We are thrilled to be back blogging as the 2017 season kicks into high gear! From fresh produce, fun recipes and fabulous events, Orr’s is so glad spring has finally sprung.

In the coming weeks, we’ll have fresh fruits and veggies that come directly from our soil or a trusted local farmer. In anticipation of the coming season, we’ve been thinking about the importance of locally grown food. From fresh fruits and veggies to locally raised meat, here are just a few reasons we love local:

Better for your body and your taste buds

When you buy in your backyard, produce and other products have a reduced travel time to the shelf. That means fewer steps from start to finish that could lead to contamination. Food that makes a long road trip has the potential for food safety issues at harvesting, washing, shipping and distribution. When you come to Orr’s, you’re getting the cream of the crop, rather than a product that’s traveled thousands of miles with a preservative-packed shelf life.

Shopping local is also better for your taste buds. Our veggies are crisp, the fruit is sweet, and all our products have power packed flavor. Food that takes less time and distance to get to the consumer’s hands hold more nutrients. When food is grown locally, the crops are picked at their peak ripeness instead of being harvested early and then shipped to a retail store. At Orr’s you can pick your own produce and take it home with you all on the same day!

Better for the environment

Encouraging local farming also keeps more green space and open land in your community. Who doesn’t love a beautiful landscape?

Plus, local farm markets require less fuel to transport products to the supermarket, which releases fewer toxins into our atmosphere from travel. Because we’re focused on our community’s preferences, we balance demand based on the local need, which reduces overall waste.

Local farmers keep you in the know

If we grew it, we’ll tell you a lot about it. Our staff will know the exact labor of love that cultivated our fresh produce. Even if we didn’t grow it, our partnerships with local farmers give us a chance to know quite a bit about what you’re consuming when you leave our parking lot. So we encourage you to ask questions as you shop!

Supports the local economy

Buying or shopping local at any business helps to support the local economy. Many of our products use ingredients found throughout the local community. Purchasing local products not only help us continue to provide you with the freshest produce and other food items, but also make relationships with other community businesses across the region.

We want to continue to make connections in our community. When you buy directly from us, you can put a face and even a name to that juicy peach or crisp apple you’re biting into. Become part of the buy local movement and stop by to see us today!

Do you have a favorite reason to shop locally? Comment here and let us know!

When October began, we went full speed on pumpkin spirit, and we haven’t stopped since. We can’t help ourselves! One post just isn’t enough to spread all the good pumpkin news. Let’s rehash: So far we’ve told you about all the fun at our pumpkin patch, the important message we support from our partner Spookley the Square Pumpkin, and a handful of crave-worthy pumpkin recipes. We also helped clear up the confusion about what exactly a pumpkin is, fruit or vegetable.

Bear with us—we have one more important pumpkin topic to cover. With Halloween coming up in less than one week, now is prime time for pumpkin carving. For those who’ve already put out jack-o’-lantern, you might find them getting soggy soon. Pumpkins have a porch life of around ten days, maybe a couple more. If your pumpkin isn’t holding up, don’t fret—our patch is still full! If you need a little help with carving, this page has some great templates and carving tips. And don’t forget to save your pumpkin seeds. They’re great for snacking.

In recent years we’ve noticed a new trend, layering, which uses pumpkins of different sizes and colors to decorate porches and yards for fall and Halloween. It’s another great thing about this time of year: Just about every house is home to a pumpkin in some shape or form. It’s fun to walk or drive around and admire our friends’ and neighbors’ creations.

Speaking of admiring, we want to see what you’ve done with your Orr’s pumpkins this fall. Whether it’s in pies or on porches, share your photos on our Facebook page.

Photo Credit: tengrrl. Licensed under CC BY 2.o

 

We’re pumpkin crazy. Needless to say, it started long before this pumpkin spice business. Who knew a particular collection of complimentary flavors could ruffle so many feathers? It seems most people are either for pumpkin spice or against it. We don’t have an official position on the subject. All we’ll say is if it involves pumpkins and it makes people happy, it’s okay by us.

As we all know, October is prime time for pumpkins. This month, we want to get back to the basics. We want to spread the word that there’s no pumpkin like one plucked fresh from the patch. While we’re at it, we have to address a common question. People often ask if a pumpkin is a fruit or a vegetable. Technically, the pumpkin is a fruit because it grows from the flower of the plant. However, pumpkin isn’t sweet on its own, and because of that it’s generally treated like a vegetable. In short, pumpkins are just agreeable! They get along great with casseroles, cakes, cookies, breads, muffins, stews, and soups. They have a longstanding love of ice cream too (who doesn’t love a pumpkin pie milkshake?). They also enjoy hanging out on porches and in place settings.

To sum up our undying love of all things pumpkin, we’ve gathered five recipes you should try this fall. And don’t forget the all-important first step: Head down to the farm to pick your very own!

Try these pumpkin recipes this season!

  1. Pumpkin Soup
  2. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
  3. Pumpkin Dip
  4. Pumpkin Chili
  5. Pumpkin Pasta

Are you as excited about October as we are? It’s a unique time of year because of its connection to farming. How so? Hayrides and pumpkins, of course. You can’t have either without a farm! We’re ready for a month of carving toothy orange smiles and makin’ tracks to the patch.

Our pumpkin patch is the centerpiece of the month’s activities. Hayrides are a must this time of year, for big kids, little ones, and grownups too. Take a ride to the patch where you can pick your own pumpkin, whether it’s for a jack-o’-lantern to adorn the porch or a pie to satisfy a sweet tooth. The fun doesn’t stop there. We also have a corn maze, fall- and Halloween-themed photo setups, goodie bags, and more. Check out our pumpkin patch page for details.

We’re also excited to partner with Spookley the Square Pumpkin. Spookley is a cartoon character and the official spokespumpkin for National Bullying Prevention Month. Throughout the month of October, we’ll feature Spookley in events around the farm to help our younger visitors understand the importance of being tolerant and kind.  It’s a great opportunity for families and educators alike.

October is a special time to visit the farm. Smiles abound, whether carved on a pumpkin, painted on a scarecrow, or spread across the faces of our littlest visitors. Come on down, hop on the wagon, and enjoy the ride!

Fall’s familiar coziness continues. We’re sipping hot apple cider, snacking on baked goods from the market, and smiling at all the children bounding through the pumpkin patch. As October comes to an end, we look forward to more fun at the farm.

After Halloween, we keep the wagon wheels turnin’ with group bonfire hayrides. Grab your hoodie and hop into a wagon for a 45-minute early (or later) evening ride through our fields and orchards. Then get comfortable on a blanket or lawn chair with your favorite fall snacks and drinks for an hour-long bonfire in our woods. Tell stories. Have some laughs. Enjoy the crackle of the fire and the pretty colors of the evening sky.

Our bonfire hayrides are a unique way to enjoy the season. Try something different this year! This is a great group activity for families, churches, nonprofit organizations, and coworkers. For the Orr Farm family, it’s an opportunity for us to share our beautiful grounds with visitors.

To get more information, click here or email us at info@orrsfarmmarket.com.

As always, we hope to see you soon!

 

So far September is comin’ through with fall goodness. Warm colors decorate the trees and cool breezes zip through the air. The apples are crisp, the dough is rising, and produce bins are overflowing. The farm is abuzz with preparation for all the upcoming fun. What’s in store? One more Bluegrass Weekend for the season, Fall Farm Fun Days, and pumpkin season.

Another favorite fall activity is our school tours. We welcome classes from preschool through high school, MOPs groups, 4-H, and more. Spending time at a working farm is truly an enriching experience. We could go on and on about how great it is and how the kids will benefit from it, but here are a few highlights:

  • Learning about planting, tending, and harvesting shows how food goes from farm to table and instills an appreciation for farming and good stewardship of the land.
  • Getting a feel for how a local business operates shows the relationship between commerce and community.
  • Seeing the daily operations of a farm teaches the value of dedication, teamwork, and goals.

You can schedule your school tour online or call 304-263-1168. If you want additional info, send us an email.

 Here’s to a happy fall, y’all!

 

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.

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!

 

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!

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