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

IMG_5047

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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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So Berry Hot

After working all day on the farm, not much of my brainpower is left to come up with clever titles…and it is quite hot outside! I hope all of you are staying cool and enjoying your summer.

IMG_4123Fruit Available

Peaches - Summer Serenade is back for one last encore. Take a moment and sample one if you’re at market – you won’t be disappointed. Delicious sweetness that practically drips flavor. If you tried our grilled peach recipe from last week and run out of ideas for your peaches, here’s another great way to use peaches! Or if you’re more of an ice cream person, try these fresh peach shakes.

Blueberries -everyone is loving these Blue Crop berries. I had a record going last Saturday at market – everyone who sampled one of these blueberries bought some! Sweet, large, and full of flavor. Email us to reserve your 5pound or 10pound box for pick-up on Saturday, because we can’t seem to keep blueberries on our tables.apricots

Apricots - our Goldcot #5s are full of tangy flavor, even though a little drier than usual. Ranging between small and large in size, these apricots are very tasty. (Picture on the right.)

Nectarines -sweet, juicy, and crisp. They resemble a peach without the hair, and taste a little like a tarter version of a peach. Nectarines are in limited supply this year.

Plums -we have several different varieties right now; Early Gold, Early Magic and Methly for fresh eating and desserts, and Vibrant for cooking. The Vibrant plums are dark and purple and much larger than the sweet eating plums, which range in color from gold to shades of red.

Black raspberries -the black raspberries are sweeter than normal this week, with a lot of flavor. The more you eat these, the harder it is to stop eating them! If you love black raspberries but hate the seeds, try our black raspberry preserves. Spread some preserves on toast or make a peanut butter & jelly sandwich.

Red raspberries - our red raspberries are a continual favorite at markets. Full of raspberry flavor, these big reds (in varieties Nova, Encore and Octavia) can be eaten fresh, made into jam, or baked into some amazing brownies.

Sweet cherries - will only be around for a few more weeks, so get them while you can! We have Hudsons right now, which are firm, sweet, and have a great flavor. Even if you can’t eat them all right now, this is your last chance to stock up until next year.

Tart cherries -right now we have Balatons, our favorite type of tart cherry. Very firm and dark burgundy in color, perfect for making a flavorful cherry pie for your “Billy boy”!

Mary’s brown eggs - these delicious, healthy eggs can be used in everything. Although we don’t offer Mary’s brown eggs at every market, they are a big hit wherever they go. These eggs have won awards!

mary's eggs

Add it to the Recipe Book

One thing we almost always sell out of by the end of the day is blueberries! Our blueberries are delicious: a combination of sweet and tart varieties with lots of flavor. Blueberries are the ultimate sign that summer is here and it’s staying for while. When you stop by the market, sample one! I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Blueberry Tart

You will need:

1 8-ounce sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 large egg, beaten

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

2 cups Ellis Family Farms blueberries (this would mean buying one pint of blueberries at market!)

Flour for your work surface

Directions:

Heat oven to 375° F. On a lightly floured surface, unfold the sheet of pastry and roll it into a 10-by-12-inch rectangle. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using the tip of a knife, score a 1-inch border around the pastry without cutting all the way through. Brush the border with the egg and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Bake until golden and puffed, 18 to 22 minutes. Using the tip of a knife, rescore the border of the cooked pastry without cutting all the way through. Gently press down on the center of the pastry sheet to flatten it. Let cool to room temperature, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the cream, lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons of the confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly within the borders of the pastry. Arrange the blueberries in a single layer over the filling and sprinkle lightly with confectioners’ sugar.

And that’s all for now, folks! I hope you all enjoy your weekend.

Come and visit us at one of our markets – even if you don’t need some delectable fresh fruit, we always enjoy seeing your smiles and spending a few minutes visiting with you.

Beth

queen anne's lace

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Peachy Keen

See what I did there?

Hello from Ellis Family Farms! It’s another warm, sunshiny day at the farm. It’s a little too warm for me, but all the sunshine is great for the fruit.

Fruit Available

Peaches – the Summer Serenade variety is in its element, and if you’re not singing after you bite into this peach, I will be shocked! The Summer Serenade is cling and the fruit is yellow melting. Perfect for eating fresh, salads, or grilling, but this variety isn’t ideal for baking or canning.

Blackberries - the Triple Crown variety is ready, which is a mix of sweet and slightly tart blackberries. Tip: the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice. It’s true! These blackberries are good for fresh eating, jam, and baking. Unfortunately, blackberries will only be available at Green City Market this week, because of limited availability.

Plums - we have Early Golden, and their name describes their beautiful color. These plums are nice and juicy, a golden-sweet explosion of flavor. In my experience, children prefer the flavor of these plums over their darker, tarter cousins. Early Goldens aren’t good for baking or cooking, so make sure you get some to eat fresh.

Blueberries - the Bluecrop is in season right now. (Makes sense, right?) These tasty blueberries are large and sweet. Good for fresh eating, baking, jams and jellies, freezing, and pies! We recommend using a blueberry pie recipe from Hoosier Mama Pie Company’s amazing cookbook. You can get a copy here or even better, visit them in person and pick up a copy at their bakery.

Red Raspberries - there will be a mix of Encore, Nova, and Laurens at market this week. Don’t ask us to tell them apart, because they’re all big, sweet, and delicious. These varieties are wonderful for fresh eating, jam, and dessert. I eat fresh red raspberries in the morning with my granola and yogurt!

Black Raspberries - Jewel, Bristol, and McBlack are the varieties we have this week. Make sure to sample one at market, because the taste might surprise you. Black raspberries have more seeds than red raspberries, but they taste delightful.

Sweet cherries - the Titan sweet cherries are large and dark, and as sweet as candy. Grab a pint or two at market, give them a little rinse, and start eating!

Tart cherries - tart as all get-out and a beautiful burgundy shade, the Balaton variety is excellent for making cherry brandy. These cherries are also optimal for pies and salads, and they can be frozen.

Add it to the Recipe Book

If you’ve never tried grilled peaches, now is your chance! Grilled peaches are an easy, delicious summer dish. You can make grilled peaches as a dessert or as a savory side dish and they’re just as tasty both ways.

Grilled Peaches

You will need:

4 fresh peaches from Ellis Family Farms, halved and pitted

2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Butter for grilling

Vanilla ice cream, optional

Directions:

Preheat grill or grill pan to medium. In a small bowl, mix sugar with cinnamon. Brush cut side of peaches lightly with melted butter. Oil grill with butter or olive oil. Place peaches cut-side down on grill and cook until grill marks appear, 3 to 4 minutes. Brush bottoms lightly with remaining butter and turn peaches over. Sprinkle sugar mixture over cut side of peaches, cover grill and cook until sugar has melted and caramelized and peaches are easily pierced with a sharp paring knife, about 3 to 6 minutes. Serve immediately with ice cream, if desired.

Grilled Peaches Savory

You will need:

6 fresh peaches from Ellis Family Farms, halved and pitted

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh basil

1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

salt and ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat grill for medium heat and lightly oil the grate. Whisk olive oil, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. Allow flavors to combine for 5 minutes. Brush oil mixture on inside flesh of peach halves. Grill peaches, flesh sides down until softened and grill marks appear, about 4 minutes. The savory grilled peaches are delicious as a side for pork or chicken.

I would try both recipes at least once. Grilled peaches are the BEST.

That’s all for now, folks!

See you tomorrow at market. And remember, besides our markets in Chicago, we also have a new location at the Farmer’s Market in St. Joseph, Michigan.

Beth

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Summertime Sweetness

Hello from Ellis Family Farms! I hope that everyone had a great holiday.

patriotic fruitWe’re well into the summer fruit season, and everyone is very busy at Ellis Family Farms.

Whether it’s checking on the trees and bushes, picking the ripened fresh fruit, or relaxing after a long day of work, there’s always something to do at the farm.

 

Fruit Available

Sweet cherries  – the varieties are Rainier and Sam. The Rainier cherries are actually even sweeter than the Sams this year, but this is their last week at market, so get them while you can! The Sam variety is great for eating and would also be ideal for jams and jellies.

Tart cherries – who doesn’t love a good cherry pie?! Right now we have Mt. Morency. We wouldn’t suggest trying these at market, however, as eating them straight can make for some interesting facial expressions.

If you need some easy ways to pit cherries, check out this article and this one. There are also small, easy-to-use Mason jar cherry-pitters. I grew up using those every summer while preparing the cherries for jam.

Red raspberries – we have varieties Prelude or Nova. These red raspberry varieties are great for jam. They are not overwhelming sweet, and they have a lot of flavor.

Black raspberries – McBlack is the current variety. Many people ask if black raspberries taste like blackberries or red raspberries, and the answer is neither. They have a unique, delicious flavor all their own.

Blueberries – make some blueberry pancakes for your loved ones with these amazing Duke blueberries. They’re sweet enough to be eaten right out of the container or sprinkled on top of vanilla ice cream for a creamy summer dessert.

Upcoming Fruits

In just a couple weeks, we will be selling the first peaches, apricots, and plums. Stay tuned for further updates.

Add it to the Recipe Book

Our featured recipe this week is delicious and yet simple, requiring only a few ingredients. If you love ice cream with fresh fruit, this one’s for you! The photo features Rainier sweet cherries.

Warm Cherry Sauce with Vanilla Ice Cream

Rainier cherries on the farm Ingredients:

1 lb. pitted sweet cherries from Ellis Family Farms, juices reserved

1/4 cup kirsch (clear cherry brandy)

1/4 cup dry red wine

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Vanilla ice cream

Directions:

Pour juice from cherries into a glass cup. Add kirsch. Add enough red wine to measure 1 cup. Stir 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in small saucepan until no lumps remain. Gradually whisk in wine mixture, then cherries. Cook over medium-high heat until sauce boils, thickens and is translucent, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in almond extract. (Sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over low heat before serving.)

Divide vanilla ice cream among bowls. Spoon warm sauce over and serve immediately.

Enjoy your dessert!

See you next Saturday at Ellis Family Farms.

Beth

 

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Plum Pancake

  • Ingredients
  • 3 plums, washed and thinly sliced
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted, plus more for greasing
  • 3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • Maple syrup, warmed, for serving or our family warms up a jar of plum butter
Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, toss the plum slices with 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, the eggs and 1/4 cup melted butter until combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; pour the buttermilk mixture and pecans into the well and whisk until incorporated.
  4. Brush a nonstick griddle or skillet with butter and heat over medium heat. Working in batches, spoon 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Gently press 3 plum slices into each pancake, lower the heat to medium-low and cook until golden brown on the bottom and the top is bubbling near the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook for 2 more minutes. Serve with the maple syrup.
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Plum-rific! Recipe

Plum Recipe

GERMAN BLUE PLUM CAKE

Ingredients
¼ lb butter                                                                                                                                                        2 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup milk (or more)
2 ½ to 3 lb purple plums
1 cup chopped nuts

Directions
Cream together butter and sugar.  Mix well together the eggs, flour, salt, baking powder, vanilla, and milk.  Grease a jelly roll pan and preheat oven to 375 F.  Spread dough on pan.  Halve, pit, and rinse plums.  Put plum halves on dough with cut side up and touching each other.  Sprinkle plums with sugar and cinnamon.  Dot each plum with a tiny piece of butter.  Sprinkle nuts over plums.  Bake at 375 F for 30 minutes.

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