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Archive for the ‘Vintage Garden Wine Jellies’ Category

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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It’s easy to see I’ll be in the kitchen the better part of this weekend. One thing you can always count on coming up in Spring — the croccus–and then there’s the rhubarb patch. And this year’s rhubarb patch is simply gorgeous, considering I just moved it all just seven short weeks ago! In its’ 100 plus years, this special rhubarb patch began it’s gardening life in Massachusetts, on my grandfathers farm, then into my Dad’s garden, then many years later, transplanted  to our New Hampshire farm…. and now, to what I hope will be its final destination, here in Maine. ❤

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I just love those marvelous leaves in the garden, and those beautiful magenta stalks. I remember as a youngster having the pinkest fingers in the neighborhood this time of year. When Mum washed the fresh picked stalks and how we’d stick them into the sugar bowl and taste that wonderful tarty flavor. Gosh they were so good!

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Rhubarb is just so showy in the garden–especially after a new fallen rain. The fruit itself is always a favorite around here. It just pairs so well other sweet fruits… apples, strawberries or blueberries along with a bit of sugar and some cinnamon. In crisps, pies, cobblers, muffins,  jams and tartlettes… it’s a favorite, hands down in our house.  So after I finished up my garden chores this morning, I picked an armful of these lovely stalks — in part to process, in part for rhubarb jam for Wednesday’s farmers market, in part for a tray of bluebarb muffins for breakfast… and lastly, in part to bake one strawberry rhubarb pie for company and tonite’s dessert. Yum! If you don’t grow your own rhubarb patch, head to your nearest farmers market & pick some up… the season is short… so don’t miss out… and, it freezes beautifully, too!

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With our growing season a little later here this year, we’re just now have bundles and bundles of garlic scapes for the picking in the gardens for the next week or two. Yummy, Jimbo!

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For those not familiar with scapes…. the garlic scape is the flower shoot that has shot up from the stem of a hardneck garlic bulb when growing. The scapes are slender, bright green, and often twisting and turning in elegant swan-like shapes. Shortly after they appear, which seems to happen almost overnight, it is important to snap them off of the rest of the stem to allow the garlic plant to instead put its energy into growing the garlic bulb, which will be harvested a couple of weeks later.

A favorite of mine, the  scapes have a flavor that is definitely garlic, but much mellower, with hints of herbal summerness. They make a stunning pesto, turning into an outrageously bright green paste that keeps its color when cooked or frozen. I will often just puree garlic scapes with olive oil and freeze in about one cup portions that will keep for several months.

Always on the lookout for new oils and vinegars for homemade salad dressings, this year I made garlic scape infused vinegar. It will still be a week or so before it hits its full potency, but so far so good, and the snaking scapes in the bottles are stunning if nothing else. The vinegar will be beautiful in simple vinaigrettes to dress greens and cucumbers from the garden, and also added to a marinade for grilling meat and seafood, splashed on sauteed chard, collards or kale, or for dunking crusty grilled bread. If your herb garden is overflowing, you can experiment a bit, and try adding a few sprigs of basil, thyme, dill or even a dried chili pepper to the bottle. Or, chop the scapes and add to potato or macaroni salad…  like to grill? Roll those beauties in olive oil and toss them on the grill.. once charred, sprinkle with fresh grated Romano cheese.

And because I have so many of these scapes right now… I decided to make a new jam for farmers market as well.  Simply scrumptious!

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Don’t let scape season escape you! You’ll be sorry if you do… don’t grow garlic? No excuse! Get to your nearest farmers market and pick up a handful! 🙂

 

 

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