Prisco’s Family Market

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

Hours: Monday - Friday, 7 am to 8:30 pm | Saturday, 7 am to 8 pm | Sunday, 8 am to 7 pm

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At Prisco’s, we are “berry” particular about our produce- Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Years ago, we made a commitment to always have a selection of Driscoll's berries in-store, as much of them as were available in the market at the time. We did this because we wanted to assure our customers that we offered both value and quality, as well as freshness, when it came to our produce offerings... And this commitment still holds.

Why we support the Driscoll’s Brand

Driscoll’s research and development teams use natural breeding methods to create patented varieties of berries. The first thing that they look for is flavor. Relying on natural cross-pollination techniques to continually improve Driscoll’s berries, Driscoll’s never irradiates or genetically modifies their plants.

Their plants are naturally bred to be more resistant to diseases and pests while meeting Driscoll’s exacting quality standards for flavor and appearance. Each year, thousands of potential plants are studied so as to choose the top 1% to farm and sell under the Driscoll’s brand name. It takes five to seven years to produce a seedling that is ready for commercial production. Every season, they flavor-test more than 500 selected varieties from test plots around the world. Every Driscoll’s berry must be flavorful, attractive, resistant to disease, and hardy enough to ship well and arrive fresh at the store.

The life of a Driscoll berry.

Every Driscoll’s berry begins life at the nursery. Driscoll’s nursery locations are carefully selected based on their geographic isolation, which keeps the soil free of pests and diseases. Cuttings are taken from an original selected seedling and grown in the germ-free environment of Driscoll’s screen houses. From there, the seedlings are planted and grown in nursery fields, a process that can take several years. After the seedlings are harvested, they are carefully packed and shipped to coolers, where they are kept chilled so that the plants remain in hibernation. Independent farmers pick up their seedlings just in time for planting.

The goal of every Driscoll’s farmer is to shape, rather than control, the biological diversity of their fields, with a minimum amount of agricultural inputs. Planting the berries is a delicate process and the correct timing is critical. Each row must be laid out so that it has exactly the right slope, to ensure that irrigation water will flow smoothly throughout the field.

Hand-picked in the Field

Each morning, Driscoll's independent farmers pick up their clamshell containers at the cooler, hand-pick the berries in the field and return them to a nearby Driscoll’s cooler that same afternoon.

Inspected for Quality

The berries are then tagged, inspected for quality and immediately placed into refrigeration tunnels to bring them to optimal storage temperature.

Delivery

Berries are a delicate fruit and are vulnerable to field heat, so Driscoll's builds state-of-the-art cooler facilities near all of their farming regions in order to get the berries in from the field and chilled to the perfect temperature as quickly as possible. It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2½ hours to cool a pallet of Driscoll’s berries from field temperature to a chilly 33 degrees F. Berries are shipped as soon as possible after harvest to ensure they arrive at our store fresh, ripe and delicious.

 

Fight the sniffles with local honey- Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Local honey can provide relief from airborne seasonal pollen allergies. It's not that different than getting a vaccination for the flu: There you get an injection of a minute amount of the virus that can make you sick so that your body can recognize it and build up antibodies to fight it off. Now consider pollen allergies...In nature, the bees are collecting nectar from the very plants that are making you sneeze and sniffle, and so with honey you can ingest minute amounts of the very allergen that is troubling you.

A tablespoon of local honey each day can relieve the symptoms of pollen related allergies. Include a spoonful of local honey in your daily diet throughout the year and you may never need to take antihistamines for pollen allergies again. You want to be sure to use honey that has not been heat-treated as this can damage or reduce the pollen in the honey.

Did you know that at Prisco’s we are pleased to be able to offer two great family-owned and run local honey farm lines, Lorence’s Bea Haven and Heritage Prairie Farms?

Charles and Karen Lorence are good customers of Prisco’s and they have been supplying us with their Honey Bee Haven honey for decades. Charles is a director for the American Beekeeping Federation. Karen writes for the American Bee Journal and other newspapers. The honey produced is from organic areas of cultivated and wildflower plants. The processing of honey is done without heat and minimal straining. One of their more popular items and a great way to get your daily dose of local honey are their Honey Stix available in many different flavors. You’ll also want to take advantage of several honey bee by-products that Karen Lorence takes pride and pleasure in producing, like Beeswax Lip Balms, Beeswax Moisturizer Bars, and Beeswax Candles and Lotion Bars.

At Heritage Prairie Farms, owned by Nate Sumner in Elburn, honey is unique because it is where some of their very first roots began. As their tradition of local raw honey harvesting continues, their amazing bees make their sweet, golden nectar from millions of flowers on and the surrounding their Certified Organic farm.

Nate is always eager to explain the importance of his bees to the future viability of his farm. “With Colony Collapse Disorder on the rise and pollinators in the news, many of you have probably heard about why it is so important to protect our bees. At the farm, the continual growth of sustainable beekeeping remains of the utmost importance to us. We go out of our way to ensure that the way we are handling our bees and hives reflects our beekeeping mission.”

Next time you feel your eyes water or get a sniffle or sneeze unexpectedly, remember local honey and think about giving this natural cure for pollen allergies a serious try.

 

Andy

Picnicking with friends and family- Monday, May 22, 2017

Late spring and early summer are fantastic times of the year when it comes to cooking. Why? Because you aren't forced to do all your preparation in a single room. Warm weather means finally being able to spread out -- which is delightful after having been cooped for up so long. Gone are the months spent huddling near a stove or standing shoulder-to-shoulder with anyone and everyone else that needs to use the kitchen's counters or amenities. Now you can prepare your vegetables or side dishes in one area of the kitchen, your appetizers in another, and everything else -- such as your main entree -- outside near the grill or on the patio or picnic table.

But the truly great thing is, you're not limited to simply preparing your meal elsewhere. Warm weather means having the freedom to eat anywhere you choose as well!

Like cookouts, picnics are a great way to spend a sunny day, either with your sweetheart or with friends and family. It means getting plenty of sunlight and fresh air, exercise (if you're the sort who likes a good day trip), and, most importantly, getting out of and away from that darned house. Picnics are a great time to relax, load up a plate with good food, pop open a drink (or two!) and enjoy a scenic, natural view, all while socializing with the people you care about.

Here are some suggestions for a fun and satisfying picnic:

(info courtesy of wikihow.com)

Plan ahead. Picnicking is made much more festive when a little forethought is used. Nothing spoils the fun more than not having a corkscrew or a fork when you need one! Keep a "picnic" box, too. Load it with plates and napkins, plastic utensils, a spare bottle opener and corkscrew, plastic food containers, wraps, bags, and other non-perishables.

Think comfort as much as food. Picnics are fun -- unless you are sitting on soggy or rocky ground, on a blanket that's too small, in the rain, with soggy paper plates. If you are on the ground, make sure you pack pillows or chairs. If the weather is iffy, have umbrellas in the car. Make sure your blanket is big enough for your crew. If not, have enough for everybody to be able to spread out a bit. Lots of space is good, and it makes the ants work harder for their share.

Shop ahead of time. Have all your ingredients ready before the day of the event. But prepare the food as late as possible, so that everything is fresh and delicious. If you're preparing things like macaroni or potato salad, make sure you keep them refrigerated so they don't spoil.

Play! If you are picnicking with children, bring a softball or a board game. Frisbees are fun too, for kids and adults. Have activities that everybody can be involved in.

Keep it safe. Bring along a little first aid kit, just in case. Some sun screen, bug spray, antiseptic wash, bandaids and gauze—nothing too complex.

And a few additional tips:

  • Always wash all your picnic items and dispose of food on returning from a picnic. That way, your picnic pack will be fresh and ready for you at all times.

  • You can purchase cake covers that will keep food safe from insects. These fold up neatly and are a great addition to a picnic set.

  • Use non-disposable items over disposable ones when possible. If you are worried about breaking your favorite plates or losing special cutlery, buy cheap used ones from thrift stores...

  • Tea, coffee, juice and soft drinks all taste better in glass or metal containers. Avoid the throw-away kinds of cups and glasses if you can, but also be aware of park regulations regarding glass containers.

 

Tags :  picnic food safety fun
It’s Important That We Never Forget Them or What They Did for Us- Monday, May 22, 2017

The summer season is about to begin this weekend, as it always does with an extend three-day holiday. Assuming that the weather cooperates, most of us will take full advantage of the holiday and spend as much time as we can relaxing and enjoying our friends and family as we all welcome in the summer season.

Before we do, however, wouldn’t it be nice if each of us spent a few moments reflecting on why we created this Memorial Holiday? It is a day set aside to remember and honor the tens of thousands of men and women who put on a uniform and took an oath to defend our country, then went off to serve and unfortunately never made it back alive. They perished fighting for what they believed in, and for the greatest nation -- their homeland and ours.

We at Prisco’s would like to help everyone remember our local heroes, so we put together a list of all the brave patriots who perished serving our country. We were unable to locate a list of local war fatalities for WWI or WWII or any conflict prior to the Korean conflict, but we honor all soldiers who died in service to our country including these brave men and women:

 

Have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone.

Andy

Here Is A Book Worth Having In Your Collection- Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Being in the grocery business, I see lots of material each week about new food trends, health and nutrition, allergens, government regulations, new item introductions, and on and on. You get my drift. This past week something about a new book being released June 1st caught my attention. Actually, it was the tagline of an article about the book that stated, “Grocery shopping doesn't have to suck!”

At first it reminded me of Joe Madon’s mantra for the Cubs last year. My curiosity piqued, I wanted to learn more and the press release for the book invited me to view a short video featuring the author, Maria Marlowe, a nutritionist, as she explains in a somewhat humorous way her reason for writing the book titled THE REAL FOOD GROCERY GUIDE.

Full disclosure… I do not yet own a copy, nor have I read a copy of this new book, but I’ve got to admit that being the owner of a grocery store what I know so far sounds interesting and certainly has captured my attention. Enough so that I clicked on and watched the 4-minute video. Check it out yourself here.

What Maria has done is cut through the confusion and gobblty-gook about food labeling, food handling, food prep, and nutrition, and has clearly selected as her target audience young professionals who realize that they want to and need to know more about the food that they buy, prepare, and eat. In checking out Maria’s website, I learned that she has got both good credentials and an already strong following and her book has been endorsed by some pretty creditable folks like Dr. Dean Ornish (aka, the cardiologist who helped former president Bill Clinton get healthy after heart surgery).

I’m certain that if you check in a few months there will be a copy or two of THE REAL FOOD GROCERY GUIDE available at our local library, but if you’re like me and can’t wait that long here is a link to Maria Marlowe’s website where you can order your own copy and be one of the first on your block to be in the know about the foods you want for you and your family.

On another note, I wanted to share with you our excitement caused in part by this beautiful weekend of warm sunshine. The grilln’ season is here and in full swing at Prisco’s. Check out this week’s ad for great features on stuffed burgers, chicken, ribs, our homemade sausages, and lots more. To complement the grilled meats, our deli is featuring four of your favorite homemade salads; and don’t forget to take home a homebaked Farmer’s Market Apple or Dutch Apple pie and some Oberweis premium ice cream -- all on sale through Memorial Day!

 

See you at the store,

Andy

 

Gazpacho - This summertime cold soup is not only delicious, it’s healthy! - Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Unfortunately, far too few Americans have ever enjoyed this delicious summertime treat, and it’s a real shame because it is quite tasty; and once you see how healthy it is, you will want to add it to your regular summer meal plans.

Originally from the Andalusian area along the south Mediterranean coast of Spain. History tells us that it has many different influences, from Greece and Rome, as well as from the Moor's and Arab culture. The original soup was blended stale bread, olive oil and garlic, with some liquid like water or vinegar that was pounded together in a mortar. Different vegetables and almonds that were available were also added. This soup evolved into different varieties, the most popular around the world being the tomato-based variety, which is served cold.

It was common for Roman soldiers to carry dried bread, garlic and vinegar to make the basics of this early soup. Christopher Columbus probably took this soup with him on his voyages from Spain. When he brought back tomatoes, cucumbers and different peppers, that is when the soup evolved to its present state. Now all kinds of things are added, such as watermelon and cantaloupe.

Here are some of our favorite homemade recipes. Note the nutritional information and the ingredient list and you will see why it’s really worth getting acquainted with.

Tamar's Gazpacho

Calories

Fat

Carbs

Protein

Fiber

Sugar

Cholesterol

Sodium

88 cal.

0.6g

20 g

3.2 g

4.7 g

12 g

0 mg

120 mg.

 

Mexican Gazpacho

Calories

Fat

Carbs

Protein

Fiber

Sugar

Cholesterol

Sodium

86 cal.

0.5g

21 g

3.6 g

3.9 g

12 g

0 mg

100 mg.

 

Gazpacho Andaluz - Cold Tomato Soup

Calories

Fat

Carbs

Protein

Fiber

Sugar

Cholesterol

Sodium

56 cal.

1.0g

11 g

2.2 g

2.4 g

6 g

0.2 mg

54 mg.

 

The term Gazpacho has also become synonymous with any soup served cold. Here are a few of our summer favorites:

 

Blackberry Gazpacho

Calories

Fat

Carbs

Protein

Fiber

Sugar

Cholesterol

Sodium

210 cal.

3.8g

34 g

2.5 g

8.3 g

23 g

6.3 mg

9.4 mg.

 

Chilled Strawberry Soup

Calories

Fat

Carbs

Protein

Fiber

Sugar

Cholesterol

Sodium

200 cal.

0.9g

49 g

2.0 g

6.1 g

40 g

0 mg

4.2 mg.

 

 

Summer Food Safety- Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Summer grilling season is just about here, so now seems like an appropriate time to bring up the subject of food safety – an incredibly important topic for anyone who is going to throw or participate in an outdoor barbecue over the next several months.

According to the FDA, eating outdoors in warm weather presents a food safety challenge. Bacteria in food multiply faster at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, so summer heat makes the basics of food safety especially important. There are certain precautions everyone should take when preparing, grilling, and/or serving food outdoors in order to avoid foodborne illnesses:

 

You should always:

Keep your hands clean

This applies especially to the person preparing the food. Wash hands well and often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you're in an outdoor setting with no bathroom, use a water jug, some soap, and paper towels.

Wash utensils and surfaces between uses

The FDA even recommends that you sanitize any utensils you may be using once you are finished with them, or if you decide to use a utensil for another purpose, such as serving or stirring a different food item. For example, you do not want to use tongs that were originally used to handle raw meat to serve.

Cutting boards and other surfaces should receive equal attention; in fact, you might want to use different colored cutting boards that are assigned to specific food groups as an extra precaution.

Avoid cross-contamination

Another common mistake that can lead to the spread of bacteria is allowing raw food juices drip on other foods on the grill during cooking.

 

You should never:

Keep raw food and cooked food in the same place, or on the same surfaces

Keep your raw meat in its own cooler or section of the refrigerator to avoid juices coming in contact with fresh vegetables, fruit or other foods. In addition, don't use a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood for anything else unless the plate has first been washed in hot, soapy water.

Marinate food on the counter, or reuse marinade that contained raw meat

Always marinate meat or seafood in a cooler or refrigerator. If you want to use some of the marinade as a sauce on the cooked food, reserve a separate portion.

Undercook the food

To kill any harmful bacteria that may be present, it’s necessary to cook your food thoroughly. A food thermometer is highly recommended. Hamburgers should be cooked to at least 160°F. If a thermometer is not available, make sure hamburgers are brown all the way through, not pink. Chicken should be cooked to at least 165°F. If you partially cook food in the microwave, oven or stove to reduce grilling time, do so immediately before the food goes on the hot grill. Don’t wait.

Allow hot foods to cool

Hot food should be kept at or above 140°F. Hot food should be wrapped well and placed in an insulated container. If bringing hot take-out food such as fried chicken or barbecue to an outdoor party, eat it within two hours of purchase. In addition to bringing a grill and fuel for cooking to an outdoor location, remember to pack a food thermometer to check that your meat and poultry reach a safe internal temperature. When re-heating food at the outing, be sure it reaches 165°F.

Allow cold foods to warm

Cold food should be held at or below 40°F. Store perishables in a cooler with ice on top of the food, not just underneath. Bring one cooler for drinks and another to store foods like chicken salad, coleslaw, cheese, etc. Drain off water as ice melts and be sure to replace the ice frequently! You want to maintain as cold a temperature as possible.

 

Wedding Bells and Other Announcements- Tuesday, May 9, 2017

I wanted to take a couple of minutes to update everyone on some exciting news! Prisco’s is getting 2 new family members! First, and most importantly, I am getting married to my beautiful fiancée Sarah next month, and we couldn’t be happier! We are excited that we will be helping each other grow for the rest of our lives and look forward to the many challenges that face us! I love you darling, and I can’t wait for our special day!

The second member joining the Prisco’s Family is CertCo, Inc.! We are very excited to announce our new wholesaler, as we have been working with them to amplify our service to you and the community. Our excellent teams -- Dave at CertCo and our department managers -- have been working around the clock to make the transition smooth. Keep your eyes peeled for improvements all around the store, including hot new items you’ve been asking for!

As we go through this transition, one thing you will begin to notice, almost immediately, is that the familiar house label “Centrella” will be getting replaced by our new private label line called “Shurfine”. The brand Shurfine has also been around for over 50 years when a group of retailer-owned grocery wholesalers joined together to combine their buying power to compete with the growing number of corporate-owned chain stores. Since its inception, the mission of the Shurfine brand has always been to provide products of the quality you want and the value you need. Don’t hesitate to give them a try -- We guarantee that you will find them comparable or superior to other brands, and always at a very affordable and competitive price.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to stop in and talk to us! We are here for you and are proud to keep serving you!

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t pass along my best wishes and love to my Mom, Beth, and thank her for all she does every day to help make our store something we can all be proud of. On behalf of my sisters, Bridget and Jacquie, and myself, we want to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day this Sunday. Take the day off and enjoy it, Mom! We would also like to extend our good wishes to all the other moms, grandmas and step moms that we are privileged to call our customers. Happy Mother’s Day to all!

Best Regards,

Andy

Mexican Chocolate – slightly different from our American expectations- Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Mexican chocolate has a distinctive, rich flavor that can be used in regular dishes or baking. Its rich taste is profound in beverages such as hot chocolate. Mexican chocolate’s sweetness comes from its savory ingredients and cream finish.

The sweetness found in Mexican chocolate has not always been so substantial. Chocolate has been in Mexico for years, dating back to the Aztecs. Although many people associate chocolate with sweetness today, the original Mexican chocolate was in fact rather sour and intense, and it was highly prized. When the Spanish were introduced to chocolate, they brought it back to Europe, popularizing it among the upper classes; for quite some time, hot chocolate drinking was rather trendy.

It’s made with roasted and ground cacao nibs, sugar, and cinnamon. Other spices such as nutmeg and allspice may be added, along with nuts, and chilies are sometimes used as well. Mexican chocolate tends to be rather granular in texture, with a creamy finish from the cocoa butter. The natural sweetness from the sugar makes the addition of extra sweetener unnecessary.

Spice up your weekend with some of these zippy Mexican menu ideas.- Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Unless you are of Mexican decent, chances are you know little of the origins of this recently popularized Mexican day of celebration. That is because it commemorates a battle from the French -Mexican war of 1861-1867. Our own country was deeply entrenched in the American Civil War so we had little interest in other wars of the world.

General Ignacio Zaragoza lead a poorly supplied and greatly outnumbered Mexican army in defeating the French army that was attempting to capture Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town in east-central Mexico. The battle represented a great moral victory for the Mexican government, symbolizing the country’s ability to defend its sovereignty against a powerful invading foreign nation.

While all that history took place over 150 years ago, today it is a time for Mexican-Americans and gringos alike to celebrate with good food and cold cerveza (beer).

Since many of us don’t have a Mexican heritage, I thought it might be fun to offer up a few recipe suggestions to help stimulate some creative meal planning for this weekend.

Appetizers & Soups

Main entrees

Side Dishes

Beverages and dessert

 

Hope you enjoy your Cinco de Mayo Fiesta.

Beth