It's that time of year when we just want to be outside all the time. Meals on the deck and fires on the patio while the kids play in the backyard is the perfect way to spend a summer evening. With so much time spent outside, our garden lanterns are very popular this time of year! With 5 different styles, the garden lanterns are the perfect way to add a little extra decor to our outdoor spaces.
It's exciting to see that we aren't the only ones who enjoy the garden lanterns this time of year! Check out this review of our Floral Garden Lantern in Heirloom Gardener Magazine!* We love hearing what others think of our products, and know it's so helpful for customers as well.
To celebrate the summer and the new review, we decided the garden lanterns are the perfect choice for this week's Product of the Week! So order any design of the lanterns this week (6/10/19 - 6/16/19) and automatically receive 20% off!
Now comes the hard part - choosing which one!
*The review in Heirloom Gardener lists a price of $19. This price did not include any shipping fees. However, we recently restructured our pricing to greatly reduce shipping fees, which is why the current price on our website differs. The new price for the Garden Lanterns is actually less than the previous total price because of the large reduction in shipping charges!
Have you noticed some changes around Stone Creek Trading lately? We've been taking this time of growth and renewal in nature to also freshen up things here on the website!
We started out by updating our logos across all platforms to make sure they reflect who we are and what we are known for! What do you think of our new taglines?
Once we saw how easy it was to make some graphic changes, we decided to finally tackle our biggest struggle - shipping fees. We have heard lots of feedback from customers on our "high" shipping fees. The truth is that the shipping fees we are charged by UPS and USPS are expensive and they keep going up at least 5% every year! We have tried not to increase our prices as much as we can, but we also have to stay in business!
Because we aren't a big corporation with locations in every state, it can be expensive for us to ship to customers that are far away. From our location in the Midwest, it can be quite expensive to ship to the coasts, especially locations like California, Oregon and Washington. Add on top of that that our best selling products are large, heavy and fragile - and the shipping charges really add up!
Nowadays, many people expect free shipping. However, the free shipping model won't work for our small family business. With our one location, the shipping fees we have to pay for a product will vary greatly depending on the location of the buyer - which makes it difficult to build the price of shipping into the product price.
But we know how frustrating it can be to find a product and price that works for you, only to discover a big shipping fee. We've been playing around with ideas for awhile, and we think we've come up with a way to reduce the shipping "shock", but still keep our prices fair.
We have reduced the shipping fees across the board, making some of our smaller products ship for free! We have now incorporated some or all of the shipping fees into the price of the product, helping you to see more of the price upfront. We know it's not a perfect solution, but we think it's the right mix of what our customers are asking for and what our small business can do!
Take a look around the website and let us know what you think! If you have any questions (or find any errors) send us an email - firstname.lastname@example.org!
Sauerkraut has always been my "problem" ferment. I have tried many different methods and recipes, but I can never seem to get it to come out right! I have a hard time getting the salt ratio correct since you aren't making a brine with water, but using the natural cabbage juices with the salt to create the liquid. I will often add too much salt, and end up with salty cabbage instead of sauerkraut! And then the next time I don't put in enough salt and it molds!
As I've mentioned in the past, we tend to follow a more "relaxed" method of fermentation like our ancestors did. We don't use testing strips or weigh our ingredients for precise outcomes. We do a lot of experimenting, combining ingredients we have on hand or are in season to see what works best for us and what new flavors we can discover! Of course, this method means sometimes we get "fermenting failures", but that's just part of the process!
I recently had a breakthrough with my sauerkraut ferments thanks to a recipe that Dawn Dunkin shared with us. She used both ginger and turmeric in her sauerkraut when she made a video using our crock to ferment! You can check out the video we shared last year on the blog here - https://www.stonecreektrading.com/blogs/news/sauerkraut-making-video
Since then I've been experimenting with using ginger more in my sauerkraut. Based on my experiments over the last year, adding ginger to my sauerkraut has completely changed the process for me! Every time I add ginger in, I get perfect sauerkraut!
I don't have a specific recipe for you, but here are the ingredients I used for this last batch of sauerkraut -
1 large & 1 small head of cabbage shredded on our Small Cabbage Shredder
3 large carrots shredded on a cheese grater
~1.5" piece of ginger finely chopped
~1" piece of turmeric finely chopped
We have already eaten half of the sauerkraut that we finished a couple weeks ago! It goes with everything - from scrambled eggs in the morning to my favorite nachos with sauerkraut!
So if you struggle with sauerkraut like I used to, give it a try! Or is there another fermenting recipe that you struggle with?
Sorry for the radio silence here during the holidays! As a small business, we try to do it all, but the truth is we have to make priorities. During the busy Holiday season, our top priority is to get orders out the door quickly. I’m happy to say that despite one of our busiest years yet, we stayed on top of our 1-2 day processing time and had zero late shipments!
In addition to being a small business owner I’m also a mom, which means the holidays are also a time filled with school parties and chorus concerts, tree trimming and cookie making. So instead of posting on social media during the busy season, I spent time making memories with our daughters. I hope that all of you had a chance to do the same!
Now that I’ve finally caught up on my sleep, I’m feeling refreshed and ready conquer the new year! Today I took a break from the boring accounting I’m trying to wrap up to organize one of our “packing stations”.
Having a clean and efficient work space means packing goes smoother, which means I have more time to devote to everything else!
Can you believe it's already been a year since the Can It & Ferment Recipe Book came out? This book has become my go-to resource for preserving our garden, which is why it is the only fermenting book we sell on our website! It's also the reason why we are collaborating with the author, Stephanie Thurow of Minnesota From Scratch for a wonderful anniversary giveaway!
In 2016, Stephanie filled out the contact us form on our website and asked if we would like to contribute to the canning and fermenting recipe book she was writing. Since that email, I have met Stephanie in person only twice, but our relationship online has grown into a wonderful friendship!
Having a fermenting book author as a friend has many great perks, including last week when I needed some help making kimchi for the first time! Thanks to her advice, our first batch was a huge success and is already half eaten.
Another advantage of our friendship, is that I get signed copies of all her latest projects! This month, the publishers of Harris Farmer's Almanac came out with an edited version of Can It & Ferment It as a condensed magazine - Canning & Fermenting. I haven't been able to find a copy anywhere locally, so Stephanie was kind enough to send me this signed copy.
Would you like your own a signed copy of her book or magazine? You're in luck, because we've teamed up with Stephanie for a great giveaway! Last week she gave away our 5L Artisan Leaves Fermenting Crock on her very popular Instagram account. This week it's our turn to host a giveaway!
We've got two great prizes for you today, perfect to get you started fermenting. The first prize is a signed copy of the Can It & Ferment It Recipe Book along with a $25 Stone Creek Trading store credit to purchase whatever fermenting supplies you need our store! The second prize is a signed copy of the new Canning & Fermenting Magazine and a $15 Stone Creek Trading store credit.
We know everyone doesn't have social media, so we wanted to make this giveaway easy to enter. All you have to do is enter your email address in the Rafflecopter widget below and use it to comment on this blog post, no social media required! You can also get extra entries by liking our Facebook pages.
This giveaway ends tomorrow, July 26 at midnight, so be sure to enter right now before you forget! Winners will be announced and contacted via email on Friday, July 27 and have 48 hours to respond before an alternate winner is drawn.
Good luck and happy fermenting!
Today I'm sharing a family favorite recipe that we always make this time of year! This is a great recipe to make in early summer when strawberries in the garden are ripening, and stores have them on sale. It was a staple Sunday afternoon treat during the summer months at Kryz's grandparents house in Poland. Baked by his grandma Lilka, he remembers it being served with a pot of fresh brewed Earl Gray tea!
Server - 12-16 people
Prep time - ~30 minutes
Cooking time - ~50 minutes
4 cups flour
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
5 tbs brown sugar
4 tsp baking powder
6 eggs, separated
6 tbs sour cream
2 tbs half & half or milk
2 lbs fresh strawberries
dash of salt
Preheat oven to 350º. Line (2) 9"x9" pans (round or square) with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cut butter into flour until it is fully incorporated. Add 1/2 cup of white sugar and baking powder and continue cutting/mixing the mixture. Separate the egg yolks and egg whites. Add the yolks, sour cream, and half & half to the flour mixture. Mix thoroughly. Knead the dough into a round ball and it place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Split the dough in two, and press the dough evenly into the baking pans covered with parchment paper. Pierce the whole surface of the dough with fork, so it looks dimpled. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350º, until cake begins to brown slightly.
While the bottom of the cake is baking, prepare the strawberries and meringue. Wash, trim, and quarter strawberries. Sprinkle with brown sugar, and set aside. Begin beating egg whites with salt, then keep beating while adding 1 cup of sugar little bit at a time. Beat egg whites until they are medium stiff to form meringue.
The cake bottom should be ready by now. Remove from oven & increase oven temperature to 375º. Spread the strawberries on top of cake, and cover with a layer of meringue. Bake for another 30 minutes at 375º, or until top begins to brown slightly.
Let it cool before serving. Serve with tea or coffee, or on a hot summer day, with iced tea! Enjoy!
Spring is in the air! The sun was out all weekend and the temperatures were above freezing!! Which has me thinking about all sorts of fun spring projects - around the house and in the garden. As we start to shake off the winter chill I've started thinking about all the fun products we have this year to help you celebrate spring!
Our newest spring product is our beautiful Polish Wood Painted Eggs. These traditional hand painted eggs are the perfect way to add a unique personal touch to your Easter Celebration!
If you live in the Chicago area, I'm sure you've seen lamb shaped butter at Easter time as well. You can't have a Polish Easter meal without your lamb shaped butter! But if you don't live near a store that sells it, or you want to make some yourself, check out all of our traditional Polish butter molds. We have so many fun designs I can't decide which is my favorite!
Of course for me, springtime always means flowers! Which means I want to update my whole house with the beautiful traditional Polish folk art patterns. These fun, bright florals just say spring to me! We have so many different products featuring these folk art designs that it's hard to decide which one to get.
If your spring is anything like ours here in the Midwest, then maybe the best choice for a Polish Folk Art product is an umbrella! Our beautiful clear bubble Lowicz Folk Art Umbrella makes those cold, wet, gray days a little bit brighter.
Now the hard part is deciding just which ones to buy! Or why not order one of each and say goodbye Winter and hello Spring!