Posts Tagged ‘preserving’

Paper vs Plastic? How about Basket vs Canvas?

OK, we’ve had our first couple of frosts and a long Thanksgiving holiday. Work in the garden has slowed quite a bit. Perhaps we can take a moment for a bit of a debate around the fire? Or more simply put for the purposes of this blog: which route is the better one to take – Local or Organic? Of course, the ideal answer to that question is BOTH! But what about those times when you really do need to make a choice? Not many of us here in the Piedmont are growing our own wheat for bread, for example, and our seafood, though kinda local (regional really), mostly gets here from the coast. Thanksgiving at my house included lots of locally raised and organic selections, but not all were, by any means. So what’s a responsible omnivore to do? Not exactly The Omnivore’s Dilemma (thank you, Michael Pollan!) I know, but a question that seems to keep coming up in our food discussions.

Urban winter garden with beet sprouts and onion transplants

In this blog, of course, the “basket” refers to harvesting out of our own backyards, small farms or community gardens (yay, Dunleith!) and “canvas” seems to be the bag of choice at the local organic food store (well, maybe at the local farmers’ market, too, but you get the idea). Many of us who grew this year, took great advantage of all of the good fresh choices that came out of our gardens. Some of us even canned, froze or otherwise processed some of that goodness in preparation for the long winter ahead. But now that Fall is here, the fresh-out-of-the-garden selections are, in most cases, fewer and less diverse. What’s a person to do? Continue reading

Urban Homesteading: Cherries

At Urban Harvest we’re all about Urban Homesteading. While the original definition of homesteading involved colonizing the wild west frontier, our definition: to grow and produce as much of your needed goods on-site. Summer is optimal time for collecting the fresh, ripe fruits of as much as possible and preserving them for the harsher months. And while we certainly don’t grow everything that we preserve, we collect it from regional sources so that we can, say enjoy tomatoes in the winter, without having to go to the store (reducing our carbon footprint).

Back at the beginning of June, we picked several pounds of strawberries and froze them. We use them in smoothies, made some ice cream, and when its not so hot out (November), we’ll use them to make jelly or jam. This last week, we went up to Levering Orchard in southern VA and picked about 25 lbs of sweet cherries! And then we had to pit them all! Fortunately, in my grandmother’s recent down-sizing we acquired 2 cherry-pitters which came in very handy! Now we’ve got frozen cherries, dried cherries and in about 4 months we’ll have Brandied cherries!

The act of climbing a wooden ladder propped in the higher branches of a cherry tree was a good challenge to my fear of heights, but the view and the vast quantities of beautiful cherries were well worth it! And while sour cherries are common in the Piedmont, the sweet cherry trees don’t do as well in this climate versus the mountains. The drive was also worth while, especially since we got to stop in at the apple orchard where Justin and I were married almost 4 years ago!

Check out the rest of the photos on flicker.