Gardening, Yummy Recipes

My ‘Patio Pesto’ Empire

The Park City Honey Co. (PCHC) started this summer off with a big bang at the local farmers markets! We are a different kind of company by supporting local at-risk youth from Bridgeport – only! They are girls ages 16 to 30 years of age and we teach them all about food production, prep and service in my cafe at 130 John Street in Bridgeport, CT.

Not only do they help make the food, we sit down and plan menus together. But this summer is different. This summer I secured a tent in local farmers markets to sell food that they make in the cafe. This is not only an income earning opportunity for the cafe and my company, PCHC, but for them as well. They not only get their hourly wages but earn 20% commission on all goods sold. WOW! Yes, 20% commission – who does that any more? Well, WE DO! It provides incentive, learning new techniques in the kitchen and most of all self confidence in their cooking and sales abilities.

I became a Beekeeper about 5 years ago on a dare. It was a great risk I took and now it has changed my life completely. Not only am I aware and very in tune with their green environment, I have been growing my own vegetables and herbs out of necessity offering my bees a variety of plants to pollinate – especially Basil. And I love basil! I love it on everything. And I love Pesto!

A few weeks ago in preparation of these markets I decided to make Pesto from the plants I grow on my patio. Well, why not? They are fresher than fresh, have not been sprayed with any chemicals and have all the sun and water they need to thrive! So I picked them almost clean, leaving all of the smaller to medium leaves to generate new leaves for the upcoming weeks. My leaves only yielded about 6 of 6oz pots for the market to sell. I was hoping and praying customers would like it so it could go in our fridge at the cafe for sale.

Well, wouldn’t you know it – we sold the 6 pots in less than an hour! Now this Pesto is special. It’s a little spicy from the freshness of the fresh picked leaves and has very little salt. It tastes very natural and healthy. Sooooo…we sold out for the Saturday market, now, what to do for Sunday’s market? I drove to the nearest nursery and bought 18 more plants, pots and 4 bags of organic soil. I was snickering all the way to the register waiting for anyone to ask me what I was up to! Who the hell buys this much basil?!!! I do! I saw the opportunity to make a fresh product our customers would enjoy so I took that ball and ran with it.

Soooo…my little Patio Pesto(c) Empire was born. I picked the new leaves off and made 10 pots for Sunday’s market – ALL SOLD IN 2 HOURS! WOW!!!!

Our girls were over the moon with sales which has inspired them to make their very own fresh products for the markets and the cafe. It’s a glorious feeling when you bring good food for a good cause to the table for your family and friends to enjoy.

Make it today and let us know what it tastes like to you!

Patio Pesto Recipe:

2 cups Fresh Basil

1/3 cup Pine Nuts

1/2 Parmesan Cheese (to taste)

2-3 Cloves of Garlic (to taste)

1/4 Tsp Kosher Salt (to taste)

1/4 Tsp of Fresh Ground Pepper (to taste)

1/2 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In food processor, place basil and pine nuts together. Pulse until chopped. Wipe down sides and add the remaining ingredients, chop on High for 30 seconds to a minute. Ready to serve.

Please comment with your thoughts! Would love to hear form you! Or visit us at The Park City Honey Co. Cafe at 130 John Street, Bridgeport, CT 06604. 203-333-3353.

 

 

 

 

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Convenience Says…

 

Summer is officially here in the Northeast. I live in CT and we have been swamped with rain more so than we are used to. So when you have a cloud-free beach day to commit to, convenience of planning is key.

For a long day at the beach the list that we usually make, besides securing the beach parking permit, are as follows:

  • recliner chairs for mom and dad
  • beach towels and sandals
  • toys and games
  • beach mats
  • sunblock
  • a tent/umbrella
  • a cooler for refreshments and food

But there is one thing a lot of people assume will be available at public beaches and those are the public tables. I personally cannot not plan my day around ‘availability’ and quarreling over who was there first. So if I can bring my own, I will.

Introducing the portable Table In A Bag. This is not new news, they do already exist! However, I have never come across one that is remotely tastefully designed and specifically for small claimed beach sandy areas! Remember the hotter and clearer the forecast, the busier the beach. Who wants to fight over tanning territory – certainly not me!

This little Builder-Bob contraption requires no tools for assembly! Just screw the pieces in and you are good to dine or even play Gin Rummy accompanied with a fabulous cheese platter and wine! It can even go to Europe without notice. I see castles in the Loire Valley, with fruit, baguettes, fatty unsalted butter and proper French Tarte-Tatin. Well, don’t you?

It’s so easy your kids will be convinced it’s the beach necessity and requirement for all beach days out! Even try a day out in the countryside, they’ll live for food in flowering pastures!

Featured on Food52.com, it’s going for $49 in natural and natural grey, in wide or narrow. Get these while they are here. Like a Bed Bath & Beyond featured product, they’re gone when they are gone! The price is too good to be true!

Have a great day out!

Gardening

Essentially Oiled

 

I have been researching how to keep my garden bug free. It’s almost impossible to do it without adding harmful chemicals. I cannot use harsh chemicals for the perfect tomatoes as I have bees and bees drink whatever local water source they have, bring it back to the hive, then the hive reacts. Now, we can only imagine what chaos that would create within the hive – deformities, illness, and even death to the Queen. Anyone remember the 25 million bees that dies in South Carolina a few years ago? ‘Like It’s Been Nuked’ article in The Washington Post tells the story of some idiots who got their Zika mosquito spray timing wrong!

*Neem Oil. What is it? It’s the miracle essential oil. Neem oil is a vegetable oil pressed from the fruits and seeds of the neem, an evergreen tree which is endemic to the Indian subcontinent and has been introduced to many other areas in the tropics. It can be used domestically like clearing your skin to keeping pests off your basil plants! Sold on-line and in stores for gardening at Amazon.com or cosmetic use at Mountain Rose Herbs, it should be kept in your garden supply shed or bathroom shelf for everyday use.

There are a few draw backs of Neem Oil. Exposure, consumption, and overall topical usage should be researched by individuals with sensitivities. For gardening, read the labels and ask questions to the seller. For more information on benefits and drawbacks go to the National Pesticide Information Center (click link for article).

Here are a few websites that cover Neem Oil uses.

Eco Friendly Neem Oil Pesticide, click link

All About Neem Oil, cosmetic usage, click link


* This article was written by Alexandra Wallace-Currie. It is merely to make aware of Neem Oil’s existence. Research into Neem Oil should be done thoroughly before usage.

 

 

Beekeeping, Gardening

The Pretty Farmer Recommends…

 

Hello Friends –

I rarely do this, but I am writing about 2 companies that really stand out within the Beekeeping world and a brand garden ‘must-have’ you eventually will never live without – The GROWOYA.

I rarely name resources but these 2 were indispensable within my journey this Spring/Summer, they are well worth passing on to you all!

PLEASE UNDERSTAND – I am NOT getting anything from these mentions – at all! These are 2 companies I have developed relationships with and love love love their products!

First, looking for a Beekeeper who knows his ‘SHIT‘? Featured a few years back and named the ‘Bee Whisperer’ of CT is Mike Rice from Mike’s Beehives. I have met quite a few people in this industry and was so blown away by not only his understandings of the Bee, but his handmade QUALITY equipment he manufactures in his garage in Roxbury, CT.

Mike holds three patents on 3 new devices for the survival of bees during tough times, i.e. Winter and early Spring. I have purchased and tried 2 of them, I am waiting for the third in which I will install in November to give my bees a better chance to proper winterization in the Northeast of the United States.

His website is www.mikesbeehives.com and his email is mikesbeehives@gmail.com. Remember, there is no such thing as a dumb question. We all want to do our part in the survival of this fantastic animal and he knows the way!

Second, is GROWOYA. Think of them as miracle vessels in your garden. They are clay pots that get buried between your plants. Simple as that. However, have you ever left your home for a long weekend and forgot to water your herbs and tomatoes? Here is the simple solution.

Slowly releasing water within the soil where they are planted, these clay devices save water, ease the pain of even remembering if you even watered the plants, and are tech savvy they’ll be the conversation of any garden party! They come in 3 sizes: Small, Medium, and Large. Costs vary between $24.95 to $39.95. They are worth every penny!!! My basil plants have tripled in size in just 2 weeks!

If you do visit or speak to their representatives, please tell them Alex from The Park City Honey Co. says they ROCK!

Sincerely,

The Pretty Farmer / Alexandra Wallace-Currie

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The Pretty Farmer

Prettyfarmerprettyfarmercloseup

Thank you for joining me! Although this is not my first blog, I have not written publicly in quite a bit of time. I used to in London when I was sick and needed a distraction.

Well, a big Hello! My name is Alex and I am a Beekeeper; mother of three beautiful kids ages 10, 13 and 15yrs; owner of 6 dogs; a farmer to 12 chickens (soon to be 21), caretaker to 3 chicken coops; a gardener to beautiful vegetables; pruner to 20 fruit trees; and I am The Pretty Farmer. It’s a bit conceited, I know, but you have to describe yourself somehow, right? Why not pretty?

I gave myself this title by watching a friend at a local farmers market a few years ago. She’s also a farmer, local and down the street from me in a Dogwood tree-lined suburban, manicured roads, private schools in abundance and Range-Rovers everywhere neighborhood. But she has a real farm with over 400 chickens, acres of fruit trees and a vegetable garden that could supply Bobby Flay’s restaurants for a month!

One day I saw her at the market, in her booth, wearing a crisp white fitted button down shirt, pressed Gucci jeans and Coco Chanel rubber rain boots. My first thought was ‘How’s she gonna stay clean all day?’ Then I asked myself, ‘Why do we have to wear ugly clothes doing something we love and not look fabulous doing it?’ So….the next market I wore my beautiful flower hat with a Chrystal pave Bumblebee pendant with silk flowers, white jeans, and a black and white striped JCrew t-shirt…so here I am…The Pretty Farmer.