Saturday, September 17, 2011
Getting in the harvest and putting up food
I didn't feel like writing much for the farm blog last weekend after Mary passed away. But it was a busy time, as we were getting ready for a class visit while also deep in fall harvesting and putting up of food.
The class, Agroecology, came by on Monday and spent a good couple hours on an in-depth farm tour. I has set up a tomato canning demonstration for them, but we ran out of time.
The tomatoes canned up just fine, all the same. I took some into college on Thursday, along with other products such as yarn and pesto and pork chops, to show the students and give out in class.
Next on the harvest list would be more apples, but that had to wait for this morning.
It's been an exceptionally good year for apples, and we have departed from our usual practice of making just a few packages of apple sauce/pie filling because of the failure of the blueberry crop at our friend's farm. Lacking our usual twenty or thirty pounds of blueberries, we needed more of some other kind of pie stock to see us through the winter and so the apples have come in handy.
It's always been my intention to get our apple trees all pruned and in shape for the long haul -- they're terribly overgrown, having seen no pruning in thirty or more years -- but that's a slow business. I was pleased that with no help from us this year they produced some very nice apples.
I had already picked a pretty good cart-load of Golden Delicious type apples and made those into apple sauce. Today's cart load were mostly of a different variety -- another of the many unknown kinds we have, something like a Cortland. They proved a superior pie apple, not turning brown and cooking down nicely.
I then took a tour of our apple trees, tasting and bringing in a few samples here and there. Deep in the woods I found a very pale yellow apple that was super-sweet, my favorite so far, but by the time I found it, all the best ones had fallen in the wind.
The next job was to bring in a few spuds, enough for a nice Sunday dinner of ham and mashed potato -- our pig came back from the butchers last Tuesday. Potatoes, like apples, have done well this year, despite the blight. Some of the spuds in our patch were blighted, but most were fine. I'll wait for a hard frost to do the main harvest, and sort them very carefully and we should still get our target two hundred or so pounds.
Aimee came home with the shopping just as I was finishing this very pleasant activity, and so there was a small bustle of work as we brought in the food and some animal feed, then Aimee turned her attention to the basil crop. She'd been shopping for bulk olive oil, parmesan cheese, and nuts, all for pesto. The next thing was to pick the necessary basil. This had needed to be covered last night for fear of a frost, while a more certain frost is forecast for tonight, so today was the very last day to do this job without the fuss of keeping plucked basil plants in water.
For a while now she's been sitting on the porch, listening to "Science Friday" on the Internet, plucking basil.
All very domestic here at the farm this weekend.