Trendspotting: Dried Flowers

Just like styles make comebacks, so have dried flowers. Their surge in popularity is everywhere, whether it be table arrangements, bouquets, or even decorative wreaths.

It’s a trend that we’re seeing supported from an array of growers. For instance, Hammelmans, a multi-generation family-owned company in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, is sending us some of the best dried bunches I’ve ever seen. You’ll find dried Chinese lanterns, wheat, flax, safflower, craspedia, and switchgrass. With these bunches, you can combine them to create your own stunning arrangement.

There are also local growers who are making stunning creations, like the dried wreaths coming to us from That Girl’s Flowers’ Nellie Ashmore. Each contains a variety of organic flowers from different times in the growing season, creating a story of the year. This dried flower trend truly is everlasting beauty.

The Amazing Rotisserie Chicken

I have to take the opportunity to tell you about one of my favorite meal shortcuts, the DLM Rotisserie Chicken. This ready-to-eat superstar is found in the Meat department. As a mom and a sometimes frantic home cook, the simple preparation of roasted chicken gives me an amazing amount of quick meal possibilities. Here are a few suggestions:

Thai Peanut Noodles

Pull chicken off the bone and slice into thin strips. Toss the strips with some pasta (I like either rice noodles or spaghetti for this). Add to it any of these mix-ins: Thai peanut or sweet chili sauce, a splash of soy sauce, julienned carrots, diced green onions, and chopped DLM Extra-Large Peanuts.

Chicken Tortellini Soup

Shred chicken and set aside. In a soup pot, sauté a small amount of soup veggie starters, such as chopped onion, celery, and carrots, in a little Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil until soft. Add several cups of your favorite stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower heat. Add a package of tortellini and the shredded chicken; let simmer until tender. Serve with some crusty DLM Artisan Farmhouse Bread.

One Pan Chicken Enchiladas

In a non-stick skillet, layer your favorite enchilada sauce, a couple corn tortillas, and a container of DLM Roasted Tomatillo Salsa. Top with shredded DLM Rotisserie Chicken and some shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Cover and gently simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Finish under the broiler for a delicious cheesy crust and serve with a little sour cream and a dollop of DLM Homemade Guacamole.

Chopped Chicken Salad

Grab your favorite bagged leaf salad (I like a spinach and arugula mix) and toss in some shredded DLM Rotisserie Chicken. Throw in a couple of your favorite add-ins, such as drained black beans, diced jicama, green onions, chopped tomatoes, shredded Cheddar, and crunchy tortilla strips. Then, toss it all together with ranch dressing and a dollop of your favorite DLM Salsa.

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Shred the DLM Rotisserie Chicken and mix it up with some of our DLM Original Barbecue Sauce. Gently reheat if necessary and pile into our Bakery’s Golden Hamburger Buns. Try it topped with briny pickles, smoked Gouda, or our Homestyle Coleslaw.

Pumpkins, Gourds, & Squash, Oh My!

Beauty. That’s the word that comes to mind when I think of the 180 acres that make up Branstrator Farm, located in Clarksville, Ohio. It’s from this land that our friend Jon Branstator has brought us pumpkins, gourds, and squash for about 7 years and counting.

Jon is quite frankly one of the coolest guys I know. Not only is he knowledgeable in agricultural (among many other topics), but he collaborates with several different agricultural and educational organizations, such as The Ohio State University.

As we step into the fall harvest, we can start to see the orange bursts in the fields, waiting to be picked. Jon waits for just the right time to pick his pumpkins and gourds, bringing the biggest and best to our stores.

The varieties Jon selects is a big deal as he spends a lot of time studying catalogs in the winter. Decisions range from the size—giant, large, medium, and small—to hybrid or heritage. Jon chooses varieties not typically available at other retailers. Large sizes with well-attached handles are important, not to mention disease resistance.

Jon also loves to use old-fashioned seeds, as they set the foundation for the harvest in addition to soil integrity (something he is very passionate about).

Some of Jon’s favorites you can look forward to this fall are Waltham Butternut Squash and Long Island Cheese Squash. In addition to the gamut of pumpkins of
all shapes and sizes, he also grows the best pie pumpkins which are great for decorating or making some fresh pies.

Fall for this Apple Crisp!

Nothing tastes (and smells) more like fall than apple crisp bubbling away in your oven. And because we receive a bounty of produce from our Love Local farmers this time of year, we like to make this dish with local apples. With so many varieties of apples and so many versions of apple crisp recipes, I thought I’d give a shout out to one we made for the Local Harvest Dinner a couple years back.

Get this apple-solutely delicious recipe here!

Tender, slightly sweet, and warmly spiced apples pair perfectly with the crispy, crumbly topping. Apple crisp provides all the satisfying notes of apple pie, but is much simpler to make and is the perfect choice for feeding a crowd. Try it topped with a little local cream from Snowville or some DLM Gelato.

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree

The scent of fall leaves is in the air and nights are getting cooler, which means that the crescendo of local apples is close. Just thinking about it, I can hear the sound of that first crunch—yum! Our friend Rich Eshleman’s orchards in Clyde, Ohio, are located just south of Lake Erie where the climate along the water brings perfect growing conditions for his apples.

Rich graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in horticulture and has traveled across the country cultivating his experience before laying down roots here in Ohio. Rich started farming in 1977. Today, he is joined by his son Jeff in this fruitful endeavor and we are thankful to have Eshleman Fruit Farm apples filling our stores with Love Local splendor. He brings us some amazing apples from his orchard, like Honeycrisp (one of the best for eating), Gala, Fuji, Ginger Gold, McIntosh, and Melrose (a sweet pick that’s great for eating, pie-making, and for an apple cobbler). Melrose also is the official apple of Ohio and happens to be one of my favorites. Can you smell that freshly made apple pie yet? Or, try just dipping these apples in our Made Right Here DLM Caramel Dip. Join us in celebrating these wonderful apples from Rich and Jeff Eshleman’s orchard. You won’t be disappointed. Happy fall, everyone!

Wesler Orchards

Just a few miles east of the Indiana border, the hilly splendor of New Paris, Ohio, gives way to the paradise that is Wesler Orchards. Around 7,000 apple trees stretch across the horizon, representing about 25 different varieties. Ron Wesler surveys the orchards with his hands on his hips, eyes squinting as the sun peers down. “This is three generations of work here,” he says. “It’s taken a long time to get what we’ve got and we don’t take that for granted.”

AN APPLE A DAY FOR THREE GENERATIONS

Wesler Orchards got its start in 1930 with Ron’s grandfather Frank, a Purdue University graduate who joined forces with an existing farmer to form Martin & Wesler. After the Depression hit, Frank became the sole proprietor and the farm was renamed Wesler Orchards. Ron’s father Meredith, 89, then oversaw the farm for many years, with the production of apples flourishing.

“He’s down here at 8:30 a.m. every day,” says Ron, who purchased the farm from his father in 2000. Meredith lives in a farmhouse just about 200 yards away from Ron. If you ask him what keeps him in such good physical condition, a wide smile spreads across his face. “An apple a day,” he recites.

PRESSING TOWARD THE FUTURE

It wasn’t until 2012 that apple cider became the main focus of Wesler Orchards—a direction that has quenched the thirst for many, including DLM patrons (Wesler makes all of our DLM Apple Cider, after all).

If you pay attention, you’ll notice subtle taste nuances from one batch of cider to the next. When talking to Ron, this inconsistency is actually a big part of the magic that is Wesler Cider, as each batch is a blend of at least four different apple varieties, making the cider a true reflection of the apples that are at their peak. It’s that blend of tart and sweet that Wesler is looking for with its cider.

While driving alongside Ron through the Orchards, he points toward the Jonathon apples that are currently being harvested, with ladders set up alongside. We move toward the Red Delicious trees, and he quickly adds that when they’re ready, they’ll add just the right amount of sweetness. Next, we roll past Gold Rush, which will likely be used to make some of the cider produced in mid-October. He carefully puts a finger alongside the stem before he picks it from the tree with a roll of the hand. “Next year’s buds are already in,” he says, noting that great care needs to be taken when picking.

CIDER HOUSE

Just a few hundred yards from the edge of the orchard are the storage coolers as well as the machinery where the cider is freshly pressed. “We try to do it right,” says Ron, noting that although their cider is flash pasteurized, it contains no preservatives and is 100% pure apples. This results in a darker cider overall, he points out, but he thinks that’s where the real flavor is. “It would make our lives a lot easier if we add preservatives … but the flavor just isn’t there like it is with a fresh cider,” he says. With a common mission of Flavor First, it’s a good reminder why we partner with Wesler for our DLM Apple Cider.

Your Fall Apple Must-Eat List

As our stores erupt with all of the best apples to bite into this fall, don’t miss these favorites.

MELROSE

The official apple of Ohio is great for eating, pie-making, and for an apple cobbler.

SNAPDRAGON

Sweet apple with a monster crunch and a subtle spicy flavor.

SWEETANGO

Known for its unique zest (one of its parents is the Zestar, after all).

FUJI

One of the sweetest apples, we love it for making it into applesauce or eating.

GRANNY SMITH

Tart and crunchy, it’s great for making pie, eating whole, or caramel apples.

HONEYCRISP

The ideal munching apple due to its unique blend of sweet and tart with the perfect crunch.

KIKU

A direct descendant of the Fuji family, this exotic apple has become a fast favorite with its unbelievable crunch and sweet-tart taste.

PINK LADY

Tart taste with a sweet finish and an ultra juicy interior.

GALA

This dessert apple is known for its exceptional texture, firmness, and honey-sweet flavor.

 

Pumpkin Checklist

Fall is here, which means bonfires, football, and pumpkin EVERYTHING! We’re big fans of this seasonal flavor and the wide variety of yummy pumpkin products available, so we’ve compiled a list of pumpkin must-haves to get your pumpkin fix. Let’s face it, is fall even fall without pumpkin treats?

How many of these pumpkin goodies have you tried?

View PDF

13 Must-Make Gluten-Free Recipes

Whether you’re looking to step into the world of gluten free, or you’re looking for new recipes to add to your repertoire, these mouthwatering gluten-free recipes are ones you’re sure to love.

1. Pumpkin & Ginger Spiced Muffins

2. Butternut Squash Soup with Garam Masala, Yogurt, and Lime

3. Instant Pot/Multicooker Steel-Cut Apple-Spiced Oats

4. Gluten-Free Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

5. Gluten-Free Strawberry-Rhubarb Galette

6. Pad Thai

7. Gluten-Free Graham Crackers

8. Sweet Potato & Black Bean Veggie Burgers

9. Best-Ever Gluten-Free Brownies

10. Hasselback Butternut Squash

11. Iced Lemon Cookies

12. Braised Bacon Kale with Roasted Vegetables

13. Nuts About Chocolate Clusters