DIY Flower Arranging at Home

Take a break from the stresses of the present and rest your mind on the splendor of a sunset, that sip of coffee, or—perhaps—the relaxation of arranging fresh flowers. Here are some steps to keep in mind.

1. Start with flowers and colors that make you feel good. Our local ranunculus, Canadian tulips, and peonies are a great place to begin. They’re colorful, seasonal, and can’t help but cheer you up.

2. Give them a fresh cut right when you get home and get them in water. Flowers don’t like sitting out of water, whether they sit in your car or on the kitchen counter. A clean, sharp cut is best and allows the stems to take up water. Dull cuts and mashed stems will shorten the life of your flowers.

3. Narrow-mouth jars and vases will hold your flowers more upright. Wide-mouth containers will require more stems and will generally give a more relaxed presentation.

Tip: Cutting thin strips of clear tape and taping a grid pattern over the mouth of the vase helps hold stems upright.

4. Always use flower food. It greatly extends the life of flowers.

5. Work towards an overall balanced appearance, not exacting symmetry.

6. Start with larger flowers first.

7. Relax and enjoy what you’re doing.

8. Re-cut the stems every few days to make your flowers last even longer.

9. Enjoy your flowers!

Flower Arrangements in 5 Easy Steps!

Step #1 – Take a moment to enjoy the beauty of the flowers.

Step #2 – Sprinkle flower food in a wide-mouthed vase and fill vase two-thirds full with lukewarm water. Stir and set aside.

Step #3 – Lay out your flowers. Choose a stem that will be the centerpiece. Begin building the arrangement in your hand. Greenery near the center adds interest. Build each layer a bit lower than the last layer. Rotate the bunch as you go to make each side beautiful. Finish the arrangement with more greenery.

Step #4 – Measure your preferred height of the bunch against the vase. Cut excess length off of stems. Helpful hint: any cutting utensil will work as long as you are able to get a nice clean cut).

Step #5 – Drop flowers into vase and enjoy! Share your own arrangements on social media! #myDLMflowers

The DLM Difference

Frequently, visitors from out of town tell me they miss us. Others say it’s a major reason why they love living here. I ask why. People tell me “we trust you. Others gush “the food is so good!” The best one is “the people are wonderful.”

What is the DLM Difference? We strive to make a difference, but different from what? The word “difference” begs a comparison. Are we talking adversarilly about DLM vs other markets? No, actually. It’s a noble task to feed others, and the biz is mostly populated by good people.

The DLM Difference isn’t about us or them. It is about you! It’s the difference we want to make in your life. We want to give you a special experience where you meet nice people and find good food … really good food. Shopping DLM is a source of joy, not drudgery. Simply put, we aspire to make your life better. Our company’s mission begins, “To make our customers happy.”

Even in the simplest ways, we want to make a difference, whether you’re coming in for a quick cup of coffee, getting a healthy salad, buying a loaf of bread, or filling a cart to feed your family. Maybe it’s just to pick up a treat, say a brownie.

A DEEPER DIVE

Take, for example, that cup of coffee. Maybe it was from Hacienda La Minita in Costa Rica. You savor its aroma and flavor. Why is it so good? Ask one of our Coffee Bar Managers, Amy, Holli, or Chris, as they just went to Costa Rica in January, not just visiting the plantation, but even picking the beans!

Everybody admires our salad bar thanks to Bertha at Oakwood, Loretta at Washington Square, and Connie at Springboro. They come in early and begin selecting, cleaning, chopping, and producing multi-colored edible works of art, composed of organic lettuces, nutrient-packed vegetables, exotic microgreens, and eye-popping garnishments.

We are willing to do the hard work to make a difference. Consider our DLM Artisan Bread, like our Sourdough … oh my, it’s so good! But it takes a lot of work and expertise to make it so. We have a talented team of artisans who mix from the best flours, hand-shape, and bake on the hot hearth of our juggernaut European bread oven. Great bread is also the foundation (crust) of great pizza. We studied pizza for years before creating our Naples-Style Pizza. This involved installing the specialized hearth ovens, creating the right dough, and stretching our own fresh mozzarella.

And that brownie? Yes, it has to be a Killer Brownie®, of course! Our famous triple-layer brownie is so popular that this very month we are opening a brand new facility. We feature our Killer Brownie® not just in our stores, but now distribute it throughout the country.

FOOD LOVERS UNITE

Not surprisingly, we also do business with people who think as we do and who have passion: people whose mission in life is to cultivate the sweetest pineapple, grow the healthiest chicken, or churn-out the most indulgent butter. There are many more ways you experience the DLM Difference. One other quick example is our entire Seafood department. Some people come for our seafood alone. Want to chat about fishing families in Alaska? Species of salmon? Fat content? Recipes? Cooking methods? Let’s do it!

We are a place for people who love food. And that’s the engine that drives the DLM Difference. Join us this year as we explore some of our favorite points of difference each month and highlight these great products. We love what we do. We love serving you. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to make a difference.

DLM Difference No. 1: FRESH SEAFOOD

DLM Difference No. 2: AUTHENTIC COFFEE

DLM Difference No. 3: VERA JANE’S SHORTCAKES

DLM Difference No. 4: USDA Prime DLM Ribeye Steak

DLM Difference No. 5: Prima® Peaches

DLM Difference No. 6: Brentlinger’s Farm Market Sweet Corn

Check back in the months to come for more in-depth highlights select DLM Differences. 

Maria Rose

A rose is just a rose, you say? Well let me tell you about the Maria Roses we carry. Ask Felipe Villamizar, President of Maria Roses based in South America, and he’ll probably tell you about his mother Maria, the beauty of the Andes Mountains, and the graciousness of South American culture. He probably won’t tell you though that Maria Roses can be found in the best markets in Europe. He won’t brag that he can trace every rose bunch to the farm of origin and the day it was harvested. He probably won’t even mention the razor-sharp logistics of shipping his roses worldwide. But what he will talk about is the beauty of the roses, the connections they help build, and making people happy.

Maria Roses are cutting edge, coming to us from farms in Ecuador and Colombia. The Ecuadorian farms are at higher elevations and the Colombian farms at lower. With different climates, Maria is able to grow more rose varieties. Poor weather or a production problem at one farm doesn’t necessarily mean that the same problems are at another. Maria Roses cares about sustainability. As Felipe says, “It’s our land, it’s precious, and there is no more.” He is very proud of his family’s involvement, too, and will likely show you a photograph of his teenage son working at one of the farms last summer peering into a microscope in one of the laboratories.

Every few weeks, we get an email or call from Felipe asking if our customers like the Maria Roses we’re getting. Felipe has never been to our stores but he’s part of our family and culture and we are part of his.


Fresh Flower Basic Care Tips

  1. To keep your flowers fresh, place in water as soon as possible. If they’ll be out of water for longer than one hour once you leave our store, let us know so we can wrap them accordingly.
  2. Beware of extreme temperatures. Cut flowers in a hot car are doomed as are ones left exposed to the winter elements.
  3. Fill a clean vase with cold, clean water and flower food. Trim stems with sharp knife or pair of scissors. Remove any foliage that will be below the water. change water and re-cut stems every three days.
  4. Find the perfect spot. Place your vase in an area that is away from sunlight, heaters, or drafts. These will cause your flowers to wilt quickly.

Journey to South Africa—Wild Proteas

At the southern tip of Africa lies a landscape unlike anywhere else in the world. Jagged mountains rise up from ragged coastlines. A milk Mediterranean climate and ancient volcanic soil produce unique growing conditions. It’s here that a huge group of plants collectively known as the Cape Floral Kingdom grow. Many of these plants are found nowhere else.

The most widely known of these endemic plants in the Queen Protea, a dinner-plate size Protea that’s been adopted as the South African national flower and is all the rage on social media for bridal bouquets. In addition to the many Protea varieties, there’s a huge number of lesser known but stunning wildflower species.

I’ve wanted to see the wild Proteas and other Cape species for decades. My late August trip to South Africa was timed to coincide with the late-winter Protea blooming season. For the better part of two weeks, I hiked with a local naturalist and experienced the amazing diversity of the wild Cape Floral Kingdom. I wanted to see the local flower-growing industry firsthand. I was fortunate to meet Bryan Michell. Growing up, his family had a vacation farm about 50 miles outside of Cape Town in the stunningly beautiful Franschhoek Valley.

It’s one of the most scenic wine regions of the world with rolling, fertile hills surrounded by towering mountains with sheer granite cliffs. Many years ago, Bryan’s mother decided she wanted to start breeding and raising Proteas. She became very good, and after several years was commercially growing and selling her cut Protea to local floral exporters. Her farm grew as did many of the other flower farms in the valley. The Franschhoek Valley is now a mix of world-class vineyards and flower farms.

While the Proteas are cultivated, i.e., planted, maintained, and harvested, for years, many of the other fowers grow wild. Large areas of natural vegetation are then selectively harvested. This is completely organic and completely sustainable. These wild flower fields are as they have been for centuries. It’s sustainable agriculture at its very best.

We’re very excited to reveal that Cape Mountain Flora, which is operated by Bryan and exports native South African cut flowers mainly to Asia and Europe, will now add DLM to its network starting in mid-December. The quality of Cape Mountain Flora is the best of the best, so get ready!

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.

Into the Field with Peach Mountain Organics

Every so often, you meet someone who is larger than life. What they do becomes more and more incredible the closer you look. Their passion and total dedication is inspiring. They are the best at what they do. Leslie Garcia of Peach Mountain Organics is one of those people. I am fortunate to know her as she grows certified organic flowers locally and brings them to Dorothy Lane Market. We are so beyond grateful to be able to provide our customers with her beautiful flowers.

Down a winding road in Spring Valley is where you’ll find that majestic farm called Peach Mountain Organics. As you walk through the greenhouse and fields, the vibrant colors draw your eye here and then there, while a rain-kissed fresh fragrance gently greets you. Although the local floral bouquet season started in the spring, it’s still going strong even as summer comes to a close and fall takes over. Right now, we are simply dazzled by all of the dahlias that Leslie grows with such care. These late-summer/early-fall beauties come in a variety of different sizes and together form a rainbow of luscious colors making for the most stunning bouquets. On a recent farm visit, Leslie showed us how she cares for each and every stem so delicately and told us why growing flowers is so meaningful to her. Her story is incredible.

 DAHLIA CARE TIP: Cut the stems with clean, sharp cutters and use floral preservative. Always re-cut the stems and change the water after a few days

The Hills Are Alive with Alpine Cheese & Wine

We are taking a trek through The Alps with this month’s Food Explorer theme, and I couldn’t be more excited about the amount of food and drink hailing from this area. What exactly makes up The Alps? It’s more than the mountainous and picturesque Austrian countryside depicted in The Sound of Music. You’ll find the following countries as specified by The Alpine Convention, which exists to oversee the sustainable development of The Alps: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia, and Switzerland. With that in mind, grab your picnic basket and enjoy some of my favorite wines and cheeses from this area and keep reading for more food inspiration!

Alpine Cheeses

EMMI CHEESE FONDUE BLEND

With 70% of the Switzerland’s agriculture made of pastures and the majority of the farmers having fewer than 30 cows, Emmi contracts for the milk and this easy-toprepare, velvety Alpine herdsman originated fondue is one of the prizes! Dip in crusty bread, fruit, meat, or vegetables.

ALP BLOSSOM

Inspired by its home in western Austria’s “hay belt,” it’s both a feast for the palate and eyes. Its coating of flowers include marigold, rose petals, lavender, and chervil. It’s rich, full-bodied flavor has hints of umami and a slight sweetness to the finish.

CRUCOLO

Made by a single producer at the mouth of the Val Campelle in Trentino, Italy. It’s smooth, creamy, and slightly tangy, pairing well with cured meats and a hearty wine.

PRÉSIDENT EMMENTAL SWISS

The old tradition using pure cow’s milk and a maturation period of at least four months allows Emmental to develop into a mild, slightly nutty tasting cheese.

COMTÉ ST. ANTOINE GRUYÈRE 

This cheese is made in the cooperative dairies of the Jura Mountains and aged for 18 to 22 months in the renowned caves of Marcel Petite Fort St. Antoine. It’s smooth with assertive flavor and particularly good with a white wine from the Savoie, such as Abymes.

Alpine Wines

ABYMES VIN DE SAVOIE 

Savoie is located in eastern France, very close to the Swiss border near Lake Geneva. Made from the grape Jacquère, this wine is extremely vibrant and crisp, with a dry finish. It’s a very pleasing wine perfect for lunch or light dinner dishes.

DÖNNHOFF RIESLING TROCKEN

The Dönnhoff family first came to the Nahe region of southwestern Germany 250 years ago and Helmut, who took over from his father in 1966, makes simply breathtaking wine! This dry wine is extremely balanced with flavor nuances and speaks to Helmut’s personal philosophy for wine making. “I express myself clearly and so do my wines,” he says.

MÜLLER-CATOIR RIESLING

From one of the grand old estates in Germany, this wine is easily one of the best white wines in the world! Amazing complexity, with ample fruit, minerality, and very well-balanced acidity.

BOTTEGA VINAIA TEROLDEGO ROTALIANO

From Trentino, Italy, this wine is dry, full-bodied, with soft tannins and a long, well-rounded finish that seems to be wrapped in raspberries! Wonderful paired with roast chicken, grilled meats, or a charcuterie board.

ELENA WALCH VIGNA CASTEL RINGBERG PINOT GRIGIO

Castel Ringberg is the hotel and restaurant that the Walch family owns near their vineyards in Italy. This single vineyard Pinot Grigio is easily the most intense, wellstructured, vibrant Pinot Grigio we have ever had. No watered-down version here!

NIGL FREHEIT GRÜNER VELTLINER

Tucked deep in the Krems Valley in Austria is Nigl, easily one of our favorite producers. They’ve been farming this land for over 200 years! Stunning vibrancy, minerality, and length in this dry wine that is lovely on its own, but best with food.

Taste of Thailand

What is it about Thai food that has so many of us enthralled? I can answer that with four words—hot, sour, salty, and sweet. In most Thai dishes you can find some kind of combination of all of these taste components. In addition to the contrast of flavors, you’ll also find a contrast of textures. How fun is that? Think for example of bright herbal soups, savory curries, crunchy salads, slurpy noodles, spicy dips, and beautiful tropical fruit to name a few.

Grab your Produce Passport and get ready to dive into the world of delicious Thai Produce!

Street food found in Thailand is some of the best in the world. Some favorites from my travels include spring rolls, grilled satay, salty fish cakes, and sweet sticky rice in baggies along with the best fried chicken I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Lucky for us, it’s easier nowadays than in years past to find the ingredients to recreate excellent Thai food in your own kitchen. Rice and mung bean noodles, curry pastes, coconut milk, fish sauce, and chili sauce are now common and you need to find some room for them in your pantry. Along with some fresh veggies and a variety of proteins, a taste of Thailand can be yours! So challenge yourself to roll up your sleeves and explore the incredible flavors that the cuisine of Thailand has to offer.

Curious about curries? Learn about the different types and how to use them!

Noodle on These 3 Recipes:

1. Pad Thai

2. Yum Woon Sen

3. Chicken Pad See Ew

 

Destination: Oaxaca, Mexico

Mexican food—who doesn’t like it? It’s a cuisine that’s embraced worldwide. Interestingly, Mexican cuisine was the first to be awarded an UNESCO Culinary Heritage Status. As we embark on a new Food Explorer destination this month, we’re especially drawn to the cooking coming out of Oaxaca, Mexico (pronounced Wa-ha-ka).

We’re not the only ones who are slightly obsessed with Oaxacan cuisine. American chefs, restaurateurs, and cookbook authors are heavily influenced by Oaxaca, including Rick Bayless, Alice Waters, and Diana Kennedy, to name a few. It’s become quite the trendy food-lover destination bringing in tourists to the region and flooding their food markets. Although we can’t hold a candle to that experience, we’re excited to bring our interpretation of some of these food experiences to DLM.

Oaxacan cuisine has a large variety of ingredients coming from mountain areas, central valleys, southern coastline, and in and around the capital city that shares its name. Think staples like not only corn and beans, but a variety of chiles and stunning produce, seafood, chocolate, avocados, cheeses, and even the smoky mezcal that heavily influences this cuisine. Other more exotic ingredients are the delicious, but not super attractive, corn fungus called  huitlacoche (or corn smut) and a small type of grasshopper called chapulín that is full of protein and plentiful to the area.

We especially love favorites from Oaxaca, such as tlayudas, tamales, quesadillas, black beans, and Oaxacan cheese, also known as quessillo. Chocolate also is plentiful, mostly drunk hot. But the primary focus and foundation of Oaxaca cooking is mole, see page 6 for more! We’re excited to explore Oaxaca and we hope you join us for the journey.

Click here for some recipes to try at home or ways you can bite into Oaxaca, Mexico, via DLM.