Why Monthly Delivery Gifts Are The Best

When I was a kid back in the 60s, my grandparents would give us a fruit-of-the-month club gift for the holidays. You know the kind I’m talking about: huge pears, perfectly round grapefruits, ruby red cherries, etc. When the gift arrived anew at our doorstep every month, we would all eagerly open the box to see what goodies were inside. We didn’t care that the fruit was sitting in environmentally unkind Styrofoam inside a utilitarian cardboard box. After sampling the contents, we would all get on the phone to call Grandma and Grandpa to thank them. We looked forward to getting that gift every year because we knew we would get a surprise every month! And my grandparents loved giving it because they knew we would call them each time a new gift arrived.

Gift clubs have experienced a remarkable resurgence in recent years, and why not? A gift that keeps on giving is a way to carry the cheer throughout the year and get you noticed again and again! And don’t assume that the choices are boring. Food subscription gift club options are no longer restricted to Grandma’s fruit-of-the-month boxes. Think guacamole makings, a selection of dried fruit snacks and nuts with trendy toppings, and pomegranate and mango inspired gifts with fresh fruit, dried fruit and candies. Almost every e-tailer of fine food gifts offers a variety of interesting and innovation selections with subscription programs suited to every need. Some even care about making the presentation attractive and ecologically sensitive, like we do in our gift club designs! The gift club model has come a long way from when I was a kid.

Here are six more reasons why you should choose to send a subscription gift this year:

  1. Your sentiment will have a greater impact because each time the gift appears, your recipient will think of you and the reason you sent the gift.
  2. It’s easy! You can set it up one time in advance, and it’s covered.
  3. You don’t have to commit to a 12-month gift subscription: you can find 3 month and 6-month options.
  4. A one time gift may not be enough to meet what is called for. Think about new parents, someone who is seriously ill or recovering from major surgery, or someone who has lost a loved one. After the first flurry of gift giving and help, the responsiveness tapers off but the needs don’t.
  5. Make your budget stretch! Spending $200 on four gifts that arrive with the change of seasons will make a more memorable impression than one big gift that gets consumed during the holiday and then forgotten.
  6. Designed for sharing.

Just think about it. How happy will your office be if they know they will receive a new snack gift every month? Perfect for monthly business meetings: be prepared so you don’t have to scramble at the last minute to get some healthy and fun snacks for the conference room. Ideal to arrange for college students eating a diet of cafeteria food or living off-campus and depending on their own amateur culinary skills.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to send a gift that keeps on giving and put your thoughtfulness in the spotlight!

Lunar New Year Filled with Roosters and Dragons – both Edible and Legendary

Chinese New Year Gift Basket from Manhattan Fruitier

Lunar New Year Gift Basket from Manhattan Fruitier

This Chinese New Year, the year of the Fire Rooster, begins on January 28. During the two-week celebration of the New Year, family and friends gather for feasting and to honor household and heavenly deities. It is one of the grandest, most celebratory annual events throughout the world.

Originating in the ancient Shang Dynasty (17 to 11 BC), this lively holiday was a way to ward off the legendary monster “Nian,” who loved to feast on little children and farm animals. Along with his appetite, Nian had some peculiar hang ups. He detested the color red and abhorred loud noise. So people decorated their houses in brilliant reds and set off fire crackers in the streets to send Nian away for another year.

Even though China adopted the Western calendar and January 1st as an official New Year date, the Lunar New Year is still of the utmost cultural and historical importance. Chinese continue to celebrate the traditions and customs of Lunar New Year, albeit now with a shorter new name – the Spring Festival.

During the Spring Festival, mandarin oranges, tangerines, pomelos and all types of citrus are gifted as tokens of good fortune, happiness and abundance. These fruits are displayed on kitchen tables throughout the two week celebration as a harbinger of a healthy, hopeful and prosperous New Year to come. Another highly-prized celebratory fruit during the Spring Festival is the Dragon Fruit or Pitahaya. Wildly popular for its brilliant fuschia-pink coloring – some believe the color of luck – Dragon Fruit is often placed on altars for the Lunar New Year.

Dragon Fruit or Pitahaya

Dragon Fruit or Pitahaya

Dragon fruit, or pitahaya, is actually a vine-like cactus that originated in the Americas but became almost exclusively popular in East and Southeast Asia over many years. It’s a fruit both moody and mysterious. The pitahaya’s aromatic flowers bloom one night only, on the full moon, and can only grow by nocturnal pollinators that bring this magical fruit to fruition.

The white flesh of the Dragon Fruit is soft like a ripe peach and is easily eaten with a spoon once you cut the fruit in half. It has tiny black seeds that are easy to eat. The flesh is slightly sweet with a touch of lemon flavor. Delicious as well as exotically colored, it will ward off the monster Nian until at least 2018.

New York City Chinatown Parade

New York City Chinatown Parade

This 2017 Lunar New Year Spring Festival begins on January 28th . If you happen to be in New York City, check out the New Year’s Day Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival, kicking off at Chinatown’s Sara Roosevelt Park.  Usher out the New Year celebrations on February 5th with a bang and clang two weeks later at the dazzling Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown.

Happy Lunar New Year to you all!

Celebrate Fall with Apple and Pear Varietals

 

Apples

 

We are never short of delicious apples and pears here at Manhattan Fruitier, but the fall is when we receive crates of new-crop varieties straight from our favorite orchards.

Many apple and pear varieties have been in danger of extinction due to commercial growers seeking more durable types that can sustain long periods in cold storage. This has led to breeding apples that conform to the model of perfectly round, red and shiny, while casting away the knobby, oddly shaped russet types that are packed with brilliant flavor. Over time this has trained many people to eat with their eyes and not their mouths.

We are fortunate to have access to lesser known apple and pear varieties as a few dedicated farmers remain committed to growing these “forgotten fruits” and bringing them to market.

Here are some of the apples we will be featuring this Fall

ZESTAR

 

Apple-Zestar

The Zestar apple tastes sweet and tangy, with accents of brown sugar, and is known for its unique flavor. The apple is best used for fresh eating, and for use in a variety of baked goods, sauces, desserts, and salads.

MOLLIE’S DELICIOUS

Apple-Mollies-Delicious

 

Mollie’s Delicious has a subtle pinkish red skin and exceptionally pleasing taste. While Mollie’s Delicious has the distinct “bottom bumps” of a Red Delicious, it is not a Red Delicious sport. Rather, it is a cross between Gravenstein and Golden Delicious bloodlines.

BLONDEE

Apple-Blondee

 

The Blondee is a sweet, cheerful early apple with an alluring fragrance. Great for eating out of hand or cooking. It was discovered growing amongst an orchard of Gala apples. It ripens a few days before the Gala and is one of the only yellow apples available in the early weeks of apple season. Blondees have been described as the “yellow Galas.”

SHINGO ASIAN PEAR

 

Asian pears have been a staple in our gifts for years, but we’ve recently been swooning over a wonderful varietal grown in New Jersey (of all places). The Shingo pear, grown at Evergreen Farm, is the crispest, sweetest, most mouth-watering pear we have ever eaten. This exceptional Asian pear has pearly white flesh and is subtly sweet and fragrant, juicy and crisp to the bite. Best eaten cold, they explode with a refreshing burst in your mouth. In case you couldn’t tell, we adore this fruit!

BLACK OXFORD

Apple Black Oxford blog homepage crop 20161101_0399

The Black Oxford is small and quite dark, spattered with rust-colored speckles. The blush is a deep red with purple overtones, almost mahogany, sometimes described as having a blackish bloom. The apple is slightly ribbed and classically shaped, round to conical. Flavor is mild and sweet with a hint of sweet corn, vanilla, and the pure sweetness of cane sugar. The Black Oxford originates from Paris, Maine (Oxford County) about 1790.

BLUE PERMAIN

Apples Blue Pearmain 20161101_0398

The Blue Pearmain is an old New England favorite dating back to the 1700’s. No one knows where it originated, but ancient trees can still be found in the most rural areas of New England. It has a blue-purple color and the russet blaze around the stem. The medium to very large fruit is sweet with just a bit of tartness. The flesh is fairly dry, firm, dense and slightly crisp.  It is tasty eaten out of hand although the skin is rather tough so you might want to peel it first.  Blue Pearmain makes a good baked apple as its thick skin holds up perfectly

ESOPUS SPITZENBURG

esopus

Esopus Spitzenburg originated in Esopus, Ulster County, NY, in the latter part of the 18th century and is reputed to be Thomas Jefferson’s favorite dessert apple. He ordered 12 trees of the variety from William Prince’s Flushing, Long Island nursery in 1790 to plant at Monticello. “Spitz” is a large apple, oblong in shape, smooth-skinned and colored a lively, brilliant red, approaching scarlet. It is covered with small yellow specks. The yellow flesh is rich, juicy, and sprightly.

ORLEANS REINETTE

Apple Orleans Reinette 20161101_0397

Orleans Reinette is an old-fashioned 18th century French apple with a reputation for good flavor. Over time it has been known by many different names, including Winter Ribston. These apples can be found growing in the cooler climate of England as well as Oregon in the United States, and can still be found growing in areas of France. Orleans Reinette apples are medium-sized, plump apples with yellowish-green skin, orange russet, and a red blush. The skin is a rough classic russet texture, and very crunchy. Flavor has hints of sweet oranges and a nutty finish. It goes well with buttery cheeses such as raw milk Swiss-style.

 

Color Your World!

Tutti Frutti

In a tech-filled world of tablets, gadgets, phones and drones, what adult among us hasn’t wanted to step back to our childhood, at least for an afternoon, back to the blissed-out zen of breaking in a new coloring book with colored pencils or crayons? Well, sometimes you can go back.

Grown-ups are actually coloring again, and it’s really o.k! Adult coloring books have found their way to the top of best-seller book lists in the U.S. and Europe and, what’s even more amazing, they are bringing joy, creativity, and relaxation to the masses – when we all need it the most.

Coloring Party

We are big on coloring at Manhattan Fruitier. Our own Lauren Westbrook learned first-hand the joy of coloring as an adult when given The Secret Garden by Johanna Basford as a gift by a childhood friend. One rainy afternoon at her friend’s lakeside cottage they sat, side-by-side, each coloring a page, just as they did when they were girls. They found the activity just as satisfying years later, but what seemed different was the sense of tranquility it brought as well as the undeniable desire to play with unexpected colors and shading. She highly recommends coloring as a creative outlet for all, especially gratifying for the non-artistically inclined adult.

We are excited to carry the work of two illustrators who have designed the most beautiful tools for this growing phenomenon. Johanna Basford, whose books are responsible for this new wave of fun – and Louise Fili, award-winning graphic designer, author, lecturer, illustrator, and friend of Manhattan Fruitier who has designed gorgeous colored pencils for filling in and outside the lines.

 Johanna BasfordJohanna Basford

Johanna Basford is an illustrator and ‘ink evangelist’. Growing up on her parent’s fish farm in native rural Scotland, her intricate work stems from the flora and fauna that surrounded childhood life. She graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, specializing in silk screen prints and drawings. Johanna Basford’s success has become familiarly known to us with commissions by Starbucks, DKNY, and Chipotle’s “Cultivating Thought” Author Series, to name a few.  She describes her detailed drawings as, “every piece starting as a simple pencil sketch…organically evolving…and slowly creeping over the paper.” Her work for adult colorists is distinctive and with her books an imaginative adventure awaits.

Louise FiliLouise Fili

Louise Fili, renowned graphic designer, has used elegant and original typefaces and an Italophile aesthetic to transform many a corporate logo, including the logo of our own Manhattan Fruitier. Her work is found in permanent collections of the Library of Congress, the Cooper Hewitt Museum and the Bibliotheque Nationale.  We offer her splendido set of twelve “Tutti Frutti” colored pencils, inspired by classic Italian packaging and stationery. These double-sided pencils with complimentary hues of brilliant color will inspire your written words and drawings. Buon divertimento!

This gift from our Spark Collection, combines Johanna Basford’s newest coloring book, “Enchanted Forest”  with the superb quality and elegant style of the “Tutti Frutti” pencil set designed by the incomparable Louise Fili. Guaranteed to bring smiles and evoke childhood memories while it unleashes the tranquility and creativity for grown-ups who are young at heart.

6 Distinctive Gifts for Mothers of Every Kind

This Mother’s Day, surprise and impress with a gift that is beautiful, elegant and exceptional—just like Mom. Manhattan Fruitier offers Mother’s Day gifts suitable for all different types of mothers.

For the Early Riser

Early Bird Breakfast

This is the mother who rises with the sun to enjoy a healthy breakfast in the dawn of the new day. While we cannot promise a beautiful sunrise, we can surely supply the breakfast with our appropriately-titled Early Bird Breakfast Basket, so named for the included granola from Early Bird Foods of Brooklyn, NY. Also in this gift: walnut bread, peach preserves, Clementine juice and a rose with vase. This is a breakfast to cherish for the mother you cherish. Continue reading