8 Signs of a Good Day at Manhattan Fruitier

As part of our Maker of the Month profiles, where we interview Manhattan Fruitier food makers to learn more about what makes them tick, we always ask, “What’s a good day at your company?”

I thought I’d pose that question to myself:  What is a good day at Manhattan Fruitier?

A good day at Manhattan Fruitier includes these things, in no particular order:

ORDERS IN THE BOX

All gift orders start with a paper work order placed in a sorting box at the beginning of our assembly line. I like to see David, our Head of Customer Service, placing a large stack of orders in the box at the start of each day. More orders come in across the day, of course, but it feels good to start the day strong.

customer service orders

CUSTOMER LOVE

We keep careful track of customer feedback. A good day definitely includes hearing from a customer who takes the time to let us know that we have exceeded their expectations with our products and our service.

NEW PRODUCT IN THE PIPELINE

I love developing new gifts. A good day would include working with Drew, our Creative Director, and Sarah, our Head of Product Development, on a new gift. Spoiler alert: we’re putting the finishing touches on a gift of a traditional Jewish breakfast (smoked salmon, bagels and cream cheese).

TASTING IS BELIEVING

Before we add a product to our gift line we taste it and many others in the category. It involves really thinking about what you like and why. We use a scale for taste, quality, uniqueness and appearance. I really enjoy this process. We’ve just finished tasting fruit jams from 12 different companies. Someone has to do the hard work!

jam tasting

DOING ANOTHER THING WELL

We describe our approach to marketing as doing 1,000 things well. Sara Nakash, our Head of Online Marketing, is always working on doing yet another thing well. On a good day I might see a mention of Manhattan Fruitier in a third party blog, a redesign of our order confirmation emails, or the implementation of a new ad campaign.

MOVING AHEAD WITH PARTNERSHIPS

Lauren, our Head of Keeping Us Going in the Right Direction, and I devote a lot of our time and energy to developing marketing and product partnerships. On a good day, I see positive results from this work, maybe in the form of a new partner or ongoing work with an existing partner.

CONSTANT IMPROVEMENT

Every member of our staff is charged with trying to improve our processes and materials in order to get the best gift delivered in the most efficient way possible. On a good day, I’ll hear that someone came up with a better way to do something – a refrigerator gets moved, a box size gets changed, paper shred for cushioning fruit gets filtered an extra time to eliminate dust, etc.

GAMES

We just set up a ping-pong table (admittedly we are late to the game). I get a lot of pleasure from seeing people here take a few minutes out of their day to have some fun. Currently, Charles, our Head of Expediting and Plant, is the one to beat!

pingpong

 

I’d say it’s a good day when five of these things happen. It’s a GREAT day when they all do.

 

 

The Mediterranean Diet Collection – The First of our HealthWise Gifts.

Last December, we were talking to a friendly long-time customer who happens to be a nutritionist. She told us that she thought we weren’t doing enough to highlight the healthy nature of our fruit gifts. We agreed. We invited her to come visit our new facility in Long Island City in early 2013, after our holiday rush,and we talked about ideas for further developing a line of healthy food gift baskets. The result is our new line of HealthWise gifts, launching as a collection later this summer.Right now we are ready to introduce the first of our HealthWise gifts, our Mediterranean Diet Hampers. These 3 hampers, whimsically named Amalfi, Capri and Santorini, all feature the quintessential ingredients of the Mediterranean diet.

Santorini-Mediterranean-Hamper

our Santorini hamper includes the basic ingredients of the Mediterranean diet. It’s a perfect gift for anyone who wants to eat healthily – or just loves Mediterranean food.

The Mediterranean diet is based on the eating patterns and traditional cuisines of people from the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Basin including Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Morocco, among others. A healthy Mediterranean diet emphasizes lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, olive oil, nuts, and herbs and spices. Red meats, processed foods and sweets are minimized. Epidemiological studies found that people living in these countries had lower rates of heart disease. Thus began more focused research into the health benefits of this approach to eating.

The Mediterranean diet has always been popular, but each time a new medical research study reports

positive health benefits for people who follow it, this diet’s popularity peaks. The Mediterranean diet has been linked to cardiovascular health, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and healthy cognitive functioning. Most recently, the New York Times reported on a large, rigorous prospective research study that compared the risk of heart attacks and strokes among people who were randomly selected to follow the Mediterranean diet with the risks for a similar group of people who did not follow this diet. The researchers found that the participants on the Mediterranean diet had their risk reduced by 30%! The results were so strong that they stopped the study early.

One of the reasons the Mediterranean diet is popular among people who choose a healthy lifestyle is that is it easy to follow! There are few restrictions and it is not low calorie or low fat. Olive oil features prominently as do fish high in omega 3 fatty acids. The olive oil and herbs and spices bring distinctive and delightful flavors to cooking. Even wine is allowed in moderation.

We are excited to introduce our healthy line of gifts to Manhattan Fruitier. Coming up next: a gift of fresh seasonal fruit with a scrumptious gluten-free treat from the certified gluten-free only kitchen of Kyotofu. Check back soon for more HealthWise gifts for different dietary needs —- and let us know which healthy gifts you’d like to see at Manhattan Fruitier.

Why We’re Not Selling Ice Cream This Summer.

Many of you have asked us why we’re not selling ice cream or popsicles this summer. It’s been one of our most beloved gifts and people look forward to it every year.

Well, the answer is “the environment” and “our consciences.”

We have decided not to send frozen gifts because they have such a negative impact on the environment.

summer ice cream scoop and bucketIce cream shipped across the country is pretty amazing and as much as we know how delighted people are when they open up a gift of ice cream and cones on a hot summer day, we don’t think that the ends justify the means. Ice cream or popsicles, whether delivered locally in NYC or shipped nationwide, impact the environment negatively in two ways:  the styrofoam containers required for delivering a frozen product basically never biodegrade and the dry ice used to keep the ice cream frozen is basically evaporating from the instant it is made, which means wasted energy at every point along its very short life.

We researched styrofoam alternatives, including containers made from corn and mushroom spores. Neither proved they could do the job, although the mushroom containers are a very exciting new eco-friendly packaging alternative that may be a game changer in the future. Check out this recent profile by Ian Frazier in the New Yorker about Ecovative Design. Bravo mushroom guys!.

We’ve always tended to be green here at Manhattan Fruitier because our classic aesthetic has ruled out the usual gift basket industry trappings of plastic fillers, shrink wrap, synthetic bows etc. We have also done our very best to source materials from sustainable sources as local as possible, even if it costs us more. Our 100% post-consumer recyclable cardboard is made across the river in N.J, and our cotton ribbons are made in Philadelphia. We strive to do right by the environment in all our purchasing decisions.

That’s why the idea of another summer of styrofoam, daily trips in the van for the dry ice pick up and running extra freezers started gnawing at us. So, the long and short of it is, we’re doing our small part to not unnecessarily injure the environment, even if it means losing sales. We hope you understand and support our decision.

Jehv Gold, Owner

To Peal, or Not to Peal, That is the Question.

Whether ’tis healthier in the body to ingest
Both the skin and flesh of seasonal fresh fruits,
Or to take knife to such skin and eat the flesh alone . . .

Well, the short answer is that the skin of fruit has vitamins and nutrients, and that you’ll benefit from eating both the skin and the flesh. For example, here are the nutritional values for a red apple with and without the skin: fiber 5 vs. 3 grams, calcium 13 vs. 11 milligrams, and potassium 239 vs. 194 milligrams. Also, resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes and other fruits.

So, for maximum health benefits (assuming no dietary issues), don’t peal — eat the skin and the flesh. This was reported in AskWell of the New York Times.

Our Very Own Contributing Fruit Chemist Talking about Cranberries. Imagine that!

Fresh Cranberries

Note from Jehv: It’s not every wedding you attend that you sit next to a fruit chemist. But it happened to me at the wedding of a friend who happens to be a fanatic fruit lover. No doubt this explains why I ended up sitting next to Lori Bystrom, PhD, a fruit chemist and medical researcher at Weill Cornell Medical College. Lori’s interest is phytochemistry, ethnopharmacognosy, hematology and oncology. Translation: she studies fruit chemistry to find health impacts on humans.

Lori visited us at Manhattan Fruitier a couple of weeks ago. She likes a break from academic writing so has promised a fruit post every month or so.

Since it’s cranberry season, her first post about the “superfruit,” the cranberry:

Cranberry: A Native “Superfruit” by Lori Bystrom (Nov. 2012)

It’s that time of year again when seas of red berries blanket many of the bogs across North America. The native North American berry, Vaccinium macrocarpon or the American cranberry, are in season now and a bog full of these buoyant berries indicates the fruits are ready for harvest.

Once harvested, cranberries are taken to processing plants where their fates are decided. These berries have a long history in North America and were used by the Native Americans as both medicine and food. Today they continue to be used this way and many different types of cranberry products are available in supermarkets across North America and beyond. Cranberries can be found in the organic and non-organic produce sections when in season, or found year-round as different juice concoctions in the beverage aisle. They can also be found in pill form near the pharmacy section. Most cranberry pills are advertised as promoting urinary health, although there is still some debate as to whether or not these fruits function as more than a prophylactic.

Cranberries are marketed as ‘superfruits’ due to their antioxidant content and potential health benefits. However, limited information is available about the biological mechanisms of these berries in regard to their health effects. Scientists continue to research the health benefits of cranberries, especially in relation to urinary tract infections, periodontal disease, ulcers and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease or cancer. Many of the current studies focus on the use of these fruits as a form of preventive medicine or as a complementary medicine used to improve the effectiveness of standard drugs. Updates on some this research can be found on the Cranberry Institute website and the Cranberry Research Health Center website at University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

Cranberries are particularly interesting to researchers because they contain a unique class of tannins known as A-type proanthocyanidins, or “A-PACS”, whereas most plants contain B-type proanthocyanidins. Many of the unique biological effects of these fruits, including their effects on the urinary tract, are attributed to A-PACs . However, these fruits contain an array of other compounds with biological activities, including anthocyanins and flavonols, as well as compounds known as triterpenoids. Interestingly, research suggests the unique phytochemical mixture of these fruits may contribute to synergistic health effects.

Although much still remains to be known about the biological effects of cranberries, these red little berries offer a wonderful tart taste to both sweet and savory foods, and a plethora of studies already suggest that these fruits are likely to offer health benefits when consumed in moderation.

Sources:

Cap Cod Cranberry Growers Association

Cranberry Institute

Cranberry Research Health Center at University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth