I’m a very practical person, all about efficiency and function, spending many 2AMs solving, not the world’s problems, but ones here around the inn. A less-than-wonderful problem we’ve had is accommodating one hundred plus people’s bodily needs during weddings – way out on the far lawn, by the pine chapel, when tents are pitched and the party’s happening. After folks have been celebrating in the summer sun with toasts and cheers… This is a problem.
Forty-Six. That's how many weddings to date that we’ve hosted here at Orchard House. Good thing I really enjoy doing them, right? I love being an integral part of a couple's big day. The energy of the couple and the families is infectious. Then there is the gradual build of nerves and the flurry of activity leading up the moment. That moment. The “I do's”.
Spring is here. It's been a long, wet winter. But now the temps are hovering around 70, the grass is growing (first cut was today), the trees are budding, and the frogs are chirping. I love this time of year. Such new growth and everything is full of energy. Our little frog pond in the courtyard is home to a few frogs, although we know of at least one that winters over down in the old well, and for me that's the true sound of Spring.
Maybe it's cabin fever or maybe it's simply having some time on my hands in between projects here at Orchard House. Either way I've been amused by a few things around the property lately. First is Ron the owl. Ron is a plastic decoy that joined the farm last spring when we lost one of our prized egg laying hens to a hawk. Ron was purchased and placed out on a fence post bordering the chicken yard. It seemed to work well. After my daughter did some more research, we found that if we moved Ron every couple of days to a new fence post, and rotated him a bit, that he worked quite well at keeping the hawks away.
Windows and doors. As winter rolls along so do the indoor projects. This past couple of weeks seemed to be focused on windows and doors. Some were planned, some were not. The old saying that as one door closes another opens, is true, I believe anyway. But with the front door to the Inn, it was more close, nope that's not right, adjust hinges, close, nope, open, adjust thresh hold, close, open, adjust weather stripping, close, open, adjust lock, close..... You get the idea. I am happy to say that the old front door has been replaced by an even older, more period style, door. And it actually closes properly. Yay. Lesson learned was to carefully copy the hinge template to the new door and to not give up on the the small adjustments. It leads to a much better fit.
February, especially around the second week, is synonymous with love. Certainly Saint Valentine and Chaucer had something to do with that, of course. Add in the fact that the cold weather outside only encourages things like snuggling under blankets, fires in the fireplace, and comfort foods. So many songs about love too: Love is in the air. Love is all around you. All you need is love. Can't help falling in love. Somebody to love. Love shack. Etcetera etcetera.
Put all of this together and it's a perfect cocktail for romance. Probably has a lot to do with the surge of engagements and wedding planning we see this time of year.
Dry January is not a new thing at Orchard House
So I've heard of a thing called Dry January. After all of the holidays, beginning with Thanksgiving right up to the New Year, there can be a lot of reasons to have a drink. Family stress, money issues, favorite spiced beers, engagements, family reunions, that gifted bottle of scotch, Tuesday. So maybe cutting back a little is a good idea.
A little over a week ago we had a wonderful surprise. I got a Facebook message just after lunch from Chad Morrison. He and his wife Ruth were in town from Florida and wanted to stop by. They have the distinction of being the very FIRST couple married here at Orchard House’s pine forest after Jodi and I took ownership.
at (Really) Local at Orchard House
This Granville B&B prides itself on creating truly memorable meals. Co-owner Dean Lowry does that by starting in his own backyard.
BY RICH WARREN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY ERIC WAGNER, FOOD STYLING BY KATHLEEN DAY
Your breakfast toast comes from Lucky Cat Bakery, just across the road. The eggs are courtesy of the free-range chickens wandering out back. Many of the herbs, fruits and vegetables that appear on your plate grew on-site, while most everything else came from farms and purveyors within a 20-mile radius. When it comes to eating local, Granville’s Orchard House Bed and Breakfast takes the idea to a new level.
When Dean Lowry and Jodi Melfi purchased the 12-acre estate in 2015, they resolved to create truly memorable meals for their guests by highlighting what is fresh and available from their own backyard or what they can get nearby. Over time, the couple’s suppliers have grown to include One Line Coffee in Granville, as well as Sunbeam Family Farm and Latshaw Apiaries in nearby Alexandria.
Exceptions are made for especially high-quality ingredients, such as dairy products from southern Ohio’s Snowville Creamery. That’s because locality isn’t the only measure of whether an ingredient makes it onto the menu. Lowry, who serves as Orchard House’s principal chef, carefully quizzes his potential suppliers, asking them about their farming practices and how their animals have been raised. He wants to know if produce is grown chemical free and if animals are raised humanely with access to sunlight and the outdoors.
“For me, it’s important that our suppliers raise their food ethically and with attention to the environment,” Lowry says. “We’re looking for farmers who have a global mindset, who don’t just live without regard to nature. We want to work with people who think globally and act locally.”
Orchard House Bed and Breakfast co-owner Dean Lowry prides himself on making great breakfasts with simple, local ingredients. (photo by Eric Wagner)
He practices what he preaches, too. His herbs and produce are all grown organically, and Lowry works hard to make sure his chickens are happy.
“I want them eating bugs, grass, maybe even an occasional apple or leftover pizza crust,” he says.
Experience has taught him happy chickens will produce higher-quality, better-tasting eggs. And that’s the ultimate goal: sheer flavor. Lowry’s attention pays off at the breakfast table, where the meals change as the seasons turn. This time of year, autumn’s bounty appears in dishes like Lowry’s sweet potato hash or the B&B’s famous Dutch baby, an apple pancake made in a cast-iron skillet and cooked in the oven.
French toast is another seasonal favorite, prepared in both savory and sweet varieties, using frozen cherries, peaches and apples picked out back during the summer. The cinnamon roll pancake is popular with kids, and the baked polenta with crumbled sausage and cheddar cheese is a year-round favorite.
Lowry’s eclectic approach to his menu carries over to the bed-and-breakfast itself. He and Melfi decorated the 1850s brick Italianate structure with a pleasing blend of antiques from around the world and contemporary artwork — a style they call “cosmopolitan country.”
“We didn’t want to be your grandma’s dusty quilts kind of B&B,” says Lowry, a former IT technician from Detroit who met Melfi, a Granville graphic artist and designer, online. “So we worked in modern, local artwork to liven things up.”
Eggs on the B&B’s menu come from the free-range chickens wandering out back. (photo by Eric Wagner)
Although not formally trained as a chef, Lowry is a longtime foodie who loves devising new dishes. When he finds a recipe that intrigues him, he plays with flavors and textures until he gets it right. Finding that the poblano peppers he originally used in his sweet potato hash weren’t to all his guests’ liking, he substituted just a touch of powdered cayenne and smoked paprika.
For culinary inspiration, Lowry watches cooking shows such as Food Network’s “Chopped,” which challenges four chefs to concoct original dishes using unusual combinations of ingredients, such as asparagus hearts and gummy bears.
“I find myself watching what they make and thinking, Oh wow, without the gummy bears, I could make that,” he says. And then he does.
Orchard House’s guests give a hearty thumbs-up to Lowry’s flavorful breakfasts. Visitors Jarret and Emily Holley of Columbus especially appreciate the locality of the food he prepares.
“I’m originally from Nevada, where it’s almost impossible to find local food, so I really enjoy knowing what I’m eating comes from close by,” says Jarret, with Emily adding that the couple likes to frequent restaurants in Columbus that embrace an eat-local approach. Zach and Danielle Winning of Cincinnati were visiting Orchard House this September for the third time.
“We’re obsessed with Dean’s food,” Danielle says. “It tastes fresher, and it’s fancier, although it’s a simple kind of fancy. Best of all, I don’t have to make it myself.”
For those wishing to emulate Orchard House’s culinary approach in their own kitchens, Lowry has straightforward words of advice.
“Always use the freshest, best-quality ingredients,” he explains. “I stress natural over organic: food that’s been grown or raised without pesticides, additives and that’s been minimally processed and tampered with.”
Above all, Lowry says, simple ingredients are the best. You only have to lift a forkful of one of his morning creations to know that simple translates to scrumptious.
4058 Columbus Rd., Granville 43023, 740/651-1850, orchardhousegranville.com
By Claire Spurlock
Every time I visit Granville I find new depths to its charm. The village’s cohesive and independent food community beckons, as do the boutique shops and the abundant strolls through blocks of well-loved homes and mature trees bordering downtown. Granville is easily accessible from Columbus and, once there, largely walkable in fair weather. Wherever you look, glimpses of Granville’s history are evident in buildings that remain from its inception and carefully plotted streets built to mimic the New England hometowns of early settlers. Modern Granville residents have helped solidify community traditions and charm and usher in a modern spirit that allows for business and tourism to thrive…
Settle in at the Orchard House Bed and Breakfast, where guests can visit with resident chickens, goats and sheep on the 12-acre property and relax in a restored 1850s farmhouse complete with spacious guest rooms named for prior residents. Orchard House offers seasonal “glamping” through October and hosts weddings in the pine grove.
Breakfast is served each morning in a sunny nook by innkeeper Dean Lowry, featuring eggs collected daily from the chicken coop, local meats and produce, Lucky Cat bread and One Line coffee. After enjoying a leisurely cup, it’s time to hit the streets for a second round of Granville explorations.
“There’s a lot to draw from within community. Certainly, as far as support and resources, but then also ingredients, manpower and love,” says Alfie’s owner Sam.
This sweet little treat from Ohio wedding photographer DiBlasio Photography showcases what I hope will become a much desired wedding trend of 2017! On paper this bed & breakfast wedding reads like an easy breezy casual affair. It is however, the gorgeous sophisticated styling that sets this orchard wedding apart! Prime for 2017 wedding trends stardom, its the combination of a casual atmosphere met with refined elevated wedding decor details that creates the perfect environment. Nestled in on the garden grounds of The Orchard House Granville, the orchard wedding is brought to life with a mixture of reclaimed wood furniture paired with stately floral china and etched glassware. Keeping with a fresh organic feel that echoes their surroundings, a sprawling centerpiece was crafted for the length of the table featuring a main focal arrangement while utilizing leafy vines and ferns to creep outward. No orchard wedding would be complete without some of its local fare utilized as accents, as such, plums and apples dance throughout the tablescape. In the spirit of the modern boho bride, the team selected an art deco inspired lace body hugging gown from La Jeune Mariee Bridal Boutique. The wedding dress was paired with a jeweled headpiece, the refined answer to the floral crown, creating the perfect marriage of wild and free elegance. If there is one thing you take from today’s dreamy orchard wedding its the beauty in location, always paired with elegance & style.