Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Apple Harvest Time in Virginia

Warm days, cool nights and a rich deep soil nurtured by consistent rainfall makes Virginia's climate ideal for growing many apple varieties. The apple harvest in Virginia begins in July and extends through early November with the majority of Virginia apples harvested in September, October and early November.

Virginia apple country includes the mountainous region of the northern Shenandoah Valley through the Roanoke Valley, the rich countryside of Albemarle and Rappahannock counties and the southwest counties of Patrick and Carroll. The majority of apples trees are grown in the Shenandoah Valley.

Virginia is the sixth-largest producer of apples in the United States. Virginia has more than 150 commercial apple growers and this year’s harvest should be normal, even if slightly off the five-year average of 5 million to 5.25 million bushels, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Most orchards are expecting a larger crop than last year overall. There has been plenty of good rains here lately ... the water makes the fruit big and then the sunshine makes it sweet and you need both. Problems with insects and stinkbugs in particular were not as bad this year from a state perspective.

ALBEMARLE PIPPIN, the most famous of Virginia apples, originated in 1700 near the village of Newtown on Long Island, New York. Col. Thomas Walker of Castle Hill brought scions of the variety back to Albemarle County as he returned from service under General Washington at the battle of Brandywine in 1777. It was grown widely in Virginia by the end of the18th century by agriculturists, including George Washington, John Hartwell Cocke, and Thomas Jefferson. The crisp, juicy, firm flesh and very distinctive taste, along with its excellent keeping qualities, made the Pippin the most prized of American dessert apples from the early 18th century. It grows especially well in the Virginia Piedmont. It is difficult to find today, but when well-grown, remains one of the world's finest apples. Unfortunately, the Pippin is not easy to grow, and as its export market shrank, and food distribution came to be dominated by large chains, it was superseded by easier to manage crops such as the now ubiquitous Delicious varieties. For the connoisseur who prizes a rich, complex flavor and firm, juicy texture, this apple has few peers.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Old and New Favorites

It's October, which means new products, some old favorites in new sizes, some old favorites coming back, it's cool enough to ship chocolate again, and it’s not too early to start thinking about holiday entertaining and gifts. Check out our website:
For the chocolate lovers, there's a new gift tin : Chocolate Lover's Tin with extra-large Virginia peanuts covered in creamy milk chocolate, along with plump Cashews and Almonds panned in rich milk chocolate for luxurious sheen.
The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg's old world map chest is now filled with all your favorite nuts choices: Handcooked Virginia Peanuts, Cashews, Chocolate Covered Almonds and Praline Glazed Pecans.
There's a new Nutcracker Tower from The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg with a 32 oz. tin of handcooked salted Virginia Peanuts, a 20 oz. tin of old-fashioned Peanut Crunch, topped off with a 12 oz. tin of Chocolate Covered Peanut Brittle. A thoughtful gift to share with friends, family or business associates.

There are some new tempting Holiday Dessert choices:
Paula Deen Peppermint Layer Cake -Three layers of moist yellow cake with a double thick layer of icing with a hint of peppermint flavor. Decorated with crushed candy cane for a festive holiday finish.
Paula's Pumpkin Gooey Cake - One of Paula's favorite gooey cakes just in time for your seasonal gatherings. This creamy flatcake is bursting with all the holiday flavors you just love!
Bourbon Barrel Cake - A moist brown sugar cake with pure maple and chocolate, soaked in Kentucky bourbon, and topped with walnuts, chocolate and caramel bourbon icing. No alcohol remains after baking, but you can really taste that Bourbon essence! Packed in a handmade wooden barrel gift box.

On the savory side , Smithfield's Cooked Boneless Country Hams is now available in a smaller size - 3.5 lbs. These milder flavor hickory smoked country hams are like a "second cousin" to the Genuine Smithfield Ham, but the curing process has been shortened to allow for a milder, less salty flavor. These country hams are aged to perfection for a minimum of three months but are still dry salt-cured to retain a distinctive country-style flavor.
Sliced Genuine Smithfield Ham with Sweet Potato Biscuits is now available in a larger size: 1 lb. of Ham and 2 dozen Sweet Potato Biscuits. Just stuff these plump sweet potato biscuits with our thinly sliced, salt-cured Genuine Smithfield Ham slices and gently heat for a sweet and salty taste sensation.

New from Smithfield: 24 Layer Square Sweet Potato Cream Cheese Biscuits - With just a hint of cinnamon, the aroma of these baking biscuits will fill up your home... and then your mouth! The new must-have for holiday dining. Serve warm with country ham or dipped in honey or maple syrup. It's Thanksgivng every day of the year with these sweet potato biscuits. All Natural. Two dozen.
Basses's Choice Breakfast - A medley of tasty breakfast fare fit for a King... and selected for the Captain! Country Ham Center Slices 8 oz., Dry Cured Bacon Slices 1 lb., Country Grits 2 lbs., Biscuit Mix 1 lb., and Breakfast Blend Coffee 2 oz. – all nestled in a Basse's Choice wooden logo serving tray. A perfect gift for anyone on your list!
Sides for holiday and other meals: Sweet Potato Casserole - Nothing pairs better with ham, than sweet potatoes. Just like homemade! The season's freshest sweet potatoes are gently mashed and topped with a Dutch crust blend of brown sugar, walnuts, and pecans.
Seasoned Green Beans in a made-from-scratch cream sauce with flavors of mushroom and chicken broth. Topped with sharp cheddar cheese

Welcome Back to Some Old Favorites:
Virginia Country Buffet - An entertaining combination with a Southern flare - our dry salt-cured 3-4 lb. Country "Hamlette" cooked, boneless accompanied by a 5 lb. tender smoked turkey breast. Includes the perfect condiments to complete your entree presentation - 5 oz. of famous Fuller's Natural Mustard and 8 oz. of our own Dunkin' Sauce.
Smokehouse Sampler - We found just the right combination: Half 8-10 lb. Honey Cured & Honey Glazed Spiral Ham complemented by a 5 lb. breast of Smoked Turkey and 5 oz. of Fuller's Mustard. Both ready to eat for casual buffet entertaining or formal dining. Another perfect gift for friends or family.
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