Working and living on a farm...

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by chefross, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. chefross

    chefross

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    As many of you know I am a private Chef for a family.

    I live on a 300+ acre farm that has a garden, a vineyard and an orchard.

    As you can imagine this keeps me pretty busy in the summer and fall.

    On Labor Day weekend I go to the 4-H auction at the local county fair and bid on a hog and a lamb.

    This year I got myself one as well. The money raised goes to further the 4-H projects through the year.

    I send the carcasses to slaughter and a friend hauls them back here to the island.

    I have a meat band saw and I butcher them.

    Right now I have head cheese finishing in the fridge and a lamb stock going on the stove.

    So far this season I have made:

    Cherry jam

    Cherry mint jelly

    Cherry pie filling

    Mixed berry preserves

    Slice peaches in syrup

    Rhubarb Blackberry Jam

    Plum preserves

    Dilly Beans

    Pickles

    Beets

    Still to come these coming weeks:

    Tomato sauce

    Just tomatoes

    Tomato Basil Soup

    Tomatoes with onions and garlic

    Salsa from Tomatilloes 

    Grape jam

    I enjoy the ability to go out into the garden early morning and pick vegetables fresh to prepare for meals.

    There is a joy to being able to pick a fresh tomato right off the vine, wipe it on your pants and enjoy that first bite of "yummy."

    I picked hundreds of pea pods and shucked them. I have several quart "Ziplock" bags of frozen peas.

    Beets were disappointing this year. I got only 14 plants out of the 50 planted, and they were pathetically small.

    We tried Bok Choy for the first time but they went to flower too soon. Eggplants never even flowered this year.

    Everything else was just great.

    I'll be busy through the month of September and October finishing up.
     
    brandon odell likes this.
  2. eastshores

    eastshores

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    Your adventures sound incredibly rewarding. There certainly is a sort of satisfaction to being so close to our food sources. There have been times when I have experienced the same; pickling my own fresh cucumbers, enjoying a salad with greens and tomatoes leaving the ground just minutes prior, harvesting my own clams which brings an excitement similar to finding gold! Of course fish, shrimp, and spiny lobster where I'm from. I also had a short stint of raising a couple grass fed angus.

    Of all of those things however, gardening is the most difficult because it takes a certain level of constant attention and unfortunately people like myself, and I know I am certainly not alone here, have to spend a good deal of time each day for our employer. With all of the working if you blink before you know it there are no clean socks, the bathrooms a mess, the refrigerator needs to be cleaned out too! If you are lucky enough to catch up on all of that and walk outside for a breather you'll notice the grass is now a foot tall!

    Too often for me when all of life's chores are at least to a manageable state I visit my garden, burnt by sun, infested with insects, and overgrown with invasive weeds. After weeks of hard work and such high hopes it is a bitter thing to experience.

    I know there has to be a way to do it! I've tried to buy myself time by setting up irrigation on a timer, placing barrier cloth down, etc. I've tried container planting. Each thing has it's merits but at the end of the day I think a garden really flourishes when it is loved and cared for every single day. As fall is fast upon us I dream in my mind about hooking up the rototiller to the tractor and breaking ground for a winter crop but I am easily discouraged.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013
  3. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    How rewarding it must be to be close to your food sources.  I can't think of anything more satisfying than that and remember it clearly from my childhood.  Oh how nice it is to eat a salad that still tastes like earth, to milk your goats for fresh milk, to go foraging for mushrooms and herbs, to make your own butter, to collect eggs from the coup rather than the market.  One of my favorite things to do while visiting Greece is to collect little seashells (limpits?  otherwise known as opihi in Hawaii) and eat them right there by the seaside, raw.  It's remarkable to know that growing up I ate meals where everything on the plate from the vegetables, to the meat, to the olive oil was raised on our land.  Being in a big city you lose that, although there is a growing community of people that do produce shares and many farmers markets springing up in remote neighborhoods.

    Now tell me, what is a dilly bean?
     
  4. chefbuba

    chefbuba

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    Pickled green beans with dill.

    I moved to the beach after living inland where the summer temps were hot and could grow just about anything.

    Nothing grows here, never gets warm enough so this year we built a 15x30 green house.

    Had a bumper crop of snow peas, zucchini is doing good and the tomatoes are just starting to bear fruit.

    Getting ready to start some lettuces and carrots where the peas were and am going to experiment with a bunch of other stuff to see if it will grow over the winter.

    I miss not having chickens and going to the coop every day to see what the girls had to offer. Nothing better than a fresh egg straight from the chicken's a$$ and into the frying pan. My birds free ranged on about five acres, they ate lots of bugs and god knows what else. The eggs were very tasty.
     
  5. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Lol I'm pretty sure eggs don't come out of that part of the chicken.
     
  6. french fries

    french fries

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    Where did you think they came out of? 
     
  7. chefbuba

    chefbuba

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    Ok, the vent.
     
  8. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Oh gosh I was wrong, everything comes out of there lol.
     
  9. eastshores

    eastshores

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    Innocence Lost!
     
  10. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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  11. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    chefross, how very fortunate you are, I want to hear more about your canning of tomato sauce, this is something that I want to try myself.
     
  12. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    Chefross, what a joy to read your post! I can only try to imagine the amount of work that your list involves but also the ultimate happiness when tasting and serving your creations. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/thumb.gif
     
  13. oldtroll57

    oldtroll57

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    Chefross:

    Being somewhat new to overall canning but like to cook soups and stocks, I have a question.

    If I make a large amount of beef or venison vegetable soup, can it be canned in 1/2gal. canning jars instead of Qt. jars.

    The reason I'm asking you this, is because after buying 3 cases of 1/2gal. jars the chart on the end of the case states 1/2gal. jars are for apple or grape juice.

    Does this mean that they can't be used for anything else ? If so I have a pressure caner that will hold 4, 1/2gal. jars at a time but need to find out pressure and times, for soups and stocks.

    Want to can so as not to take up freezer space. I also plan dehydrating a wide array of food items. My wife and I use very little salt in our cooking. Will this present a problem in canning?
     
  14. oldtroll57

    oldtroll57

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    Chefross:

    OOPS :

    I guess that was three questions, instead of one.

    Thanks

    oldtroll57