Thursday, December 27, 2012

Snow Day

As many of you know our area was hit with the snow storm that came through last night. We ended up not getting as much as they said we would. We were forecasted for 8-10 inches and I believe we probably got 6 or 7 inches. Either way it was enough for us to take the kids out to play.

So today we took a little break for a few hours and took the kids out to play in the snow. Eric Jr absolutely loved it. Which we knew from previous years but this is the first snowfall where he was actually old enough to play in it and there was enough of it.









Julianna this was her first time ever in the snow. Julianna absolutely hated it. She literally stood in the same spot the entire time we were outside. The most she did was put her hands in her pockets. As daddy said, "She was born in January but is definitely not a snow baby!" Daddy tried to pick her up to put her on the sled with him but she was not having it. Started screaming and crying. And then sat in the snow crying asking to go inside. We were only outside maybe a total of 25 minutes.



Now it is back to the grind. We had a meeting today with a web designer who is going to help us design a new website (more professional looking) and create our new online store, as well as take a load off of me by maintaining it. (*sigh of relief).

I rendered our first batch of beeswax last night from some of the honeycomb harvested from our hives.  Definitely a new process for me but it was fun. Love to learn new things. Didn't get a ton of wax but got enough to be able to do some test batches of some of the new value added products we are hoping to create using our herbs.

Also finished our first herbal pillow today. That is another product that we will be offering soon. We have talked about it for a long time but have not actually done it yet. I am still testing some different ways and mixes and things but they will be up for sale soon hopefully.

With the holidays and the end of year here we are already starting to look toward next season and try to figure out seed orders, markets, festivals, sales, customer specials, new ideas, and much more.We are hoping that even though we are stopping some things that the new things will take the place of those and create a wider variety of products focusing around the main things that we are good at. As always if you have any suggestions, comments or ideas you think we should look into please do not be afraid to let us know. We are always interested in learning and new ideas.

As always thank you for your dedication and loyalty in our journey and we hope you continue on with us, many of you are like family now!

From our family to yours we hope you had a wonderful holiday and we wish you a Happy New Year!


(From left to right top row)- Eric Jr, Jessica, Eric Sr (From Left to Right Bottom)- Sandra, Julianna, Bela




















Monday, December 17, 2012

8 days until Christmas

Yes I know when I actually saw that in writing I panicked a little!

Every year I plan on picking things up through the year so that I don't do the last minute rush and have to go out shopping and finding things the week of Christmas! But here I am once again the week of Christmas thinking of all the things I still have to get and what I still have to make!

I had planned this year to give some homemade gifts to some people and I never got them done. But for the past 2 years now I have given some of our fruit butters away to some family members as gifts. Just to let them know I did think of them.

I still have to get some stocking stuffers for the kids. It's funny you think that they would be so easy but it's so hard sometimes to know what to get especially on a tight budget.

One of my friends is giving all homemade gifts. I would love to to do that, but I do not have the time. Last year I made some cookies for my brothers.

I was looking at some different homemade things for the little ones and I think I might make some play-doh to put in their stockings.

But for those of you that prefer to buy things we do still have one more indoor market before Christmas this Saturday at the Metrocenter in Downtown Binghamton. It is from 9 am- noon.

We also will be a drop off point for Teddy Bears for the Newtown Community. A lady from the Chenango Bridge area has started a event trying to get enough Teddy Bears to send down to help comfort some of the children in that area. Her goal is to get enough Teddy Bears for every child to have something to comfort them a little.

I first heard about it through Cardinal Cafe who is also becoming a drop off point. They are always on top of helping out communities. So I offered to them that we would be willing to pick some up from the Binghamton area and they told me to get in contact with the other lady.

So here we are...

If you want to help the Newtown Community, please feel free to find the drop off points for this program and drop off a Teddy Bear to be sent down to these children. Saturday the 22nd is the very last day to donate. So make sure you get to either Cardinal Cafe in Newark Valley or Otsiningo Indoor Winter Farmers Market at the Metrocenter in Downtown Binghamton.

Here is a link to the event on Facebook if you would like to find out more  http://www.facebook.com/events/119070621591814/?fref=ts.

I hope to see you at market this Saturday and if not I hope you have a very Happy Holiday!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Holiday Magic

Last weekend we participated in Holiday Magic in Newark Valley NY.

This is the same town that we started the farmers market in this year. It is also the same town that my Brother- in-law owns a cafe.

Last year we participated in Holiday Magic by setting up in front of Cardinal Cafe (brother-in-laws cafe) with our homemade wreaths, fruit butters, herbs and teas. So when we talked about setting up for Holiday Magic this year we were so grateful that he allowed us to set up there again.

You know those movies on tv that you watch that have Christmas in a small town and they have a big festival or holiday event. That's what this is for Newark Valley, Berkshire, Richford and the surrounding communities. Santa comes to see the kids. There are crafts, music, games and other events going on. They also do a Silent Auction of wreaths made by local community members with the money supporting one of the local organizations.

This year I was asked to decorate a wreath for this event. We weren't sure what to do. The wreath had to have a theme. After pondering and waiting until the last minute I finally decided to do an "Herbal Christmas!" Sticking with something from our farm but also making it beautiful.

Of course I forgot to take a picture, but the wreath consisted of some of our herbal teas, dried herb shakers as well as fresh and dried herb bouquets.  I grouped some fresh rosemary, fresh mint, dried goldenrod and dried lavender together into bunches and placed them around the wreath and then attached our herbal teas and shakers to it.

I will have to say it looked awesome. I normally second guess my work until someone else outside of the family compliments it. But this was gorgeous. It was definitely something that I would have hung  in my home.

It was also great to see all the families in the community having a great time. Santa arrived by horse and sleigh at the Village Green. The kids were able to go and sit on Santa's lap. Of course Eric Jr sat on Santa's lap and when Santa asked his name he gave him his whole name including middle and last. Too cute. Santa then asked him what he wanted for Christmas and the first thing that came out of his mouth was "New Tinkerbell movie." Huh? Then he proceeded to say that he wanted play-doh.When Santa asked him what he was going to make with the play-doh he responded, "Doh!"  Then it was Julianna's turn. She sat on Santa's lap and proceeded to tell him that she wanted Mickey Mouse!







Needless to say Santa did not do a very good job this year! Hahaha! These things were not even mentioned to Mommy and Daddy!




We sold quite a bit and enjoyed the company of our community. It was great to see everyone and to enjoy each other while celebrating a great community holiday! We will be back there again next year hopefully and we hope to see you there. If you have never come to Holiday Magic make sure you do! Also make sure you come to Cardinal Cafe grab a nice hot drink or food,  pick up your fruit butter, herb, wreath and then go enjoy the rest of the time!




Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Holiday Season


 Are you still pondering what to get those special people in your life that you know don't use half the stuff you normally get them.

Are the people you are getting gifts for the type of people that love food and love to try new things?

Most importantly, is it important to you to make sure you buy from local producers?

If you answered yes to any of those questions we have the perfect items for you!




We have numerous items that you can give. We have 12 varieties available right now. Make a mix and match basket. Purchase just one special one. Pair them with some teas. Either way they all make great gifts.

We had someone purchase a bunch this weekend for their office christmas gifts. Do you do Secret Santa?

Perfect teacher gift or just something a little perfect for yourself to enjoy while you are fixing Thanksgiving dinner?

We will take special orders for the butters right up until the Christmas. We even will wrap the jars in cellophane with a nice ribbon around them.



 Fruit butters available now:
 
 Apple Butter
Sugar Free Apple Butter
Blueberry Apple Butter
Sugar Free Blueberry Apple Butter
Cranberry Apple Butter----*NEW*
Jalapeno Apple Butter---- *NEW*
Pear Butter
Sugar Free Pear Butter
Plum Butter
Peach Butter
Pumpkin Butter
Sugar Free Pumpkin Butter






Herbal Teas available now:

Apple Mint Tea---- *NEW*
Chamomile Lavender Tea
Lavender Tea
Spearmint Tea
Peppermint Tea
Sage Tea-----*NEW*
Lemongrass Tea
Lemon Balm Tea


Dried Herb Shakers available now:

Basil
Oregano
Sage
Lemongrass
Lime Basil
Lemon Basil
Marjoram
Dill
Poultry Seasoning
Lemon Balm
Lemon Lime Fish Seasoning


We will be at the Chenango Valley High School Craft Fair this weekend from 10am-3pm. Make sure you come and see us!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce Change Up!

Believe it or not the Holiday season is upon us. The massive amounts of people at all hours in the stores tells us so. The amounts of christmas trees and Santas in every store tell us that Christmas is coming!

Well we can't wait for Christmas, but more than anything I can't wait for a nice Turkey on Thanksgiving. More now than every Christmas overshadows Thanksgiving. But not for us!

As most of you know we raised our own turkeys this year and I cannot wait to taste the freshness of our own turkeys.

Going into Thanksgiving some people were asking for a cranberry flavored fruit butter. Being that we were using only local fruit I was having a tough time trying to figure this one out. We finally decided that we would buy some cranberries and pair them with the local apples we get and make a Cranberry Apple butter, sticking to our local fruit but also pleasing our loyal customers.

The cranberries are still from the USA. Obviously there are no cranberries in NY.

I personally don't care for Cranberry Sauce at thanksgiving. So when I was making this I was a little skeptical. But I will have to say if you are looking for something different for Thanksgiving rather than your normal cranberry sauce you need to absolutely without a doubt try our Cranberry Apple Butter.

Oh my God it is amazing!

My mother in-law loves it!
(They are our guinea pigs sometimes so they have had the good and the bad recipes. )

But to hear from her that she raves over it and ate it within a few days I knew we had a good one. She then called and asked for me to make a big jar of it for thanksgiving.

Yup that must mean it is really good!

We then had our Fiber Festival this weekend at the Oakdale Mall and this proved more than anything that it was excellent. Our biggest seller over the weekend was the Cranberry Apple. People were consistently saying how they were going to use it instead of cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving.

What is the difference between cranberry sauce and Cranberry Apple Butter?

Cranberry sauce is full of high fructose corn syrup and tons of sugar! And obviously lots of preservatives.

Cranberry Apple butter made by us is made of Cranberries, Apples, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. There really is not a lot of sugar in it. Just enough to give it a sweetness but that is what the apples are for as well to give it that right amount of cranberry tartness and sweetness of the apple. No preservatives, No high fructose corn syrup!


Come on give it a try, change it up for Thanksgiving and have our Cranberry Apple Butter with your Turkey this year!




Thursday, November 1, 2012

Craft Shows and Winter markets!

Now that the outdoor market season is over we once again have found a bunch of craft shows and indoor markets that we will be attending. As a farmer and living only on what you make from the farm you still have to find things in the winter when things slow down outside.

Otsiningo Farmers Market once again has created an indoor market and will be located once again at the Metrocenter in Downtown Binghamton.  It will be the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month from 9am-Noon. The same as last year.

Here is our schedule:

November 3, 2012- Cortland High School Craft Fair 10am-3pm.
                             - Otsiningo Winter Market 9am-noon. We will not be there this time but Cheryl from
                                                                                    Boer Bakery has offered to sell our products for us.
November 10- Oakdale Mall Fiber Festival 10am-9 pm
November 11- Oakdale Mall Fiber Festival 11am-7pm
November 17- Chenango Valley Craft Fair 10am

December 1- Otsiningo Winter Market 9am-noon
December 2- Vestal Craft Fair 10am-3 pm
December 7- Parlor City Indie Market and Craft Fair 6pm-9pm
December 8- Parlor City Indie Market and Craft Fair 9am-6pm
                   - Holiday Magic Newark Valley in front of Cardinal Cafe
December 9- Parlor City Indie Market and Craft Fair 11am-6pm
December 15- Otsiningo Winter Market 9am-noon

January 5- Otsiningo Winter Market 9am-noon
January 19- Otsiningo Winter Market 9 am-noon

February 2- Otsiningo Winter Market 9am-noon
February 16- Otsiningo Winter Market 9 am-noon

March 2- Otsiningo Winter Market 9 am-noon
March 9-10- Field, Hearth and Home event- Treadway Inn Owego
March 16- Otsiningo Winter Market 9am-noon

April 6- Otsiningo Winter Market 9am-noon
April 20- Otsiningo Winter Market 9am-noon

Monday, October 15, 2012

No More Rabbits

We have officially made the decision that we will no longer be selling rabbit meat. We are selling all the rabbits and our equipment. We will keep a few just for us for personal use, but other than that we will no longer continue selling them at market.

As all of you may heard feed prices are going up. And not just a little. Feed prices are rising very quickly and are making it very difficult for all farmers to continue raising animals.

This is the reason we decided to get rid of our rabbits. We have a bunch of loyal customers that buy rabbit every so often. But not as much as we need. The rabbits are not making us enough money to pay their feed bills let alone pay for the equipment we bought for them.

That being said we are keeping a few for ourselves and will continue to breed a few. That means we will not always have rabbit available, but we may occasionally have a few up for sale. If you would like to continue to get rabbit from us on an occasional basis, you may give us your contact information and when we have them available we will contact you.

We are sorry for the inconvenience and we are sorry that we cannot continue. We hope you still come back for the chicken and our fruit butters and herbs.

Thank you for being so loyal and for understanding.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

The kitchen is finished!

After the long wait and anticipation. The kitchen is finished!

We had our inspection on Friday October 5th and all went well. I have been cooking out of the kitchen now this past week and it has been a HUGE relief!

Trying to make as many butters as I have been trying to make in our small home kitchen was not too easy. Consistently pumping out and canning and trying to have dinner was not working out so well.

Now working out of the new kitchen I go down there work and come home and make and eat dinner. In the new kitchen I have plenty of room to move around. The kids have their own little corner where there is a TV, DVD player and toys for them to play with. Trying to keep a 1 1/2 year old and a 3 year old busy while you are trying to get work done is almost impossible. But it does a decent job.

Here are some pictures. I have not taken pictures since these were taken and this was before the stove, other counter and trim was finished.

Eric Jr helping clean the sinks or just playing in the water.

Julianna checking out the new potty!

Where the space is on the left is where the stove and other countertop are.




Checking to make sure his juice boxes were still cold!





I am going to try to take some more pictures this week to post the finished product. We are so glad to be able to expand now and will enjoy getting more varieties of products out to you including some specialty herbal stuff!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Newark Valley Apple Festival Oct. 6th and 7th.

Every year there is an apple festival held in Newark Valley. We have always talked about vending there but never really had much to vend. Produce isn't something that people would buy at an apple festival.

Now that we have the fruit butters, dried herbs and teas, we have decided we will join them this year.

Newark Valley Apple Festival
October 6th & 7th from 10am-5pm

"Admission is $6.00 for adults (members $5.00) and $4.00 for students and senior citizens. Children under 5 are free. Family rate $18. For more information call 642-9516. See you there!

Always fun for the whole family, this event includes "apple everything," kids' activities, great food, crafts, horse & wagon rides, and a well-stocked gift shop. Come see how people lived 150 years ago! You’ll find demonstrations of blacksmithing, open hearth cooking, spinning and weaving, black powder shooting, soap making, tours of the farmhouse, and more.

There will be lots of music including folk, bluegrass, Celtic, traditional fiddle music, string band, and Gospel. New this year - we will feature Morris Dancers, English and Irish folk dancing groups, and Contra Dancing. You can either watch, or join in and learn!"

http://www.nvhistory.org/Apple%20Festival.shtml


We are very excited. It is a great event and there is so much to see and do.
Check out the website. Great bands, great products, great people and a great time!

Every year they do an apple butter demonstration, but never have anyone that sells apple butter. So we fit right in. We contacted them and they were excited that we were interested.

I can't wait to see how it goes. I love the old thyme theme and the old farmstead attire.

Make sure you come out and check it out. And while you are out this way, you can also join us at the Newark Valley Farmers Market on Sunday the 7th from 10am-2pm right down the road from the Bement Billings.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

List of all the stores that carry our products.

I sat down the other day trying to figure out just how many stores our products are in. It is extremely humbling considering we started making the fruit butters in October of last year simply to have a little extra at our Harvest Festival that we held last year. To think that not even a year from then our butters would be in so many different stores.

Distributed by Cascun Farm CSA:
                   Gourmet Guild- Brooklyn, NY
                    Knickerbockers Meat- Ny, NY

Distributed by Regional Access:
                   Bellwether Hard Cider- Trumansburg, NY
                   Catskill Harvest- Liberty, NY
                   Chair 6- Lake Placid, NY
                   Clayton Food Co-op- Clayton, NY
                   Down to Earth Whole Foods- Endicott, NY
                   Greenstar Natural Foods Market- Ithaca, NY
                   Lost and Fondue- Skaeneatlas, NY
                   Masonville General Store and Cresent Wrench Cafe- Masonville, NY
                   Mildred's Meadows- Duanesburg, NY
                   Natur-Thyme- Dewitt, NY
                   Pittsford Farm Dairy- Pittsford, NY
                   The Foodshed- Brooklyn, NY

Distributed by us:
                   Cardinal Cafe- Newark Valley, NY
                   Cornell Orchards- Ithaca, NY
                   Eddydale's Farm Market- Ithaca, NY
                   Engelbert Farms- Nichols, NY
                   Lakewood Vineyards- Watkins Glen, NY
                   Shurfine- Newark Valley, NY
                   Six Mile Creek Vineyard- Ithaca, NY

Wow- 21 stores. And we are currently working on a few more accounts including a couple large accounts.

Sometimes in life there are those points when you wonder how did I get to this point? We were at that point last year and were trying to find something to get us over the hump we had been working so hard to get over. Then this came along. We are not over the hump yet, mainly because we are investing so much to be able to expand but we are hoping and praying to god that this is the break we needed.

My days now are filled with peeling fruit, cooking fruit, freezing fruit, prepping fruit, and canning. The kitchen smells of fruit and fruit pies. It reminds me of when I was a kid and I used to walk into grandma's kitchen and she had just taken a fresh baked apple pie out of the oven and the house was filled with that fresh cinnamon apple smell.

There are many times when we have wanted to give up, we have struggled, but have pushed through knowing that someday things would work out. We are still struggling, but we actually see a light at the end of the tunnel. The light is miles away, but at least it is visible.

I have talked to numerous people who think that farming is an easy job. It is far from easy. It  is all about passion, love and dedication. As with any small business or starter business. There are times when you just have to push through even though you don't know when the money is going to be coming in.

One person asked me a few weeks ago how we handle the stress, let downs and disappointments. To be honest, I don't handle it well. I get very stressed and anxious. I get intense. I keep pushing through and telling myself that things always work out. Eric is more laid back. He handles things better than I do. Although I do believe that deep inside he struggles with it because how could you not. But he doesn't let it show on the outside. He stays strong and figures things out. One of us has to be level headed about things I guess.

I guess my point to this little spat is that no matter what life throws at you....you always make it through. And the fruit butters have helped us and I hope they continue to.

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” - Maya Angelou

And of course if it wasn't for all of our loyal customers who continue to come back and love to try the new varieties of fruit butters and our new products that we continuously add we adore you. If it weren't for you we would not be here. We would not be the family we are today. You have truly inspired us to be better people and to give you the best products possible.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Family Fun Day- Newark Valley Farmers Market

This Sunday August 26th is Family Fun Day at the Newark Valley Farmers Market. We are very excited and hoping it will be a great success. We figured just before the kids go back to school we can have a great time and enjoy the end of summer for the kids. And it is all FREE- except for the Chicken BBQ of course.

Being our very first full fledged event at the market, we have been trying to think of ways to get everyone involved. We have recruited some local groups (Revolutions Dance Studio, Newark Valley Soccer Club) to come down and set up to get the word out about their programs. Get more kids involved in activities. What a perfect time. If there are any other groups that are wanting to participate this Sunday please make sure you contact us ASAP.

Some of things we are planning:

Story time- Books by Senator Libous - bring the kids to listen to some stories throughout the market.

Bounce House- We will have a bounce house for the kids to play in while you shop.

Firetruck and Ambulance- let the kids come check out a firetruck and ambulance in person. What kid
                                            would not enjoy that?

Sing -a-long songs and music- performed by Dannielle Swart, Trish Englehard and Judy Stock.
                                                  Danielle has been great and played many different times at the market. She
                                                  coordinated the Community Jam Sessions that occur the 2nd Sunday of
                                                  every month.

Coloring Contest- Bring the kids down, have them color a coloring page and submit it to win a "Let's Go
                               to the Farmers Market" package. Package includes a bag, book, activity cards, and
                               shopping lists all pertaining to fruits and vegetables and farmers markets. Each child that
                               enters will receive a small party bag as well. 

EMS BBQ- The local EMS will also be hosting a chicken barbecue at the market.

Alex the Clown-Alex is Providence Farm owners son. Alex is a goofball by nature so it was just
                          appropriate that we had him as our clown. He loves to do silly things and play around with
                          the kids.

Hope to see you all there. Spread the word. In today's economy when money is tight FREE events for the kids to enjoy themselves are always a great thing.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New Butter Cooker

We have begun to expand greatly. We originally started with 4 small crock pots. We then moved to four 7 quart crock pots and we were currently sitting at six 7 quart crock pots.

This week we purchased two 18 qt commercial roaster/cooker/warmer. This will more than double my batches. I am so excited.

There have been a few times already when I get a bunch of orders in all at the same time and I rush to get them done on time. That is even with stocking up when I don't have orders.

But markets have been selling very quickly as well, so most of the time I do not have that much back up even though I am making butters everyday except for Friday, Saturday and Sunday due to the farmers markets.

Now I will have to say as excited as I am about this new toy, the bigger we get.....when we make our first million! = ) This is what I would like to get!

This is a 200 gallon steam jacket kettle! Everyone has those wishful items that they want. This is one of mine!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Duck Eggs

YAY!!!!

Yes we received our first duck eggs today!

We knew that the 8 Khaki Campbells that we kept would be laying soon. We have been keeping a  close eye on them.

We actually took the 3 dog houses that we had and made them into the nests for them.

The ducks roam free. They have made their favorite spot underneath the unfinished addition to our house. We were worried that they would start laying under the house and that would not be easy to get them.

We found the egg on the side of the addition so that being said we moved the dog houses to the back side of the addition so that they can still be in their area but also lay where we want them to lay!

This is exciting. We are hoping that we will have duck eggs very soon at market!

What is the difference between a chicken egg and a duck egg?

Have you ever had a duck egg? If not you are not the only one. To be completely honest I (Jessica) have never had a duck egg. Hence the reason I am very excited to try them.

Either way, there are many different opinions on the difference between a duck egg and a chicken egg.

Obviously a chicken egg comes from a chicken and a duck egg comes from a duck.

A duck egg looks like a chicken egg only larger. The duck egg yolks are a deep orange. The flavor is very rich.

Just like with a chicken egg the yolk of the duck egg will become lighter during the winter months when they have less foraging and are forced to eat mostly feed.

Nutrition and structure duck egg vs. chicken egg:

Duck eggs have a higher fat content and somewhat more cholesterol than chicken eggs.

There is more protein in the white part of the duck egg than there is in a chicken egg. This being said some chefs believe that using duck eggs in cakes tend to make the cakes be fluffier.

The egg shell on a duck eggs is harder as well.

Appearance and Flavor:

Our eggs from the Khaki Campbells will be white shelled.

The flavor of a duck egg tends to have a hint of duck flavor to it. Makes sense since eventually one day it is meant to become a baby duck.

That being said some have described duck eggs as being oily. This makes sense in the fact that the fat content is higher in the duck so therefore an egg coming from a duck would essentially have a little bit of a more oily taste than a chicken egg.



Are you ready to try some duck eggs?


We will have them soon!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Harvest Time- What do you do with your extras?

Now is the season when everyone is over run with produce. As you are driving down the road you will see everyone and their brother has a table or "stand" by the road with zucchini and yellow squash. The price ranges from 50 cents to FREE.

We over the years have not done much with our zucchini and yellow squash. But this year we decided to make Zucchini and yellow squash pickles.

When we did market at the Oakdale mall years ago we had a customer that used to pick on Eric Sr because he grew all these vegetables but doesn't like to eat them cooked. He will if I make him but he does not like to generally. So this customer stopped one day with a jar of what looked like pickles cut into pieces. It was zucchini pickles and from that day on he has been begging me to make them. They were delicious. Almost like a bread and butter pickle only a little less cucumber tasting.

So finally this year I decided to make some. Because I have all this time on my hands. = )

What do you do with your Zucchini and yellow squash?

Here is the recipe that I used:

Zucchini Pickles

3 cups sugar
3 cups cider vinegar
1/3 cup canning salt
1 tbsp mustard seed
1 tbsp celery seed
1 tbsp turmeric

Sliced onions
Sliced green peppers

Wash zucchini and slice thin. Layer in a jar with onions and green peppers.
Combine ingredients and heat slightly until sugar is dissolved.
Let cool, then pour over zucchini slices stirring gently to mix.
Cover and keep in the fridge one day before using.

This recipe keeps several months in the fridge.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Butter Up

We have been continuously stock piling  or should I say trying to stock pile the fruit butters so that we could have a large supply ready to go.

Well with market going as well as they are and with the wholesale accounts picking up butters have been dwindling.  Not such a bad thing.

But this week will be "Butter up" week. I will be making fruit butters until I am blue in the face. I still have a few orders to fill so that will be my first priority.

For those of you that came to market for our usual apple and blueberry apple butters sorry we didn't have them this week. We will have then this coming Saturday and Sunday!

We are finally starting to get our specialty varieties going.

Our newest varieties are:

Peach butter
Sugar Free Peach Butter
Black Raspberry Butter
Sugar Free Black Raspberry Butter
Cantaloupe Butter
Sugar Free Cantaloupe Butter

We will soon have

Plum Butter - made with Beach plums
Pumpkin Butter
Green Tomato Butter
And our Pear butter that everyone loves will be following closely behind. We are waiting for Pears to come back into season again.

We have a few more concoctions up our sleeves that we are going to try out but we will see how things go.

The kitchen is moving along again. All the electrical is hooked up and waiting for NYSEG to hook us up. Insulation and sheet rock installation will begin this week.

I cannot wait for this kitchen to get done. It would have helped out tremendously this week if I we were in there.

I once again am going to apologize about not writing on here as much. I am having an extremely bad writers block and I am trying to think of things to write up. For some odd reason my brain is so discombobulated that I cannot think of things to write.

So here is to me hoping I can think of a few more things to write about in the next couple days/weeks.

Thanks for being loyal fans of the blog. I know a few of you had contacted me to make sure that we are still doing ok. We are here we are doing wonderful just extremely busy!

I have a few posts in mind for the next few days so I will update you on all the happenings on the farm. Stay tuned, check back and we will hopefully get rolling again with this blog and I won't keep you out of the loop!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and we can't wait to get rolling more!

Monday, July 23, 2012

EBT/Foodstamp incentive at the Newark Valley Farmer's Market

The Newark Valley Farmers Market is in full swing. Produce is flowing in like crazy and we are excited to be bringing local products to the community.

Fresh Connect $2.00 coupon for EBT/Foodstamp users
As you all know we received the Fresh Connect Grant from Governor Cuomo to help cover costs to start up the market. With that comes an EBT incentive program that gives the EBT/Foodstamp customer extra money for free to spend at the market. For every $5 worth of tokens you receive $2.00 Fresh Connect coupon.

If you don't all know about the EBT/Foodstamps and how that works at a farmers market it is quite simple. The market itself has a machine just like a credit card machine and tokens that are provided through the NYS Department of Agriculture ad Markets. It is a program that the vendors have to sign participation agreements that allows all of us to except them.

What you would do is come to the very first tent by the Sidewalk closest to Main St intersection and you would tell me how much you would like off of your EBT/Foodstamp card. I then swipe the card just like I would in a regular grocery store. You enter your pin number and then however much you want off the card I give you in $1 tokens. These tokens can be spent with any vendor that you are purchasing EBT/Foodstamp approved food from. Such as Breads, fruits, vegetables, honey, meats, eggs....and so on. The same as the grocery store. No products that are not food related. If you do not spend all of your tokens you can bring them back to me and get the money put back on the card, or you can save them and spend them at the next weeks markets. You do need to spend them by the end of the season at the market which is October.

Those vendors would then at the end of the market bring the tokens back to me and they get paid through the Farmer's Market account. Which is all tied together with the NYS Agriculture and Markets program.

This program has been created to help initiate EBT/Foodstamp customers in receiving great quality local produce as well.

The farmers market also excepts the "Farmer's Market Nutrition Program" Checks. Also known as WIC checks. They are given out to Seniors as well as women participating in the WIC program. Generally you receive $24 dollars worth I believe per family to be spent at a participating farmers market on Fresh fruits and vegetables only. You have until the end of the market season to use them.

If you participate in WIC or are a senior make sure you contact them to ask about these Farmer's Market Nutrition Checks and tell them that you want them.

 I also figured I would give you a picture update on what is at the market lately!
Anura Liquid Soaps
West Creek Family Farm

Skretta Farms
Providence Farm


Eric Jr from Cross Creek Farm eating a juicy PA Peach.



Friday, July 20, 2012

Blueberries, Blackberries, Peaches...Oh my!

The fruit is finally starting to roll in.

As we all know the weather has been outrageously ridiculous this year! With the early warmth and the late frost that we got we were nervous about how fruit was going to be this year.

There were some reports that stated that 100% of the cherries in NY were destroyed, 100% of the peaches in NY were destroyed. Apples were scarce and many of the other fruits were going to be very minimal.

Of course the year that we get ready to launch a kitchen and try to go big with our fruit butters is the year that the fruit crop is damaged.

Well we immediately spoke with our Cornell Orchards people to see what was going on with their crop. As of 2 years ago that is where we were getting 90% of our fruit from. Speaking with them we found that we would not be able to get our peaches, plums or cherries from them. We would not receive our Paw-Paws and Kiwis that we normally get.

But they were going to start picking berries that they had never sold to us before. Blueberries, Black Raspberries, Red Raspberries, Blackberries and more.

We have had the Blueberries for a couple of weeks now as well as the black raspberries. The Red Raspberries and Blackberries we just got this week.  The blackberries are HUGE!!!

Hopefully next week we will be able to get the Doughnut Peaches that everyone loves so much. They just missed that last frost so we are lucky to be getting those!

Don't get me wrong, this season is still going to be hard for us to find the other fruits that we were hoping to get to make the fruit butters with. We had planned on making a Peach butter and we wanted to bring back our Cherry butter but those were the hardest hit fruits. So we were not able to do the Cherry butter at all, but we did find a peach source in PA.

Some may ask and have asked why we don't just buy "Washington Cherries" to make our Cherry butter with. Well the answer to that is a simple one. We only use local fruit. Local fruit by definition is 100 mile radius from our farm.

This is an important thing to us. Buying locally means keeping the money local. Buying from elsewhere would make it easier from a business perspective because we never really have to worry about not having a source for our fruit.

I guess to some it isn't smart to use ONLY local fruit. But what would make us different? What would make us stand out and make people more apt to buy our fruit butter or jam than the other 15 different kinds?

So this year we are working on getting some other sources that will be able to keep up with our load of fruits that we need.

As of right now we have put 300 + lbs of Blueberries in the freezer as well as black raspberries and will continue to add to that.

The kitchen is still underway we have hit a few snags along the way. Nothing major just having to "hurry up and wait." We are hoping to get rolling on things again this week. We shall see.


For now we will keep plugging along and wait for things to finish.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kitchen Update With Pictures.

Ready or not.....the building is here and in place.

The building arrived on the farm this week. It was exciting to see it here. Within the past week we have gone from barely anything done because of all the rain and the muddy mess that it created to everything drying out and getting everything leveled, septic in and now the building here.

What's next?

Now we need to finish hooking up the septic. Get the well pipes run to the building and the electrician here. Then our work begins. Dad already measured inside the building to kind of figure out where things need to go and to make sure everything we need in there is going to fit the way we had planned.

We went in and marked out where everything was going to be with chalk so that everyone knew where things were going to be.

Electricity will be hooked up ASAP and then building begins.

I will continue to post updates as they come along.

Septic getting put in place


Waiting for the building to arrive

Building is here!


Eric Jr wants to learn to climb trees so what a perfect time to teach him. He enjoyed being in the tree. We knew this was the only way to keep him out of the way.                                                                                         















    






I have not written too many blog posts lately and I am sorry for that. Once again we are falling into that busy time when I am not sure what to do when and how to fit it all in. So unfortunately the blog ends up falling a little behind.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Furr-Ever Friend Adoption Day

When I first contacted Stray Haven out of Waverly, NY I was excited to know that they would be coming to market. I was hoping that any little exposure would help them to raise funds for the organization or to adopt some animals out. Many people do not understand the amount of time, energy and space that goes into these animals at shelters that really just need a home.

Liz is currently at Stray Haven.
She is a long haired Calico Cat.




After talking to Stray Haven we had begun to think of ways we could make an event at the market to try to get the animals adopted. So we began to think of a pet food drive, cleaning supply drive.

It just so happened that Hubbards Hounds was going to participate in the market and the date that they were going to be there so was Stray Haven. What better day to have an adoption/ donation drive.

So plans began.

June 24 2012 
Newark Valley Farmers Market will be hosting a
Furr-Ever Friends Adoption Day.
10am-2pm

We will also be having a Cleaning supply and pet food donation drive. For any item that you bring on the list, you will receive a raffle ticket. Each raffle ticket will be entered into a drawing for a gift basket from the vendors at the Newark Valley Farmers Market, Cardinal Cafe gift cards and other items.

Items needed:

Hailey is currently at Stray Haven.
She is a 6 year old pitbull who was raised with young
children. She does well with other dogs and cats.
She is a lover.


Dog food
bleach
dish liquid
laundry detergent
replacement mop heads
garbage bags - 13 gal & 39 gal
antibacterial hand soap
squeegees
heavy duty garden hoses
Lowe's & Walmart gift cards
toys
natural dog treats
blankets



 


Stray Haven will be there with Dogs and Cats as well as other items to sell to raise money for their organization
Hubbards Hounds will be bringing dogs as well as other items to sell to raise money for their organization

Make sure to visit their websites and browse around. Take a look at the animals!

Please come join us. Even if you are not looking for a pet, donate an item on the list. Why not? Chance to win free goods!
Payton is currently at Hubbards Hounds Dog Rescue.
She is a small yellow lab mix.



Chi is a Shiba Inu currently residing at
Hubbards Hounds Dog Rescue.
Why adopt an animal from a rescue?

 Many of the cats and dogs at rescues are strays or pets that were not spayed or neutered and then they ended up pregnant and the owners wanted nothing more to do with them. It is not their fault it is the responsibility of the owners to make sure that these animals are well cared for and spaying and neutering is one of the best things you can do for them. Some of the cats were turned over by their owners for one reason or another, most of the time it because they cannot care for the animal anymore or because they are moving and cannot take the animal with them. Either way it is a sad situation.

A lot of the rescues in the area are over run with cats. Some of them have had to stop taking them in due to the fact that they have so many there is no more room and not enough funds or people to take care of them. These cats are loving, young, old, and just looking for a cuddle and a loving home.

These 3 kittens currently reside at Stray Haven.
We rescued our cat Bugs from SPCA of Tompkins County about 3 years ago.

I urge anyone thinking of getting a new pet to think of adopting/rescuing an animal whether it be a dog, cat, horse, pig there are so many types of rescues out there. Please think about them before you go off and buy one at the store or a purebred. The rescues need love just as much as the others.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Anura Liquid Soap Review

By starting the Newark Valley Farmers Market we have had an honor of meeting a lot of great people that live in our community that we had no clue about!

One of those such people is Robin from Anura Liquid Soap!

What is Anura?


           "Anura is a special formulation of recipes designed by a nature-loving chemist. The balance of ingredients in each liquid soap blend was thoughtfully selected to promote healthy hair and skin. Anura is founded on the philosophy that many of the desirable tactile characteristics of commercialized liquid soaps may be achieved without the use of industrial additives and by using natural ingredients alone."




We have had the honor of being able to test and sample some of her products.

 Liquid Soap:

When she first gave it to us my instant reaction was it was a little watery. The smell was amazing. Very aromatic. We were using it for a few days and it definitely grew on me.


It was not as sudsy as soap you buy in the store. But I know suds don't necessarily mean that it is not cleaning. After using it you could just feel the cleanliness on your hands.


Another thing that SOLD me on this soap was:
  We have extremely hard water and even with cleaning the sink frequently we get a lot of calcium build up. Eric Sr was washing his hands and a drop of the soap got on the faucet. All he did was wipe it off with his hand and I could not believe my eyes. The faucet shimmered. It was cleaner than if I had spent time scrubbing it.


Honey Matcha Facial Soap with Peppermint Oil:


I smelled it first because of course that is what you do with everything.


It smelled of honey.


I took a dab and rubbed it between my fingers and you could feel the stickiness of the honey. Being that it was raw honey you could also feel some of the wax particles from the come that the honey was squeezed out of.


I had been outside all day long and it was 80 degrees or so. I was sweating like crazy and my face was absolutely disgusting. No better time than now to use it.


I wet my face and rubbed it all over. It had this creamy yet exfoliating feel to it. It was sticky on my face which kind of felt weird. It felt like I was just rubbing honey on my face. But I continued to rub it on and let it sit for a little bit.


I then washed it off and it took a little bit more water than normal to get it off because the honey was kind of sticky.


But the feeling after I got it off was absolutely Amazing. It felt like I had just had a facial at a beauty salon. I could feel my pores opening up and my face felt so clean.


I don't like the feeling that I get from facial washes in the store because they make my face feel like it is sandpaper dry after I was it off. I can't stand that feeling.


This left my face feeling clean, my pores open but it was not dry. It was moist and fresh!

Overall thoughts:

I LOVE this stuff. I will continue to buy it over and over again. It is all natural which comforts me with my children using it. It also comes from a local producer which supports our effort in buying everything local.

Great job Robin. I believe your product is awesome and I can't wait to try more and watch your product line grow! 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Project Expansion- Kitchen

As you all know our fruit butters have taken off. When we first started making them it was on a whim and we never expected it to be this great!

Our orders and expansion needs have risen to a point where it is not something we can produce as fast as we need out of our home kitchen.

After long thought, deliberation and financial figuring, we chose to take the "leap" and build a certified/commercial kitchen on our farm.  This is a HUGE commitment and long process, but I think we are all ready for it!

The well has already been drilled. The equipment was dropped off and work has started on leveling and filling in where we need more fill.

We tore down the old shed that was right next to our farm stand last year thinking we were originally going to put it there. But after careful consideration and going back and fort we decided it would be better to move it down the road further. Where the old shed is we will continue our plans of an all local farm store and pavillion to put our plants under. That obviously will be worked on a little here and there but the kitchen comes first!

My hopes are that the kitchen will be finished sometime in July. Now realistically I don't know if that will  be possible or not but my fingers are crossed super tight.

We have huge plans including some NEW products that include our herbs. We will be doing so much more than fruit butters and we are so ready for this great new expansion.

This year seems like the year of new additions. We continuously keep adding new items and projects to our farm. This is our first year of doing the CSA. First year of starting the Newark Valley Farmers Market. And now a HUGE first of expanding our kitchen capacity and building.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Adventures in Sheep!

The beginning of this year we were talking about raising some pigs for meat getting them in spring and butchering them in the fall for meat. Dad has been saying for 2 years now that he wanted sheep. We all just kind of kept brushing it off. But this year we got some. We got 2 lambs one male and one female from West Creek Family Farm. They are a merino cross, I can't remember exactly what she told me they were but either way they are so cute.

The Vanvorce's dropped them off and we had their little shelter made and they went right into the pasture and checked things out. Well sure enough we went back up to the house and just as it was starting to get dark we got a call from mom and dad telling us that the sheep were gone. Oy! So we headed out the door loaded the kids in the car and started searching. I drove up and down the road to check to make sure they had not traveled down the road. Eric headed up into the woods in search of them. When I got back from driving around I headed into the woods with him looking for them. Eric Jr went in with Grandma and Julianna was sound asleep in the car.

Not long after I had headed into the woods Eric had found them.  He got one back in the fence and was herding the other one back in when the one that was in squeezed right under the bottom line of barbed wire. There is 4 strands of wire with the lowest one being only a few inches off the ground. How in the world that lamb squeezed under there we aren't sure.

Now silly me in the hurry that I was to get out the door put on sandals....yes, I was crazy. The pasture where the sheep are is a hillside. The hillside has numerous fresh water springs on it so it is continuously wet. So here I was traipsing through the mud with shorts and sandals on. Eric finally got a hold of one and started carrying it down the hill. The other one wasn't following. Then it finally heard the other start crying and headed down towards the shelter.

So I continued my walking through mud to get out of the woods loosing a sandal here and there and having so much mud on my feet that I might as well not have shoes on.

Dad and Eric got them into the shelter and closed them in for the night. They had decided that maybe until they got used to things we would close them into a smaller area.

Covered from head to toe in mud, Eric and I gathered the kids and headed home to clean up and go to bed.

The next morning we noticed that they both had some red on their coats which meant that they probably got cut at one point. Wasn't too bad but still enough to make sure that we took a look. They were fine.

Two days later we had to go to Cornell Orchards to get some more apples.  We were headed back and we got a call from dad saying that the sheep were gone. UGH! So we flew back to the house to find the sheep.

We got home and asked dad how long he thought they were gone. He said he was weed whacking and looked up and there they were in the pen nice and quite just hanging out. Then he weed whacked some more and looked up and the gate was wide open and they were gone. He had no clue which way they headed. 

Eric headed into the woods in search of the sheep again. I had both kids with me and was searching the lawn and the side of the road to see if I could find some droppings or some footprints. Eric Jr the whole time asking where they were and not wanting to search for them. Julianna was fussing and not understanding what we were doing. Dad was driving around the "block" which for us is huge, looking for the sheep. Thinking maybe they had tried to head back to the Vanvorce's.

After a few hours of searching with no noise and no sightings we gave up. Eric had seen footprints in the woods headed into State Land which meant that we probably had lost them for good. We all came to the notion that they were gone. They would either be attacked and killed by coyotes or they would soon return. We called around the neighborhood telling people that the 2 sheep had gone missing and that if they saw them to give us a call.

So the next day Mom and Dad's neighbor called asking if we had sheep. When Eric said yes he then asked if we had a pasture in back of his house. Eric said no and the neighbor then said that the sheep were behind his house headed towards the house.

YAY!!!!! The sheep had returned!!!!!!

We all decided that night that this pasture was just cursed. When Eric was little his parents had animals in pasture back there and they tended to get out quite a bit. The cows we had a few years ago continuously got out. We double dutied and put barbed wire and electrical wire around the entire pasture. Did not stop them.

So now here we are again with sheep and they have gotten out twice in the 4 days that we had them.

They are now happy and content where they are. The little girl has a sore leg from her gallivanting all over the countryside, but hopefully it will heal soon.

We asked Eric Jr what he wanted to name them and he still hasn't come up with any names yet.

So we have two little lambs with no names who are just as mischevious as ever. They are getting used to us now and get excited when they hear the tractor start up and come out looking around when grandma and Eric Jr head over to see them. Eric Jr picks some grass before he heads over and as he starts getting close he yells, "Here sheepies, have some delicious grass for you!" Too cute!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend



I have had numerous people asking me if we will be having the Otsiningo Farmers Market and the Newark Valley Farmers Market this weekend because of Memorial Day Weekend.

YES!!!! We will be at both.

One way I described it to someone was this.

When you are asked to work on say Thanksgiving at your "normal" job, what do you do? You work because that is just part of the job description.

Well for us farmers that sell at markets for their income, generally those our only days we make a decent amount of money (unless of course you have a store at your farm and your not in the middle of nowhere like we are). Our paychecks come from those days at market. So we HAVE to be there.

We love it though. We love sharing our products for you to share and take back to your Memorial Day barbecue or whatever you have going on.

Last year we roasted Rabbit on the grill for Memorial Day! So delicious! Something different, something new to try. Or you can do a chicken or maybe Sausages or steaks from Mcrey Farm.

Whatever your choice, remember we will still be there. Stop down on your way to your event!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Shockingly Awesome Opening Day at Newark Valley Farmers Market.

In all our worry and stress of getting the Newark Valley Farmers Market going we were pleasantly surprised on opening day. We had watched the weather closely as the week progressed, hoping that we would not have rain and that it would be a sunny day.  And we got what we were hoping for. It was 80 something and felt like it was a 100 degrees standing out there all day.

We left the house at 7 am with the thought that if we got there early we could get our stand all set up so then when the other vendors started arriving we would be able to just focus on getting everyone set before market opened. Well, that was not the case. We were the first ones there and the last ones set up. We have so much stuff it takes forever to set up and tare down.

We finally finished setting up and people were just flowing in. It was very steady. I was hoping to take lots of pictures but that did not happen. Thankfully my Sister in-law and some others took some.

There was always a flow through the market.The customers coming through some we knew, some we didn't. There was a general sense of excitement and happiness from everyone we saw.

Customers were raving over the french fries and fried dough from Boer Bakery. My mom and my mother in-law came over raving about the soap from Woodland Cottage and the lotion bars from West Creek Family Farm.

Eric Jr spent most of the day flying through the market playing with everyone and hopefully not driving the vendors crazy. He made great friends and is constantly asking when we can go back to market again. So not only was it a success for us as a vendor but as well as us with making Eric excited to go to market again.

I will have to say that I was a little upset that I was so busy I didn't get a chance to get my treat from Boer Bakery.

We had originally planned this market to be one that I would go to, Eric would help me set up and then he would go home to get some more work done and I would handle the market. But if it is this busy that will not be happening. I will need his help. Which is not a bad thing.


Grassanova playing on opening day in the Gazebo.



We hope you all enjoyed the market as much as we did. And don't forget we do have 3 produce vendors that will be having produce very soon. Keep checking back to get the fresh produce of the season!