Category: Featured Story

Picking Fresh with Bishop’s

Tis’ the season when an abundance of locally grown produce starts making its way into our Farm Market. We LOVE this time of year when picking fresh is easier than ever. Whether it be Bishop’s Own produce, or from other local farms, this time of year is only the beginning of what’s to come.

Right now we have a limited supply of our popular Bishop’s Asparagus. This hot commodity hits the farm market anywhere from late April to early May. This year we were on the late side since cooler temperatures lasted into spring. Now with temperatures almost consistently in the 70’s, our asparagus is at its peak season, coming in hot! We expect to have our asparagus for another three weeks, taking us hopefully right into strawberry season, which starts early to mid June for market and end of June for PYO. We still have our Bishop’s Potted Herbs available in the Farm Market. Soft grounds make this the perfect time for planting these plants in your own garden!

Dave Anderson Farms’ Spinach is also available in the Farm Market. Their large leaf spinach came in early May and will be in the Farm Market for some of June. Not only is this spinach a huge hit with our customers, but our staff as well!! When word gets out, you can guarantee that multiple employees are taking some home with them! Anderson Farms is located in Wethersfield, CT and has been a family farm since 1856. They grow around thirty different fruits and vegetables that they distribute all over the state. If you are a registered CSA Shareholder, you will probably see some of their items in your CSA share this summer. For more information on Anderson Farms, check out their featured blog!

A week ago local tomatoes were brought into the Farm Market from March Farms, located in Bethlehem, CT. The color and flavor of these native tomatoes is amazing, with soft skin and a juicy sweet inside. Customers love these tomatoes, usually enjoying them in a salad. March Farms has been around since 1915 with about 130 acres and dozens of greenhouses. Other produce that is their specialty include sweet corn, squash, blueberries and lettuce!

Keep an eye out for more locally grown produce coming into the Farm Market. You will see local squash, lettuce, strawberries and much more!

 

Living a Green Lifestyle

Even though Earth Day has come and gone, it doesn’t mean you can’t continue to make a positive impact on the environment. We here at Bishop’s Orchards do our best to live a green lifestyle (all year long no matter what’s in season). From recycling, to clean eating, solar, eating locally grown, and selling chemical free cleaning products, we want to make the world and our community a safer and cleaner place – And you can do the same! From recycling, reducing food waste, saving water, and more, now is a better time than any to switch to a more eco-friendly lifestyle.  If you’re looking for help on how to make your lifestyle a little more green this coming spring and summer, keep on reading because we not only have the tips to help you out, but the products to help you make the transition.

Green Cleaningenvironmentally friendly cleaning

Falling into the trap of the common everyday cleaning brands is easy when you’re busy and stressed. What you may not realize is how harmful not only the chemicals inside the bottle are to the environment, but how the plastic bottle itself is as well. By purchasing brands like Better Life, Ecover, or 7th Generation (all available at Bishop’s Orchards) or even making your own, you won’t think twice about home cleaning. These cleaning products are plant-derived, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly. They’re even derived from solar energy processes and recyclable materials with formulas that are biodegradable and work just as well, if not better than the conventional cleaning products. Plant based cleaning products do an amazing job at keeping your home clean and smelling fresh!

Solarsolar power solar panels

Powering your home or business with clean energy has many environmental benefits. That’s why, if possible and within your budget, switching to solar can have a huge impact. This is a project that Bishop’s Orchards has taken on in the past year, and we’re already starting to see cost savings and environmental gains. From 2009 to 2016 our Energy Efficiency Program helped us to decrease our electrical usage. We were having an impact but needed to do more! Now, we are “growing” kilowatt hours that will displace fossil fuels to power about 80% of our farm’s annual electric usage. This will also help power our Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers that are free for public use! The installation of our solar panels was done on the Farm Market’s roof (381 panels) and across Route 1 on the ground (1108 panels). Based on projections, in 8 years the solar investment will be paid for.

Clean/Green Eatinggreen eating

Environmentally responsible eating is a great way to not only benefit the environment but also you and whomever you’re cooking for! Eating green can be done by using all of your leftover food scraps to create a soup stock, or saving energy doing one weeks worth of meal prep in a day. One trick that helps me to “eat green” is doing exactly that… eating greens. Starting your own outdoor (or indoor) green garden box is fantastic way to reduce carbon footprint from other vegetables brought in via freight. AND growing your greens helps to balance out greenhouse gases, which makes the environment better for everyone. Cultivating your own compost in tandem with a green garden box will help boost soil nutrient content to yield more bountiful growth, while reducing landfill trash. Chances are if you’re eating food that benefits the environment, it will bring the same benefits to you! Check out our abundant display of Hart seeds to start your own green box so you can eat “green” all year long!

Living an eco-friendly life doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be as easy as changing your light bulbs to fluorescent ones, or purchasing a reusable water bottle. It’s never too late to make your life a little greener and make a positive impact on the world, environment, and your community. So, get started today and go green – The Earth will thank you!

Convenience Eating Made Nutritious

Convenience more than ever plays a prominent role in food choices of today’s consumers. It determines where, when, why, what, and how you eat and prepare your meals, with two perceptions of convenience being related to both time and effort. The demand for convenience foods is at an all time high, especially with home delivery for groceries, meal kits and internet shopping. Here at Bishop’s Orchards we have added convenient traits to certain products marked healthy/beneficial, to compete with this demand, while staying fresh, local and true to our name.

Convenience foods don’t always have to mean take-out and prepared foods in the form of canned soups or quick-cook pasta and rice. Here at the farm market, we limit the amount of processed foods due to the amount of added artificial ingredients. Our Prepared Meals are made with fewer ingredients, with “real foods” on the list. These meals can be heated in the microwave or oven, with side dishes to accompany. Try our Grab N’ Go Crock Pot or Grill Meals, made with fresh ingredients here with everything you need in one bag! They feed a family of 4-5, with no gluten, vegan & vegetarian options available! In the near future, you will even have the option to order online. We will be offering a Webcart option, for ordering all your Bishop’s groceries, for pick-up right at the farm market, taking Grab N’ Go to a whole new level.

Despite the time and effort required for meal prepping, there still comes a sense of gratification when you “prepare” a meal. For this purpose, “Meal Prep Mondays,” or any day of the week, have become a huge success by providing a designated & convenient time set aside. Bishop’s can be your one-stop-shop for enough vegetables, fruit, meats & healthy carbs to plan individual meals or family servings. Everything from salad mixes and marinated, diced & potatoes, to stuffed chicken breast and side dishes. Plan ahead with batch cooking – making a meal in a large quantity that you can freeze in small portions. While you are portioning off, plan healthy snacks to have on hand at all times! Include no-sugar added yogurts, whole fruit, hummus packs with pretzels or veggies, etc. Store them in the fridge or pantry, creating a strategy with minimal time but long run success.

Remember, when thinking of convenience, always be conscious of keeping “healthy” a main factor, with Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market & Winery in mind as your sole provider.

True Meaning of Comfort Foods

We all at some point have heard a reference to “comfort foods.” To everyone specific comfort foods can be different, but more often than not, these items tend to land on the “non-healthful” side. At Bishop’s Orchards our definition of comfort food is valued differently. We challenge our customers to find comfort in where their food comes from. Though often a personal decision, we urge all our customers to care about where your food comes from. Hesitation with this comes from worry of disrupting your lifestyle. However with Farm Markets like us, our goal and mission is to provide a comfortable shopping environment, with all the information you need to know where your food comes from.

Comfort in Farm to Table:

Improve your family’s relationship with food by educating and appreciating where your food comes from. Help yours kids understand how vegetables are grown, how cheese is made, how cows and chickens are raised and emphasize that eating is an experience, which also nurtures your body. Inside Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market, not only will you find our own, locally grown produce and signature items, but you will also see a strong partnership with other local farms in our Cheese Department, Produce Department and our Specialty Fresh Meat Department. Our Fresh Meat Department, though small, stands out, featuring meat that is naturally raised, free range, grass fed, organic, natural and without use of antibiotics or growth hormones.

Comfort in What You Put Into Your Body:

Ever wonder why a bag of pre-cut & washed greens, is less expensive than unpackaged romaine hearts with dirt residue? How about a can of green beans verse the ones fresh from the produce department? When you bring home shelf stable and processed foods, this generally means you are buying a bunch of ‘add-ons’ that you may not want to be consuming. If you take a look at the ingredient list, you will see preservatives, hazardous trans fats, tons of sodium and sugars. Bishop’s Orchards carries a minimal amount of these foods for this particular reason. You can find comfort in what you are taking home from our market with fresh, made from scratch, and whole foods that depict clean eating.

Comfort in Supporting Local Economy:

What makes you feel most comfortable when feeding your family; knowing your fruit came from 5 miles down the road, or buying vibrant, perfect looking fruit from some farm in California? The true meaning of eating local is having a smaller carbon footprint. When your food doesn’t travel as far to get to your plate, it translates to less carbon emissions, which negatively impact the environment. Conventionally sourced produce can travel up to 1500 miles to get to your kitchen! Eating local also means your money stays in your local economy. Create a feeling of contentment when you purchase from local farms and markets because with your patronage, you are providing them with more opportunity to thrive and offer even more services and products to fit to your community’s needs and wants.

Winter On The Farm

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 11.08.38 AM“So, what do you do in the winter?” is a question I often get asked. Quite a lot, actually. Winter is the time when we prep and repair equipment for the coming spring. We still have apples and pears in the cold storage to pack and sell.  We also try to save a few “inside” jobs for when it is actually raining or snowing, but mostly we are pruning our apple, pear and peach trees. As I mentioned in my last posting, we have 17,000 trees that must be pruned before April, so anytime it isn’t snowing or raining, we are outside pruning.

I have also had folks ask me why we prune if the trees aren’t very big yet. We actually start pruning or training the tree as soon as we plant it. It is important to get the tree started off right and the first several years in the life of a fruit tree is the time we build the framework or structure of the tree. Once the structure of the tree is established, the pruning process is mostly thinning, renewing and cutting back branches to maintain the tree. Over the years I have had friends, customers and neighbors with fruit trees who call several years after they have planted the tree in their yard and they figure it is time to think about pruning it. Usually in these cases the trees are too far gone to ever have a chance of establishing a proper structure.

There are lots of resources on the internet. Here is an example of one that covers the basics.

http://content.ces.ncsu.edu/training-and-pruning-fruit-trees-in-north-carolina

There are articles and even YouTube videos on the subject.

Pruning and training fruit trees are equal parts science and art (Some aspects of farming require equal parts science, art and luck.) Every tree is a little different, but once you understand enough about what the goals are, you can “see” the cuts you need to make. You will be pruning for the current crop, as well as leaving some branches that will be the renewal wood to take the place of the current framework and fruiting wood in the tree.

One of the things I love about farming is that you have a very tangible measure of what you have accomplished. At the end of a day, you can look back down a row or across a field and see what you have accomplished. There is beauty in a well-pruned tree and you can see you made a difference and imagine how that tree will look in the spring with blossoms or in fall, full of fruit.