I relish the days when I can plan to escape to my home kitchen to cook and freeze for my family items that we cannot live without. I usually am able to sneak away 2-3 times from the time the berries are ready for harvest until Thanksgiving.
I choose 1 day for freezing cherries at their peak. I am able to peek my head into every box that arrives fresh from the Okanagan every other day to test for the perfect shipment. It takes a number of shipments, but when at last I taste the perfect one, I set them aside and plan my day 1! I love love love cherries and I can’t imagine not being able to put them in oatmeal, baking , jam or smoothies the rest of the year. I am pretty finicky about the tools that I prefer to use in my kitchens and my cherry pitter is one of them. Because I freeze so many of them, (60lb’s) I require a very strong and sturdy pitter. I believe I have tried every pitter on the market, but this year as I was buying for the market, I saw a new brand and decided to place an order and try it out to compare.
Am I ever glad I did! It has put all of my other pitter's to shame, even my most expensive one in it’s beautiful box. Who ever designed this pitter must pit amounts like I do. It is small and with one chomp pits 4 to 1, it has cut my time down to below half. We sold out of them right away, so next year I promise I will order many more. I may even do a demo in the market so you can see them in action.
On my 2nd day, I harvest fresh basil when it is at its peak for making a variety of pestos. I love to add it to almost every dish from pasta to pizza. Today, I made 3 different kinds as I was able to harvest an abundance from the Potager, Classic Genovese, Thai and Indian. I am crazy about Thai basil this year and I love the flavours of Indian food. I have been a vegetarian for close to 40 years, maybe you have noticed that we only make our products from what we grow at the farm.
The 3rd day is always a hit and miss. My grandmother Sarah, kept us all in jars of jams, jellies, beans and my very favourite , peaches until 5 years after I was married. Life just isn’t complete without canned peaches. I have fond memories of being in her little kitchen when I was 6 years old, watching at first from the entry way until I was “allowed” to come in to help. Life was so different for her, no mistakes could be made because what she had, was all she had, and if it wasn’t done right and didn’t turn out, everyone did without. I learned so much from her and much of what you taste at the farm today is because of her. So fond of her and those peach memories, just guess what my youngest daughters nickname is....Peach! Grandma Sarah was the Queen of pies in our family and I am ever grateful that she was so particular about her baking.
Today there is another Queen of pies in the Harvest Kitchen. She is my long time friend, Pauline. We began our journey 12 years ago working side by side. She likes to say I create and she produces. We have made the perfect team. After three years of working and laughing side by side I entrusted the kitchen to her capable hands to settle upstairs at my desk to continue to create and grow our business. She runs the kitchen like my grandmother ran hers, efficiently, productively and with a heart of gold. And truly I mean a heart of gold, because on the years I can’t seem to get a day 3 to put up my own peaches she shares her’s with me. What a blessing Pauline is to me and the farm!