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Bring Mom to FRESH for Mother’s Day

Bring Mom to FRESH for Mother’s DayBreakfast in bed is a nice treat for Mother’s Day, but even better is breakfast at FRESH because no one has to do any dishes. Seriously, you want Mom to have a special day because every other day of the year she looks after you and makes a lot of sacrifices.

That’s why FRESH is planning a special Sunday for Mom. From 9AM to 11AM on Mother’s Day, there will be breakfast on the patio for Mom. Bring her to FRESH for pancakes, bacon, eggs and fruit for $8. There will also be live music, so it will be a fun and relaxing atmosphere.

Once you get Mom to FRESH, present her with a FRESH gift card, and after breakfast, she can treat herself to some of her favorite things from FRESH. Maybe she would like some steaks for dinner, a special dessert from the bakery or some organic bath products from Health & Wellness.

Don’t forget to stop by the floral department and treat her to some flowers. The store will be filled with beautiful arrangements, bouquets and plants that she is sure to love.
After a great morning at FRESH, Mom will certainly feel special!





FRESH AND FESTIVE: Poinsettias

If you are like most of us Americans, it isn’t Christmas without a few beautiful poinsettias in your home.  Although I have always known that poinsettias are native to Mexico, I never really knew the real history behind the flower, how it became associated with Christmas, and how it made its way to the United States.  So, I did some research and wanted to share what I found.

A legend tells of a young girl in 16th century Mexico who was too poor to provide a gift for the Christmas celebration.  This child was inspired by an angel to gather weeds and place them in front of her church altar.  And so the story goes, beautiful red “flowers” sprouted from these weeds and grew into what we know as the poinsettia.  The star-shaped leaf pattern is said to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem and the red color represents the blood of Jesus, sacrificed for our sins.

Poinsettias were brought to the United States in 1825 by Joel Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico.  They are now commercially grown in all 50 states and there are over 100 varieties available.  California is the top producing state but we get our poinsettias at FRESH from right here in the state of Texas.

We are offering a variety of beautiful Texas grown poinsettias from now until Christmas in our Floral Department.  This week, our 14-inch poinsettias are all on sale for just $30.  You save $5!

Have a great Christmas!





FRESH and Festive: Mother’s Day

While thinking about what to write for this blog, I realized that I have celebrated Mother’s Day year after year without knowing how it all got started.  I often wonder…did Hallmark dictate that every second Sunday of May would be known as Mother’s Day, or is there more to it than that?  Well you are in luck!  I did some research and am happy to report that there is a lot more to it than that!

According to one of my favorite information sources, Wikipedia, the earliest tributes to mothers date back to the annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to Rhea, the mother of many deities, and to the offerings ancient Romans made to their Great Mother of Gods, Cybele.

In the United States, Mother’s Day started nearly 150 years ago, when Anna Jarvis, an Appalachian homemaker, organized a day to raise awareness of poor health conditions in her community, a cause she believed would be best advocated by mothers. She called it “Mother’s Work Day.”

In 1905 when Anna Jarvis died, her daughter, also named Anna, began a campaign to memorialize the life work of her mother. Legend has it that young Anna remembered a Sunday school lesson that her mother gave in which she said, “I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother’s day. There are many days for men, but none for mothers.”

Anna began to lobby prominent businessmen like John Wannamaker, and politicians including Presidents Taft and Roosevelt to support her campaign to create a special day to honor mothers. At one of the first services organized to celebrate Anna’s mother in 1908, at her church in West Virginia, Anna handed out her mother’s favorite flower, the white carnation. Five years later, the House of Representatives adopted a resolution calling for officials of the federal government to wear white carnations on Mother’s Day. In 1914 Anna’s hard work paid off when Woodrow Wilson signed a bill recognizing Mother’s Day as a national holiday.

Mother’s Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States. While many countries of the world celebrate their own Mother’s Day on different days and at different times throughout the year, there are some countries such as Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, and Belgium which also celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May.

Honor your Mom this year with gorgeous flowers and a delicious meal from FRESH.

Our award-winning floral designer, Shellie, will put together the perfect arrangement from our amazing selection of flowers.  She can make something unique from your Mom’s favorite flowers or is great at giving suggestions if you don’t quite know where to start.  The best news is that she can work with any budget to design a masterpiece.

Also, for the first time, you can purchase a FRESH for 4 Meal.  Give Mom a day off with this delicious chef-prepared meal for the whole family.  It includes two Petit Filets with white wine poached Maine lobster tail and lemon-herb compound butter, roasted brussel sprouts and FRESH Israeli cous cous PLUS pretzel crusted chicken tenders, mac and cheese, steamed broccoli and 4 brioche rolls.  And you can get all of that for just $43.99!  This meal will be available from Friday, 5/11 through Sunday, 5/13.

Make FRESH your Mother’s Day one-stop destination this year!  You won’t be sorry you did!





Freshie Faves: Cymbidium Orchids

I always seem to find my way to our Floral department at least once a day. It never ceases to amazing me the shear variety of new flowers that I discover at our little Floral oasis. I feel like that this area is a hidden treasure that more Freshies need to discover. Many times when I visit the department, I just stare at our designers, hypnotized by their creative motions in full swing.

One of the sweet ladies that staff our Floral department is named Abigail Yoerger. She has admired flowers for awhile now, and even dabbled in floral design with the flowers from her floral garden at home. She had a serendipity moment when filling out her application for FRESH.  There was a small box just begging to be checked to apply to work in the Floral department of FRESH. And of course we were ecstatic to have Abigail become a Floral Freshie!

Abigail has been on a fast track of learning and perfecting her designing expertise during our first year at FRESH. One of her favorite flashbacks is rescuing a panicked bride with no flowers for her wedding day! Yes, as you can imagine this said bride was not far from a Bridezilla state of mind. Just at this moment Abigail sprang into action assembling a bride’s bouquet, bride’s maids handties, gentlemen’s boutonnieres and a center piece.  All the while staying in modest, but ample budget of $500. This was accomplished by part magic, part talent sprinkled with the always stunning and affordable array of fresh flowers at our Floral department.

When I asked Abigail what was her most beloved item at FRESH she promptly answered, the cymbidium orchid. Orchids often times evoke thoughts of delicate beauty.  You have no doubt seen them in arrangements, but some orchids are edible and are even used as stunning garnish. The seed pods and pulp of the vanilla orchid is one of the most delicious byproducts of orchids that produces vanilla extract.

Abigail enjoys weaving cymbidium orchids into arrangements in many unexpected places. She often submerges a few orchids in a vase. Then makes a shallow arrangement to go on top. This creates a layer look. The eye is dazzled from every angle!





FRESH and Festive: Spring Flower Faves

What better way to celebrate spring than with some fresh spring flowers? We have lots of seasonal blooms coming into the floral department, just in time for Easter and spring entertaining. With the expert advice below from our award winning floral designer, Shellie Jacob, you can confidently follow these tips to brighten up your home or party for spring:

Wheatgrass: I love the natural look of bright-green wheatgrass in an arrangement or tablescape, especially if you add in a few spring blooms, like tulips or other bulb flowers. For an Easter arrangement, pastel Easter eggs create a festive look.

Bubble vases: A contained, composed arrangement in a round bubble bowl looks fresh for spring: Use a few stems of curly willow, and a few flower heads, keeping the entire arrangement within the bowl, for a clean, modern look.

Bulbs and other seasonal flowers: Stay seasonal with beautiful bulb flowers – daffodils, iris, tulips – especially in the colors of spring like yellow, pale pink and lavender. This time of year, I also like peonies – an heirloom flower our grandmothers loved, that is very trendy once again. Finally, for Easter, there’s nothing like the traditional Easter lily; we carry the double stalk lilies. To keep your Easter lily looking fresh longer, remove the stamen from the bloom; it will give you a few extra days of beauty.

Blooming branches: Pussy willows, redbud, dogwood and other blooming branches are wonderful for adding a fresh, natural look to any arrangement. If the branch is not blooming when you purchase it, here’s how to coax out the blooms: Beat the branch with a hammer! Really! You need to whack the branch at the base, hard, several times, and this will help the buds burst into blooms. You can also whittle the base of the branch to achieve a similar blooming result.

Tulip tips: Tulips are the rare flowers that keep growing after they’ve been cut. (So do hyacinths, by the way.)  So, for both tulips and hyacinths, select a vase that is slightly larger than you think you need, s0 the flowers don’t outgrow the container! Also, tulips tend to grow toward the light. If you like a formal arrangement with tulips standing tall and straight, place them under a direct light. For a more natural, looser arrangement, you can place them with a light source to the side.

Longer-lasting flowers: No matter what flowers you choose, you can get a few more days of vase life out of them if you handle them carefully and quickly. One important tip: As soon as you trim the stem of any flower, immerse it in water immediately; don’t let it sit on the counter while you hunt for a vase or decide how to arrange it. You want the cut stem to start absorbing water right away, not air; the water helps it stay fresh and beautiful longer!





Freshie Faves: Valentine’s Flowers

Picking out flowers should be fun, especially at Valentine’s Day. But I also understand how choosing just the right gift for someone else can be nerve-wracking, especially for those who do not send flowers regularly. Or, how it can be easy to fall into the rut of the traditional dozen red roses with baby’s breath– beautiful but maybe a little TOO traditional.

So if you want to make an impact this Valentine’s Day, come see our floral designers. We’ve come up with some fresh, contemporary designs that can be ready quickly, at an affordable price, but that aren’t the same-old, same-old.

Like the one we’re calling Sweet Unique – a contemporary arrangement of roses, curly willow and a dramatic antique hydrangea in a cylinder vase. Or our spin on the traditional red roses – ours features 18 blooms, in a striking rectangular glass vase with a minimum of greenery and filler so the flowers really stand out.

You can order these or other arrangements at 903-747-3511, or stop by our floral department 7 days a week to talk to one of our floral experts. And, yes, we deliver.  But remember to get your order in soon because our delivery time slots will fill up fast!

If you want something truly one-of-a-kind, our designers can help there, too. Here are some things to keep in mind when designing your own arrangement:

Share your budget with the designer: Knowing how much you want to spend will help you focus, and will also help the floral designer steer you toward blooms and arrangements that fit within it, so you can find the right flowers quickly.  And, if your budget is on the thin side, you’ll be surprised what creative ideas our designers will have for stretching it.

Think of where the flowers will likely be displayed: This will help you focus on both scale and style of the arrangement.  Will the flowers be set in a hallway with a soaring ceiling, a tall table, or in a small office cubicle? A room with a high ceiling and large furniture cries out for a larger, or taller, arrangement. Modern, simple arrangements, maybe in a slim glass cylinder, will look best in a home with modern, stark lines and furniture.

Consider your beloved’s taste: This is the hardest one for most people. That’s where designers can really help. They’ll want to know things like the recipient’s home décor (shabby chic, traditional or contemporary?) and personal style in clothing and jewelry. If that’s difficult for you to explain, they’ll be ready with some of our unique ideas, like our 100-centimeter roses – a single, super-long-stemmed rose in an Italian tower vase.





FRESH and Festive: The Perfect Poinsettia

The Polar Bear Poinsettia is a striking plant – instead of the red blooms of a traditional poinsettia, this one blooms in creamy white. But there’s more about it that’s special: Part of the proceeds of every plant sold go to help support polar bear conservation.

Money raised from the sale of these beautiful white blooms go to help support Polar Bear International, a foundation that supports polar bears through research, education and conservation efforts. It’s a project launched by the Paul Ecke ranch in California, which provides the cuttings that our Texas grower uses to grow these plants.

The Polar Bear Poinsettia is just one of the varieties we have in the FRESH floral department this Christmas. Whether you like your poinsettia in the traditional red – or in pink, maroon or deep red – we have lots of gorgeous,  healthy plants.

Our poinsettias are all grown in Texas, so you’re supporting local growers. And if you just follow a few simple suggestions, the plants you buy today will still be blooming and beautiful well into the new year.

  1. Poinsettias may look great near the fireplace, but they don’t do well there. That’s because fireplaces can get drafty, and poinsettias don’t like that. Likewise, don’t put them near exterior doors, or near windows unless the windows are well-sealed. They also don’t like places that are too hot, so don’t put them too close to a heating vent or a space heater.
  2. Don’t put them in direct sunlight. However, they do need several hours of indirect sunlight each day.
  3. Poinsettias don’t like it too cold, or too hot. The best room temperature is about 70 degrees during the day, and about 65 at night. If your home is much warmer than that, or much cooler, your plant may lost a lot of leaves and end up looking straggly quickly.
  4. Don’t overwater.  Water only when the soil begins to feel dry to the touch, and use just enough that the water just barely begins to drain out the bottom. Do not allow to sit in standing water. It may work best to remove your poinsettia from its decorative container, water it, let all excess drain away, and then replace it in its container.
  5. If the air in your home is dry, try misting you poinsettia every few days; poinsettias bloom best in slightly humid air.




From Our Backyard: Flowers From Our Back Patio, Actually

In my humble opinion, flowers are the most important element in setting the tone of your big day. This year wedding flowers are dramatic and meaningful. Based on emerging trends, we have a few tips to consider when planning your bridal bouquet and centerpieces:

1. Saturated Color – Bold, bright color is back! Instead of multi-color arrangements, choose your favorite dramatic hue and vary the type and texture of the flowers.

2. Heirloom Pieces – Everything from brooches to pearls are being used to make bouquets beautiful, and they make a fabulous keepsake for your bridal party. For the bridal bouquet, incorporate a “something borrowed” family heirloom like grandma’s antique hatpin.

3. Something Old – Lace is a popular way to wrap the stems of bouquets. Incorporate small pieces into boutonnieres to tie it all together!

4. Anemones Are In – Anemones are delicate flowers from the buttercup family that come in white, purple, pink, and red shades. They are available from late December to late June.

5. Be square – Instead of a boutonniere or handkerchief in the pocket of the groomsmen’s’ tuxedos, try a small flower arrangement designed to slip into the pocket.

 





FRESH and Festive: Tempting Tropical Flowers

Some people think tropical flowers are an acquired taste, but if that’s true, it’s a taste I acquired a long time ago. With their shocking-bright colors, large blooms and angular shapes, tropicals make a striking impact in any arrangement, and they can really transform a room.

This week, you can get one of our premium mixed tropical bouquets, with three to four exotic blooms and lush greenery, for a special price of  just $9.99. But I think our tropicals – like ginger, bird of paradise and heliconia are always a good deal. Here’s why:

Long-lived tropicals: For one thing, they last longer than many other flowers. Properly cared for, a tropical bouquet will stay fresh and vibrant for up to two weeks! (For longest life, trim ends at home before placing flowers in clean water in a clean vase. Change water every two to three days, before it gets cloudy.)

Partly, tropicals last longer because they’re just sturdy flowers, meant to bloom through intense heat and heavy tropical rains. And partly, it’s because most of our tropicals are shipped Fed-Ex directly from the farms in Costa Rica, so they’re super-fresh when they arrive in our floral market.

They dry beautifully: Tropical blooms dry naturally and beautifully, without much work if any from you. Dried, they’ll last indefinitely, yet still provide a big splash of color and impact.

Great selection: What we have in the floral department varies from day to day, depending on what’s in season and available, but we generally have most of the following:

  • Ginger: This cone-shaped flower is the bloom of the ginger root – yes, the same spice you eat.
  • Bird of paradise: This colorful flower gets its name from its large flowerhead, said to resemble a bird in flight.
  • Heliconia: These are sometimes called “false bird of paradise” because they resemble the other flower, except with blooms more in a spray, rather than resembling a bird.
  • Protea: Big, colorful flowers with many petals.
  • Musa coccinea: Actually a type of ornamental banana plant. The fruit it produces are inedible. This plant produces beautiful red flowers.
  • Orchid: More delicate than other tropicals, most of our exotic orchids come to us from flower farms in Hawaii.




FRESH and Festive: A Festive Father’s Day

Growing up, I always had a harder time figuring out what to get for Mother’s Day than for Father’s Day. Not only was Mom easier to shop for – flowers and a nice card, and I was set – but the retail world always offers millions of suggestions, and special deals, for treating your mom on her day.

Dads, however? You’re often on your own. If your father doesn’t play golf or wear a lot of ties, retailers often don’t have many ideas. However, here at FRESH, we do. Like these:

Cheese, please: What dad doesn’t enjoy a good snack? And cheese and salami probably are near the top of most dads’ lists when it comes to quality snackage. Stop by our Charcuterie and Cheese department and ask for help in picking out special selections that suit your dad’s taste. He’s a cheddar guy? Consider Cabot clothbound cheddar, a nutty, aged, mellow cheddar that goes well with fruit, olives or by itself. He likes something with some spice? Look at the Yancey’s Fancy line of flavored artisan cheeses, hopped up with jalapenos or other spices. To go with the cheese, we recommend a variety or two of the Creminelli salamis and smoked meats, at the deli counter.

You CAN take it with you: Give Dad an easy way to carry along his favorite beverage with a carrier by the New York design company Built. These are made of neoprene, so they’re sturdy but not bulky. They insulate beverages for up to four hours, and fold flat when not in use. One carrier is made for a six-pack, and another will hold two standard bottles of wine. And they come in basic black, a no-nonsense color that Dad will approve of. In our Housewares department.

Ready-to-go gift baskets: The talented designers in our floral department always have interesting finds in their gift baskets, mostly in the $60-$80 range. I’ve been eyeing one of the grilling baskets, with such treats as Fischer and Wieser marinades and grill rubs. But don’t worry, Dad, I won’t make you break it out on your special day; dinner will be on me.





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