… and the Kitchen Continues to Grow!

Over the past two years we have witnessed so much growth in our business, especially in our Kitchen and Bakery Department! We have seen so many new meals, all of which hand made here, by some amazing new faces! Along with our Head Chef Ian and Sous Chef Kevin, our other Sous Chef, Frank Connors, comes with quite the experience, having started in the industry when he was still in high school.

Frank attended Emmett O’Brien Tech School in Ansonia, where he focused on culinary arts. He got into cooking out of necessity. Having parents who worked 2nd and 3rd shift jobs, he knew that working in a restaurant would keep him busy and fed. He got a job as a dishwasher that lasted 3 days. The prep cook had quit so he was thrown into this new roll. Once in this role, his enthusiasm grew and his true passion came from trying to make different and new things. He took a job at Rapp’s Paradise Inn in Ansonia for a year, until his high school chef reached out to get him into Oak Lane Country Club in Woodbridge. He remained there until after graduation, when he took a position as a seafood line cook at Gennaro’s Restuarant on State Street in New Haven.

Frank stayed at Gennaro’s over a little over a year. He then took a job at Brookside Inn in Oxford and stayed for 16 years! He grew within this family run business, knowing the ins and outs and capable of running the business himself. “I loved working for a family business and felt like a part of the family myself,” says Frank. “If they hadn’t closed and moved away from Oxford, I would have stayed forever!” When his stint at Brookside ended, he became a part of the opening crew for GW Carson’s in Branford. He trained the opening crew and spent two years as their line cook, before moving on to a new adventure.

Frank’s friends were opening Entray on the shoreline and they wanted him to take charge as the head chef. Entray was built around homemade prepared meals, but unfortunately did not last long. When the business fell under, he moved on to Madison Beach Hotel where he was a Sous Chef for over 6 years. When the pandemic hit, the restaurant closed and when they finally reopened, he felt it no longer the right fit for him anymore. After deciding to move on and taking some time off, he found his way to Bishop’s Orchards!

As a newer member of the Department, he is excited to bring new ideas and recipes to the table, lending a helping hand to all. His favorite dish, and has been since he was six, is pizza. He has worked cooking with all cuisines, but he loves cooking all cuisines especially those different and unique like Asian Cuisine. Through his variety of experiences, he has come to know one thing… that experiencing failure helps to make the highlights stand out that much more. “I love being back in a family run business again, especially right after leaving the corporate field. They just understand it and help you make the balance possible.”

With over 27 years of experience, we are so honored to have Frank a part of our establishments. Be on the look out for more of his famous dishes, still to make their way into the Farm Market. In the meantime, you can probably find him cruising around Branford with his wife and step daughter… and their Pomeranian Oaklee.

“COVID hitting and changing my direction was difficult, but maybe the best thing that could have happened. Having daytime hours instead of evenings in the restaurant gives my family more time together. We all got to know each other again and reconstruct our family dynamic.”

Au Naturale Egg Decorating

With spring season blooming, Easter is just around the corner! It’s time to say goodbye to harsh colorants and synthetic dyes, and create Easter egg decorating memories with ingredients right from our farm market—or your kitchen! Follow along as we use fruits, vegetables and spices to show the power of natural dyes and provide a safe alternative for Easter traditions. Prepare your eggs ahead of time by hard boiling them in a large saucepan, filled with cool water. Slowly bring it to boil on medium heat. Once the water has boiled, cover the pot and turn off the heat. After letting it sit for 10-15 minutes, move your eggs into a strainer and run them under cold water for one minute.

Choose Your Colors Based on Food Item:

Red Beets = Red/Pink Dye

Turmeric, Yellow Onion Skins or Carrots = Orange/Yellow Dye

Spinach or Green Apple Peel = Green Dye

Red Cabbage or Blueberries = Blue Dye

Raspberries or Blackberries = Pink/Purple Dye

Prepare Your Dye

For fruits and vegetables, add ½ – 1 cup of them chopped, with 1 cup of water. Bring water and chopped veggies or fruits to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. For spices, use a 1:1 ratio of dried/powdered spice to water. For example, turmeric creates a vibrant yellow/orange color with 3 tbsp spice and 3 cups boiling water. Make sure spice powder is mixed well with hot water or the powder may settle at the bottom of your container. If this happens, stir dye a few times throughout the egg dying process. Remove pan from heat and let liquid dye cool to room temperature. Once cooled, use a strainer to pour liquid into mason jars or bowls, removing any food pieces. For a chunky, textured egg dye, leave food in containers. Food pieces give an awesome speckled appearance. Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or cream of tartar into each bowl or jar of dye.

Add hard boiled eggs to the dyes by fully emerging. Use stickers, glitter and rubber bands to create patterns and festive decorations! Refrigerate eggs in containers for 12 to 48 hours depending on how vibrant you wish egg colors. When eggs are dry, remove rubber bands and decorative embellishments to see your creation! 

Time for a Reset

For the first time in 2 years, my family decided it was time to take a vacation. While we have been to places around New England over the past two years, we have been missing our “bigger” getaway trip. This to us means getting on a plane and actually escaping our everyday lives and hitting the reset button. The last time we got on a plane was exactly one week before the “world shut down” in March 2020, almost two years ago to the day.  

We decided back in January that it was time to plan something. We knew we wanted warm sunny weather, a beach, and limited cell service. Between work and school, we all needed to  disconnect from technology (as much as possible) and just enjoy each other’s company as a family. So off to the Caribbean we went! We just returned from a week in paradise and we all feel so rejuvenated. There is something so cleansing about just taking time off to escape and reset our minds and bodies.  

Resets are needed in many ways and for many reasons, and there is a true reason behind the term “Spring Cleaning!” A few months back in one of our manager’s meetings we started discussing doing a “reset” here in the retail market. While we are constantly bringing in new products, we often find ourselves limited on space as to where these new items will go. For staff and customers, our brains get so used to the way things are that we get stuck in our habits and don’t always see everything around us, but rather the things that we are used to. The kitchen and bakery staff have been busy creating new dishes and desserts, and the grocery department has been selecting and purchasing many new items to bring to the shelves. Hence, one of the reasons for needing a change in the store. Something fresh and new for both our staff and customers. New products and a slightly new look! This past Sunday night after we closed up shop, some of our team members got right to work and started working their magic.  

We know that for some, change can trigger anxiety! We are here to help you and ease that anxiety! It can be frustrating when you go to look for something and it isn’t where it normally is. This is true whether it’s at home or in a store! We are all creatures of habit. To help you, we have placed signs up where things once lived on the shelves to point you in the right direction. Our staff has also been prepared for your questions and are ready and willing to help you too! Don’t give up if you don’t see a product that you are looking for!

We are excited for this change and to be able to offer additional products that we hope excite you! We invite you to give yourself a little extra time to explore our products and to discover something new. Whether it be something you find on your own, or maybe a product tagged on the shelf as one of our “Staff Picks,” we are sure that there is something you will find that will become a new refreshing item in your home!

Happy Discovering and Shopping!  

Sarah

To Close or Not to Close

What’s the dilemma this week?  Well, for as long as I can remember, there aren’t many storms, hurricanes, or blizzards that change our hours of operation here at the Farm Market.  I have always believed growing up that it would take a severe natural disaster to close the store and cancel our staff from coming in.  I am sure that many of you who have lived in Guilford for years can attest to this.  It has always been ingrained in us (the generations of Bishop Family members) that we need to be open for our community because you never know when someone needs us, even if just for a gallon of milk or eggs!  Over the past decade, it has become a little more lax, and we have had the very occasional delayed opening or early closing, but we usually make the call at the last minute, just in case the forecast predictions were wrong (which we all know is skeptical, especially when it comes to snowfall amounts).

Many of you know Alicia. She is one of our amazing Front End Supervisors and has worked with us for over 25 years!  We were talking the other day about how many storms she has driven in to be here and joking about how we never close.  She recalled a memory of a big snow storm years ago that was actively happening during business hours.  The roads and our store were desolate, and only a skeleton crew was working.  She said the roads were terrible and no one should have been on them.  Out of nowhere, a little old man pulled into the parking lot and walked into the store.  Of course Alicia struck up a conversation with him as he proceeded to the checkout line.  He approached her and put two single bananas on the counter.  That’s it…two bananas!! Come to find out, he drove all the way from North Branford.  In normal weather, North Branford isn’t far, but in a snowstorm??? That could take forever!  All for two bananas!  To this day, we wonder what was so important that he needed 2 bananas to risk his life on the roads? 

So…what to do for the storm this weekend? That is the question that I have been wondering all week.  Watching the weather app on my phone, getting the latest news alerts from every news station, wondering “What is Saturday going to look like for Bishop’s?”  I laid out the different scenarios on Wednesday to prepare our managers, knowing that we could be making the call at 7am on Saturday morning.  But when I woke up this morning to the new models and a forecast that is now predicting 18” to 24” of snow, with the major impact of the storm during business hours, I took the plunge and made the call…(Previous generations, hold onto your hats)!  We will be CLOSED on Saturday, January 29th!  A snow day for all!  I believe this may go down in the Bishop’s Book of History!  Making the decision to close the business 24 hours before a storm even hits, unheard of!  Although previous generations may not approve of making the call so early, I am going with my gut on this one.  It ultimately came down to the safety of our team members as well as all of you.  There is no need to put yourselves at risk driving through the storm unless it’s an emergency!  I am hoping that you were able to get out yesterday or today to stock up on your essentials like milk, eggs, bread, and of course bananas!!  Enjoy the storm in the warmth of your homes, oohing and ahhing over the beauty of the fresh fallen snow.  Go sledding and build a snowman or snowperson with your kids. Enjoy the fact that we live in New England and are fortunate to experience what every season has to offer.  For those of you who have to be on the roads as first responders in a number of different fields of work, please be safe, and we thank you for your service!

 

Be well and Be safe!

Sarah

Curbside to the Rescue!

After almost two years of playing it safe and avoiding COVID in our household, it finally happened! What has felt like the dreaded Scarlet Letter, we are now marked with the letter C! One of my daughters tested positive after showing symptoms for a couple days, but luckily no one else in our household has been affected, at least not with the virus (knock on wood)! So now quarantining and distance learning begin (again)! As all parents know, just distance learning alone is hard.  But now back to the home office I go, zooming, emailing, and working on projects, because I have a business to run and need to work too. All of this while managing my daughter to make sure that she is in the right class at the right time, and doing her work!  Oh, and switching the laundry or emptying the dishwasher during a quick break because I’m home and it’s not going to do itself.  

The funniest part of me working from home is turning my work phone on (so staff can dial my direct extension), and everyone in my daughters class on zoom hearing when someone has purchased a Wood Cart at the Farm Market because the page comes across in my home for a “Wood Cart Pick Up – Register 5”!  It’s the running joke in my house as to how many wood carts are purchased a day, or when someone is paged by name, like “JB to Customer Service”, everyone in my house starts calling out for JB!  

But through all of this, one of my own saving graces has been our Curbside Pickup that we initiated back in March of 2020 when this pandemic started.  Yes, I use our own service! Most “normal” days when I am at work, at the end of the day, you will catch me running down the stairs, scurrying through the store, shopping for dinner and school lunches… one of the conveniences of working in a “farm market.” But, there are times when I just don’t have the time to shop, even when running is involved!  Kids need to be picked up, brought from point A to point B, afterwork commitments and meetings… Life is just busy!  Being able to go to our online ordering and throw things into my cart, select a pick-up time and just swing in the parking lot to have my groceries brought out to me, it’s just so simple and a huge time-saver!  This week was no exception, especially since our household is now “exposed”. I placed my order earlier this week when I learned of our positive case, knowing that no one on our staff wanted me around them in fear that I could be positive too! I left my house, picked up my order, and I was back home in 15 minutes putting the groceries away and starting dinner.  

So parents (and busy adults), we get it, I get it!  Life is crazy and the times we are living in are crazier!  But we want you to know that we are here for you and want to make your life a little easier and more comfortable!  Whether you use our online shopping as a safety precaution, or just because there aren’t enough hours in the day, we want to help you out! I am living proof of the convenience for a multitude of reasons, and I am not ashamed to admit it.  If you haven’t tried the Curbside Experience, I urge you to! 

 

Stay Safe and Healthy!

Sarah Bishop DellaVentura

6th Generation

New Year, New Face

We are almost 3 weeks into the New Year and we are excited to start introducing some new faces! The business has been growing and so has the footprints! With the growth in production that our Kitchen and Bakery Department are seeing, it became time to give our Executive Chef Ian a helping hand!

Meet Kevin Wolcott, our new Sous Chef! Kevin is a CT native, growing up in East Haven. At a young age he knew that the culinary field was for him! Despite his first dish ever being an epic failure (New England Clam Chowder), he did not loose hope and continued to explore his passion through high school electives and after school jobs. Kevin went on to study at Johnson and Wales in Rhode Island, graduating in 2005 with a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts. When asked why baking and pastry arts, he said “I didn’t want to stand in front of an oven all day and cook. I wanted something more challenging.” He compared baking and pastry art to science, but on the other hand, very calming and satisfying. “Main dishes and entrees are always evolving with changes able to be made up to the finished product,” says Kevin. “With baking, especially with pastries, it is a hurry up and wait. You can’t rush it, but are eager to see what the finished product is. Once something is in the oven, you can’t change it… all you can do is wait!”

Since his graduation, he has enjoyed working all over Connecticut with jobs at Mohegan Sun Casino, Take the Cake in Guilford, and Petonito’s Pastry and Cupcake Shoppe in East Haven. Now living in New Haven, he is excited to be back on the shoreline and a part of a business that he has known since a young age. He hopes to become an integral part of the Kitchen under Ian, as well as bringing his homemade baked goods and creations to our customers. “I have a toolbox in my mind where I can pull out the capability to do both sides of the culinary field,” says Kevin. “You need me to be a line cook?! You got it! You need a new dessert or to write new recipes, I’m there!”

Events & Pick Your Own.

Whether it be pick your own or evenings at the NEW Little Red Barn, we provide year round and seasonal events that bring you out to the farm. Enjoy the best we have to offer from agritainment, wines, hard cider and picked by you fruit. There is farm, family fun for all ages to keep coming back for more!

It’s worth it.

It’s worth it.

Our COVID year put us all on detours and altered our planned destinations. While we have all had significant disruption this past year of COVID and are thankfully returning to a safer, new normal, our children have faced enormous changes in the educational process at all levels. For some it’s a building year that has moved them ahead. For many more the disruption means falling farther behind in productive learning, with the costs accruing to our society in untold ways.

Locally we have many support opportunities for those in need. Two non profits in our area which our family is proud to support are the Woman and Family Life Center and the Guilford DAY initiative, “It’s Worth It”.  Bishop’s round up campaign this month benefits the latter. 

Guilford D.A.Y. (Developmental Assets for Youth) is a community coalition focused on encouraging youth to make positive choices and look to their parents and other adults as role models. Volunteers come from the Guilford community, including parents, youth, community leaders, law enforcement, and other sectors.  Ultimately, D.A.Y. works to reduce high-risk behaviors such as underage drinking and other illicit youth substance use and provides our youth with the opportunities, skills and values they need to grow into healthy caring and responsible adults. 

The Women & Family Life Center provides resources and education for women and all families in crisis. “The Center provides services to our shoreline community that simply can’t be found anywhere else,” said Liza Petra, Executive Director of the Guilford Foundation “and their programs ensure that families facing their most difficult times are met with kindness and the help they need.” 

As we continue to exit from a year of stress and adaptation,  please remember those who struggled and are scarred from the ordeals they faced. As you garden, walk, run, sit or enjoy the outdoors, think of youth and families who have needed and been supported by these organizations and donate to our round up campaign to assist them.  It’s worth it.

Back to 1916: Bishop’s First Tractor

Bishop’s first tractor was an International Harvester 1916 Mogul 8-16. This one cylinder, 5000 pound, metal wheeled 8 HP kerosene powered tractor cost $675.  Young Charles Remington Bishop, age 18, posed for this photo during a break from plowing part of the 14 acre field which we still farm 150 years later. This field is on Dunk Rock Rd adjacent to ‘Bishop’s Ice Pond’ where ice was harvested until the 1938 Hurricane destroyed the Ice House. 6 Generations later on this same land, and 13 generations since John Bishop arrived with Rev. Henry Whitfield and settled Guilford, we’re proud to be stewards of this land where today we grow raspberries, asparagus and a wide variety of vegetables. The Mogul tractor and it’s implements to prep our land are long gone, but not our drive and zeal to farm our land.

While a relatively large farm in CT, we are small by comparison to our farming friends outside of New England. We use a variety of methods to enhance conservation and minimize wind and water erosion.  For most vegetables, we rototill, then create a ‘plant-bed’ by laying down biodegradable plastic with drip-tube irrigation under the plastic to deliver water to the root zone. This uses less water than overhead irrigation, saving pumping energy, labor and money. Another technique we use is a hillside cultivator for strawberries, raspberries and vegetables pictured here. Land on slopes is rarely disturbed, and done in strips so sod remains between the rows where we will be planting young trees.  Soil loss occurs when it is embedded in the leaves and roots of harvested plants, tracked away by equipment and humans, or carried away by wind and rain. 

Add Being Late to a Mother’s To-Do List

In the spirit of the busy life a working mother has these days and the lack of hours in a day to sometimes accomplish the always expanding to-do list, this email turned into a “Flashback Friday” instead of a “Throwback Thursday.”

A picture can be worth a thousand words, especially one with such important individuals. For those of you who do not know these family members, from left to right are: Barbara Bishop (my grandmother and wife of 4th Generation member Al Bishop), Arthur Bishop (3rd Generation – my great-grandfather), and Diane Bishop van der Grinten (my aunt – 5th Generation).  This photo was taken while family and staff were celebrating Arthur’s birthday around 1980.  Barbara, my grandmother, would ALWAYS make the time to bake a cake for everyone’s birthday, her father-in-law being no exception! Whether in the breakroom at the farm, Arthur’s office or back home with family, baking was always her favorite thing to do! Her handwritten recipe cards have all been computerized and imported onto our website’s ‘Bishop’s Cookbook’, as well as recipes that still to this day, are used in our Kitchen and Bakery. Barbara’s Blueberry Buckle is still a #1 seller and a dessert very well known throughout the shoreline, and personally my favorite, right after her raspberry pie!