Opening Day!

Saturday marked the beginning of the 21st season of the Kent Haymaker Farmers’ Market. Woohoo! Somehow I made my way on to the board this year and by some other unknown force I managed to get myself elected president. Whoa! I LOVE being a part of this market and I am super excited about being more involved. I think the 2013 season is going to kick total ass!

If you aren’t familiar with our stand we sell seasonal jams, handmade hypertufa planters  and fresh cut flowers and vegetables once the gardens start kickin’. And although our main products are jams and ‘tufas right now we’re working on branching out now that we have a real, live farm. 😉 We’re researching eggs and meats and other cool stuff so stay tuned.

Jams, Jellies, and Spreads

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This is my bread and butter. I love, love, love making jams. And I think I’m pretty good at it. I only use local fruit so if I can’t pick it within 30 miles of my house it doesn’t get jammed. The season is early and rhubarb is about all I can get my hands on right now. [My two favorite berry patches (see here and here) say I should be able to pick strawberries in about 2 more weeks].

So, rhubarb. It’s delicious and I don’t think I’ve ever fully appreciated it until this season since I’ve had an abundance. Saturday I had three flavors for sale – Vanilla Rhubarb Jam, Black Raspberry Rhubarb Jam, and Rhubarb Ginger Spread.

You may be wondering how the heck I got my hands on black raspberries. Well, I freeze A LOT of berries during the on-season. We enjoy jams, cobblers, crumbles, and smoothies all winter long. And I usually use up what’s left by spring in a few more jams for the market. As of now I still have a few quarts of blackberries, black raspberries, and sour cherries so look for them to make an appearance.

And just for clarification – a jam is not strained and often contains chunks of fruits. A jelly is strained and is made from the mashed up stuff – no chunks or seeds. And a spread is a jam in which the sugar is replaced by honey. I LOVE spreads. Delicious.

I sold out of my Rhubarb Ginger Spread so I snagged some more rhubarb at the market for another batch. (Thanks Morning Dew Orchards and JPs Organics).

I make the jams in small batches, limiting my use of commercial pectin (I like my jams a bit looser for easy spreading on biscuits and for adding to my plain yogurt) and often doing a 2:1 fruit to sugar (or honey) ratio. Since I do small batches and I work seasonally my inventory changes a lot. Rhubarb Ginger seems popular but when rhubarb is gone in a couple of weeks that’s it. I can’t make anymore. So check with us often for new flavors!

Hypertufas

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Hypertufas are Diane’s bread and butter. Diane is my mother-in-law aka one half of Barton Farms & Gardens aka one of my favorite people on planet Earth.

Making hypertufas is a family affair although Diane and Keith (father-in-law) do the majority of the work. And see how beautifully they’re planted? That’s all Diane. She’s good.

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Hypertufas are really rad. Not only do they look really cool but they are hardy as heck! You can leave these babies outside all winter long and they can totally take a harsh Ohio winter no sweat. And if you have a perennial planted in your tufa it will winter over just fine – especially sedum and hens and chicks. They’re porous and the materials lend themselves to mosses so if you let a tufa get established you can grow moss on the outside. Pretty cool.

We plant a lot of herbs in tufas. While I have a nice herb bed it’s nice to zip out to my patio and clip some thyme or rosemary from a hypertufa close by. It’s looks great on the patio AND it’s efficient. Score!

I truly love being a vendor at the Haymaker Farmers’ Market. I love seeing our customers and our fellow vendors each week. I enjoy making and selling products we love and use ourselves. It feels so wonderful to share something you’re passionate about with others.

The other bonus – taking home great, local eats each and every week. Here is my haul from the first market.

ImageRhubarb from Morning Dew Orchards and JPs Organics. Delicious cinnamon swirl bread and raw honey from Kountry Dreamer, fresh pappardelle from Ohio City Pasta, and organic grass fed ground beef from Breakneck Acres.

I did a batch of Sour Cherry Rhubarb Spread with one bundle of rhubarb and the raw honey, a rhubarb crumble with another bundle, and the remaining 1lb 10oz of rhubarb is macerating in the fridge right now with some fresh ginger and some Black Dog Acres honey.

We had burgers on the grill Sunday after a day of farm chores (stay tuned for the new goat housing adventure), pappardelle last night, and we enjoyed the cinnamon swirl bread throughout the long weekend.

So far the 2013 season is off to a great start!

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About Barton Farms and Gardens

My husband and I are bringing an old family farm back to life.
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