All of February, we’re running a 10%-off mail order sale on all Smoked Traditional Atlantic Salmon products, including A Hygge Box.
Instead of regaling the release of four newsandwiches, and the return of two sandwiches, or blathering about the ongoing emptying of our office, we’ll let this week be a self-guided tour. Follow the links to explore the world of Smoked Traditional Atlantic Salmon—an item that consistently hangs at the top of our bestsellers list.
In other news: Yesterday, your friendly neighborhood blogger had his first bite of The Pack Lunch—the premier sandwich of our upcoming collaborative relationship with our own friendly neighbors at Duluth Pack—and it is really good! Haus rye, with horseradish mayo, a quarter-pound of Corned Bison, cornichon pickles, red onion, maple syrup, and lettuce comprise this perfect trailside sandwich, which will be launched alongside an awesome new Duluth Pack-designed Smokehaus tote bag. Expect a launch date sometime shortly after the ides of March.
In similar fashion, an as-of-yet unnamed smoked fish sandwich will be arriving around the same time. A lovely supporter of the Boundary Waters won the naming rights in the Friends of the Boundary Waters auction last year. We can’t wait to see what sort of name they come up with!
We could all use a bit more hygge in our lives. Hygge is a useful, if tricky to translate, Danish term describing “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being,” and it’s the central principle guiding our midwinter gift box.
At NWS, we believe that feeling of contentment and well-being can be found by reveling in the good things that surround us in our Northern home. We also believe that, in this workaday world, sometimes embracing hygge requires a little inspiration—just the gentlest push. That’s why we’ve curated this year’s box of local goodness aimed at providing you and your loved ones with the means for a cozy evening in.
This weeks 5 Things will take a closer look at exactly what makes up the 2020 edition of the Hygge Gift Box!
NWS Traditional Smoked Atlantic Salmon
Our Traditional Smoked Atlantic Salmon is buttery, sweet, and smoky. To many in our loyal customer-base, this smoked salmon is the taste of Northern Waters Smokehaus, and they’ll make a pit-stop in Duluth on their way North (or South) just to procure a piece. The centerpiece of every Hygge Gift Box is a half-pound slab of this delicious smoked fish.
Local Midwestern Cheese
Cheese is literally calming—it’s been scientifically proven! Beyond that, cheese just tastes good. We choose our cheeses with love and care, and you’ll feel it. Each Hygge Gift Box comes with a selection of one of our favorite regional cheeses, just like we sell in our deli.
Snooty Fox Tea
Nothing evokes “comfortable conviviality and … well-being” quite like tea. Local tea artisans Snooty Fox Tea Shop have provided us with an assortment of their most calming and convivial tea blends. Each Hygge Gift Box contains seven sachets of Gold Spice Rooibos, Boreal Forest Herbal Blend, or Sauna Steamer Black Blend. Enjoy life like you enjoy tea—sip by sip.
Epicurean Cutting Board
Epicurean produces top-quality cutting boards and kitchenware right out of our neck-of-the-woods. Our friends at the Epicurean Factory Outlet in Superior, WI provided the perfect utility tool for your curated hygge experience: A compact walnut woodgrain cutting board. This beautifully-crafted walnut board is the perfect size for a mini charcuterie platter featuring your smoked salmon and local cheese, and it will ingratiate itself as a favorite piece of kitchenware.
Blue Heron Trading Co. Dish Towel
For the final contribution from our local friends, we just walked down the hall to the Blue Heron Trading Company. This beloved kitchen store is not just our #1 source for replacement vegetable peelers and fantastic $1 cups of coffee, but also provided the final touch to your hygge experience—a hand towel! Whether you use it as a table-cover under your charcuterie platter, use it for clean-up, or both, this Blue Heron-branded towel will serve you well for years to come.
(Bonus Thing: Raincoast Crisps from Patricia’s Pantry)
A bonus for purposes of this blog’s allocated number of Things™, our resident baker savant Patricia has crafted these wonderful crackers especially for the Hygge Gift Box. Blending nuts, seeds, and dehydrated fruits with herbs and just a touch of brown sugar, the Raincoast Crisps are the ideal compliment to the included smoked salmon, cheese, and tea, and, with their nutritious ingredients-list, are virtually guilt-free snacking.
The Hygge Gift Box is now available exclusively online! Each box is tastefully assembled per order.
This week has been quite a ride, with Eric and a handful of others attending the Fortune Fish and Gourmet Expo on Monday, bringing back a whole heck of a lot of chocolate “samples,” which made a great Tuesday morning “breakfast”; a ton of huge delivery and pickup orders throughout the week (on Thursday, they made 130 box lunches by 11am in the basement); and a number of us took sick days this week—hopefully the days off do the trick and the illness ends there—so we were playing with a smaller team this week. And the ride isn’t over. This weekend, we’ll be catering the wedding of a beloved former coworker. Who says all the fun has to stay in Summer?
Last week, I mentioned that five of the top seven bestselling sandwiches at our deli are fish sandwiches, and since I’m approaching this week’s blog somewhat fatigued from making dozens of each of those fish sandwiches respectively this workweek, I have opted to tell you a little bit about each of them, in no particular order.
The Cajun Finn
The sandwich: Haus-baked ciabatta roll, scallion cream cheese, Cajun Smoked Atlantic Salmon, pepperoncini, roasted red pepper, lettuce.
There is not much to say about the Cajun Finn that hasn’t already been said. As a sandwich that easily outpaces the combined sales of half of the other sandwiches on our menu, it doesn’t really need any further advertising. I mean, our marketing department still occasionally invests some time into telling you about it—heck, I’m doing it right now—but the rolling snowball that became an avalanche that is this sandwich became that way primarily through word-of-mouth, both literally, and via its generous inclusion in peoples’ blog posts and social media chatter. A large percentage of our online reviews contain its name, sometimes even the negative reviews leave space for a caveat about the Cajun Finn being our saving grace (apologies to those reviewers for whatever happened to go wrong—likely our wait time on a busy day—but we’re glad you enjoyed the sandwich nonetheless).
The Sitka Sushi: my first favorite Smokehaus sandwich and number-one recommendation. The name and contents are a nod to Eric’s time in Sitka, Alaska. Formerly, we made it with ginger- and lemon-cured Alaskan Sockeye gravlax, which was deeply flavorful, but a little tough and unwieldy. Recently we have switched over to a softer, more buttery, traditional Scandinavian style of gravlax, made with Atlantic salmon, but the sandwich still packs a punch.
Imagine a rich musical chord, composed of interwoven consonances (cabbage and gravlax, bread and oil, cucumber) and dissonances (wasabi mayo and sriracha, cilantro and pickled ginger), rolled from the bass up the highest note, then sustained, with hidden, aleatoric melodies discovering themselves and chiming out all the while. Then, transpose that chord into a flavor pallet, and imagine every bite—thoroughly savored—as a new re-rolling of that chord.
When I began working at Northern Waters Smokehaus, there was a sandwich called the Salmon Garden. Within days (it seemed), the sign for that sandwich had two vowels scribbled over, and became the Salmon Gordon. A few months passed, and then we had the Slammin’ Gordon on our hands, and everyone just pretended like nothing happened. Here ends the very incomplete, abridged history of the sandwich formerly known as the Salmon Garden.
Smoked Salmon Pâté is delightful, due in part to the blend of our haus Salmon seasonings—dill, cajun, black pepper & coriander—working as a team to bring you this flavor, which is rounded out with garlic, lemon juice and horseradish. So if you spread it on our most decadent bread option—not only is the naan incredibly soft and pillowy, but also quite buttery—something good is bound to happen. The veggies and greens give enough of a nod to health-consciousness that it doesn’t just feel like dessert.
The Northern Bagel
The sandwich: Lake Superior Bakehouse bagel, scallion cream cheese, Traditional Smoked Atlantic Salmon or gravlax.
This sandwich is great because it its simplicity of form belies its complexity of flavor. Lake Superior Bakehouse Bagels are so good you could probably just take a bite out of an uncut, un-toasted one and have a decent time. Add to that the sweetness and pungency of Traditional Smoked Atlantic Salmon, or buttery, spice-infused gravlax, and round it off with the earthy umami of scallion cream cheese, and your mouth and olfactory system have some serious flavors to sort out. Furthermore, it reads as a breakfast sandwich, eats like lunch, and isn’t half bad at the end of the day either.
The sandwich: Lake Superior Bakehouse bagel, scallion cream cheese, capers, Black Pepper & Coriander Smoked Atlantic Salmon, red onion, tomato, lettuce.
I have to say—delicious as this sandwich is, I still remain skeptical of it. For starters, it’s a very seasonal name, and yet—it persists on our board, due to sales. Secondly, it is a very tall stack of ingredients, which are very delicious together, but once stacked and cut in half, like to fall over—which is fine if presentation is unimportant, but ultimately a challenge in the middle of a rush. Still, this is a fantastic stack of ingredients. It’s the mature version of the Northern Bagel.
It’s a big week in town: Homegrown Music Festival is in full-effect.
But this isn’t a music blog, so let’s stay on-track.
A changing of the guard.
Another month has gone by, and that means it’s time for a new Sandwich Lab special. On Monday, May 6th, the warm, buttery aroma and savory goodness of the Bloody Mary is leaving our deli to make way for our first ever avocado sandwich, the Wallaby.
Enjoy some different angles of the Wallaby.
Framed with our haus-baked Prince Myshkin rye, the Wallaby also features fresh tomato slices, ramps, lemon pepper, and a balsamic reduction.
Ironically brought to our collective attention by Michael, who is allergic to avocados, the sandwich is inspired by the best-selling sandwich at Creekside Coffee in Sedona, AZ, where he worked for a time.
The Wallaby’s run will span from May 6th to June 3rd.
Beer and wine.
If all goes as planned—which seems to be the case—come Summer, we’ll be licensed to serve beer and wine. This is big news for us. As a company forever growing in our hearts, expanding our business to accommodate such a popular commodity can only be a good thing. While nothing is set in stone, the conversation has revolved around a curated selection of beer in cans and boxed wines.
We hope you’ll join us on our patio this Summer and enjoy an appropriate amount of buzz with your sandwich.
We packaged 150 lbs of smoked bacon.
In individual pounds, to boot!
An online food retail service—which I’m not going to name, since I believe there is an amount of surprise/secrecy implied—has selected our smoked bacon to be a part of its monthly subscription box that may or may not be called “The Best of the Best.” We’re honored that our bacon has been recognized as such, just as we’re stoked every time anyone tells us (or their friends) that one of our offerings is their favorite.
Lamb taco pasties.
Tuesday’s tacos were in a class of their own. Taylor whipped up some Lamb Birria—an adobo sauce originating in Jalisco, Mexico, traditionally served in a soup form, but adopted as a style of taco—which we served on corn soft-shells with pickled red onion, cotija cheese, cilantro, and salsa verde. This savory and mildly spicy delight blends guajillo chiles, ancho chiles, garlic, cinnamon, Mexican oregano and bay leaf, and slow-cooks all those flavors into tender shredded lamb shank.
Patricia, never missing a beat, apportioned some of the special for a limited run of pasties.
Yes, imagine all of the above ingredients packaged together inside a folded and rolled masa pastry, available to be heated in our deli, or taken home and prepared on your own time.
If you love or even casually enjoy stuffed pastries, check our meat case when you stop in for the latest pasty selection.
Work. I don’t know who invented work, but I’d like to have a word with them. It typically makes up anywhere from a quarter to just over a third of the hours in the day—unless I’m really out of touch with whom is reading this blog—and oftentimes you’re seeing the same rotation of people when you work. It’s sort of like a family. Needless to say, things can get a bit tense, and even blow up, as they did in this case.
When I sat down at Leif’s desk—which is my favorite place to write the 5 Things™ blog, due not only to the fantastic natural light and eclectic decorations, but equally to the risk of needing to move all of my mess when Leif needs to write a schedule or print a sign—I was appalled, though not surprised to find this remnant of an interpersonal clash.
Please remember that every person you meet and each of your coworkers is following their own personal path, and struggling with all of their own issues which are not only valid, but also impossible to fully comprehend unless that person is you, and even then those struggles may not be fully comprehensible. Look for the goodness in others and be a mirror to reflect back that goodness. And lay off the demerits.
This week has gone by in a blur, or maybe it’s just me. Between the unexpectedly busy lunches, self-imposing limited hours on my office days, running out of gas on the freeway and showing up an hour-plus late, and three separate band practices each falling directly after a full day of work, I’m not quite sure where the week went.
But there’s a handful of Things™ to freeze-frame within that blur, so let’s take a brief moment to slow down together.
Bison Buddies are back in stock!
Bison, sourced to our specifications, is expensive. We took a brief break from making Bison Buddies, relying instead on our Royale With Cheese bacon-cheeseburger sticks, Big Jim hatch chili beef sticks, and Smoked Sockeye Salmon Buddies to sate your meat stick cravings, but Bison Buddies are back! All four of our snack sticks will be available all weekend (and beyond) in our deli.
We’ve got whole and half hams for sale!
We have slow-brined, slow-smoked, never frozen, locally sourced and processed whole and half Berkshire hams for $9.99/lb while supplies last. These hams—around 6-8 lbs/half and 12-16 lbs/whole—are perfect for a holiday roast or potluck, and great as leftovers.
This is a first-ever for NWS. Previously, DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace has closed its doors on Easter Sunday, but this year it’s staying open, and so are we. Our deli’s doors will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Unless they sell more quickly than anticipated, we’ll have the aforementioned hams for sale.
Speaking of sales: Wild-Caught Smoked Alaskan King Salmon is 20% off until it’s gone.
We launched the @NorthernWatersCatering Instagram account!
Although it has been live for about a month now, we finally feel like it is up-to-snuff, with comprehensive information about our catering philosophy, options, frequently asked questions, and beautiful images taken from actual catering events. Carefully crafted by our creative team, and approved by Catering Captain Hannah, it is, like our catering service itself, set up to expand elegantly in 2019.
For more information about catering, specific inquiries, or quotes, contact Hannah at email@example.com
We launched our Mother’s Day gift box!
Sure, it might be a bit early to announce this, but is showing gratitude to mothers ever out-of-fashion?
This year’s Mother’s Day gift box is simple, elegant, and affordable: A pairing of nourishing smoked sockeye salmon with sweet hausmade boursin cheese, alongside the subtle and steadfast support of Carr’s water crackers.
We’re in the middle of the cruelest month of the year—in terms of weather—but February is a notoriously sweet month as well. Rather than focus on harsh weather, let’s focus on the sugar.
The Sugar Plum Gift Box!
In conjunction with our DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace neighbors, Hepzibah’s Sweet Shoppe, we have assembled an extra-sweet treat for two: The Sugar Plum gift box features dark chocolate malted milk balls & sugar plums from Hepzibah’s, and we supply a stick of salamini, Rosemary Croccantini crackers, and a jar of Fabbri Amarena cherries. All of this comes with a NWS tote bag in which to carry your picnic.
Make it sweet!
Want to do something special for someone sweet leading up to V-Day? Spread some kindness to someone whom you love, like, or want to show some serious appreciation by sending them a sandwich through our delivery department, and for an extra $2 we’ll Make it Sweet—with a handwritten card and some Swedish Fish tied to the order. Not to be confused with the “Hey, Sweetie!” gift box.
Patricia’s cookies (and more)!
It might just be my coworkers and I buying all of them (because they are so good), but Patricia’s cookies are continually flying off the shelves.
So far, she has blessed us with carrot cake cookie sandwiches with honey cream cheese, the quadruple-ginger cookies (pictured below), and gluten-free coconut macaroons.
And this morning, she surprised us again. When I began opening the shop this morning, Patricia was nowhere to be found. Admittedly, I did not put forth much effort to find her. Then, after I disappeared for a minute, I returned and there she was.
I didn’t notice the donuts at first. A few minutes passed before my eyes wandered to the cake pan just a few feet away.
“Patricia, did you make those donuts?” “Yes.” “Where?” “At my house.” “Why?” “I thought it might be good to make a Donut Cuban sandwich with the pulled pork.”
Thank you, Patricia, for all you do.
Here’s another surprise by Patricia, available for the first time today:
Pine Cones & Royale With Cheese!
There’s not much need to pack our deli-cases full of unsliced meats in the Winter. We prefer to focus on sandwich specials and prepared items that highlight our products, so that when the grocery sales pick back up, folks know exactly which smoked meats they want and have some ideas for what to do with them.
But an empty-ish case isn’t great to look at. Our solution? Come up with some “easy” items that customers can pick up and snack on with minimal effort.
When the phrase “meat cone” started getting thrown around, I was thoroughly perplexed, but now I’ve seen the light. In adorable cones made of pine, we’ve assembled little personal charcuterie boards, with salumi, pork loin, Castel Vetrano olives, cheese, and assorted smoked meats (dealer’s choice). It’s sort of like a Salami Basket for one. They’re available in our deli for $8.
We’re also on a snack stick kick. Bison Buddies have consistently been a bestseller. If I had a nickel for every time I crushed a customer’s soul by letting them know we’d sold the last Bison Buddies of the day, I would be floating around on a mid-range pontoon boat, drinking cheap sparkling white wine and working one day a week, just to keep a little structure in my life. But here we are.
Last weekend the smokers made Big Jim Buddies—beef and pork adobada sticks made with New Mexican Big Jim chiles. They sold out over the weekend, but the smokers are already making more.
After the Big Jims, there were some early experiments with Sockeye Buddies, which need a bit more tweaking, but will be coming to a Northern Waters Smokehaus near you very soon.
The most recent installment in the Snack Stick Saga is the Royale With Cheese: ground beef, bacon & melted cheese in a lamb casing. If you get the reference, you get the reference, but I think these ingredients speak for themselves. They’re currently in-stock, and we plan on keeping them coming. Never again, we hope, will you have to suffer a NWS shopping experience without Buddies.
Sam’s last day…
This last one’s a tad bittersweet: Our former shop manager, Samantha (or Sam, or Salm, if you have caught the pun on her Dickie’s work shirt) is finally parting ways with us to follow the next great adventure in her life. Sam had been splitting her years between Scagway, Alaska and Duluth, Minnesota for as long as I’ve been at the Smokehaus, then took on the position of front-of-house manager at our briefly lived but beloved Northern Waters Restaurant, before stepping in as our shop manager here at NWS.
Sam is, among other things, hilarious, compassionate, driven, and highly-intelligent, and although I’m going to let her keep her life plans to reveal for herself, I am convinced she’s going to thrive in this next adventure.
Her successor, Leif is thoroughly trained-in and shares all the above qualities, but that’s enough about Leif in this post about Sam.
Sam, if you’re reading this, don’t forget to come visit us from time to time, and bring Brewster.
To offset the bitter in this bittersweet cocktail, and accentuate the sweet, Mary got an ice cream cake from DQ to honor the occasion. The cake photo is coming. We won’t leave you hanging.
There you have it. I’m sending you all warm & fuzzy vibes from this 5 Things post. Until next week…
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 Fedex/ 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 Fedex/ 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 FedEx 2-day, UPS 2-day or FedEx Ground, UPS Ground 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 FedEx / 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, their contents 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
There will be no lengthy preamble to our 5 Things™ this week. Just gaze into the Mirror of Galadriel—
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.
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.
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.
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.*
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.