Five Fall Faves

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Is it just us or can you practically taste all the good cooking in the air? It’s that time of year. Ovens are fired up for bread baking and pie making. Jars are prepped for canning peaches and pears. Pots are brimming with soup and casseroles are bubbling over.

Food is a uniting force. For us, running the farm and market offers a unique relationship to food. We get to experience the life cycle of each fruit and vegetable from field to table. In the fields we plant, tend, and harvest. In the market we proudly display our homegrown produce, which will find its way into our baked goods and onto your tables—and ours—at meal times.

We’re always searching for new ways to use the fruits and veggies from the farm. This September we’re on the hunt again. So far we’ve come across some sure things, like a recipe for restaurant-style salsa (which comes in handy for more than just dipping chips). A few new and creative dishes also made our list. We thought we’d share a few with you. Try ‘em out and let us know your favorites on Facebook!

Five Fall Faves (in no particular order, they are all delicious!) 

 

Get cooking and let us know which recipe was your favorite!

Photo Credit: Nicole Abalde. Licensed under CC BY-ND.

Crispy, Crunchy Apples Have Arrived!

Apple Branch (2)

It’s fall. The farm is bursting with apples. Lots of crisp, juicy apples. Eat ‘em raw. Put ‘em in a pie. Dip ‘em. Sauce ‘em. They love to adorn salads. They make a mean salsa. (Never tried apple salsa? Do it now.) They’ve been known to wrap up in a crepe next to a slice of white cheddar. Apples are adventurous. Round up a bushel at the farm and let them take your tastebuds on a trip!

Starting September 16 we will offer mix ‘n’ match apples at a discount that will last until November 26. Our bins are packed with different varieties. Pick your favorites for snacking, baking, and canning. Did you know apples freeze well? It’s a good option for making quick applesauce. You can also prepare and freeze apple pie filling. Here are a few tips for freezing apples.

You’ll be hard pressed to run out of culinary options for apples. While we love the apple’s adaptability, we also warm up to its more traditional side. We’re not the only ones. On September 17, the entire country celebrates the apple in one of its most beloved and classic roles: the apple dumpling! On National Apple Dumpling Day, visit our market for fresh-baked, flaky apple treats. Our bakers will be churning ‘em out that day and throughout the September harvest.

Happy apple-ing!

 

Hello, fall!

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As always, while we’ve been hanging on to the last threads of summer, September snuck right in. We had a grand time in June, July, and August. Now we’re ready for another season full of activity and events.

Fall is special. As it arrives, it brings about a certain excitement and feeling of comfort. Maybe it’s because it signals so many changes: the air cools down, we start trading shorts for jeans, school’s back in session, and holidays are on the way. Here on the farm, fall’s warmer colors and colder winds are a welcome symbol of great things to come. We celebrate the season with new crops and good times.

Don’t miss our annual Fall Farm Fun Days. This year it takes place the weekend of September 24 and 25 (Saturday and Sunday). As every year, we have a lively festival planned, including bluegrass music, homemade food and baked goods, hayrides, a pumpkin patch, craft vendors, and children’s activities. For more info, go to the home page and click the “Fall Farm Fun Days 2016” link.

Local, seasonal fruits don’t end with summer. Make sure to visit us this month! The most well-known fall fruit is of course the apple.  We’ve got ‘em crisp and bright in September, just in time to pack in school lunches and pile high in apple pie!

We will be hosting a Bin Apple Special September 16-November 26.  This is your chance to mix and match homegrown West Virginia apples for a discounted price! Pick your own out of bins and get the perfect combination of varieties. If you’ve never tried a mile-high apple pie, go for it this year. Check out a recipe right here.

Another autumn crop is the pear. Harvest begins in September and continues through October. Pears tend to take a backseat to apples in popularity, but they’re just as versatile—and certainly delicious. They’re great in savory dishes, like this pear-gorgonzola tart. In their raw form, with a softer in texture than apples, pears are a good choice for younger kids who are still learning to eat whole foods.

Orr’s Farm and Market is prepped and pepped for what’s to come. We look forward to a season of newness: crops, recipes, events, and, of course, new friends. Happy fall!

 

Get in the Pits!

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It’s August. It’s steamy. It’s the pits! Except the pits at the farm are ones you won’t want to miss. Confused? August is all about pitted fruits, also known as stone fruits: freestone peaches, nectarines, plums, and white peaches. We’re harvesting these beauties all month.

Stone fruits are often overlooked for berries, which are more commonly associated with summertime enjoyment. So we’re on a mission to uphold the virtues of our August harvest. Here are three reasons to choose these fleshy gems:

  • Portability: No container needed. It’s as simple as grab and go.
  • Storage: Fresh for days on the counter, and another day or more in the fridge once ripened.
  • Durability: The tougher skin on stone fruit helps prevent cuts and dripping juice.

If that’s not enough, how about we tempt you with a few health facts?

  • Nectarines are a good source of beta carotene, which the body converts into Vitamin A.
  • Peaches are considered to have calming properties, and their selenium content helps fight cancer.
  • Plums have a low glycemic index, meaning they don’t have a great impact on blood sugar.

No persuasion tops that of the taste buds, so here are a few stone-fruit recipes you won’t be able to resist:

Plum and Mascarpone Pie

Kale Salad with Peaches, Corn, and Honey Vinaigrette

Caramelized Nectarine and Feta Quesadilla

When it comes to peaches, plums, and nectarines, throwing stones has never been so sweet! We hope we’ve tossed enough temptation your way. We’ll see you at the farm this month!

Where the Buffalo Roam

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We love our home state and try to celebrate its history and our heritage in as many ways as possible at the farm. The addition of a bison herd was one of these ways. These magnificent creatures represent the bison that were a natural part of the state’s fauna centuries ago. The first bison arrived at Orr farm in March 2007: two cows, two calves, and two bulls. Since that time, the herd has grown and we’ve learned a lot about being caretakers of these hulking yet skittish beasts!

Bison are commonly referred to as buffalo. They ranged freely throughout West Virginia before the last were killed off around 1825. Besides their purpose as a source of food for settlers, the presence of these animals created a unique byproduct: By trampling thick underbrush and dense forest cover, the bison created travel routes for settlers. Known as “buffalo roads,” some of these pathways gave way to official turnpikes and other high-traffic roads throughout the state.*

Our bison add a lot of character to the farm. Whether visitors are picking berries, enjoying a Bluegrass Weekend, or roaming the market, they’re sure to notice our big, burly residents. Some prefer to take a peek from afar, while others want to get as close as possible—which isn’t very close, mind you. Bison are notoriously shy, and they can be aggressive. So while we want our visitors to enjoy the herd, we do ask that you keep a safe distance. In addition to being fun to look at, the bison at the farm serve a practical purpose, one we take seriously and go about with care and humanity. The bison provide us with meat, which is processed locally and returned to the farm to be sold in the market in the form of sticks, jerky, steaks, bologna, sausage, hot dogs, and burger.

Having a healthy bison herd as part of our farm means a lot to us. We hope our visitors appreciate the West Virginia heritage they represent and enjoy the foods they provide. So now you know more about our herd and their place in West Virginia history. Next time you’re at the farm, or if it’s your first time, make sure to take a gander at our furry friends behind the fence!

*Info summarized from alleghenymountainradio.org

What a Family Farm is Made Of

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The word family means a lot to us at Orr Farm Market. After all, it’s why we’re here. The farm and market you know today grew from a 60-acre orchard purchased in 1954 by George S. Orr Jr. After his passing, his wife, children, and grandchildren took over operations and helped guide the business to even more growth. We couldn’t be more proud of what our business has become: a thriving source of local commerce and a place of community gathering.

For the Orr family, running the farm and market is the only thing we can imagine doing. It brings together our love of the land, agriculture, and our community. Of course, there’s also “serious business” to take care of, and we do that pretty well too. We enjoy the opportunity to come together to discuss new ideas, celebrate successes, and solve problems. Throughout the years, we have each developed special areas of interest and experience that we apply to different aspects of the business.

Running a family business comes with unique challenges. We manage it with a few core values. One of our priorities is to treat employees and family the same. That helps maintain a positive environment for everyone. We also try to keep separate our personal and business interactions. It can get tricky at times, but for us, the benefits of running a family business are greater than the hurdles it presents.

Speaking of hurdles, here are a few bits of expert advice for family businesses:

  • Be organized. When there are multiple opinions tossed around without structure, nothing gets accomplished. Select a business model that allows productivity.
  • Put it in writing. When business decisions are spelled out clearly, it helps prevent confusion.
  • Use constructive criticism. Interact with each other as businesspeople, not as family members.

This country is packed full of family-run businesses. Each has its unique story of how it began. Some businesses start by accident, while others are a product of long-held dreams. While family-run businesses differ wildly in size and services, they have in common the bond of family at the helm. We plan to keep passing down our experience and our love of farming to every generation of the Orr family. We hope you and yours stay along for the ride!

Sweet Melon Days

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Question: What fruit looks like a giant smile when sliced and is the envy of bubble gum?

Answer: the watermelon!

August might be the last month of summer, but it’s the beginning of watermelon season, and that’s something to smile about. Our watermelon harvest will be ready soon, and coinciding with it is National Watermelon Day on August 3. Although here at Orr’s we love all fruits, we have to admit that the watermelon is the ultimate symbol of summertime. With that grassy-green skin and hot-pink flesh, it just looks like summer. Is there any other fruit with such a satisfying blend of taste and texture? And then there are the seeds—we’ve all enjoyed shooting a mouthful, haven’t we. Maybe even as adults!

To celebrate National Watermelon Day, check out some fast facts about our favorite rotund refresher.

  • At 91.5% water, it’s an excellent source of natural hydration.
  • A one-cup serving contains more of the super antioxidant lycopene than a large tomato.
  • Low sodium content makes it a healthy choice that won’t negatively affect blood pressure.
  • Citrulline, an amino acid concentrated in the rind, is related to improved artery function and lower blood pressure.

From June through August, water is the name of the game. We drink tons of it, play in it, and cool off with it. With water in its name, this melon is primed to be the spokesperson for summer. Come on out to the farm and pick one up—with two hands and a little help if you need!

In the meantime, we dug up two funky watermelon recipes you have to try before summer’s end.

Watermelon, Basil, and Feta Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 pounds seedless watermelon (rind removed), cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips (see note)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, broken into large pieces (about 1 cup)

Directions

In a large bowl, combine watermelon, lime juice, and half the basil; season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Divide among four plates; scatter cheese and remaining basil on top.

*Courtesy marthastewart.com

Watermelon Gazpacho

  • 3 cups seedless watermelon, pureed in a blender
  • 1 cup seedless watermelon diced small
  • 1 cup ripe tomatoes, diced small, about 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 peeled, seeded cucumber, about 1/2 of one large cucumber
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced small
  • 2 cobs of raw sweet corn, kernels removed 
  • 1/4 red onion, peeled, and diced fine
  • 2 or more Tablespoons of lime juice, to taste
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 small jalapeno, seeded and minced – alternately you could add several dashes of cayenne
  • 1 tsp sea salt or more to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • large handful of cilantro cut fine as garnish

First blend your 3 cups watermelon until pureed. In a large bowl combine your watermelon puree with the diced watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, corn, onion, ginger, and jalapeno. Add lime juice, sea salt, and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Adding more of each as needed.

*Courtesy lindawagner.net

Photo Credit: Snowpea & Bokchoi. Licensed under: CC BY 2.0

Blue Skies, Blue Grass!

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Have we said this enough? We love summer! Here at the farm, we try to pack as many good times as possible into three months. We want our visitors to think of Orr’s Farm as not only a place to get fresh, local produce, but also a place to spend quality time with friends and family. One of our favorite ways to bring people together is our Bluegrass Weekends.

The last weekend of every month from May through October, Ernie Bradley and The Grassy Ridge Band and Friends will be here to play traditional bluegrass and originals. Bluegrass music is infused with a good-time spirit that people of all ages can enjoy. Bluegrass Weekends are a lively time on the farm. We love seeing the area outside the market filled with people tapping their toes, bobbing their heads, and enjoying some good old-fashioned fun. It’s especially entertaining to watch the little ones run up to the front of the crowd, jumping and hopping and wiggling to the fast-tempo tunes.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly weekend event, bluegrass under blue skies is the way to go. Throw in a bucket of fresh-picked berries and you’ve got a fine summer day in the making. If you haven’t been out for Bluegrass Weekend yet, don’t miss this upcoming weekend in July. Bring your lawn chairs and spend an afternoon with us. We look forward to sharing the fun with you!

Photo Credit: Ashleigh Bennett. Licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

 

 

Sway the Day Away!

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We hate to interrupt your summer relaxation, but we need to let you know there’s more relaxation ahead. Say what? National Hammock Day, that’s what!

On July 22, trees around the country will stand in support of this fine holiday. People will swing and sway the day away, in the cool of the shade or under the heat of the sun. What a fun way to celebrate a favorite summer pastime.

To make National Hammock Day even better, first hit the kitchen and make yourself a cool, summery drink. Don’t go for the ordinary; take it up a notch and make it a revamped version of a classic. We’ve gathered a few ideas for you. But first, while you’re out and about, get your drink fixins locally—from Orr’s Farm and Market! We have loads of fresh, juicy fruits and a great selection of cool, refreshing veggies that are perfect for your hammock-bound libations.

Drink up and relax the day away!

Watermelon Lime Chiller

Ingredients

3 cups cubed seedless watermelon, well chilled

1 1/2 fresh limes, juiced

Sugar (or your favorite sweetener), to taste

Fresh mint sprigs for garnish

Directions

Put watermelon chunks and lime juice into a blender. Process on high until smooth. Add sweetener to taste, if needed, and blend again. Pour drink into two glasses over ice. Garnish with fresh mint. Serve.

*Recipe courtesy of Tori Avey

 

Carrot-Orange (and tomato!) Juice

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow tomato, cut into wedges
  • 1 medium orange, peeled and quartered
  • 1 medium apple, cut into eighths
  • 4 large carrots, peeled

Preparation

  1. Working in this order, process tomato, orange, apple and carrots through a juicer according to the manufacturer’s directions. (No juicer? See Tip.)
  2. Fill 2 glasses with ice, if desired, and pour the juice into the glasses. Serve immediately.

Tips & Notes

  • Tip: No juicer? No problem. Try this DIY version of blended and strained juice instead: Coarsely chop all ingredients. First, place the soft and/or juice ingredients in the blender and process until liquefied. Then, add the remaining ingredients; blend until liquefied. Cut two 24-inch-long pieces of cheesecloth. Completely unfold each piece and then stack the pieces on top of each other. Fold the double stack in half so you have a 4-layer stack of cloth. Line a large bowl with the cheesecloth and pour the contents of the blender into the center. Gather the edges of the cloth together in one hand and use the other hand to twist and squeeze the bundle to extract all the juice from the pulp. Wear a pair of rubber gloves if you don’t want the juice to stain your hands.

Courtesy eatingwell.com

Blackberry, Rose and Vanilla Infused Water

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blackberries and/or raspberries
    • 1/4 cup dried pink rose petals (I used petals from Mountain Rose Herbs.)
    • 1/2 large vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise

Instructions

  1. Place ingredients in a 1/2-gallon pitcher and fill with cold, pure water.
  2. Allow the water to sit refrigerated overnight (or longer) to allow the flavors to infuse.
  3. Strain the water and return it to the pitcher. Keep the pitcher in the fridge to keep it chilled. Drink within a few days.

Courtesy motherearthliving.com

 

Photo Credit: Rameez Sadikot. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 

Peachy Keen!

Peach Baskets

Mark your calendars, folks. There’s a sweet celebration coming up: July 17 is National Peach Ice Cream Day!

Peach ice cream is not your usual find at ice cream parlors, festivals, or restaurants. So when you do find it, you know you’re somewhere special. Of course, you could always make your own batch. And since we would never leave you hanging, we happen to have a contest-winning recipe right here for you to try.

Peach Ice Cream

2 cups half-and-half cream

3-1/2 cups sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

6 eggs, lightly beaten

4 cups heavy whipping cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 to 8 medium peaches, peeled and sliced or 4 cups frozen unsweetened peach slices

In a large saucepan, heat half-and-half to 175°; stir in the sugar and salt until dissolved. Whisk a small amount of hot cream mixture into the eggs. Return all to the pan, whisking constantly. Cook and stir over low heat until the mixture reaches at least 160° and coats the back of a metal spoon.

Remove from the heat. Cool quickly by placing pan in a bowl of ice water; stir for 2 minutes. Stir in whipping cream and vanilla. Press plastic wrap onto surface of custard. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Place peaches in a blender, cover and process until pureed. Stir into the custard. Fill cylinder of ice cream freezer two-thirds full; freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

Refrigerate remaining mixture until ready to freeze, stirring before freezing each batch. Allow to ripen in ice cream freezer or firm up in the refrigerator freezer for 2-4 hours before serving. Yield: about 3 quarts.

*Courtesy of Taste of Home online

Homemade peach ice cream sounds like a real hot-weather hit. Can you almost taste the smooth and creamy sweetness from here? We think that recipe needs one simple improvement, though. What’s the perfect partner for ice cream? Pie, of course! With flaky crusts and luscious fillings, our homemade pies will make your day. Try doubling up on the sweetness with peach ice cream and our Peachberry Cherry pie. You could get creative and pair it with pecan pie, or one of our many other flavors. Check out our Online Market page for a complete list.

Before you run off to bask in the summertime glory of pie and ice cream, we’d like to share some fit facts with you about our good friend the peach:

  • The skin contains cancer-fighting antioxidants as well as the digestive aid, fiber.
  • A large peach provides 333 mg of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure.
  • It’s a low-calorie choice, at about 68 calories for one large peach

We hope your week is peachy keen!