This past week I made blackberry jam, kicking off the preservation season. Since there were very few apricots this year, blackberries were the first on my list. I spent two days last week picking the abundant berries up Oak Creek Canyon and now have a years’ worth of jam to show for it, plus some extra berries for a blackberry crisp or two. One of the greatest parts of having access to abundant local produce is the ability to preserve it for use through the winter and beyond. Over the years I have made a wide variety of items including lots of pickled veggies, jams, sauerkraut, canned fruit, fruit leathers, dried fruit, frozen fruits, veggies, and herbs, and lots of canned tomatoes, including sauces, ketchup, and salsa. There are so many possibilities! If you are interested in trying your hand at preserving the harvest (or are already a seasoned pro), don’t hesitate to contact local farms to place a bulk order. You can find contact information for many local farms on our local food guide, or you can just pop into one of the farmers’ markets and make arrangements. There is nothing better than a taste of summer come the darkest days of winter.
This week we have one of my favorite summer veggies – and one I love to pickle – okra from Fasteen Farms. I know okra can be scary for some of you, so I have included a recipe for okra that is guaranteed to have none of sliminess that so many people dread. Give it a shot if it’s not your usual fare. For those of you who love okra, we usually get it only once or twice a season, but the Fasteen sell it at the Verde Valley Farmers’ Market in Camp Verde if you are looking for more.
Have a terrific week!
What’s in your basket – August 12th
Carrots – Whipstone Farm
Cherry tomatoes – Willowbrook Farm
Kale – Willowbrook Farm
Okra – Fasteen Farms
Pepper mix (sweet Italian and shishito) – Willowbrook Farm
Scallions – Whipstone Farm
Summer squash – Whipstone Farm
Yummy shishito peppers.
Can you believe we are still getting fresh lettuce in this heat?!
Coming soon: melons…
…and green beans.
I can’t get over this incredible zinnia at Whipstone Farm.