Sunday, August 28, 2011

I you have excess fruit, I will process if for you.
  • I can make jams and jellies
  • I can do dried fruits and fruit leather   
  • I can also do apple sauce and fruit purees
  • I can can tomatoes or make tomato sauce
  • I have a Victorio foodmill that is amazing a seperating fruit from skin and seeds.
  • I have a apple peeler/corer/slicer that quickly makes apples into rings
  • I have a pressure canner

I can fill jars in 125, 250, 500 and 1000 ml sizes.  I have regular and wide mouth jars

What will I charge you?  Nothing if you provide the jars.   What I ask is that I get to keep half of the fruit.  If you want me to provide the jars, I will ask $1 per jar no matter the size.

You will notice that there are two things I did not list - pickles or juice.   I have never gotten into making pickles and I do not have the right equipment to easily juice fruit.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How does my garden grow?

Scarlet runner beans are ready
This year I put in more effort than the last couple of years, but the year has been an odd one.   This summer has been the driest in my neighbourhood since the UVic Weather Network starting keeping data in 2005.  At the same time it has been the coolest summer and not by a small amount, but 1.5 degrees in June and July.

Everything is way behind.   I am only now getting into major zucchini production.   Today was the first day I had a serious surplus.  The same is true of the scarlet runner beans this year.  I have green beans to harvest, but the tomatoes are way behind as are the cucumbers.   I am worried I planted them in a location where the soil is not that fertile or is too acidic.

2011 zucchini plants
This year I moved most of our herbs onto the sundeck so that we would make more use of them.   We have used more, but I have also been on top of the more so they are generally do better.   We have almost enough basil for a pesto.  We have an abundance of parsley.    Or new oregano plant is a happy camper.
Sage on the sundeck

Our rosemary is a serious bush now, I am not sure why it took off, but it has and it means we have enough rosemary to last us forever.  

Nearby are the thornless blackberries.  We have a week left of August and they are still not ready to harvest.   I finally have enough canes that there is enough fruit to do something small.   When we moved in there was a single cane that had been ignored for some time it would seem.

My strawberries have finally expanded to the point where we get a harvest, though the timing was weird and the weather did them no favours.   The location is also a spot in the yard where we are not on a daily basis and I tend to neglect them.

My apple tree is a decent size that it should bear some fruit next year as will my apricot tree.  My fig once again has a huge crop again, but most of it is being eaten by the birds.  I like a few fresh figs but they are one of the few things I have tried to dry that has not worked well.   I am getting something wrong.

Given how well figs seem to grow here, I have no idea why there is no one in the CRD with an orchard of them.   Figs, like peaches, plums and nectarines, are soft treefruits that really do not travel well.  Local production trumps the stuff in the stores.
Rosemary bush
Thornless blackberry still not ready

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Selling jams and apple sauce

Last weekend was had a garage sale and I had my blueberry jam for sale.    People tend to not believe me that it is as good as it is.  It seems that many people really do not like blueberry jam because it can be overly sweet or cloying.  

My jam is a low sugar and made with some lemon juice in it.   The addition of the lemon juice gives the blueberry jam the little bit of tartness that is needed to make it sublime.    Without trying too hard, I sold bunch of the blueberry jam on Saturday.

Sheila recently was talking with one of her clients about the jams and apple sauce I make.   She brought some for the woman to try and she liked all three on offer and bought one blueberry, one strawberry and one apple sauce.

For a couple of years I sold my jams in Whistler at their farmer's market as part of my produce stand.   I had a lot of repeat customers.

I know I am biased, but my jams are the best I have ever tasted.   My strawberry jam tastes first and foremost like the fruit and not like something SWEET as so many jams do.   The same is true of raspberry or blackberry jams when I have them.   I tend not to sell my crab apple jelly as I only make a small amount each year and the effort is enough that I want to keep it all to myself.  In general I find jellies more hassle to make than they are worth.

The one 'jam' I make that I still have not managed to make dramatically better than others I have tasted is my cranberry one.  I make my cranberry sauce more like a jam in consistency, but there is still something missing from the flavour to make it sublime in the way my blueberry jam is.  I will continue to experiment and see if I can make something better.

If you are intrigued, they are for sale:

  • 125ml - $3
  • 250ml - $5
  • 500ml - $8

Currently I have:

  • Strawberry
  • Blueberry
  • Apple Sauce
  • Cranberry

Shortly there will be blackberry

Sheila has a POS machine, so people can pay with debit or credit card.

You can call us at 250-298-7501 if you are interested.

Should you wish to have your own fruit or jams canned, I can do that for you for $1 a jar ($1.50 a jar if I have to provide the jars).   I have a decent pressure canner and use it a lot.

I also make salsa and tomato sauce, though none will be available till September and then only for sale if I decide to produce more than we can use for the next year.