Saturday, January 26, 2013

Kristen Rice Photography

Cross Creek Farm 9 oz fruit butter collection
Picture taken by Kristen Rice Photography
As our business has progressed we are constantly getting questions on pictures of our product line. Pictures that we can send to businesses or that our distributors can hand out when they are meeting with potential buyers.

We are also getting ready to launch our online store on our brand new website and needed pictures for that.

Cross Creek Farm Cranberry Apple Butter 32 oz
Picture taken by Kristen Rice Photography
I kept trying to take them but my picture taking skills were showing! I had read that natural lighting was the best so I set up a little table outside of the kitchen and was sitting out there taking pictures for a few hours. Failing miserably.

Our road gets very little traffic and of course that day it seemed like everyone decided to drive down our road. Everytime they drove past I could see the looks on their face like, "what is this girl doing taking pictures outside it is freezing cold! "Is that a Lightning Mcqueen table!"

Cross Creek Farm Blueberry Apple Butter 32 oz
Picture taken by Kristen Rice Photography
Yes, Yes it was a Lightning Mcqueen (from the kids movie Cars) table. I had wooden fruit crates stacked up on it trying to give me a great background.

Well as I said it failed miserably! I was done. Could not take it anymore I had been trying for a few days and could not seem to get anything that we thought looked decent.

Cross Creek Farm Pear Butter 9 oz
Photo taken by Kristen Rice Photography
Thank god for Kristen Rice from Kristen Rice Photography. I have loved her photos and have wanted her to do our family photos just have not had the chance. I didn't know if she did product photos but I knew it was worth a try.

I contacted her and gave her the products and could not wait to get the pictures back. I was so excited.

When I received the photo album, I was even more excited. They were above and beyond what I expected. I was expecting great photos, but these were just gorgeous!

Head to her website or her Facebook page and check out her photos!

Amazing photography!

Cross Creek Farm Jalapeno Apple Butter 9 oz
Photo taken by Kristen Rice Photography

Cross Creek Farm fruit butter 32 oz jars
Photo taken by Kristen Rice Photography

Friday, January 25, 2013

Cranberry Apple Smoothie

Lately we have been having difficulty getting Eric Jr (3) to eat his vegetables and fruit even meat without a fight.

He loves ice and ice cream, so we were asked if we had considered making smoothies for him. We didn't think of it but we decided to try it.

In the process of trying to figure out what fruit to use and if we had any on hand we realized....we have plenty of fruit it is just in the form of fruit butter!

We got the ice, the Cranberry Apple Butter and orange juice and put it together in the blender.

 It was amazing!!!!! Eric Jr absolutely loved it. He drank 2 cups full, Julianna enjoyed some and so did Eric and I.

Cross Creek Farm Cranberry Apple Butter
Picture taken by Kristen Rice Photography.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Herb Week

During the summer we are continuously outside whether it be the greenhouse or in the field.When we aren't doing that we are in the kitchen working on fruit butters.  Sometimes the dried herbs take a back seat.

Bee Balm tea leaves and flowers picked last year
Well this week my main focus has been on the herbs and herbal teas. We have been stripping and processing herbs everyday getting them ready for packaging.

We went out to the greenhouse and harvested some rosemary, oregano, thyme and  peppermint that have managed to stay alive through this winter so far. We hung them and have started the drying process. It is so exciting to be able to harvest herbs even in the cold month of January.

This Saturday at Otsiningo Winter Farmers Market from 9 am - noon we will be have a health fair as well as the market. So we figured why not take this opportunity to debut our loose leaf teas. I have been working so hard to get all of this done.

Goldenrod flowers picked last year
We have had many requests since we started doing tea to include loose leaf teas. We have been debating it back and forth and trying to come up with great packaging and great product.

Well for this year we have limited quantities until we get going again in the spring. But we are excited to launch our new product. Currently they will be sold in 7.75 oz glass jars and our labeling may change but I think I have figured out the label.

There are probably some of you who don't understand what a loose leaf tea is so I have included some information in this post that I hope you find helpful.

What is a loose leaf tea?

Loose leaf tea is basically the whole leaf. It is buds, leaves, flowers, and other particles of your tea plant in a chunkier thicker form. You need a tea ball or tea infuser to put the tea in to steep it.

Tea bags tend to contain particles or "dust" of leaves, flowers and other parts of your plant.

Is there a difference in taste?

Loose leaf teas tend to have a stronger flavor but you have to let them steep a little longer.

Tea bags tend to have a quicker flavor but it is often mild compared to loose leaf tea.

Chamomile flower petals and lavender buds getting prepped for Chamomile/Lavender Tea

Basically when it comes down to it it is more of a personal preference.  If you don't have a tea ball and would like to try the loose leaf teas, you can also put them in a coffee filter to test it out.

We will be offering tea balls for sale in the near future if you do not have one already.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Pine Needle Tea

While looking to expand our herbal tea line, we came across a recipe in an herbal book for Pine Needle Tea. As I began to read it was very clear that this is a tea that I should be drinking as well as a tea that would benefit some of our customers. So we decided to harvest some off the property and sell it.

Before we could sell it we obviously had to try it ourselves. I will have to say that I was a little nervous. I was thinking it would taste like Pine and if you have ever tasted Pine sap it is not so tasty. 

White Pine Needles
I will have to say though that this may now become my favorite drink. I plan on making a jug full tomorrow so that anytime I want a drink I can just go to the fridge and pour it in.

It is a very mild tea with a refreshing flavor. Does not taste like Pine Needles like you would suspect.

This was our first weekend with Pine Needle Tea at market.

The best way to drink it is to use fresh pine needles. Being that we have to have something that can be sealed for sale we dry it.

They say you can use any pine you want but the best pine to use is White Pine. So after scouring the fields and woods we found we have plenty of White Pine Trees.

When prepared as a tea Pine Needles inhibit mucus production in the bronchi and act as a disinfectant. It is a very good stimulant giving a boost to anyone who is tired and drained. They have a very high Vitamin C content. Pine Needle Tea is also a mild diuretic as well.

Besides just the straight Pine Needle Tea that we are selling today we will also be offering a few different varieties mixed with some other herbs once harvest season comes back around.

White Pine Needle Tea
We are going to be carrying a White Pine Needle Tea mixture that is said to help flush the urinary tract. As well as one that is said to help with circulation and one for neuralgic pain.

We are very excited to be adding new teas and to also be expanding on the teas and offering bulk loose leaf teas as well.

As we progress I will try to give details about some of the new varieties we will be releasing.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Our Fruit Butters Used as Baby Food?

Many people continuously are asking us,

"What do you do with Fruit butter?"

There are some many different answers to this question. There are so many different ways that we have had customers use it as well as our experimentation's that I could make a book out of it.

But one recent way to use it that was brought to our attention when I was asking customers, family and friends for ideas I thought was really neat.
Julianna eating a pear we use for the fruit butters
September 2011- 9 months old.

Our Sister-in-law told me that she fed it to our nephew  since he began eating solids. He loved it and it was basically like giving him the baby food you buy in the store except for the fact that she knew where it came from, knew who made it, no preservatives and she had the option of sugar free if she wanted.

Up until that moment I did not really think about it like that. I mean I had given it to Julianna when she first started eating solids, but that was because we made it and had it here. Never thinking that that might be a good way to use it.

I mentioned it to another one of our customers at one of the craft fairs that we did this winter and they bought a bunch of them and said that their baby loved it!

They chose to use our fruit butters for the fruit portion of their baby food. And they made the rest. That was awesome to hear!

Do you know anyone who has a baby that is interested in local, no preservative food for them? Mention our fruit butters, we have the sugar free varieties so you don't have to worry about the sugar content or additives. Our sugar free fruit butters are just fruit and spices.

My kids love them I am sure yours will too.