Friday, February 24, 2017

Roller Coaster Tetemperatures are Good News fo Maple Syrup Makers

The Puffenbarger Sugar Orchard is where maple syrup magic happens. Unfortunately for the Puffenbarger's, there hasn't been much magic these past two years. The process of making maple syrup is completely up to Mother Nature. The more ups and downs in temperature, the more sugar water will be produced. However, if it is hot or cold for too long, like last year, it can spell trouble. For the past two years, the Puffenbarger's have had some struggles with the weather, but with the roller coaster of temperatures this year, so far, so good. "The last two years, we haven't made any in February. This year, especially this last week, they've run pretty daggone good," said Ivan Puffenbager, the owner of the sugar orchard. Puffenbarger says a good year is right about 1,000 gallons of syrup, but it obviously varies. However, last year, they were only able to make right around 400 gallons. The internationally known Highland County Maple Festival is just around the corner; it is coming up on March 11-12 and March 18-19. The Puffenbarger's hope they have more stock to sell this year than they did last year. We will be at Puffenbarger's Sugar Orchard during
Spring Delights
the Highland County Maple Festival to pick up jugs of Maple Syrup for our gift baskets. Of course we'll also be looking forward to haveing some of their famous piping hot Maple Doughnuts

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Blue Crab Bay Change of Ownership

Ocean Bounty for the Blue Crab Bay Soup Lover
One of our vendors, Blue Crab Bay, is going through a change of ownership. Thankfully the company is staying right where it is on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Pamela Barefoot, founder and longtime president of Blue Crab Bay Co., has sold the company to Eastern Shore of Maryland native Elizabeth Lankford. “I had always been looking for an opportunity to return home to the Eastern Shore,” Lankford said. I look forward to leading the company and expanding our national reach.” Barefoot will remain on as founder for at least two years.
The new ownership marks the near-end of Barefoot’s involvement with the specialty food company, where she spent nearly 32 years building a successful business from her brainchild.

Barefoot, 66, said she has been thinking of an “exit strategy” in recent years that would allow her to gradually retire and give the next owner the opportunity to continue building the brand from its current location in Melfa, Va.<

Blue Crab Bay products have been very popular on our website since we started The Virginia Marketplace in 2006. We sell one of their signature products, Sting Ray Bloody Mary Mixer made with clam juice as well as their seafood soups and seafood dips. We sell these products separately and they are welcome additions to our gift baskets and boxes. We sell these products separately and they are welcome additions to our gift baskets and boxes. Check out all our Seafood Gift Baskets.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Leftover Ham Recipes

If by some miracle you have some leftover honey ham over the holidays, here is a recipe sure to please you and your guests:
Scalloped Ham and Potaoes

Scalloped Ham and Potatoes

·         1/4 cup butter, divided
·         2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
·         1 cup white onion, peeled, diced
·         2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
·         3 large russet potatoes, peeled
·         1 1/2 cup cups milk
·         1 cup baby spinach
·         8 pieces Sliced Honey Cured Boneless Ham

Honey Ham
Directions: Heat oven to 350 F. Coat the inside of a 9 x 9 square cake pan with 1 tablespoon butter. With a mandolin, or a knife, slice the russet potatoes 1/8 inch thick; transfer to a bowl filled with cold water. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter; slowly add flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly add milk and whisk until smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until thickened. In another saucepan, over medium heat, cook diced white onion in remaining tablespoon of butter for 3 minutes or until tender. Add spinach and cook for 1 minute or until wilted; set aside. Drain potatoes. Arrange a single layer of overlapping potatoes to cover the bottom of the cake pan. Pour 1/2 cup of milk mixture over potatoes. Spread with 1/2 cup cheese, 4 slices of ham, and 1/2 cup of spinach and onion mixture. Repeat layering. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and top with remaining cup of cheddar cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes to melt cheese; remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 7.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Red Rocker Candy Butter Crunch Cashew - New Name, Same Great Candy

If you are looking for Red Rocker Candy Cashew Toffee with White Chocolate, it has been renamed to Butter Crunch Cashew. Red Rocker Candy feels this name better reflects what the product is, as it is not a typical toffee. A butter crunch is a crunchy confection that you cook to at least 290 degrees F. It is similar to toffee, a crispy confection that contains a lot of butter and sugar, but butter crunch contains slightly less butter. Still it is the same best-selling product…Imagine crunchy, salted cashews, Grade-AA butter and pure cane sugar all cooked to perfection, topped with a layer of creamy white confection and sprinkled with finely chopped cashews. These wholesome ingredients blend perfectly to create rich, buttery goodness. All natural and gluten free.
Nut Lover's
Winter Magic
We have put the
popular Red Rocker Candy 
Butter Crunch
Cashew in our gift baskets and boxes again this year.

Here are some examples.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Red Rocker Peppermint Bark for the Holidays

The Red Rocker Cashew Crunch Cashew was a popular new item last year so it will again be in many gift baskets available after Thanksgiving. This year we added Red Rocker Peppermint Bark to many of our gift baskets. Holiday Party and Gingerbread Magic is on the website now but more will be available soon.
Gingerbread Magic

Red Rocker Candy brings you the goodness of old-fashioned candies and chocolates, hand-made in small batches in their factory. The candy you've been waiting for all year is back! Peppermint Bark is the essence of the holiday season. Made with rich, dark Belgian chocolate, non-hydrogenated white confection infused with peppermint oil, and crushed peppermints. The flavors combine to make the perfect intense, creamy, sweet peppermint treat. This year we have added Red Rocker Peppermint Bark to our gourmet gift baskets.

Once the holiday season comes around, peppermint is a key ingredient in many recipes. One reason is probably its red and white color, two of the main colors that represent Christmas. Here ae some interesting facts about peppermint.
Peppermint currently is a popular flavoring in hard candy, such as round mints and candy canes, fudge, ice cream and gum. Long before its potent taste was added to confections, peppermint oil was used for medicinal purposes.

Peppermint's Origins
While the origin of peppermint candy is unclear, historical accounts show that peppermint oils have been used since ancient times to calm the stomach and for other remedies. Farmers in Europe began commercially growing the plant, which is a natural cross between watermint and spearmint, in the late 1700s.
Peppermint in Candy
It is not exactly when peppermint-flavored candy first appeared. The confection is mentioned by slaves in the Library of Congress’ American Memory project. Smith Kendon developed Altoids in 1780 to relieve intestinal discomfort, and Life Savers introduced its Pep-O-Mint flavor in 1912. In 1927, Eduard Haas, of Vienna, Austria, invented peppermint Pez candy and the original dispenser.
Peppermint Candy Legends
There are several legends surrounding peppermint candy canes. For example, an account in “Sweet!” by Ann Love and Jane Drake says that in 1670 a German choirmaster gave out sticks of sugar candy to children to keep them quiet.

Monday, September 5, 2016

September is National Honey Month

Monastery Creamed Honey
National Honey Month is a celebratory and promotional event held annually during the month of September. Its purpose is to promote U.S. beekeeping, the beekeeping industry and honey as a natural and beneficial sweetener.

The awareness month was initiated by The National Honey Board in 1989. September is significant for honey producers as it is the month that marks the end of the honey collection season for many beekeepers in the United States.

Fun fact: to make one pound of honey, a honeybee needs to tap 2 million flowers. That’s roughly equivalent to 55,000 miles of flying. No wonder they’re called worker bees.

Honey has been around since before the dawn of humanity, but we have been relying on it to sweeten our food and drink since we caught on. Some of the earliest references to honey can be found in paintings on cave walls in Spain and Greece.

Did you know that honey many benefits in addition to being a natural sweetener? It is also a beauty product, a natural energy booster and a cough suppressant. The nutritional content of honey includes several vitamins and minerals. Visit the National Honey Board for the full scoop on honey.

Honey Roasted  Peanuts

For more information on the Monastery Creamed Honey we sell, please see our blog: What is Creamed Honey?  We now offer eight flavors of creamed honey, since we added Orange and Blueberry to the Natural, Cinnamon, Brandy, Almond, Raspberry and Lemon we've been selling We also have Creamed Honey in  assortments, gift boxes, gable boxes with just creamed honey or with mixtures of preserves, apple butter and creamed honey. We have gift baskets with just creamed honey, ones with a mixture of preserves and with are other fine Virginia products. 

We also have from The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg delicious Honey Roasted Peanuts perfectly coated with pure honey and a dash of salt, Sea Salted Caramel Honey Roasted Peanuts, Honey Roasted Caramel Apple Spiced Peanuts and Honey Roasted Chipotle Spiced Peanuts.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Mini Chocolate Peanut Cheese Balls Recipe

Here is an appetizing recipe from The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg using their All Natural Peanut Butter and Handcooked Virginia Peanuts. Both are available from The Virginia Marketplace.

Mini Chocolate Peanut
Cheese Balls
  • 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup Peanut Shop Natural Peanut Butter (smooth)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate morsels, divided
  • 1 cup finely chopped or crushed Peanut Shop Handcooked Virginia Peanuts (w/salt)
  •  Apple slices, pear slices or graham cracker sticks
  • Directions:
    Beat together the cream cheese, peanut butter, powdered sugar and brown sugar until well mixed. Stir in 1/2 cup mini chocolate morsels, reserving remaining chocolate morsels. Chill 30 minutes. Scoop and roll into 1-inch balls; place on a tray. Combine peanuts and remaining 1/4 cup mini chocolate morsels. Roll cheese balls in peanut mixture; chill 1 hour or until set. Serve with apple slices, pear slices or graham cracker sticks. Cover and store in refrigerator. 

    Makes: 24 mini cheese balls 

    Recipe tip: To crush peanuts, place in a heavy duty quart size self-sealing plastic bag. Crush peanuts with a rolling pin into small pieces.