It is officially everyone’s favorite time of the year! Fall is here and the farm is so excited! Pears and apples are currently being picked, with our Pumpkin Patch now also being open. While pumpkin picking has just started, pear picking will be coming to an end by early October. Pears are being picked on weekends when we are at our Main Orchard off of New England Road. Pears being picked include Bosc and limited Bartlett. Our pears come in various sizes, shapes and colors. Bartlett’s are generally juicy, sweet and excellent for eating, canning and cooking. Bosc pears are crisp with a rougher skin and best for eating and cooking. Pears actually ripen best off the tree so you want to make sure you pick them when they are mature but not ripe. Make sure to store your pears at room temperature as they will ripen in a few days.
Overall the start of Apple Picking has been slow, with varieties available to pick being approximately a week behind. Apple picking is everyday with field locations in Guilford changing, and our Northford Orchard available for apple picking on weekends only. This past weekend we were finally able to open our fan favorite Macoun Apples for Pick Your Own. Other apples that have been available are Daybreak Fuji, Cortland, Autumn Gala, McIntosh, Red and Golden Delicious. We grow approximately 20 varieties, carrying the season through late October. With all our apple varieties, you are sure to find something that suits all your needs, whether it be for cooking, gifts, or a quick snack on the go!
Apples will keep for months if you store them properly, so make sure to stock up! Inspect all apples for bruises, cuts, and soft spots. Only perfect fruit is suitable for storage. Sort the apples by size: small, medium and large. Since large apples don’t store as well, this will make it easy to ensure that they get eaten first. It’s also a good idea to sort your apples by variety. Different apples ripen at different rates, so if you store each variety separately, it’ll be easy to eat the early ripeners first, while saving the slow ripeners for later. Place the sorted apples in boxes or baskets. To maximize their storage life, wrap each apple in newspaper before you place it in the basket. If one apple goes bad, the paper will protect the other apples from coming into contact with it. Store your apples in a cool basement, garage, shed, fruit cellar or refrigerator. Check regularly for signs of spoilage, and remove any rotten apples before they have a chance to spoil the lot. If you follow these instructions you will most definitely be able to enjoy using these apples for homemade desserts for Thanksgiving! We have plenty of recipes online so check out our Bishop’s Cookbook. Here are a few favorites:
- 2 apples
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 ½ tablespoons butter
- 3 egg
- ½ cup milk
- ⅓ cup cornmeal
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss apples with sugar. Reserve. Melt the butter in a 9 or 10 cast iron skillet and remove from heat. Beat eggs and milk in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Combine cornmeal, flour and salt in a separate bowl and whisk in egg/milk mixture until smooth. Put skillet back on heat and sauté the apples in the remaining butter. After 2 or 3 minutes, before they get mushy, spread the apples evenly in the pan and gently pour on the batter. Put skillet in oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until firm and puffy. Loosen with a spatula and invert onto an ovenproof platter. Sprinkle with grated Light Cheddar Cheese and return to oven to melt.
- 1 ½ pounds Italian sausage
- 6 cups onions
- 2 cups celery
- ¾ cup butter
- 3 pounds apples
- ¾ cup sage
- 1 ½ pounds sourdough bread
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 2 pounds parsnips
Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake bread cubes on 2 large rimmed baking sheets until lightly toasted, about 20 minutes. Sauté sausages in very large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, breaking into pieces with spoon, about 15 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to large bowl; add bread. Add onions and celery to same skillet and sauté until golden brown, about 10 minutes; transfer to bowl with bread. Melt 1/4 cup butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes; mix apples into stuffing. Melt 1/4 cup butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add parsnips and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes; mix into stuffing. Melt 1/4 cup butter in same skillet. Add sage and sauté until dark green, about 2 minutes. Mix sage and butter into stuffing. Season with salt and pepper. Butter 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Stuff turkey. Transfer remaining stuffing to prepared dish; drizzle with 1/2 cup chicken broth. Cover with foil. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate). Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake stuffing covered until heated through, about 1 hour. Uncover and bake until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
- 1 pie crust
- 1 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon lemon rind
- 7 cups pears
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ cups butter
Combine 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and the lemon peel. In a large bowl sprinkle pears with lemon juice. Add sugar mixture to pears; toss to coat fruit. Fill a pastry lined 9 inch pie plate with the pear mixture. To make topping combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar and spices. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs over pear filling. Cover edge of pie with foil. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes or until pie is bubbly and crust is golden. Cool on a wire rack before serving.
In 1998 Jeremy Waldman walked through Bishop’s Orchards’ doors at the age of 21. Previously he was working at Frank’s Nursery and Crafts in Branford, where he worked for Randy Perham, our current Grocery Team Manager. His youthful energy and charisma made him stand out and he quickly became part of the team. Who would have thought that Randy would be the one to hire Jeremy at both Frank’s Nursery and Bishop’s Orchards, and now having worked 20+ years together?! Over time Jeremy worked his way up within the Bishop’s rank. Being a utility player worked in his favor, landing him positions as the Assistant Produce Manager, Fresh Grocery Manager, Front End Supervisor and Assistant Store Manager. Jeremy’s current position is Market Team Manager, a title he has now held for 8+ years.
As the Market Team Manager, Jeremy is responsible for maintaining most of our staff. From hiring and training new employees, to keeping the current employees happy and safe, he is the Au Pair! “The one part of my job that I get a fair amount of joy out of is bringing in the new employees and really preparing them, I guess you could say, for the rest of their lives. Moreover, having somebody that you can see has some deficiencies, whether it be, their shy or their work habits aren’t great, being able to transform those employees in to active, productive team members, for me, that is the most important part of my job.”
Jeremy acknowledges the fall season as the time of year when the most attention and accommodation is needed. There is a huge increase in foot traffic, which means there is a need for more employment than usual. The process of hiring new employees for the fall, begins in early August. Swamped with resumes and interviews, Jeremy’s biggest challenge that he faces is making sure to monitor the staff on a day to day basis, evaluating their work while also providing the affirmation to keep them happy and safe. There is nothing he loves more than finding employees that are looking to sink their roots into the company, furthering their growth both professionally and personally. “The business has already grown immensely since we started in 1871, but there is still plenty of room left to grown,” says Jeremy. “The potential to do other things is incredible, it just comes down to facilitating those means.”
Jeremy, alongside additional management staff, look forward to one day possibly incorporating a deli, outside ice cream stand or another expansion on the farm market. “There are so many things we do well and that we can continue to expound on. The team and support the company has right now, is making a huge difference and we are all excited to see the direction we are headed.”
As a family owned business, generational growth is a key component to our sustainability. Over the winter, a pivotal transition occurred here at Bishop’s Orchards. 6th generation family members Sarah Bishop DellaVentura and Carrie Bishop Healy were promoted and took over new roles as the Chief Operations Officer and Chief Financial Officer.
Sarah has been with the company since 2007, where she started as the company’s Marketing Director and Pick-Your-Own Manager. Her background is in Business and Marketing, having worked for agencies in Boston and Fairfield County! As the new Chief Operations Officer, Sarah will oversee all Operations and Strategic Growth, both on the Retail and Farm side. Carrie moved back from Boston and joined the company in 2014. She worked for seven years in corporate Accounting and Auditing for two different companies, prior to finally making the move back home. With her new position as the Chief Financial Officer, she will deal with the administrative side of the business, overseeing the Finance, HR and IT Departments.
Sarah and Carrie’s message to the business and community speaks volumes towards their hope for the company’s future:
“As members of the next generation stepping into this next level of leadership, we are excited for the future and what is to come. We have watched this business evolve over the years and we take pride in continuing what generations before us have built. We are committing ourselves to the business as well as each of you. As a family business, six generations in, we want to continue to carry on the business for future generations with the high reputation and regard that we always have both to our employees and community.”
Sarah and Carrie have exhibited dedication, hard work and growth in their time thus far in the family business. Their passion and vision for the farm and business mirror everything the business stands for… all things “family, food and recreation!” Bishop’s Orchards is sure to see exciting new things in the future, all of which will contribute to our growth and success within our community!
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. Anderson 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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 https://bishopsorchards.com/the-farm/about/ for more information!
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.
1. 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.