Celebrate the Magic in Everyday Moments

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

-Dr. Seuss

Our lives are filled with millions of seemingly mundane moments, everyday occurrences that we won’t remember tomorrow. We get through each day while looking forward to the big moments: family vacations, friends’ weddings, the arrival of children and grandchildren, promotions, retirements and so on. These milestone celebrations are indeed fabulous, but then we turn back to our normal, everyday lives.

What if we celebrated the magic in those everyday moments?

From nontraditional holidays to important dates for you or your customers, you can bring more joy and happiness to every day with a little foresight and creativity.

May

  • Throw a BBQ (or cookout) for National Barbeque (or Hamburger) Month.
  • Recognize nurses, police officers or emergency medical services personnel during their weekly celebrations this month.
  • Give employees “a penny for their thoughts” on Lucky Penny Day (5/23) to encourage feedback and open communication.

June

  • Host a Start of Summer Blowout for clients and prospects! It’s a subtle reminder that business doesn’t go on vacation and a lot of fun at the same time.
  • Invite your employees to bring their furry friends to the office on Take Your Dog to Work Day (6/24).
  • Partner with a local farmer’s market or bring in a healthy spread to celebrate National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month.

July

  • Throw an old-fashioned Ice Cream Social (with all of the toppings) to recognize your employees’ hard work. It is National Ice Cream Month after all!
  • Hold walking meetings or encourage all employees to take a stroll on Take Your Pants for a Walk Day (6/27).
  • Reward employees and/or say thank you to clients on National Milk Chocolate Day. (We have some ideas…)BTB143_NoBkgd-DS

August

  • Throw a picnic to celebrate National Watermelon Day (8/03). Your staff will enjoy getting out of the office on a beautiful summer day.
  • Hold your own Opening Ceremonies or Olympic-style competition to celebrate the Summer Olympics (8/05-8/21) in Rio!
  • Toast marshmallows over a campfire (or get creative) to celebrate National Marshmallow Toasting Day (8/30).

September

  • Recognize your employees in honor of Labor Day. Plan festivities, recognition and events during an Employee Appreciation Week.
  • Looking for fresh ideas? Hold an Ideas Swap on Swap Ideas Day (9/10).
  • Hold a festival to celebrate the arrival of Autumn! Encourage departments to set up booths to showcase what they do in a fun way.

October

  • Smile! The first Friday of the month is World Smile Day, a day to perform acts of kindness and make others smile.
  • Go nutty on National Nut Day (10/22)! Celebrate with a nut tasting party or ask employees to bring in their favorite nut-inspired dishes.
  • How can you not love Halloween? Encourage employees to dress up (individually or as departments) and to add a little flair to their work areas. Don’t forget the tasty treats!K102_NoBkgd-DS

November

  • Celebrate democracy by encouraging employees to vote – at the national polls and at your own election. Casual day vs. catered lunch? Let your employees decide.
  • Help employees quit smoking on Great American Smokeout Day, the third Thursday of November. Offer resources and ask former smokers to share their secrets to success.
  • Surprise your staff with scrumptious French toast on French Toast Day (11/28)! Offer all the toppings and encourage employees to dine together.

December

  • Get employees in the holiday spirit with delicious brownies on National Brownie Day (12/08)! Wash them down with a cold glass of milk.
  • Have fun on the shortest day of the year! Enjoy hot cocoa and share your favorite winter activities on the Winter Solstice (12/21).
  • Count down to the New Year with your favorite moments of 2016! Have an early New Year’s party to celebrate everything you’ve accomplished this year.

We hope our ideas have made you realize that there’s always a reason to celebrate. Don’t wait for a special moment or milestone; celebrate the magic in everyday moments!

We’ve shared our ideas; now share yours. What everyday moments do you celebrate?

The Business of Being Green

Yesterday marked the 44th anniversary of the celebration of Earth Day.

This week marks the 46th anniversary of the celebration of Earth Day.

This Friday is Earth Day—a good day to reflect on how the judgment we use every day impacts the environment. Prompted by then- Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, the first Earth Day was observed on April 22, 1970. After touring the oil spill devastation on the coast of Santa Barbara, Nelson worked to coordinate environmental events organized at colleges to extend their impact beyond the local university grounds. Earth Day has remained an important annual way to raise attentiveness to environmental issues at the local, state, and national level. Friday marks the 46th anniversary of the celebration of Earth Day.

Many companies are striving to become greener, in turn encouraging their customers and employees to do the same. As individuals, many of us choose to utilize companies that are aware of their environmental footprint and act accordingly. Many promotional products suppliers are getting into the action by offering a larger selection of products that are considered green. Products created using recycled, reusable, or sustainable material are readily available throughout the industry. Many suppliers provide products such as reusable water bottles and tote bags to help reduce waste and energy.

At Maple Ridge Farms, we strive to do our part to help maintain the environment.

  • Reduce…We design our gifts to be as earth-friendly as possible. On average, less than 3% of any gift needs tobe sent to alandfill.
  • Reuse…The majority of our gifts include keepsakes such as reusable boxes, cutting boards or desk accessories that will be
    Our wood products are made from sustainable timber or bamboo.

    Our wood products are made from sustainable timber or bamboo.

    used for years to come.

  • Recycle… We strive to use recyclable packaging wherever possible. In addition, we recycle over 50 tons of paper and corrugated annually!
  • Sustainable… No rainforests have been damaged to create our gifts. All of our wood products are made from sustainable timber or bamboo.
  • Saving the Rainforests… All of our wood products are made from sustainable timber or environmentally favorable bamboo. Our chocolates can help save the rainforests! Cocoa, the principal ingredient of chocolate, needs the shaded canopy of the rainforest to grow. The chocolate used in our gifts is Rainforest Alliance certified, which ensures that the farms have met the environmental, social, and economic standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network. The more chocolate we consume, the greater the need to preserve the rainforest.

That’s why we like to say…

Save the rainforests, eat more chocolate!”

7 Signs Our Culture is Food Obsessed

People waiting in line for 3 1/2 hours to get into a popular oyster house in New Orleans.

People waiting in line for 3 1/2 hours to get into a popular oyster house in New Orleans.

I started fixating on this idea while visiting New Orléans. This city has over 50 restaurants rated 4 stars or higher. Hard not to be food obsessed here, but there are additional signs all over this great nation that we love our food!

  1. Time. People actually wait in lines to get into popular food hangouts, yes for hours folks! New Orléans is teaming with great oyster houses, and most are exceptional (I know I tried out a lot of them!) One such establishment in the French Quarter had lines starting at 10:30 in the morning. People were waiting 3 + hours to get in because this particular restaurant was rated the best place to experience oysters in the city by a popular travel blog.

2. Social. Check out Instagram. I searched for food related hashtags and this is what came up:

  • #food 185,294,286 posts
  • #foodporn 84,284,245
  • #foodie 30,064,673
  • #foodstagram 11,379,234

What photos work best? One instagramer with 78K followers says “sweets and little treats appeal to the widest audience.” Everybody is taking pictures of what they are eating and care enough to post pictures.  9 out of 10 restaurants are on social media, most on multiple platforms. In addition there are over 2 million blogs dedicated to food alone.

3. Money. Americans spend $151 a week on food, and one in 10 Americans say they spend $300 or more per week. Millennial’s report spending 14 times as much on food as the average middle class family. “Millennials are hungry. They outspend other generations on restaurants and are forking over 96 billion a year on Food.”

Our custom labeled gourmet treats are designed as give a ways for tradeshows, meetings, and events.

Our custom labeled gourmet treats are designed as give a ways for tradeshows, meetings, and events.

4. Events. Adweek recently posted a popular infographic on what millennials want to see (and take home) From Branded Events. Food came out near the top. Check out our custom labeled gourmet treats, which are designed as give a ways at tradeshows, meetings and events.

5. Snacking. Snacks are obliterating meals. A Growing number of Americans snack four or five times daily. Snacking increased 47% from 2010 to 2014 .

6. Environmentally and Socially Responsible Food. People want their food to be sourced from environmental and socially responsible companies. (source food trends article) That is why the chocolate used in our gifts are Rainforest Alliance certified which ensures that the farms have met the environmental, social and economic standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network. No rainforests have been damaged to create our gifts. All of our wood products are made from sustainable timber.

7. Traveling Food. The first food truck I remember is the neighborhood ice-cream truck that had all the kids chasing it like the Pied Piper. In today’s cities and neighborhoods you can find food trucks with on board kitchens that carry BBQ, Donuts, Falafel, and Southeast Asian fusion, to name just a few. There is also a new trend in companies that specialize in food delivery including – Grub Hub, UberEats, and Fresh Nation.

What is your current food obsession or food trend?

Food of the Gods: 15 Fun Facts about Chocolate

 

Maple Ridge Farms has plenty of delicious Milk Chocolate treats to choose from!

Theobroma Cacao, the cocoa tree,  means “Food of the gods”

It’s no secret that we have a love for chocolate here at Maple Ridge Farms. And although we may be a bit biased, we know many of you share our love with the sweet silky confection.  With Easter coming up this weekend, and the amount of chocolate that is sure to be spread around, we thought we would take a look at some fun facts about one of our favorite indulgences:

Swedish botanist, Carolus Linnaeus, gave the cocoa tree its scientific name.  Theobroma cacao, means “Food of the gods” in Latin.

Maple Ridge Farms by the Numbers! The 2015 Year in Review

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How did 2015 measure up?

Things have been so busy here at Maple Ridge Farms that we haven’t had a chance to take a moment and say “Thank You” to our magnificent distributors, your customers, and our dedicated staff for another exciting year! Together we were able to deliver an abundance of delectable gourmet gifts to welcoming recipients.

This is also the time of year when we take a peek at the previous year, and share the popularity and trends that we see with our products and services. So, how does 2015 measure up?  Here’s what we discovered…

 

Six of One: Adapting to Different Communication Styles

Speech_BubblesIn the professional world, it’s virtually impossible to work without coming into contact with other people. In doing so, it immediately becomes apparent that everyone has their own communication style, which can vary widely from person to person.  Previously, we’d discussed the BEST analysis, which breaks down people into four types: Bold, Expressive, Supportive, and Technical.  There are, however, many other assessments, the most famous of which is arguably the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI).  If you have a casual presence on social media, it’s likely that you’ve seen unofficial versions of this floating around.  You can also take the official assessment online for a fee.

The MBTI categorizes people based upon four dichotomies. According to the Myers & Briggs Foundation, each dichotomy’s preferences are based upon the theory of psychological types described by Carl G. Jung, who posited that what seemed to be random variations in behavior are actually intrinsic to basic differences in people’s preferred use of their perception and judgment.  He identified the types as:

MBTI_ChartAll of these preferences are combined into sixteen personality types, each of which has their own specific traits. For example, INTP-types such as myself prefer to explore ideas independently to draw a logical, objective conclusion.  On the other hand, ESFJ-types prefer to work with a group to reach a harmonious consensus that fulfills emotional needs.  As you can imagine, combining these personality types can be difficult!  Unless we all live under rocks, however, interacting with a personality type not entirely in line with our own is inevitable.  It can be frustrating when struggling with different approaches, but we all ultimately have the same goal: the success of our business.

Now, we obviously don’t go around with our MBTI types taped to our foreheads, so there’s no way to be certain of someone else’s type (unless they tell you, of course). If you work with someone, however, it can become fairly easy to guess at their type.  Are they quiet in meetings, preferring to take in the information before adding their own input?  They’re probably an I-type.  Is their desk full of lists and schedules?  You’re most likely dealing with a T-type.  Do they tend to be pretty Zen about new situations and roll with changes?  You may have a P-type on your hands.  So what do you do if you’re an E, F, or J?

It comes down to knowing your own type and how you react to and integrate with particular situations. If you’re an E-type, for example, it may require something as slight as slowing your rate of speech to allow I-types time to absorb information.  F-types may need to step back and disassociate their personal feelings, while J-types may need to open themselves more to new ideas.  This article written by Liz Berney provides a starting point with several helpful tips for working with opposing personality types, and there are many other resources available on the web.

This isn’t to say that adapting to other communication styles is easy—it can be far from it—but the ability to do so is a necessary part of business. Whether you’re dealing with a vendor, coworker, or client, an inability to accommodate their different communication style can lead to missed opportunities, which benefits no-one.  Be conscious of how your personality type affects your communication style and work to understand how others communicate, and you’ll find success.

What is your MBTI type? Do you have any tips for communicating with different personality types?

Lessons Learned from Downton Abbey: How to Present Your Way to Success

Recently I was catching up on the final season of Downton Abbey when it hit me. One of the reasons I, and millions of others around the world, love this show is the dedication to presentation. Dinner is an event, complete with formal attire, real linens and fine china. When the meal is ready, the family is called into the dining room, where an impressive scene awaits. It’s a far cry from throwing a frozen meal into the microwave, isn’t it?

Presentation is crucial in business too, yet it’s often overlooked. How is your product packaged? How are your giveaways and prizes displayed at a tradeshow, meeting or other event? Paying attention to how you’re presenting yourself to clients, employees and the world can make a big difference.

For example, imagine this scenario: You receive a package from a client during the Holidays. Upon opening it, you find a glossy black box tied with a satin white ribbon. Impressive! Inside the box are three delicious Maple Ridge Farms treats, specifically Double Chocolate, Chocolate Pecan and Chocolate Butterscotch Coconut brownies. While the brownies are as incredible as they sound, what really stands out to you is the presentation involved in this mailing.

Would you have been nearly as impressed if three brownies had been thrown in a padded envelope and smashed en route to you? No (even though you would have still eaten them). You would not have taken a picture, uploaded it to your business’ Facebook page, tweeted about your impressive (and scrumptious) delivery and told numerous people, including potential customers, about it. While you would have been grateful to your client, you wouldn’t have been nearly as impressed.  

So how will presentation help your business?  

  • Catch the attention of your audience
  • Increase the value of your product or service to buyers  
  • Strengthen relationships with customers, prospects & employees
  • Create a positive, lasting image of your company or brand

While presentation does directly affect your bottom line, it doesn’t make up for a bad product, poor service or a dishonest company. However, it will enhance your product or service in the eyes of your audience and help your brand stand out in a sea of competition. Even Lord Grantham, the ill-suited ruler of the Downtown estate, would be happy with that.

How do you present your products or services to enhance their value?

Who’s your favorite Downton Abbey character?

Time to Show You Care: 4 Ways Promotional Products Work for Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day is a perfect occasion to show customers and employees how much you care!

Valentine’s Day is a perfect occasion to show customers and employees how much you care!

Time is ticking away in 2016, and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. When we think of holidays for which promotional products work we may automatically jump to the fourth-quarter, but Valentine’s Day is also a perfect match!  It’s not a secret that it’s never too late to show your appreciation to your customers and employees – and branded items are much more memorable than dime-store chocolates and trinkets.

Here at Maple Ridge Farms we love any excuse to indulge in gourmet goodies. And since we also love to share, here are 4 ways that promotional products (such as delectable chocolates, nuts, and savory cheese and sausage) work perfectly for Valentine’s Day:

 

Best Tradeshow Giveaways 2016 – Food!

You wouldn’t go fishing without bait, right? So why go to a trade show without offering an incentive to stop at your booth? At a

Don't go to a tradeshow without an incentive to stop at your booth.

Don’t go to a tradeshow without an incentive to stop at your booth.

recent nationwide trade show, PPAI Expo, we had people lined up to sample our English Butter Toffee and Sea Salt Caramels. Chocolate and other treats are sure showstoppers! We know firsthand that food pulls people into a booth. In fact, after a few years of offering samples of our food at trade shows we decided to offer the same experience to our customers and their clients. You won’t have potential customers passing you by, not making eye contact, when you offer them high quality, tasty food items.

We all know that at industry shows and conferences, the booth with the best giveaways sees the most traffic. And the more traffic, the more brand awareness accomplished.  Every time you showcase your business at a trade show, you are investing time and money into your brand.  You are also competing for the time and attention of qualified prospects attending the event.  Make sure that you are giving them a reason to stop by and check you out! Food encourages prospects to stop at your booth, which gives you the chance to talk about your products and services.

Using a high-quality gourmet treat branded with your logo or information is a great way to spark an impression and generate goodwill.

Using a high-quality gourmet treat branded with your logo or information is a great way to spark an impression and generate goodwill.

Using a high-quality gourmet treat branded with your logo or information is a great way to spark an impression and generate goodwill. Trade shows are often day-long (or even multi-day) events. A small treat can be just the pick-me-up they need! Try the Maple Ridge Farms line of Individually Labeled Gourmet Treats! Delicious home-style cookies, rich chocolates, energizing snack mixes and other gourmet treats will draw in the crowds!

As an example, a chain of medical facilities uses these items for goodie bags at trade shows, meetings, and in hospitality suites. Each food treat includes their four color imprint on a round label. Their recipients won’t forget who provided them with that great-tasting fuel to help them through the show!

Don’t limit custom-labeled treats to trade shows and company events – they are great for meetings, blood banks, job fairs and company events, too!

Solutions to Last-Minute Holiday Madness

We have over 40 holiday food gifts that can be shipped in 2 days.

We have over 40 holiday food gifts that can be shipped in 2 days.

It is the hectic holiday season and you want to make the most of the opportunity – fourth quarter holiday food gift business can significantly boost your bottom line. Historically, 20% of holiday food gift orders are placed in December, so there is still a lot of business out there. But what about that procrastinating customer that comes to you at the last minute? This is where we try to be the solution to last minute customer madness!

Our website tools can make it easier for you to quickly find the perfect gift for your customer. We’ve included some timesaver tools, such as search by price – just type in your client’s price range, you’ll see all the gifts in that price category.

Absolutely need an imprinted gift shipped in 2 days? Check out our 2 day gift section. We have over 40 gifts that can be imprinted and out our door in 2 days from receipt of complete order.

We are offering overnight shipping on our Gourmet Gift Certificates.

We are offering overnight shipping on our Gourmet Gift Certificates.

Our sales consultants are happy to discuss the various shipping options available to you. They can provide you with estimated transit times and give you a freight quote on the various shipping methods. Speaking of shipping, let us do the work for you and save you a few precious holiday crunch days. Rather than you or your client, reshipping the gifts we can ship the gifts to the final recipient, and even enclose gift cards. Just provide us with the shipping list and details of the gift cards.

Need a gift out even quicker? This might be the time to show your customer our gift certificate program! We are currently offering free overnight shipping on our Gourmet Gift Certificates. Each recipient can choose from the following:  Spiral Sliced Boneless Ham, Tower of Sweets, or Smoked Turkey Breast.

So the answer to that common question “When is the drop-dead date for my holiday gifts?” “Let’s discuss the options!”

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