Prisco’s Family Market

1108 Prairie Street, Aurora, IL 60506 | 630-264-9400

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Meat Marinades for Barbecue- Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Since we've already been on the topic of outdoor grilling and food preparation for the past couple weeks, we've decided to continue in that vein and touch on another interesting topic: the preparation and use of barbecue marinades.

Most people enjoy a good barbecue, but not many of us are skilled at preparing BBQ foods ourselves. There's a degree of knowledge and certain level of familiarity required for the best results. One could even say it's a minor science: One needs to know which spices complement particular types of meat to maximize their flavor (different blends of seasonings and liquids are used for fish, steak, pork and chicken, for example), and a discerning cook also must have a working knowledge of when and how much to marinade a cut of meat -- or if that meat should be marinated at all.

Here are some tips for preparing a delicious barbecued meal using marinade:

For Beef & Pork

(info gathered from WikiHow)

First, select a cut of meat. Tougher and/or low-fat cuts like flank steak, sirloin, skirt, round, and hanger steaks are best for marinating. Don't ruin expensive steaks by marinating them: quality cuts like rib-eye, porterhouse, T-bone, filet mignon, and NY strip are great as they are and should not be marinated.

When it comes to pork, you can marinate anything from pork chops and cutlets to ribs or roasts. However, be sure to reduce the salt content of marinades used with pork to prevent a curing effect, which can leave some cuts with a ham-like texture. When marinating pork, remember that the thickness of the meat (not the bone) determines how long to marinate.

  • Cut the meat into thin slices, if possible. Marinade works because acids break down muscle tissue, which is a slow process; if the meat is thick, the outside can get sour by the time the marinade actually penetrates the core. Cutting the meat into thin slices will marinate them more evenly. However, slicing steak, for example, prior to cooking greatly increases the chance that it’ll become tough and dry. If you decide to slice it, greatly reduce cooking time and watch carefully. 

    Alternatively, you can cut nicks into the meat that penetrate about halfway through the thickness of the so the marinade can permeate more quickly. In general, the more surface area that's exposed to the marinade, the better the marinade will do its job.

  • Place the meat into a container and add a marinade. A basic marinade consists of an acidic liquid (which will break down muscle fibers), oil, and other flavorings, such as sweeteners, herbs, and/or spices. (For a good basic marinade for steak or pork, try this recipe.)

    Marinating a flat cut of meat in a large ziploc bag can be very useful since you will need less marinade to completely cover it here than you would inside a bowl. Work in the marinade by massaging the meat

  • Put the sealed container in the fridge for 2 to 24 hours, depending on the strength of the marinade.

 

For Chicken

(info courtesy of howtomainatechicken.com)

A good poultry marinade will not only help prevent meats from drying out, but also protects the more delicate pieces while adding extra flavor. When marinating poultry, make sure to the separate pieces, allowing the marinade to reach as much of the meat as possible. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts can be marinated in as little as 30 minutes. Here is a good, basic recipe for poultry marinade.

  • Place your newly made marinade in a gallon sized zip lock bag (the number and size of your zip lock will vary depending on how much chicken you are making). This step is pretty self explanatory, but the one thing to remember is to make sure that your chicken is fully immersed in the marinade. That way your chicken will be evenly marinated.

  • Allow your marinade and chicken mixture to sit for the time called for in the recipe. This will vary, but be careful not to marinate too long, this can lead to mushy chicken due to the acidic nature of marinades. If you are marinating your chicken for close to or more than an hour, make sure to refrigerate the mixture.

 

For Fish & Other Seafood

(info courtesy of about.com & ezinearticles.com)

Tender foods like fish and seafood can benefit from a good marinade. Marinades keep fish and seafood from drying out and the oil in the marinade helps keep them from sticking. There is one very important rule about marinating fish and seafood, however: A highly acidic marinade, one containing lots of vinegar or citrus juices, can adversely affect the texture of the fish by essentially pre-cooking it, so you need to use mild marinades for short periods of time.

When it comes to fish, there are two types: firm and flaky. A firm fish (think big fish) can take a stronger marinade for longer. Examples of firm fish are Halibut, Tuna, Marlin, or Sturgeon. Flaky fish, the kind that tries to fall apart on the grill, can't take a strong marinade and shouldn't be marinated for an extended period. Examples of flaky fish are salmon, trout, and cod.

To prepare your fish:

  • Chill the fish in the marinade in the refrigerator for half an hour. It will not need longer than that to absorb the flavor, and as previously mentioned, leaving fish or seafood in an acidic marinade means it will start to "cook" after half an hour, making it mushy.

  • Bake the fish for fifteen to twenty minutes, depending on the size and thickness, or grill or broil it. When it flakes easily with a fork, it is done. Spread the second half of the marinade over the cooked fish using a basting brush. It will soak right into the fish and add extra flavor. Do not use leftover marinade on the cooked fish because it could contain bacteria from the raw fish and cause food poisoning

 

 

Do you know about Prisco’s Personal Shopper and home delivery service?- Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The other day I noticed Patty Joray heading out to our parking lot with several orders of groceries that she was going to deliver. It occurred to me shortly afterward that, with Patty’s help, we have been providing this as a service for years. We seldom talk about it, and we don’t really advertise it beyond a mention on our website... Yet it is a well-liked service for a number of Aurora area customers, some of whom have used it for years.

While still a rather low tech operation -- sorry, no point and click web app. -- for the people who need and use it, our personalized shopping service is something that they have come to rely upon to make their lives a bit easier. For many, driving to the store is not an option, and for most, seeing Patty's warm smile a few times a month is something that they really look forward to.

Here is how it works: If you or a family member are home-bound and living in the Aurora area without a car, or simply looking for some help managing your time, we offer both personalized shopping and home delivery. All we need is a shopping list, which you can simply attach to an email and send to us. You can send it to using the Contact Us link at the bottom of one of our webpages, or you can email it to customerservice@priscosfamilymarket.com. If you have a fax machine at home and would prefer to use it, our fax number is (630)264-9901. Not computer savvy or don’t have a fax machine? Don’t worry, that’s no problem, either. For an additional $5 we can take your order down by phone for pick-up or delivery.

Once the order has been submitted, customers will then arrange to have a friend or relative stop by the store and pick up the pre-shopped and packed order at a prearranged time. This is something any one of our shoppers should think about for those occasions when you are really pressed for time.

Most of Patty’s customers, however, simply request home delivery as they appreciate the convenience, and getting a chance to see Patty and share a few moments with her is a pleasant interruption to their day. The cost of delivery will vary depending on distance from the store, but we will be happy to discuss that with you once we know where you live. Most of our deliveries go to the western half of Aurora, Montgomery and North Aurora, but we also service Sugar Grove, Oswego and Yorkville.

In addition to the home-bound, we also offer shopping and delivery services to local businesses on a regular or occasional basis, so please keep that in mind if you are looking for a coffee or cleaning supplies for an eat-in lunch meeting.

 

Andy

 

Have you heard the buzz about coconut water?- Tuesday, May 24, 2016

While coconut water has been around for a long time, it’s only recently that folks have been singing its praises. People are becoming increasingly health conscious, and along with the popularity of organic and sustainable foods, there has been a trend toward “natural” substitutes for soft and sports drinks as well. Endorsed by celebrities and athletes alike, the demand for coconut water in particular is skyrocketing. Why? Because it is low in calories, naturally fat- and cholesterol free, contains more potassium than four bananas, and is super hydrating… And these are just a few of the many benefits ascribed to coconut water!

What Is (in) Coconut Water?

Naturally refreshing, coconut water has a sweet, nutty taste. It contains easily digested carbohydrate in the form of sugar and electrolytes. Not to be confused with high-fat coconut milk or oil, coconut water is a clear liquid in the fruit’s center that is tapped from young, green coconuts.

It has fewer calories, less sodium, and more potassium than a sports drink. Ounce per ounce, most unflavored coconut water contains 5.45 calories, 1.3 grams sugar, 61 milligrams (mg) of potassium, and 5.45 mg of sodium compared to Gatorade, which has 6.25 calories, 1.75 grams of sugar, 3.75 mg of potassium, and 13.75 mg of sodium.

Coconut water in recipes

While coconut water makes an excellent beverage all on its own, it can also be used in place of plain water in many types of recipes. Here are a few ideas for inspiration:

  • Coconut water popsicles - Just add fresh fruit slices like strawberry, mango, kiwi fruit, bananas, cherries, melon, blueberries and peaches to coconut water and freeze them as cubes or popsicles.
  • Coconut water smoothies - Instead of plain water, use coconut water in your fruit-based smoothies and shakes.
  • Use coconut water in soups - This works especially well in light, broth-based soups, and some curries.
  • Use coconut water for poaching chicken or fish

Coconut water can also be used in many alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Planning on using ice for coladas and other cocktails? Freeze coconut water and use that. Unlike regular ice, it’ll lend a nice, subtle flavor to any tropical beverage as it melts, rather than simply diluting it.

 

Dona’s Local Crop Report- Tuesday, May 24, 2016

It has been a rather touch and go season so far this spring and our friends Jeff & Kim Wielert at Bountiful Blessings Produce Farm in Hinckley have been on pins and needles, crossing their fingers and toes and waiting for the rains to stop long enough to let them get their crops into the ground. Now, as of this writing, it’s been 10 straight days with no measurable rainfall, quite the opposite of previous weeks, so they have been out in the fields manually watering the vegetables.  

Lots of work and worry have been involved, but it certainly will be well worth their efforts. I simply can’t wait for the vegetables and melons to start coming in (daily!) from their farm. Talk about fresh! It simply can’t get any fresher than this...

First thing each morning, Jeff checks his email for an order from our store. He then hops up on the tractor and wagon and heads out to the fields where he digs up, cuts, or in some other way harvests the items we ordered. He brings them back to the barn where everything is trimmed, washed and, if appropriate, packaged for delivery. Then he loads them onto their truck. Once he arrives the boxes are unloaded, counted and brought out to our racks where they are placed for sale less -- often than six hours from the time they were ordered and still waiting in Jeff’s field.

The season is still very early but we will be getting additional new items every week, so pay close attention! This week we are featuring fresh radishes, table onions, garlic chives, pea shoots, and fresh lovage. In an earlier blog we talked about garlic or Chinese chives and we offered up some recipes to enjoy with them. Today, let me share a little about two other rather unusual fresh vegetables we have from Bountiful Blessings Farm that you will certainly want to try in your kitchen: pea shoots and lovage.

Pea shoots are the edible leaves of the traditional garden pea plant. The traditional pea plant takes the whole summer to grow in order to produce pea pods, but pea shoots are harvested within 2 to 4 weeks, creating super tender and flavorful roughage.

The leaves are bright green and succulent, with accompanying tendrils that curl up like wavy Mohawks and have a subtle sugary flavor that is delicious both raw and cooked. Like peas, pea shoots have a sweet crispness that goes beautifully with just about anything. They have a pleasant sweet pea flavor that works well on its own, or as an accent with meats, pastas, or beans. These tender leaves can be used as a substitute for traditional salad greens or as a complement to leafy salads, soups and more!

 

Things that you ca do with pea shoots:

  • Use as greens in a salad
  • Incorporate into omelets or frittatas
  • Include in soups as you would spinach or chard
  • Stuff inside chicken breasts or flank steak with lemon zest and garlic
  • Mix with pastas – example, pea shoots and crumbled bacon

Perhaps you might enjoy these recipes available on our website.

Rainbow Salad 

Pea Shoot Bubble and Squeak

Stir Fried Pea Shoots with Garlic

 

Another new interesting vegetable coming out of Bountiful Blessings Farm is fresh lovage.

Many people have never heard of this fine herb, but it's been around for centuries. The Romans thought enough of the tall, aromatic plant to take it with them to England, and lovage was grown in medieval monastery gardens for medicinal, as well as culinary, uses. Lovage was mentioned by Charlemagne as a must have for all royal gardens. Dr. Samuel Johnson recommended the long-lasting perennial for rheumatism, while the American colonists brought it with them to make a favorite tea they hoped would help ward off the New World's aches and pains.

Today, lovage is a favorite flavoring in Britain and southeastern Europe. It is eaten cooked or raw. The leaves are used in soups, stocks, flavored vinegars, pickles, stews, and salads. In Italy, lovage is used with oregano and garlic for tomato sauces.

Lovage tastes very much like celery and can be used whenever celery is desired: in soups, salads, casseroles, and stuffing. (Lovage does have a stronger flavor than the more familiar vegetable, though, so only use about half as much in any given recipe.) The large stems are especially tasty when they're candied, the tender young growth adds zest to salads. The seeds can be added—just like celery seeds—to pastries and candy, or sprinkled over fruit (in fact, lovage kernels are sweeter than those of celery).

Here are some lovage recipes:

Lovage and Potato Soup

Lovage, Caramelized-Onion and Potato Frittata       

Lovage Lemon Chicken

 

We are really excited about the new locally grown produce that we will be offering throughout the season and hope that you are as well. I look forward to seeing you in the produce department often.

 

Dona Hess, Prisco’s Produce Lead

Tips to help make you the Master of the Grill- Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Okay, so here is one thing we can all agree on... So far, the weekend weather this spring has been (for the most part) pretty crumby. If you are like me, you’re itching for the first really nice weekend so we can all head outdoors and enjoy one of our favorite American pastimes - grilling.

I realize that many of our customers are seasoned outdoor chefs and our hats are off to you. However, for a much larger group the grill is something they have only played around with, and perhaps occasionally been pleased with the outcome. But regardless of whether you consider yourself a pro or an amateur, who hasn’t experienced one or more grilling disasters that could have been avoided if only you'd had a bit more knowledge and experience? With that thought in mind, I decided this would be a good time to share some perhaps lesser known grilling tips that will hopefully give you more confidence, as well as move you along the ranks toward becoming a master grill chef.

Food Safety is something we need to be aware of. I know I need not remind you how often we hear of food related safety concerns due to some improper handling of raw food. Be certain to keep these simple rules from the USDA in mind:

  • avoid cross-contamination by using separate cutting boards, utensils and platters for raw and cooked foods; refrigerate foods while marinating

  • never baste with the marinating liquid. (Make extra marinade just for basting or boil your marinating liquid first.)

Maximize tenderness and flavor by marinating. Marinating does more than infuse food with flavor; it also inhibits the formation of potentially carcinogenic HCAs (heterocyclic amines), which form when grilling “muscle meats” like poultry, red meat and fish. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, marinating can reduce HCA formation by as much as 92 to 99 percent.

It’s best to cook on a clean grill. It’s easier to remove debris when the grill is hot, so after preheating, use a long-handled wire grill brush on your grill rack to clean off charred debris from prior meals. Scrape again immediately after use.

Oil It Up. Even on a clean grill, lean foods may stick when placed directly on the rack. Reduce sticking by oiling your hot grill rack with a vegetable oil-soaked paper towel: hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)

Don’t Guess. Know when your meat is fully cooked. The best way to know if protein is fully cooked is to check its internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. They are inexpensive (less than the cost of one ruined steak), and they are very easy to use. Before putting the meat on the grill check ideal cooking temperatures for whatever you are grilling and plan accordingly how much time to cook each side. Here is a chart to help with proper temperatures.

Get yourself some good tools. Many novice or less experienced grillers tend to limit their grilling adventures to proteins such as beef, pork and chicken. Don’t let this happen to you if you don’t want to miss out on many of the pleasures of a fully grilled meal. Because many seafoods, vegetables and fruits are not solid and bulky in size like a drumstick, chops or a steak, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be grilled. You simply need the correct tools. I’d suggest a grill basket for foods that might fall through the grill rack or are too cumbersome to turn over one by one (vegetables, fish, tofu, fruits, etc.). They are inexpensive and will really open up your grilling variety.

How hot is you grill? For the most part you will want to know if your grill is either very hot or getting too cool. There is a simple way to test this but it is something to do carefully and only by adults. It’s known as the open hand test. To gauge the temperature of a grill without a thermometer, place your open palm about 5 inches above the grill rack; the fire is high if you have to move your hand in 2 seconds, medium if you have to move your hand in 5 seconds and low if you have to move your hand in 10 seconds.

Be prepared for flair-ups. Flare-ups happen when fat drips onto the heat source and catches fire. This causes carcinogenic PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) to form and accumulate on your food. Meat licked by flames also tastes “off” and flames may char the outside of food before the inside has thoroughly cooked. To reduce flare-ups, select lean cuts of meat, trim excess fat and remove poultry skin. And, keep a squirt bottle of water near the grill to quickly douse any unexpected flare-ups.

Know when to let your meat rest. The temperature chart that I placed a link to above also has a column noting the time that you should let each type of protein rest. You will want to check this chart and be certain to let finished meats rest on a clean platter, tented with foil, for about 10 minutes before carving so juices can redistribute evenly.

 

Enjoy your grilling, and don’t hesitate to ask me if you have any questions on the best way to grill anything.

Chris Tope – Meat Manager

Ginger & Turmeric – Two amazing natural supplements- Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A great many people are supplementing their diets with multivitamins these days, and many more are also including natural supplements in their daily regimens. Everything from fish oil and green tea extract, to probiotics and citrus oils have become commonplace. In this blog, we thought we would share some facts about two natural supplements: Turmeric and ginger root. Both are readily available, and once you hear about the benefits each offers you might consider adding them to your diet.

Ginger is a rhizome, a thick underground stem that sprouts roots and shoots. After a ginger root is broken off from the main plant it is washed and dried in the sun. Once dried, it can be used for cooking or medicinal purposes. Turmeric is a relative of ginger. The turmeric root contains curcumin, an anti-inflammatory molecule. While ginger is often used as a fresh root in things like stir-fries and other Asian dishes, turmeric is most familiar as a ground dried spice very commonly used in Indian cooking. It is also used extensively in American dishes and condiments (in fact, it's what gives yellow mustard its color).

Ancient Chinese and Indian healers have made ginger and turmeric a part of their toolkit for thousands of years.  Both roots are a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.  Long-term, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic Western disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and various degenerative conditions. Therefore, anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is of potential importance in preventing and even treating these diseases. 

Preparing Ginger For Cooking

To use ginger, the light brown skin is usually removed. This is easily done with a spoon. Simply scrape the edge of the spoon against the skin of the ginger, and it comes off quite nicely. You can also use a vegetable peeler or even cut away the skin with a knife, but a spoon is the preferred method as it can reach into the root's curves and contours better.

Ginger is a very fibrous root so once the skin is removed you will want to further prepare the ginger for use. Cut the ginger into medallions, then matchsticks, then fine dice. By doing this, you are cutting the long fibers in the root against the grain, making the ginger much more palatable. Alternatively, you can grate fresh ginger on a rasp grater to get a very fine ginger paste.

When cooking with fresh ginger, there are a number of ways to incorporate it into a dish. For stir frys, I often fry ginger medallions or matchsticks in the hot oil before adding the vegetables. You can then remove the ginger or leave it in if you like. You can also grate the ginger into a paste before frying it in oil. This method is particularly nice if you like lots of spicy ginger flavor. By grating it, you increase its surface area, and its flavor will penetrate throughout the dish much better. It's also texturally nice because the ginger will be fully incorporated rather than remaining in large chunks.  You can also add fresh ginger to hot tea or blended juices.

 

An introduction to garlic chives, a.k.a. Chinese garlic or Chinese leeks- Tuesday, May 10, 2016

As you know by now, we are really excited to begin offering locally grown produce to our customers this year. Unfortunately, with the excessive amount of cooler days this spring followed by rain almost every day, most of the crops are taking longer to get planted than our farm partners would like. This week, however, we do have one of our earliest new local produce items being brought to us from the Bountiful Blessings Farm in Hinckley. It’s an herb often used in Asian dishes called garlic chives.

It looks like an onion chive but tastes more like garlic. It is easy to differentiate between onion chives and garlic chives. Garlic chives have a flat, grass-like leaf, not a hollow one as do onion chives. They have a nice garlic flavor with a distinctly garlicky overtone. Young leaves are most tender and work well in egg dishes, soups, marinades, and Asian cooking for dumplings and pot stickers. These chives are also used to add that hint of garlic to sauces, dips, salads, vegetables, etc.

Regardless how you decide to cook with them, do so quickly. Keep your garlic chives in the refrigerator stored in a plastic bag for a few days, but keep this in mind: the longer they're stored, the more their flavor will intensify.

A little more about this herb

White, edible flowers appear in summer and attract pollinators and other beneficial insects. They grow between 12 to 15 inches tall. Garlic chives not only have a multitude of culinary uses, but are said to be beneficial to the digestive system, stimulate appetite, promote blood circulation, and have diuretic properties. The strappy-leafed clumps also make an attractive edging in herb or vegetable gardens.

The Chinese have been growing and cooking with garlic chives for at least 3,000 years (since the Chou dynasty - 1027 BC to 256 BC). But the popularity of this graceful herb with the pretty white flowers extends beyond China. Japanese cooks call garlic chives "nira" and use them frequently in meat and seafood recipes. And many Asian cooks wouldn't consider a noodle stir-fry complete without adding chopped fresh garlic chives for a bit of extra flavor.

 

As you visit this week, look for our display of garlic chives or ask Dona for help finding them.

Recipes that call for garlic chive

 

How Burgers, Brats and Hot Dogs taste great and help kids in need.- Tuesday, May 10, 2016

It’s been a sort of so-so Spring so far, weather-wise. We have gone from needing to watch out for frost in our gardens and annual plantings one day to hitting near 80 degrees just twenty-four hours later. Then the next three days it rains. Eventually, however, we should be able to count on some consistently nice weather and once it's upon us, it'll be time to enjoy a warm weather tradition at Prisco’s: our Saturday afternoon cookouts in front of the store.

For years now we have been grilling up our homemade brats and jumbo juicy hot dogs along with our delicious hamburgers and cheeseburgers (made with Prisco’s 100% natural ground beef) as a fun way to enjoy an outdoor lunch and meet neighbors.

Last year we took our grilling events up a notch and invited Jerry Davis of Jerry’s Hot Dog Cart. We love having Jerry and his crew help out with this event for a number of reasons. First of all, he has a nice grill setup so we have lots of space to prepare the food - no one needs to wait for their lunch due to lack of space. In addition, with his years of experience at running his own portable grill stand, Jerry is an expert griller and the taste comes through every time. Finally, and most important, every time someone buys a lunch from our outdoor grill a portion of what it costs is donated to a wonderful cause for Aurora’s underprivileged children. Allow me to explain:

Jerry Davis is a retired truck driver, and while he operates his Hot Dog Cart partly for the fun of it, he does so mostly as a means of raising funds for his favorite local charity. You see, ever since starting his hot dog business, every bit of his profits and all of his tips have been donated directly to his church, the Family Bible Church on Commonwealth Avenue on Aurora’s west side. About four years ago he approached his pastor, Rev. Don Roberts, saying he would like to help raise funds to support the church's outreach program, the Fabela Family Foundation, a children’s ministry for local children in need.

Jerry and Reverend Roberts explained that most of the funds raised go towards supporting the children’s summer ministry in particular, which operates Monday through Friday in the summer. The ministry provides low income families with a safe place to take their children for fun, supervised activities and field trips.

So once we can be certain that the weather will cooperate, we will begin the outdoor grilling sessions on Saturdays through the remainder of Spring and through the Summer. Please pay close attention to Facebook, Twitter, and your email for updates as to when the grill will be opened, then by all means, plan to stop by the store...and bring along a friend or the whole family. We promise that you will find the food delicious and you will be doing something wonderful for some local children in need of our support.

 

See you there,

Andy

Mother’s Day gifts by grownups, to grownups- Tuesday, May 3, 2016

For the most part, Mother’s Day is often viewed as an opportunity for very young children to do something special for their parent, rather than a time for adult kids to make plans for or with their mom. There are a variety of reasons for this, of course, but the main one is distance – both physical and mental. Many of us simply don’t live close enough to our mothers to make breakfast in bed or a day helping with chores practical, or even feasible. Also, once we are out of the house and/or have taken on responsibilities of our own – everything from school to work to raising our own kids -- we don’t always have the time or the energy to treat our mothers to something special. A phone call or a card are the most convenient or workable options.

However, we have other options available to us: In lieu of sending a simple card, send flowers. Yes, that may seem a bit cliché in and of itself, but coupled with a nice, personalized message and a phone call, it can really brighten a mother’s day.

Other options for adult kids living remotely or on a tight schedule include:

  • Sending her a gift certificate to her favorite store or restaurant. - Who doesn’t enjoy someone else picking up the tab on purchases once in a while?
  • Setting her up with a nice spa package. - This should not be a comment on her appearance, of course. You want the emphasis to be on relaxation, not necessarily her looks.
  • Writing her a letter (snail-mail or email) to tell her how special she is and that you are thinking of her, and updating her on the goings-on in your life. Include photos!

Live close by and not strapped for time? Here are some additional ideas:

  • Make your mom a special dinner from scratch.
  • Take her out for dinner, or order in and treat her to dinner and a movie at home.
  • Take her shopping – not for something she needs, but something she wants!
  • Find out if she has any errands to run and take her, or volunteer to go yourself. (If the two of you go together, you can also couple this expedition with a nice lunch.)
  • Take her to the movies or to a show.

For teenagers and other young adults living at home, there are plenty of Mother’s Day activities and gift ideas to choose from. Want to do something extra nice for mom to celebrate her day? Try one of more of the following:

  • Make her a photo book or a specialized card
  • Make your mom breakfast in bed, or make dinner
  • Give her a much needed day off – from everything. Let her relax on the couch all day if she wants to.
  • Clean the whole house (vacuuming and dusting)
  • Lend a hand. – If there’s something your mom wants to get done, help her do it.
  • Share your energy: Invite her for a walk that lasts for at least a half hour, or a bike ride. 
  • Bake your mom her favorite cookies or other dessert
  • Rent her favorite movie and grab an assortment of her favorite snacks
  • Make her a compilation of her favorite music
Visit Prisco’s for beautiful Mother’s Day flowers and more- Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Let me start this week’s Shout Out by wishing a wonderful day this coming Sunday to my mom, Beth, and to all the moms, grandmas, stepmoms and other special ladies who are such great supporters of our store. We appreciate what you do and for caring so much... And for all the times we forget to mouth the words, we'd say like to say "Thank you!"

We checked in last week with Jeff and Kim Wielert of Bountiful Blessings Farm in Hinckley to see how things were progressing at the early stages of this year’s crops. Well, it looks like we will all need to wait just a bit longer than Jeff had initially forecast. He told me that they have lots of stuff planted and things look great! We just need warmer weather to get them to realize it’s time to start growing. He passed along a couple of pictures which I’ll share here. First, however, I think it would be a good idea to tell you a bit more about Bountiful Blessings Farm.

The Wielert family has been involved in agriculture and horticulture for four generations. Ranging from cattle production, greenhouse operation, and vegetable farming over the years. Located five miles north of Hinckley, Illinois on McGirr Road, their farm is situated on some of Illinois' most productive farm land. In the spring of 2011, after taking over operations from his father, Jeff and his wife Kim Wielert opened Bountiful Blessings Produce Farm to provide locally produced food to the area markets. Jeff's parents, Allan and Bette Wielert, work with Jeff and Kim to produce a top quality vegetable crop (available now at our store). Their goal has been to bring a healthy, locally grown, delicious product to your table at an affordable price.

Like so many other good family operated businesses, Bountiful Blessing Produce Farm came to fruition because the Wielerts realized that even when Jeff was unemployed for three years, their family always had food on the table. God's blessings were always bountiful! Jeff had grown up with a large garden, learning horticulture at Kishwaukee College and working for a couple of different greenhouses in the local area.

The Bountiful Blessings Produce Farm began on a shoestring budget. Jeff’s dad already had started seeds for a large garden. They sold produce at a stand on the farm, on a busy corner in Hinckley, and at the community’s farmers’ market. They also got involved with LocalHarvest.org, where Jeff blogs as he has time. Those first few years went well, the Wielerts believe, because people want to know where their food originates.

The farm itself, these days, is smaller than it once was, about 20+ acres. That may not sound like much of a farm but Jeff and Kim are going for quality, not quantity. Actually, it’s a lot of area to be planted and harvested by hand, and scouted for pests three or four times a week during the growing season. Although their farm is not organically certified by the USDA, a costly and labor intense process, they do not spray on a regimen and they do incorporate sustainable practices with integrated pest management. When they spray, they start with organic compounds. They don’t use anything stronger than a one-day post-harvest interval.

Here is a list of what we have to look forward as the season progresses:

  • Various types of tomatoes

  • Sweet, hot, and specialty peppers

  • Herbs

  • Sweet corn

  • Beets

  • Beans

  • Cabbage

  • Cauliflower

  • Broccoli

 

Here are some pictures that Jeff snapped recently. They offer a graphic sense of what is to come soon.

 

Cindy and Kim planting onions.

Soon to be planted vegetables.

Sweet corn popping it's head out.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Andy