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.

FEATURED PERSONALITY: ERICA DENUZZO

Erica DeNuzzo has been a fundamental addition to the team and marketing department here at Bishop’s Orchards. Coming from a Graphic Design company 5 years ago, Erica has taken on a role as the Marketing Coordinator. She assists in handling aspects of marketing and public relations including the development and implementation of  marketing campaigns, tracking analytics, planning meetings and media purchases, budgeting, preparing reports, knowledge of social media platforms, creating visual & verbal content, and organizing the company’s promotional outreach efforts. Her creative background has also made her the in-house graphic designer and event coordinator.

“I know my strong suites are my organization, communication and ability to multitask. Being a Type A personality has definitely been helpful in my professional life with pushing deadlines and strategically planning,” says Erica. “There is however a huge creative side to me. I try to create a healthy balance of building structure while also being able to step outside the lines and push the boundaries. The best part of my job is visualizing an idea and seeing it run through to execution.

Since joining the business, Erica has become more aware of the constant changes within the food industry. Bishop’s Orchards and the food industry is constantly keeping the marketing team on their toes. “Demands, trends and demographics are constantly changing, keeping the marketing team on our toes. It is up to us to determine how to approach each segment effectively,” explains Erica. On top of market segmentation changes, the marketing department is also tasked with staying up-to-date with media outlets and new resources for advertising. In the past year, Erica has been a part of the incorporation of Digital Advertising. Digital is only one aspect of Bishop’s advertising, but handled so differently than other mediums. “It was an expensive addition, but one needed to keep our brand visible, in the eyes of those searching for us.”

This time of year for the Marketing Department is filled with preparation for the Pick-Your-Own season, booking small scale events, staying on top of changing content for advertisers, and planning for the 2018 Shoreline Wine Festival on August 11th & 12th. “The Shoreline Wine Festival is a great event! Attendees can enjoy CT Wines from all over the state as well as live music, wide stream food trucks, local artisans and so much more! A lot of time, planning and organization goes into this event and it shows in how well it runs and both customers and vendors enjoyment.”  

As for future growth for Bishop’s Orchards, Erica hopes to see the addition of more events, specifically becoming a venue in the wedding industry. “Bishop’s would be a beautiful and unique location to add to wedding venues on the shoreline. People are always getting married so jumping into this industry would definitely be a smart investment on our part, as well as an enjoyable avenue to explore.”

#PickBishops Campaign

As if spending an hour or two with family and friends at Pick-Your-Own isn’t appealing enough, we at Bishop’s Orchards run a contest to go along with the season. Our “#PickBishops” campaign was created as a way to share our customer’s experience, while also rewarding them for their continued patronage. What is the importance of a hashtag you might ask? Hashtags are used to categorize online content, making the detection of new or related content easy to do! At Bishop’s we enjoy using our customer’s materials as a way of promoting our family friendly experiences on the farm. Whether that be an image off Facebook, or a blog written about a CSA Share! If you see something you posted, reused by us, it was most likely found because of your hashtag!

The #PickBishops contest is simple and easy, only extending your social media posts by one word! While you are out at one of our Pick-Your-Own locations, simply snap a picture of your experience and upload it to either Facebook or Instagram, using the hashtag, “#PickBishops!” You can also “tag” us in the photo by using the following usernames, Instagram- @BishopsOrchards and Facebook- @Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market. A random winner is chosen every week and notified to stop into the Farm Market to pick up their prize! At the end of the Pick-Your-Own season (approx. October 31st), all the winners from each week are pooled together and out of those, the winner of the Grand Prize is chosen!!

So this summer when you are out at Pick-Your-Own, snap a picture, and share your experience with us on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag, #PickBishops. Every week there is a new winner chosen, so why not you? Don’t miss out on the opportunity to be a part of this “trending” campaign. For further details on the #PickBishops contest click here.

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.

Farm Feature: Anderson Farms

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. Andersoanderson farms vegetable standn 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.fresh spinach from anderson farms

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!

The Beauty of the Apple Blossoms

One of our favorite parts about spring on the farm here at Bishop’s Orchards are the apple blossoms! If you live local, you probably saw them as you drove on Long Hill Road behind our farm market. They’re those pretty pink and white flowers on the trees right along the hillside. They are always a true sight to see and make springtime that much more enjoyable. But what some people might not know is there’s much more to them than their beauty. They serve an important purpose that impacts fruit production on the tree. So, let’s go through everything you need to know about the lifecycle of an apple blossom:

When They Blossom

Apple blossoms typically bloom anywhere from early spring to late summer. The earlier apple varieties like McIntosh, Gala, Honeycrisp and Fuji would be the first ones you see, and the later varieties like Macoun, Mutsu and Pink Lady will blossom later on in the summer. The center blossom, also called the king blossom, opens first and may grow a larger apple than the other blossoms.

Pollination Time

In order for these blossoms to become fruit, they need to cross-pollinate. Some varieties can self-pollinate but when cross-pollinated with other trees and varieties, it’s been shown to produce better fruit. We here at Bishop’s Orchards bring in our own bees to help with the pollination process. Once complete, the blossom falls off and over time, grows into fruit.

Fun Facts

  1. Not only do the blossoms turn into apples, but the blossoms can be eaten themselves! It turns out, they are high in antioxidants and have a sweet flavor to them. When made into a tea you can experience benefits like clear complexion, better digestion and stress relief. In addition, they can make a great whiskey, jelly and are wonderful paired with other edible flowers as a garnish. Like anything, they should be eaten in moderation.
  2. The apple blossom is a member of the rose family.
  3. Most apple blossoms are known for their white and pink color. But how pink they turn actually depends on the apple variety.

Now that you know all this information about apple blossoms, you probably want to go see some. So, if you’re looking for a scenic drive, come by our farm market in the beginning to mid-May every year in Guilford, CT. They can be seen right from the road and the parking lot at our store!

 

FEATURED PERSONALITY: Carly Pastore

Carly Pastore is one of the most recent members of the Bishop’s Orchards team. Coming to us with a background in sales and marketing for several different natural food brands, Carly’s experience made her a great fit for the team and as our Retail Marketing Specialist position here at Bishop’s.

Carly does anything from setting up samples for customers to taste, watching and studying different food categories and trends, restocking any displays as needed, to conversing with any customer who wants to chat. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to be downstairs interacting with customers while also contributing to plans on marketing strategy, product acquisition, category management and our Loyalty Rewards Program,” said Carly.

Not having experienced our busy season in the fall yet, Carly is anxious but excited to learn where exactly everyone is traveling from. “My goals are to bring new and innovative methods to the table, increasing product awareness and product use, and to build our Loyalty Rewards Program so customers can take advantage of what we have to offer and reap benefits by doing so.” That includes people that are traveling from right down the road, to customers that are coming from out of state.

In the meantime, we recently added a new loose bulk set to our bulk foods department. Carly explains, “there are four new items that include: Rolled Oats, Quick Oats, Brown Basmati Rice and Quinoa. They’re all USDA organic items at very competitive prices. We want to give our loyal customers another reason to choose us over our neighboring large chain grocery stores.”

As for what’s to come, you can expect to see some new looks and displays coming to Bishop’s that will be filled with new items. This is so we can offer customers a more broad selection of grocery staples and specialty products, tailored specifically to serve all that populate the community.

Carly’s favorite part about working at Bishop’s in the people. “It’s a community of people who have been loyal to the company for decades which makes it a very desirable place to work and grow. It seems like everyone gets an opportunity to spend time outside at some point during the day, or during the year which is great for overall wellness and understanding of what we are…a Farm Market.”

 

New Chef, New Meals

Lately, exciting things have been happening at Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market. Going into 2018 we wanted to communicate with our customers a little more, discovering what they were and were not coming in for. We have heard our customers and acknowledge the need for a strong, versatile, Prepared Food Department. In sprucing up the department, we hired a NEW, local chef, bringing his flavors back into the community. Chef Michael Aragon is most known for his eclectic menu from Whitfield’s On The Green. His contributions to our team have been mind blowing, both in taste and team morale!

Michael brings with him his very own recipes, made with clean, all natural ingredients. Some of his newest dishes include a Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin with a Mustard Seed Glaze, Beef and Vegetable Lasagna, Meatloaf, Chicken Pad Thai, Crusted Pork Chops and plenty of side dishes like Roasted Potatoes, Roasted Cauliflower, Spaghetti Squash and our Bishop’s Own Asparagus Medley, just to name a few. The feedback has been incredible, with the price and ingredients being just right! The best part, whenever possible, Chef Michael features Bishop’s ingredients or items in his dishes, like our seasonal asparagus or our heirloom tomato marinara.

Roasted, Free Range Whole Chickens are coming out of our kitchen. A dry rub is used for seasoning these 2.5lb chickens. They are the perfect size for a family of four, providing leftovers for lunch the next day. Our Roasted Chickens are also used in a NEW Chicken Curry Salad. It is great when served over a bed of greens, or simply by itself, with seasoning just right so as to not overwhelm. Along with our complete meal line-up, our Grab & Grill Meals have been remade with new recipes, different cuts of meat, and fresh made sauces on the side. Featured meals have included Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes, Ahi Tuna with Squash and Peppers, Chicken and Asparagus, Sausage & Peppers, Peppered Salmon with Mushrooms, and Flank Steaks with Potatoes. Everything you need, still in one bag, with a sealed separation from the meat and vegetables.

Everyday we are amazed to see the continued efforts from this department in creating new dishes. You will start to see even more growth in our desserts, including our NEW Edible Cookie Dough flavors!! The direction we are headed in is more fresh and trendy than ever!! Jump on board this shopping experience!!

 

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!

 

How to Use Your Fresh Herbs: Basil

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.

farm fresh basil plants

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!