spy, Mutsu, and Liberty. We're in the midst of one of the best apple crops in a long time so I hope you get out there and try a few. No matter the price, money spent on an apple is money well spent.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Behold the Celery Root

Lots of customers ask us about celery root. When I tell them the true name is celeriac, they're sure I'm talking about Aunt Ethel's malady. And when I point them in the direction of celery root, they decide I've found something that fell off the nose of the Wicked Witch. Yes, if there's such a thing as Ugli Fruit, its stepsister must be Ugly Vegetable, aka celeriac.
Celeriac is a root vegetable, somewhat related to carrots and parsnips. It actually is the root of a variety of celery and has been refined over time into the big, lumpy root balls you'll find at Daisy Mae's at Findlay Market. Cut the thick skin off with a paring knife, and you'll find a white, creamy flesh that tastes a little like celery and a little like parsley. This white flesh can be shredded or chopped and eaten raw in salads, or stewed, roasted, simmered, or fried as an alternative to potatoes.
Because celeriac is a root vegetable, it generally starts appearing in stores and recipes as we approach winter. It stores well, tastes great when combined with other vegetables, is high in fiber and potassium and low in calories, and can add a unique flavor to common dishes. Trust me on this--Beauty is only skin deep.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati: This Week and Every Week in Over-the-Rhine

Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Maybe not, but whether or not you speak German, you can enjoy celebrating during Oktoberfest season in Cincinnati. Who doesn't enjoy spending the day with good friends, fine food, and a cold beer? The Germans call it "Gemütlichkeit," a word that describes a feeling of comfort and acceptance that may not have an exact English translation, but a word that is easy to understand once you experience it. This weekend is Cincinnati's Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, the largest Oktoberfest held in the United States. Over a half million visitors will stroll the six block area around Fountain Square while munching on pretzels and sausages.
If huge celebrations aren't your style, we celebrate our German heritage regularly at historic Findlay Market. We're in the heart of Over-the-Rhine, the area where thousands of Germans immigrated in the mid-to-late 1800's. Many of our shop owners are of German descent and feature products like sausage, cheese, and sauerkraut. Our neighborhood features several local breweries, and our OTR Biergarten is operated on weekends by volunteers from the OTR Brewery District. So when you've had enough of your busy life, come share some Gemütlichkeit with us at Findlay Market. We've got fine food and cold beer, and we think you'll get that "feeling of comfort and acceptance." Alles is gut bei Findlay Market.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Best Fruit Snack Ever!

Here's the simplest and best way to use fresh fruit as a snack. You'll need 1 apple, 1 orange, and 1 lemon. I like to use a crisp red apple like a gala, but a Granny Smith is great, too, and gives that extra burst of tartness. Squeeze the juice from your orange and lemon into a small bowl and mix together. Sure, you can get all fancy with a juicer, but I just cut the orange and lemon into quarters and squeeze the juice by hand into the bowl. Cut your apple into thin slices, place in a small bowl, and pour the juice over the apple. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and you're ready to start snacking. You'll be surprised how refreshing the taste is and how easy it is to grab some apple slices instead of grabbing a handful of chips. Great for packing with lunches, too!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Tip of Daisy's Hat to the American Worker

Labor Day weekend is upon us, and it's one of the busiest times of the year at Findlay Market. Merchants are ready with fresh produce, meats, and poultry for your holiday cookouts and picnics. Although Labor Day was originally started as a day to honor the American worker with parades and speeches, the holiday has become an end-of-summer celebration for many.

In the midst of the festive events, the significance of Labor Day should not be overlooked. No matter how computers and technological advances have made our lives easier, we should remember that the wheels that make the business world turn are really the workers themselves. Such is the case at Daisy Mae's. Without our workers, our fresh produce just sits there, our inventory system goes unchanged, and our delivery truck remains parked. Our employees make things happen, and without them, we might as well shut the doors and go home.

So as you shop at Daisy Mae's this week, be extra nice to our workers. Let them know that you recognize their hard work and appreciate their efforts to help you. And when the day is done, we hope our employees get a chance to enjoy a good meal and celebrate Labor Day at Cincinnati's annual WEBN Riverfest Fireworks. Then Monday, for our staff and workers all over America, you can truly rest. You've earned it.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

4 For 4 at Findlay After 4

Findlay Market is the oldest public market in Ohio and has been in continuous operation since 1855. It began as a meeting place where local farmers brought the daily harvest to sell from the backs of carts and wagons. Historically, if you wanted to shop at Findlay Market, you had to get up early and get to the market before all the good stuff was gone. 
Local producers today still set up shop each Saturday and Sunday morning in the Farm Shed at Findlay Market. Selling from the backs of modern vans and pickup trucks, they carry on the tradition of bringing fresh produce, baked goods, honey, and jams to weekend shoppers. 
However, Findlay Market today is much more than an early-morning market. We're open 6 days a week, from 9-6 Tuesday through Friday, 8-6 on Saturday, and 10-4 on Sunday. We're working hard to get the message out that Findlay Market is a great place to do your grocery shopping throughout the week--and especially after 4 pm. We've been spreading the word about Findlay After 4. The 4-6 pm weekday time slot is the perfect time to stop by the market on your way home from work. Do some shopping, enjoy an early meal or a glass of wine, take in the slower pace of the market...and get free parking in adjoining lots for your first hour. 
In addition, Daisy Mae's is introducing something special---a 4 For 4 weekday deal. Each weekday, we'll offer 4 specific fresh produce items for only $4. We'll kick it off this Thursday with 1 head iceberg lettuce, 1 bunch celery, 1 lb. carrots, and 1 cucumber for only $4. Stop by between 4-6 pm and mention "4 For 4" to receive this special price. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with what our "4 For 4" deal is each week. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

How We Roll

This is the time of year when we really connect with our local farmers. When nature blesses us with the right amount of sun and rain, we all enjoy the bounty produced in the fields of nearby farms. We love working with our friends at Kruthaup Family Farm in Morrow, Ohio. The Kruthaups supply us with delicious local produce like heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, melons, and peppers. We're in frequent contact with Rae Lynn and Marissa who keep us posted on availability, when they're picking, and when we can coordinate delivery. I'm always excited to wake up to an early morning email telling me what is ready that day. When that happens, I load the empty baskets in the van and head to fill them full of goodness to bring to you at Findlay Market. Produce picked today! Can't get much fresher than that. That's how we roll at Daisy Mae's.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Findlay After 4--Can You Dig It?

We've been working hard to attract more weekday shoppers to Findlay Market with our Findlay After 4 promotion. Today we're taking our Thursday afternoon down to the farm. Findlay Market operates several urban farms including one at the corner of Liberty and Elm Streets, right in the heart of Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Here, apprentice farmers work with Findlay Market staff and volunteers to plant, maintain, and harvest crops that can then be sold at the weekly farm market. Once a vacant lot, this urban farm is now connecting neighbors and supporting farm to table right in our own backyard.
Today we're celebrating all that's good about growing local and supporting regional food systems. We're looking for adult volunteers to help us on the farm between 5:00 pm-6:30 pm. Afterwards we'll share a cold one in the OTR Biergarten to celebrate at the 1st Annual Findlay Market Farm Party. There's free food and music so put on your boots and giddy up to Findlay Market.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I'm back!

It seems like forever since I've written anything, but I'm going to get back at it. Since I last posted, we've been busy at Daisy Mae's instituting a new inventory system, training staff, reorganizing the stand, adjusting to a new CEO at the Corporation for Findlay Market, setting up an online delivery system, and organizing food tours. On the home front, our daughter has been interning in Cincinnati this summer as she prepares for her senior year at college, and our son is taking a leave from the corporate world to head back to school in the fall. It seems everyone is coming and going while I just spin around in circles and hope to catch a glimpse of things.
With the end of summer already on the horizon and everyone talking about hitting the books, I'm ready to hit the blog again. I have so much to tell you about Findlay Market, Cincinnati, fresh produce, and our food tours...I don't know where to begin.
Uh-oh. I'm spinning again...