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Recipe of the Week – Green Smoothie

By | Apple

Kale is such a versatile green!  It can be used to make both sweet and savoury dishes and it can be eaten raw or cooked.  It is so delicious!  It is also so easy to grow!  I’m already harvesting what I have planted this spring, and it will keep growing all summer and fall.  Some years I’m still picking it into December!  One of our favourite ways to eat kale is in a morning breakfast smoothie!  Over the years, I have tried green smoothies so many ways, and this recipe is my go-to! You’ll notice this recipe doesn’t have exact measurements – feel free to adjust the amounts of each ingredient to suit your taste buds best!  Hope you like it!

Ingredients

1 large handful of freshly harvested kale
1 frozen banana
1 handful of frozen pineapple (or any other frozen yellow or light coloured fruit such as mango or peaches.  Berries will work too, but they will turn the smoothie brown!)
1 small handful of frozen avocado
1-2 dates
2 large spoonfuls of plain yogurt
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
2-3 cups of water

 

Directions

In your blender, add the frozen bananas, pineapple and avocado.  Next, add the yogurt, dates and hemp seeds.  Fill the rest of the blender up with kale.  Add 2 cups of water.  Blend on medium-high speed until smooth.  Add more water as needed to reach the consistency you like.  Enjoy!

Recipe of the Week – Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

By | Apple

Spring salads are my favourite!  I love going out to the garden, harvesting some greens and making a salad with a lovely vinaigrette.  Spinach is also an amazing crop to grow – it is so versatile and these nutritious greens love this cool spring weather.  In the spirit of spring, and the fact that the greens are growing so nicely, we thought this week we would share a spring salad recipe!  This recipe is from the kitchen of my sister-in-law.  She makes this delicious salad – and it’s always a hit at family gatherings!  It is also so simple to make!  We hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp of sugar
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp each of poppy seeds, sesame seeds and chives
Dash of salt and pepper
Fresh cut spinach
Freshly sliced strawberries

 

Directions

First, make the dressing.  Whisk together the oil, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice.  Next, add the sugar and honey.  Finally, add the poppy seeds, sesame seeds, chives and salt and pepper.  Whisk together and set aside.

Assemble the salad by adding the spinach to a bowl, and topping with the strawberries.  Toss the salad with the poppy seed dressing.  Enjoy!

Recipe of the Week – Rhubarb and Berry Crumble

By | Garden Centre, Plants, Recipe

This beautiful spring weather has been excellent for the rhubarb crop!  We were able to harvest some yesterday, and decided to celebrate by making our favourite spring dessert – Rhubarb and Berry Crumble!  The rhubarb is so fresh and tart, and the berries help add some sweetness.  This dessert is so versatile… you can choose to make it with straight rhubarb, or rhubarb and strawberries, or any other fruit you may like!  We even use this crumble topping in the fall to make the dessert with apples.  We hope you enjoy!  Also, if you aren’t growing rhubarb yet, you should be!  It is a low maintenance and rewarding plant to have in your yard… and you’ll be so happy each spring when you can harvest the delicious red stalks!

Ingredients

3 cups of chopped fresh rhubarb
2-3 cups of frozen mixed berries
1/4 cup of sugar
2 Tbsp of arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
1/2 – 3/4 cup of oatmeal
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Place the rhubarb, berries and sugar in a bowl and mix together.  Feel free to omit the sugar, or add less or more to suit your taste.  The fruit will be tart with less sugar.   Add the arrowroot powder and stir together.  The arrowroot powder will help thicken the berry juices.  Place your berry mixture in an 8×8 baking dish.  Next, prepare your crumble topping.  In a bowl, combine the oatmeal, flour, brown sugar and butter.  Mix together with your hands until the topping crumbles through your fingers.  Pour this topping evenly over the berry mixture.  Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or so.  You will know it’s finished when the topping becomes golden brown and the fruit starts to bubble.  Let cool and enjoy!  This crumble is delicious when served with ice cream or whipped cream!

Recipe of the Week – Chicken Salad with Parsley and Mesclun Mix

By | Plants, Recipe

We have so many fresh herbs in the greenhouse right now, so we had to make a recipe with parsley!  It’s our favourite herb, and it’s also the secret ingredient in my mom’s famous chicken salad recipe!  We grew up eating chicken salad sandwiches… it was one way we used up leftover cooked chicken breast.  It’s still a lunch staple with all of our families to this day!  We added the fresh cut mesclun mix to top the sandwich because it adds such a nice taste of greens that are both mild and spicy!  We hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

1/2 a cooked chicken breast, chopped
1/4 cup of diced celery
2 Tbsp of chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp of mayonnaise
salt and pepper (as needed)

Directions

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined (you can adjust the ratios of these ingredients to make your chicken salad more or less creamy).  Build your sandwich by putting some of the chicken salad mixture on top of a slice of bread.  Top with fresh cut mesclun mix and the second slice of bread.  Enjoy!

Recipe of the Week – Chive Scrambled Eggs

By | Plants, Recipe

One sure sign of spring is when the chives pop up out of the ground!  Winter can feel so long, but when you see those bright green stalks sticking out of the ground, you know that sunny days are ahead!  We thought we’d celebrate this lovely spring weather with a recipe featuring chives.  Chives have such a nice taste – this perennial herb can really add some delicious flavour to your favourite dish.  We hope you enjoy this recipe – it is a spring morning staple in our home because it’s so quick and easy to make!  This recipe would also make the perfect Mother’s Day brunch dish!

Ingredients

4 eggs
Splash of milk
3 Tbsp of chopped fresh chives
2 tsp butter (for frying the eggs)
Salt and pepper (optional)

Directions

Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk with milk.  Add salt and pepper (optional).  Heat frying pan to medium-high heat and add butter to melt.  Add eggs into frying pan and begin to scramble them.  Cook the eggs about half way through, and then add the chives.  Continue cooking until you have reached the desired consistency of your eggs.  Serve with toast and a side of fruit.  Enjoy!

Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

By | Apple

Recipe of the Week – Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

At this time of the year, there is nothing better than fresh, local maple syrup!  In the spirit of syrup season, we thought we’d share one of our favourite maple syrup recipes.  This is our Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette – a salad dressing that is so easy to make, and you probably have all of the ingredients in your kitchen already!  This dressing is also quite versatile and easy to customize.  Feel free to swap out the balsamic vinegar for white or red wine vinegar, and adjust the dijon and maple syrup amounts according to your liking.  You really can’t go wrong!  Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Directions

Place all ingredients in a jar, put the lid on and shake!
Enjoy over your favourite salad.  Store any remaining dressing in the fridge.

Recipe of the Week – Granola with Honey

By | DIY, Honey, Recipe

Welcome to our first Recipe of the Week!  Our goal this year is to share a new recipe with you each week… do you think we can do it?!  This week we are featuring our honey!  We produce our own honey here at Marlin’s, and it is so tasty!  We’ve had bee hives for about 9 years, and every year we learn more and more about the practice of beekeeping.  Honeybees are amazing creatures!

We hope you enjoy this week’s recipe, which is our family granola recipe.  This granola recipe is sweetened with our honey – it’s the perfect healthy and sweet treat!  We make it in our house once a week… it’s so easy and it is something for the whole family to enjoy!

Marlin’s Granola

Ingredients

3 cups oatmeal
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup chopped raw almonds
1/2 cup white honey
1/4 cup of oil (any oil will do)
1/4 cup of water

Directions 

Preheat oven to 300 F.  Add oatmeal, coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and almonds to a large bowl and mix.  In a separate bowl, mix together honey, oil and water.  Add this honey mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir until everything is coated.  Spread out the mixture on a baking sheet and put it in the oven for one hour.  During this time in the oven, stir the granola every 15 minutes.  This will prevent any burning.  After one hour, remove the granola from the oven and let it sit and cool.  Stir it again and let it sit out on the counter for 2-3 hours, until it dries.  Once the granola has dried, store it in a glass container.  Tip: Can be stored in the fridge to keep fresh.

Enjoy!  This granola is great for snacking on, or used as a topping on yogurt or cereal.

A Guide to Caring for Fruit Trees

By | Apple, DIY, Orchard

Last week we invited you to our orchard for a pruning seminar – and it was a hit!  We were so happy to share with you our tips and tricks on how to care for fruit trees.  Not only did we demonstrate how to prune an apple tree, but we also explained how to properly spray and fertilize the trees.  Happy and healthy fruit trees = fruit you can enjoy.

In case you missed this seminar, we thought we’d share some of the points we went over!

Pruning

Materials you will need:

  • pruners or any other tool that can be safely used to trim branches
  • ladder
  • safety glasses

The first step to pruning an apple tree is to cut off any sucker growth.  These branches are usually easy to spot, as they are the branches that grow straight up in the air.  Cut all of them off at the base.  New sucker shoots grow each year, so it’s important to prune them as they can take energy away from apple production.

The next step is removing any dead or diseased branches.  Overall tree health is so important to both the longevity of the tree and fruit production.  If you notice any diseased branches on your tree, make sure you discard them after you prune them!

After this is done, it’s time to look at the tree and shape it.  You will first want to look at any branches that are “criss crossed” or in a forked “Y” shape.  Prune these away.  Imagine the tree in the summertime – you want good airflow between all of the branches, and you want sunlight to be able to get into the tree.

Lastly, when shaping the tree, prune it to your desired height and width.  Think of how you will be harvesting your apples, and prune accordingly.  A tree that is too tall may be difficult to pick from.  A tree that is too wide may interfere with other plants in your yard.  Also, keep in mind that a young tree you may have recently planted will require less pruning than an older apple tree in your yard.

Pruning doesn’t have to be a difficult task!  It can actually be quite rewarding to take this step now to ensure a plentiful apple crop later in the season.

Spraying

Dormant Oil Kit

Our Dormant Oil Kit contains Lime Sulphur and Horticultural Oil – both are so important because they kill over-wintering insects, insect eggs and fungal diseases on fruit trees.  This step is one you shouldn’t miss!  Help your fruit tree get off on the right start by setting it up for success first thing in the spring.  You’ll want to apply these products on your fruit trees when the buds are swelling (about to open) up until there is a 1/2” of green leaf.  Depending on the weather, this time is usually throughout the month of April to the first week of May.  Make sure that there is no rain or freezing temperatures in the forecast 24 hrs after application!  When spraying your fruit tree, remember to “sprench” it!  That means when you spray, you are drenching the tree!  Also, spray some of the Lime Sulphur on the ground around the tree – this will help kill any disease spores that are still lingering around from fallen leaves.

End All and Garden Sulphur

End All and Garden Sulphur are the insecticide and fungicide products we recommend to use throughout the spring and summer months, after the Dormant Oil Kit is used.  These are products that should be applied every 5-15 days from after blossom through the month of July (Note: you’ll want to apply the Garden Sulphur a couple of times before blossom!).  Insects and fungal diseases are common issues to deal with when growing your own fruit, so it is important to keep up with a spraying schedule and routine.

Fertilizing

You’ll want to make sure your fruit tree is getting all of the nutrients it needs, so using a tree fertilizer with the correct formula and with micro nutrients is so important.  Our granular slow-release fertilizers will ensure that your fruit tree is being taken care of and growing to its full potential.  These fertilizers couldn’t be any easier to use… they only require one to two applications per year!

Don’t forget – put a tree guard on young fruit trees!  Tree guards are an easy and inexpensive way to prevent damage (rodent, lawn mower, etc.).

A Guide to Pruning Apple Trees

By | Apple, Orchard

One of our most common questions at this time of the year is how to prune apple trees – so we thought we’d write a blog post about it!  We asked you to submit your questions, and we are going to answer them!  Pruning is so important, so let us guide you to a healthy and happy apple tree!

Materials needed:

  • pruners or any other tool that can be safely used to trim branches
  • ladder
  • safety glasses

How to do it:

The first step to pruning an apple tree is to cut off any sucker growth.  These branches are usually easy to spot, as they are the branches that grow straight up in the air.  Cut all of them off at the base.  New sucker shoots grow each year, so it’s important to prune them as they can take energy away from apple production.

The next step is removing any dead or diseased branches.  Overall tree health is so important to both the longevity of the tree and fruit production.  If you notice any diseased branches on your tree, make sure you discard them after you prune them!

After this is done, it’s time to look at the tree and shape it.  You will first want to look at any branches that are “criss crossed” or in a forked “Y” shape.  Prune these away.  Imagine the tree in the summertime – you want good airflow between all of the branches, and you want sunlight to be able to get into the tree.

Lastly, when shaping the tree, prune it to your desired height and width.  Think of how you will be harvesting your apples, and prune accordingly.  A tree that is too tall may be difficult to pick from.  A tree that is too wide may interfere with other plants in your yard.  Also, keep in mind that a young tree you may have recently planted will require less pruning than an older apple tree in your yard.

Pruning doesn’t have to be a difficult task!  It can actually be quite rewarding to take this step now to ensure a plentiful apple crop later in the season.

Check out this video to see how we do it!

Other FAQ’s about pruning apple trees:

Q: What do I use to prune my apple tree? I only have small hand pruners!

A: Depending on the size of your tree, hand pruners will work just fine!  For any larger branches, you may need to use a small hand saw.

Q: How much can I take off of my fruit tree?

A: A good rule of thumb to follow is never take more than one third off the tree.

Q: I also have pear trees and plum trees.  How do I prune these?

A: You can follow our apple pruning guidelines and apply them to pear and plum trees as well.

Q: Do you give lessons on pruning?

A: At this time, we do not give lessons on pruning.  However, we are always here to help, so never hesitate to stop by with any questions!  We hope this blog post and video help give you the confidence you need to prune your fruit trees.

Q: I just moved into a new home and there is a very large apple tree that the previous owners never pruned.  What do I do?

A: Getting a mature tree into the shape and size that you want may take two seasons since you should only prune one third of the tree branches away at a time.  Start off by removing any large limbs that are growing in the wrong direction (may have to use a chainsaw), prune the suckers and then work on the branches that are criss crossing your tree.  This same step will need to be repeated again in the second year.

Q: When do I prune?
A: In this area, the ideal time to prune an apple tree is in from mid-February through the month of March (sometimes beginning of April is good, too!).  It may vary each year depending on weather.  You want to get this done before the tree buds out!

Check out another one of our pruning videos here!  And if you want to learn more about our apple orchard, click here!

Valentine’s Day Apple Cake

By | Apple, Recipe

With Valentine’s Day being through the week this year, making something that is both quick and delicious is a must.  I found the perfect dessert for the occasion! This apple cake is so easy to make… and I bet you have all of the ingredients on hand!


First, let’s talk about the apples.  Anytime a recipe calls for apples, I always use a mix of at least two varieties.  Usually, McIntosh and Cortland.  Macs are a bit on the tart side, and tend to cook soft, while Cortlands are a touch sweeter and hold their shape when cooked.  It really is the perfect duo!  Since these varieties also store well over the winter, I always have a great supply of them in my fridge.  Did you know that we grow over 30 varieties of apples in our orchard?  To learn more about what ones you would love to use in this recipe, click here!


Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I baked this cake in a heart shaped springform pan, but any springform pan will do.

Minimal steps and directions = perfect for your kids to help make!

This cake couldn’t be any easier to prepare!

The longest part was waiting for the cake to bake!

That texture! Yum!



This recipe was adapted from the Smitten Kitchen blog.  You can find the original recipe here, or follow along here to see how I made it.   It’s a Russian apple cake, and after making it, I think it will be a staple dessert in our home!

Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Apple Sharlotka

Ingredients:
butter or nonstick spray for greasing pan
6 large apples (3 McIntosh and 3 Cortland)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
ground cinnamon
powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.  I like to trace my pan on the parchment paper and cut it out to get the perfect fit! Next, butter the paper and the sides of the pan.  Peel and slice the apples, and chop them into bite-sized pieces (the bigger your pieces, the chunkier the cake will be).  Put the apple pieces directly into the springform pan.

Next, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until they are blended and thick.  Beat in the vanilla, then stir in the flour until combined.  Using a spatula, pour the batter into the pan over the apples.  Spread it around to ensure the batter goes down into the apples.

Bake in the oven for about 60 minutes – or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool the cake in the pan, and then flip on a cooling rack or plate to peel off the parchment paper.  Flip back onto your serving plate and dust on the powdered sugar and cinnamon.

We loved eating this with a serving of vanilla ice cream!

We hope you enjoy this recipe and treat someone special this Valentine’s Day!