Hopewell’s Bluest Restaurant

lOn route 518 just east of Hopewell, New Jersey, there’s a modest blue double-wide whose front stairs are painted in blue decorative graffiti. Not the kind of place you’d suspect of being a hub of inventive New American cuisine, yet that’s precisely what it is. This is the Blue Bottle Café, home of co-chefs/owners Aaron and Rory Philipson.

“My wife and I were going over names for a month and a half, and my mother-in-law, who collected blue bottles, suggested the Blue Bottle Café,” Aaron says.

The café serves up a lively blend Mexican, French, Italian, and South American cuisines. Aaron strives to build his menus around foods that are seasonally available and locally sourced. Winters see more protein-driven dishes, whereas the warmer months see more vegetables.

“Whenever I’m planning a menu,” Aaron says, “I make a list with proteins in one column and local seasonal ingredients in another column and then and start mixing and matching the two.”

Appetizers include a roasted mushroom and duck confit agnolotti, and a roasted vegetable tamale with tomatillo ancho puree and spiced popcorn crema. For entrees, there’s roasted rabbit with lentils, carrots, and fennel soubise; and a spiced wine and soy glazed duck breast with fried red rice and miso-grilled eggplant. There’s also Aaron’s signature potato gnocchi with kale, rosemary, walnuts, and grana padano; as well as a pan-roasted chicken breast with pearl onions, potato, bacon, mushrooms, carrot and celery.

When writing menus, Aaron draws on an incredible store of personal experience. He studied at the Culinary Institute of America, apprenticed at La Cote Basque, and honed his chops at Trellis Resaturant, DC Kindead’s, Rats, and Piccola Italia. He’s also traveled Europe, sampling the cuisines of French, Spain, Italy, and Portugal.

“I had the best seafood in my life in Portugal,” Aaron confesses.

l (1)The café seats 65 and has 3 distinct rooms including an enclosed greenhouse overlooking a small stream. Reservations are accepted, and it’s BYOB.

“When you walk in, you’re surprised by the décor because the outside is so bland,” Aaron says. “We’ve got it decorated with blue bottles, cobalt blue, and art from a local artist here in Hopewell.”

Eclectic food, warm ambience, a small-town setting—Blue Bottle Café has it all.

 

By | February 28th, 2014|News|0 Comments

Living Local: On Raising Chickens and Keeping a Garden

living local

Patti and Emily are both old* school Blue Mooners, with lots of experience themselves in gardening in agriculture. Patti, our seeding and watering specialist, has a BS in Horticulture from Penn State and a pack of chickens and 2 dogs in her backyard. Emily, who manages our market (and market garden) in Buckingham, in addition to working in the sales office, maintains a large kitchen garden with her boyfriend, Scott, in Ottsville.

Their advice on how to be a local citizen? Keep a garden and raise your own chickens.

harvesting radishes

If you are just getting started gardening, Emily advises, the best things to grow are things that you like to eat! “It seems so simple, but it makes gardening more fun.” What does this mean? If you don’t like kale… then don’t grow kale! If you like cucumbers, try planting some!

Tip from Emily on gardening: Look at your landscape. Do you have a shaded yard? Full sunlight? The amount of shade will affect what you are able to grow. Think before you dig!

chickens and a beet

And chickens? “If you can have chickens, have chickens! They are so easy to take care of, and you get the best-tasting eggs ever.” Patti gets a lot of enjoyment from her chickens- they’re fun to watch, pretty to look at, and, really, the eggs just can’t be beat.

Tips from Patti on keeping chickens: Always make sure their water is clean! Chickens are natural composters- have garden scraps? They love them! (Note- Chickens especially like Blue Moon lettuce.)

*as in years of employment, not age 😉

By | February 21st, 2014|News|0 Comments

April 2014 Events in Pennington

Friday, April 4, 4-7pm: FIRST FRIDAY APRIL
Photography and Food: Featured Artist is outdoor photographer Vince M. Camiolo. Gallery and photo sale. Enjoy samples with Abdel of Mediterranean Delicacies Organic Olive and a dish prepared by Chef James Odell.  He will use Blue Moon Acre’s own certified organic  rice, market vegetables, and organic chicken. Enjoy live music and vocals with soulful Jim Arkus. Complimentary snacks, beer, & wine.
FREE OPEN HOUSE. Please RSVP online

Saturday, April 5, 11:00am-12:30pm: SUSTAINABLE SATURDAY
Meet the Author: Spit That Out! Paige Wolf operates a public relations firm servicing clients who contribute to a sustainable world and positive change. In addition, Paige raises two children and published her critically acclaimed book, “Spit that Out! The Overly Informed Parents Guide to Raising Your Children in the Age of Environmental Guilt”. www.spitthatoutthebook.com Registrants receive a signed copy of her book! Paige will share her expertise on realistic green-living and parenting while we make healthy snack creations using items harvested fresh from our certified organic fields. Bring your own ideas and suggestions for some great Q&A. Enjoy samples and light refreshments.         Cost: $20; $10 for each additional family member; Free for children age 10 and under. Located in the big red barn next to our market or outside (weather permitting).Register online now.  You can also call our Pennington store at 609-737-8333 or stop in between Wednesday-Friday 9am-6pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-5pm.

Saturday, April 12, 11:00am-12:30pm: SUSTAINABLE SATURDAY
Bee Keeping with Yellow Bee. Ken Walters of YellowBee is putting some of his hives right on our farm in Pennington! Come meet Ken, sample his products, learn some tricks of the trade, and tour our hives. Appropriate for novice to experienced bee-keepers. Participants receive 10% off all YellowBee products in our Pennington store. A portion of the days’ proceeds will be donated to bee colony collapse research.
Cost: $20; $10 for each additional family member; Free for children age 10 and under. Located in the big red barn next to our market or outside (weather permitting). Register online now. You can also call our Pennington store at 609-737-8333 or stop in between Wednesday-Friday 9am-6pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-5pm.

Saturday, April 19, 11:00am-12:30pm: SUSTAINABLE SATURDAY
Meet Chef and Author Ian Knauer. Chef Ian Knaur will entertain and inspire in this truly “farm-to-table” cooking demo and book-signing. The morning starts with a quick tour of our fields where guests get a chance to harvest one of our crops for Ian to cook! Bring your questions, ideas, and recipe books. Learn more at www.ianknauer.com . Participants receive 30% off signed copies of Ian’s books in our market. Cost: $20 per person. Additional family members: $10 each. Children 10 & Under: FREE.  Register online now. You can also call our Pennington store at 609-737-8333 or stop in between Wednesday-Friday 9am-6pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-5pm.

By | February 21st, 2014|Events|0 Comments

March 2014 Events in Pennington

Saturday, March 1 8, 10:30am-noon: SUSTAINABLE SATURDAY
Kid Food- I Hate Mushrooms! Alan and Julie Horrigan of Shibumi Farms teach participants how to make Shiitake bacon and provide tips for getting kids (and adults) to eat whole foods. Their own kids hated mushrooms when they got into the gourmet mushroom business! Light refreshments provided. First five registrants receive a free seasonal produce calendar.
Cost $15.00; Located in the big red barn next to our market or outside (weather permitting). Register by calling our Pennington store 609-737-8333, by stopping in or by emailing nrockwell @ bluemoonacres.com/.

Friday, March 7, 4-7pm: FIRST FRIDAY MARCH
Local Wine and Botanical Paintings: Meet and sample wines from Unionville Vineyards. Featured Artist: Virginia Fitch, Seed Saving Botanical Paintings. Enjoy live music and vocals with soulful Jim Arkus. Complimentary snacks, beer, & wine.
Free

healthsovSaturday, March 22, 11:00am-12:30pm: SUSTAINABLE SATURDAY
Health Sovereignty, Starting with Skin: Laura Wild of Cinta Diri shares the secrets behind her anti-aging facial creams and demonstrates the basics of natural homemade skin care. Participants will create and take home their own special blend! Participants receive 10% off all Cinta Products in our Pennington store through March. Light refreshments provided.
Cost $15; 
Located in the big red barn next to our market or outside (weather permitting). Register online now. You can also call  our Pennington store at 609-737-8333 or stop in from 10am-5pm Wednesday-Friday.

herbgardenfb

 

Saturday, March 29, 11:00am-12:30pm: SUSTAINABLE SATURDAY
Designing Your Herb Garden: Bring the dimensions of your garden plot, pots, or raised beds to this can’t-miss workshop with Blue Moon Acres’ owner Kathy Lyons! After a hands on review of herb varieties and a presentation of best growing practices, Kathy will pass out the graph paper and we will get to work! A tour of our herb garden in Pennington will round out the experience.  Light refreshments provided. Register now and receive 10% off herbal products in our market through March.
Cost $20; Located in the big red barn next to our market or outside (weather permitting). Register online now. You can also call  our Pennington store at 609-737-8333 or stop in from 10am-5pm Wednesday-Friday.

 

By | February 21st, 2014|Events|0 Comments

Five Ridiculously Easy-to-Grow Vegetables

Believe it or not, spring is right around the corner! And you know what that means—time to start planning your garden. Below are five delicious, nutritious, and easy-to-grow vegetables.

1.       Beets.  

beetsLove ‘em or hate ‘em, beets are hearty, healthy, and easy-to-grow. Plant in spring after soil has warmed and dried out. Avoid soil with clay, rocks, or other impediments. Soak seeds overnight, sowing  2 to 3 inches apart at a depth of ½ to 1 inch. Greens can be harvested between 2 and 6 inches; roots are ready when they reach a diameter of 1.5 to 2 inches.

 

Fun fact: Mature beets are chock full of folates, which foster new cell growth. They also pack a ton of betanin, which aids in immunity. They can’t be beet!

 

 

 

2.       Carrots

baby orange carrotsRaw, cooked, pickled, sliced, diced—everyone loves a carrot! Begin planting as soon as soil can be worked, choosing fertile, sandy loam for greater root expression. Plant ¼ inch deep and about an inch apart, keeping soil moist until germination (about 15 days), and thinning any plants that are within ½ inch of each other. Give at least an inch of water per week, as well as plenty of mulch. Harvest about 50 to 75 days from seed, depending on variety.

Fun fact:  The body uses beta carotene—from which carrots derive their delightful orange color—to make Vitamin A, essential for vision, skin, and the immune system.

 

 

3.       Cucumbers   

cucumbers-groupNature’s answer to hot muggy days! Plant after soil temperatures reach 60 degrees, 2-3 weeks after final frost. Sow 18 to 36 inches apart and 1 inch deep; seedlings should emerge in just days. Provide steady moisture, at least an inch of water per week. Harvest slicing cucumbers at 6 to 8 inches; pickling cucumbers at 3 to 5 inches.

Fun Fact:  Cucumbers are 95% water, making them the most refreshing vegetable under the sun!

 

 

 

4.       Sugar snap Peas

sugar_snap_peasCrunchy, nutritious, and a snap to grow! Sugar snap peas can be planted as soon as the soil is thawed—usually around 4 to 6 weeks before final frost. Sow about a foot apart and an inch deep; seedlings will appear between 10 and 12 days. Water thoroughly once a week, and remember to keep pea patch weed free. Depending on variety, peas can be harvested 60 to 100 days after seeding!

Fun Fact: One cup of snap peas provides three grams of fiber and one third the daily value of Vitamin C!

 

 

 

 

 

5.       Radishes

radishesThese hearty and spicy gems are great sliced, pickled, sautéed, or even as a garnish. Plant in early spring, two weeks before final frost, in loose, well-drained soil. Sow an inch apart and ½ inch deep, thinning successful seedlings to about 2 inches. Keep moist but not soaked, and remember to add compost. When roots are around an inch in diameter, you are ready to harvest!

Fun Fact: A single radish contains only one calorie!

 

 

 

 

 

By | February 14th, 2014|News|0 Comments

Try our Certified Organic, New Jersey grown, freshly-husked rice. Enjoy $5.00 flat rate shipping for a limited time!