March 19, 2018
The sky is deep blue and the sun is bright on the snow on this cold March day as winter comes to a close. The day length just overtook the night length (12 hours plus 6 minutes today!) and I'm getting ready to start planting seeds.
I've already started some perennials like delphiniums, hollyhocks, lemon balm, and feverfew, and I'm just about a week away from starting tomatoes and peppers, and the early waves of flowers like bachelor buttons and the annual herbs like basils and nasturtiums. In the orchard, Elisha and Ralph have been busy pruning the peaches, pears, and plums, and beginning to tackle all the bramble berries, currants, elderberries and blues.
But the big news is: the Mustards Are Ready!!!
After months of out of stocks, we finally received 100 pounds of Organic Yellow Mustard (ground) of US origin in February, and Ralph went right to work making EVERYTHING!
Mustards need to age a month for all the flavors to marry and mellow, and now are ready.
We have his new, smooth, Dilly Mustard With Garlic and Turmeric, and the four Farmhouse Mustards: Garlic, Lavender, Tarragon, and Chili Pepper which have both whole brown mustard seeds as well as the ground yellow mustard seeds.
The other ingredients? Local Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and Local Wildflower Honey (and a little Kosher salt.)
We've been busy in the kitchen putting up preserves (and heating the house in the process) and have just about everything - Raspberry, Blackberry, Peach, Damson Plum, Red Currant, Black Currant, and the blends, Seedless Raspberry & Red Currant and Triple Berry (Raspberry, Blueberry & Blackberry).
We also put up all the peppers and chili peppers into Chili Pepper Preserve which is a wonderful condiment with cheese and crackers, or as a layer in chicken, salmon, or shrimp dishes. (A fun layer on sandwiches too.)
In August we froze gallons of tomatoes we had puréed and cooked down with bay leaves, but didn't have time to can. In January we chopped garlic (and chopped, and chopped) and made Tomatoes Rustica by cooking those tomatoes with garlic and lots of our basil, oregano, parsley, and savory. The aroma in the kitchen was intoxicating!
We've also put the last of the Elderberries into Elderberry Syrup and hope we have enough for everyone until cold and flu season is over - it's only about four cases - so order it soon if you need it.
We've also put up fresh batches of Raspberry Vinegar and Blackberry Vinegar and have Blenda d'Italia and French Tarragon herb Vinegars on hand.
I have not been doing farmers' markets this winter, but will be beginning again in May when the Farmer's Market of Keene starts up again on Saturdays. Of course we'll be bringing Patti Pies and Frosty Fruit Pops too!
We also have Earth Day events lined up, Northfield Mount Hermon Agriculture Day, and the Dublin Vintage Weekend in early June happening. And I'm sure we'll be back at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in the summer and autumn.
Ralph is good, and Abbey a comic delight as ever, and we've nearly made it through another Winter.
Blessings of blossoms and the new life of spring to all!