Another Friday on the Farm

Spring seems to take so long to get started. Rhubarb and asparagus are all we have for weeks on end. Everything moves slowly and peacefully during May, and then all of a sudden it’s June – and it’s not spring but summer, all the markets have begun and time is flying by at a breakneck speed (and so is the fruit!)

Today we were all down at the barn bunching asparagus, and we forgot to watch Cooper (Marc and Laura’s dog). This would not normally be an issue, as Digit and Cooper are both good about staying close to the barn. Unfortunately, Cooper has developed a strong affection for the pond. Both dogs know the pond is off-limits, but apparently Cooper believes rules are more like suggestions. As soon as we realized he was off gallivanting and called him, Cooper trotted in happily, his normally pristine cream curls drenched in thick mud. Needless to say, we were not very pleased with him and he is in high dungeon. A photo of said pond included below… Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Fruit Available

We will have strawberries as soon as next week!

Asparagus – we have both green and purple asparagus.

Rhubarb – the rhubarb is just as fresh and tasty as ever this week.

Apples - these are apples that have kept exceptionally well over the winter. This week we only have Cameo, Melrose, and Granny Smith.

Cider - our apple cider is freshly pressed and delicious!

Potatoes - the potatoes are in limited supply right now, and they are only available at our Division Street and 61st Street markets.

We also have fresh eggs, honey, and preserves.

Add it to the Recipe Book

If you ever have a simply fabulous recipe you’d like to share featuring the fruit we have available, feel free to email it to us and we will post it on the blog! We are constantly looking for both new and innovative recipes as well as classic favorites.

Classic Rhubarb Fool

You will need:

1 lb fresh rhubarb, leaves discarded and stalks cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 cup sugar

3 cups heavy cream

Directions:

Combine 2 tablespoons water, the rhubarb, and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat; reduce heat to medium low. Stir once and cook uncovered until rhubarb has softened – about eight minutes. Transfer the rhubarb mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Refrigerate rhubarb puree for forty minutes or until completely chilled. Beat cream with a mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold rhubarb puree into whipped cream, leaving some streaks for artistic flare! Spoon into glasses and serve chilled.

Featured Friend

Just looking at the menu on Fork’s website makes our mouth water. They have been a dedicated customer of ours for about a year. Whenever we see their posts on social media, we just want to drop everything and go eat there… does that sandwich not look absolutely mouthwatering?? They are completely farm to table, and we couldn’t appreciate them more!

Photo courtesy of their Instagram page.

Find them:

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // Menu

Can’t wait to see you at market this week!

- the Ellis team - 

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Another Market Season Begins!

It is definitely spring here on the farm – the peach trees have all their leaves, the apple trees are in blossom, and the raspberries have tiny delicate flowers. The asparagus and rhubarb are being harvested, and the strawberries are beginning to grow in the gentle sunshine. We are thrilled that Green City Market has moved outdoors for the summer! Division Street market and 61st are our other markets that have opened. Other markets won’t open until June, but that won’t stop us from sharing photos and recipes from the farm! Unfortunately, the weather forecast is predicting a frost in the next few days. If the temperature does drop dramatically, it may affect our crops for this year. We will keep you updated. Michigan State University has a really neat chart available that goes through all the fruit and the stages of blooming – and how the temperature will affect the crops. You can check that out here.

Produce Available

Asparagus – we have green and purple asparagus. There aren’t huge differences between purple and green – some say that the darker purple has more health benefits; others claim that green asparagus is more tender but the purple is a tad sweeter.

Rhubarb – the rhubarb is looking beautiful this week.

Apples - these are apples that have kept exceptionally well over the winter. This is the last week that we will be selling Honeycrisp – we won’t have Honeycrisp apples again until this September. We also have Cameo, Melrose, and Granny Smith.

Cider - our apple cider is freshly pressed and absolutely delicious!

Red potatoes - the potatoes are in limited supply right now, and they are only available at our Division Street market.

We also have fresh eggs, honey, and preserves every week at market.

Add it to the Recipe Book

Whenever asparagus season begins, we always have folks asking for different ways to prepare asparagus. There are multiple ways to prepare asparagus, and many people have personal preferences as to what size of stalk and how long to grill, bake, sear, roast… the list goes on. Here’s the simplest way to prepare your asparagus and enjoy the incredible flavor.

Grilled Asparagus

You will need:

1 pound fresh asparagus spears, rinsed gently

1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat grill to medium heat. Marinate asparagus in extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice for an hour. Thread asparagus spears onto bamboo skewers. Grill for 4 to 6 minutes over medium heat. Other combinations of spices can be used instead of Parmesan and lemon juice – most common is a marinade of olive oil, garlic salt or freshly minced garlic and coarsely ground pepper with a dash of balsamic vinegar for added taste.

Featured Friend

The Parachute restaurant in Chicago has been one of our faithful customers since 2014. Their food is absolutely incredible, and we love that they support local farms and use only fresh ingredients in their delicious recipes. Their restaurant is a well-loved favorite in the Chicago area, and Parachute has won many awards for their excellent cuisine, unique atmosphere, and helpful staff.

Photo is courtesy of their Facebook page.

 

Find them:

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Menu 

We hope to see you at market!

- the Ellis team -

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Autumn and a Glass of Cider

It’s a beautiful, warm fall day at the farm. This morning it was very foggy for a while, and foggy mornings are my favorite – as long as I don’t have to drive!

IMG_9592Fruit Available

Apples – Right now we have my personal favorites, the Swiss Gourmet. Swiss Gourmet are the perfect blend of sweet and tart, with a really crispy texture. We also have lots of Honeycrisp, the classic sweet and crispy apple! The Honeycrisp are really large and delicious this season, so make sure you stop by and try a slice of one! The Fuji variety we have right now, September Wonder, and Rubinstars are the tartest apples we have right now (and they’re not that tart) but they are decent baking apples. Swiss Gourmet holds up really well in baking, but it does have a sweetness to it. Later on in the apple season we will have plenty of other varieties of baking apples, for all you pie-makers out there!

IMG_9646

Apple cider -we have delicious apple cider!! Come taste some at market! I am a big fan of hot and cold apple cider, and Ellis Family Farms makes the best flavors. Every week, the flavor is different because we use different combinations of apples every week. So if you like it, you have to get it THAT week, because next week we’ll have new apple cider. The apple cider is made only from apples, no preservatives or other nasty additives.

Blueberries -this is our last week for blueberries, guaranteed. I know I keep saying that, but these blueberries have been stored in the cooler (at the correct temperature) just so we could have one more week of blueberries. They’re still the Elliots, and they’re still a mix of sweet and tart.

Grapes - right now we have a very limited supply of the sweet burgundy grapes, Canadice. Stop by market early if you’d like some of these scrumptious seedless grapes. We also have the seeded variety Niagara, which is used for making white wines. In about a week or two weeks we will have Concord grapes, which is the same variety as the famous grape juice!

Plumswe only have cooking plums – the sweet plum season is over. Sad day, I know. We have the classic cooking plum, Stanley.

Pears -we have lots and lots of classic Bartlett pears! I am a huge fan of pears and the Bartletts are my favorite.Bosch are coming in a few weeks.

IMG_5016-001Raspberries - we still have lots of big, juicy fall raspberries. We will have raspberries until the first frost, whenever that is. In Michigan, we never know when it’s going to frost! Crazy bipolar weather…

 Add it to the Recipe Book

You knew it was coming. Of course I have to share a cider recipe, because cider is such an integral part of the fall experience. My grandmother used to have cider parties at her home – we’d all gather in her huge kitchen and fry up batches of homemade donuts and drink mugs of steaming hot apple cider. At the end of the night, everyone took home big paper bags of fresh donuts (well, all the donuts we didn’t eat right then!) and a jug of delicious apple cider.

Pumpkin Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup

You will need:                                                                                           For the apple cider syrup:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour                                                              1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 teaspoons baking powder                                                                           1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon                                                                          1/2 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon ground allspice                                                         1 cup fresh apple cider from Ellis

1 teaspoon ground ginger                                                                          1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt                                                                                                 2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin

4 eggs, separated

2 cups milk

1/4 cup butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat your waffle iron! Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, salt, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together the milk, pumpkin, and egg yolks. Whip the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir the flour mixture and the melted butter into the pumpkin mixture, stirring until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the egg whites gently. Cook waffles.

To make the syrup: stir together the cornstarch, sugar, and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Stir in the apple cider and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to boil; boil until the syrup thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until melted. Serve warm over top of your pumpkin waffles.

Featured Friend

threetartsThis week our friend is the wonderful ladies at Three Tarts! For starters, they have the cutest website. If you’ve never checked out their website, do it now! They were awarded the Best Cupcake Bakery of 2015 by Make it Better Magazine, and those cupcakes are delicious and beautiful! They also make wedding cakes (the photo on the left is one of their many designs) and offer breakfast, brunch, and lunch and lots of scrumptious desserts at their cafe! Three Tarts has been a dedicated and faithful customer of Ellis Family Farms for years, and we appreciate them so much!

Find them:

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Locations // Menu

 …and that’s all for now, folks! See you at market!

Beth

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Livin’ in an Apple Paradise

How is it already the third week of September?? Time goes by so crazy fast when you’re busy. Today it has been rainy, and sunny, and cold and cloudy. I took the below picture this morning, when the day couldn’t decide whether to be sunny or rainy. IMG_9449

Fruit Available

Apples – our most recent additions to our apple offerings are Rubenstar, Swiss Gourmet, and Jonagold. Swiss Gourmet is a deliciously sweet apple and personally, I think it’s even better than the Honeycrisp apple. Jonagolds are a mix between Jonathans and Golden Delicious, so they have a fantastic sweet-tart flavor. We will still have the Honeycrisp, of course! If you’re curious about the flavor of a certain variety, feel free to ask for a sample at market!IMG_9471

Blueberries – This is our last week for blueberries! Get them while you still can. The blueberry season in Michigan has been usually short this year, due to the weather.

Raspberries – We will still have raspberries for a few more weeks, if it stops raining.

Pears – right now we have Bartlett, the classic pear, and Bosch are coming up!

Plums – we still have a few of the sweet eating plums, but for the most part we have cooking plums. Not sure what to do with cooking plums? Try making a plum dessert with some honey from Ellis!

Preserves – we have lots of different types of fruit preserves. Try a jar and tell us what you think! Our fall special is called F.R.O.G. and the ingredients are figs, raspberries, oranges, and ginger. Try it – you may like it more than you think. We also have black raspberry preserves, peach preserves, cherry raspberry…to name just a few!

Honey – As the autumn passes and the winter chill sets in, we tend to get bad colds and crave a little tea with honey. Pick up some of Ellis’ raw, unpasteurized honey – sure to bring back all the sweet, wild flavor of springtime.

Eggs – We sell Mary’s Farm Fresh eggs at many of our markets, but not all. If you would like a dozen or two of delicious brown eggs to pick up at your market, shoot us an email!

Add it to the Recipe Book

We have apples aplenty and it is autumn, after all, so it seems reasonable to include one of my favorite apple recipes!IMG_9465

Country Apple Dumplings

You will need:

3 large apples, peeled and cored (try to use a slightly tart variety of apple)

2 cans of refrigerated crescent roll dough (it’s much better tasting if you make your own pie dough, but this works when you’re in a pinch!)

1 cup butter

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 can or bottle Mountain Dew

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9 by 13 pan. Cut each apple into 8 wedges and place in a dish. Coat lightly with ground cinnamon. Separate the crescent roll dough into triangles and roll each apple wedge in crescent dough starting at the smallest end. Pinch to seal the edges and place into your baking pan. Melt butter in a small saucepan and stir in the sugar, simmering until mixture reaches a thick, rich caramel and pulls away from the side of the pot. Pour the caramel mixture over the top of the apple dumplings. Pour the Mountain Dew on top of the dumplings and sauce. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven or until golden brown. The resulting dumplings are soft and gooey and delicious!

Featured Friend

Since school began, I have not had time to do any episodes of Get Your Fresh On. (Life gets a little too full of homework.) So, since we have so many restaurants that deserve a shout-out, I’m adding Featured Friends to my blogposts for the rest of the market season!

perennialThis week’s featured friend is Perennial Virant! They are right across the street from Lincoln Park and Green City Market. They use some of Ellis’ Family Farms fresh fruit in their delicious creations. Their food is amazing, and the atmosphere there is charming and relaxed. Their Facebook page has photos I’m drooling over! Also, their logo and their food is just so beautifully designed.

Find them:

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Locations

Market Tip

Don’t be afraid to ask us to pick out your fruit for you. Trust us, because we’ve been doing this for a while! We love our customers and we want you to enjoy your fruit more than anyone. Along that line, don’t be afraid to ask for samples! Everyone has their own tastes, likes and dislikes and we wouldn’t have it any other way.IMG_9500That’s all for now, folks! See you at market – and bring an umbrella, just in case. Fall weather is so unpredictable!

Beth

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Autumn Harvests

It’s raining and cold here in Michigan today. Fall has definitely begun! I suppose the rain is a good thing because it makes the apples super shiny and delicious-looking for tomorrow, but it’s not fun to work in. Oh well! The fall harvest is well underway, and we have a lot of fresh produce for you this week. I just love this season!

Fruit Available

Apples - We have Honeycrisp! The Honeycrisp were a little on the unripe side last week, but these should taste much sweeter. The apples have been enjoying the sunshine this week and are very sweet and crunchy. We have a few Zestar left and a few Fuji, but Honeycrisp is in season right now! We will have plenty of Honeycrisp at every market except our St. Joseph location. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Pears - our Bartlett pears can be eaten fresh or made into a delectable dessert. They add a sweet, crisp flavor in salads and make excellent syrups and chutneys! This variety of pear is known as the canning pear because of the distinct sweet flavor which preserves well. If you love pears, try pear sauce instead of apple sauce and see what  you think of the flavor!

Grapes -  everyone loves our green Himrod grapes. Himrod grapes are perfect for eating fresh – firm and sweet, with a lot of juice. We also have Canadice red grapes. Canadice grapes have a rather spicy, deep flavor.  This week, the Canadice grapes are very sweet and delicious. Both varieties are seedless, but there may be a few grapes that have a tiny seed or two inside.

Raspberries - I walked into the barn where they were loading up wholesale for tomorrow and there were rows upon rows of big, beautiful raspberries! I had to try a few. These raspberries are different sizes, depending on the bush, but they are flavorful and very sweet. Delicious for adding to a recipe! Email us to pick up a flat of delicious raspberries at market for only $57.

Blueberries - the blueberry season is slowly coming to a close. Remember you can freeze blueberries, so get some while you can! We still have the Elliot variety and they are a lot sweeter than past Elliots have been.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAdd it to the Recipe Book

Since it’s cold and raining today, I wanted to choose a recipe that’s warm and comforting and completely delicious. I’ve made a couple different versions of this recipe, trying out different combinations of fruit and spices. The recipe is simple and easy to make, and feel free to experiment with your ingredients!

I’m not the most creative when it comes to naming my recipes…

Warm Fall Fruit 

You will need:

1 cup light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (if you can get nutmeg, fresh grated nutmeg is the best!)

3 cups peeled and thinly sliced Bartlett pears (this is roughly 6 pears)

3 cups peeled and thinly sliced Zestar apples (this is about 6 or 7 large apples)

Cinnamon sticks (optional)

Directions:

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a  small bowl and mix well. Set aside.

Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add pears; cover and cook for four minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sugar mixture and the apples. Cook on medium heat for twelve minutes. Serve warm and garnish with cinnamon sticks if desired.

Tips: you’ll want the pears to be nice and firm for this recipe. The thinner you sliced the apples, the less time they will need to cook. If you want the dessert within twenty minutes, slice the apples and pears nice and thin. If you want a hearty, old-fashioned-style dessert, peel and chop the apples and pears into 8 chunks and let them simmer on low heat for a half hour, stirring occasionally to make sure they are cooking evenly. The trick is to cook them until they’re warm and rather soft – but not squishy like applesauce. If you don’t like pears, just use apples.

Market Tip

If you know what you want at market beforehand, email us by Friday at 11:30am and reserve your order for pick up at market! If you’re going to be making jam or lots of pies, let us know! You’ll know we have what you need even if you can’t make it to the market until later in the day. No matter how small or large the order – we can help.

Updates

Ellis Family Farms is now on Instagram! Check out life at @ellisfamilyfarms! We also took over 61st Market on Instagram today, and it’s been fun sharing a little about our farm.

Well, that’s all for now, folks!

See you at market tomorrow!

Beth

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It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Fall

Good afternoon! It’s a beautiful, sunshiny day here at the farm. There’s a crispness to the air that makes me remember that fall is on the way. School is about to begin here in Michigan, and I know for a lot of you in Chicago it has already begun. Some of our market workers are beginning their school years as well. We already miss Mary and Eric’s smiles, laughter, and help around the farm.

Fruit Available

Apples – who wouldn’t like to bite into a crisp, juicy apple right about now?

GREAT NEWS: We will have Honeycrisp at markets tomorrow!

We will also have Zestars, which is a combination of sweet-tart and a very crispy bite, and September Wonder Fuji, which are deliciously sweet and medium-sized. Zestar are good for baking and fresh eating, but the September Wonder Fujis we only recommend using for fresh eating. After a summer of grocery store apples that just don’t taste the same, fall is here and the apples are back and better than ever!

Grapes – everyone loves our green Himrod grapes. Himrod grapes are perfect for eating fresh – firm and sweet, with a lot of juice. We also have Canadice red grapes. Canadice grapes have a rather spicy, deep flavor. Both varieties are seedless, but there may be a few grapes that have a tiny seed or two inside.

  Pears – our Bartlett pears can be eaten fresh or paired with cheese. They add a sweet, crisp flavor in salads and make excellent syrups and chutneys! This variety of pear is known as the canning pear because of the distinct sweet flavor which preserves well.

Bartlett pears can be eaten fresh, out-of-hand, or paired with cheese. They add a sweet flavor to salads and make excellent preserves, syrups, and chutneys. Bartlett pears are known as the “canning pear” because they have a distinct flavor and sweetness which preserves well. They make great additions to cakes, muffins, crisps and quick breads. Bartlett pears are also delicious dried or sautéed to compliment pork dishes. To ripen let sit at room temperature for a few days or in a paper bag to expedite the process, ripe Bartlett pears keep best in the refrigerator.
- See more at: http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Bartlett_Pears_3341.php#sthash.dJiQPyPQ.dpuf
Bartlett pears can be eaten fresh, out-of-hand, or paired with cheese. They add a sweet flavor to salads and make excellent preserves, syrups, and chutneys. Bartlett pears are known as the “canning pear” because they have a distinct flavor and sweetness which preserves well. They make great additions to cakes, muffins, crisps and quick breads. Bartlett pears are also delicious dried or sautéed to compliment pork dishes. To ripen let sit at room temperature for a few days or in a paper bag to expedite the process, ripe Bartlett pears keep best in the refrigerator.
- See more at: http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Bartlett_Pears_3341.php#sthash.dJiQPyPQ.dpuf
Bartlett pears can be eaten fresh, out-of-hand, or paired with cheese. They add a sweet flavor to salads and make excellent preserves, syrups, and chutneys. Bartlett pears are known as the “canning pear” because they have a distinct flavor and sweetness which preserves well. They make great additions to cakes, muffins, crisps and quick breads. Bartlett pears are also delicious dried or sautéed to compliment pork dishes. To ripen let sit at room temperature for a few days or in a paper bag to expedite the process, ripe Bartlett pears keep best in the refrigerator.
- See more at: http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Bartlett_Pears_3341.php#sthash.dJiQPyPQ.dpuf
Bartlett pears can be eaten fresh, out-of-hand, or paired with cheese. They add a sweet flavor to salads and make excellent preserves, syrups, and chutneys. Bartlett pears are known as the “canning pear” because they have a distinct flavor and sweetness which preserves well. They make great additions to cakes, muffins, crisps and quick breads. Bartlett pears are also delicious dried or sautéed to compliment pork dishes. To ripen let sit at room temperature for a few days or in a paper bag to expedite the process, ripe Bartlett pears keep best in the refrigerator.
- See more at: http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Bartlett_Pears_3341.php#sthash.dJiQPyPQ.dpuf

Raspberries – we have LOTS of big, beautiful raspberries. This fall variety of raspberries are very flavorful and extremely sweet. (There is a patch right by the house, and sometimes I run out and pick a few just to eat!) We have so many raspberries that we will be reducing prices at market. Plus, you can order a flat of raspberries to pick up at market for only $57! Email us right away at ellisfamilyfarms@gmail.com to reserve yours. There are dozens of things to do with raspberries – eat fresh, make jam and jelly, bake them in something, put them on brownies, cheesecakes, the list is endless – plus they can be frozen!

Peaches – we will have peaches for two more weeks, so stock up on peaches while you still can! These peaches are the variety Ancor, freestone and just as juicy and sweet as ever. The last variety of peaches aren’t usually sweet, but for some reason these are.

Plums – we are in plum heaven right now! There are quite a few varieties and some markets may have different varieties than others, so I would suggest asking about the specific varities at market.

Blueberries – we still have quite a few blueberries, but it’s time to begin stocking up on blueberries for the winter. We will no longer have 10-pound boxes available, and only two more weeks of the 5-pound boxes. Blueberries will keep for months in an airtight freezer, and who doesn’t like blueberry pie at Thanksgiving?! (I’ve never been a fan of pumpkin…)Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAdd it to the Recipe Book

Getting out the door can be tough in the mornings, and how do you work in all the fresh berries you got at the farmers’ market when you’re running late and only have a few moments for breakfast? Easy – make some muffins!

Raspberry Muffins

You will need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 8oz carton of dairy sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 pint Ellis Family Farms’ red raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Line 20 muffin cups with paper baking cups. Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1-1/4 cups sugar and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Beat in the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla until combined. With a spoon, stir the dry ingredients into the beaten mixture until just moistened. Fold in the raspberries. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling cups 3/4 full.

For Topping: In a small bowl, stir together the 2 tablespoons sugar, the cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sprinkle over batter in muffin cups.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the muffins are golden. Makes 20 muffins.

Allow the muffins to cool. Wrap each muffin separately in cling wrap and store in the refrigerator. Grab one to eat on the way to work, or give one to your kids before they leave for school. Muffins will be good for 4-6 days if stored properly in the refrigerator.

And that’s all for now, folks!
See you all at markets tomorrow!

Beth

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Get Your Fresh On: Dog Days of Summer

It is a truth universally acknowledged…that every great farm has a great dog protecting it!

Unfortunately, Digit has been feeling unwell this past few days. He’s had several doctor visits and has been relegated to staying in the house. I have fewer pictures of him than I was hoping to, because his adventures have been cut short for a while.

I trailed him a little today…first stop: the eggery, where we sort eggs and store boxes upon boxes of Ellis Family preserves and honey. IMG_4984IMG_4860IMG_4870Digit doesn’t really care about the honey and jam, but he does enjoy walking along on trips to gather eggs. He waits just outside the big door of the chicken coop (where the hens lay their eggs & roost at night), just in case any raccoons have come to harm the chickens in the night and need to be dealt with.IMG_4932I left him outside the door and then peeked out and caught him patiently waiting for us to reappear with some eggs. IMG_4940-001Those eyes are begging, but can’t I come in too???!

Sorry, Digit, but the hens wouldn’t really like to see you. You did chase them when you were a puppy, and they have long memories.IMG_4951Digit made sure to stay super, super close to the egg basket while walking back to the eggery. One of his favorite treats is fresh eggs, and you never know when one might accidentally crack or drop and need to be cleaned up right away! Digit is really very skilled at cleaning up messes in the eggery.

Pit stop for a drink of water at the pump. Gosh, all that walking sure makes a dog thirsty.

IMG_4928Next order of business: wait patiently for the eggs to accidentally roll off the table… (no, Digit would NEVER nudge the table…accidentally, of course!)IMG_4954Ah-hah! This egg has cracked. IMG_4958Digit wanted to go back inside for a little nap, and the cat was waiting and watching at the window. She wanted a picture too, because cats don’t like to be out of the loop. IMG_4968Once Digit got up from his nap, he preferred to stay inside where it was nice and cool. But he made sure to stick right by the front door to watch for vicious strangers that might happen along to be barked at. (Don’t worry – once you actually approach him, he’s quite sweet and might lick you to death.) IMG_4971P.S. From Digit – ignore what she just told you. I am a very fierce dog and will always do what it takes to protect my family!! You better watch out if you’re going to mess with me! IMG_4975Meanwhile, Eric and Stephen are busy restocking trucks. Eric does his best cute smolder for the camera. IMG_4890IMG_4897Yeah, you’re definitely busy, Eric. IMG_4891Some of Ellis Family Farm’s trucks. I’m beginning to think we collect trucks.

IMG_4981

IMG_4900Lots of trucks to restock and jams to do…

IMG_5000IMG_5010IMG_4876After a quick lap around the farm to check how crops are going (Digit rides along in the truck most days) it’s time to do some wholesale! Wholesale requires a LOT of weighing, stacking, and labeling…IMG_5016IMG_5019IMG_5028I’ll give you one guess which customer these lugs are for! HINT: They were our very first Featured Friend!IMG_5029Sooooooooo many peaches. IMG_5033IMG_5035Eggs waiting in the cooler to be loaded up tomorrow morning bright and early! IMG_5045It’s evening on the farm – time to rustle up some dinner and go home to sleep before getting up tomorrow to drive into Chicago. IMG_5041Well, maybe a little time on the swing wouldn’t hurt…

Featured Friend

Floriole cafeOur featured friend this week is Floriole Cafe and Bakery in Lincoln Park! Floriole has been using Ellis Family Farms’ fresh fruit since 2012. They come up with creative, delicious dishes on a regular basis!

Doesn’t that strawberry biscuit look AMAZING?! Their sandwiches are great too. (Sometimes they share some food with us.)

Find them:

Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Website // Menu

And that’s all for today, folks!

Please keep Digit in your thoughts. He is doing fine right now but he is not up to his normal speed yet.

See you Saturday,

Beth

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Fresh Harvest

IMG_4917Good morning everyone! I hope you are all enjoying your Friday (and making a list of what fruit to get at market tomorrow!). Bring your picnic basket and a blanket with you to market, because the Air and Water Show is coming to Chicago! We will have a picnic basket special at Ellis Family Farms tomorrow in honor of the big show.

Fruit Available

Peaches -we will have the Starfire peaches at market this week. Starfire peaches are freestone, sweet, and juicy. They are actually quite similar to the Red Haven peaches. Apologies to everyone who was patiently waiting for the Red Havens – this past winter was very harsh on the fruit crops in Michigan, and the fruit trees and plants are not having a good time of it this summer. We thought we would have some, but there aren’t many to have. It is difficult being a farmer, but especially when the weather works against you.

Blueberries - the Elliott blueberries are smaller, firm, and more tart than sweet. There will be a few sweet ones but overall the berries will be tart. These berries are great for baking and cooking – pancakes, pies, jams, you name it. Plus, you can freeze some for later.

Plums -the Ozark Premier plums are a beautiful purple color. Perfect for eating fresh, this is a juicy sweet plum. The best cooking plums tend to be a little more dry, but this plum can also be used for cooking!

Raspberries -there are numerous varieties 0f both raspberries and blackberries this week, and it would take me a while just to name them all off. The raspberries are medium in size, and as always, a mixture of sweet and tart. The smaller raspberries tend to have the best taste – they pack a big punch of flavor – good for making raspberry jam or sauces. The fall raspberries will be ready for harvest in a week or two, and they are large and very sweet. (In the photo below, I’m comparing a raspberry to my thumb so you can see how large they are!) IMG_4885Whew. It’s a bit odd to see one’s thumb this close to the camera…

Blackberries -large, sweet berries with a bit of a tart edge.

Add it to the Recipe Book

August is National Peach Month! How did I not know this?? (There are a lot of things I didn’t know before the invention of Google.) Here’s another thing I didn’t know about peaches – they originated in China, and the only real wild peaches can be found in China. However, wild peaches are small, sour, and very fuzzy. I get the fuzz part, but small and sour?? In celebration of peaches, here’s a delicious crumble recipe if you want a dessert with lots of fresh fruit.IMG_4911serves 6-8 people

You will need:

2 cups fresh blueberries (that’s one pint of blueberries)

2 1/2 cups peeled and sliced peaches (that’s about a quart of peaches, or 6 peaches)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

For the crumble topping, you will need:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup oats (you can use old-fashioned oats if you like a bit of a crunch)

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

6 tablespoons cold butter, diced

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine blueberries, sliced peaches, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, granulated sugar, and flour. Gently toss until fruit is well coated. Let the fruit mixture sit while you prepare the crumble topping.

For the crumble topping: in a large bowl, combine the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Stir together with a whisk. Mix in the butter with your fingers until the mixture comes together and you have big crumbles.

Place the fruit mixture in a 2 quart ceramic or glass baking dish. Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the fruit. Place the dish on a baking sheet pan lined with parchment paper (so if it boils over, it doesn’t make a mess in your oven!) and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the tops are browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

It’s supposed to be very warm and sunshiny tomorrow, plus the Air and Water Show will be going on!! Don’t forget, Ellis Family Farms will be running a special sale at the Green City Market in honor of the big show. We’re so excited!

Can’t wait to see you there,

BethIMG_4870

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Get Your Fresh On: Episode One

If anyone has visited us at markets recently, we all wear blue work shirts. The logo of our farm is on the front, and the back of our shirts look like this:Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetLooking at these shirts last Saturday gave me an idea for a new, fun way to update you all on the goings-on here in Michigan. Welcome to the all-new Get Your Fresh On with Ellis Family Farms!  This week I’m going to walk you through my attempts to make some delicious fresh fruit smoothies. I put on my chef hat and tried hard to think like an amazing Chicago cook. (Yes, I know they have cool names for cooks like cuisine chef or executive chef but I’m not that fancy…)IMG_4723

I started out by getting some fresh fruit straight from the farm. Here’s what I selected:

1 quart of fresh peaches

1 pint blueberries

1 pint blackberries

1 pint red raspberries

1 pint sweet Early Magic plums

The organic yogurt I found at my local supermarket. I bought one 24oz container of organic vanilla yogurt. I chose vanilla because the vanilla is a tad sweeter than regular, and I didn’t want to add sugar to my smoothies.

I also acquired a few sprigs of fresh mint and a few sprigs of lavender. You can usually find dried mint leaves at your local grocery, but it can be difficult to find fresh mint leaves. There is some available to buy here and here. If you can’t find fresh mint, don’t despair. Dried mint will still give you the flavor, but you may have to use more. Lavender can be found here or at your local herb store.

These ingredients made three different smoothies. Play around with the amounts of fruit in your smoothie. You may be surprised how much the flavor changes based on how much fruit you put in!

IMG_4712First, wash your peaches. No one likes fuzz in their smoothie! Gently wash your sweet plums. Rinse the blueberries gently. (I didn’t rinse them, but it might be a good idea.) Get out your blender!IMG_4739I used:

1 1/2 cups organic vanilla yogurt

1 big handful blueberries

1 big handful raspberries

1 big handful raspberries

Start off with about a cup and a half of yogurt.IMG_4729 Add a handful of blueberries, a handful of raspberries, and a handful of blackberries. Why not measure them in cups? Berries are quite difficult to measure exactly in cups, and raspberries are too delicate to mess around with measuring an exact amount. IMG_4735Puree for thirty to forty seconds, or until you see the fruit has mixed with the yogurt.

Enjoy! IMG_4776-001I used:

1/2 medium-size peach, chopped

2 small sweet plums, halved with pits removed

1 1/2 cups organic vanilla yogurt

1 big handful of blackberries

2 small fresh mint leaves

Get out your cutting board and slice half of a medium-sized, ripe peach. Set aside. Cut two sweet plums in half and remove the pits. This will be tricky…plums don’t like giving up their pits!IMG_4752Hint: Chop your peach slices into small chunks – they blend easier.IMG_4762Fill your blender with a cup and a half of yogurt. Toss in the diced peaches, a big handful of blackberries, and all four of the plum halves. Add two small mint leaves.IMG_4767Puree for about thirty seconds, or until you see that the fruit has been mixed in.

Enjoy! IMG_4790I used:

1 whole small peach, chopped

2 sweet plums, halved with pits removed

1 big handful raspberries

1 sprig of fresh lavender

1 1/2 cups organic vanilla yogurt

Chop the peach into small chunks. Cut two sweet plums in half and remove the pits.IMG_4777Put the yogurt into your blender and add peaches, plums, and raspberries. Sprinkle lavender flowers on top.IMG_4785Puree for thirty to forty seconds or until smoothie is properly mixed.

Enjoy!

Note: These smoothies were taste-tested by my siblings, who are very picky eaters. They gave me their suggestions and I made some tweaks.

Featured Friend

Each week we will feature one of the companies that use Ellis Family Farm’s fresh fruit in their own recipes and tasty creations. This week’s featured friend is the Hoosier Mama Pie Company!

chocolate pecan pieHoosier Mama has been making their delicious, mouth-watering pies with Ellis Family Farms’ fresh fruit for years! The owner and pie maker extraordinaire, Paula, is good friends with Rene, the owner of Ellis. Paula has even published a cookbook for people who long to bake their own homemade pies (the cookbook has gone on to get many five-star reviews!) The chefs and employees at Hoosier Mama have always been helpful, fun, sweet, and amazing to get to know. You should totally stop by and grab a slice of their incredible pie.

Find them:

Website  // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Locations

Drum Roll Please…Announcing a Giveaway!

For any of you that come visit us at our farmers’ markets in Chicago or St. Joseph, here’s your chance to win a surprise goodie bag! We’re very aware of the environment here at Ellis Family Farms, and we love it when people bring reusable bags to market with them. Why not fill one of our bright green bags with tasty surprises?!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Come back next week for Get Your Fresh On: A Day on the Farm starring Digit, plus insider tips on making the most of your market experience!

Beth

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Please Welcome…

………Red Haven peaches!

IMG_4805Good morning! It’s a busy day here at Ellis Family Farms. We are getting ready for market tomorrow. I’ve had a lot of people at market ask when we will have freestone peaches, Red Havens to be exact, and I have an answer for you – this Saturday!

Fruit Available

Peaches – the season for Red Havens is just starting! The Red Haven peaches are the standard among peaches. The flavor is delicious and the peach texture is just right. These peaches can be used for nearly everything – pies, grilling, dessert, fresh eating and jam! At the Green City Market we will also have Anna-Jen peaches. Anna-Jen peaches are an exceptionally old variety, and they have stuck around for a reason. They are cling peaches, but they stay firm and they are very sweet.

Apricots – we have Hargrands right now, a very large and firm apricot. Our apricots have a distinctive, homegrown fresh flavor. These apricots are easy to eat fresh because they are freestone. You might also try drying some slices for a great take-along snack that doesn’t drip with juice!

Blueberries – we still have Blue Crop, and these blueberries are still winners! The blueberry itself is large and sweet, with a few tart blueberries mixed in here and there. Feel free to stop by and sample a blueberry at market. Their reputation has survived several thousand samplings so far!

Red raspberries – we will have a limited amount until next week. The summer raspberry crop has ended and the fall raspberry crop is just barely getting started. Stop by in the morning – the early shopper gets the berries!

IMG_4812Blackberries – the blackberries are large, firm, and delectable. These blackberries can be used in whatever recipes or jams you can dream up for them.

Tart cherries – our tart cherries are Balatons, and they are perfect for cherry pies and even fresh eating if you enjoy a tart cherry. The season is ending, and some of our markets may not have any tart cherries this week. If we do have tart cherries, they usually sell out within the first hour of market, so be sure to stop by early on!

Plums – Early Magic plums are colorful and firm, good for eating fresh. These plums are very sweet and filling, and the skin is rather tart. Perfect if you enjoy the combination of sweet and tart. Early Magic plums aren’t good for cooking or baking, but they add a great burst of flavor in a fresh fruit smoothie! Vibrant is our other variety. Vibrant plums are dark in color and perfect for baking and cooking with.

Add it to the Recipe Book

I kept thinking, what would plums and blueberries taste like together? This recipe is going to be a little more involved than most, but the end product is worth your time! (I found this recipe on AllRecipes, for those of you who are wondering how I’m such a great cook. Ha. I wish!)

IMG_4826Blueberry Plum Upside Down Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan.

You will need:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup milk

4 Vibrant plums from Ellis Family Farms, pitted and thinly sliced

1 cup blueberries from Ellis Family Farms

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch cake pan. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and mix slightly. Set aside.
  2. In the greased cake pan, combine 3 tablespoons butter and brown sugar. Place pan inside the preheated oven until the butter melts and begins to bubble. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the 1/3 cup butter and 1 cup white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated.
  3. Arrange plums around the edges of the prepared pan, overlapping slightly. Distribute the blueberries in the center. Pour batter into the cake pan, covering fruit completely. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy your blueberry and plum dessert!

The Air and Water Show is coming to Chicago, but the markets WILL be open on August 15th. Bring a picnic basket and get some fresh fruit to share with family and friends. We will have a special on our fresh fruit in honor of the big show.

I hope to see you out and about at market tomorrow. And stay tuned…a big giveaway and a new blog series is arriving to Ellis Family Farms’ website on Monday. You don’t want to miss this!

Beth

 

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