Breakfast Tacos

Lets face it, breakfast can be boring.  During the week I am trying to do a bunch of different things to get out the door on time so there isn’t much variation in the breakfast food.  Think cereal, yogurt with granola, smoothie, or that bagel which I know I shouldn’t get but always fill me up.  On the weekends it usually is some of those same things but we will add in scrambled eggs or when we are doing a “big” breakfast we will make pancakes, bacon, fruit salad, tater tots.   

We recently went to Houston and Austin, Texas to visit some friends and family.  The food in Texas, especially Austin, was amazing.  Most of our meals there were either mexican or BBQ style (side note if Torchy’s Tacos ever comes to Connecticut you definitely have at least one customer).  A couple of weeks after we got back we had some company staying over our house who are foodie types and we wanted to make sure they ate well.  One thing we had to be cautious of as well was making a gluten free meal due to an intolerance.  We decided that for breakfast on Sunday morning we would make breakfast tacos inspired by our recent Texas trip.  

Ingredients

  • breakfast tacos(*This served 4 adults)
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • ½ Red Onion
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Eggs (1 egg per taco)
  • Sharp Cheddar
  • 1 Avocado
  • Sriracha
  • Tortillas (we used corn due to the gluten free)

In addition you can really make the toppings whatever you want based on your own tastes

  1. Heat up griddle and spray with nonstick spray (you can also use pans on the stove).  Put tortillas on the griddle for about 30 seconds each side to heat quickly.
  2. On one side of the griddle cook jalapenos and onions.
  3. While the jalapenos and onions are cooking, crack egg and open onto the griddle.  Place each egg on griddle so they are separate.  Once one side of the egg is cooked, flip over.
  4. Add onions, jalapenos, and shredded cheese on top of each egg.  Add some salt & pepper your liking
  5. Once cheese is melted, pick up the egg with a spatula, place a tortilla on the griddle and place the egg towards one side of the tortilla.  Fold in half.
  6. Serve the tacos with other toppings to taste after taken off the griddle.  I added avocado to mine where my husband added some Sriracha.  

This recipe definitely adds a bit of flavor to a meal that can become a bit boring and overall is pretty healthy start to the day!   

Here We Go Again

We spend our winters on the farm preparing for the next growing season. We prune trees, fix equipment and order seeds, plants and material to be as prepared as we can be, but ultimately it is Mother Nature that determines when “Spring” starts on the farm. So far, this season (as measured by the trees breaking dormancy and starting to grow) is about three to four weeks early.

brad orchardIt is probably not news to anyone that it has been an unusual winter and spring (it is April 4th and SNOWING!! as I write this.) It was a pretty mild winter, but it was punctuated with some extremely cold nights (remember Valentine’s day weekend?) If you can wear flip-flops and snow boots in the same week, you must be in Connecticut.

What most people aren’t as aware of, is how the  weather we have been experiencing can affect our perennial crops for the rest of the season. For instance, the fruit buds that we are counting on to flower and set fruit this for this year’s crop were actually formed last year. The weather conditions and crop load last year determined how many and how strong the fruit buds are for this year. The fruit buds then need to survive the winter and spring cold and frost in order to bloom and set the young fruitlets that will become this year’s crop.

D4S_3139We get one shot. If something happens to damage the fruit buds during the winter and spring we are done for the year. The trees don’t form new buds to replace the ones we lose now.

Needless to say, this can lead to some sleepless nights for us as we sweat out these cold nights. In a year like this, when the trees start to emerge from their winter sleep in March, we have a few additional weeks to worry about until the threat of frost affecting the tender buds and blossoms passes.

Those of us who make our living in agriculture are careful to follow Benjamin Franklin’s advice to not count our chickens before they are hatched. There is a lot that can happen between now and harvest time. Understanding all the obstacles to growing that crisp apple or a sweet,  juicy peach makes us appreciate them all the more.

Getting Crafty For Easter

Parenting in the age of social media can be a bit overwhelming.  On Facebook I am of the age where many of my Facebook friends have kids.  Besides the funny things kids do, most posts are saying how great their child is.  Not many parents are posting about the horrible things their child has done. In addition, you get pushed the views of some parents.  So scrolling through you can feel like people have a perfect life and a perfect child (because of what they post) and also feel judged (or judge others) by what gets posted.  It can be a lot to take in.

Then there is Pinterest.  Here you see all of these wonderful things; recipes, crafts, decorating, DIY. While scrolling through I feel excited and motivated to be this amazing person and mom doing all of these things.  The percentage of things I have “pinned” to what I have actually completed it pretty small.

A few weeks ago I saw a suggested link on Facebook called “Easter Egg Potato Stamping Craft for Kids”.  I saved the link thinking it would be something fun to do with my 2 year old daughter. Realistically, I was thinking this is another thing to save that I wouldn’t actually do because who has time for this stuff.  This post is our journey through this project, I made the time for my daughter.

All you need to complete this project is:

  • Potatoes (could be those ones sitting on your counter growing eyes)
  • Washable paints
  • Paper
  • Paint brush (not required but can be helpful)

When I Grow Up

AGKJ_135thMamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys
Don’t let ’em pick guitars and drive them old trucks
Make ’em be doctors and lawyers and such
(Ed Bruce, 1975)

When I was growing up if you asked an elementary school-aged kid what they wanted to be when they grew up, Cowboy was pretty high on the list, at least for boys. Farmer, Doctor or Lawyer? Not so much.

I grew up on a farm so I was exposed to it every day. We rode along with our dads when they checked the fields and at a fairly early age would drive the tractors and trucks putting out cabbage crates or apple boxes ahead of the picking crew or picking up bales of hay or boxes of harvested fruit. As a teenager I didn’t love working but, as my dad explained to me at the time. “You don’t have to work on the farm, but you have to work somewhere.” Given the alternatives, the farm wasn’t so bad and by the time I went to college I had decided that coming back to the family farm was what I wanted to do with my life.

“So where will the next generation of farmers come from?” is a question I find myself asking myself more and more as I approach my 60th birthday. Times are different and even the next generation of Bishop family members didn’t have quite the same exposure to the farm side of the business that my generation did.

I think farming gets a bad rap because a lot of the “entry level” jobs are not glamorous and involve being outdoors in all kinds of weather, but once you get past that, it can be a pretty good career choice. Farmers all over the country are looking for that next generation of farm managers, so there is pretty good upward mobility too. (I am talking about production agriculture. Farms with sustainable business models and the scale of operation to be successful.)

So… Mamas, maybe the time is right to let your babies grow up to be farmers.

Service in the Community

Our family has been part of Guilford since the beginning with the signing of the Covenant in 1639. In addition, we have had this growing business in the same community since 1871.  Guilford means a lot to each of us.  It is where we grew up, learned, played, worked and has made us into who we are today.  This is a strong knit community.

12552990_10153977783604962_6652054120308351591_nIt was instilled in my siblings and me from a young age by our parents and grandparents the importance of helping others, giving back, and being grateful for what we have.  We were always involved in some way, whether it was delivering meals with my grandmother for Meals on Wheels or supporting my aunt in the Special Olympics, the list is long.  

As soon as I moved back to Guilford in 2014 I knew I wanted to find something in the community to be involved with.  After the request from Gene Bishop to be his guest for a Guilford Rotary meeting, I found the group to be something I would be interested in.  The basis of Rotary International is service.  Rotary holds a few large fundraising events during the year.  The funds raised go directly back into community organizations and a couple national/international Rotary Projects.  

Guilford Rotary is made up of members in the community that volunteer their time.  The members are all people who are part of the community through their occupation and live here.  The weekly meetings bring together all these people; Realtors, Bankers, Reverends, Librarians, Teachers, Chiropractors, the list goes on and on.  All these different people come together for a common purpose, service to our wonderful community.  

I was just inducted as a member of the Guilford Rotary on February 3rd.  In becoming a member I am excited to meet more people from Guilford.  The people and organizations are part of what make this town wonderful.  By connecting with people at the events and meetings it helps us as a business for feedback and knowing what our customers want.  As businesses and people in town, we rely a lot on each other for support and to add value.  This is just part of how we support our local community.

Mommy Mondays

As a full time working mom of two, I often find myself questioning “What am I going to make for dinner tonight?”… at 5pm!   No matter how many times I have told myself, “I am going to plan out our meals this week,” I rarely follow through.  It’s not for the lack of trying or caring… It’s just one of those things that sometimes gets pushed to the back burner as there are so many things to do and keep track of.

12745908_10205531826678005_286096985411683840_nJust like many other moms out there… we just wish that there was more time in the day.  More time in the day to get work done, to spend with the kids, to clean and do laundry, maybe run errands, not to mention maybe  5 or 10 minutes to ourselves to relax?   A girl can dream, right?

So what am I going to do about it? How can I plan better? How can I make it so that I am not still trying to figure out what’s in my refrigerator or freezer when I get home with the kids at 6pm? Oh, and don’t forget that time needed for homework!!!  I know that I am not the ONLY Mom out there that thinks like this, am I???

This year, we, as family members in the business, are going to be blogging for the Bishop’s Blog on our website.   Each week we will each take a turn to start, holding each other accountable for writing about something that will hopefully catch the attention of our customers and readers.  You may not be able to relate to all of us, but hopefully at least one of us does!

Keith and Jonathan Bishop are Co-CEO’s and Cousins.  They are 5th generation Bishop’s.  They have been around for a while and will most likely write on more topics that relate to the Farm, the history, the change in times… or something completely different.  Then there is the 6th Generation.   That is where my sister Carrie and I come in.  We are both Full time working moms, I have two elementary aged children, and Carrie has a toddler.  We both volunteer our time with different organizations in town and on the Shoreline and are trying to juggle many balls in the air, as so many women our age do.  With that said, you will most likely get very different topics from us and we will most likely hit a different demographic for readers.

So why do I mention this? This blog is to hold us accountable!  This means that I have no excuse not to plan what I am going to write about or hopefully make for dinner.  I want to share these ideas with all of you, so that you too might find some tips and good ideas on how to make your life a little easier (maybe?)!  We can do this together!

I will be posting easy meal ideas, ideas for kids lunches, new products in our market that you will want to give a try, events here or in and around the shoreline, and that’s just the short list.  I will try my best to keep you engaged and wanting more!  I encourage your feedback and questions.  You can always leave your comments in the comments field below, or email me directly at sarah.d@bishopsorchards.com.

I look forward to connecting with you!

Vision for Generations

gratitudeMONTH_22I recently had my annual eye exam.  Yes, I’m getting older and my vision has continued to change since my first pair of glasses at age 20. Very gradual changes, yet my progressive lens prescription gets tweaked to compensate based upon my eye exam.  Surprise! this time my change was to decrease the strength by .25 Diopters. Despite that, I still need to lower or remove my glasses when I get really close when fixing something on the farm.

That got me pondering when glasses help and when they don’t.   When is it we see more clearly? With or without? Translate that to our family farm business… when is it we need new glasses aka vision?  We established our latest vision statement in 2010, and it has continued to guide our family and staff. Each year how we execute gets tweaked, just like my glasses, but the framework is solid.

Bishop’s Orchards Vision

Preserve and enhance the value of the land for current and future generations and provide exceptional products and services to our customers that emphasize “family, food, and recreation.”

Future generations.  In 2009, the first child of G7 (Generation7 since founding the farm in 1871) arrived, followed by the 2nd and 3rd in 2010 and 2013 respectively. Daughters Sarah and Carrie in G6 (mothers of the aforementioned children) are working full time in the family business. Ideas abound, changes are constantly underfoot and adaptation continues to occur, just as Bishop’s Orchards Vision directs us.

Family, Food and Recreation can be substituted with  Relationships, Nutrition and Fun.  Our goals are to intertwine these in every visit to Bishop’s Orchards. A glimpse thru your eyes and the postings on #pickbishops and our Facebook page reflect this happening.

I’m proud of our work, our staff’s responsiveness to our customers and community, and in turn, of their reciprocal support of our family farm. As G6 continues to be a more integral part of managing our family business, it is also important to thank the 248 individuals who worked on the Bishop’s Team for part or all of 2015 to get our jobs done. My vision upon starting full time work on the farm in 1977 after college was to continue the family farm, but not the scope of what it is today.

Our farm is continuing to deepen our roots, knowing that we must focus on our core, yet be nimble to grow and prune as the world around adapts and challenges each of us.   Helping our customers know more about our food, wellness and food safety is part of our vision. We’re also continuing to adapt and responsibly use our resources.  By mid February, we will invest $100K in energy efficient upgrades to help reduce our carbon footprint in cooperation with the Small Business Energy Advantage Program. New lighting, motors and display case doors will be installed. Stop by or check in on Facebook to see our changes.
I hope you’re thinking about your vision. Our eyes must be open to observe, sometimes needing a new prescription so our minds can focus on what we take for granted.  Let’s use that knowledge to enhance our lives together for our future generations.

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.

Healthy Food for Kids

 

12208606_10156241646340080_9164119039287463132_nBy now the holiday season is behind us and the new year has started.  The holidays were filled with many things; friends and family, giving thanks for all that we have, and FOOD.  About the food, while some side dishes during the holidays are healthy, most of the food that gets consumed is not.  Cookies, candies, appetizers while all delicious did not end the year well in the eating well category.

In the new year for my family we are focusing on trying to make healthy choices (a bit clichy for a new year’s resolution, I know). A big part of that focus is around my 2 year old daughter, Addie.  She is at that point where she is trying to push boundaries and that includes food.  If she could have her way all she eats would consist of cereal, grapes, goldfish, crackers, hot dogs, and chicken noodle soup.  And if it is a green vegetable, forget about it.  We are working hard to expand her horizons with food and try not to go the easy way out and provide her those few favorites.  

With that said there are a few things that we are trying to do to increase the variety of food that she eats this year.  One thing is meal planning at the beginning of the week and doing it so that there isn’t a second option for her for dinner.  On Sunday with that meal plan in mind we went to Bishop’s.  There are two things that get Addie excited about going to Bishop’s: getting an apple from the basket at the entrance and pushing her own cart.  Going around the store with a two year old pushing the kids cart definitely takes some time but the smile on her face makes it worth it.  This is part of the process where I hope it translates to her eating, helping get the food from the store.  I picked out the fruits and vegetables from the shelf, hand it to her and she would put it in the cart.  While doing that we say the name of the food as part of the learning process as well.  Keeping her involved and excited hopefully translates to the same feelings at home when the food is on her plate.  

An additional component of trying to eat better is having Addie be a part of the cooking process.  She does have a play kitchen that she loves to cook in and she also loves cooking with us.  Even at two there are simple tasks that she can do to “help”.  For example, if ingredients need to be mixed together in a bowl, we will measure items out and she will dump each one in the bowl and mix it together.  She also likes to be on a chair at the counter just watching us cook. She loves to be involved in the process.  It also makes us feel good because she is a bit of a cheerleader, she will say “Yay, Mommy did the cooking!” or “Yay, Daddy did the cooking” when we are done and ready to eat.  Who doesn’t like a little motivation?

It is just the beginning of 2016 but I hope to stay on track and get my daugher involved in learning to love various foods that are good for all of us.  

New Year, Farm Fresh Beginning

11114730_10153311998219962_3648035028372669811_nBeginning a new year is a good time to make resolutions and set goals.

In farming we begin each new year with the hope that mother nature will be kind to us in the coming year and resolve to make positive changes, always striving to learn from, grow and improve from our past successes and failures. So many of the factors necessary for a successful year are beyond our control so we set about taking care of what we can to make sure we are ready when the time comes. Most of our time the next few months on the farm will be spent pruning our 17,000 fruit trees, planning our vegetable plantings for the coming year and preparing equipment.

In farming, no matter how bad or good the past year was, the new year is a new beginning and filled with hope. Farmers are optimists. Why else would we will invest so much time and energy planting and caring for crops knowing we could lose them in an instant to a freeze or hail storm, etc… A hurricane or tropical storm can wipe out a whole season’s work. There aren’t many farmers who are recreational gamblers. We get all the excitement we can stand at the “office”.

I would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy new year and success with your New Year resolutions. We will endeavor to do our best to at least help with the healthy part by providing fresh, nutritious, locally-grown food for you and yours.