1405 SW Vermont St.
Portland OR 97219
United States

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Ayers Creek Farm Newsletter 16 December 2012

Sarah West

For the fourth market in a row, we are expecting some sogginess at the Hillsdale farmers Market. Soggy or not, the market bell rings around 10:00 am.

Here is what we are bringing to Hillsdale, more or less:

Cornmeal: Roy's Calais Flint and Amish Butter. We will also have some whole kernels of the flint and blue corn with slack lime available for hominy.  

Popcorn: Last Friday, we tried popping some and it was still tough. One week later, the kernels pop to a beautiful, billowy flake. Reason enough pull on the boots and raincoat.

Pulses: Dry beans and chick peas. Full complement.  

Cayenne Peppers: whole dried.

Horseradish, beets, spuds, knob celery, gobo, sweet potatoes:  At Ayers Creek, it was a crappy year for most roots, especially the sweet potatoes. They will be small, and in short supply.

Winter Squash: A good year for the squash.  

Greens: Fennel, chicories and fava greens.

Apples: some sort of russet.

Preserves:  Full complement, including the gift boxes. These are attractively packed with a jar of raspberry, loganberry, boysenberry and gage at $20 each.

The last two weeks we have been occupied with myriad tasks, including making the preserves. Happy to say, everything went smoothly. Paul Fuller and his staff at Sweet Creek Foods are fun to work with. Making preserves for a single fruit type with no added pectin at a commercial scale is a challenge. It takes us about thirty hours to make the preserves – three ten-hour days – in two gallon batches. Adding pectin would cut the processing time to a short day, but the added pectin also dulls the flavor of the fruit.

Every fruit has it year, and this is the year of the raspberry and plums. With the raspberry, we started cooking it to 221° and it set up very firm because there is large amount of pectin in this year's fruit. We decided to ease off and run it up to 220°, and it still jelled beautifully. Consequently, there is a bit of variation in the set between the jars. We will have four plum jams: gage, Italian prune, Pozegaca prune and damson. And Robin, we did a better job of chopping up the skins of Pozegaca. We have gooseberry and jostaberry as well. After the New Year, we will have some tart cherry preserves, this year's experiment.

Carol and Anthony Boutard
Ayers Creek Farm