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10 Things: Mail Order Edition

Mail Order Season has officially begun –for us that means our volume of shipments goes through the roof and this year we’re sending more boxes than ever. A team of about 2 turns into a team of about 10. A once quiet office turns into a loud machine of box making, choice 90s tunes, taping boxes, carefully hand-packing boxes, labeling boxes, and waving at the UPS guy as he takes our boxes into the world. Boxes are crammed in every available place – and we’re restocking hundreds daily. We’re doing everything we can to bring our deli to your doorstep, but there are some things for you to consider during this holiday season.

 

#1. Meats typically ship frozen. When ordering the larger meats, like 7 pound Hams and 4 pound Porkettas, think about the timing of your event. You may need an extra day or two for the meat to thaw before you can lovingly prepare it for your guests.

#2. We do everything we can to get your order to you as quickly as possible, but weather and UPS operational issues are out of our control. Typically, you can receive orders from us pretty quickly. For orders placed by noon Sunday-Tuesday, we ship your order the next day (if product is in stock). For those in Minnesota, we also ship on Thursdays. Food is shipped UPS 2-day so that it arrives cold on your doorstep. From time to time, Mother Nature gets in the way of the 2-day shipping timeline. And every so often UPS experiences technical issues or trucks break down. It’s so unfortunate when this happens, but we’ll be in touch with you, and happily replace an order if it arrives warm, or extend some other nicety depending on your situation. We’re here to help.

#3. Sustainability is very important to us. We understand that shipping our products across the US has a negative impact on the environment. We’re doing our part to help, and we hope you will too. Your cardboard box with our logo on it is recyclable – just make sure to take the packing tape off and dispose of it. All of our boxes are packed with a “Jean Jacket” liner. They’re soft and squishy, and biodegradable! They can be thrown out or you can take the polyfilm off the liner and compost the blue denim fibers inside. As for the ice packs, please reuse if possible. Use them in your lunch box, on a picnic, or keep in your freezer for just the right occasion. If you need to dispose, they are 100% water soluble.

#4. Give us a call when needed. We’re not robots here. We like to think we’re pretty helpful actually. If you have a question regarding an order, just give us a ring. If you’ve got a question about where your package is, also give us ring, we can easily track your package.

#5. Ordering online is the way to go when possible. Our website ordering process is very smooth. And we’re always looking for ways to add new things to the experience. When you order online, you’re more likely to get coupons emailed to you as well! 15% next order? Yes, please!

#6. Use and care of our products is now included in the yellow slip that comes in your box. If you haven’t noticed that bright yellow slip, check it out! Use and care for our products is as follows:

  • Smoked Fish – Fully cooked and ready to eat. Enjoy or freeze within 3 weeks of date on package.
  • Smoked Meats – Fully cooked and ready to eat. Enjoy or freeze within 1 week of receiving.
  • Salumi – Shelf-stable. Best kept in butcher paper, in your cupboard. Discard or eat rind, slice as needed and enjoy within 1 month.
  • Raw Sausages – Not cooked. Cook as desired, ensuring internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. Use or freeze within 1-2 days.

#7. All of our food is hand-made. We are not a factory. We are a small shop. We hand-make all of our products in small batches. The path of the product from raw meat to fully smoked to being packaged up for nationwide shipping is quite a process. We take pride in this process, and we put love and creativity into every step of it.

#8. Many people love to send our food as gifts during the holidays, but don’t send it as surprise! Since the food must remain cold, it’s good to let the recipient know it’s coming. They’ll want to grab that box as soon as it comes and move the food to their refrigerator. It’s also good to point out here, that we don’t require a signature for delivery. It’s important that the food be dropped off and received as soon as possible after drop off. If we required signatures, it’s more likely the transit time could be extended beyond 2-days, and more likely the food would become spoiled.

#9. We vacuum seal most of our smoked fish and meats. We do this for many reasons. It’s a safe way to transport food for shipping and it looks nice too! If the seal breaks during transport, you mustn’t worry, it’s still safe to eat. Only if the food arrives warm should you throw it out, and call us right away.

#10. Check out some of the newly added items in our Mail Order department! We are now selling the a 3 pound Porketta and Smoked Ham Steaks. We also kept our wildly popular Cajun Finn Kit and Northern Bagel Kit. Think of these as the perfect addition to a special occasion, or the creative alternative to a birthday cake! Find these in the “Gifts” section of our website.

Ok, that’s it for now lovely people – those boxes don’t pack themselves! Place those holiday orders soon, and remember we’re always here to help.

 

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A 2018 Gift Guide

 

 

All Season Fillet- 

This one is a no-brainer for me. This elegant fillet of smoked salmon showcases our Traditional flavor, Pepper and Coriander, Cajun, and Dill. It makes a stunning gift or an eye-catching party platter. To make it easier to serve your guests, score the fish diagonally.

 

Smoked Salmon Dream Box

This gift box is the perfect way to sample all our flavors of Smoked Atlantic Salmon at your next get together, or to wish someone well on their happy occasion. It’s also fun to split them up as little hostess gifts.

Salami Gift Box

Maybe it sounds strange, but salami is my comfort food. I grew up taking salami sandwiches with me to school, sneaking into the refrigerator late at night to steal a few pieces of rolled up salami, and watching my dad trouble deli workers for perfectly cut salami – “paper thin! I want to be able to see through it!”. Our dry-cured salumi is the elevated version of what I remember as a kid. I simply can’t show up to a family gathering without salumi – it’s the blessing and curse of being a Northern Waters employee. This gift box includes 3.5 lbs of dry-cured salumi from our shop – a feast fit for even the most sophisticated snacker. 

 

An Extra Hygge Box 

This curated box is filled with the best of the historic Dewitt Seitz Marketplace. You’ll find some of our most popular products like salumi, traditional salmon, and Castel Vetrano olives – in addition to products from Amazing Grace Cafe, Hepzibah’s Sweet Shoppe, and the Blue Heron Kitchen Co. It’s the perfect spread for your next gathering or the homesick Duluthian. 

 

 

 

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“5” Things

Welcome back. We’re gathered here to address some things. There are more than five this week, since I realized halfway into a drive to Chicago that I hadn’t yet drafted the 5 Things™ post last Friday.

  1. Fall hours! For those who have not yet stopped in for a late-evening sandwich to be met with closed doors, we have moved to our Winter hours: 10am-8pm Monday through Saturday, still 10am-6pm Sunday.
  2. Our “library” is up and running! What is more important: Knowledge or Imagination? I don’t have a conclusive answer, but here at Northern Waters Smokehaus we be
    lieve in a combination of both. Our recipes and business practices are rooted in tradition, but cultivated by that special something that only we, as individuals, can bring to the table. I’m supposed to be talking about a bookshelf here. Bookshelves are exciting enough, easy enough to understand their purpose, but the worlds they can contain are infinite and wonderful and complicated and complex. I think, in a way, that Northern Waters Smokehaus is like a well-stocked bookcase. I’m losing track of this metaphor. Here are some photographs.

  3. Coach visited us! John, aka Coach, a gosh-darn Smokehaus legend, came into town for a friend’s wedding, and we had the joy of serving him and his our Hot Pastrami special. In addition to years of dedicated service and top-notch joking, Coach was also an early tester of our mail order Sandwich Kit initiative after his time at NWS. Thanks for being you, Coach.
  4. We placed an order for 3,000 boxes! Mail Order season is a wild world, and it is almost upon us. To the uninitiated, three thousand boxes likely sounds like a lot. It turns out, the uninitiated are absolutely correct, as it doesn’t take a genius to recognize the masochism to which we subject ourselves each winter. Our boxes come from All Boxes Direct, and are additionally packaged with recycled denim insulation (we add a Jean Jacket to every order).
  5. The Hygge Collection is available! I took a semester of Norwegian in college, but I still struggle with the pronunciation of this word. Fortunately, I’m a pretty good Googler, so I found out the word is Danish and denotes a sense of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of contentment and well-being. This collaborative Dewitt-Seitz Marketplace picnic basket—featuring products from NWS, Hepzibah’s Sweet Shoppe, Blue Heron Trading Company, and Amazing Grace Bakery & Café—might bring a little hygge to you or someone you hold dear.
  6. We’re getting another slicer! It’s no secret that a huge part of our business’s success is our mail order market, but we’re not just slinging whole hams, porkettas, and turkey breasts. Previously, a good portion of the M.O. department’s days would be spent on one or both of the slicers downstairs, but now they will never have to leave the comfort of their very hygge office—even to slice their meats.
  7. The afternoons & evenings have slowed down (temporarily)! Obviously we’re grateful that our business experiences a bunch of endlessly busy days, but from time to time it is enjoyable for those of us on the ground floor to have some shifts to unwind, mess around and convince the restaurant across the hall to deep fry a couple of maple sage turkey & cottage bacon Monte Cristos, tell stories, share favorite music, and give curious customers a little extra attention. It might surprise you, but many humans seek personal enrichment and rewarding experiences, even on the clock. Smokehausers are artists, intellectuals, parents, activists, comedians, scientists, and just genuinely good people, and during the slow season, we have the opportunity to cultivate our own personalities within the context of our workplace.
  8. Sandwich Lab is coming up soon! I’ll write more about this in a future post, but plans are already being laid and sandwich experiments are being refined for our new tradition, the Sandwich Lab, in which we re-learn and re-analyze our techniques, pitch and vote on new potential menu items, and eat a lot of food, and which will be held this year on November 6th. We’ll be closing the shop a little early that day, so we have some space to innovate.

That’s all for this week. I hope none of you lost sleep last week over the missed post. I had sustained no debilitating injuries that kept me from writing, just a bunch of gigs in a row that distracted my simple mind. I’m 99.9% sure I’ll be back here with more Things™ next week, same-ish time.

Oh, and about that Monte Cristo: We made it on our haus-made white bread with swiss and cheddar cheese, and they covered it with French toast batter and graham cracker crumbles before they fried it. We enjoyed it, at their request, with our crayo. The marketing meeting notes inform me our delicious crayo—delicious is an understatement, by the way—will be part of an upcoming mail-order special, so stay tuned for more updates about that.

And finally, Happy Halloweekend, ya ghouls!

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5 Things That Were, Are, Or Have Not Yet Come To Pass

There will be no lengthy preamble to our 5 Things™ this week. Just gaze into the Mirror of Galadriel—

  1. Oktoberfest at Hoops! Gosh, we are pumped to be a part of this event. On Saturday, October 6th, from 1-11pm, we’ll be bringing our German A-game to Hoops Brewing to the kind of pop-up this Goerdt-owned business has been waiting for. There’s no definitive menu yet, but preliminary discussion has mentioned our Classic German brats, hella sauerkraut and beets. Check out details (beet-tails?) here and here.
  2. Anniversary party raffle! A growing list of businesses are joining forces with us to raise funds for Together For Youth, “an inclusive, supportive and welcoming group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, two spirit and allied youth in Duluth and Virginia, Minnesota,” that works to offer a safe space and resource network for area youth. $1 raffle tickets will go on sale next week in our shop, and will be sold until the end of our 20th anniversary party and afterparty. Winners will be announced the following week. This is an opportunity to raise some serious cash for an organization doing important work in our community. 100% of raffle proceeds will go to Together For Youth. Tune in in the next few weeks for a complete list of participating businesses: The prizes are sure to be awesome.
  3. A Dewitt-Seitz Marketplace collaborative picnic basket is in the works! This egregiously long subheading is for the outdoorsy types and leaf peepers, and it pretty much does most of the work for the body of text. The picnic baskets will go on sale in October. Participating businesses at time of press include Amazing Grace Bakery & Café, Blue Heron Trading Company, Hepzibah’s Sweet Shoppe, and yours truly. Combine this with some warm beverages from Duluth Coffee Company, or some craft brews from one of our many local breweries, then head out to Hawk’s Ridge, some length of Lake Superior shore, or a spot along Skyline Parkway and you’ll be well on your way to being about as ‘Luth as it gets.
  4. Option 1 is in full-effect! For more information about Option 1, check out the press release. I have enjoyed several of my breaks in the new seating areas, and it is definitely nice to have more outdoor public seating options in the area. This week I am very excited about the sweet new paint-by-numbers mural—Akawe Nibi, by Moira Villiard—located on Buchanan Street. Villiard designed the mural, and the locals and tourists in the community came together over two days to paint it. Come down and see it in person, and have a relaxing lunch amidst the chaos of Canal Park.*
  5. We had an all-staff meeting on Sunday! Four-ish times a year, we gather as many of our 40+ employees as we can fit in our third-floor office and discuss the goings-on and future of the business—new products, the fate of our enormous menu**, new employees, precisely how many new employees we still need (hit us up with those résumés), and the latest inside jokes. As always, the true purpose of the meeting is to make it to the end and consume pizza and sudsy beverages.

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s installment of 5 Things™ and keep tuning in each week. It is my pleasure to keep you updated. Perhaps I should go home and watch The Fellowship of the Ring, because it has begun to affect my work.

*Note: Not all opinions expressed in this blog fully reflect the views of Northern Waters Smokehaus, and chaos is not inherently bad.
**It’s going to stay enormous, but we’re working on developing a quick-start menu those new to our store, interested in knowing the must-try items.

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5 things – What’s New in Mail Order

5 things coming to you from the desk of the Mail Order Director this week. I’ve had an amazing year in 2017 at the Smokehaus. From learning the ropes from my dear colleagues Flo and Mary (and the whole staff really), to being given the autonomy to research and implement new systems and processes to grow this department, to learning that you can have a job that is actually fun, challenging and creative but not all consuming. What a find, I think. I made it through the busy month of December, and now there’s time to breath and dream and scheme (as they say around here) on all the fun things we can do for our amazing customers this year.

For starters – here’s 5 recent additions to our Mail Order website (in case you missed them):

#1 Country Pate (we know it’s not for everyone, but once you try it, you may get hooked) is now offered in 3 sizes: 1/3 pound, 1/2 pound, whole loaf. The 1/3 pound is obviously the cutest, coming in the small container we affectionately call “the casket.”

country pate

#2 We’re working on amping up the grocery items available to ship. Many have asked for them, and more to come. So far, you can purchase our Hausmade Kimchi, Kraut and Crayo. Take your home sandwich-making up 10 notches with these badass items.

crayo sandwich

#3 Cheese and crackers. It’s as simple as that. You can now add Cheese + Crackers to your order for $10. Just need the crackers? You can do that too. And you know you want to add them, because it’s the easiest way to enjoy so many of our products, and the fastest way to get a party started.

cheese and crackers

#4 We have a new section on our website for “Seasonal” items/gift boxes! With our plans to offer new pairings, seasonal offerings, and promotional discounts, you can find all those good things now in the Seasonal section. In case you missed it, right now, we have super awesome Super Bowl snack packs, and a Valentine’s Day box for sweethearts everywhere.

football snacks

#5 And we’ll be working on a great many more things this year! Be on the lookout for Ham Steaks (in case you don’t want the whole 7 pounder), Portioned Porkettas (dinner for 2?), and Atlantic Salmon Boxes including 4 pieces of a single flavor (i.e. we know those purists love the Traditional Style!).

the perfectionist

Please keep eating our food, and staying in touch with us 🙂 We love to hear from you, and we love to feed you.

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The Art of Gift Giving

Let’s face it, not everyone is good at giving gifts. Remember that Seinfeld episode? The one where Jerry gives Elaine 182 dollars to her snarky response, but then weeps when given a beautiful wooden bench she asked for, complete with a Yeats-quoted card (from Kramer, of all people).  Now, there’s the art of gift giving.

“Think where man’s glory most begins and ends and say my glory was I had such a friend.” – Yeats

At the Smokehaus, we appreciate fine and thoughtful things, and pairing certain items together for special gift boxes throughout the year brings us great joy. We know many of our mail order customers have been to the Canal Park deli on a special trip to Duluth. They have fond memories of being in our small shop, of traipsing around the Northland for summer fun and whimsy, all coupled with the mouth-watering goodness that filled their bellies and their memories. And perhaps, you’ve thought about how to bring the feelings of the Smokehaus into your own dining room.

We do understand giving the gift of specialty food mailed right to your door is a luxury, and that’s why we send the freshest product, handle and package each item with care and respect, and are sure to email or call you with any questions about your order or desired delivery time. (We even accept custom gift box orders.) We hope you feel giddy when you receive these special boxes of smoked delicacies. And we hope you will send a gift box to a friend someday, or a mother, for a special occasion, or to share together over beers on the deck, recounting all the hilarity and inside jokes from that last trip up the shore.

Gift Boxes Courtesy of the Smokehaus

Order Mother’s Day Gift Boxes by Wednesday, May 10th to ensure delivery before Mother’s Day.

Order Father’s Day Gift Boxes by Wednesday, June 14th, to ensure delivery before Father’s Day.

Order Northern Bagel Sandwich Kits anytime for that special someone, or special people. The Northern Bagel has been featured on our menu since 2001.

How many times have you been to the Canal Park deli? Who did you come with? Leave comments above.

Cheers, friends! And Happy Gift Giving!