Archive for October, 2015

Simple Vegetable Soup!

Posted on October 28, 2015 by Leave a comment

Sometimes a simple vegetable soup makes a great meal and leftovers too! This is an easy soup to make and is really good for you! We bought a medley basket of vegetables from a local farmers market that contained late summer season vegetables including, potatoes, cabbage, peppers, carrots, beets, onions, and sweet corn.

Simple Vegetable Soup!

Simple Vegetable Soup!

We didn’t use all the vegetables, but here is what we did use to make our soup. It is somewhat similar to a minestrone soup without any pasta. This is a Freestyle recipe so you can add what ever quantities of each ingredient that you please.
- Onions
- Carrots
- Celery
- Tomatoes
- Potatoes
- Cabbage
- Cannellini beans (canned)
- Salt & Pepper
- Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- Parsley (optional)
- Pasta (optional)
- A touch of hot pepper (fresh, dried, or hot sauce)

Put all the cold ingredients in the pot with just enough water to cover the vegetables.
Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for just 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
After 15 minutes the vegetables should all be cooked (but not over cooked).
The soup is ready to serve!!

Soup Fresh Out of the Pot!

Soup Fresh Out of the Pot!

We added a little parmesan cheese and you could add some fresh chopped parsley. The soup was delicious!! Since we made a big pot of soup we ate it for several meals later in the week.

Add a Little Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese!

Add a Little Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese!

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Culling Trees to Add Sunlight

Posted on October 20, 2015 by Leave a comment

We are gradually clearing a 10 acre old field that has grown into trees over the past 40 years. We are more than halfway finished and keep working at it a little bit every year. We are about 10 years into this project. Our goal for the field is multipurpose for wildlife food plots, home gardening, an orchard, and a nut grove. Now that we have cleared about 5 1/2 acres we have quite of few things planted and realize our crops need more light to grow better. In our first photo we have cut several fir trees (that were planted as Christmas trees) and a couple ash trees. As you can see in the foreground of the photo, we cut the stumps very low so that our equipment can go over the stumps. In this case we have felled the trees on top of a food plot of Whitetail Institute Imperial Whitetail Oats Plus.

Letting More Light in on Food Plots!

Letting More Light in on Food Plots!

More and more we are girdling trees a year or two ahead of when we intend to fell the trees. We girdle our trees by making a chainsaw around the circumference of the tree so that it cuts about a half inch into the sapwood. The depth of the cut depends on the thickness of the bark. Girdling trees has several benefits. The first is that the tree stops growing immediately. It may still live for one to three more years, but it will not grow significantly. Girdling severs the cambium layer underneath the tree bark and prevents sugars from returning to the roots, where they turn into stored starches which provide energy for spring and summer leaves. Without this stored energy the tree will die. Once the tree has been girdled it gradually looses it’s leaves and begins to dry down. The dry wood in the dying tree makes it a storage place for dry firewood to be cut as needed. As the tree looses it’s leaves it starts to let light into the surrounding area. The girdled trees will die sooner if a labeled chemical application is applied to the girdling cut immediately after making the cut.

Previously Girdled Trees Ready to Cut

Previously Girdled Trees Ready to Cut

This year we had a neighbor who needed firewood and we were able to help them by letting them cut the trees that were previously girdled. When we agreed to let them have the trees we only asked that they cut the stumps of flush with the ground and that they stack the limbs. The limb piles can be left for wildlife or burned to further clear the area.

Opening Up the Field to More Sunlight

Opening Up the Field to More Sunlight

A significant portion of this area is used for deer food plots. Some of the best crops for food plots are sun loving perennials. Our field is surrounded by tall trees which cast long shadows in both the morning and afternoon. By clearing the remaining field edges we can increase the acreage that is exposed to sunlight most of the day. With the extra sunlight we can expand the types of crops that we can successfully grow.

Girdled Trees Ready for Cutting!

Girdled Trees Ready for Cutting!

As new areas are cleared we can prepare the soil for cultivation. We can begin to control the perennial weeds and make applications of lime to raise the soil pH. Since we have a large forested area on our property the increased field area encourages a larger variety of wildlife. We can attract additional wildlife by leaving certain areas uncultivated and unmowed creating bird nesting areas.

Trees Removed!

Trees Removed!

In our old established orchard sunlight was having difficulty reaching the orchard because of some tall trees that had grown up over the years. By removing the trees, and creating more light penetration into the orchard, this will help with air flow, disease prevention, apple coloring, and tree growth. We intend to continue to remove trees and expand our field back to it’s original size.

The Apple Orchard More Open to Sunlight!

The Apple Orchard More Open to Sunlight!

Cider Press 101

Posted on October 13, 2015 by Leave a comment

Cider Press 101: We start with a clean apple blend in Western NY State. We use 40% Gala, 30% Cortland, and 30% MacIntosh. We also add ripe bartlett pears, if we can get them. It is important to completely clean the cider press and all its components, before starting to make apple cider.

Apples Ready to be Made Into Cider

Apples Ready to be Made Into Cider

The basic press which consists of an apple grinder/masher. The grinder consists of a coarse cylinder with raised cast iron knobs that grab and rip the apple apart. The apple is then thrown immediately into a two cylinder masher which crushes the apples into a wet pulp. The wet pulp falls into a tub lined with a sheet. When the tub is full it is slid on a rack and placed under the press. The press is a big screw with a flat base which is screwed down on a round hardwood block to press the apple juice out of the wet pulp. When the juice is pressed, the now dry pulp is discarded for compost.

The Basic Cider Press

The Basic Cider Press

We have made an effort to update our press by trying to reduce apple juice exposure to wood and instead use a cutting board material which is easier to wash, sanitize and keep clean. We have added a base of three sections of cutting board material. One section has a hole cut to allow the juice to flow out to be captured for bottling.

Adding a Cutting Board Bottom Board

Adding a Cutting Board Bottom Board

Next we add the sliding “Racks” which are basically slats to allow the juice to flow through the bottom when being pressed. Each tub and rack slides together as you move a tub of mashed apple pulp from underneath the grinder and move it underneath the press.

Adding the Slotted Racks

Adding the Slotted Racks

Again we have replaced the old wooden racks with new racks made from cutting board material and screwed together with stainless steel screws. We find these easy to clean. We line the tub with a common clean bedding sheet. Two sheets are needed; one for each tub. We line the tub with the sheet prior to filling with wet pulp. The edges of the sheet are left to hang outside the tub until the tub is full of wet pulp. The edges of the sheet are then used to cover the top of the tub to “seal the wet pulp in the tub. Then we slid it under the screw for pressing.

The Rack and Tub Slide Together

The Rack and Tub Slide Together

We have added a round base plate made of cutting board material which will be placed on top of the wet pulp before pressing.

Base Plate for Tub Press

Base Plate for Tub Press

We then add the original heavy hardwood base plate over the top of the white one made of cutting board material. Again, the base plate made out of cutting board material.

Hardwood Press Base Plate

Hardwood Press Base Plate

Now the cider press pieces are all in place like you would have them if your were ready to make cider.

Tubs and Racks in Place

Tubs and Racks in Place

There is a hole in the bottom of the tray to let the apple juice flow out to be bottled. We first catch it in a large clean plastic tray. We pour the cider out of the plastic tray into jugs using a funnel.

Drain Hole and Cider Collection Pan

Drain Hole and Cider Collection Pan

When we have a cider making party, the participants usually bring their own jugs to be filled with cider to take home with them. We usually say a toast when the first cider comes off the press and we all have a glass of fresh apple cider.

Pouring the Cider!! (Photo by Andrew Hetherington)

Pouring the Cider!! (Photo by Andrew Hetherington)

When we are done pressing a batch, we empty the sheet and the dry apple pulp comes out. We put this in a wheel barrow and put it in a pile for composting. It is important to completely wash and clean the press before putting it back in storage.

Pressed Ground Apple Pulp

Pressed Ground Apple Pulp

The last two years we captured about 24 gallons of apple cider from 12 bushels of apples. Commercial cider processors can yield about three gallons per bushel. Our jugs of fresh apple cider are ready to be taken home!!

The Cider Jugs Filled!

The Cider Jugs Filled!

Fall Produce Photos

Posted on October 12, 2015 by Leave a comment

When visiting the Genesee Valley Produce Auction in Centerville, NY we took a few photos that we would like to share. These photos only represent a fraction of the many produce options available at the auction. Fall is a big time for western NY apples which we did not photograph, but were available at the auction. we hope you enjoy the photos and notice the quality of the produce offered at the auction!!

Big Stem Pumpkins!

Big Stem Pumpkins!

Late season peaches and nectarines were still available due to the short growing season in western NY State. In the southern states the stone fruit season is over by late September.

Peaches & Nectarines!

Peaches & Nectarines!

Big White Pumpkins make a more ghost like Jack-O-Lantern when carved and are also used to make pumpkin pie and all those other pumpkin recipes.

Big White Pumpkins!

Big White Pumpkins!

Butternut squash is a great cooking squash which has a sweet nutty flavor.

Butternut Squash!

Butternut Squash!

Ornamental gourds are a beautiful addition to any fall or Thanksgiving display. Gourds are appropriate for both indoor and outdoor decorations.

Gourds!

Gourds!

Spaghetti squash is very popular as a substitute for grain based spaghetti and other culinary recipes.

Spaghetti Squash!

Spaghetti Squash!

Beets! If you would try them, you might like them. We just like them peeled, boiled, diced and served with a little real butter, salt and pepper.

Beets!

Beets!

Cushaw Squash. The first time a saw a cushaw squash was in Kentucky many years ago. Being an adventurous cook, I brought it home and made the best “pumpkin” pie I ever made!! Just peel, cut in cubes, bake the cubes, mash it, and substitute the same quantity for the pumpkin in your pumpkin pie recipe. I usually copy the recipe off of canned pumpkin.

Cushaw Squash!

Cushaw Squash!

Hubbard Squash is for squash lovers!! You can freeze a lot of squash out of one Hubbard Squash. This squash also makes a great “pumpkin” pie and many other squash based recipes. We made five or six “pumpkin” pies out of one Hubbard squash last year and we still have enough frozen to make one more pie. We added dried cranberries and raisins to the pumpkin pie filling and baked it with whole pecans on the top to add some extra flavors.

Hubbard Squash!

Hubbard Squash!

Really big pumpkins! These pumpkins make great big Jack-O-Lanterns which look great on a spooky Halloween Night!! If you have trouble getting these bad boys to stand up, just slice off the bottom inch to make it flat, so they can be stabilized for carving and displaying.

Big Pumpkins!

Big Pumpkins!

Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins – regular size and color. When we were kids, this is about all we had to choose from! These “normal” pumpkins are still great for trick or treating age children. They usually have a relatively thin skin for cutting, have a flat bottom to sit on, a good size stem to hold on to, and look wonderful carved and lighted on Halloween Night!!

Jack-O-Lanterns!

Jack-O-Lanterns!

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Genesee Valley Produce Auction

Posted on October 11, 2015 by Leave a comment

Genesee Valley Produce Auction
8855 County Road 3
Centerville, NY 14029

1/4 mile east of “downtown” Centerville on the road towards Hume/Fillmore, NY.
Centerville is a small town in northwest Allegany County, NY, at a crossroads. The most notable business in downtown Centerville is Uncle Tom’s Kabin which is a small grocery store. Go 1/4 mile towards Hume/Fillmore and The Genesee Valley Produce Auction will be on the south side of the road. If you are coming from Hume/Fillmore, it will be on the south side of the road just before you enter the village. You can’t miss it!!

Auction Days: Usually lasts an hour or two depending on how much is up for sale.
Tuesday – 10:00 AM till over
Friday – 10:00 Am till over

For questions call: This is an Amish Auction and contact by phone is only available at specific times.
585-567-8640 from 9:00 till about noon on auction days
585-567-4312 other days between 8:00 – 8:30 AM

Genesee Valley Produce Auction, LLC

Genesee Valley Produce Auction, LLC

Update 5/24/16: The auction has resumed for 2016 and will continue until the end of October. The first annual Quilt, Furniture & Craft Auction will be held June 25th, 2016.

The Genesee Valley Produce Auction, LLC in Centerville, NY is in the process of finishing it’s second year as a seasonal local produce auction. It appears to be a growing, successful enterprise. This wholesale produce action is owned and operated for the benefit of the local Amish community, which is part of the community of Centerville, NY. Centerville is a small rural town in Allegany County in western NY State.

Fall Pumpkins and Flowers!

Fall Pumpkins and Flowers!

In an effort to boost the local economy, the auction has been established to furnish an outlet for locally grown produce. This includes Amish and non-amish producers. The auction provides high quality produce to potential buyers which includes small to medium size local roadside produce stands. As the auction becomes more successful and attracts a larger number of bidders, the demand for local produce grown in and around Centerville has increased.

Here is how it works: A buyer or Seller is required to get a number to identify your purchase or sale. This is done in the office. Next, Preview the goods to see what you are interested in bidding upon. Take note of the package size being offered because that will be the minimum purchase you can buy, once you have made a bid. You must listen to the auctioneer, as he will sometimes have instructions regarding the quantity to be purchased with your bid. Usually you can purchase anywhere from one package to the entire lot, at the price you bid. It helps to watch the bidding process for a while before you start bidding. Once you feel comfortable, make your bid. Once you have completed all your bidding, you take your number to the office to pay for your purchase. Then, load up and head for home.

Additionally there is a “Retail” table that has pre-priced small package sizes of fruits, vegetables and baked goods. If you do not need a large quantity of a specific item, you may find it on the retail table. There will be a person near the retail table to take the package number and then you can pay for the item in the office.

Auction Bidding in Progress!

Auction Bidding in Progress!

These photos were taken in late September when the Fall produce is available. Produce that is only available for a short period of time during the year, like concord grapes, pumpkins, and apples need to be purchased during their season. Earlier in the year during the Spring and Summer other produce like hanging flower baskets, or sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumbers are available.

Concord Grapes!

Concord Grapes!

One of the benefits of a local produce market is the potential to purchase unique items such as these walnut log flower baskets with grape vine handles. Although you many not want to buy a whole pallet of hanging baskets, it may be an opportunity to work with your neighbors to save a few dollars by buying in bulk in a wholesale setting. If you are into canning or freezing for your family, it is an economical way to purchase fresh produce in quantities not offered in the grocery store. It is a great adventure to gather a few friends to go visit the auction, find a great deal, and share the bargain you found.

Specialty Flower Baskets!

Specialty Flower Baskets!

Over the past 20 years or so, an Amish community has developed in and around Centerville. It is now very normal to encounter a buggy or two on the road when you travel locally. The Amish have purchased a significant portion of the local real estate where there were once small dairy farms that went out of business in the 1970s and 1980s. The community is complete with homesteads, carpenters, storekeepers, builders, sawmills, a poultry farm, and local produce and greenhouse growers.

Centerville Amish Community

Centerville Amish Community

Centerville is a small town located in the northwestern corner of Allegany Counsty, NY. It is about an hour and fifteen minutes from Buffalo, NY and about an hour and a half from Rochester, NY. It is a rural town with a population of 822. The main occupation is dairy and beef cattle farming. There are also several maple syrup producers. Centerville is located at a high elevation in western NY with hills reaching 2000 feet. This high elevation is associated with ample snowfall in the winter and cooler temperatures in the summer; often 5-10 degrees cooler than Buffalo or Rochester. The beautiful rolling hills make a scenic ride at any time of year.

The Beautiful Rolling Hills of Centerville, NY!

The Beautiful Rolling Hills of Centerville, NY!

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