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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

Clambake Buckets

The days are getting shorter and the nights cooler. We’re starting to think about fire pits and football. Our food choices are changing, too. Instead of backyard barbecues, we’re looking for new ideas for tailgating and gatherings with family and friends.

Reserve Your Clambake Bucket Here!

Our DLM Seafood departments have just the option. We can bring you a traditional East Coast Clambake minus the sand, seaweed, and hot rocks. Our Clambake Buckets come complete with Littleneck Clams, mussels, shrimp, Andouille sausage, corn on the cob, potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, butter, and your choice of wine or beer. A bucket serves 10-12 people and it couldn’t be easier to prepare. All you need is a burner or stove top and we provide the rest for just $99.99. So grab a disposable tablecloth, dump the contents, and dig in! This will surely become a fall tradition as it has in our households.

Reserve Your Clambake Bucket Here!

Fall for These 10 Recipes

Fall is here! It’s time for hayrides, apple picking, pumpkins, and all of the foods that embrace this season of change. We want to welcome fall by diving into the quintessential flavors that make this time of year so delicious. Here are 10 fall recipes sure to have you fall-ing for the season.

8 Recipes to Fall For

10 Fall Recipes You’ll Love!

1. Honeycrisp Fall Sangria

This yummy recipe features the stars of fall: Honeycrisp Apples, Beaujolais Nouveau (available mid-November, but a strong red makes a great substitute), and DLM 100% Apple Cider.

2. Blondies

With cinnamon, nutmeg, and Honeycrisp apples, this dessert is the ultimate fall treat. Just one bite will have you craving all that this season has to offer.

3. Butternut Squash

Feast like a gourmand with this enticing butternut squash recipe. Chock-full of mouth-watering flavors, this is a recipe everyone will love!

4. Pumpkin Pancakes

The perfect weekend breakfast.

5. Braised Bacon Kale with Roasted Veggies

It’s time to get roasting! It’s an easy, simple, and delicious way to bring out some of the unpopular root vegetables. Roast at high heat so a lot of color and caramelization happens, and simply season with salt or pepper.

6. Butternut Squash Soup with Garam Masala

This warming soup has subtle sweetness and spice, and is full of unique flavor.

7. Pumpkin Gingerbread

The perfect edible gift for friends and neighbors.

8. Apple Cider Glazed Pork Chops

A hearty dish that is full of fall flavors. It’s one you’ll repeat all season long.

9. Butterbeer

This magically delicious beverage, perfect for fall parties and get-togethers, is sure to put a spell on you.

10. Pumpkin Gooey Butter Bars

Ooey, gooey deliciousness, these butter bars are ones to share.

 

DLM Dreams of Sushi Are a Reality

If you haven’t seen the film “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” I recommend you do, preferably with a cold beer and a beautiful platter of sushi. A few of us at DLM have had the opportunity to eat sushi at the famous fish market Tsukiji in Japan where Jiro sources his fish, and it really is a lifetime experience. We’ve also had excellent sushi in supermarkets in Japan, such as from our friends the Ishido family of Keihoku Supermarkets. Fortunately, it’s also become commonplace in American supermarkets as our food psyche is eager to embrace foods from around the world. Authentic sushi is an art form and we decided to perfect how we do it at DLM.

It begins with the chef. Given the exact same ingredients, the experience you would have from a sushi master is on a completely different level than from a novice. When you then supply such an expert with gorgeous fish and perfect rice, the results are extraordinary. We have such talent now in our Sushi department. I marvel at their knife skills and gentle hand in crafting every piece and roll. Thanks to this team, we’re now achieving a level of sushi that we had only once dreamed possible.

In addition to the top talent in our Sushi department, we also are relentless in the sourcing of quality fish, rice, and other ingredients. Our VP of Meat & Seafood and Food Service Jack Gridley finds great fish like no one else I know. He has fishing friends in places like Alaska, Boston, and Scotland, which makes it no surprise that we have such outstanding fish for not only our Seafood department, but for the Sushi department as well.

Indeed, we are proud to offer you an exceptional level of sushi excellence at DLM, one more like what you would have in a fine sushi restaurant. Check out our increased variety, more artistic appearance, and best of all—superior eating experience!

DLM Sushi is so good, we’re attracting many customers of Japanese and Korean origin, the countries with the greatest sushi traditions. I was raised as an Ohio farm boy, yet even I eat our sushi at least two to three times per week as it’s such an easy, healthy pleasure. Our sushi chefs are happy to accommodate your special requests, including eye-popping sushi trays for your next party or a custom roll for your next meal. Give DLM Sushi a try and eat it soon and often. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.