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.

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.