Winter on the Farm

We get asked all the time, “what do you do on the farm this time of year” , and the answer to that is a lot. The physical work on the farm is pruning the fruit trees. That is the single largest job we do all year, and takes about five months to complete. We use a combination of chainsaws, and battery powered pruners to get this done.

Inside we are planning for the year ahead, making decisions on crops to raise, ordering the seed and greenhouse supplies to get them all started when we open the greenhouse in March. The bulk of the vegetables we raise are for our CSA program, and we always try for some new crops, and add to the diversity of the program. To see more about the program check out the link here.

The Farm managers go through the soil and leaf samples to put together a soil amendment and fertile program for the year. We will discuss the results with specialist to determine the right course as part of the process. We do a lot of equipment work too, repairing, overhauling, and prepping for the coming season. We have two full time mechanics that are kept very busy.

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!

FEATURED PERSONALITY – Alicia Metzler

Bishop’s history is who we are and why we are the way we are. We are a family business… strong emphasis on family. We depend strongly on the support of our staff, creating our work family. There is no one else who exemplifies this behavior more than our Front End Team Supervisor. To many of our customers she is known as “the lovely, helpful lady who is behind the customer service desk,” but to us, she is Alicia.

From Killingworth, CT, Alicia left high school and started to work at Cheeseboro Ponds in 1975, the same year she met her husband Al. Al was a Guilford native who fell hard and fell fast! Two years later in 1977 the two married and continued working for Pond’s, transferring to the research and development part of Ponds in Trumbull. Alicia stayed at Pond’s through her first pregnancy with eldest son Jamie in 1981. It wasn’t until after her she had her second son, Kyle, in 1983 when she decided to be a stay at home mom. During this time she had her daughter Kellyn in 1986 and in 1994 when she entered first grade, Alicia came to work for Bishop’s as a part time cashier.

Now going into her 25th anniversary working at Bishop’s, Alicia Metzler is a jack of all trades. Over the years she has moved up in positions from Head Cashier to Assistant Store Manager. She is the go-to employee for all things customer service! From taking care of opening and closing the store, to special orders and fruit baskets, to registering members for our Rewards Program… she does it all! Labeled the “Fruit Basket Lady,” her arrangements for corporate and holiday gift giving are some of the best on the shoreline. Her presence at the Farm Market is widely known due to her dedication over the years. “As someone who is not typically outgoing, I have formed a closeness with the Bishop’s family and the customers. This business and my position here created my voice and confidence,” says Alicia. “Over the years I have developed a rapport within the community and this has become my comfort zone.”

Bishop’s Orchards has and will always carry a special place in Alicia’s heart. Her whole family has worked at the farm market in some capacity or another. “My kids grew up with the 6th generation Bishops’ kids and they have become more than just my work family. Over my 25 years here, the Bishop’s have been very good to me, and myself to them. They are part of my family’s upbringing”

When she is not behind the Customer Service desk, Alicia LOVES to spend time with her family! She has two grandkids, Alaric and Craig, who have just moved to Guilford and are now closer than ever! Her husband is retired so when she takes time off, they like to travel to see their daughter Kellyn who lived in Vermont and now resides in Florida! “We live a simple and quiet life, with everything we could ever need and more! After 42 years of marriage, I say we are doing very well!”

A United Winter Wine Trail

For five years, Bishop’s Orchards spearheaded a winter wine trail program, the CT Coast & Country Winter Wine Trail. Along with our trail was the Litchfield Hills Winter Wine Trail. The overwhelming success of both trails caused for a merger, creating the official CT Winter Wine Trail. The 14 participating wineries include Bishop’s Orchards Winery, Brignole Vineyards, DiGrazia Vineyards, Gouveia Vineyards, Haight-Brown Vineyard, Hopkins Vineyard, Jonathan Edwards Vineyard, Maugle Sierra Vineyards, Miranda Vineyard, Paradise Hills Vineyards, Priam Vineyards, Sharpe Hill Vineyard, Sunset Meadow Vineyards, and Taylor Brooke Winery.

Connecticut agricultural tourism during the winter months tends to slow down. Both Winter Wine Trails were devised to provide people with an incentive to stay local, eat local, and drink local with the passport. How does the passport program work? Simply visit all participating wineries for a wine tasting, and get your passport stamped. Submit your completely stamped passport to one of the wineries by April 7th for a chance to win one of the sponsored prizes! Thanks to our sponsors, we were able to receive over $5K in prizes. Prizes include a two night stay in New York City or Vermont, bed & breakfast packages, overnight packages within CT, spa services, restaurant gift certificates and wine! Passports may be picked up at any of the wineries, but please make sure to check online for each wineries’ hours.  

The CT Winter Wine Trail will be running through April 7th, 2019. All participants must be at least 21 years old. Passports must be submitted with all 14 stamps to one of the participating wineries no later than April 7th. Random prize drawings will happen by April 16th. For details on sponsored prizes and passport regulations, visit www.ctwine.com.

Get Your Ice Cream

It may be winter outside, but it’s never too cold for Bishop’s Own Ice Cream! Haven’t you had enough pies, cakes and cookies during the holiday season? If so, then it’s time for something different! Make it your New Year’s resolution to give our ice cream a try. Just imagine sitting in front of a cozy fire, enjoying a bowl of creamy, delicious, ice cream.

In 2014, the idea to make and sell our own ice cream was born. What started out as a small project with a few flavors, and small amount of freezer space quickly became a successful department. Now our freezer can barely contain all the amazing ice cream that we have produced! With 43 flavors and counting, we have something that is sure to please any palate. In addition to our regular soft serve, we offer low- fat dairy-free vanilla, chocolate and coffee options, as well as a variety of sherbet, and fruit whips. Fruit whips are frozen fruit flavored treats that are both dairy and gluten free. Varieties include strawberry, pineapple, raspberry, pineapple swirl and pineapple strawberry.

Craving ice cream but a quart is too much? Or maybe the family can’t decide on just one flavor? Then it is time to try our ice cream parfaits and sandwiches!  Parfaits are smaller portions sizes (9oz cups) of many of your favorite flavors that are also sold in quarts. We also make delicious ice cream sandwiches. Options include sandwiches made with gluten-free, M&M, Oreo and chocolate chip cookies. Select varieties are sold in 6 and 4 packs, and individually.

Every container of ice cream is hand made by our talented ice cream specialist, Teresa. She is the mastermind behind all of our creative flavors, and names such as Resolution Breaker (Chocolate ice cream with fudge, caramel and Snickers) and Trickster Twist (vanilla and chocolate ice cream with peanut butter, fudge and crunch). She spends hours working hard experimenting with different combinations of flavors and toppings, to ensure that we have the tastiest treats available.

New this year, each month we will be highlighting a different flavor. This month we have selected our newest ice cream, Raspberry Crisp! Treat your taste buds to vanilla ice cream with raspberry flavoring, raspberries, and a crispy mix of oats, cinnamon, brown sugar and butter. So make sure to come down this month and check it out!

FEATURED PERSONALITY – PAUL GENOVESE

Technology can have a mind of its own and it tends to stir the pot at the most inconvenient time!! Enhancing customers’ experience in the Farm Market, transactions at Pick Your Own, online pie orders… you name it! Most of the time these variables cannot be controlled, but we do stand a chance thanks to our IT guru, Paul!! Sometimes it can just be his mere presence standing over your computer. More often than not, it is his experience, patience and problem solving ways that help us 24/7 at Bishop’s Orchards!

Paul started working at Bishop’s Orchards in 2015 with over 20 years of experience as an IT Professional. Previous to Bishop’s, he founded JP-JetNet (later merging to ITG), a computer networking support company. With a degree in computer science from Quinnipiac University, Paul has always continued his education by researching and reviewing the latest technology. Throughout the year, he continues to enroll in programs and conferences to stay current and aid in his self-taught ways.

At Bishop’s his primary focus is growing the IT infrastructure, aiming to provide employees with as many IT services deemed necessary for security and fluidity. “The business is constantly evolving and it is my goal to continue to support the visions of Bishop’s management, and forecasting trends,” says Paul Genovese. “This pertains to all aspects of the business, from Pick Your Own to farm market transactions. One of the biggest priorities was to provide a reliable point of sale environment to a remote locations like our Pick Your Own fields.” Outside of work Paul enjoys brew hopping and heading up to Vermont to see his son for a many ski runs down the mountains.

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!

Holiday Platters and More!

Chaos from the holidays can bring lack of time and energy. You have just finished Thanksgiving but now it is time to double down for Christmas and Hanukkah! With office parties, kids concerts, Christmas shopping and more all in your agenda, make baking and cooking one less thing to do! At Bishop’s we try to make the busiest time of the year as convenient as possible.

Cooking for large families or office parties can add up, both in time and money!! Save both by ordering some of our Bishop’s Party Platters!! We have a wide variety available, with favorites like Lasagna (beef & vegetable), Linguini with Clams, Chicken Parmesan, Mac and Cheese, Pot Roast and more!! What’s a popular one you might ask?! Penne ala Vodka!! Our house made sauce is a popular one here that you cannot get anywhere else!! Linguini with Clams is a great pick especially if you are having a traditional, Italian Christmas Eve with the Seven Fishes. Serve all our party platters with petite rolls and a delicious pie and your guests will be all set! But make sure to not forget the wine!!!

Bishop’s has plenty of CT Wines, both our own and from other local wineries & vineyards. Fruit wines, sparkling wines, dry wines, hard cider… you name it!! Here at Bishop’s we specialize in wines made 100% from our own fruit! We just released a NEW hard cider, Crosby! It is the perfect blend of apples and local black currants. Semi-sweet and a deep purple color, it is great for the holidays. Other wineries that are featured in the farm market are Hopkins Vineyards, Jonathan Edwards Winery, and Jones Winery.

All platters, pies and side dishes are made fresh, with our hardworking bakery department working tirelessly leading into the holidays. 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!

 

FEATURED PERSONALITY – DANA HOWD

If you have ever called Bishop’s to place an order or ask when Pick Your Own is open, chances are you have had this conversation with our Administrative Assistant, Dana Howd!! Dana is the right hand to all our upstairs management staff, knowing the ins and outs of the entire company. If you have a question, she knows the answer! Her spunk and fiesty demeanor carries through the entire building. It is safe to say that the administration would be lost without this key player!

Dana started working for the business in 2005 as a front end cashier while she was in high school. During her 13 plus years here she has moved positions from Front End Supervisor, to Retail Buyers Assistant, to Accounts Payable and now Administrative Assistant. Her most important role/position came in June of 2017, when her husband Jason and she became first time parents to a beautiful baby girl, Harlow!!

“My greatest accomplishment will always be becoming a mom! It’s the best thing that I’ll ever do” says Dana. “The Bishop’s family is so understanding of time being spent with family. Coming back from maternity leave and adjusting to working full time while being a mother was tough, but the family has always allowed for family to come first!”

Dana has experienced quite the milestones personally and professionally. Being at Bishop’s for over a decade, she has seen the business go through 2 renovations, the addition of a winery, CSA Program and the business’s 140th anniversary! “The most exciting transitions that I have seen happen through my years here has been the office interior” says Dana. “As the company grows, so does our employees. We have had to increase our office space quite a few times now, allowing for new employees to have desk space. It is a huge and detailed process, but the change is exciting and shows just how far we have come!” Additional growth that she hopes to see is a seperate building for the Winery and its events. “The Winery was a huge incorporation to the business and now with the level that it has reached, it deserves its own luxuries.”

Outside of work, Dana enjoys spending time with her family and animals. During the summer when she isn’t helping Pick Your Own get by, she can be found in the waters of Stony Creek, cruising the sound on her Whaler.

 

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.