Friday, April 5, 2013

Greenhouse Planting Process

Ever wonder how all those beautiful plants appear in Tuttle's greenhouses? is a look at how it's done.

Just a small sampling of our pile.
We actually began planning for this greenhouse season last July.  Mike and Ruth Ann sit down and talk about what plants we liked from last season...and what we didn't.  What things you all liked a lot...what we should grow more of.  We also sift through a mountain of plant catalogs to find all the new plants we might want to grow.  We read articles in industry magazines to see what others are the new plants have done in trials.  Then we meet with our sales reps and put in all our plant and seed orders.  It's important to order early otherwise the new plants we want may not be available. 

We also talk to our soil reps...and order lots and lots of soil mix...a whole semi truckload in fact.  The soil mix comes in large bags like you see here.

Next we begin in Febuar to begin to get the greenhouses ready for a new crop.  New plastic is often put on the greenhouses and benches are put in place.  

Growing from Seed 

Some of our plants are grown from vegetable plants, Wave petunias, and zinnias.  Mike starts these with his special seeder.  The seeder uses air suction t
o make sure you can get only one seed in each of the little holes.  It's important not to waist seed as some of it is very very small and can be very expensive (impatien seeds are actually more valubale by weight then gold).   At the right you can see the planter.  The seeds are poured out into the silver tray.  Then the planter uses air to pick up one seed for each of the different nozels.  Then he presses a lever to release the air and let the seeds fall into each of the different mini "pots".  The seeds are watered from below by setting them in a tub of water.  This insures that they don't get washed away. 


Mike then puts these seed trays under grow lamps (which you may see in the back of the farm store in the spring) and on heating pads to help them germinate. When they have germinated they can be moved over to the greenhouses to continue to grow and be transplanted.   

Growing from Plugs

In today's world of plants, there are many plants that we can't grow from seed.  This may be because this particular plant (typically flowers) are only propogated by cuttings (like in the case of the geraniums we grow) or because the plant is patented and is only available in baby plant format from a supplier (like the Proven Winners plants we sell).  So...most of our flowers actually come to us as very small plants.  They arrive either by Next Day Air Fedex or often they are flown in and we drive to the airport to pick them up.  (Yes, your plants actually may have been on a plane before they get to you!)  We get these plants when they are very very young.  You can see here pictured some of the plants.
Baby Proven Winners Plants

Baby Vinca Plants

They are quite small.

So, how do we get those plants in pots?  Well...first we have to fill the pots with soil. 

Our pot filler.  The soil goes in the top and you feed the pots through.

The forkflift is used to lift the large bags of soil up to put it in the pot filler.


We use a special board to poke holes for the plants.  Then we use another tool to take the plants out of their trays...and we put them into the tray of soil.

Freshly transplated impatiens.

Then the plants are ready for Mike's TLC.  He waters them and fertilizes them...and we think talks to them to.  He really does treat each type of plant with just what is needed to be able to thrive. 


Thursday, July 5, 2012

July Special Events

Lots of really great things happening at Tuttles in July.  Check it out: 

Blueberry Pancakes

This week we're doing a meal that requires not a lot of cooking to help us all beat the heat.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pork Burgers with Avacado, Peaches, and Carmelized Onions

In time for the 4th of July:

Local Pork Burgers with Caramelized Onions, Peaches, and Avocado.
Corn on the Cob
Dessert: Cherries and Peaches

Shopping List at Tuttles:
Package of Hamburger Buns
Package of Pork Burgers
1 Vidalia Onion
1 Red Globe Peaches per person
1 pint of sweet cherries
1 ear of corn per person

Needed from home:
Olive Oil
1 Avocado

Preparation Instructions:

Grill Pork Burgers
Thinly slice onion and cook in skillet on medium heat with a tad bit of olive oil, stirring constantly until caramelized. Peel and pit peaches. Slice into slices and add to onions. Cook a few minutes longer heat peaches. Top burgers with onion peach mixture and slices of avocado. Bring pot of water to boil. Submerge corn for three minutes or until just barely cooked. For Dessert: Slice peaches and serve in a bowl with sweet cherries.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Menu of the Week: Taco Salad and Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Menu of the Week:
Cabbage Taco SaladChocolate Zucchini Cake

Prep Time:  30 Minutes for Salad, Cake about 1 hour including baking time.

Shopping List from Tuttles:

1 bag of Tortilla Chips (or use the Nacho Kick or Guacamole Chips for extra flavor)
1 head of cabbage
1 1lb. package of local ground beef
1 Vidalia onion
1 tomato
1 package Colby Cheese
1 jar of your choice of salsa
1 jar of Tuttle's ranch dressing (or use the dressing recipe below from ingredients you may have at home.  You can also substitute thousand island or ranch you may have at home.)

For dessert: 

2-3 Zucchini or Summer Squash

Needed from home:  

Can of black beans (optional)
Sour Cream (optional)
Avocado (optional)

For Dressing:  

2 Tablespoons lime or lemon juice1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro1 Tablespoon sugar1 Tablespoon chili powder1/2 teaspoon ground cumin1/3 cup olive oil
(Mix together and pour over cabbage.)

For Dessert:  
2 1/4 Cups flour
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, soft
1/2 c vegetable oil or applesauce
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
1 cup chocolate chips

Cooking Instructions:  

For Taco Salad:

Defrost hamburger and brown in a skillet.  Add chopped onion and cook until clear and hamburger is done.  Drain any grease.  Slice in cabbage into very fine pieces (like for slaw).  Cover with about 1/2 cup of the dressing of your choice (either Tuttle's Ranch Dressing or the above recipe mixed up or some thousand island or ranch you have on hand.)
To prepare salad: layer on plate the following:  layer of tortilla strips, layer of cabbage and dressing,  
layer of ground beef, grated cheese, chopped tomato, and any additional toppings desired (sour cream, avocado, cilantro, black beans, etc.)  Top with your choice of salsa.

For Zucchini Chocolate Cake:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and flour 13 by 9 by 2 inch pan.  Stir (see ingredients listed above with amounts) flour, cocoa powder, soda, and salt in a bowl.  Beat sugar, butter and oil in a large bowl until well blended.  Add eggs one at a time to the sugar mixture.  Add vanilla.  Mix in dry ingredients alternately with milk.  Mix in 2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini.  Pour batter into pan.  Sprinkle chocolate chips over top (it is great even without the chocolate chips if you don't have any).  Bake at 325 for about 50 minutes or until tester comes out clean.  Cool completely in pan.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Menu of the Week: BLT's

This week's menu:

Shopping List for Tuttles:
1 package of frozen local bacon from the Pork Shoppe (either pepper bacon or regular bacon) (located in freezer case)
1 large Tennessee Tomato
1 package of Bacon Cheese (located in refrigerator case)
1 package salad mix (located in refrigerator case)
1 large piece of rhubarb
1 quart of strawberries

Extra food (if you are feeding a crowd):  Guacamole Chips

Need from home: 
Olive Oil (1/3 C)
Vinegar (1/8 C)
Honey  (2 Tablespoons)
Worcestershire Sauce (1 teaspoon)

Optional: Avocado, Hard Boiled Egg

Cooking Instructions:
For Sandwiches: Let bacon thaw overnight in refrigerator or thaw on defrost in microwave.  Cook bacon in skillet.  Toast bread.  Slice tomato, bacon cheese, and avocado if desired.  Layer on sandwich bacon, cheese, avocado, tomato, lettuce.  Add mayonnaise.

For Salad:  Put salad mix in a bowl.  Rinse strawberries and slice a few to top the salad.  Crumble up a few strips of bacon.  Slice a hard boiled egg and avocado on top of salad if desired.  Grate some bacon cheese to top salad.

For Dressing:  Slice 1 slice of rhubarb into small pieces.  Put in small saucepan with 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/8 cup vinegar (apple cider, rice, or white wine vinegar will work).  Cook until rhubarb is soft.  Use a sieve or really fine colander mash and strain pulp and get juice.  This should result in about 3 tablespoons of juice.  Discard pulp.  Add 1/3 cup of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce, and 2 Tablespoons of Honey to juice.  Mix well.  Refrigerate if time allows.   

For Dessert:  Slice remaining strawberries and serve with some rhubarb dressing sprinkled on top of them or with vanilla ice cream. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What's for dinner?

This summer we are trying a new idea here at the orchard called "What's for Dinner?"  Each week we will be introducing a new menu idea for you to take home and make for dinner using whatever produce is in season.  The idea is for you to be able to stop by after work...pick up produce and recipes and take it home and fix it.  These recipe ideas will be ones that are easy to make and use produce, local meats, and other goodies from Tuttle's store.  Each week we will be posting the recipes and menu on our blog and Facebook so you will be able to see what you can stop by and get that week.  New menus will come out on Tuesday of each week. honor of Memorial Weekend here's this weeks' menu:

Local Hamburgers with Fresh Tomatoes, Red Onions, and Red Pepper Relish.
Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Dessert:  Angel Food Cake, Indiana Strawberries, Whipped Dessert Topping

Add On Idea (if you are feeding a lot of people):  Patriotic Pasta Salad.  Great for memorial weekend!
We made this menu at home last night, and it was really yummy!  See photos below.

A bit about Red Sweet Pepper Relish:  this is one of our most popular items.  The taste is really great mix of sweet and relish.  It's really good on hot dogs, burgers, chips, and pretty much anything.

Tuttle's Shopping List:
For Dinner
1 package Hunt's 4 Corners Hamburger Patties (6 patties) (raised right here in Hancock County) 
1 package of Hamburger Buns
1 large tomato
1 Red onion
1 jar Red Pepper Relish
1 medium sweet potato or 1/2 large sweet potato for each person

For Dessert
1 angel food cake
1-2 quarts Indiana strawberries
1 whipped topping (optional)

Additional Ideas
1 package of American Pride Pasta (sauce included)

Need from Home:

Olive Oil

Cooking Instructions:
For Burgers:  Defrost burgers in microwave or in refrigerator for next day use.  Grill burgers.  Slice tomato and red onion for garnish.  Toast buns.  Spoon Red Pepper Relish over top of burgers.     

For Fries:  Preheat oven to 500 degrees (not broil but bake).  Peel sweet potatoes.  Cut into longwise into pieces that are approx. 1/8 in by 1/8 in by 3 in long.  The thinner you cut them the faster they will bake so go for very thin pieces.  Put the sweet potato slices into a pan and drizzle just a little bit of olive oil over the top.  Mix to be sure they are all coated and then evenly distribute in the pan.  Bake on the top shelf of the oven for approx 10 minutes.  Stir.  Bake another 10 minutes until sweet potatoes are limp, starting to brown but not burnt.  Move to a paper towel to remove excess oil.  Let cool.  Sprinkle salt to taste if desired.          
Sweet potatoes in pan with olive oil drizzled over the top.
Thinly sliced sweet potatoes.


For Dessert: Rinse strawberries.  Remove tops and slice in half.  Use potato masher to mash slightly to produce some juice.  Pour whipped topping into a bowl.  Use blender to whip until stiff.  Cut angel food cake.  Pour strawberries over top of cake when ready to eat.  Top with a bit of whipped topping.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Weather Worries

The mild winter this year has been a really nice break from the Indiana snow we had last year, but it has also brought with it an earlier spring this year.  We've also had unusually warm weather in March.  80 degrees around St Patricks Day is very unusual. 
For the orchard, this weather combination has caused the trees to be about three to four weeks ahead of normal.  We are enjoying the great smell and beauty as they begin to bloom. 

Now as we seem to be back to more typical March temperatures this week, we are beginning to keep our eye on the nightly temperatures as the frost may affect the blossoms. 

Yesterday they were busy putting irrigation pipes in the u-pick orchard to be able to use if it does get below 32 degrees in the coming weeks.  The concern is that if the blooms freeze this will kill them resulting in less apples this year.  After the small apples form, there is also a risk of the apples developing frost rings.  This does not affect the taste of the apple, but it can cause them to be strange shaped as they ripen.

The irrigation allows us to put water on the blooms so that it will freeze around the bloom.  This keeps the bloom itself from freezing and can protect it to much colder tempartures then without the irrigation. 

So what kind of weather will we be watching for? 
We would like it to stay above 32 degrees at night.  Cloud cover and wind are also good as they can help to raise the temperature.  How long a frost might last is also a factor.  Cold temeperatures for an hour may not cause much damage as a long period of sustained below freezing temperatures.