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Preserving the Season

August 19, 2016

This summer we’ll be preserving fresh food not harvested from our garden. Some years you just can’t rely on your own farm — large or small — to produce the foods you want to freeze, can or dry for the long winter ahead. We’re having one of those years.

garden staged for sale

In spring 2016, when we would normally be planting & harvesting, we were instead staging our home & garden for sale. And, we were saying good-bye to not-ready-to-harvest crops like this garlic patch.

It isn’t that our crops failed. Rather, we just didn’t plant much in the way of a seasonal veggie garden. We were just too busy preparing our home for sale, buying a new home, packing, moving, repairing, unpacking & all that jazz — all in the midst of the annual seeding, sowing and early harvesting window. So here we are in August with just a few potted peppers and tomatoes, a single container with cucumbers, several potted herbs and a new field filled with enough blackberries to take over the world and feed an army.

Fortunately, living in farm country means we have access to no-spray, locally grown, often organic (or at least transitional) foods, picked fresh from small farms. In fact, we’re pretty much eating a 20-mile diet comprised of locally grown producefish, grass-fed meats, dairy, and even eggs from our neighbor across the field next door.

But, about the only thing we’ll be preserving from our own garden this year is those blackberries!

homegrown harvest for preserving

Most years we enjoy abundant homegrown harvest, fresh & for preserving.
But, not this year.

If your garden failed you or you just didn’t get around to planting it, now’s the time to discuss bulk buys with your favorite local farmers. If you don’t live in farm country like we do, visit your farmer’s market and ask about placing preserving orders. Many farmers will be happy to discount bulk buys, and if they offer better prices on their seconds, don’t snub the opportunity. Just get those very ripe goodies home and into your belly, canner, dehydrator or freezer right away.

If preserving food is new to you, try some of the simple methods we’ve come to love for tomatoes, zucchini, basil, berries and more.

Soon enough it’ll be planting time again, and it’s never too early to begin planning your future garden. Perhaps this time next year we’ll be discussing our new deer-proofed vegetable garden successes (or failures) or our forthcoming chicken coop or the perennial food forest we hope to install sooner rather than later. But, for now, I just need to figure out where I put the boxes with my dehydrator and canning supplies!

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