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Archive for the ‘Farming’ Category

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…. or sixty pounds of blueberries! Only sixty more left to pick before the season ends.

Think pearls. No, not the neck adornment, but instead hundreds of perfectly round orbs. Think blueberries. I know, I went a little blueberry crazy here. But, I mean, BLUEBERRIES! How can anyone not love those plump, sweet blue pearls of utter sweet and so healthy goodness? Yes, I went blueberry picking again, and in just a short time collected 60 pounds of fruit, enough to gorge ourselves and have plenty leftover to freeze for later that will go into my blueberry merlot jam, holiday pies and winter desserts. And lest we forget homemade blueberry ice cream, too! 🙂 yum! I’m so glad its summer.

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Mid June has to be the sweetest time of the year. This is the time of year we take to the open strawberry fields and pick til our fingers are red and our backs are broken.

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So, yesterday I picked strawberries for dessert, todays cereal and my afternoon treat, a scrumptiously healthy smoothie…. and then with 24 quarts of berries, it was an afternoon of jammin! Jars upon jars of strawberry rhubarb, strawberry balsamico, strawberry basil, and for my true purist customers.. plain old fresh picked strawberry jam.

Being the early bird that I am, I had the fields virtually to myself, so the picking was easy, and in no time I was on my way back home with my first of this summer’s sweetness. With any weather luck, I’ll be back in the fields twice more before this short season will come to an end… but by then blueberry season begins! 🙂

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When you see a statue of a saint in a garden, more than likely it will be of St. Francis, with a bird usually in his hands or on his shoulder.

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St. Francis may have been the protector of birds and animals in the garden, but the actual patron saint of gardening was a monk named, Saint Fiacre. Since medeival times, Saint Fiacre has been recognized as the real gardeners patron saint.

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Fiacre was raised in a monestary, and it was here where he learned and became a most skillful user of the healing properties of herbs. Once he earned fame for his knowledge and usefulness of plants and healing abilities, thousands flocked to him.  Once realizing what was happening, Fiacre fled the area for more solitude, where he  established a hermitage where he built an oratory in honor of the Virgin Mary and a hospice where he received strangers.  He himself retreated to a solitary life, preferring a life of prayer and manual labor in his gardens.

Once again when word spread of his healing abilities and ‘miracles’, people began flocking to him for foods, healing and wisdom..

He once again was venerated by followers (which is how and where I believe ‘ social media’ truly came to form. 🙂 and so it was decided  a monestary was to be formed.  The monestary grew vegetables and fruits to feed the hungry, and cultivated herbs and flowers to aid in the healing of the sick.  Visitors to Fiacre’s garden brought along with them seeds and plantings from afar, and so, his ‘solitary gardens’ grew and became famous throughout Europe.  After his death, visitors to his monestary claimed that it had healing powers.  The shrine still remains a destination today with pilgrims near and far, seeking relief for many ailments.

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Saint Fiacre is depicted in art and statuary today as an elderly man, carrying a spade… when truth be known, Fiacre was a gardener and an herbalist, in a time when herbs were not just pretty or tasty–but rather, an essential part of medicine.

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I believe as the followers that made their way to Saint Fiacre’s Monestary in the healing properties of a garden. He will always be with me, in mine.

 

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Well say  hello to summer! 🙂 Yeehaw!

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This farmers market season is off to a great start! Despite a very dry spring and some rogue frosts, we farmers are attending our markets with diverse green products, and other cottage industry producers, like artisan bakers and cheese makers and specialty jams–like me! 🙂  are rounding out the spring farmers’ markets in our neck of the woods.

As a market manager, overseeing 25 wonderful vendors… so far I’m seeing strong shopper turnout this spring, which is fantastic news! Rain or shine or even sometimes an early snow…. for the past sixteen years, are open from early May through mid October. It’s always been a pleasure for me when market season rolls around again each year… after a long hibernating winter here, to see old friends and meet new ones each season.

The hours are indeed long, the pay.. nominal. But the growing passion and their rewards are ten-fold in my mind. As a one woman small cottage business owner/farm gal, I can honestly still say I absolutely love my job! 🙂 And yes, some days I moan and grown.. but hey, none of us are getting any younger, and there surely are days when you can hear me yelling at myself, “I’m never going to get this all harvested”… but then somehow I do! Somebody up there must be watching over me, for certain. Since moving to Maine ten years ago my farming routine has clearly changed from having a working farm in N.H. for the prior 23 years… but it keeps me hopping. These are some of what I grow, or bake, or process.

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Yesterday was a great market day for me! They cleaned me out of 35 quarts of strawberries and shortcake biscuits in one hour! ( many asking if I had real whipped cream for sale too! ) Oy vey! LOL! Funny how passionate folks can be about the first strawberries of season… myself, included.

Once established here in Maine,  I acquired my Maine state inspected licensure to produce canned and baked goods. So these days, in addition to my line of “wonderful herbal soaps” and skin care specialties plus organic veggies and fresh herbs, I’ve added a line of wine and herbal jams and jellies. It keeps me incredibly busy keeping up with my local shop orders, as well as various canned veggies –depending on what I’m pulling out of the gardens, and my infamous Wicked Good Pickles, along some cut flowers bouquets, that all goes to market.  As you can probably imagine.. my days are pretty full in season, so blogging has to take a back seat and it does, until Autumn for me. So thanks to you readers for continually returning here, and for all your support and encouraging words. It’s much appreciated. You know who you are. 🙂

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And thank you to everyone who takes the time to purchase what they can — straight from the grower/producer. That effort makes a huge difference, and helps we farmers and farmers markets make the leap into a robust summer season ahead. We surely appreciate your support! If you’re ever in our neck of the woods, stop by the Wells Farmers’ Market (shameless plug 🙂 LOL–we’ll be there!

Happy Summer Solstice! I can’t believe 4th of July is only two weeks away! 

 

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…. to be in the garden 🙂

Blue & yellow baptisa… (false indigo) showy little guys… love em’! Wish they’d stick around all season in the garden.

Even my little buddy stopped by today to say hello.. a perfect day!

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