Next comes the tomato canning fest. I need to put up 20 pints or more, judging by what I went through this last year. I like to have the home-canned tomatoes, preserving their in-season flavor, until tomato season comes around again. That way I figure I need jars of tomatoes to last from November until June - that's 7 months worth. In season, I use the fresh tomatoes in my cooking and have made the best crock-pot stew and a hamburger goulash lately that just fairly pop with flavor.
If you decide to go the home-canned route, I suggest, if you really plan to do some putting up, to invest in a few pieces of good equipment. One thing you've got to have for water-bath canning is a giant pot. You'll need a place to store this monster, but it needs to be deep enough to cover quart jars, if you use them, with an inch of water. I put mine in the off times on top of the fridge. This canning pot will come, usually with a rack to keep the jars from touching the bottom of the pot as the water boils.
|My new green cast-iron pot|
You'll also need a "canning kit" - well worth the price. The best thing is the jar lifter - specifically designed to securely grab the tops of jars when they are in that searing hot water so you can transfer jars around safely. The other things that I find very useful are the funnel and the magnetic lid lifter, great for getting the lids out of their hot-water bath before putting them on the jars. I also use a plastic ladle for moving the hot slurry to the jars - don't use a metal one or you'll be running your burnt fingers under cold water in a hurry. I also took a tip from a cookbook and found all those wooden skewers I had collected, using the skewers to run around the jar to get rid of air bubbles. The wood won't scratch the jar or get hot.
|Stawberry and Vanilla- Pear Jams|
So that's the canning thing. I also am still working in the nursery, seeding a few later fall crops, but the marketing has fallen off drastically. Not selling much, even though prices are discounted and I am in a quandary as to how I can overwinter all these small pots. Don't think I am going to do the one-gallon potting blitz that I did last year, so I've got to figure out where to put all the stuff that is on benches. The smaller pots will overwinter if sitting on the ground, but they'll fry if I leave them on the benches. So am looking for more real estate somewhere close by!
Am going to try one more new market - Wednesdays from 7-1 at the Walled Lake Farmers Market - it's only about 10 miles away and I am told it is a nice market. So this next week I'll check it out and I hope to be setting up through October. Armada, on Sundays, continues through October as well. May try the Royal Oak Market again. Went there to check out the Friday business yesterday and the vendors tell me Friday is slow. So we'll decide this next week if I'll try it.
Fenton is all done with and it went out with a whimper. Drove the 35 miles to the market, set-up and the skies darkened and it let loose with a driving rainstorm.
|Double rainbow driving home from Fenton|
On the winter front - I was able to get a bed at the community garden greenhouses! I think there are quite a few beds available for anyone who wants to get one - contact the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department for more info. The first day is today and so I'll get some soil and start amending the bed. It will be fun to see if any of the folks from last year return. Have already ordered seeds and will share some of those with Paul and his produce for his fall gardens.
That's the roundup for this week. Again, will join Tootsie Time for the fertilizer Friday party she holds - so check out her blog for updates from around the world. May you be enjoying this transitions of the seasons and I hope you are saving some of the flavor and fragrance that this time of year can offer.