Cedar Ridge Trails Ohio Lavender

There’s something special about this fresh cut lavender from Miamisburg, Ohio-based Cedar Ridge Trials. This Ohio lavender is grown on the same land that our founder, my great grandfather, Calvin Mayne, was raised on as a child. In fact, when a mirror was removed from a wall in the house, they discovered writing on the wall that happened to be Calvin’s initials and the date, August 18, 1925.

I got the chance to see the farm and the house where my great grandfather was raised. It is filled with history. Growing up, and still, my grandpa, Norman Mayne, would tell me stories about his dad and I got to learn about the kind of person he was. Being able to see his handwriting and the house for myself was an amazing experience. It gave me a whole new appreciation for who he was and the legacy that he has left for his kids, grandchildren, and now even his great grandchildren. 

Why lavender? I sat down and asked the current Cedar Ridge Trails owner Joy Pascoe why she and her husband decided to grow lavender on the land. “Lavender is fun to work with,” she says, explaining that they are working to create a location that exudes relaxation and where others can “learn and enjoy experiences together on the farm.” While we didn’t get to see the lavender in full bloom, we cut some lavender ourselves. We are happy to share this story and bring you locally grown cut lavender!

 

Easy Lavender Care Tips
One of the universal appeals of lavender is that it is so easy to take care of. DLM’s Floral & Plant Director Stuart Delk says to simply put it in a dry container and enjoy!

 

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 flower arranging. Here are some steps to keep in mind.

DIY Flower Arranging

flower arranging

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

DLM Difference No. 7: Gourmet Burgers

DLM Difference No. 8: Handmade Fresh Mozzarella

DLM Difference No. 9: Rotisserie Chicken

DLM Difference No. 10: Gourmet Takeaway

DLM Difference No. 11: Artisan Bread

DLM Difference No. 12: Sandwich Station

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

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

Thai Food in Your Own Kitchen

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

thai food

3. Chicken Pad See Ew

thai food

 

Recipes Reminiscent of Route 66

The ultimate road trip in America has got to be driving Route 66, spanning eight states with iconic comfort foods along the way. Although it was officially decommissioned in the 80s, it continues to attract tourists, road warriors, and food lovers looking to taste pure Americana. Today the historic route boasts vintage motels, nostalgic roadside attractions, and some really good road food. After the Great Depression, folks finally had a little extra cash so they piled into the family car and embarked on a road trip of a lifetime with destination spots like the Grand Canyon or Disneyland Park in mind. Even great movies, songs, and books were inspired by the open road and aura of Route 66. For many, this road trip is also about the iconic flavors, like home-style baked goods, spicy chiles, BBQ, and all-around good country eating! Buckle up and take a bite out of these eight recipes representing the eight states along Route 66!

Get Your Kicks with These 8 Recipes

1. Chicago Dog

2. Kansas BBQ Rub

3. Country Fried Steak

4. Buttered Pecan Blueberry Cobbler

5. Cowboy Steak

6. Easy Sticky Buns

recipes

7. Chicken Posole

recipes

8. Fish Tacos with Lime Crema & Cabbage Slaw

recipes

Tulips: The Gateway to Spring

The arrival of spring comes in many different forms, but there’s nothing quite like the brilliant colors of tulips illuminating our Floral department. Stuart Delk, Floral & Plant Director says it best, “Tulips are the gateway to spring.” Simple, yet elegant, these blooms have become a favorite flower during this season. But how did tulips come to be so significant?

A member of the lily family, these flowers have a rich history. Because of its delicate nature and wide array of colors, this flower became a symbol of luxury in Europe. As the story goes, the price of tulips skyrocketed due to their extreme popularity and difficulty of cultivation. This frenzy is said to have caused a financial crash of the Dutch economy and caused what’s known as “Tulip Mania.” Although they have a complex past, or maybe thanks to it, tulips are celebrated each spring.

tulips

With their history rooted in the Netherlands, the idea that Dutch tulips are superior is a common misconception. Stuart states, “Dutch doesn’t necessarily mean quality.” We’re proud to receive our tulips from Mount Vernon, Washington. The cool maritime climate, defined by cold but not freezing winters transitioning to warm summers, paired with the fertile soil makes this location tulip paradise. In that area, spring has truly sprung when the fields are painted with these breathtaking blooms.

Throughout the month of April we will be carrying colorful cut tulips from Washington. Whether in a bouquet or an arrangement, these iconic flowers are a sure way to push away memories of the cold, wintry months and welcome spring with open arms.

Steps to Arranging Tulips Like a Pro

To keep flowers fresh, be sure to take them home and place in water as soon as possible.

  1. Clean your vase thoroughly. Flowers will last longer if the vase is free of contaminants.
  2. Fill vase with room temperature, clean water and flower food.
  3. Trim flower stems with a really sharp edge. A crushed edge may make it difficult for your flower to absorb the food and water.
  4. Place several tulips in vase. A fuller vase will lead to a better looking arrangement.
  5. Keep it simple! Tulips are beautiful as they are—there’s no need to add foliage.
  6. Find the perfect spot. Place your vase in an area that is away from sunlight and heat drafts. These will cause your flowers to wilt quickly.
  7. Give the stems a fresh cut frequently. Trim the tulip stems every 2-3 days as tulips continue to grow after they’re cut.

The Simple Pleasures of Culinary Herbs

This is my favorite time of year—I can fling open the kitchen window and invite the balmy air to swirl, reminding me of the pleasures of the garden, lazy evenings on the porch swing, birdsong in the morning, and signs of life refreshing itself. One of the first things I do to mark the season is to establish my potted culinary herbs in a sunny window.

culinary herb

I always choose organically grown herbs, like the Organic Potted Herbs we carry in the Floral Department. I think the organic herbs taste better and I like that they’re ethically grown and nutritionally sound. Two basil plants are a must because I love fresh pesto and it’s so easy to make. In addition, we’ll also have mint, chives, parsley, thyme, and oregano.

While I’m admittedly a casual cook, I seldom prepare a dish in the spring that doesn’t include at least one culinary herb from my window garden. When the honeydew melons are ripe, I pluck a stem of mint, strip the leaves, slice in strips, and sprinkle over a wedge of melon. The fruit is cold and sweet making the mint a refreshing counterpoint. The experience of preparing this also is pure pleasure as the act of stripping the mint releases its essential oils, adding an artful dimension to an ordinary morning.

Flavored vinegars are a cinch to make with fresh herbs, even for the modest cook. Pour two cups of white wine vinegar in a clean jar, add ½ cup of assorted fresh herbs, shake well, and set the jar in a cool, dry place for ten days. Strain the mixture through a cheese cloth into a clean jar and cap tightly. The herb vinegar should keep for about six months at room temperature, ready to jazz up a variety of dishes!

But why stop at the kitchen door? The use of fresh culinary herbs is limited only by the imagination. Tired tootsies? A friend of mine makes a tea with a handful of basil leaves, pours it in a basin, and soaks her feet. Basil contains a natural anti-inflammatory that will ease aches while the aroma soothes the senses. Mosquitoes a bother? Rub enough thyme between your palms to release the essential oils—the scent acts as a natural repellent. Most importantly, don’t wait for a recipe or a remedy to enjoy your fresh herbs. Pluck a leaf from the nearest plant as you go about your day, bruise between your fingers. Then breathe. Relax. Appreciate.

Why Buy Organic When it Comes to Flowers?

Customers frequently tell me that while they can understand why choosing organic and locally grown products for their tables makes a difference, they are less particular about why it matters when choosing flowers. So with that question in mind “why does organic matter?”, I spoke to some of our local growers, whose organic local bouquets you’ll see in our stores.

One of the first calls I made was to my longtime friend Leslie Garcia of Peach Mountain Organics located in Spring Valley. She and her husband Doug have been growing flowers and produce organically for more than 30 years. I asked Leslie why she chooses organic farming. “After I read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, I could not imagine farming any other way,” Leslie says. “It was the first book published that made a clear, meticulously researched case against the use of DDT and the dramatic and dangerous impact pesticides were having on our  environment and wildlife.”

Non-organic farmers may spray and then directly sow seeds in the field. The seedling emerge in a non-competitive environment. “One of my methods is to start seeds in the greenhouse, repotting them after seedling stage, allowing them to grow and become established. Then, I cultivate the ground and set a stronger plant into the bed. This will give it a competitive edge when weeds begin to sprout,” Leslie shares. This method is a successful alternative to using herbicides but requires more labor and materials.

Nellie Ashmore of That Girl’s Flowers, another organic grower whose flowers you’ll find at DLM, agrees. “Non-organic farmers are often able to offer products at a lower price,” Nellie says. “They will use fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides that are not only less expensive but can be applied mechanically. At my farm, I use a wide variety of methods to fertilize and control pests and weeds.” She explains that fish emulsion is an excellent organic fertilizer but that it’s costly and has to be applied by hand. The same is true for the essential oils that she applies to control insects. Nellie also hand cultivates during the growing season to control weeds. So why does organic matter? Besides the reasons aforementioned, health matters, the earth matters, wildlife matters, and clean runoff from farmland matters. Organic matters because it returns something to the soil, contributing value for goods received. “Farming is not suppose to be like mining, taking resources from the land and returning nothing. If we want the land to continue to produce, then we need to nurture it, treating nature with respect and graditude”, Leslie says pointedly.