We scaled the garden way back this year — the family is shrinking — but we still processed a good amount of food, mostly from produce that we sourced via local farmers and orchards.
My younger daughter worked a partial season at the produce farm so once again we had plenty of fresh produce — lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, onions, heirloom tomatoes, garlic, spinach, kale, etc — over the spring and summer. (She refused to bring home the extra eggplants, though, the stinker.)
Much of our freezer space has been used for beef. At the end of last year, we sent our three steers to slaughter. My husband hauled the beef home from the processors — an entire ton of it — in the van. A bunch of it went to friends and family, and the rest got stashed in our freezers (we have five, though all of them aren’t always in operation). Having all this grass-fed beef — steaks! burgers! ground beef! roasts! ribs! — is a luxury that still boggles my mind.
By far, this year’s biggest food project has been our family milk cow. It’s been a raging success (says I), and I hope that our non-farmery family can work out a way to keep a family milk cow because I love, love, love cheesemaking.
he only hand milked in the beginning; now he uses an electric milker
- Rhubarb, frozen: not recorded but I know I put some in the freezer
- Strawberries: 1 quart, sliced and sugared; 5 pints of freezer jam, 2 half-pints
- Applesauce, Lodi (3 bushels): 55 quarts
- Apricots (1 bushel): 8 quarts, canned; 9 pints and 2 half pints cook jam
- Wineberries, frozen: 5 quarts
- Blackberries, from our neighbors’ farm, frozen: 11 quarts
- Green Beans, frozen: 11 quarts
- Corn, frozen: 8 quarts
- Tomatoes, canned: 37 quarts and 1 pint
- Tomato Juice, canned: 9 quarts
- Roasted Tomato Pizza Sauce, canned: 13 pints
- Roasted Tomato Sauce, canned: 6 pints, 1 half pint
- Peaches, Glohaven (2 bushels): 26 quarts and 1 pint canned
- Nectarines, canned (4 bushels?): 44 quarts
- Grape Jelly: 23 pints, 4 half pints
- Grape Syrup: 10 pints, 1 half pint
- Grape Cordial: 3 quarts, 1 pint
- Sweet Cherry Grape Juice: 12 quarts
- Red Raspberries, frozen: 11 quarts
- Beef, 3 steers: over 1 ton of beef
- Cheeses: 44 aged cheeses (and counting), plus many, many soft cheeses, yogurts, etc.
*I’m pretty sure there was a lot more frozen strawberries (and jam), almost all from the strawberries that my parents gave to us — I think I forgot to record it. Strawberry jam is a family favorite, so I must remember to make lots more of it next year.
*We got lots of “old” food from Magpie — grilled chicken, soups, breads, etc — that we’ve squirreled away in the freezer.
*My younger son has taken over the chickens. I buy eggs from him, three dollars a dozen. Right now, production is low. I keep encouraging him to put a light in the coop, but he hasn’t done it yet.
*Our corn crop didn’t produce much, so we ordered from local farmers and had a corn processing day with my family. Next year, I want to make sure to freeze some of the corn in pint bags, not quarts, since a quart of corn is generally too much for us.
*We also bought several 25-pound bags of potatoes from those same farmers, as well as a smaller bag of sweet potatoes.
*The beans were terrible, once again. Either do a fall crop, or skip them all together. It’s early December and we only have 1 bag left.
*The nectarines were already going bad when we picked them up from the orchard (this has happened other years), so too much of the fruit went to waste.
*I thought we weren’t going to find Lodi apples, but last minute I sourced them at a different orchard. We’ve been plowing through the sauce. My younger son eats a crazy-huge amount.
*Tomatoes were decent, but not great, so I bought a couple boxes from a farm stand. Next summer we’ll need to do salsa.
*We still had plenty of pesto torte, pesto, zucchini relish, and frozen peppers. Next year I’ll need to do more.
*We got our fall baking and eating apples — Fuji’s the family fave — from a local orchard, and from an orchard in PA.
*We’ve ordered 100 pounds of popcorn from a farm in PA — it’s still drying, but should be ready for pickup soon.