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Entries in Fresh and Fancy Farms (5)

Friday
Feb082013

Farmer Friday - Create Your Own Valentine's Day Floral Arrangements

 

Growing up I wanted to open a small flower shop. I wanted it to be tiny and old. Maybe next to a bakery, where people would pick up a fresh baguette and then stop for a fresh bouquet. Instead, I have a tiny and old farm. I feel lucky that my family and I have found this small gem in the birthplace of Bergen County, NJ.
Since I am a flower lover at heart and after all my job title is, “Flower Girl” you can imagine one of my favorite things to do is to create flower arrangements. 
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner Elana and I thought a few tips on how to create your own arrangements might come in handy:
1. Select a container. Be creative; don’t feel like you need a typical vase. Try an old milk bottle, a teacup or a mason jar (coffee cans will work too, put fresh flowers in a can of your valentine’s favorite coffee - hello romance).
2. Select flowers. You want to try and get flowers that are in season. Flower shop employees will help you with this (try the 28th street flower market in NYC). In season flowers, may not have traveled as far and tend to be less expensive (look for a peony in the dead of winter and you could be paying $10 a stem).
3. Design. Select a variety of textures and sizes. You want some individual stems (large & small) and some fillers (the greens and small bushy flowers). Pick flower colors that live well together. Avoid typical flowers
(standard red roses for instance) - go wild.
4. Arrange. Always cut each flower stem on an angle (this helps them drink easier).
Remove all the stems that will be submerged in the water (this keeps the water cleaner). Fill your container with clean room temperature water. Place the fillers in first, next the larger flowers, last place smaller more delicate flowers. Add more fillers in small pieces where needed.
5. Maintain. Empty your water and re-fill everyday or every other day. Your flowers will last longer.
I dropped some of these arrangements off at the local nail salon and gave a few to the guys helping us finish the barn. The result is always the same. SMILES.
If you want an arrangement specially made for Valentine’s Day or a random Tuesday, feel free to email us at the farm.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Peace & Love,

 

Friday
Sep302011

Farmer Friday with Fresh and Fancy Farms

We have a new feature here on the blog: Farmer Fridays! I want to feature local farmers that are growing their own produce, raising their own meats and cooking their own food from these supplies.

I would love to raise awareness of these local farmers and help educate anyone that's interested in how to grow/raise/cook local.

To kick things off, I have my very good friend Meg who runs Fresh and Fancy Farms in New Jersey with her family. I've posted about Fresh and Fancy Farms before. Today, Meg is going to talk about freezing and drying herbs. It's simple, and to use Meg's words it's magical.

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If I were an herb, I would want to be rosemary. It’s pretty, smells good and is pest-resistant. Not to mention it comes from the Latin words ros marinus a.k.a "dew of the sea". In many locations it needs no other water than the humidity carried by the sea breeze to live. Sounds nice right! Okay, enough about me.
 
There is nothing like growing and cooking with your own herbs. I can almost guarantee what you’re serving will suddenly taste magical. This past summer was a learning experience for myself; filled with trial and error, sunshine and rain. I went from taking care of a small potted herb garden to being the official caretaker of a farms worth of herbs at Fresh & Fancy Farms.

And with summer at its end and herbs on their last life, storing them seems like a wonderful option!  I am going to give you a few tips on how to store your herbs so you can enjoy them year round.
 
Oh and we’re going to keep it simple, because simple is good. You will do one of two things with your herbs, hang dry or freeze. Hang drying works best for herbs that don’t have high moisture content (oregano, rosemary, thyme). For moisture dense herbs (basil, chives, mint, sage) using a dehydrator or freezing them is best.
 
DRY


1. Cut your herbs. Check them out and make sure you’re not selecting anything that doesn’t look up to par – no mold, dry spots, or signs of disease.


2. Wash them and let them dry really well. You don’t want any mold growing on them.


3. Remove lower leaves from the bottom of the branch/stem.

4. Bundle and secure your herbs together using string, wire, binder clips, etc.


5. Hang them in a dry, warm (not humid) place for about two weeks.


6. Store in labeled and dated zip lock bag or mason jar.


 
FREEZE


1. Follow steps 1 & 2 from the above directions.



2. Chop up your moisture dense herb and place 1/3 in an ice cube tray and fill the remainder with water. Pop the filled trays in the freezer.


3. Once frozen throw them into a large labeled and dated zip lock bag.


4. Note: You can take the whole leaf and store them in zip lock bag – that works too!  

Now that you have your herbs ready, pick one of John & Elana’s delicious recipes and make us proud! Oh and if you have any questions or just want to tell me what herb you would be, shoot me an email! FreshandFancyFarms@gmail.com

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Thank you, Meg! To learn more about Fresh and Fancy Farms, click here!

Thursday
Aug182011

It's Our Birthday - And We're Giving YOU Presents

Happy Birthday! To US!! We are 1 year old today, how about that? It's pretty crazy, actually. Pretty crazy that neither John nor I have killed each other. It's been close, people, I won't lie. So to celebrate, we are giving YOU presents!

That's right – a biiiiiiiig gift box of cool food stuffs. Let me tell you what's in this Box of Glory:

1. A $25 Gift Certificate for Brooklyn Slate. You readers might remember that BK Slate handcraft cheeseboards and serving ware from slate materials. You can check out our post on them here, and their website here.

2. TWO 11oz bottles of Sir Kensington's Gourmet Scooping Ketchup - one Classic and one Spicy. This stuff is the bees knees, people. You will put it on everything.

3. And speaking of bees, you also will get 1 bottle of NYC rooftop honey and 1 honeycomb (great for cheese plates - see Article #1) from Andew's Honey. Andrew sets up his honey stand in the Union Square Green Market every Wednesday.

4. Not one, not two but THREE jars of McClure's Pickles! I am a huge fan of this product, having sampled the pickles, relish, and the bloody Mary mix and I highly recommend them all. Included in the Box of Glory are: 1 jar Bloody Mary Mix, 1 jar Whole Spicy Pickles, and 1 jar Whole Garlic and Dill Pickles.

5. A jar of Strawberry Balsamic Basil Jam from Fresh and Fancy Farms. Check them out here, and our post here.

6. Love notes from John and me! And maybe some extra stuff, but the above are the highlights.

Now...the important part: How do you win this Box of Glory, because I know you want to win it, don't you?

Here's how:

Comment on this post from NOW until August 24, 2011 12am EST. In your comment, (pretty) please (with sugar on top) tell us your favorite post and why it is your favorite post.

For example, you could say the following:

My favorite post is the Roasted Red Bell Pepper Post because I had a very vivid (and disturbing) image of Elana's hair in the rain that made me laugh for weeks on end, not to mention feel better about myself.

OR you might reference The Box's Antipasto Manifesto in which he waxes poetical over the combinations of provolone, ceci beans and olives.

Perhaps you enjoyed the National Geographic Archeological Survey on John's Refrigerator in which we discovered Encyclopedia Brittanicas and year old ice cream (which is not 2 year old ice cream...)

Either way, let us know! Then we will pick one commenter and ship you The Box of Glory (did you hear an echo?) Now, get to it!

Happy Birthday!

Friday
May202011

Fresh and Fancy Farms

My friend Meg has a farm. In New Jersey. I know! Both of those statements sound crazy, but they are also both true. New Jersey is the Garden State, you know.

We are famous for such growables as tomatoes, cranberries and corn (and gnomes!).

Anyway, back to Meg and her farm. I took a trip out there for opening weekend to check it out and generally get in the way by taking photos of everything. What I give to you is a tour in photographs of Fresh and Fancy Farms.

Meg and her family own and operate this magical place in New Milford, NJ. It's been in operation as Kilnger Farm for over 97 years, which is a substatial amount of time, even in farm years.

Fresh and Fancy Farms is committed to educating the community about local growing, planting and maintaining a beautiful property.

You can also expect professional expertise on all topics gardening.

Also, it's such a fun place. And pretty! There's a babbling brook!

And ramshackle farmhouses all grouped together in a jovial kind of way with flowers growing out of nooks and crannies.

And even out of teacups.

I had tons of fun wandering in and out of all the farm buildings. There were some real treasures to be found. Like this old planter's clock:

And a very organized line-up of sundae glasses:

This is my favorite photo:

I love the random stuff I found. Nothing says random like a basket of pipes.

You can, of course, plop down on the wooden bridge and sip pink iced tea.

Which is a great way to recover after choosing all new herbs and flowers to add to your garden.

And a nicer refresher before pulling over to paint a sign or two...

That's me in the photo above.

I encourage you to check out their website, facebook page, follow them on twitter and make visits (plural) to check them out in person.

You might want to consider bringing along a little red wagon for all your fresh and fancy purchases.

Fresh and Fancy is also incredibly easy to get to using mass transit. You can just take the NJ Transit Pascack Valley train line to the River Edge station. You'll be there in a hop, skip and jump.

 

Friday
May132011

Food Foto Friday - Camera Angles!

Today's Food Foto Friday explores camera angles.

The subject matter of today's shoot is a dark chocolate bar with pistachios and cherries from Cocoa V. I purchased this bar for Marmo for Mother's Day, and it broke en-route to her, so I used the opportunity to take some photos of it, as the broken bar was more interesting (visually).

For a surfance, I used an old plank of wood, reclaimed from my friend Meg's farm (Fresh and Fancy Farms). I painted one side of the plank a light seafoam green, which I thought looked nice with the pistachios.

I am going to show you three (glamorous) angles of a chocolate bar:

Camera Angle #1:
For the above photo, I chose a 3/4 view. Slightly above, but not quite aerial view. I got into the bar pretty close as well, and I think this may be my favorite of the three shots.

For your comparison purposes, I put title treatments in all the photos.

Camer Angle #2: Straight on. For this angle, I put the camera almost on "eye" level with the chocolate bar. The depth of field is a little more dramatic in this shot: notice how the background is much blurrier than the first photo. And even the back of the chocolate bar is much fuzzier than the first photo.

Camera Angle #3: Aerial View: For this shot, I positioned the camera directly above the chocolate (bar and wood board were balanced on a kitchen chair). I also left a little negative space on the left hand side for text. I like this view, but I feel as though the title treatments look nicer on the other two.

Finally, you can see how I set the whole thing up here:

Fancy, no? Kinda takes the glamour (if there was any to start) out of the whole thing. But it does show you that you don't need much to set up a decent shot. The tripod is really key. I resisted mine for a while, but now I love it and am considering the purchase of a fancier model.

Which shot do you like best? Let me know in the comments!

And Happy Friday!