Farmer giving box of veg to customer on a sunny day

Every year the American Heart Association recognizes June as Fresh Fruit and Veggie Month. Or what we like to call it just another reason to celebrate because fresh fruits and veggies are what we do at Orr’s Farm Market. We plant them, grow them, harvest them and deliver them straight to you.

One question that is often asked is how do you store your fresh fruits and vegetables? No one wants to waste perfectly good food or money. The American Heart Association has this great set of tips on how to handle that question.

In the pantry or cellar

Light isn’t good for some vegetables because it reduces shelf life. Keep the following in a cool dark place such as your pantry or cellar:

  • Onions, garlic, shallots
  • Sweet potatoes, potatoes and yams
  • Hard squash — acorn, butternut, spaghetti, winter
  • Watermelon

Countertop

These fruits and vegetables can be put on the countertop, but keep them away from heat and light.

  • Bananas
  • Citrus fruit. Store fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit loose or in a mesh bag. Refrigerate for longer storage.
  • Stone fruit. Ripen apricots, avocados, nectarines, peaches and plums in a paper bag. Then move to the fridge to extend shelf life.
  • Tomatoes

Refrigerate

These fruits should be stored in plastic bags with holes in them in your produce drawer (unless otherwise noted).

  • Apples and pears
  • Beets and turnips. Remove greens and keep loose in the crisper drawer.
  • Berries, cherries and grapes. Keep dry in covered containers or plastic bags.
  • Broccoli and cauliflower
  • Carrots and parsnips. Remove greens.
  • Celery
  • Corn. Store inside their husks.
  • Cucumbers, eggplant and peppers. Store on the upper shelf because it is the warmer part of the fridge.
  • Fresh herbs, except for basil. Keep stems moist and wrap loosely in plastic.
  • Green beans
  • Lettuce and leafy greens. Wash, spin or pat dry; wrap loosely in a dish towel or paper towel and place in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer. Keep stems moist.
  • Melons
  • Mushrooms. Keep dry and unwashed in a container or paper bag
  • Peas
  • Zucchini and summer/yellow squash

Keep them apart

  • Fruits such as apples, bananas and pears give off ethylene gas, which can make other produce ripen and rot faster.
  • Store vegetables and fruits separately.
  • Keep apples, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, onions, pears, potatoes and watermelon away from other produce.

The American Heart Association has this information and even more online in a handy booklet

So come down and celebrate Fresh Fruit and Veggie Month with us!

We’re open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Two families making a toast at picnic at a table in a park

June 18 is International Picnic Day!

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but did you know that 1 in 6 Americans get sick from foodborne illness? That’s when food is improperly stored or not kept at the proper temperature. So with that mind, how many times have you been to a picnic and someone thinks it’s OK to keep the potato salad out all day? Exactly! That’s a bad time waiting to happen!

As we’re in full picnic swing, we found a few tips that the Federal Food and Drug Administration offered to keep your picnic from being a memorable event for all the wrong reasons! So before you head out to the park or campsite, read these tips first:

The Cooler

  • Keep your cold food cold.That means place cold food in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs. Meat, poultry and seafood can be packed while still frozen.
  • Separate food and drinks.The main reason to have two locations is that with drinks people are often grabbing into the cooler. And with every opening of the cooler lid — it brings down the food temperatures.
  • Don’t cross-contaminate. Raw meats should be securely wrapped and away from anything that might be eaten raw such as fruits and veggies.

The Picnic Site

  • Make sure you can clean your hands. If you think you might be at a site that doesn’t have easy access to running water, bring a water jug, soap and paper towels, or bring disposable towelettes.
  • Keep utensils and serving dishes clean. When prepping your food, be sure you’re not placing cooked food on the same dish the raw food was on. The same idea goes with any utensils.
  • Double check the grill. If you use a grill brush, the bristles can break off. Take the time to make sure the grill is clean.
  • Cook to the perfect temperature. Bring a food thermometer with you and know the temperature that meat, poultry or seafood should be served. Download the complete chart»
  • Keep “ready” food hot. Grilled food can be kept hot until served by moving it to the side of the grill rack, just away from the coals. This keeps the food hot and prevents overcooking.

While the Picnic is Going On

  • Two-hour rule.Once you have served cold or hot food, it should only be out no longer than 2 hours, and if the outdoor temperature is over 90 F, then it’s only 1 hour. If it’s been out past two hours, throw it out. Use your phone’s timer to set a reminder.
  • Keep it on ice.Foods such as chicken salad and desserts in individual serving dishes can be placed directly on ice, or in a shallow container set in a deep pan filled with ice. Drain off water as ice melts and frequently replace the ice.
  • Keep it hot. Until it’s served, place hot foods in an insulated container.

For these and other tips, download this handy guide by the FDA»

And, as always, if you’re looking for any foods to add to your picnic — we have them.

Come visit us Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sweet Grilled Pineapple Slices

There’s something primal about man and fire. Maybe that’s why so many men love to grill. But even dear old Dad gets tired of just flipping hamburgers and steaks the same old way, and that’s why we’re here to help.

Jams and fresh fruit are two things a seasoned griller needs to keep in his arsenal. By pairing fresh fruits or even jams with beef, chicken or fish, it will make Dad feel like he’s won “Top Chef” after hearing all the compliments.

Because we are dependent upon the seasons and offer only the freshest of fruits, some of these ideas can wait until they’re back in season or, in some cases, can easily be done by using a jam.

First, a compote is a fancy way of saying of in a large saucepan, adding fruit and a few tablespoons of water or juice and then boiling it down. You can do this entirely either on the stovetop or the grill. The object is to break down the fruit a little bit so that it becomes juicy and soft. If the cooked fruit is tart add a little sugar if needed. You can also add some cinnamon or ginger, depending on what you’re making. We found a great recipe at minimalistbaker.com.

Pick your meat and we’ll tell you which fruits to pair with them:

Blueberries. This delicious fruit can be perfectly paired with beef. The tanginess of the blueberries really brightens the taste of the meat. For those who cook wild meat such as venison, blueberries are perfect to hide that gaminess flavor. Suggestion: Make a blueberries compote to serve on top after grilling. Serve with a salad topped with fresh blueberries and goat’s cheese.

Peaches. This fuzzy fruit pairs well with pork and chicken. Suggestion:Try grilling pork slathered in peach jam. Be careful, though, the sugars may burn so you need to make sure you’re watching the meat closely.

Strawberries.Although you’ll be tempted to just throw them in your mouth, strawberries can help liven up your grilled chicken dish. Suggestion:Marinate chicken in balsamic vinegar before grilling. While the chicken is going, in a separate bowl chopped some strawberries, then add chunks of mozzarella and fresh basil. Top the mixture on grilled chicken.

Cherries. We would not tell a lie that cherries and pork are a winning combination.Suggestion: You’ll need to make a compote for this, too, but this time add a little sugar to balance the tartness. Boil cherries into a compote and lather the pork with it. Yum!

Blackberries.A short season makes adding blackberries to your beef or pork spareribs even more special. Suggestion:Try making a simple and quick barbecue sauce from either a jam or fresh blackberries. Here’s a great recipe we found www.carriesexperimentalkitchen.com.

Come and grab some fruits and grilling supplies.

We’re open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

 

 

Maybe The Beatles had it right when they sang “Strawberry fields forever.”

Because if it’s June, it’s strawberry time here at Orr’s Farm Market.

Here are some random strawberry facts:

  • Did you know there is an average of 200 seeds per strawberry?
  • Strawberries are a member of the rose family.
  • The average American eats 3.4 pounds of fresh strawberries every year, according to the Department of Agriculture
  • Pregnant women should eat a lot of strawberries because studies show that birth defects, like spina bifida, can be significantly reduced
  • In France, it’s a tradition that newlywed couples consume a strawberry soup for their morning meal.

The strawberry is a pretty versatile fruit. It can be used, of course, in desserts, but it can also find its way into savory dishes. Just google strawberry recipes and you’ll have so many to choose from that you won’t know what to do. We did the same thing and we found this one from Southern Living Magazine that made our mouths water.

Strawberry-Pretzel Icebox Pie

Serves 8

For crust:

  • 2 cups finely crushed pretzel sticks
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

For filling:

  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 (14-ounces) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon strawberry gelatin (1/2 (3 oz) package)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. For the crust, in a bowl, stir together first 3 ingredients. Dump into a lightly greased 10-inch pie plate. Press firmly press on bottom, up sides and onto the lip of the dish. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  3. Remove from oven to a wire rack, and cool completely (about 30 minutes).
  4. To make the filling, in a food processor, process strawberries until finely chopped. Stopping to scrape down sides as needed.
  5. In a mixing bowl, add condensed milk, cream cheese, and gelatin. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add strawberries, beat at low speed just until blended.
  6. In a separate bowl, beat ¾ cup whipping cream at high speed until soft peaks form; gently fold whipped cream into strawberry mixture.
  7. Spoon into prepared crust. Cover and freeze 8 to 12 hours or until firm
  8. After firm, in a mixing bowl, Beat the remaining 1 ¼ cups whipping cream at high speed until foamy. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Spread over pie. Freeze 1 hour or until whipped cream is firm.

Is that recipe not reason enough to come down and buy a couple pints of strawberries?

We’re open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

As temperatures start to soar, it’s a good reminder to think of ways to keep hydrated.

Water is always the best way to keep yourself healthy out in the heat. But what if you just want something a little extra? A cool drink with a little flavor but not too sweet?

The best way is to add fresh fruit to your drinks and to ditch adding alcohol. Experts tell us that when it gets hotter alcohol only makes us more dehydrated.

So why not try something that is more water-based? These also are some fun drinks that will encourage your kids to not only eat more fruit but to also drink more water.

Here are just a few ideas to keep you happy and hydrated this summer:

Infused water

Once thought of being served in fancy hotel lobbies or at yoga studies, infused water become the new water trend. These are super easy to make and something the kids can help with you, too.

Strawberry, Basil and Lemon Infused Water
Ingredients: 1⁄2 cup of strawberries stemmed, sliced; 5 large basil leaves torn; 1 lemon thinly sliced; 5 cups of water; 1 cup of ice;
Instructions: In a large pitcher, add strawberries, basil, lemon. Add water and ice. Stir and let infuse for a few minutes. Serve. Be sure to include pieces of the fruit and basil in individual glasses.
— from TaylorBradford.com

Flavored Iced Tea

I know this might seem like a sacrilege to us Southerners, but iced tea doesn’t need to have two cups of sugar in it in order for it to taste good. Instead, use fresh fruits to add that sweetness. This time of year strawberries and rhubarb are a perfect combination, usually in pies. But they taste just as delicious together combined with a flowery tea.

Hibiscus, Strawberry, & Rhubarb Tea
Ingredients: 1 liter (1 quart) of water; 4 stalks of rhubarb, thinly sliced; 2 to 3 hibiscus tea bags; 2 tablespoons of wildflower honey; 1 cup of cold water; 1 pint of strawberries, stemmed and sliced, set some aside for garnish
Instructions: In a small saucepan combine water and rhubarb. Simmer on low between 15 and 20 minutes until rhubarb is extremely tender. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Cover and seep for about 8 minutes. Remove tea bags and strain rhubarb while adding water to a pitcher. Stir in honey. Add a cup of cold water. Refrigerate until completed chilled. Add strawberries to a pitcher. Muddle gently. Pour into glasses filled with ice. Garnish with strawberries.
— Recipe from GourmandeInTheKitchen.com

Mocktail

These are the perfect type of drinks for a hot day. You can look fancy but don’t have to worry about nursing a bad headache the next day. You might have to wait another month before you can enjoy this with fresh blueberries, but you can try it with frozen blueberries.

Rosemary Blueberry Smash
Ingredients: 1-pint blueberries (use about 8 per glass); 1 rosemary sprig, stripped; 1 ounce of honey syrup; 1 ounce of fresh lemon juice, strained; 7 ounces of 7UP; ice
Instructions: Make honey syrup (see recipe below). In the bottom of a cocktail shaker muddle gently blueberries, rosemary leaves and honey syrup. Add lemon juice and ice to shaker, cover and shake for 10 seconds. Strain through a mesh strainer into a tall glass of fresh ice. Top with sparkling water and stir. To make it even fancier, add blueberries onto a cocktail skewer and sit on top of the glass. — recipe from 7UP

Honey Syrup
Ingredients: Favorite honey; water
Instructions: In a saucepan add equal parts honey and water. Bring to a boil. Let it cool. It can be stored in an airtight container.

Cheers everyone! Come down and see what other fresh fruits or herbs we might have for your next drink. We’re open Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ernie Bradley
Ernie Bradley

Ernie Bradley & The Grassy Ridge

After dealing with months of snow, sleet and cold temperatures, Memorial Day weekend gives us three days to celebrate the impending summertime with family and friends.

For Memorial Day weekend we are kicking off our popular Live Bluegrass Weekends. The concert series is always on the last Saturday and Sunday of the month from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m, plus the weekend after Independence Day. Bring your own lawn chairs and enjoy the FREE show! The schedule is always subject to change.

Live Bluegrass Weekends schedule:

  • May 25: Ernie Bradley & The Grassy Ridge
  • May 26: Stoney Creek Bluegrass
  • June 29: Ernie Bradley & The Grassy Ridge
  • June 30: Ernie Bradley & The Grassy Ridge
  • July 6: Stoney Creek Bluegrass
  • July 7: Copper Canyon
  • July 27: Copper Canyon
  • July 28: Ernie Bradley & The Grassy Ridge
  • Aug. 24: Ernie Bradley & The Grassy Ridge
  • Aug. 25: Ernie Bradley & The Grassy Ridge
  • Sept. 28: Copper Canyon
  • Sept. 29: Copper Canyon
  • Oct. 26: Stoney Creek Bluegrass
  • Oct. 27: Ernie Bradley & The Grassy Ridge

While you’re here for Memorial Day, be sure to shop at our Farm Market where we have plenty of items to help you with your weekend festivities. We have fresh meat, fruits and more to add to any picnic spread.

Looking for that perfect dessert for your picnic? Don’t worry, we have you covered. Order your pie early by calling us at 304-263-1168. Click here for a list of pies.

Thank you for your service

Let’s also not forget what Memorial Day is about — remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. We would like to salute veterans both past and present for their service.

Here in Berkeley County, W.Va., the Martinsburg Rotary offers a traditional free pancake breakfast to benefit charitable donations from 8 to 10:30 a.m. at War Memorial Park, off Tennessee Avenue in Martinsburg. At 11 a.m. the Traditional Memorial Day Service will be at 11 a.m. at the park. This year it’s sponsored by the American Legion Post 14.

So stop in, enjoy some music and make sure to get those picnic supplies. We’re open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Rich soil has a distinctive smell. It’s hard to describe if you’ve never smelled dirt before but it’s like smelling the Earth and everything that came before it.

In order to really smell the dirt, you need to get down close to it, close your eyes and inhale. That’s what life smells like in its purest sense. It’s what makes the plants grow that feed us.

That smell of soil also reminds us that we know exactly where our food is coming from. And when you come to Orr’s Farm Market, you know more than where your food is coming from — you see some of the faces behind it as well.

It’s that personal connection with our customers we love so much, and pick-your-own is about as personal experience as you can get. As you bend down to pick a berry, it’s you and nature at work.

We’ve done the hard work (with a little help from Mother Nature) for you so that you can enjoy knowing exactly how long it’s been since those berries were picked.

The experience, though, is different for everyone.

Some like to take their baskets out into the fields and go it alone, taking their time with each berry before plucking it from the bush or vine. They examine it carefully before placing into the basket before finding the next one that’s lucky enough to be taken home and put into the person’s famous pie.

There are some who think it’s an Olympic sport to see how many berries can be put into the basket in 10 minutes or less and race back to the counter.

Then there are some — usually families with young children — who see it as an adventure and on the hunt for some tasty berries.

Although we don’t encourage eating in the fields (because there would be a lot of empty baskets!), there is something about eating a berry right off the vine. Yum!

So if you’re looking to pick-your-own, come out to the market, we’ll give you a basket and set you free into our fields.

  • Strawberries – May 25 – June 14
  • Cherries — June – Mid-July
  • Blueberries — June – July
  • Blackberries — August through Mid-September
  • Black raspberries — Late June – Mid-July
  • Table grapes — August through September

So come and grab a basket and start picking! We’re open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Orrs Asparagus

Orrs Asparagus

British horticulturist and writer Gertrude Jekyll once wrote, “A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.”

Isn’t that true too of a relationship between a mother and her children? With some constant care and tending it blooms into something wonderful.

This month we celebrate Mother’s Day, which lands on Sunday, May 12. We also celebrate the bounty the land has blessed us with.

If you’re looking for a gift for your mom, come to Orr’s Farm Market and shop from some of our wonderful products. We have plenty of things to put a smile on her face.

Is Mom a foodie? We have a variety of premade items that she’s bound to like — and better yet — something she doesn’t have to cook herself.

By late May, we’re expecting a crop of fresh strawberries grown here in Berkeley County. You can eat them plain, in a pie, or as strawberry shortcake. Strawberries are the perfect treat for these spring days.

Thinking of other fresh-from-the-garden items to try? How about:

  • Asparagus now through mid-June
  • Rhubarb now through mid-June
  • Large selection of fresh herbs
  • Hydroponic lettuce year-round

Stop by every week throughout the spring and summer for fresh from the garden goodness. We’re open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

We’re rolling in Clover here at Orr’s Farm Market — and we’re not talking about the plant. 

As a way to make the entire experience even more enjoyable at the farm, we have added new Clover POS (Point of Sale) Systems at check-out. We have already included the new system at two registers and by summer all of the registers will be using the Clover system.

So what does that mean for you as a customer? 

This new system allows us to take all forms of payment including chip cards and debit cards, which makes shopping easier. We will be able to continue to offer gift cards (a friendly reminder about gifts for birthdays or Mother’s Day coming up!).

What’s best for both our customers and for us is that Clover’s inventory system allows us to keep track of our biggest sellers so that we make sure to have the product you want in stock. It will also tell us what you aren’t buying, which allows us to make room in our market for the items you want more of!

As customers, you’ll be even more connected to us through knowing what specials and sales we’re having more often. The new Clover system allows us to add new coupons and even do multiple discounts. And isn’t that a win-win?

But here’s the secret about these discounts: They are only offered to our e-newsletter readers! To sign up, CLICK HERE, scroll down to Stay in Touch, enter your email address and hit submit. You’ll be instantly connected to us!

The new difference with the coupons is that you need to bring your coupon with you or show it to us on your smartphone in order to receive the discount. However, while we wait to launch our barcode coupons, we will give you a new code word to use for savings at the register. But you can only find that code in the newsletter!  

And because we love the interaction with our customers, Clover gives us just one more way to receive feedback. 

So that’s just another reason to come out and visit Orr’s Farm Market today! Our hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Orr's Reuseable Bag

Farm life can be hard, but for all the blood, sweat and tears we put into the land, it rewards us with its bounty. As farmers, it’s our job to take care of the land, but we can’t do it alone.

Monday, April 22, is Earth Day, which reminds us to be kind to Mother Nature and she will be kind to us. In celebration of all what Earth has given us, we’ve come up with some tips to be a little greener this year. Don’t be overwhelmed. Just start out with one suggestion at a time.

Try at least one of these this year:

• Reduce, reuse, recycle. Try opting for a reusable water bottle instead of buying a plastic bottle. Recycle plastics so they don’t get into the landfill. Think creatively on re-using something instead of throwing it away.

• Bring a reusable bag when you shop. Looking for a cute bag? We have options at the market.

• Change your lightbulb. Make sure you have a more energy-efficient bulb that will last longer and not be a strain on your energy bill.

• Conserve water. On a farm, we know how valuable water can be for our crops, flowers and animals. Don’t let the faucet run while you’re doing dishes. Only do full loads of wash. Limit your time in the shower. And those leaky faucets? Fix them. 

• Plant a tree. Trees are good for the environment. They help clean the air and save energy.

 Go paperless. It only take a few minutes to change your bills into e-bills, which will reduce the cost of using paper — and save some trees.

•  Start a garden. Learn how important it is to get our hands into the dirt, and watch something grow from a seed. Encourage your children to help in order to make the next generation love the Earth as much as we do.

• Take a hike. Fall in love with nature again. Take a hike or bike on a trail. Plan a family day at a nearby park.

Be sure to come visit us, learn about what we do and shop a little. We’re open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.