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TDG: Harry & David v. Fairway


Fat Guy
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Really, how can anyone be proud of beating a worker in this day and age?  Got to be kidding. I hope you were. I would be besides myself in rage if I saw that or heard that as a serious report.  Tell me you are exaggerating.

Please tell me that.

They're probably paid piecework. Speed counts if that's the case.

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Florida oranges, baby!

http://www.alexsflamingogroves.com/

These guys have awesome oranges and grapefruits. You simply can't match their quality in supermarkets or even high-end fruit stores in big cities. And they do some tasteful gift boxes that bundle fruit with jams and such.

Thanks FG.

Every year, Ed Schoenfeld sends his friends a gift of oranges.

They are from Florida and the best we have all year.

A thoughful gift, without any fuss, and the fuss that takes place is in the pleasure we get from eating those amazing fruits and calling Ed and thanking him several days.

You can see what a difference I make. With Harry & David the fuss is all in packaging for them, opening for me. None whatsoever after. It is a downhill journey once you open even one box.

With this simple gift of great fruit, after opening the simply but carefully packaged box, fuss is made over the fruit everytime you taste it.

I would take the latter any day over the fuss of gilded ribbons and fancy boxes.

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Fat Guy-Thanks for the alternative. Although I've sent the Towers from H&D, I 've never actually eaten them (first mistake of gift giving). I talked to a co-worker and he said he gets the H&D towers every year and thinks it's overrated. So maybe you guys are right about the fruit. I'll have to take your word on Alex's, since I'm just now ordering my Christmas gift and hope it's not too late.

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For the record, I am using five purveyors this year for my Holiday presents.

(1)Graeter's Ice Cream-The best ice cream in North America - maybe the world. Yes better than Berthillon.

I'm down with the Graeter's. Good, good stuff.

And this company is SO reponsive that when my sister sent me an order year before last (6 pint assortment) and it had melted before I got to it, they sent ANOTHER six pints at no charge without even asking a question. It was COMPLETELY our fault (she had been trying to surprise me, but hadn't known that I wasn't going home that night), but Graeter's didn't care. It was just good business to ask no questions and send it all again.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Fat Guy-Thanks for the alternative.  Although I've sent the Towers from H&D, I 've never actually eaten them (first mistake of gift giving).  I talked to a co-worker and he said he gets the H&D towers every year and thinks it's overrated.  So maybe you guys are right about the fruit.  I'll have to take your word on Alex's, since I'm just now ordering my Christmas gift and hope it's not too late.

Also look for Surroundings Florist.

They are based in NYC.. and if you tell them about the person they are shipping too, they will ensure the gift is everything that person would like.

H&D is great for looks and ease etc... but the products, fruit and other edibles are far from top notch. Sad, but true.

I hope you like Alex's. :smile:

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Surroundings

224 West 79th Street

New York, NY

(212) 580- 8982

They will use their national partners to the advantage of their customers.

It is well worth the long distance call to use them instead of most other florists and basket makers.

While traveling around the country, I use them and with great confidence. They always do better than I have expected. And having seen their usual very high standard, I have always been looking out for great stuff.

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I haven't had the pears for years, but always liked them. Probably says more about the quality of other fruit available then than of the H&D. HOWEVER- at work yesterday- someone put out H&D "Chocolate Rosebuds", essentially chocolate lollipops. If you come across one of these, BEWARE! Resist all temptation to take a bite, unless you want to taste some of the nastiest "chocolate" this side of carob. :wacko:

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unless you want to taste some of the nastiest "chocolate" this side of carob.

So many wonderful turns of phrase on eGullet -- I hope future anthropologists discover and catalog them all.

I know it's down to the wire, but another great gift source is The Peanut Roaster:

http://www.peanut.com

Now you're thinking, "There's no way in the world that peanuts could ever be an interesting gift." And since you haven't tasted the peanuts from The Peanut Roaster, you're not crazy for thinking that. But we have a friend in North Carolina who sends us this company's products from time to time, and the peanuts are just incredible. Eating them makes you realize that peanuts are actually a worthwhile food.

The basic product is a nice red tin of peanuts. They look just like normal peanuts (these are out of the shell), except they're quite large -- probably twice as large as the ones in the jar of Planter's you get at CVS. But the taste is orders of magnitude more intense than that of ordinary peanuts.

The secret, as far as I can tell, is that they deep-fat-fry the peanuts. You'd never be able to figure it out from looking at them or tasting them. There's no oily residue, they remain very light in color, and they don't have any sort of identifiably fried taste. But texturally they are ultra crunchy, and the frying process really locks in their flavor.

The company also makes the best peanut brittle I've ever had, as well as some other products that look promising.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The company also makes the best peanut brittle I've ever had, as well as some other products that look promising.

You are a very naughty man to tease those with a sweet tooth like mine with such news soooo very late in the day.. :angry:

What am I to do now? Where can I get that peanut brittle fix sated?

I crave the peantu brittle my mother would make for us each week in the Indian winter... It was the most amazing brittle I have ever eaten...

With your endorsement, I think I can well imagine this one would take me back to that memory.. and taste..

I shall order some tonight.... Thanks for the link...

And thanks to your friend that introduced y'all to these goodies. :smile:

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I also ordered 10 of the Tower of Treats 2 Christmases ago and my family still raves about how good everything was. I planned on doing the same this year until I saw that shipping would cost me well over $100.

I guess my family and I don't have very discriminating tastes.  Granted, the three things I mentioned above are the only things I buy when I go there, the other stuff just doesn't tempt me.  Oh well to each his own.

I don't think anyone has implied the stuff is awful. The consensus is that it looks better than it tastes and that if you've got a great market near you, you can get much better fruit for much less money. Guess what, few people have a great greengrocer near them. None of that may have anything to do with why your family raves about the gift. First of all, most people appreciate what they've been led to believe they should appreciate. Harry and David advertise successfully. More important however, may be the fact most well behaved civilized people are going to praise your gift as well as they can.

My wife seriously asked me if I thought there was anyway she could suggest to a client's secretary that she'd like a nice bottle of Champagne rather than the assorted gift baskets that have been coming in lieu of the Champagne the previous secretary used to send. The new baskets appear to be more expensive, if unappreciated. Many of items contained in previous years' baskets are still sitting on shelves in their original jars, bottles or boxes. Of course, after all our musings, we agreed that it just wan't possible. Even the suggestion that a donation be made in her name to charity would have impolitely suggested she expected a gift. Naturally, this year's gift basket was even less appreciated than any previous one, but next week my wife will send a gift to the client along with her sincere thanks for the gift she received. The client will tell my wife how thoughtful her gift was and none of us will ever know what the other was really thinking.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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It's a conspiracy of silence built on a foundation of politeness. Apparently you can operate quite a successful company on that premise.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Fat Guy and Suvir....thanks for the recommendations!! I was too late to order from Alex's and when I called Peanuts, overnight shipping was going to be over $140, thanks to my procrastinating. So, I did order the sweet trio of peanuts for myself and will have to scramble on Monday and Tuesday to find a nearby store with gift baskets or something similiar.

Thanks again.

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Fat Guy and Suvir....thanks for the recommendations!!  I was too late to order from Alex's and when I called Peanuts, overnight shipping was going to be over $140, thanks to my procrastinating.  So, I did order the sweet trio of peanuts for myself and will have to scramble on Monday and Tuesday to find a nearby store with gift baskets or something similiar.

Thanks again.

Call Surroundings in NYC and ask them to deliver the gift baskets.

They can deliver across the nation. They have great affiliates around the nation.

I have ordered from Peanuts as well.

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Here in Canada, I can't hardly think of any prominent national mail-order sources, that specializes in food gift baskets, along the lines of Harry & David. Maybe this gift basket thing, is more of a US thing. Even Canadian food mail order sources are fairly hard-to-find(not even talking about, if any of them are any good). Food gift baskets are available across Canada, but mostly done by local merchants, for their specific area.

----------------

Steve

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Is mail-order big anywhere outside the US? I get the feeling they don't do a lot of it in France, China, or Argentina either.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Suvir, I called Surroundings and visited their website "surroundingsflowers.com", but I just can't afford their prices. A regular gift basket is $250 and a customized one is $125. But thanks for telling me about them...when I need to get one special gift for one special person, I'll get it from here. Everything looks so beautiful But right now, I have too many people to buy for.

Thanks again....

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Cheffie3,

I am glad you found their site attractive. What is wonderful is that the stuff you get is even more so. They do custom stuff. Maybe they have become more expensive in the last year.

But yes baskets are minimum $125.00.

And it has always been a consideration.

But as you said, for those special occasions for a very special someone, it makes sense.

What other sites/vendors are you considering?

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We got a gift package sent to us from H & D last Xmas of apples and pears. The apples were awful-- one bite into that mealy, mooshy flesh told you the apples were inedible; the pears were just OK.

As a matter of fact, I have just ordered some end-of-season apples from a small farmer in Maine-- he says that many of the store apples you buy today could have been picked up to 18 month ago!! I will report further when I get the apples. I also plan to check out ordering pears from small farms in Oregon. I have ordered Oranges from a small farm in Florida last year and they were fabulous. I will order them again in January.

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Well, I finally had one of my Xmas H&D pears. I was too busy with my Payard chocolates to get around to these dissed pears.

Well, surprise, surprise, it was fabulous. I noticed that half were already gone, a surprise since my wife isn't a pear fan.

They were ripening quickly. After bringing it into work and back home (the office went out to eat), it was ripe to an extreme, sort of bruised looking, and almost went into the trash.

That objectionable skin? It worked wonders on the fruit! Yes it still tasted coarse, but it functioned as packaging, almost a box for the succulent fruit within. Concentrated pear flavor, fabulous juice dribbling all over, not a bit of oxidized flavor in spite of it's DMZ look. It was worth the whole tower for that one pear!

PS The apple was very crisp, but only average in flavor.

beachfan

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  • 1 month later...

For you New Yorkers reading this, I just wanted to note that there is a Harry & David store at Woodbury Commons. I think they sell the pears at a discount; at the very least, you would avoid shipping charges.

Of course, if you drove up the Henry Hudson, you could stop along the way and buy the comice pears at Fairway uptown...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Somewhere in one's life there should be a catagory to calculate:"Why are things so expensive?" (Especially in this country where packagaing and marketing dictates the food industry.)

Anyway, my wife and I spend a day each week volunteering at a food bank. You should see the volume of H&D "undeliverables" we pickup at holiday time from a regional post office. it is staggering. After a few years in business I can imagine the price premimum that this type of goods commands simply just because of the spoilage. My guess is that approximately 20% of what is shipped is undeliverable.... and Harry and David ain't gona accept returns of rotten pears. Don't get me wrong, the food bank is grateful for these gleenings, but, my, what a costly, wasteful product.

dave

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