As I look at my drone photo of our new ground solar array, the shape like an arm, it reminds me of my wife lovingly teasing me about my farmer’s tan, my arms darkened by hard work under the sun, yet my shirt blocking the rays completely, like the panels shading the grass. Our new solar array is engineered to maximize (hence the shape) the harvest of the sun’s rays on our New England hillside that was formed by glaciers, only letting reflected light get to the grass below. With shallow soils and exposed ledge, it was a wonderful sledding hill for me and generations of Bishop children, even when Christmas trees grew there! But now we’re growing kWh – kilowatt hours- that will displace fossil fuels to power about 80% of our farm’s annual electric usage, and power our Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers that are free for public use via our installation agreement with CT DEEP.
Why wait for the kids to go back to school in the fall to start healthy eating habits. Now that it’s a brand new year, start now with something as simple as tweaking their school lunches! We’re all a little guilty of walking into the supermarket and going down the aisles with the prepackaged, sugary foods and putting them in our shopping cart, simply because it’s easier. But, eating healthier and shopping healthier doesn’t have to be a chore. By stopping into Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market and picking fresh, farm market foods for kids lunches, they will not only benefit by having more energy during the school day and teach them healthy eating habits, but you’ll save money as well. So, let’s take a look at a few ways you can make your kids lunches a little bit healthier and meal prep a little bit easier this New Year:
Make Your Own Lunchables
Plastic meal prep containers work great when it comes to making kids lunches. The divided compartments make it easy to provide items from each food group, and they’re reusable! These containers also store really well so you can pack lunches in advance and be prepared for the week. Get smaller ones with only a couple compartments and create a snack pack – something as simple as grapes and trail mix. And make a larger one with PB&J, some blueberries and pretzels for a lunch pack. If your kid is an ambitious eater, go for something a little fancier. Something like whole grain pasta, cucumbers, red bell peppers, and some cubed salami will go a long way and can easily be tossed together or eaten separately.
Get Creative with Sandwiches
Pinwheel or rollup sandwiches are a healthy and easy alternative to a regular sandwich. Grab a wheat tortilla, some turkey and cheese, roll it up, cut it into slices, and use a toothpick to hold it together. You can even do the same with some cucumber and hummus, easily making a few lunches for the week. Or, if your kids prefer regular sandwiches, substitute with the healthy ingredients, and make use of your cookie cutters by cutting them into a fun shape for a great surprise when they open their lunchbox.
Give Them Healthy Snacks
Fruit is a great go-to healthy snack, but sometimes it’s hard to preserve it. So stick with something like strawberries or blueberries that can be cut up and put in a container for the week without going brown. Fruigees squeezable fruit snacks are also perfect for kids if you’re looking to get them to eat more fruit, and the Green Mountain Creamery squeezable yogurts are perfect for the yogurt lover in your family. Carrots and peanut butter, cheese sticks, hummus and pretzel cups, and the 88 Acres or That’s It fruit bars are a healthy snacking option and provide a good alternative to chips if they prefer munching on something crunchy. Fruit leather makes for a great snack as well, AND it’s easy to make yourself – you don’t even have to add any sugar to it!
Replace the Sugary Juice Box with a Fruity Natural One
Not only can you trust that you’re giving your kid’s a healthy fruity drink when you buy Kuji or Honest Kids juice boxes, but if you freeze them the night before, they can double as an ice pack inside their lunchbox! And for an extra special treat, we have 6-pack ciders that are the perfect size for a school lunch. Lunch box smoothies are also a fun and healthy option. Grab some of your favorite fruits and vegetables, blend them up, and freeze them. By lunchtime, they’ll be slushy enough to eat!
While those prepackaged supermarket foods seem easier, they’re not always healthier. So, the next time you walk into the grocery store and go to reach for those sugary snacks, don’t give in. Instead stop in to Bishop’s Orchards and pick up the fresh produce and farm market items that will make your kids lunch, a healthier one.
It’s always tough to find the perfect gifts for all the people in your life. Whether it be the mailman, your in-laws, or your kid’s favorite teacher, picking out something small yet thoughtful can be tricky. But here at Bishop’s Orchards we have some great gift options that are sure to brighten up anyone’s holiday. So, if you’re struggling for a gift idea this holiday season, keep reading and take a look at our top 10 gift ideas.
1. Apple Shippers –If you’re looking for that little piece of New England to send as a unique gift, an apple shipper is perfect! These apples are handpicked from the farm, wrapped in foam, and can be sent to the destination of your choice. Place your order online here.
2. Gift Baskets – Need an item for a Secret Santa or a gift for your kids teacher? Our Grab N’ Go gift baskets are perfect! You can even pick out your own items, and for a small fee, we’ll put them together in a gift basket for you. Anything from wine to breakfast items, chips and dip and more. There’s sure to be a basket filled with your friend’s favorite goodies.
3. Chocolate – Candy is always a good “go to” gift. And here at Bishop’s we have tons of options. From chocolate covered pretzels, salted caramel chocolate and even chocolate shaped gingerbread men, any of these are sure to hit the spot of your chocolate loving friend.
4. Apple Cider – Gift a piece of the farm this holiday with our sweet apple cider. It comes in gallons, half gallons, chuggers and 6-packs, and make for the perfect holiday drink when hot. You can stop in the store to pick some up, or we can ship them for you, too!
5. Marzipan – Don’t let marzipan intimidate you! It comes in all different shapes and figures, and even makes a great stocking stuffer or gift for that person that loves their sweets.
6. Gift Cards – Give the gift of farm fresh goodness this holiday with a Bishop’s Gift Card! They are valid year round at our farm market and Pick Your Own locations, and will let people know a trip in is worth the visit.
7. Apple Cider Donuts – Have family members that can’t make it home for the holidays? Send them some apple cider donuts and surprise them with a little taste of home!
8. Gourmet Popcorn – Instead of bringing cookies or fudge as a gift, bring over something a little sweeter for the holiday. Our gourmet popcorn selection is salty and sweet and has a caramel chocolate crunch that makes for the perfect snack at any party. You can even pick up our signature maple kettle corn, made fresh at the market.
9. Hot Chocolate & Marshmallows – Nothing says winter like a cup of hot cocoa. And with our selection of Silly Cow Farm hot chocolates and gourmet marshmallows, whoever receives this gift will be sipping on rich and creamy goodness.
10. Wine – Can’t think of what to get the in-laws? We have our very own fruit wines and hard ciders in stock, along with a wide selection of wine from all over Connecticut. You can even pair the wine with some meats and cheeses and bring it to a party as a hosting gift.
See something you like? Stop in to Bishop’s Orchards and pick up that perfect gift, today!
December can mean a few things: the holidays, snow, sitting by the fire and the gathering of family. But did you also know it’s the start of National Eggnog Month? I didn’t either! But, I can’t think of a better way to kick off the holiday season than with a glass of one of my favorite things to drink this time of year.
It’s hard to believe that some people have grown up without trying this classic holiday drink. But, for those of you that have never tried eggnog, this is the perfect time to give it a go! And for those of you who wait for December 1st to stock up, it’s time to purchase your holiday treat.
Yes, eggnog is known for being high in fat, sugar and cholesterol – and I hear ya – that’s concerning. But, by drinking it in moderation and by purchasing it from the right place, it can be a special treat for you to enjoy, guilt-free. That’s why with Mountain Dairy eggnog at Bishop’s Orchards you can enjoy farm fresh eggnog that really isn’t all that bad for you!
Since their start in 1871 (just like Bishop’s), the Stearns Family Farm has prioritized simple from-the-farm values for delivering high quality, great tasting milk your family can afford. The Stearns Family oversees Mountain Dairy’s farming and bottling so you can have the confidence to know what goes into your milk every step of the way.
So, now that you have your farm fresh eggnog and you know where it comes from, there’s so many ways to be creative with it – especially this time of the year. You could add nutmeg, cinnamon and even whipped cream for a little extra something. Or make an alcoholic drink out of it by adding brandy, rum, or whisky – whichever you prefer, go for it!
And how about those holiday desserts we all know and love? Get creative this year and add eggnog to them! From cookies, cream puffs, trifles and more, you can make all different kinds of holiday desserts from this creamy crowd favorite.
Feeling inspired yet? Get started on your creations today and stop into our store to pick up some of the best local eggnog, today!
Making meals the week after a holiday can seem pretty dreadful. But the good thing is you have all those Thanksgiving leftovers in your refrigerator that are just begging for you to use them! Now if I told you it was possible to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner out of them – would you believe me? Well you better believe it because with a little creativity you can make the three most important meals of the day with everything you have left in your refrigerator. Still not convinced? We put together four recipes that you and the kids are sure to enjoy. Take a look!
- Thanksgiving Brunch
Turkey for breakfast? I know it sounds weird, but if you like chicken and waffles, this gives a brunch favorite a Thanksgiving twist!
4 ½ Cups Leftover Stuffing
¼ Cup Chopped Parsley
2 Large Eggs, beaten
Vegetable Oil, for brushing waffle iron
Sliced Leftover Turkey, Gravy and Cranberry Sauce
Preheat waffle iron to medium-high. Combine the stuffing, parsley and eggs. Brush the top and bottom of the waffle iron with oil. Evenly pack each section of the waffle iron with the stuffing mixture. Cook until golden brown (4-6 minutes).
Heat the gravy in a small pan. Once the waffles are ready, top each with as much turkey as you’d like and close the waffle iron. Cook until the turkey is warm (2-3 minutes). Transfer the waffles to plates and top each with gravy and cranberry sauce.
2. Turkey Sandwich
This one is a classic. There’s nothing better than making a warm turkey sandwich with all the sides piled on! It even makes for a fun lunch for the kids!
2 Slices Turkey
½ Cup Mashed Potatoes
½ Cup Stuffing
½ Cup Cranberry SauceDirections
Layer all of the ingredients between two pieces of bread and enjoy!
3. Turkey Soup
This soup is not only easy to make, but you can freeze it and eat it later on too! This is sure to be a crowd favorite one the temperature drops and you need something warm to eat in the winter.
1 ½ Cups Leftover Stuffing
2 Celery Stalks, chopped
2 Carrots, peeled and sliced
1 Onion, peeled and diced
2 Bay Leaves
1 Tablespoon Poultry Seasoning
1 Teaspoon Ground Sage
1 ½ Quarts Chicken Broth
Garlic Salt to taste
Ground Black Pepper to taste
2 Cups (uncooked) long-grain White Rice (can also use pasta)
1 (16 oz) package Frozen Green Peas
Place the turkey in a large, deep pot, and add in the stuffing, celery, carrots, onion, bay leaves, poultry seasoning, sage and chicken broth. If needed, add additional water. Bring all ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium once boiling and simmer for about 1 hour (skim off any foam). Season to taste with garlic salt and pepper then stir in the rice (or pasta) and return to a boil over (medium-high) heat. Lower heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the peas and continue to simmer until rice or pasta is tender (about 10 minutes). Adjust seasonings to taste and serve.
4. Turkey and Cranberry Quesadilla
Who would have thought you could make a quesadilla out of Thanksgiving dishes? This recipe is quick and easy to make and is sure to be a new family favorite.
½ Cup Turkey
¼ Cup Cranberry Sauce
2 Flour Tortillas
1 tbsp Butter
½ Cup Swiss Cheese
Grate the swiss cheese and sprinkle over one side of a tortilla. Pull apart the turkey so it’s somewhat shredded and add it on top of the cheese, and add another layer of cheese on top. Next, spread the cranberry sauce over those layers and add one more layer of cheese. Put the other tortilla on top. Over medium heat, melt butter in a skillet. Once melted, add the quesadilla and fry until golden brown. Flip and repeat. Once both sides are golden, allow to rest on a cutting board for a minute or two and cut into wedges.
Football, family and food – all of these things are a part of what makes Thanksgiving so much fun. But, what makes it even better is having a stress-free preparation process. Now I know what you’re thinking – there’s no such thing. But I’m here to tell you there is, especially with the help of us here at Bishop’s Orchards.
Now that Thanksgiving is a little over one week away, first things first – it’s time to figure out your menu – the trickiest part being adhering to the picky eaters in the family. But with the help of Bishop’s Orchards you can be sure everyone at the table gets their Thanksgiving favorites.
To start, every Thanksgiving meal needs some appetizers. You can’t go wrong with something as simple as cheese and crackers, and here at Bishop’s we’ve got you covered. With one of the largest selections of cheese on the shoreline, you’ll be able to find everything from Brie, to Manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and even Wensleydale. As an added bonus we even have pre sliced meats to pair with them all, making horderve prep, easy.
Now, let’s talk about the Main Course – The Turkey.
Need a turkey? No problem! We have a limited amount of fresh turkeys from local farms available for pre-order so you can pick up, take home, and cook up right in your very own kitchen. Whether you have five people attending Thanksgiving dinner, or 35, we have a turkey perfect to order for your family.
Next up, the sides, because what would Thanksgiving be without some creamy mashed potatoes, am I right?
From stuffing, squash, soup and more, we have all your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes ready to go. Just pop them right into the oven or microwave, and BAM! Just like Emeril – dinner is served!
Now what fun would a holiday be without a little something to wet your whistle? Our variety of fruit wines and hard ciders are sure to bring a little something extra to your family gathering. You can even make a special sangria from our very own cocktail menu. And let’s not forget about the kiddos! Made with fresh apples from our very own orchard, we have the perfect sweet cider for them to sip on while watching the parade. Hot or cold, it’s sure to make for a delicious treat!
If you’re anything like me, the biggest dilemma of the day is which pie to choose from. From apple to pumpkin, strawberry rhubarb, and even sugar free, any of our fresh baked pies are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth and wrap up your Thanksgiving with that “I’m so full, I can’t move” feeling.
While this covers all the Thanksgiving “must haves,” don’t forget to take advantage of all the other items our market has to offer. From baked goods like cookies and breads, to the fresh vegetables in our produce department, you’ll be able to find everything you need to impress the family. So, if you’re ready to get a head start on your Thanksgiving meal prep, click here to check out the options at Bishop’s Orchards – we promise you’ll be thankful you did!
Thanksgiving time, to me, is about several different things: food, family, friends and being thankful for all three. I’ve always celebrated with my family, but this year my friends and I decided to do something different. Even though our families live close by, we decided to put together a second dinner – a Friendsgiving dinner.
For some, Friendsgiving is about gathering all your closest friends when your family isn’t around. But for my friends and I, it’s simply to celebrate how we’ve become our own family. Whatever your reason may be, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s going to take preparation and organization to get everyone on the same page. But thankfully, we’re here to help! All you have to do is follow the tips below and we promise you’ll deliver a successful friend filled bash.
Create the VIP List
The best part about Friendsgiving is that you can pretty much invite whoever you want. But, I would definitely make sure you invite only as many people that you can comfortably sit at your table. Start with your closest pals and then, if you still have some room, reach out to the people that might not have any family close by. It is Thanksgiving after all, and you could really make someone’s day if they don’t have any plans!
Now that your guest list has been created, it’s time to talk turkey. The host should make the turkey (or if you’re my friends, a rotisserie chicken). This should be the one and only thing the host has to make, since they’ll be in charge of decorations and making sure the house is clean. It’s important to make sure you have enough, so decide how big your turkey should be. The rule of thumb is half a pound per person. So, if you have ten people, you would need a five pound turkey (and if you like having extra for leftovers, consider going a little larger with an eight pound turkey!). There are plenty of places where you can preorder so you are guaranteed you aren’t birdless the day of.
Don’t Stress Over the Menu
Getting all your guests involved is the fun part! And the best part is you don’t have to worry about having the normal Thanksgiving foods. If someone wants to make pigs in a blanket, go for it! But, there’s no need to bring green bean casserole or any vegetables at all if no one wants it. I do however, recommend sticking with some of the crowd favorites, because let’s be real, the more stuffing and mashed potatoes, the better.
For the non cookers of the group, you can give them the task of bringing the booze. Sparkling wines are perfect for this time of year, especially when kicking off the holiday season with a toast. If you’re not a fan of that, there are some great hard ciders that will do just the trick! And whatever you do, don’t forget to assign someone to bring the dessert. You know what they say, the more the merrier. So bring on the pies, ice cream, cookies and tea breads. Any and all is welcome!
Get to the Grocery Store Early
Don’t wait until the day before the party to get your cooking essentials. Beat the crowds and get to the grocery store early. And if you all live near each other, why not go together! It could make for a very interesting adventure and who knows what random items you’ll pick up along the way that make for a funny story later on. A lot of the memories come from the preparation before you sit down at the table. So, try to do as much together as possible to get the full Friendsgiving experience.
Get Festive With It
There’s no need to go over the top with decorations, since the food should be the star of the show. But, a decorative tablecloth, cranberries, gourds, and even some candles could go a long way. Decorating will give you the finishing touch you need before kicking off your Friendsgiving festivities.
Friendsgiving is meant to be fun, a way to create a new tradition with the people you choose as your family. But it all means nothing if you don’t get a chance to sit down and actually enjoy it. So be creative with it, the sky is the limit! And make sure to soak it all in. If everyone’s stomachs are full and the table is filled with friends, you’ve successfully thrown a Friendsgiving dinner.
Spring!!! It’s here, and hopefully to stay! I don’t know about you, but Spring is my favorite season (beside Fall). There’s just something so energizing about it. The days start getting longer, leaves on the trees start popping, flowers start blooming, birds and other animals are out making noise, and people are out and about, soaking up the 62 degree weather as if it were 80 out!
As if that weren’t enough… this is when we know fresh local produce, grown here on our farm and other local farms, is NOW in season! For us, Asparagus is the first crop, along with our potted herbs, that we grow and have available. Weather plays a huge role with the Asparagus, as it is necessary for warmer temperatures to keep the Asparagus coming. If and when the temperatures are cooler, it slows down the production, which we saw a couple weeks ago with that dreary, rainy weather.
If you haven’t had our own, or any local asparagus before… you are missing out!! It doesn’t even compare to any other asparagus. While it is always a great vegetable, you can taste the difference and freshness when it’s local. Green vegetables are a category that is classified as a whole usually. You either like them or you don’t! This goes for kids and adults alike. But, I think you would be pleasantly surprised if you gave it a try! The way you cook it can make all the difference in the world. You can roast it, grill it, sauté it, bake it, steam it, fry it, or even eat it raw! Want to disguise it for the kids? Make an Asparagus Pesto… toss it with some Pasta and Voila! If you don’t think that will work, try baking it and making Asparagus Fries! It worked for my kids and now they LOVE eating asparagus!
As a kid, I NEVER liked asparagus. You couldn’t get me to eat asparagus, spinach, peas or brussels sprouts! Now the only thing I won’t eat on that list is green peas. We all have our issues, right? As I got older and started cooking myself and beginning to be more open about trying new things, I gave more greens a chance. I actually started eating asparagus because it was our own and in season. First try and I was hooked!
I didn’t do anything fancy to make it. I did have an “asparagus steamer” that was given to me as a wedding gift collecting dust, so I pulled it out and figured I may as well use it now. Now I know not everyone has an asparagus steamer, but a large sauce pot will do just fine too! Just cut the ends off, place in pot, and fill with water just so it covers the asparagus. Place the cover on the pot and place on burner and bring to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil, give it 2-3 minutes in boiling water and then take off and drain. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and serve!! The hint to cooking asparagus and for best flavor… Don’t over cook it! It should be a vibrant green color. It’s just as simple to roast it. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (standard temp for roasting vegetables), line a baking sheet with tin foil (makes for easy cleanup), trim and rinse asparagus, place in a single layer on sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, toss and place in oven for 15-20 minutes. That’s it! Want to get fancy? After you take out of the oven, sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese! Roasting asparagus is now my “go-to” way to make it. Simple, easy, and delicious!
I have included a few links to some great ideas and recipes for the more adventurous route, which i highly recommend! Don’t wait too long to try theses though. Our own asparagus is only around now into early June!
If you are from Guilford or the Shoreline Communities it is very likely that you have heard of the SARAH Foundation.
The Bishop family has connection to the SARAH Foundation that starts at the very beginning. In the 1950’s there were three Guilford families who had children with intellectual disabilities and were having trouble getting them into school. At this time there were no resources and funding to help these individuals. The three families met and decided a change needed to occur, so they started SARAH. Those families were the Reinhardsens, Spencers, and the O’Neils. Dorothy Spencer was Jane Bishop’s mother. Jane had a sister with intellectual disabilities. Jane is married to 4th Generation Bishop family member, Gene Bishop. We are fortunate to have this lasting connection that has continued for almost 60 years.
Another direct connection to SARAH is through my aunt Mary Candace Gunther, best known as Candy. Candy was the sister of Debbie Bishop, wife of 5th Generation family member, Keith Bishop. Candy was born with down syndrome in 1948. At the time, similar to the struggles the three families who started SARAH faced, there was not much support. When the Gunther family moved to the shoreline in the 1960’s they found support in SARAH. Candy was able to participate in activities, make friends, and get a job, with the help of those at SARAH. She would eventually live in a SARAH-Tuxis assisted living home as well.
Because of these deep connections, it has always felt extremely important to continue involvement with SARAH and the community. Personally, I have become a coach for the Special Olympics Cross Country team on the Shoreline and also am a partner athlete for Special Olympics Tennis. From a business in addition to financial contributions, we also have a SARAH work crew that comes five days a week. We realize the value that SARAH provides to all participants from birth through adults. They provide families the support they need, hold activities, group living, day supports, supported employment, and the list goes on. Participants strive in the community and can feel a sense of independence with the help of SARAH.
Last Thursday night, the Bishop family had the honor of receiving the Appreciation Award at the annual SARAH Foundation Gala. Individuals there to present citations and certificates of achievement included; US Senator Chris Murphy, CT Senator Ted Kennedy Jr, CT Representative Sean Scanlon, CT Representative Noreen Kokoruda, and Guilford First Selectman Joe Mazza. It is truly an honor to be recognized for the contributions our family has made. We will continue to support the SARAH Foundation and agencies for their enormous contribution to the community.
Lets face it, breakfast can be boring. During the week I am trying to do a bunch of different things to get out the door on time so there isn’t much variation in the breakfast food. Think cereal, yogurt with granola, smoothie, or that bagel which I know I shouldn’t get but always fill me up. On the weekends it usually is some of those same things but we will add in scrambled eggs or when we are doing a “big” breakfast we will make pancakes, bacon, fruit salad, tater tots.
We recently went to Houston and Austin, Texas to visit some friends and family. The food in Texas, especially Austin, was amazing. Most of our meals there were either mexican or BBQ style (side note if Torchy’s Tacos ever comes to Connecticut you definitely have at least one customer). A couple of weeks after we got back we had some company staying over our house who are foodie types and we wanted to make sure they ate well. One thing we had to be cautious of as well was making a gluten free meal due to an intolerance. We decided that for breakfast on Sunday morning we would make breakfast tacos inspired by our recent Texas trip.
- (*This served 4 adults)
- 1 Jalapeno
- ½ Red Onion
- Salt & Pepper
- Eggs (1 egg per taco)
- Sharp Cheddar
- 1 Avocado
- Tortillas (we used corn due to the gluten free)
In addition you can really make the toppings whatever you want based on your own tastes
- Heat up griddle and spray with nonstick spray (you can also use pans on the stove). Put tortillas on the griddle for about 30 seconds each side to heat quickly.
- On one side of the griddle cook jalapenos and onions.
- While the jalapenos and onions are cooking, crack egg and open onto the griddle. Place each egg on griddle so they are separate. Once one side of the egg is cooked, flip over.
- Add onions, jalapenos, and shredded cheese on top of each egg. Add some salt & pepper your liking
- Once cheese is melted, pick up the egg with a spatula, place a tortilla on the griddle and place the egg towards one side of the tortilla. Fold in half.
- Serve the tacos with other toppings to taste after taken off the griddle. I added avocado to mine where my husband added some Sriracha.
This recipe definitely adds a bit of flavor to a meal that can become a bit boring and overall is pretty healthy start to the day!