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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.

Start Off the New Year With Healthy Kids Lunches

Why wait for the kids to go back to school in the fall to start healthy eating habits. Now that it’s a brand new year, start now with something as simple as tweaking their school lunches! We’re all a little guilty of walking into the supermarket and going down the aisles with the prepackaged, sugary foods and putting them in our shopping cart, simply because it’s easier. But, eating healthier and shopping healthier doesn’t have to be a chore. By stopping into Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market and picking fresh, farm market foods for kids lunches, they will not only benefit by having more energy during the school day and teach them healthy eating habits, but you’ll save money as well. So, let’s take a look at a few ways you can make your kids lunches a little bit healthier and meal prep a little bit easier this New Year:

Make Your Own Lunchableskids healthy school lunches
Plastic meal prep containers work great when it comes to making kids lunches. The divided compartments make it easy to provide items from each food group, and they’re reusable! These containers also store really well so you can pack lunches in advance and be prepared for the week. Get smaller ones with only a couple compartments and create a snack pack – something as simple as grapes and trail mix. And make a larger one with PB&J, some blueberries and pretzels for a lunch pack. If your kid is an ambitious eater, go for something a little fancier. Something like whole grain pasta, cucumbers, red bell peppers, and some cubed salami will go a long way and can easily be tossed together or eaten separately.

Get Creative with Sandwiches
Pinwheel or rollup sandwiches are a healthy and easy alternative to a regular sandwich. Grab a wheat tortilla, some turkey and cheese, roll it up, cut it into slices, and use a toothpick to hold it together. You can even do the same with some cucumber and hummus, easily making a few lunches for the week. Or, if your kids prefer regular sandwiches, substitute with the healthy ingredients, and make use of your cookie cutters by cutting them into a fun shape for a great surprise when they open their lunchbox.

Give Them Healthy Snacks
Fruit is a great go-to healthy snack, but sometimes it’s hard to preserve it. So stick with something like strawberries or blueberries that can be cut up and put in a container for the week without going brown. Fruigees squeezable fruit snacks are also perfect for kids if you’re looking to get them to eat more fruit, and the Green Mountain Creamery squeezable yogurts are perfect for the yogurt lover in your family. Carrots and peanut butter, cheese sticks, hummus and pretzel cups, and the 88 Acres or That’s It fruit bars are a healthy snacking option and provide a good alternative to chips if they prefer munching on something crunchy. Fruit leather makes for a great snack as well, AND it’s easy to make yourself – you don’t even have to add any sugar to it!

Replace the Sugary Juice Box with a Fruity Natural One
Not only can you trust that you’re giving your kid’s a healthy fruity drink when you buy Kuji or Honest Kids juice boxes, but if you freeze them the night before, they can double as an ice pack inside their lunchbox! And for an extra special treat, we have 6-pack ciders that are the perfect size for a school lunch. Lunch box smoothies are also a fun and healthy option. Grab some of your favorite fruits and vegetables, blend them up, and freeze them. By lunchtime, they’ll be slushy enough to eat!

While those prepackaged supermarket foods seem easier, they’re not always healthier. So, the next time you walk into the grocery store and go to reach for those sugary snacks, don’t give in. Instead stop in to Bishop’s Orchards and pick up the fresh produce and farm market items that will make your kids lunch, a healthier one.

Top 10 Gift Ideas From Bishop’s Orchards

It’s always tough to find the perfect gifts for all the people in your life. Whether it be the mailman, your in-laws, or your kid’s favorite teacher, picking out something small yet thoughtful can be tricky. But here at Bishop’s Orchards we have some great gift options that are sure to brighten up anyone’s holiday. So, if you’re struggling for a gift idea this holiday season, keep reading and take a look at our top 10 gift ideas.

1. Apple Shippers –If you’re looking for that little piece of New England to send as a unique gift, an apple shipper is perfect! These apples are handpicked from the farm, wrapped in foam, and can be sent to the destination of your choice. Place your order online here.

2. Gift Baskets – Need an item for a Secret Santa or a gift for your kids teacher? Our Grab N’ Go gift baskets are perfect! You can even pick out your own items, and for a small fee, we’ll put them together in a gift basket for you. Anything from wine to breakfast items, chips and dip and more. There’s sure to be a basket filled with your friend’s favorite goodies.

3. Chocolate – Candy is always a good “go to” gift. And here at Bishop’s we have tons of options. From chocolate covered pretzels, salted caramel chocolate and even chocolate shaped gingerbread men, any of these are sure to hit the spot of your chocolate loving friend.

4. Apple Cider – Gift a piece of the farm this holiday with our sweet apple cider. It comes in gallons, half gallons, chuggers and 6-packs, and make for the perfect holiday drink when hot. You can stop in the store to pick some up, or we can ship them for you, too!

5. Marzipan – Don’t let marzipan intimidate you! It comes in all different shapes and figures, and even makes a great stocking stuffer or gift for that person that loves their sweets.

6. Gift Cards – Give the gift of farm fresh goodness this holiday with a Bishop’s Gift Card! They are valid year round at our farm market and Pick Your Own locations, and will let people know a trip in is worth the visit.

7. Apple Cider Donuts – Have family members that can’t make it home for the holidays? Send them some apple cider donuts and surprise them with a little taste of home!

8. Gourmet Popcorn – Instead of bringing cookies or fudge as a gift, bring over something a little sweeter for the holiday. Our gourmet popcorn selection is salty and sweet and has a caramel chocolate crunch that makes for the perfect snack at any party. You can even pick up our signature maple kettle corn, made fresh at the market.

9. Hot Chocolate & Marshmallows – Nothing says winter like a cup of hot cocoa. And with our selection of Silly Cow Farm hot chocolates and gourmet marshmallows, whoever receives this gift will be sipping on rich and creamy goodness.

10. Wine – Can’t think of what to get the in-laws? We have our very own fruit wines and hard ciders in stock, along with a wide selection of wine from all over Connecticut. You can even pair the wine with some meats and cheeses and bring it to a party as a hosting gift.

See something you like? Stop in to Bishop’s Orchards and pick up that perfect gift, today!

Kick off the Holidays with National Eggnog Month

December can mean a few things: the holidays, snow, sitting by the fire and the gathering of family. But did you also know it’s the start of National Eggnog Month? I didn’t either! But, I can’t think of a better way to kick off the holiday season than with a glass of one of my favorite things to drink this time of year.

It’s hard to believe that some people have grown up without trying this classic holiday drink. But, for those of you that have never tried eggnog, this is the perfect time to give it a go! And for those of you who wait for December 1st to stock up, it’s time to purchase your holiday treat.

Yes, eggnog is known for being high in fat, sugar and cholesterol – and I hear ya – that’s concerning. But, by drinking it in moderation and by purchasing it from the right place, it can be a special treat for you to enjoy, guilt-free. That’s why with Mountain Dairy eggnog at Bishop’s Orchards you can enjoy farm fresh eggnog that really isn’t all that bad for you!

Since their start in 1871 (just like Bishop’s), the Stearns Family Farm has prioritized simple from-the-farm values for delivering high quality, great tasting milk your family can afford. The Stearns Family oversees Mountain Dairy’s farming and bottling so you can have the confidence to know what goes into your milk every step of the way.

So, now that you have your farm fresh eggnog and you know where it comes from, there’s so many ways to be creative with it – especially this time of the year. You could add nutmeg, cinnamon and even whipped cream for a little extra something. Or make an alcoholic drink out of it by adding brandy, rum, or whisky – whichever you prefer, go for it!

And how about those holiday desserts we all know and love? Get creative this year and add eggnog to them! From cookies, cream puffs, trifles and more, you can make all different kinds of holiday desserts from this creamy crowd favorite.

Feeling inspired yet? Get started on your creations today and stop into our store to pick up some of the best local eggnog, today!