It’s that time of the year again, back to school & back to school lunches. Getting everyone up early and wrestling with the morning routine.

It’s all about trying to make each step easy and healthy for you and your kids. Right??!! Easy is a word all of us parents love to hear.

The daunting thought of packing a lunch day after day doesn’t have to be that painful. Choosing the right foods and ingredients can help boost health, immunity concentration and anxiety. It doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive or time consuming.

Getting your child involved in the process is so helpful for you & them. It’s teaching them the benefits of packing a healthy lunch that tastes better and fresher. Children will feel proud of their work and will probably eat more knowing their hard work went into packing it! At least thats what mine do.

Food plays a very important role in balancing moods and concentration throughout the day which leads to better learning. Avoiding packaged and processed foods can help prevent the spikes in sugar and and having your kids crash; as well as, reducing the signs of ADHD.

At Hofstedes Country Barn you can find plenty of nutritious and unique ideas for you and your family for school lunches. You’re always guaranteed to find weekly sales on fruits and veggies, perfect and easy for lunches; items like: homemade fruit leathers, fruit cups, sandwiches, sausages. It’s all about thinking creatively and having that one stop shopping place to make that happen.

Tips for Packing Healthy School Lunches 

Junk Food Free | The less junk and processed/packaged the better, and the more your child’s teacher will love you.

Smart Creative Snacks | Fruit leathers, fruit cups & cute shaped sandwiches makes meals more fun. Creating a lunch thats a little more exciting will have them eating them up and wanting more.

Educate & Teach Your Kids | Get your kids involved and have them help make their lunches all while sneakily teaching them the benefits of fresh produce and eating healthy.

Incorporate all food groups | Try incorporating different food groups, veggies, fruits, meat.

Read The Labels | Getting a better understanding of whats in your children food

Plan and Prepare | Makes life really easy packing last minute lunches when everything ready and available in your home. Making one stop and shopping for all your alternatives.

 

One of the best things about late summer is all of the wonderful fruits available: peaches, plums, melons, the list goes on and on. But as we head into the fall and the back to school season, you may be on the hunt for a tasty apple to add to those lunch boxes!
To help in your quest for the perfect apple, we’re breaking down the similarities & differences between some of our most popular apple varieties!

Ambrosia:

This apple is a BC original and we’re pretty proud of it! Ambrosia’s are sweet, with white flesh and a crisp crunch. They’re best for snacking, salads, pies and baking! Did you know that Ambrosia apples are slow to brown, which makes them perfect for salads!

McIntosh:

McIntosh apples are rich, tangy & aromatic. Often shortened to Mac, their small to medium size makes them perfect for the lunchbox! Their flesh is white, juicy and tender – great for making a lovely pink-hued applesauce!

Pink Lady:

The Pink Lady has a distinctive ‘pink’ blush, mixed with a green ‘background’. This is a crunchy and delicious apple to enjoy in the winter season. Pink Lady’s are sweet & slightly tart, which makes them a great variety to pair with cheese boards! They’re also great for salads, snacks and pies.

Spartan:

The Spartan apple is sweet & succulent. It’s flesh is snowy white & crunchy – delicious in salads, pies and sauces. The Spartan’s flavour pairs well with strong, savory flavours like blue cheese, rosemary, ginger and walnuts. A great apple to cook with!

Sunrise:

Sunrise apples are one of the first varieties to be harvested every year. These apples are sweet yet tart, and one of the most requested apples sold here at Hofstede’s! Although they don’t last as long as other apples, they make for fantastic fresh eating and they’re great for homemade apple juice!

Gala:

Gala apples are crisp, firm and bright red or red/orange patterned fruit with a yellow background.  They are usually small to medium sized with a thinner skin. They boast a sweet & succulent taste, perfect for snacking on! Gala’s pair well with bold flavours such as herbs, wine and cheeses.

We have everything you need to host the “perfect” BBQ party, especially when you don’t have time to organize everything in advance.

Instead of serving your guests a few frazzled sausages, Hofstede’s Country Barn has compiled some suggestions on how to make your parties an experience that everyone will remember for a long time!

Appetizers

Snacks like crisps should be on offer to starve off hunger, while your guests are waiting for the main meal to cook, and to prevent them from consuming too many beverages too quickly. You may also consider any one of our fruit and veggie platters to keep people satisfied but not too full for dinner. An assortment of cheese, deli, olives and tomatoes is another great way to go!

Drinks

Make sure there are plenty of cool drinks on the table. You could even get your guests’ favourite drinks in for extra brownie points! Include a mix of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks; an assortment of beers, white wines, rosé and lemonade are great BBQ pairings. Try adding mint leaves and lime wedges to the lemonde.

To mix things up, you could try something different, like raspberry and lime flavoured beers. Make sure to keep drinks cool you could use a large container filled with ice, so you don’t have to run in and out of the house every time someone wants a drink.

 

Main Food

Going all out for a traditional barbeque means serving ribs, chicken, burgers and hot dogs, but don’t forget those who don’t eat meat and include things such as veggie burgers. Keep in mind everything should be cooked on a low heat to get the best out of the meat – if you have the time, we suggest marinating the meat the night before. Try adding some roasted peppers, roasted zucchini, mushroom and Hofstedes corn on the cob as a side. The classic sauces to serve are BBQ sauce, ketchup and mayonnaise but you could kick it up a notch and serve a unique Dutch mustard! We have an entire aisle dedicated to specialty sauces. Be sure to check that out to liven up your party.

Jesse, Carrie and Abbey are three of our most dependable, motivated, and diligent employees; and they also happen to be siblings! We’re not kidding when we say the Hofstede’s team is like a family! We feel pretty lucky to have this hard-working trio in our store, which is why this week we’re featuring the Funks!

 

When did you start working at Hofstede’s?

Carrie: I started last April – so it’s been about 1 year and 4 months

Jesse: This is my second week!

Abbey: I started working at Hofstede’s on June 21st

 

Why did you want to work at Hofstede’s?

Carrie: I thought it was a cute store, and I would have been willing to work in any department but I really liked the idea of working in a local coffee shop.

Jesse: It seemed like a good opportunity to change my work environment. Before this, I was a cook but baking brings me more joy, so I felt pretty excited to take the bakery position.

Abbey: I really liked seeing how the girls interact with each other and with customers, and also that everyone here is a really hard worker.

 

Tell us about your favourite Hofstede’s story or memory

Carrie: When I was new here, I was working on the till and a customer came in for lunch. I asked for his name, and he responded with a thick accent. I said: “John?” No. “Peter?” No. I went through a few more names, and he finally had to write his name down for me. Turns out his name is “Theo”, and we still laugh about it every time he comes in. That’s probably the funniest and most embarrassing thing that has happened to me at the store.

Jesse: I haven’t really been here long enough to have a favourite memory, but so far my overall experience here has been really positive.

Abbey: Last week I was on till and I took an order from a deaf lady. It was cool because I’ve never met a deaf person before, and she was really nice. You meet lots of friendly people working here.

 

What’s the best part of working at Hofstedes?

Carrie: The staff because it genuinely is like a family here – everyone truly cares about each other and we all get along so well.

Jesse: I haven’t been here very long, but working with the staff has been great. Everyone is so easy to get along with and it feels like a very laid-back environment.

Abbey: I think it’s great to be able to work with nice people in a nice atmosphere.

 

What’s it like to work with your siblings?

Carrie: It’s so fun seeing them throughout the day and it’s just comforting to know they are here. We work really well together, which is special because not all families do. I think it’s even more special for siblings to get along so well. We really enjoy spending time together – even on the weekends we’re always hanging out together and doing fun things as a family.

Jesse: The three of us have a really good relationship. I think when other staff see us joking around and laughing, it makes it easier for them to join-in and have fun with us too. Hopefully our dynamic helps everyone feel more comfortable around each other.

Abbey: It’s really cool. I enjoy being around my siblings – we’re really close!