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  • January 2, 2017

The journey of bee keeping

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

ZACH & ZOË SWEET BEE FARM

201-281-1690 | hello@zachandzoe.co

www.zachandzoe.co
  • November 26, 2016

Caramelizing Tip from Chef Brian Held

Caramelizing Tip From Chef Brian Held

Nestled on a side street in the charming town of Lambertville NJ, you will find a gem of a restaurant, Brian’s aptly named after the chef/owner Brian Held.

Brian, a CIA trained chef, opened Brian’s in 2012, creating European inspired cuisine.

On any given weekend, you’ll see Brian at the Stockton market picking up his order of fish from Metropolitan Seafood and greens from Blue Moon Acres to turn into a dish to savour.

Pictured here, caramelized sea scallops with mascarpone ravioli in a porcini broth…  it was delicious, so light and flavorful and the scallops were perfect.  We asked him for a tip on the best way to caramelize scallops, he was only too happy to oblige. But of course, he wasn’t about to divulge his secret to the ravioli or porcini broth…

Best to make a reservation and taste for yourself!

Brian’s – 9 Kline Court, Lambertville, NJ (609) 460-4148

www.brianslambertville.com

Also, check out NOLA, Brians other restaurant across from the Stockton market on Bridge Street in Stockton NJ .


Caramelizing Tip:

stockton-farmers-market-brians

Method for properly seasoning sea scallops

When using diver or jumbo scallops, season approximately 15 minutes in advance, this will allow the salt to permeate the scallop, creating a quick curing process. It Is preferred to use sea salt or kosher salt for this technique. Be sure to season evenly with the salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Searing scallops
  1. Begin with a very hot sauté pan, a high-quality nonstick works very well, but not required.
  2. Add enough oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. When the oil is extremely hot, carefully add the scallops one of the time, being careful to not get splashed with Hot oil.
  3. Allow the scallops to sit still and properly caramelize. Carefully lift them periodically to check for caramelization. After a base caramelization has begun, you can move the scallops around with a pair of tongs to reposition them for even caramelization.
  4. When the scallops have a beautiful deep caramel color, turn them over and sear the other side.
  5. If the scallops are extremely large, you may have to finish in the oven. Remove the scallops from the pan and place on a paper towel to blot the excess oil.
  6. Use a neutral flavored oil, such as grapeseed, canola or very light olive oil. ( extra-virgin is too powerful). It is very important not to crowd the pan with scallops. If you pack the scallops in too tight, they will steam and not become properly caramelized.

Bon appétit!

  • November 24, 2016

Fight the Flu & Common Cold with These Five Super Foods from Stockton market

Fight The Flu & Common Cold With These Five Super Foods From Stockton Market

By Amina AlTai.

Our sandals are officially stowed away, our summer linens are buried beneath drawers of sweaters and the warm sunlight and sand are but distant memories.  With the inevitable chillier temperatures and dissipating sunlight comes a few changes for our bodies as well.  And while the dip in temperatures and shorter days might affect us, we don’t always change our ways of eating to support those changes or our immunity for that matter.  But we should!  When you have access to local and seasonal goodies at the market you should take full advantage to bolster your immune system this season.  Here are a few of our favorite health-boosting superfoods sourced from some of the finest vendors in the area.

Mushrooms:

I could sing the praises of mushrooms all day!  Mushrooms produce vitamin D in response to being exposed to sunlight, making them a great dietary source of the vital vitamin.  And in the fall and winter months, when there is less sunlight, more of us become vitamin D deficient which can cause a whole host of issues— poor immunity being one of them.  Stuffed mushroom and mushroom soups are great additions to your fall and winter meal plans and are a great way to load up on extra vitamin D.

Turmeric:

Fewer hours of sunlight and the colder temps can cause some of us to suffer from slight depression.  But thanks to the powerful compounds in turmeric it means we might not need to reach straight for the antidepressants. According to a study published in the Journal of Phytotherapy Research turmeric is hugely powerful in correcting depression.  Weaving it into curries, or even golden milk chai, is a great way to incorporate more turmeric into your diet this season.

Ginger:

Ginger is one of my favorite foods for the transitional weather because of its wonderful warming properties.  It’s actually part of the same family as turmeric and has powerful actives that fight infection—making it my go-to for cold and flu season.  Gingerol, the bioactive substance in fresh ginger, can help lower the risk of infections and inhibit the growth of many types of bacteria.  It’s also a wonderful digestive aide and as we tend to go to bed earlier in the cooler months (and don’t allow our bodies as much time to digest) it can help speed up the process for us.  Ginger is an amazing addition to your morning green juice, or even to a cup of tea before dinner.

Garlic:

Garlic is highly potent anti-viral and is known to boost the immune system and is exceptionally great at warding off the common cold.  The health benefits are activated when the garlic is chopped, crushed or chewed and a compound known as allicin is released.  It’s actually what gives garlic it’s very distinct smell.  Eating a raw clove might sound off-putting so work it into a raw dish like pesto or a delicious homemade salad dressing.