Spice Rack Chocolates' co-creators Paul and Mary Schellhammer left long-standing careers in order to make their shared culinary interests a full-time occupation. Before Spice Rack Chocolates fully evolved as a business, Mary worked as a personal chef. She developed an intimate knowledge of herbs and spices along the way, and started to invent unusual pairings of chocolate and herbs, which she left as after-dinner treats at the parties she catered. Her intrigued clientele began to come back to her shop, wailing like zombies for more chocolate, and the business became a cacao-centric endeavor.
In 2008, just two years after making Spice Rack Chocolates' confections publicly available, the Schellhammers' artisanal chocolates won the state's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services's "Best New Food Product"—an award which they clinched again in 2010. Today, the Schellhammers create 29 flavors of Belgian chocolate infused with herbs, spices, coffee, and peppers, and can hand-paint color accents or tiny limericks onto the candies using color-infused cocoa butter. The spot also creates confections that have been certified vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free.
Taking time to stop and smell the flowers has never paid off better than it does at Seven Oaks Lavender Farm. Co-owned by the mother-daughters team of Edith, Deborah, and Dianne, the farm occupies more than an acre of land and in the summer season is sprinkled with purple lavender and other flowers. Set back from the rustic and perfumed fields, their Lavender Shop houses myriad floral products, many of which are made by the Seven Oaks ladies themselves. Visitors can pick up soaps, jellies, certified-organic teas, and candles that all bear a fragrant, lavender aroma. In addition to its everyday operations, the farm also hosts events that include fall festivals, wreath-making classes, and lessons on using lavender garlands to ward off possessed grandmothers.
Springfield Butcher has been filling bellies and empty barbecue pits with fresh, hand-cut steaks and seafood for more than 30 years. Prime cuts of beef range from filet mignon and Prime rib roast to flank steak, cube steak, and fun-size steaks perfect for trick-or-treaters. Other protein options run the gamut from Danish-style pork ribs to game meats including buffalo, venison leg steaks, and wild boar.
Sausages made in-house are available smoked or un-smoked, and bacon wraps its smoky flavor around scallops, which?like the rest of the shop's seafood offerings?are delivered fresh every day, except Sunday. Those looking to go from stove to table as quickly as possible can also opt for oven-ready entrees such as chicken cordon bleu or pork chops with onion stuffing.
Regardless of which of the hundreds of Target Portrait Studio locations you meander into, you can always count on a similar experience. Tucked into Target retail locations throughout the nation, each studio boasts a staff of professional photographers, premium lighting equipment, and advanced digital cameras. The seasoned crew takes pains to customize photo sessions to suit each customer's vision, setting up desired backgrounds and props before guiding families and high-school seniors through a mélange of poses. Afterward, customers will work with a professional to personalize their portraits with different special effects and styles, such as black and white or sepia tone. They then pick up their physical portraits at the studio in 7–10 days. If they don't feel like holding their breath that long to see the final products, they can access the images in an online gallery within 24 hours of the session, at which point they can order extra prints for gifts, collages, and greeting cards.