Garden in the June
From the beginning we wanted to grow our own organic produce. We inherited a beautiful small orchard, grape vines, various berry bushes, and “patches” of perennials like asparagus and rhubarb. So it was up to us to plant vegetables. The 1st garden, only 10 x 20 feet was quickly expanded and is now more than 2500 square feet. We are able to grow enough to share with friends and neighbors and our “modified CSA” customers. In 2015 we were awarded 3 Blue Ribbons at the Delaware County Fair for some of our produce!
For the past few years we’ve eaten year-round from our gardens by using a combination of cooking, freezing, drying, canning, and long-term storage techniques. We’re always looking for new, interesting, and delicious ways to expand our food adventures. In addition to many different edible flowers, Sonny has recently started shitake mushroom cultivation and hand-pressed unfiltered apple cider production. Claire's jams and award-winning pickles made with fresh ingredients from the gardens become more famous each year.
The maple syrup season is only a few weeks toward the end of winter when days are above, and nights below, freezing temperatures. Then the sap of the sugar maple trees runs clear and sweet, until the weather gets too warm and the leaf buds begin to swell. By drilling a small hole and inserting a “tap” into the tree, the sap is collected until there is enough to begin the boiling process. When done correctly, tapping doesn’t hurt the trees and one can collect sap from the same trees for many years. It takes an average of 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of syrup!
A few years ago we tried our hand at “backyard sugaring,” an old-fashioned term for non-commercial small-batch production of maple syrup. Initially we boiled the sap on an old brick barbecue out in the open air. Later, we renovated the existing sap house (sometimes called a sugar shack) so we can be out of the elements. Our syrup is boiled on an iron stove over a natural wood fire and carefully hand-bottled. The result is a rich amber product with a hint of smokiness. It’s become a favorite among our small but devoted following. Please ask how to get some for yourself!