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.
This same time, years previous: of mice and men and other matters, when the dress-up ballgown finally fits, welcoming the stranger, the quotidian (12.8.14), zippy me, baked corn.
How satisfying to put up so much! Wanna do a farm tour post of your property? I think you’ve done one before, but they’re always so much fun to read. Also how many acres to you have?
What, if anything, do you not can or not freeze because you don’t like how it turns out? I don’t freeze green beans (I can them) and I don’t can salsa (I prefer it without vinegar, so I freeze it).
A farm post about us non-farmery folk? That could be fun! (I keep forgetting that there’s a bunch of new readers here who might appreciate an orientation, oops.)
We have about 5 acres.
I like to freeze some things because they often taste fresher, but I like that canning is so accessible — no thaw time. Also, canning saves on freezer space… (not that we currently have a shortage of freezer space). I’d like to start pressure canning bone broth and beef — again, for ease of use.
and Scarlett cried, “As God is my witness, I will never be hungry again!”
Haha, that’s about right!
Very cool! I’m curious if you barter items or services with family or friends. (I love the idea of doing that, but haven’t really myself.)
Sometimes. But usually it’s more informal, like we borrow a freezer from friends and then give them beef as a thank-you gift. Or when the kids were little, my friends and I often swapped chiild care to help each other out. It’s more about supporting each other and attempting to strike a balance between the giving and taking.
That’s a great stash of food! It reminds me of my mom and her twin sister who used to can and freeze everything and kept lists like you do. Such a feeling of accomplishment!
Thrift at Home
That is a lot of food!! Impressive that this is your scaled back version. I refuse to can salsa anymore – too much work with an unpredictable level of heat. I make it fresh in season or buy it canned. Humph.
My younger son is VERY upset that we didn’t do salsa. He eats it like a side dish, not a condiment. Next year I’ll be doing boatloads.