‘Tis the season to start thinking about holiday entertaining. Our new recipe for a Merry Margarita features fabulous seasonal flavors – tangerine, ginger, pomegranate – in a gorgeous and festive cocktail. We’re handing out the recipe this Sunday, November 22, at the North Shore Emporium. Tickets are free to this celebration of the best locally crafted food, but if you reserve online you will not have to wait at the gate. Continue reading Make a Merry Margarita
Take a bite out of your holiday shopping angst by swinging by the gorgeous Willowdale estate in Topsfield on November 22. This is not a holiday craft fair. Think of it more as a vibrant marketplace nestled in the rooms of an historic New England mansion. And Spiker’s Shrubs will be there with bells on. Sample our new shrubs … stock up on stocking stuffers including our newest mini shrub sampler … and meet other artisan food producers who share our passion for fresh, locally made products. Continue reading Sensational stuff made locally – a holiday emporium
A funny thing happened on the way to the shrub shack: While working on a recipe for a new Pear Ginger Shrub, we forgot to add the pears. The result was a potent brew with such an exhilarating ginger punch that we decided this shrub deserved to stand on its own.
And so we are pleased to introduce Ginger Bite Shrub. The spicy flavor is something you can sink your teeth into, whether you’re adding it to an IPA beer, a glass of seltzer, a shot of bourbon, a Dark and Stormy, or a stir-fry. Oh, and one other thing: it goes great with pears.
Boston Harbor Distillery and Spiker’s are a great combination. BHD’s Corey Bunnewith has crafted three tantalizing recipes to showcase the best of their spirits and our shrubs: Pineapple Basil and Green Tea Sour, Raspberry Bergamot Sparkler, and Grapefruit Palmer.
We’ll shoot you the recipes if you provide us with some contact info. (Don’t worry. We won’t use it for marketing harassment. Just need to know where the info should go.)
August is National Peach Month, and I’ve got some good news and some bad news.
The bad news: the squirrels ate all the peaches from our backyard tree. The good news: Glenn Cook from Cider Hill Farm explained how to tell when peaches are ripe. (Wish I had known this sooner, because I might have gotten to my peaches before the varmints did.) Here’s what he said:
Peaches are harvested by ground color and swell. Ground color is the color under the red blush, which goes from green to light green to yellow when the fruit is mature. The swell is the filling out of the cheeks in the last day or two before it is ready to pick. Peaches put on a lot of size in the last few days before harvest. Peaches picked for long haul shipping and storage are generally picked a few days sooner than we would, to make them more firm and durable, but they often will not develop their full flavor and juiciness. If picked correctly, they will be firm with just a little give when pressure is put on them, but will ripen to a juicy softness in just a day or two. In our area, mid season peaches tend to have the best flavor, which we harvest from early August to the end of that month. Peaches can be kept in the refrigerator for about two weeks.
And here’s another tip, straight from the Spiker’s kitchen: Fruit flies just love peaches. We usually have three or four different fruits in our home test kitchen at any given time, but when peaches are on the counter they are also on the fruit-fly menu. So as soon as we bring peaches home (from Cider Hill or any other local orchard), we bag ’em in gallon-size zip bags. And as soon as they are just-right ripe, they go into the fridge.
Heading into Boston to check out the fabulous new Public Market? Be sure to stop by Corner Stalk Farm’s booth and pick up a box of gourmet greens hand-grown in their pesticide-free hydroponic East Boston compound. You can also pick up Spiker’s Shrubs to splash on your greens (or in your favorite spirits, seltzer, or tea). Our Pineapple Basil Shrub features basil fresh from Corner Stalk.
Check out our Master Recipe for vinaigrette here. Spiker’s Pineapple Basil Shrub makes greens sing! (You can use any of our shrubs for a delicious vinaigrette.)
Spiker’s Shrubs in cocktails and mocktails are like salt and pepper. What many people don’t know is that shrubs are a powerful secret weapon in your kitchen pantry when it comes to sauces, dressings, and gravies.
For Father’s Day, we’ll be at Shubie’s on Saturday, June 20 from 1-5pm to show you how you can turn Spiker’s Shrubs into an incredible fruity-tart drizzle for cheese plates and appetizers.
Shubie’s has one of the most impressive cheese selections on the North Shore. To showcase this selection, we created a variety of plating suggestions to pair with our master “cheese drizzle” recipe. Just 3 minutes in the microwave transforms our cocktail mixers into a floral, fruity-tart glaze.
For example, the gorgeous Jasper Hill Harbison shown here is a creamy, gooey, luscious cheese wrapped in a ribbon of spruce bark. The woodsy, citrus, and floral notes are intoxicating. Just bring the cheese to room temp, scoop it onto a cracker or slice of baguette, and drizzle with one of our Spiker’s Shrub drizzles. Or try a drizzle with these other cheeses from Shubie’s:
Cloumage, a fresh cream cheese style which is like a cross between ricotta and cottage cheese. Made in Westport, MA.
Brebirousse d’Argnetal, an addicting, creamy sheep’s milk brie from France.
Colston Bassett Stilton, by far the best Stilton in the world. A much cleaner, purer taste than other blues. Great minerality and and not overly pungent.
Curious? Come to Shubie’s on Saturday, June 20, from 1-5pm. Pick up some shrubs, cheese, artisan crackers and other condiments to create a fantastic gift basket for your favorite dad, neighbor, or friend.
Every year, you see websites pushing alcohol for Dads. Sure, my father liked his Scotch. But to push Harvey’s culinary hot button, I knew he wanted more than a glass of Jack Daniels. He wanted cheese, bacon, and nuts.
Clearly, the folks at Pamplemousse in Reading, MA are on the same wavelength, because on June 13 they’re hosting the ultimate pre-Father’s Day bash: Booze, Blues, Brews, and Bacon.
We’ll be there to join in the fun. Find out how Spiker’s Shrubs can turn bacon into a thing of wonder at the breakfast table. (They can also make a mean cocktail, cheese drizzle, and more.)
If you can’t find something at this event, it’s time for a Hallmark card and one of those “I’ll clean the garage” lists. Dad might sigh and smile, but his inner baconator will be very disappointed.
When summer heat and humidity start bearing down, we don’t turn to lemonade to quench our thirst. We want something bracing and refreshing. That’s why Spiker’s is rolling out a brand new shrub in time for Father’s Day, the Solstice, and any day hotter than 80 degrees F.
Introducing Spiker’s Pink Grapefruit Shrub, crafted from thinly sliced Ruby Red Grapefruit. We include some of the peel during the aging process to add the same welcome spritz and subtle bitter bite which our customers loved in Tuscan Tangerine shrub. Sadly, tangerines are no longer in season. But Grapefruit Shrub is more than a substitute; it’s a star in its own right.
Try it straight over ice and seltzer. Swirl it into iced green tea. Drizzle it over a salad with avocado and Wolf Meadow Farm’s Caciocavallo cheese. Visit Vena’s Fizz House in Portland, Maine to taste the latest mocktails crafted by Steve and Joanna Corman. And by all means, include it in your next mojito, margarita, or Pisco cocktail.
Look for Spiker’s Grapefruit Shrub starting June 19.
PS – If you can’t find Spiker’s Shrubs at a location near you, please ask for us at your local specialty foods retailer, or drop us a note here to suggest the names of stores near you. We’re eager to grow our distribution network, and your feedback would be most appreciated. Thanks!
When we launched our business in 2014, Cider Hill Farm was the first business we approached. They’re just down the street from us, but their location isn’t what motivated us. Cider Hill Farm is a leader in sustainable farming and community retailing. You will always find something fresh, new, and local on their shelves. And we will always want to be part of their mission.
Today — almost one year after we launched Spiker’s Shrubs and Cider Hill said “yes!” — we delivered a new crop of our 2015 shrubs.
We hope you’ll visit Cider Hill Farm soon and ask for Spiker’s Shrubs. But also be sure to explore their ever-expanding collection of small-batch specialty foods: honey, jerky, cheese, and more. Cider Hill Farm is a great destination no matter what you are shopping for.