Thursday, April 25, 2013

Year-Round Maine Produce

In the summer, our kitchen is filled with fresh fruit and veggies. From cukes, onions, corn, and herbs, to an abundance of all kinds of locally picked berries and tree fruits, we have plenty of what we need for eating and canning. This time of year, however, individual "commercial" preservers like me have to search a bit harder for local produce, as our freezers are suddenly emptying of the masses we felt were enough for the year in the heat of last summer.
The truth of it is, to make a living (ha!), this time of year we jam-makers and picklers often succumb to buying bulk products from distributors, including fruit and veggies from far-away places, to supplement what we don't have or can't get locally in the winter and spring. I too supplement with far-away fruit but try to use as much as I can of these Maine-grown items year-round in our jam and pickles: Tomatoes, blueberries, cranberries, apples, blackberries, rhubarb, some raspberries (never enough), herbs, corn (thanks bro!), and eggs. I have three freezers quickly dwindling of my summer and fall berry, veggie, and rhubarb supply. We also always use local Maine honey and a bit of local cider vinegar. Seasonal favorites pop up soon, including dandelions (who doesn't have enough of those?) and fiddleheads, along with never-enough Maine-grown asparagus.  It's tough growing cukes in the winter and spring, and I even begged Kate of Tibbetts Family Farm to help me out with that, to which she laughed and offered to grow some in big planters for me. She must have felt my desperation. I'll wait on those until true summer comes along. Sometimes it's better to wait for something good in order to get it from Maine.
Here are some examples of Maine-grown items I used this week with which to make jam and relish.

Keeping tomatoes local in April means opting for these
hot-house yummies from Backyard Farms.  These were for the Spiced Tomato Jam.
Utilities from Giles Family Farm.  Apple Sauce and Apple Pie Jam.
Anderson Farms, of course. Quickly running out!  Corn Relish.
With about 50 pounds left, I hoarded these cranberries from
Old Grey Beaver Bog in Kennebunk.  Cranberry Hinkle Hatz Jam and Cranberry Sauce.
Bradybury Farm, Hollis.  Blueberry Jam, Pickled Blueberries,
and Black & Blue Honey Pie Jam (low sugar/high honey favorite).

We picked up this local vinegar right at Hannaford.
Supplies are limited.
Typically I use a combination of wild and cultivated blueberries from Maine, which are easy to come by year-round. Still, Bradbury Farm in Hollis called me yesterday to see if I needed some, as they were going to unplug their freezer. I drove up the road to the farm (just a few miles), where Mrs. Bradbury GAVE me a 30 pound bag. She carried it out of the house, brought it to the car and put it in my trunk. Think I'll be making her some Black & Blue Honey Pie Jam.

1 comment:

  1. Giving you a Shout Out on the blog tomorrow - the peanut butter is amazing and my girlies love that black and blue honey pie jam. Sue, you rock! :)