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flower-pot-bread

As we pause for a few days of feasting and reflecting, one of our favorite ways to celebrate is by incorporating our flower pots into our holiday plans. While the most straightforward way to do this is to use them as part of a centerpiece or floral decoration, we’ve found that using our simple red clay pots to make flower pot bread is a highlight of the season.

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or a large mixing bowl if you’re kneading by hand) add baking mix and yeast and blend with your hands until evenly distributed.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg and 4 teaspoons milk. Add in 3/4 cup warm water (straight from the tap is fine) and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the egg mixture to the flour and mix with your hands until a shaggy dough forms.
  4. Using the dough hook attachment mix on medium-low for 7 minutes. Dough should be smooth, pliable and soft but not sticky.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Form the dough into a loaf by tucking the back side of the dough into itself and turning clockwise and repeating until you have a  a nice round smooth ball of dough.
  6. Divide the dough evenly into four sections. Repeat the above action of tucking and turning with each of the four balls of dough so you have 4 mini round loafs.
  7. Coat the inside of your seasoned terracotta baking pots thoroughly with vegetable oil. Place one ball of dough in each baking pot. Cover baking pots with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm area for 1 hour. After an hour, dough should be about the height of the baking pots.
  8. Preheat oven to 350˚F and continue to let rise until the dough is above the lip of the baking pot. Place baking pots on a baking sheet and bake on the center rack for 18 minutes.
  9. Let cool. When the bread and baking pots are cool enough to handle turn over and using a knife scrap any dough off the bottom of the pot. Remove each loaf from the baking pots and let both cool for 5-10 minutes. Return bread to terracotta baking pot, serve with homemade lavender butter.
  10. Wash terracotta baking pots with warm water and plan your next flower pot loaf. Elastic doughs work great with a well oiled baking pot. For runnier doughs (like quick breads) line your baking pot with parchment paper.

Original Recipe may be found at https://farmsteady.com/baking-flower-pot-bread/

The houzz.com slideshow below has some tremendous ideas for Fall container plantings. Preparing and selling pre-planted containers such as these can be an especially great way for independent garden centers to separate themselves from the big boxes, as this is a level of service that just can’t be scaled. While most of the pots shown in the slides aren’t ours, we do have very similar items to most of them on hand for quick shipment.

COntainer StackOur catalog is packed with flower pots and planters from almost 20 different factories and workshops scattered across the world. We often get questions about how we are able to bring these pots into our warehouse from these far-flung locations while maintaining attractive retail price points.

The Wall Street Journal just produced a brief video which answers these questions beautifully: How a Metal Box Changed the World

Imagine what a difference it would make in your garden to switch out earth-toned pots that blend in with the background with containers that visually pop in shades of blue, red, orange or even purple. Colorful containers can be used in many ways to stand out and grab our attention in outdoor spaces — often where it’s more challenging to add color. Not all of the pots shown in the article are ours, but we’ve got similar ones available – remember that it’s the concepts and colors that are most important, not the specific planters.

pantone-color-of-the-year-2018-ultra-violet-lee-eiseman-quoteIt’s the end of the year, which means that it’s time for the color gurus to start releasing their thoughts on the direction of fashion for the next 12 months. As always with these projections, we recommend that you view them only as general guidance, and to not let them overly influence your pottery buying plans – you are likely much more in tune with what your customers will be shopping for than are these national organizations.

Pantone has just announced that their selection for the color of the year for 2018 is going to be Ultra Violet, a rich purple leaning slightly towards blue. Here are their notes on the selection:

“A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.

Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.

Enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance. Musical icons Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix brought shades of Ultra Violet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality. Nuanced and full of emotion, the depth of PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.

Historically, there has been a mystical or spiritual quality attached to Ultra Violet. The color is often associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s over-stimulated world. The use of purple-toned lighting in meditation spaces and other gathering places energizes the communities that gather there and inspire connection.”

In a related development, Benjamin Moore Paints also projected the big color for 2018, and  their team of style-makers disagreed with Pantone, selecting “Caliente”, a rich ruby red as their winner:

We love the idea of living Christmas trees because they open up a whole new avenue for off season plant and flower pot sales. Will this trend continue to take root and become a driver of seasonal business for garden centers? Houzz.com offers ideas on how your customers can embrace this exciting concept:

As Lauren Dunec Hoang points out in this terrific idea book from Houzz, “nothing has more immediate impact on the mood of a garden than color”. The principles and palettes that she details can be applied to any garden or landscaping project, from a multi-pot container garden to a large flower garden. No matter the scale of the project, brightly colored flower pots and planters are a great way to highlight specific colors, and to ensure that those colors remain part of your garden palette even after the flowers fade.

The houzz.com slideshow below has some tremendous ideas for Springtime container plantings. Preparing and selling pre-planted containers such as these can be an especially great way for independent garden centers to separate themselves from the big boxes, as this is a level of service that just can’t be scaled. While most of the pots shown in the slides aren’t ours, we do have very similar items to most of them on hand for quick shipment.

Lee_Eisemann Pantone Color of the Year 2017 GREENERYIt seems as though the folks at Pantone release a new “color of the year” every few months. This time around, the winner is a leafy, earthy tone they’ve named “Greenery”.

On the one hand, this is great news for those of us in the Lawn and Garden industry, as this exact color is found in the foliage of hundreds of different plants.

On the other hand, pottery and accessory items in this particular selection don’t really fly off of garden center shelves precisely because the color matches such a wide variety of natural greenery.

This is a great opportunity to capitalize on this color trend by merchandising with colors that pair well with the Pantone selection. A couple of sample palettes are shown below for inspiration – it is worth noting the presence of mushroom and grey colors in several of the palettes below – these colors are gaining steam right now.

Color of the Year 2017 - Color Pairings and Palettes

pantone color of the year

deep rooted

flower-pot-breadFor as long as humans have been making ceramic objects, they have been crafting clay into vessels to store and prepare food. From the Tandoor ovens of India, to the Tanjine of North Africa, to the Romertopf of Germany, virtually every pottery producing society on the planet has a range of traditional dishes and cooking methods centered around terra cotta clay.

In North America, we tend to reserve our red clay for flower pots and planters, while doing most of our cooking in metal pots and pans.  In spite of this history, many people are discovering the unique properties that terra cotta  clay offers to the chef, and are creatively re-purposing our German red clay pots and saucers for a variety of culinary purposes.

The porous nature of the terra cotta used to make these flower pots allows both moisture and heat to circulate through the body of the planter, encouraging even cooking temperatures and gentle browning. Here are some of our favorite uses that we’ve come across:

Our lawyers insist that we make the point that the intended use for all of the pots and planters that we sell is for use as containers for plants and flowers. That said, should you feel an overwhelming urge to unleash your hidden terra cotta chef, all of our German red clay pots and saucers are free of any harmful substances: these pots and saucers are lead-free, and their ceramic body is of natural mineral origin, and does not contain any heavy metals or chemical additives.

Our German red clay pots will not release any harmful vapors when exposed to heat, and that any contact between foodstuffs and the bodies of these pots and will be harmless if basic food safety rules are followed.