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Feeling Provincial



Pretty summer afternoon day to enjoy a light bite… a slice of Apple Ridge Farm multi grain bread with sweet cream butter and chives, along with beautiful tomatoes from Blue Moon Acres… A crisp white wine makes it perfect!


When it comes to the freshest fish, you can count on Metropolitan Seafood! Shown here halibut,  lightly coated in an almond meal and Cottage Spice spices, pan sauteed in a mix of canola and olive oils- served over Blue Moon Acres rice along with their heirloom tomatoes, spinach and local peaches.  Perfect Summertime Fare….

The journey of bee keeping


We are often asked how we got started with beekeeping.  Our journey with bees began largely when we moved to Hunterdon County from Montclair, nearly four years ago.  Zachary, our youngest child, has asthma and suffered from very bad seasonal allergies, which naturally worsened when we moved to Kingwood Township and its rural surroundings.  We searched for a number of remedies to alleviate his allergic reaction which significantly increased in the Spring and Fall seasons.  We are always cautious about prescribing medicines for the children and often seek out natural treatments whenever possible.  In researching about the many benefits of local, raw honey, we learned that honey can help prevent allergies.   The concept is called immunotherapy and the philosophy is to strategically expose your body to the element you are allergic to, which over time should make you less sensitive to it.  In this case, raw honey, named this because it has not been filtered or heated, contains pollen and the body becomes more tolerant of pollen, thus reducing your allergic reaction.

 This provided a great reason to purchase lots of raw honey from local beekeepers. Several became great friends and even mentors which led to my increasing curiosity with beekeeping,  I would spend weekends devouring beekeeping books and became very interested in the recent perils of the honey bee.  Approximately 10 years ago, scientists and commercial beekeepers noticed a decline in the honeybee population.  This also led to awareness of a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.  There is much debate on the exact cause of colony collapse disorder but many believe it largely a result of two primary causes: the increasing use of pesticides and mites – parasites which are impacting beekeepers all over the country.   This is problematic because,  depending on who you believe, pollinators are responsible for nearly 1/3 of food eaten by Americans.

 After months of research and coaxing by my local beekeeping friends, we decided to take the plunge and order bees, officially starting our journey as beekeepers.  Initially, we ordered two bee packages – which consist of one queen bee and approximately 7,000 bees in a wooden container the size of a shoe box.   The box contains a mesh wire to allow air to pass through as well as a sugar water mixture which acts as a food source.   The bees arrived in mid-April and in the months leading up to their arrival, I spent several weekends building two bee hives.   Many of the hive components come pre-cut and the assembly is actually pretty easy and simple.

 The first few months the bees are in the hives is pretty quiet as April can be quite cool and the bees are less active.  Each week the colony is growing and by late May / early June, the hive is bustling and you can often see bees entering and exiting the hive rapidly  – searching for pollen, identifying water sources, and defending the colony from intruders.   In late August, much to the surprise of my beekeeping mentors who swore I would not get honey the first year, we got a decent harvest of wildflower honey.  We have to admit that we were surprised.   A strong colony can produce up to 100 pounds of honey as it is their food source during the scare winter months.  Many new beekeepers mistakenly harvest too much honey, which can result in a weak colony as they starve.   Our philosophy is that the bee health is paramount and we intentionally harvest less honey than needed to ensure that our bees have enough food during the winter.   With everyday our enthusiasm, knowledge and love for the bees and honey grows as we add new health benefiting additions to our wildflower honey.. You’ll find lavender honey, beet honey and others… Stop by the market have a taste and see for yourself!  Photo courtesy: Zach & Zoe  You can follow them on Instagram @zachandzoehoney


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Healthy Holiday Cocktails!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  But for most of us, it’s also the unhealthiest. With holiday parties galore, dessert tables laden with pies, cookies and more, plus the beverage count soaring to its highest point of the year, it can leave us all feeling a bit more naughty than nice.  While many of us save our willpower for the dessert table, we often forget about the empty calories and grams of sugar that wind up in our hands via our favorite cocktails.  That’s where we can help!  Here are our healthy takes on a few holiday favorites so you can imbibe and still look and feel your absolute best.

By Amina AlTai

Vegnog (Vegan Eggnog)

If you’re looking to take a classic holiday beverage and make it kid and waistline friendly, here’s my healthier take on a holiday favorite:


1 cup pecans

4 cups coconut water

1 cup dates

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

* Optional 3/4 cup dark rum or bourbon

Add all the ingredients to your blender and blend until everything it’s completely liquefied or has the texture of a smoothie.  Store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.  This recipe makes a whole pitcher.

Why we love it:  

The pecans add some much needed fat and protein to this traditionally sugar-rich beverage.  The addition of protein and fat helps to mitigate any blood sugar spikes which makes for a merrier mood.  Cinnamon is also great in supporting a healthier blood sugar as it’s reported to have blood sugar lowering properties.


The Pomegranate Spritzer

This sweet little beverage is our festive take on a vodka soda.  We like it straight up with a twist.


1 cup of soda

1 tbs of coconut water crystals

3 ounces of vodka

2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds

An orange peel (optional)

1 cup of ice

Mix the vodka and coconut crystals in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 5-10 seconds. Add in the soda and stir. Strain the ice and pour into the glass of your choice.  Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds, add a twist of orange if you like and serve.

Why we love it:

The coconut crystals provide much needed electrolytes to support hydration (alcohol can be very dehydrating!) Plus, the antioxidant benefits of the pomegranates make this drink a real holiday home run.

Holiday Sangria

Sangria is always in season, but when we overindulge it can be a sure bet for a hangover.  This lighter version, filled with healthy probiotics and electrolytes, makes for a great night out and a good morning too!


1 bottle of red wine

1 orange, sliced thinly

5 ounces cranberries

2 cups of freshly brewed green tea

1 tbs of coconut crystals

1 bottle of cranberry kombucha

Sprigs of Rosemary for garnish

Boil the kettle and make two cups of green tea and let it steep for 10 minutes.  Place in the fridge and allow it to cool for up to one hour.  Slice the oranges and place into a pitcher along with the cranberries.  Add the Red wine, chilled green tea, kombucha and coconut crystals and stir.  Pour into individual glasses and add a sprig of rosemary to each glass for garnish.  Makes a full pitcher.

Why We Love It:

Traditional sangria can be so sugary and heavy, but this lighter version that is diluted with green tea and kombucha is both refreshing and full of healthy probiotics and polyphenols such as catechins, which are super powerful antioxidants.


Peppermint Martini


1 oz.  Peppermint Schnapps

1 oz.  Vanilla Vodka

3 oz.  Seltzer

Crushed candy cane for garnish

Shake all ingredients together over ice.  Moisten the rim of the glass, dip in crushed candy canes and serve.

Why We Love it:

The flavored vodka and schnapps add a lot of depth and flavor without the need for sugary syrups.  Plus, the candy canes make this one a real crowd-pleaser.


Frozen Cranberry Margarita


1/2 a cup of frozen cranberries

1 1/2 parts blanco tequila

2 tbs of lemon juice

1/2 a cup of coconut water

1/3 a cup of soda

1 tbs of agave or honey for sweetness

Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into a chilled glass and serve topless.  Makes one drink.

Why we love it:

The coconut water adds a one-two-punch of hydrating electrolytes and light sweetness to this traditionally calorific and overly sweet drink.



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