Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving at Farmer Mac's with a recipe

Thanksgiving is a time of year and a state of mind.  I like thinking about the things I have to be thankful for and sharing the holiday with family and friends.  About this time of year I think about writing a Christmas letter to go in my cards.  Sometimes I get to the letter, sometimes the cards, and sometimes both!  Last year was a neither year, I believe.  Haven't decided about this year yet.

Made blue-cranberry sauce today for the feast tomorrow.  We always go to Billy and Martha's for Thanksgiving dinner.  As a kid, we went to Hester's house (Billy's mom) because when my mom first moved here from Michigan, she was one of those darn Yankees and Hester was one of her first real friends here.  Then when Hester passed away, Thanksgiving got moved to Martha's house and we migrated with the rest of the folks over there.  We've been doing things together for so long, we have become a family by choice.

This year we have had several additions on the farm.  Durward, also family by choice, came home from a long stint with FEMA and he's getting re-acclimated to farm life until the next big disaster takes him away again.  After being on the road so long, he is glad for down time with the farm kids.

We have a new (to us) sheep this year too.  She has so many names that I hesitate to say what she's called.  I call her Daisy but that's only one of about 8 since all of the local grandkids thought they each should be the one to name her and they did.  Then Durward named her and she came with a name and so it goes. :)

Maisie is the newest farm kid and she's too young to know that she will love blueberries as all the other farm kids do!  Last year, my then 1 year old was just big enough to walk down the rows of young plants and pick the few berries that were there.  I don't know if he got enough to know what they really taste like, but it was a good start to a lifestyle that we love to be a part of and to provide to our customers.

We missed seeing our regular customers this year.  We see some of the locals around Hampstead, but the folks from out of town were sorely missed.  We love you guys and hope you come back when we are opened back up for business, hopefully next year.

We have pretty good bud set on the plants.  They still aren't full height yet, but we should have enough fruit to be open next year barring unforeseen weather maladies.  The weather has been so screwy the past 7 or 8 years that there's no guarantees!

And who would have thought we'd have snow in November?  Mom heard or read that it has only happened here twice in known history, once in the early '70s and sometime in the '40s (I believe she said).  Becky called and said it was snowing this morning at her house near Winston-Salem, but we only got 3" of rain.  Now its cold enough for snow but no precipitation.

We still have one part of the fields that has not been replanted but we hope to get that taken care of before May.  At that point, we should have the entire farm ready to go for the next 25 years of blueberry growing, harvesting, eating, and enjoying!  Of course, there's always some transplanting or replanting going on, but not on this scale.  This has been a long transition for Farmer Mac's, what with the ice storm of 2007 wiping out our entire replanting stock so we had to start over in the middle of what should have been a 7 year transition.

On getting production on track, we're just now seeing the sun coming up at the edge of the horizon (better analogy than the light at the end of the tunnel that could be a train again)!  Hopefully we will be blessed with good weather, good growing conditions, and good plant stock.  Add a little TLC and some of the best blueberries on earth will be harvested right here at Farmer Mac's for decades to come.

I hope you can be here to enjoy them with us when they are!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Farmer Mac's Blue-Cranberry Sauce

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Put together in a pot and bring to a boil.

Add 3 cups of cranberries.
Add zest from one orange and squeeze some of the juice into the pot
Boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Most, but not all, of the cranberries should pop.  Remove from heat.

Add 3/4 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts (I use pecans.)
Add a pint of fresh or frozen (I use frozen because that's what we have in November) blueberries.
Stir.  Let come to room temperature then refrigerate to gel.

Serve chilled the same way you would regular cranberry sauce.
Use the leftovers with ice cream sundaes or as a pancake topper.

I don't know how many servings this makes because I buy the 12 cup bag of cranberries and make it all at once.  I send 1/3 to mom, 1/3 to Martha's Thanksgiving dinner, and keep 1/3 at home.  It usually lasts about 2 days before everyone is asking for more.  The thing that's nice about this recipe is that the nuts give it a bit more texture than traditional cranberry sauce.  I hope you like it.

If you have recipes to share, please feel free.  We love to try new things.

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