Just north of town lies a community of small farms, most organic and all family owned and operated, that open their land each summer for droves of city folks to come up and pick fruit, buy fresh veggies, and enjoy music, food and fun. We are so lucky to have the Greenbluff farms such a short trip away, and we spend many a summer weekend up there.
Our fruit production on the homestead is still low — a few strawberry plants, a young cherry tree and some melon vines. Although we plan to put in our miniature city orchard next year, it will be a few years before we are producing enough to preserve. Our favorite fruits are strawberries, cherries, blackberries, apples and peaches, which thankfully all grow locally at the ‘Bluff. This past weekend was the opening of cherry season, so we went and picked 30+ pounds of the sweet red fruits!
Our major goal this year is to avoid buying fruits out of season. So far I’ve put up plenty of strawberry jam and frozen strawberries for winter snacking and smoothies. My cherries are also being turned into canned jam and pie filling, as well as frozen fruit. Peaches and blackberries get canned as well, and I usually preserve some apples for pie filling and as apple sauce. Apples also store well for most of winter in our basement root cellar.
The hardest part of the plan is determining how much we need. I ran some rough estimates to guide our summer harvesting at the farms, but I won’t be surprised if we come up short. But each year is a learning experience so we can do a bit better next time.