Those who love to cook know that nothing adds a layer of flavor to dishes than fresh herbs. In July, one of the more versatile herbs, basil, is ready to be harvested.

What can you do with basil? Really, you should be asking what can’t you do with basil?

Basil can be found in two types, sweet and Thai. We’re going to focus on the peppery, minty, sweetness of sweet basil for this blog.

The thing that all basil enthusiasts love is a good basic pesto sauce. Pesto is probably one of the easiest ways to transform basil.

What’s great about pesto is that it’s so versatile.

Add it to fettuccine for a lighter dish for the summer months. Or make your favorite grilled chicken salad and instead of mayo, slather pesto on the bread. Yum!

Oh, and we forgot to mention how super easy it is to make, too?

Once you’re done, you can store the pesto in the fridge. One tip is to freeze your pesto by pouring it into ice cube trays and just popping each one out when you need it.

So for this pesto sauce, we found this great recipe from Spruce Eats.

Classic Basic Pesto Sauce

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (about 1 large bunch)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated hard cheese (such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano cheese, or a combo of the two)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt (to taste)

In a food processor, add basil, garlic, pine nuts and pulse into it becomes a green slightly coarse paste. Transfer the paste to a bowl and with a spatula or spoon add cheese, olive oil and salt. Serve. Refrigerate.
Share with us your best basil recipes! And come down and see the fresh herbs we have for sale. We’re open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Fire up the grill — it’s National Grilling Month!

We have plenty of items that are great for grilling — meats, veggies, even fruits.

However, this is a good time to remind everyone that safety should always come first, especially when you are grilling.

Before You Start

Between 2011 and 2015, the National Fire Protection Association said there was an average of 9,600 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, with July being the peak month for such fires.

A fire is guaranteed to put a damper on your summer festivities. That’s why we found some great tips from Nationwide Insurance on grill safety. Click here to find a complete list of safety tips.

Here are just a few:

• Make sure your grill is away from structures or overhanging branches.
• Set up your grill on a flat, even surface and make sure it’s stable. Protect your patio or deck with a splatter mat.
• Keep your grill clean. Be sure to dump the trays that contain grease. If using charcoal, make sure that the coals are completely cool before discarding.
• Check for propane leaks.
• Be careful with lighter fluid.
• And always be ready to put out a fire.

Grilling Guide

Did you know that undercooked chicken is the number 1 food cause of food poisoning?

FoodSafety.gov has plenty of information on how to keep everyone safe during this grilling season.

So the most important tool you have is a meat thermometer as your best line of defense against undercooked food. To properly use a thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the meat. For something thinner such as a chicken breast or hamburger, insert it from the side.

Wait about 10 seconds for accurate temperature readings; follow the instructions with the specific thermometer.

Before serving, the thermometer must reach the following:
• Beef, pork, lamb, and veal (steaks, roasts, and chops): 145 degrees F with a 3-minute rest time
• Ground meats: 160 degrees F
• Whole poultry, poultry breasts and ground poultry: 165 degrees F

Once it has reached its temperature, place the cooked food on a clean plate. Do not place it on the same plate that held raw meat or poultry.

Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or visit AskKaren.gov to chat with a food safety specialist. Follow @USDAFoodSafety on Twitter to receive daily tips and information on recalled food.

Stop by Orr’s Farm Market for all of your grilling needs. We’re open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Blueberries are filled with fiber and antioxidants for healthful goodness — all wrapped in a blueish-purplish packet that can be popped into your mouth.

Blueberries can be found on both the East and West coasts. They come in two kinds: highbush or lowbush. Highbush is what you see at the market, while lowbush are the ones that are made into things such as jams.

Highbush blueberry shrubs can grow between 6 and 8 feet. Highbush blueberries are more plentiful on the shrub than lowbush blueberries, and the flavor isn’t as intense and sweet as the lowbush blueberries. Lowbush blueberries are usually grown in Eastern North America (think Maine) and the blueberry shrubs grow no taller than 2 feet.

They are perfect to eat fresh or add to pies, waffles, even drinks. The great thing about blueberries, too, is that they can be easily frozen — and it only takes two minutes for them to freeze.

The best way we know how to freeze blueberries is to place them on a paper towel-lined cookie sheet that you place in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer them into freezer bags. This keeps them from clumping together.

Although pies or muffins are the common go-to blueberry recipe, there’s nothing that’s as unfussy as a good old-fashioned blueberry cobbler. Sure, blueberry pies are delicious, but the crust itself can be such a fuss.

Blueberry Cobbler

  • 2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cups sugar, divided
  • ½ cup butter, cubed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Whipped cream or whipped topping, optional

Directions:

  • In a medium-sized saucepan, combine berries, lemon juice and ½ cup sugar. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In an 11-by-7-inch baking dish, melt butter.
  • In a small bowl, combine remaining sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, milk and egg. Remove pan from oven. Pour dry ingredients over melted butter. Do not stir.
  • Spoon in berry mixture over batter. Do not stir.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream or topping.  — Recipe from Taste of Home

Blueberries are here. Come on down and start baking today. We’re open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.