Category: Featured Story

Pot Pies Galore!

Do those long, cold winter nights leave you craving a hearty, delicious meal? No longer feel like spending lots of time preparing dinner? Have you had enough take out? Are you looking for something new and fresh? Then look no further. Come check out our brand new chicken pot pies!

Sadly, our beloved Aristocrat pot pies were discontinued in 2018. The owner retired and closed down his business. We are sad to see him go, but we wish him well with his future endeavors. Aristocrat pot pies were a household name for many, and sold at multiple locations. They will be missed throughout the community. They were a wonderful company and made a truly amazing product. We know that it will be tough not having them in our market.

Although we won’t be selling Aristocrat pies anymore, we have decided to take on the challenge of making a Bishop’s own version. Our very talented Chef Michael has been working hard on his own recipe, and plans to create a new favorite. He has made revisions along the way, accepting feedback from customers and staff. He continues to work very hard to make sure each pot pie is delicious, full of flavor and made with top quality ingredients.

Each pot pie features a flaky, buttery, irresistible crust, with pieces of chicken and thick, mouthwatering gravy inside. Looking for something other than just chicken? We also offer a pie that includes carrots, peas, onions, and celery in addition to chicken and gravy. We carry three sizes, 4, 6 and 9 inch pies. Pies are handmade fresh, put in our freezer section and wait for you to take them home. All they require is to be cooked in an oven. Cooking instructions are located on the label, making cooking them as easy as pie! We will be adding more varieties to our line, so make sure to check back soon!

 

One Stop. Fresh & Festive! – Luck of the Irish

It is that time of the year again, when leprechauns come out to play, and all things St. Patrick’s Day make an appearance in the store! We have something for everyone, and something for every meal of the day. You just may want to try it all!

First, start your breakfast off right with one of our delicious Irish soda breads, and our new pistachio nut tea bread.  Irish soda breads are traditionally known for their use of baking soda (instead of yeast as a leavening agent), simple ingredients, and buttery crust. We offer these breads with or  without caraway seeds. Eat them as is, heat them up and add butter, or dunk them in your favorite coffee! The pistachio nut bread is made in house, boasts delicious pistachio flavor and is topped with walnuts. This bread pairs nicely with tea , coffee or milk.

For lunch, give our new Rueben a try. This sandwich, made on rye bread is comprised of mouth watering slices of top quality pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and chipotle aioli. Then, check out its counterpart, our corned beef sandwich, made with corned beef, Swiss cheese, mustard, and also served on rye bread.

Next, grab one of our holiday themed entrees, or crock pot meal. Our corned beef and cabbage and Irish bangers and mash dinners are great favorites made fresh for you to enjoy. These are created and made by Chef Michael and Chef Karen! Indulge in freshly cooked pieces of corned beef brisket, cooked cabbage, carrots, and potatoes! Or, if you are looking for something a little different, check out our Irish bangers and mash. This dish is composed of delicious sausage, mashed potatoes and peas.  Want to cook, but don’t want to go through the hassle of preparing every ingredient? Our slow cooker corn beef and cabbage recipe contains everything you need to create this popular dish. Just add to your crock pot, cook and enjoy!

Don’t forget to treat yourself to dessert! We have added a new whoopie pie to the family, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. We are now introducing mint chocolate chip whoopie pies! These pies are made from our chocolate batter, filled with a green mint flavored buttercream, and topped with mini chocolate chips. They are available as a single pie, or in a 5 pack.

We definitely have something to please everyone! So dust off your green, bring your luck and come on down to the market and check it out!

One Stop For Fresh News

One goal of our business is to keep our everyday customers updated on what is going on with the Farm. And always a frequent question is what goes on in the winter. A Bahamian vacation perhaps? No such luck, winter is a very busy time for all of us on the farm. “Boy I wish we had more snow this year” said no one who works on this farm. Pruning is the biggest single job we do on the farm, with apples, pears and peaches taking four to five months. Regardless of the weather we are out everyday pruning with very few exceptions. We have had some nice weather this year and pruning is moving along nicely. We use either pole chainsaws or battery powered loppers to get the bulk of the work done.

Many ask what we do with the hay from the fall hay pyramid. We use that hay to cover our Strawberries for the winter. Strawberries are very shallow rooted and the freezing and thawing of winter can cause the plants to work themselves out of the ground. The hay allows for a more consistent environment. To do this we use a “bale mulcher” which is actually a hay processor to feed cattle. It’s a beast. A video can be seen here.

The most critical job we have on the farm, and the one that no one sees, is planning and organizing for the next season. We need to decide what crops (non orchard) we will be planting, how much, and where they will go. From there, seed is ordered as well as anything else we will need for the coming year. The bulk of this is done for our Community Supported Agriculture program, or CSA. We have had a CSA program at the farm for eight years now. CSA is a partnership between members and the farm. By purchasing a share in the late winter and spring, the member help offset the expenses of growing crops months before harvest, and in return, members get 20 weeks of super fresh vegetables and fruit.

In today’s world we can get any crop at any time. By joining CSA, you learn the true season of those crops and how much better they are fresh and in season. It’s a great way to get exposed to produce you may not be aware of and certainly a great way to eat healthy. Registration for Bishops CSA Program will begin February 2nd. Space is limited so if you are interested in participating, please click here to register today!

Pick Special

When Pick Your Own Apples comes to an end, the holidays are right around the corner. At Bishop’s Orchards we’re always striving to bring something special to our loyal customers and the holiday season is no exception. From specialty items to baking staples we keep our Farm Market stocked for you and your family.

New this year, we’ve added onto our bulk foods set to offer more staples for your baking and cooking regimen. Organic Oats and Basmati Rice are versatile ingredients for planning meals ahead and can be incorporated into your cooking year round. Another fantastic item you can find in our produce department is organic broccolini. In season now, this hearty cruciferous vegetable is a fantastic way to keep eating greens during the winter. A cross between Kale and Broccoli this almost addicting vegetable holds up well to roasting with root vegetables and stays firm and crisp in slow cooking soups.

One very recent addition to our grocery selection is a new line of bean and lentil pastas. These trending products provide a heaping amount of plant based protein and taste delicious! Made without any added sugars or fillers, the Tolerant line of organic and gluten free legume pastas are loved by kids and adults. If you bring healthful food staples with you when you travel this is a good pick as it’s loaded with plant based protein and its shelf stable. These lentil pastas taste wonderful with Bishops Crushed Tomato Sauce or in a hearty soup that reheats nicely for lunch to go.

By the close of 2018, for the first time ever, Bishops will have created their first nutrition bar set located right next to our fresh cut flowers. People have asked and inquired about healthful on the go items that they can bring to work, school, the gym or carry on the Shore Line East to sustain them throughout their day. We’ve created a brand new nutrition bar set that covers every category from plant based, paleo, organic, raw, nut free and high protein. There are many delicious and clean options for you and your family… not to mention great stocking stuffer ideas!

Are you hosting this holiday season? We’ve got you covered… we can outsource the job for you and we’ll still give you full credit. We carry D’artagnan meats and charcuterie for your dinner and entertaining needs. You may not find Duck Leg Con Fit or Venison at your conventional supermarket but we always offer a specialized selection to make your holiday feast a more unique experience. If you’re guests are staying overnight, we sell our own Bishop’s eggs right from across the parking lot from our own hens… they are as fresh as it gets! As for dessert, remember that we make our ice cream right here at the Farm Market and it pairs perfectly with our freshly baked pies. New this year, we now carry our own dairy free ice cream in Coffee, Chocolate and Vanilla. If you want to create a larger platter of desserts we’ve got our holiday tables displayed with variety of holiday sweets and treats, mostly imported from Europe. We are stocked with Marizpan and Pannetonne that make a memorable holiday dessert feature.

Year round we carry a comprehensive selection of cheeses from around the world. This is the time of year for baked brie with apricot jam…. (we’ve got a selection of both) Try Triple Crème Goat or Normandy Brie as a gift, or if you’re hosting. In the same aisle as our cheese display we have apricot and fig jams for you to try with brie for a sweet contrast to the cheese. If you need help putting together an appetizer before dinner, let our cheese Monger, Max know and we can help you pick out everything you need from brie, to jam, crackers and a beverage to bring it all together.

If you find yourself traveling far to see family, make sure to plan ahead and pack snacks for the trip! We carry organic and gluten free natural snacks that won’t drag you down during your travels. We have an ever growing selection of great snacks for the road including Vegan Robs Puffs, gluten free pretzels, veggie chips and paleo granolas to keep you satiated over the hours spent aboard planes, trains and automobiles! Come visit the Farm Market and you will be sure to find what you need this holiday for hosting, gifting and traveling.

Pick Fresh Pies

Out with pumpkins and in with Pies!!! With the fall season coming to an end, we are gearing up for Thanksgiving here at Bishop’s Orchards. No holiday would be complete without our own pies! When you pick Bishop’s during the holidays, you are picking fresh, local flavor that is convenient for you!!

Enjoy the convenience of our Grab N’ Go Fruit, Nut, Cream and No Sugar Added Pies! Bishop’s Orchards strives to make your holidays easier with the convenience of everything already done! Our fruit pies are baked fresh everyday. We have the popular pies like Apple, Blueberry, Pumpkin and Pecan, as well as specialty pies like Cherry, Peachberry and a fan favorite, Fruits of the Farm! If you are looking to stay traditional but if you want to step it up a notch, try our crumb pies that are available for blueberry and apple pies!! This crunchy, sugary crumb topping accompanies the delicious fruit in such a savory way!

Cream pies are a change in pace, with a sweet and creamy filling. Thaw out an hour before you are going to serve and voilà! Flavors include Banana Cream, Lemon Meringue, Chocolate Cream and Key Lime. Also in the freezers are a few of our frozen fruit pies. Keep them in the freezer until the day of when you can bake it fresh and have the smell wafting through your home! No sugar added pies are available in a few of our popular flavors like Apple, Fruits of the Farm and Peach. Indulge during the holidays while refraining from non natural sugars.

More Grab N’ Go side dishes are also available for the holidays! Enjoy mashed potatoes, stuffing, soups and rolls already premade. Traditional “must haves” have never tasted better than when you are left without the prep and clean-up mess!!

All pies and side dishes are baked fresh, with our hardworking Bakery Department working around the clock, 24-hours a day leading into Thanksgiving. Planning for special holidays or events can be made simple by submitting your order online or by giving us a call at 203-453-2338!! Let us know your pick-up date/time so we can guarantee your items! Click here to see varieties and side dishes. As with every year, we look forward to being a part of your festival spreads with friends and family!

Agritainment on the Farm

Put on your flannel and head out to Bishop’s Orchards for some Fall Family Fun!! Our fall “Agri-tainment” line-up is one of our most sought after experiences on the shoreline. From the pumpkin patch and pick your own, to the corn maze and the kids activities, we have it all!

The Corn Maze is always an exciting addition to the fall season and a must “SEA.” Two years ago we stepped it up by incorporating partnerships with other local businesses. This year we worked with  Mystic Aquarium to form our Beluga & Penguin Corn Maze theme!! Get lost while you enjoy interactive games and trivia, based on all things SEA! When you visit the corn maze you will also receive a coupon for a family of four towards your entrance fee to the Mystic Aquarium! The Corn Maze will be open on weekends through the end of October, from 10am-5pm and on Columbus Day. It is located at our Main Orchards at 480 New England Road in Guilford, approximately 2 ¾ miles from the Farm Market. The price is $7.00/person with children 2 and under free!

Amongst all our Pick Your Own varieties, a favorite is Pick Your Own Pumpkins at the Pumpkin and Little Red Barn!! A first sign that fall is here, the Pumpkin Patch has everything you need from fall decor, carving pumpkins, sugar pumpkins, fancy and ghost pumpkins! Admission into the Pumpkin Patch is FREE, with activities and food available at an additional cost. We have our Kids Activity Section with something for all ages; Hay Pyramid & Tunnel, Tractor Track, Corn Kingdom, Lawns Games and our NEW Apple Train (weekends and Columbus Day only). Joining our weekend and Columbus Day line-up is our Farm Fresh Food Truck and Bishop’s Concession Stand! Enjoy Bishop’s signature items like our maple kettle corn, ice cream, apple cider, donuts and more!! The Food Truck features some of Chef Michael’s homemade recipes, made specifically for the fall! Try a Poke Bowl, Fish Tacos, Harvest Wrap or the Balladino’s #4! Grilled Cheese, Hot Dogs and Burgers are available for simpler pallets, but you can dress them up with homemade toppings!

Starting October 6th, we will have the Community Dining Room here on weekends & Columbus Day from 10am-5pm, offering face painting, glitter tattoos and ceramic paint crafts. Proceeds from these activities go directly towards the Community Dining Room who is committed to feeding the hungry and helping with other basic human needs.

The Pumpkin Patch will close after October 31st. Hours are everyday, 9am-6pm, weather pending, and it is located next to our Farm Market, Exit 57 off I-95 on Route 1, 1355 Boston Post Road in Guilford. For more information on pricing, click here.

High Quality Produce

What conditions constitute “high quality” produce? Let’s start with observing the perception of perfection and if perfection really matters when it comes to produce… or anything at all. Does high quality produce mean fruits and vegetables with no scratches or flaws? Does a high quality apple have a shiny skin? Or fancy packaging? No. It’s been suggested that perfection means high quality but perfection does not always apply to high quality produce. Simple, fresh and as nature intended is the best way to get the highest quality produce regardless of any imperfections. We have to remember that fruits and vegetables are meant to grow outside where they’re exposed to the elements of wind, sun, rain, variable temperatures and humidity. Here at Bishop’s Orchards we have our own locally grown produce. If you want the highest quality, pick Bishops because it will always be crisp, fresh, hydrated, juicy… and local of course! If it’s not home grown here on the orchard we choose as many products as possible from local sources, like spinach, corn and microgreens, just to name a few.

Let’s examine what makes an apple a “high quality” apple. When you go to your local chain supermarket, pick up an apple and give it a gentle squeeze (by the way, don’t ever do this with a peach). Does the skin on the apple wrinkle slightly? If so, that’s because it’s an older apple that’s becoming dehydrated most likely from being in too cool temperatures for too long. Our cooler at Bishop’s Orchards runs cool enough that it keeps the produce fresh but not so cold that the foods start to dehydrate. Another misconception about apples is that shiny skin means high quality and perfect. The shiny coating on an apple in a conventional supermarket is a wax layer that is added to make the apple shiny the way we want our cars to shine… but who wants to eat an apple that tastes like wax?  Our apples are not shiny but that’s what actually makes them perfect and high quality, just as nature intended.

Remember to be mindful about how to store your produce to keep them “perfect” and extend the quality for as long as possible. On your next visit to the Farm Market take a look at the “Garden to Table” fresh storage guidelines posted in the produce section. It will give you the best instructions on which items are best kept at room temperature or in the fridge in addition to washing instructions.

Product Care

Product care is very important to retain our valued customers and deliver the high quality products they expect. We do not participate in many of the commonly practiced methods of most conventional grocery stores. We do not have any products on an automatic delivery and we hand check each item that comes in the store before it hits the shelf. Doing this allows us to keep a watchful eye on proper packaging and ensures food safety! Every item is ordered by hand on a daily basis which allows us to manage inventory and always have fresh products available.

One fun fact that you may not know is that we have a very extensive Olive Oil selection. We currently have over 25 different types of Extra Virgin Olive Oil from regions all over the world. We have an extensive variety of Greek, Italian, Spanish, American and Turkish olive oils ranging in flavor from light and fruity to robust and peppery! When choosing your olive oil it’s helpful to know about the different grades so you choose the best product for your meal preparation. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is cold pressed mechanically versus chemically and is also less than 0.08% acidity for maximum flavor and aroma. U.S Virgin Olive Oil has a pretty good flavor and odor with a low level of defects. Rated below U.S Virgin Olive Oil is what’s called: “U.S Lampante Virgin Olive Oil” is virgin olive oil which is lacking in flavor and odor and is usually not fit for human consumption and is usually used for refining and non food uses only.

Product Care is not limited to shelf stable products within our store, in fact the most attention to detail is allocated to our produce items. Starting in May with every spear of asparagus through the Fall with our apples, every item is inspected one by one before it goes to our shelves to ensure maximum color and overall quality. Brad Isnard is our CSA Director and has over 40 years experience with growing and handling all kinds of produce. In the most recent CSA newsletter Brad writes in detail how peaches should be handled and how we structure the timing into picking our peaches to ensure they get to your kitchen when they taste best.

“We pick peaches every two days (the same tree will be picked up to five time), so we try to pick them at the cusp of ripeness when you’ll still be able to handle (not squeeze) them. Peaches go from darker green to lighter green to yellow on the tops. We try for that just-yellowing spot for the proper timing of picking,” says Brad. Even if the picking season is only a couple weeks, growing our produce is a 365 day/year engagement that requires diligence and patience with product care in order to bring you the best quality you will find. Beyond our local Guilford Farm, our careful inspection process doesn’t stop with our own. All produce items here at Bishop’s Orchards are also inspected carefully when they are delivered before they get to your basket. We keep a close and consistent eye on what we receive which helps us to notice any changes that may have occurred in the picking and handling process.

Schools out and summer is here! The Pick-Your-Own season is finally open at Bishop’s Orchards. In the middle of this month we opened our strawberry fields up for Pick-Your-Own. They are delicious and juicy, easily one of our most popular crops. There is nothing more fresh than taking your family and friends out for a day filled with freshly-grown, flavorful fruits! Our strawberries are expected to last approximately through early July, with varieties that we grow carefully selected due to their sustainability. Strawberries are very soft and delicate so Bishop’s Orchards has a few tips for storing. For storing fresh, and lasting up to 1 week, keep your strawberries unwashed with stems still on until ready to eat. You should only wash with cold water when you are ready to consume. If you are looking to freeze your strawberries, place rinsed, dried and stemmed whole berries on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Freeze uncovered for six hours, then transfer berries into freezer bags. Frozen strawberries can store well up to three months.

Usually at the end of strawberry season, there is a brief break before starting Pick-Your-Own blueberries. Just like strawberries, our own blueberries grow in several varieties that continuously ripen throughout the season. Starting around mid-July and continuing through late August, Pick-Your-Own blueberries have a longer availability for picking as we rotate picking areas from start to finish. Blueberries are very versatile and GREAT for eating, cooking and freezing! When you are enjoying fresh, make sure to keep refrigerated until ready to use. You should plan to use them within a few days, washing the berries under cool water beforehand. If you are looking to freeze them, wash them gently and drain on a paper towel. Once dried completely, place them on a cookie sheet in a single layer and set in the freezer for a quick freeze. After they are frozen, place them into plastic freezer bags, leaving ½” to ¾” head room in the bags. When you are ready to use, defrost the bags only long enough to thaw. Frozen blueberries can store well up to three months.

Our fresh fruits are always best when enjoyed in our family recipes, available on our website. If you come out for any of our Pick Your Own seasons, make sure to check out our Bishop’s Cookbook online for recipes using our farm fresh produce. In the meantime, here are a few family favorites that can highlight our delicious strawberries and blueberries:

Strawberry Tea Bread/Muffins

Makes 1 Dozen

  • 3 Egg
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Salad Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Oats
  • 1 tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½  teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 cup Strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs and sugar. Add oil and vanilla. Mix in flour, oats, cinnamon, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add strawberries and mix well. Bake for bread and muffins 20-25 minutes. Also freezes well.

Strawberry Cream Spread

Makes 1 Batch

  • 12 ounces Cream Cheese
  • 3 Strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar

Mix 3-4 ounces cream cheese, 3 small strawberries and 1 tsp. lemon juice in blender. Add 1 tsp sugar if desired. Serve with toast or strawberry bread.

Blueberry Picnic Bars

  • ½  cup All Purpose Flour
  • ½  cup Brown Sugar
  • ½  teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon Salt
  • 6 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 ½ cups Blueberries
  • 1 ½ cups Oats
  • 3 tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8”” square baking pan with foil, letting ends extend above pan on two sides. In a large bowl, mix oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Add melted butter and stir with fork until evenly moistened (mixture will be crumbly). Reserve ½ cup crumb mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture evenly and firmly over bottom of ungreased, foil-lined pan. Bake 12 minutes to set crust. Meanwhile, prepare filling. In a small saucepan stir berries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice over medium heat until simmering. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until juices are no longer cloudy, about 2 minutes. Spoon over crust.

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!