Black Raspberry Jam

One of our favorite activities at Fordell Farm is creating homemade jams!  In May it is fresh Strawberry jam, now it’s June and time for Black Raspberry.  We are fortunate to have our own Black Raspberry bushes so it is extra special to us.  For many of the other jams and butters, strawberry, peach, pear, apple, we must buy fresh produce from local farms or orchards.  What ever the flavor, we love making it!Blackberries 2012

Today we made our first batch of Black Raspberry jam for 2017.  We use our own berries and run them through the food mill so that we have a seedless product!  The other great thing about using the food mill is that it takes the seeds out, but leaves the pulp of the berries behind.  Plus all of our jams are low sugar!

I hope to find some local blueberries and peaches soon and next month will be time for blackberries!  Stay tuned for more jam updates!

Fall planting begins

With the onset of September we begin to creep into fall.  There are beautiful mums at the market and pumpkins and gourds start to appear.  Fall also makes me think about what planting I want to get done before winter.  This week I have selected two items to add to my all purpose garden:  “Duke” blueberries and “Hill Hardy” rosemary.  Some of you are probably thinking “Huh?  Why is she trying to grow blueberries and doesn’t she know rosemary won’t survive the winter?”  Well, bare with me… I have a plan!

About halfway up the hill we have a large garden area.  It started out as a vegetable garden/pumpkin patch four or five years ago.  It has since morphed into a garden for vegetables, berries, herbs and cut flowers.  Hence my “general purpose garden”.  I like this combination much better!

My first herb addition was a row of lavendar, Hidcote and Munstead,  which is doing beautifully, so I am going to take a plunge and add a row of rosemary.  I have been reading about rosemary, and while it is true that it typically doesn’t winter well, there are some hardier varieties and many gardeners experience success with rosemary surviving cold winters.  Just to give myself the best start I did select a hardy breed known to winter well.  I’m going to plant it tomorrow and then after the first hard frost cut it back and mulch it deep.  Cross your fingers!

My first berry addition to the garden plot was “Bluecrop” blueberries.  My success in this area has not been as good.  Unfortunately I did not do enough research so my first bushes have not had the strong start I hoped for.  I didn’t amend the soil as well as I should have and I completely underestimated the deer’s love of these tender bushes!  Let’s just say my blueberries are surviving, but not thriving.  The “Duke” blueberries are to add to the existing plants because my reading tells me that having two varieties will help to increase your blueberry production.  So tomorrow I will also work on babying my existing blueberry plants with pine mulch and composted leaves, as well as adding a few new plants.  I hope that next summer will bring better success with these delicious berries!

I hope that next July I can report that the rosemary is thriving and the blueberry bushes are full!  Although the blueberries never seem to make it from the garden to the kitchen… 🙂