Category Archives: Farm Delivery

Green Bean Wild Rice Casserole Recipe

Yes, we currently have a ton of green beans. We grow a variety of bean that has the best flavor, texture, crispness and keeping quality of any bean we have ever tried. However, after canning 8 quarts for the winter for myself, and selling pounds to local consumers through our Farm Store, our mighty prolific green bean plants are still blossoming and still producing. So….it’s time to get creative. Here’s a recipe that is a little different take on the popular Green Bean Casserole.

 

Green bean casseroleGREEN BEAN WILD RICE CASSEROLE RECIPE: Makes 4 servings.

1 pound fresh green beans

1 cup wild rice

1 can cream of mushroom soup or chicken broth

1/4 cup grated Jack or Cheddar cheese

A couple handfuls of pretzel sticks

Cook the wild rice ahead of time since it takes at least an hour and a half to cook wild rice. When the wild rice kernels have burst open and are soft, they are done. Drain. Cut green beans into bite-sized pieces and steam 10 minutes just until crunchy soft but not mushy. Mix wild rice and green beans in a casserole dish. Mix in broth or soup and stir well. Mix in cheese. Bake at 350º just until cheese is melted and slightly brown. Crush pretzels slightly and sprinkle on top of green bean casserole. Serve warm topped with more shredded cheese if desired.

Optional: Can add pre-cooked chicken to this casserole to make a complete meal.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake Recipe

The strawberries are starting to ripen up. We have 4 different varieties and all are delicious. Check our current pricing in our online store. Below is our Homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake recipe using rhubarb shortcake instead of sponge cake. Do a search for fresh strawberries near me to find a local farm that will allow you to pick your own strawberries or will deliver like we do. Strawberries allowed to ripen on the vine are infinitely better tasting and juicier than any you will find in the stores. And they make much better strawberry shortcake.

strawberries starting to ripenSuper Easy Rhubarb Shortcake Recipe:

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups sliced fresh rhubarb

1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup honey

1/2 cup organic butter, melted

1 egg

1 cup sour milk (milk plus 1 Tbsp vinegar to sour it.)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Measure milk in liquid measuring cup, then add all the rest of the liquid ingredients, and mix. Stir into dry ingredients, add honey and pour batter into lightly buttered or oiled glass 11×13 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Top with fruit or use as a more nutritious shortcake for strawberries. Or drizzle with maple or mulberry syrup. Good for breakfast or top with whipped cream or ice cream for dessert.

 

Strawberries for Shortcake:

Mash ripe strawberries in a bowl with a little sugar. Let sit for at least a half hour than spoon on top of rhubarb shortcake. Top with whipping cream or ice cream. YUM.

 

Bluebird Orchards offers pick your own strawberries or we will pick them and you can have them delivered with a minimum $25 dollar produce order or you can pick them up at our Farm Store. See directions and location in our contact info at the bottom of any page.

Sugar vs Snap vs Snow Peas

The peas are getting taller and will be blossoming soon. Nothing tastes better than fresh sweet peas right out of the garden. Kids love peas this way, so if you can’t get your kids to eat peas, try our sugar snap peas that are so tender you can eat them pod and all, which is even sweeter.

When my brother and I were kids, we would pick all the peas in our Mom’s garden and eat them before they ever reached the house. She grew them specifically for eating raw, which is the best way to eat sugar snap or snow peas.

Snow peas
Snow peas

Snow peas, snap peas and garden peas are all part of the legume family, and most people are not aware of the subtle differences between them. Garden peas are the typical peas in a pod we are familiar with. Tougher and not as sweet as snow or snap peas, the pea is usually removed and eaten and the pod discarded. These are best for canning just the peas. Snow peas are the flat pea pods you see used in cooking stir fries and Chinese dishes. The pod is eaten when the peas are so tiny they are barely noticeable. They are best for cooking pods because they are picked before the pea inside develops and when the pod is the most tender. Snap peas are also known as sugar snap peas, and are a cross between snow peas and garden peas. The whole pod is eaten and has a crunchy texture and very sweet flavor. Snap peas may be eaten raw or cooked once the tough “strings” at the seams of the pods are removed. My brother and I used to call it “unzipping the peas” because you snap the tip at the end of the pod and then pull the string along the seam like a zipper.

Peas must be picked at just the right time to achieve the desired flavor you are looking for. If you wait until the pods are full and the peas inside are completely mature, you sacrifice the quality of the pod; which will not be as tender or juicy.  We like to pick our sugar snap peas when they are a happy compromise between sweet peas on the inside and still crunchy, tender pods on the outside. This takes some experience in knowing just how they should look when ready for picking and not to let them go to long without picking.

Peas are also best when picked first thing in the morning when they are still cold from the cool night air. This is when they will have the most flavor, be the most juicy and have the most “snap”.

Steamed sugar snap peas
Steamed sugar snap peas

The best way to cook snap or sugar peas in the pod is to steam them or stir fry them on low with a little water until tender, then melt butter on them and maybe some diced onion, chives or garlic. Enjoy!

By the way, we call ours “sugar snap peas”, and they are almost ready for home delivery or CSA pickup. I would say they will start to blossom in about 2 more weeks and we should start having peas by around mid July. Watch for us to change their status to “in stock” on our website.

How to Use Rhubarb

Produce Update April 15, 2018

As we mentioned in a previous post, chives are ready, rhubarb is starting to come up and will be large enough to harvest in about a month.

fresh-rhubarbIs rhubarb a fruit or vegetable?

Good question. Technically, it’s a vegetable, but most recipes use it like a fruit. Rhubarb is extremely high in Calcium. Although not everybody is fond of its tartness, you can mix it with sweeter fruits to cut down on the tart taste if you like. Rhubarb is excellent when mixed with sweet fruits like blueberries, peaches, strawberries and sweet varieties of apples. Even those who do not care for rhubarb love our recipe for Rhubarb Cake.

Topping rhubarb pie or other desserts with whipping cream or vanilla ice cream also helps to sweeten them up a bit. Below, we also have a recipe not on our recipe site for Roasted Rhubarb Salad. Yum.

For numerous ways to use rhubarb, see our recipe site on our sister site where we have dedicated an entire page to just rhubarb recipes: http://redstonepromotion.com/WPsites/recipes/

Rhubarb is worth eating just for its nutrient value, and if you can find clever ways to hide its tartness from those who don’t like tart foods, it is well worth it.

 

Roasted rhubarb salad recipeRoasted Rhubarb Salad Recipe: 4 servings

Ingredients:

2 cups ½-inch pieces fresh rhubarb
2 tablespoons Sucanat or Rapadura organic sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 cups mixed baby greens
½ cup crumbled goat cheese or feta
¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted in a frying pan for about 3-4 minutes
¼ cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Toss rhubarb with sugar in a medium bowl until well coated; let stand, stirring once or twice, for about 10 minutes. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, oil, shallot, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add greens; toss to coat with the dressing. Toast the walnuts. Divide the greens among 4 plates. Top with the rhubarb, goat cheese (or feta), walnuts and raisins.

Tip: To toast chopped nuts, place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

 

rhubarb-pie Another traditional rhubarb favorite is Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. A la mode; who can resist?

 

Handmade Body Care Products Line

We are proud to introduce our herbal and all natural handmade body care products. NO CHEMICALS, NO PARABENS. Our natural soaps are “Certified Natural”, meaning, the components have been verified to be all natural in origin and/or our suppliers have certified the all natural components to be all natural in origin. Often times essential oils in the market are adulterated and/or cannot be verified as authentic. We have been working with several companies that verify the authenticity of the essential oils and/or the components in the natural fragrances we use.
With Certified Natural Soaps, you can be confident you are purchasing a truly all natural soap. The same goes for our natural shampoo, leave-in conditioner, lip balms and all of our body care products.

soap loafPersonally, I have always loved handmade soaps. They have a scent and quality about them that makes each and every bar special. They also are usually more moisturizing by nature because they do not contain harmful, skin-drying and damaging chemicals. Handmade soap-making is truly an artisan craft. Bluebird Orchards has scented soaps that are unique to our orchard, such as Autumn Apples, Green Clover, Lavender, Calendula, Aloe and all the herbal scents we use. We grow the same herbs on our farm that are used in our herbal body care products, and you will find a few uniques scents only through Bluebird Orchards.

Our soap products use Shea, Coconut, Jojoba and Olive oils for quality skin moisturizing.

What Produce is Ready?

Produce Update March 26, 2018

You can find out what produce is ready for picking by going to our online store any time and look to see if it is labeled “in stock” or “out of stock”. Out of stock just means it isn’t ready for picking yet or is out of season.

Chives are the first to come up this spring. We have tons of traditional chives that add a whole host of benefits to the diet. Think this little onion-flavored herb doesn’t have any nutritional value and you would be sadly mistaken.

About Chives:

As far as daily recommended values, a generous serving of two tablespoons of chopped chives gives you 16 percent of what’s needed in vitamin K, Known primarily for forming and strengthening bones and limiting neuronal damage in the brain, vitamin K is used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. Chives are an excellent source of vitamin A –145 percent of the daily recommended value per 100 grams – more than any other allium, and with it, carotenes, which are flavonoid antioxidants like zeaxanthin and lutein that protect you from lung and mouth cancers.

Chives are high in fiber, which acts as a laxative, and folate, which is essential for DNA synthesis, cell division, and helping to prevent neural tube defects in the newborns. They’re an excellent source of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese and also provide healthy amounts of thiamin, niacin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, riboflavin, and zinc. This combination of phytochemicals, among other things, is known to promote ease in digestion, soothe upset stomachs, prevent bad breath, and have a diuretic effect that can lower high blood pressure.

The fiber content helps clean the colon and shorten the time foods spend there (and therefore lowers your colon cancer risk. Other advantages of eating chives include having anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties.

Many people confuse chives with scallions, but they are not the same thing.

How to Use Chives:

Chopped chives add a mild onion flavor that really dresses up a baked potato, soups, potato salad, bagels and cream cheese, deviled eggs, tacos and any fresh Mexican dish, chicken, fish and just about anything that could use a little dash of green and onion. If you don’t use the whole bunch of chives at once, it is best to let them dry at room temperature to preserve their flavor. Once completely dry, put them in a glass jar with a lid in your spice cupboard to use later. Chives will keep about 3 months this way before starting to lose their flavor.

Other produce starting to poke through the soil are rhubarb, asparagus and a few other herbs that will be available very soon. Stay tuned!

Store Bought vs Farm Tomatoes.

The difference between a store-bought tomato and a farm-grown local tomato is the best example of what happens to our produce as it is delivered to stores nationwide.

Tomatoes, like all produce in the stores, are picked before they are fully ripe so by the time they are processed, packaged and shipped across many states to get to your store they are not rotten and will have a longer shelf life. This means all your produce is picked before it has developed it’s full flavor, nutrient value and texture. In other words, you are paying good money for produce in the stores that is only a figment of what it should be. No wonder so many people have quit eating veggies! When they are tasteless, juiceless, colorless replicas of what a real vegetable or fruit is, and we pay such high prices for these vitamin-deficient alternatives, why waste the money?

This is why farm CSAs and farmer’s markets are becoming so popular. People have come to realize they are wasting their money on weak, poor quality produce that is not only a waste of money but not healthy for them either.

The photo at the top shows the difference in color between store and farm fresh tomatoes, but to fully grasp the difference you have to taste them. Nothing beats a homegrown tomato for flavor, juiciness, softness and nutrient value. The flavor difference alone will convince you of what you have been missing all these years. See…we have gotten accustomed to the poor quality food in the supermarkets because we had no alternative for generations. Many of us have no idea what we are missing because we simply don’t know any better. One taste of a farm raised tomato will convince you. But we have to warn you….once you have farm fresh organic,  you will never go back to that tasteless, lifeless stuff in the supermarkets. The difference can be tasted with any farm fresh vegetable, but tomatoes are the most prominent example of what is wrong with our food service today. We have gotten so far removed from what our food should be because we are so far removed from our local farms. CSAs aim to bring communities back in touch with their food and tastebuds and offer nutrition over convenient replicas of what we should be eating.

Taste what you’ve been missing!!

 

Phase Two: Farm to Table, Farm to Home Delivery

Farm to Table / Farm to Home Delivery.

Now that we’ve pretty much got a handle on getting the orchard going and the bed and breakfast, we are moving on to phase two: Home Produce Delivery. At Bluebird Orchards, we are already planning what we are going to be planting next year for our Farm to Table / Farm to Door Grocery Delivery service.  Yes, it’s true. We will be growing organic fruits and vegetables to deliver right to your door and to supply local restaurants with Farm to Table ingredients. This is a fairly new concept, and as such, I’m not sure most Wisconsinites are ready for it. Farm to Table restaurants and grocery delivery services are popping up all over the United States and are very popular in other states. But…true to Wisconsin, it takes the natives here a little longer to warm up to innovation and new ideas. That is why we are hitting up the more trendy Madison area first while the locals in the rest of the state get used to the idea of skipping the middle man (the grocery store) and having their food come directly to them. Bluebird Orchards sees a future where consumers will no longer spend as much time at the grocery stores and will opt for direct, farm fresh local foods to be delivered to their doorstep instead. This farm to table trend is gaining popularity in leaps and bounds in some areas of the U.S. already.

Farm CSAs.

Bluebird Orchards is taking the concept of the CSA farm membership one step further. We know most people don’t like to take time out of their busy schedules to go to the farm and pick up their produce orders, so we are bringing your orders to you. We will be offering a huge variety of organic produce in addition to our orchard fruits, as well as farm-fresh eggs and nuts and our year ’round canned goods for Farm to Door delivery in the Madison, WI areas.

Grocery Delivery Services.

Although grocery delivery has actually been around for almost 10 years now, consumers have not been in a hurry to accept it. More than likely that’s because so many people are impulse buyers and would forget most of what they need if they didn’t see it on the store shelf as they walk by. However, people are also getting so busy they don’t have the time to grocery shop anymore, and with the onset of our world becoming more and more geared around just having to push a button to get what we want, who want’s to spend hours every week shopping for food anymore? Apparently fewer people all the time, because grocery deliver services are gaining popularity every year.

Farm Fresh Produce Delivery vs What’s in the Stores.

However, there is also a segment of the grocery-shopping public that wants to support local, buy local, and buy fresh-grown, not shipped, local farm products. This is an awesome trend and also is gaining in popularity across the U. S.
Farmer’s markets in some cities are becoming the main source for local shoppers looking for farm fresh produce. In more popular areas, farmer’s markets are taking up entire city blocks, similar to the Open Air markets of other countries such as Italy and the Asian countries who have been shopping this way their entire lives. Because of the growing popularity of farmer’s markets, the super market industry is feeling a little threatened and thus has ramped up their grocery delivery services as a way to stay competitive in the cyber world of ordering online for everything. However, having your groceries delivered from a conventional grocery store chain is nowhere near as good as having them delivered by your local farmer. Why? Well the biggest reason is that the produce is still shipped for miles, not grown locally, and due to the way a grocery store works, it still sits around for days before it is available to consumers. Conventional grocery stores  have all of their produce shipped to the store, where it is sorted, packaged and labeled, put on display, and thereby sits around for days before the grocery store can even think about delivering it to you.

Another detriment to regular grocery store delivery is that produce for store sale is always picked way before it is ripe, thereby destroying its flavor and vitamin content. Consumers have know this for years, and now that there is an alternative to old, unripe, tasteless store produce, many consumers are realizing that it just doesn’t make any sense to waste their money on store produce.

Where to Get Farm Fresh Delivery?

Check our list of Farm to Door delivery products and sign up early so we can grow enough for everyone on our list. We will have an online order sheet so you can order what you want weekly. Unlike a CSA, we will not just show up with a box of produce that we picked for you because that is all we have in season. You do the picking online, we deliver it.