Fern Creek CSA–Week 13

newsletter with photoToday for the first time in the two years since I’ve had it, I pulled out the Mehu-Maija Juice-Extractor my mother-in-law handed down to me. For the first time we have enough grapes to give to CSA members, to dehydrate into raisins, and to make juice. Emma seems to be keeping the grape-loving raccoon at bay.

The copyright on the juice extractor manual is 1976–the year I graduated from high school. The author is Beatrice Ojakangas from Finland and I happen to be reading A Man Called Ove, which is by native Sweden author, Fredrik Backman. Not that Finland and Sweden are the same, but they are neighbors and have a fair number of similarities. It’s really not relevant to my juicing that I’m reading A Man Called Ove, it just struck me as a nice coincidence that allowed me to mention a good book.

At any rate, as I write our first batch of grapes are steaming away at the same time that my first batch of zucchini relish is stewing away, and the dehydrator is full of grapes on their way to becoming raisins. It was perhaps not a good choice to do all this on the same day, but it is 100+ degrees outside so I figured as well make good use of the day inside.

Interlake Grape Juice

Interlaken Grape Juice

Using my mother-in-law’s juicer has made me nostalgic for the past–and for the way food preserving has a double meaning. I am preserving fruits and vegetables so that all winter we can have juice, relish, green beans, corn, pickles, tomatoes in all sorts of ways, and jams and peaches besides. But I am also preserving a tradition that kept our foreparents fed ever since the first ones figured out that grapes drying in the sun became raisins, and cucumbers or cabbage fermented with some salt became pickles and sauerkraut. I imagine something of my grandmother in me when I pull out my canning jars, rings, and lids. And not just in the most obvious way that I, like her, am growing food and preserving it, but that I have values that she passed down to my mother and my mother passed down to me. Those values include thrift and making the most out of little, but include values around hospitality, generosity, and seeing the world through optimistic and hope-filled eyes.

I didn’t get to know my grandparents very well, mostly because both my parents were the youngest of their siblings, and because we didn’t live near either set. But when I see something I like in myself, I want to give them credit–and appreciate the nearly invisible way that values get preserved from one generation to the next.

Perhaps preserving food is the tangible way I remember something I don’t want to take for granted nor forget.



honeyMark and I harvested the honey on Saturday, blessing the bees on our way to and from the hives, praying the day might hold as little trauma for them as possible, knowing that it is a devastating day for them. The taking of the honey went well though, with less suicide bombing than in some years, and less inadvertent smashing of bees by us. We spun out about 9 gallons from the frames this year, and will have honey for sale in the Market starting this week. $11 for a pint (24 oz); and $20 for a quart (48 oz).


Anticipated in the Market

Caiman Tomatoes

Caiman Tomatoes

Interlaken Grapes
Honey Crisp Apples
Delectable Sweet Corn
Kale (Dinosaur, Red Russian & Meadowlark)
Zucchini Squash & Summer Squash
Tromboncino & Patty Pan
Walla Walla Onions
Red Onions
Marketmore and Green Finger Cucumbers
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Copia, Pineapple, & Rose de Berne Tomatoes
Yellow Pear, Indigo, Red Cherry, & Snow White Tomatoes
Blue Lake Beans
Black Beauty & de la Guardia Eggplant
Basil & Garlic

Pick One or Two

Fortex Beans
Green Peppers
Red Express & Green Cabbage

Farmer’s Tip: About Tomatoes

First rule: don’t refrigerate your tomatoes–leave them on the counter. Refrigerating diminishes their flavor significantly. Since most of your large tomatoes are heirlooms that means you ought not to leave them on the counter.


Recipes of the Week

I love sautéed cherry tomatoes and eat them several times a week now. Both of these recipes are super easy to make, and make you seem like an amazing cook, so they bear repeating from last year. The tomatoes take 5 minutes of less to sautee, and the beans an hour to get good and ready, though only take a few minutes work at the front end. Enjoy these perhaps different ways of eating your cherry tomatoes and green beans.

Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes and Basil

1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp. chopped basil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Heat 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil in skillet. When hot, add tomatoes and sauté for a couple of minutes until the skin begins to loosen. Add chopped garlic and basil and stir to coat, cooking another minute. Remove from heat, salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with another 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil.

Green Beans Tanya Berry Style (wife of Wendell)

Ingredients: Beans, oil, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, water.

Heat about 1 Tbsp. oil in skillet. Once hot add beans and sauté a few minutes until they just begin to blister. Add chopped garlic and cook another minute. Fill the skillet with enough water to just cover the beans. Add salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Once boiling turn down to a simmer and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. Taste, season more if necessary, and serve.



  • I so enjoy your blogs and sorry to have missed them all these years. Your blog makes me so hungry for fresh veggies and fruit juice. We go right by Purdin Road where Ben’s produce stand is when we go to Forest Grove but they have shut Purdin road down on the east approach to make the roundabouts onto Verboort Rd so we have missed going there. I hope to take the longer route and get to Ben’s the next time we are out because I NEED some green beans. Do you ever make sweet pickles and put your recipe on your blog? Roy prefers sweet pickles and everything else that has sugar..

    • Thank you! And I know where you could get some great beans next time you are out this way!
      I’ve made bread and butter pickles, but that’s as close to sweet pickles as I’ve gone. I prefer sour and dill ones, too. My zucchini relish is a sweet and sour though, which might be a compromise… 🙂

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