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Farm Feature: Anderson Farms

You know that delicious farm fresh spinach that comes to Bishop’s Orchards around the beginning of May? It’s a customer favorite, and for good reason. Not only does it come straight from Anderson Farms in Wethersfield, CT, but it is about as farm fresh as it gets. Andersoanderson farms vegetable standn Farms has been a family run business since 1856, and they’re still going strong. With over 156 acres of land, they grow around 30 different fruits and vegetables that they distribute all over the state and sell at the market stand right on the side of the road by their farm in Wethersfield.

From their most popular items like corn (90 acres), spinach, beets and squash. To beans, melons, tomatoes, strawberries, peppers and more, neighbors and customers from all around sit on the edge of their seats for the release of their seasonal favorites. Especially when it comes to the spinach from Anderson Farms. Customers can’t wait to get their hands on it because yes, it’s that good.

They begin to plant in April and go through May and June. Once July and August hit, they stop due to the hot temperatures, but once it cools down, they start planting again through October. Anderson Farms grows two different types of spinach – winter over spinach and regular. Winter over spinach goes dormant in the winter while regular spinach can keep in the cooler spring and fall temperatures.fresh spinach from anderson farms

For those of you wondering whether the spinach is organic or not, the good news is they keep the spraying to a minimum, if any at all. “For the most part, the spinach isn’t sprayed at all. If a disease appears then we may spray, but the spinach is pretty much organic,” said family member Craig Anderson. They even pick it by hand and wash it by hand – leaving it clean of dirt and sand.

We are proud to feature Anderson Farms and their produce in our market. It may be a customer favorite, but it’s also one of ours. If you’re interested in purchasing any of these farm fresh items, take a drive up to Wethersfield and stop by their farm stand, open daily with different seasonal items. Or, come in to Bishop’s Orchards and see what’s in season. You can expect beets, radishes, and beet greens, with corn coming late in the Fall!

How to Use Your Fresh Herbs: Basil

Now that our potted herbs are available in the market, it’s time to start thinking about what to do with them and how to tend to them. Each one is different and there’s actually a ton of different uses that extend beyond cooking. For this reason we’ve created this herb blog series – so you can know how to not only pick out and take care of your herbs, but how to use them in ways you may have never thought of before. First up on the herb list: Basil.

How to Harvest
When picking out your basil plant you want to look for bright green leaves, avoiding any that may have black, brown or yellow spots Once at home, putting it in a sunny kitchen window will give it the perfect amount of sunlight to produce more leaves. When you decide to use it, pinch a few leaves off at a time on a regular basis so the plant can fill out.

farm fresh basil plants

How to Use It
Now that you’ve picked out your basil plant, it’s time to use it! Here are a few different ways you can benefit by adding it into your lifestyle:
1. Pesto – This is one of the most common uses for Basil and goes great on pasta, pizza, salads, meat and fish!
2. Drinks – Adding a little basil to your cocktail could be exactly what you need this summer to cool down. You can even add it to non-alcoholic drinks as well! Check out our drink recipes for some inspiration.
3. Headache Relief – Basil is a healing herb and can be used as a natural muscle relaxant. This also means it can be used to relieve headaches and sinus pain. You just need the steam from the plant. All you have to do is boil some water, put in a few basil leaves, and place a towel over your head. Breath in deeply for 5-10 minutes and inhale the steam.
4. Calming Bath – The antiseptic properties in basil will keep your skin soft and free from infection. Just add some leaves or oil to your bath to see the effects.
5. Essential Oil – Making your own basil essential oil can have many health benefits. From nausea, indigestion, respirator problems, stress and more, basil can be used to relieve many common health issues.

How to Store it
There’s a couple different options when it comes to storing your basil plants. One would be to put the cut stems in a container of water and keep them near a window (changing the water every other day to keep the basil fresh). Another option is to wrap the basil in a damp paper towel and stick it in the refrigerator (this will keep for 4-5 days).

Now that the herb season is in full swing, there’s no better time to stop in to Bishop’s Orchards and pick up your Basil plant. They won’t last long, so grab yours before they’re gone!

The Asparagus is Coming!

Well, it’s almost May. That not only means spring, warmer weather, and less snow (hopefully), but also the start of Asparagus season here at Bishop’s Orchards! Besides our potted herbs, it’s the first crop that becomes available to purchase in the farm market, straight from our fields. Man, is it a crowd pleaser. Why so popular you might ask? Well not only is our Asparagus farm fresh and grown right here in Guilford, CT, but asparagus is low in fat and calories, making it a perfect go to if you want to make the switch to a healthier diet. It’s even high in fiber, has tons of antioxidants, and contains both Vitamin E and K.

While it’s still a little early for the Asparagus, it’s going to be popping out of the ground before we know it. Since the season doesn’t last very long (beginning of June tops), it is best to be prepared for when it finally hits the shelves. Now is the time to start figuring out what you’re going to make with it – especially for those kiddos because let’s face it, it’s a green vegetable and to them, nothing is less appealing. We are here to help you get past the hurdle and make something that’s tasty and nutritious for not only them, but for you as well! So, how do you get the kids to eat this ever so healthy green snack? Well lucky for you we have some delicious recipe ideas that are sure to please. Try them out and let us know what you think!

bacon wrapped asparagus recipe

Are you looking for that perfect after school snack for the kids? Try out these bacon wrapped Asparagus!

lemon chicken stir fry with asparagus recipe

Change up your stir fry by adding in some Asparagus! Make it with chicken or add in other veggies for a healthy lunch or dinner option!

asparagus pasta salad recipe

This asparagus pasta salad is the perfect summer picnic recipe. Make it as a side dish or eat it as a meal – it’s light and flavorful and easy to prepare!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can always search for more recipes online at our Bishop’s Cookbook. Follow us on Facebook to see when our very own Asparagus will become available in the store to purchase! For more information, visit www.bishopsorchards.com or call 203-453-2338.

What’s Trending: Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee is quickly starting to show up everywhere. From coffee houses, food trucks, grocery stores, you name it – it’s changing the way people buy their coffee in the morning. But a lot of us are wondering why. What makes it so different and why is it the new, must try item? Well the truth is there are some pretty significant benefits to drinking cold brew coffee over hot AND regular iced coffee, and there are reasons for its high demand. Wondering what those reasons are? Read on to find out!

How It’s Different. The process of making cold brew coffee only takes a few steps. First, steep ground coffee in room temperature water using a coffee filter. Overnight, store in a room temperature or colder setting, soaking for six to 12 hours or more. Cold brew coffee doesn’t go stale as quickly as hot brew, so you can make your coffee ahead of time and in bulk! Another thing you can do with the coffee is make your own ice cubes. After soaking, instead of pouring it over ice, turn it into ice by pouring it into ice cube trays and freezing.Once it melts, it will blend into the ratio of coffee.

cold brew coffee trend

Why It’s Better. Cold brew coffee is a completely different product than hot coffee. The first thing you will notice is its taste. It has a much sweeter taste than regular coffee because the cold water it’s steeped in, eliminates the bitter taste that is normally released. Coffee brewed cold is far less acidic because when hot water is involved it brings out the acid oils in the coffee beans. As a result, this makes it easier on your digestive system (especially if you’re someone with a sensitive stomach).

Where You Can Find It. If you’re going to a coffee shop to purchase your cold brew, make sure you do your research – not everyone has cold brew coffee yet. However, if you’re more of a planner and like to save some money, you can make it at home and keep it in the refrigerator. Another option is to stop by your local farm market and see if they carry any bottled cold brew coffee – the perfect option if you’re constantly on the go and like to buy in bulk.

If you’re interested in trying a cold brew coffee, we here at Bishop’s Orchards have bottled varieties in the refrigerated section (Califia Cold Brew in Signature, Single Origin, and Black Mocha Blend, and Califia Nitro Cold Brew in Latte and Mocha) – stop by today to pick some up and tell us what you think!

Farm Field Update: Pruning

Don’t let the snow and chilly weather fool you. There’s still work to be done on the farm here at Bishop’s Orchards. In fact, one of the longest processes on the farm takes place during the winter – pruning. Because we have over 100 acres of apple trees, it takes time to prune them all, but the task itself can be rather fun. Currently apple pruning is ahead of schedule because of the lack of snow this winter and cold temperatures, but that doesn’t make it any less of a process. So let’s take a look at a simplified version of this winter task for those of you wondering how it works.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When To Start
Pruning can be done in the winter, spring, or summer – it just depends on what your tree looks like and what you want the outcome to be. Naturally, winter is the best time of year to prune because the trees are dormant and have no leaves and foliage on them, so it’s easier to see what you’re doing and remove broken or diseased branches. But by pruning in the winter you will also invigorate the tree to produce and grow more during the spring and summer time. Pruning in the summer should be done when your tree looks overgrown. Then you can de-invigorate the tree, diminishing the growth. It’s important to make sure to avoid pruning in the fall, since new growth will be stimulated. If new growth begins once the cold and frost hit, it could lead to damage to the tree.

Why You Should
This annual practice allows you to direct the growth and shape the tree, which helps maintain the crop load for annual bearing and allows sunlight and airflow throughout the tree. Sunlight helps with the color and sugar development of the fruit, and airflow helps minimize moist conditions which support disease development.

What You Need
When pruning apple trees, you will need a few tools. Hand pruners, to remove small branches and twigs. Loppers, for larger branches. A Folding Saw for branches larger than three inches wide. And last but not least, you will need Pole Pruners to reach branches high on the tree that you might not have easy access to.

How it Works

  1. Decide the Tree Structure. When you first plant a tree, it’s good to prune away anything dead or injured immediately after planting. However, you should first analyze the tree and see what type of structure suits it. Decide if it’s going to have a central leader structure (when the trunk goes straight up) or an open center structure (when the branches split in the center and fan out to either side). Once this is decided you can begin to train it. But note that heavier pruning should be done minimally the first three years of growth until you achieve the tree shape you want.
  2. Clean Up the Dead, Damaged and Diseased. First, if there are little sprouts coming out of the trunk of the tree, they need to be removed. Because they originate from the root stock rather than the grafted fruit variety on the top of the tree, they can pruned off. If there are perfectly vertical or straight branches, called “water sprouts,” they are removed as well. And, when trimming these branches, it’s important to make sure they are flush to the larger limb and stubs are not left behind.
  3. Remove Competing Branches. Look for branches that might be growing towards the inside of the tree. By removing them, air circulation will be improved and it will eliminate the collection of water inside hollow branches that might lead to rot. Also, remove any branches that might be going downward – these won’t be able to bear fruit and will get in the way of branches that could be receiving the sunlight and nutrients they need.
  4. Prune Back the Outermost Branches. It’s important to make sure to never remove more than ⅓ of the wood and that the tree has one central trunk. If there’s a branch that seems to be taking over, it must be removed. By cutting back the rest of the branches, stems will thicken and get rid of extra weight on the tree. Lastly, step back and make sure the upper branches are shorter than the lower branches and looks like a pyramid.

So, here are a few basic takeaway tips for pruning. Prune from the bottom up, inside out, and make sure to make thinning cuts first, and outermost cuts last. Next on the list here on the farm, peach pruning. Which as always, depends on Mother Nature – but is currently set to begin in March. Stay tuned for more updates from the farm or visit http://bishopsorchards.com/the-farm/about/ for more information!

5 Steps to a Successful Valentine’s Day Dinner

What better way to someone’s heart than through food! This Valentine’s Day instead of going out to an expensive restaurant, stay in and show your significant other how much they mean to you by making them their favorite dinner. Planning the perfect meal requires preparation and the most obvious part of all, knowing how to cook. Don’t stress if you’re not a pro in the kitchen, just follow these five steps and you’ll be sure to have a successful and romantic Valentine’s dinner right at home.

valentine's day dinner ideas1. Gather and Prepare the Necessities – Whether you’ve known your date for a month or for years, find out what they like to eat and what they don’t, that way you make something they’re truly going to enjoy. Also, if you’re making a meal from home, make it easy on yourself and find a market that has all the essentials you’ll need. If you’re good at cooking but are terrible at baking or making desserts (or vice versa), find a place like Bishop’s Orchards that has both prepared foods and desserts that will look the part, and taste even better. Need flowers? Bishop’s has these too – your roses are ready to go and we’ll even wrap them for you!

2. Start with Appetizers – You don’t have to dine out to have a tasty and romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. Cooking at home can be just as romantic, if not more. At Bishop’s Orchards, you can do just that while also keeping things simple and stress free. With our heart shaped raviolis and heart shaped goat cheese brought in all the way from France, you’ll have the perfect appetizer before serving the main course.

3. Onto the Main Course – Italian is always a good way to go when it comes to making a romantic meal. As an added bonus, for those of you trying to save some money, it’s also inexpensive. Just grab the pasta of your choice, tomato basil sauce, and some fresh bread from Bishop’s Orchards and you’re good to go. You can even add a salad as a side and pair it with a wine from our selection here at the store.

4. Conclude with Dessert – And what better way than with some chocolate! Whether it’s a homemade dessert, or a tasty decadent pre-made one, you really can’t go wrong! If you want to do a little something extra, pair your chocolatey treat with a dessert wine such as our Hyland Red, pure raspberry wine. From chocolate covered strawberries to chocolate mousse, cake and even ice cream. Pairing it with a dessert wine will give your meal the perfect finishing touch.

5. Relax with Wine and Memories – A little bit of effort goes a long way. But, it’s important to have fun with what you’re making. You could even make the meal together as a fun and romantic way to enjoy each other’s company. As long as you’re creative and put some thought into it, your date is going to be impressed and you’ll end the night reminiscing on all the good times you’ve had together.

For more ideas on what to make for Valentine’s Day, visit our recipe page as well as our Pinterest page.

Get Ready For Game Day with These Football Themed Appetizers

It’s time for the big game! And you know what that means? Hot wings, nachos, buffalo chicken dip and there’s more where that came from. Now the struggle most people face is whether or not to stick with that “new year, new you” healthy eating resolution, or have one giant cheat day that (let’s be honest) will lead to more. But, here at Bishop’s Orchards we have the solution that will keep you on track with your New Year’s resolution. We’ve broken down this year’s game day appetizers into three trends so that way, whether you’re cooking for the kids, trying to eat clean, or just want to enjoy classic football foods, there’s sure to be one that fits your eating habits.

Trend #1 – Make Your Favorite Football Appetizers, Healthy Ones

sweet potato nacho recipeHalf the fun of watching football is that you get to eat and make all kinds of tasty appetizers. The down side being, it’s not exactly healthy for you. However, there is a way to put a healthy twist on your favorite football foods, without having to give them up altogether. Instead of loaded nachos, try sweet potato nachos with all your favorite toppings. Still the same great taste, but better for you. Or, how about that oh so delicious buffalo chicken dip – just get light cream cheese and low fat cheese and you have yourself a healthy version of this game day crowd pleaser. Whether you add some vegetables to your platters, make lighter versions of your favorite dips, or use fruit for desserts, there’s a way to substitute the high fat, sugary football foods for healthier ones.

Trend #2 – Shape Your Snacks into Footballs

Want to get the kids involved? I can’t think of a better way than by making football shaped snack foods! From football cupcakes, to chocolate covered strawberry footballs, even dark rye grilled cheese footballs. Turning these simple kid-friendly foods into fun-shaped treats is super easy, and the kids will love it. You can even do something as simple as cheese and cracker footballs. All you have to do is get your favorite cheese, some pepperoni, and draw the laces on with some ranch. The ideas on Pinterest are endless, so make sure to check them out – bring any of these to your party the kids and adults will consider you and your food a hit!

Trend #3 – Add Apple Cider to Your Tailgate Recipes

apple cider bbq chicken wings recipe

Drinking apple cider is only half the fun of football in the fall, so why not wrap up the season by adding it into your food, too! By switching up recipes like pulled pork, chicken wings, and BBQ sauce, and adding apple cider to them, it will give a sweet and tangy twist on some of your tailgating favorites. Serve these up and they’re sure to not only be a hit with the adults, but the kids will enjoy them as well.

Now that football and food are on the brain, start to think about what you’ll be putting on your table this upcoming weekend and stop into Bishop’s Orchards to get the items you need to make your all time favorite football appetizers, today! AND make sure to check out our recipe page for more game day appetizers, recipes, and ideas.

Healthy Kids Lunches

Clean eating as an adult is an everyday struggle for most. We’re constantly trying to adjust our eating habits to prevent consumption of excess sugar, and processed foods that are high in fat. At Bishop’s Orchards, we believe that it’s important to reaffirm healthy eating not just for adults, but for kids as well. By promoting a healthy lifestyle for kids and showing them how healthy food can taste good, it will help them to establish their own mindful eating habits. Sarah, Marketing Director at Bishop’s, and mother of two is the driving force behind this initiative. She shares, “A lot of parents, myself included, think ‘what’s the quickest thing I can make for lunch while also being healthy for the kids?’” So, the Bishop’s team has set out to make nutritional choices for children as easy as 1-2-3, by providing healthy snack and lunch options that are affordable, easy to prepare, and that your kids will crave!

FEATURED PERSONALITY: Sarah Bishop DellaVentura

Sarah Bishop is the sixth generation of the Bishop clan to step into the day-to-day operation of Bishop’s Orchard, family owned and operated since 1871. While Bishop’s has always been in the family, ending up there was not always Sarah’s plan. A business and marketing major while at college in Boston, she initially had no intention of returning to the family business until she considered the alternative. “I didn’t want to see what they had built sold off or end with the 5th generation. I started to embrace it and realized I had an interest in continuing the legacy. Now I’ve been back for 11 years.” Sarah stepped into the business and curated Bishop’s own in-house marketing program. What began as a one-woman department has now grown into 4 employees and Sarah is continuing to expand; she will be overseeing general operations come 2018

A Farmer’s Tan…

As I look at my drone photo of our new ground solar array, the shape like an arm, it reminds me of my wife lovingly teasing me about my farmer’s tan, my arms darkened by hard work under the sun, yet my shirt blocking the rays completely, like the panels shading the grass. Our new solar array is engineered to maximize (hence the shape) the harvest of the sun’s rays on our New England hillside that was formed by glaciers, only letting reflected light get to the grass below. With shallow soils and exposed ledge, it was a wonderful sledding hill for me and generations of Bishop children, even when Christmas trees grew there! But now we’re growing kWh – kilowatt hours- that will displace fossil fuels to power about 80% of our farm’s annual electric usage, and power our Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers that are free for public use via our installation agreement with CT DEEP.