No Artichoke Like the Jerusalem Artichoke!

Jersualem ArtichokesIf you’re like me, you were in your mid-thirties before you had the pleasure of eating a Jerusalem artichoke. Also known as sunchokes, sunroots, or earth apples, these tubers are often used in soups, stews, or served roasted as a side dish. Though not as widely known as that other famous tuber, the potato, they’re equally delicious.

Jerusalem artichoke cultivation traces back to the Native Americans, who used it as a trading tool. Natives also turned settlers on to the tuber, who shipped it back to Europe, where it was commercialized. Though the sunchoke would later fall into obscurity here in the states, it would see a resurgence in popularity in the eighties and nineties.

Some more fun facts about the Jerusalem artichoke:

  • It doesn’t actually come from Jerusalem! Some theorize that Puritans, who regarded America as “New Jerusalem”, were responsible for the name.
  • Because it contains fructose, it’s recommended for Type 2 diabetics.
  • They contain inulin instead of starch, and, as such, are used as a source of a dietary fiber for food manufacturing.
  • They’re so hardy and easy-to-grow, the plant can sometime ruin a garden if even a small pice of tuber is left in the ground!
  • In Germany, over 90% of Jerusalem artichokes are used to produce a liquor called Topinambur. It smells fruity and has a slight nutty-sweet flavor.

jerusalem_artichokes2So if you haven’t already experimented with this delicious vegetable yourself, now is the time! Pick some up at our Pennington, NJ market, or here at our Buckingham PA market.


By |September 18th, 2015|News|Comments Off on No Artichoke Like the Jerusalem Artichoke!

Five Deliciously Unusual Fruit & Veggie Grilling Ideas!

Labor Day weekend is here, and with it the season’s last official ‘grill-worthy’ holiday. Today we take a look at five of the more unusual grilling options for in-season fruits and vegetables!


Sick of the same old boring potato salad? Liven things up with grilled potatoes! From grilled potato fries to grilled southwestern potato salad, the possibilities are endless! Getting them right requires a little skill—you’ll want to either pre-boil your potatoes, or sear then slow-cook them till they’re ready.

grilled-cabbageLettuce and Cabbage

Believe it or not, grilling these guys can be quite the treat! The grill lends a unique smoky flavor to the final product, as well as a surprise for your guests. Grilled romaine hearts with blue cheese dressing, and grilled cabbage with butter and Indian spices are just a few of the many possibilities.


grilled watermelonWatermelon

Didn’t think watermelon could get any better? Try grilling it! When heated, fruit sugars take on a deep, caramel-like flavor, as well as a beautiful golden color. Slice in large wedges or coins and grill two minutes per side over high heat.



grilled kaleKale

You’ve had it roasted, steamed, stir-fried, even raw, but have you tried it grilled? Blanch for a few minutes first, then grill three minutes per side. Crisp, wonderfully smoky, and easy to make—what could be better?




Whether served plain, brushed with honey, sprinkled with cinnamon, or topped with yogurt, grilled peaches are uncannily delicious! Simply slice your peaches in half, remove the pits, and grill on high for about five minutes.

By |September 4th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Five Deliciously Unusual Fruit & Veggie Grilling Ideas!

The Joys of Potato Farming

fingerling loveEach year in early August, something special happens here at Blue Moon Acres. Our Pennington, NJ farmers head for the fields and start hunting for buried treasure. Not gold, silver, or jewels, but a more edible kind of treasure: potatoes. It’s a magical experience, pulling those first few tubers from the ground—the sweet, earthy smell; the feel of cool soil on your hands; the anticipation of a favorite soup or stew.

Potato farming is of a breed all its own. Although potatoes can be grown from traditional seed, they are almost always grown from ‘seed potatoes’, tubers specifically raised to be disease-free. (A seed potato is basically a potato with eyelets). These hardened seed-potatoes are planted in trenches and covered with a thin layer of soil. As soon as sprouts appear, another layer of loose soil is applied. This process is repeated again and again until a mound is formed and the plant begins to flower. It is not until the flowering process begins, however, that additional tubers (potatoes) begin to form.

After flowering has ceased, the vines are cut back and the tubers are left in the ground for one to  two weeks. During this time, the potato’s skin hardens, preventing against bruising, and facilitating in storage. To harvest, larger-scale commercial farmers may use a plow or a similar device, but gardeners use a spading fork or potato hook. A properly harvested potato can last many months in cool, dry conditions.

sales 005Here at Blue Moon, we grow fingerling and butterball potatoes. Fingerlings, resembling short stubby fingers, are perfect for roasting or served with salads. Butterballs are oblong in shape, have a lovely yellow flesh, and are perfect for mashing, frying, and baking. Both varieties are delicious roasted with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic.

But no matter how you cook ‘em, potatoes are one of the season’s most interesting and delicious offerings!

By |August 21st, 2015|News|Comments Off on The Joys of Potato Farming

Ode to Summer Savory

summer savoryOne of the perks of writing the product descriptions for Blue Moon’s weekly newsletters is getting to sample those products. This was especially true last week, when I had the pleasure to try the season’s first offering of Summer Savory. I was struck by the thymey, oreganoy flavor; the mild numbing effect it had on my tongue and lips. How had I made it 38 years without once experiencing this gem of an herb?

Summer savory (Satureja hortensis) has a long, storied history. Native to southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean regions, it was singled out by Virgil for its fragrance. One of America’s earliest settlers, John Josselyn also valued the herb, including it in a list of plants introduced in the new world, to help recent migrants remember their native gardens. Even Shakespeare, in The Winter’s Tale, writes about it:

Here’s flowers for you;

              Hot Lavender, mints, savoury,


                                   The marigold that goes to bed

                                    Wi’ the sun

                                   And with him rises weeping:

                                  these are flowers

                                  of middle summer, and I think

                                  they are given

                                  to men of middle age


Summer savory is also famous for its medicinal applications. First used by the Egyptians as an additive to their famous love potions, it has also been used to treat bee and wasp-stings, intestinal disorders, palsy, sciatica, sore throats, and dim vision. Famous seventeenth century apothecary Nicholas Culpepper touted Savory as a panacea, recommending some always be kept on hand:

…the Summer kind is the best… It expels tough phlegm form the chest and lungs, quickens the dull spirits in the lethargy… dropped into the eyes it clears them of thin cold humors proceeding from the brain….”

These days, Summer Savory is mainly used in the kitchen. It figures prominently in Bulgarian cuisine, where it is known as chubrista. Bulgarians keep savory, along with salt and paprika, on their dining room tables, the same way Americans keep salt and pepper. These three herbs are often mixed together to make something called sharena sol, or colorful salt.

In the Atlantic Canada region, summer savory is used as sage is used elsewhere—in dressing for fowl, mixed with ground pork, or eaten with turkey, goose, and duck.

And if you’ve ever wondered what makes Herb de Provence so zesty: yep, summer savory.

Summer SavoryFood writer Marie Viljoen blogs about the myriad ways to use the herb:

“I chop a whole cup of fresh savory leaves… and a cup of chopped flat-leaf parsley and a crushed clove of garlic, and cook both very gently in four tablespoons of butter. After five minutes, add a squeeze of lemon juice, cook another minute or so for it to caramelize, and pour over grilled mushroom just before eating.”

Any way you slice it (or dry it or mince it) Summer Savory is one of the most understated, unappreciated herbs under the sun. It’s high time you savored the savory.


By |August 11th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Ode to Summer Savory

Five Ways to Deter Garden Pests!


shannon-veg-gardenSummer’s here and your garden’s in full swing. And so are those pesky garden pests, working overtime to make a mockery of all your hard work. Today we discuss 5 safe and natural ways to keep those pests at bay.

1. Hot sauce and dish detergent

Would you enjoy a soapy hot sauce dressing with your veggies? Well, neither would the mammals—deer, woodchuck, groundhogs—who’ve been hanging around your garden. Mix one tablespoon of liquid detergent and a half bottle of hot sauce in a watering can, add water, and apply to your plants’ leaves. Reapply after heavy rain or storms.

2. Crushed Eggshells

Painless to you or me, crushed eggshells are like razors to caterpillars, slugs, snails, and other soft-bodied invaders. Rim your favorite plants with a couple handfuls of these guys, and you’ll be breathing easier and sleeping better. And as an added benefit, eggshells are rich in calcium and make an ‘egg’cellent fertilizer!

3. Beneficial Bugs

It’s a bug-eat-bug world out there, and you need a few good bugs to keep the bad bugs at bay. By planting a few well-known vegetables/flowers, you  can be sure to recruit a whole bunch of these good bugs.  Tomato plants protect cabbage plants against diamond back cabbage moth invasion. Nasturtium repels cucumber beetles from cucumbers. Sweet alyssum attracts bugs that help protect potatoes; dwarf zinnias do the same for cauliflower. And birds eat bugs of all stripes, so keep a bird bath/feeder nearby!

images4. Fencing

Good fences make good neighbors, especially if your neighbors are rabbits, deer, or groundhog! Make sure your fence is at least 1 foot deep and 5 foot high—ground hogs can dig deep, and deer can jump high! Adding a layer of beveling around the top of your fence provides an added assurance against groundhogs, who are renowned climbers!


5. Traps

Every pest has a weakness. A dishful of beer is irresistible to a slug—they’ll dive in and drown.  A yellow bowl filled with water will attract and drown flea beetles. And so on. By placing these traps around the edge of your garden, pests will be drawn out; not in.

By |July 17th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Five Ways to Deter Garden Pests!