THE FOOD FRONT

One thing and urban homesteader learns early one – it’s all about records. Keeping records helps motivated you to better yourself each year, outline successes and failures, not to mention, tally up all those baby steps taken along the way.

Although we’ve always had a pretty productive garden since I can remember our growing efforts turned serious with the looming threat to our food supply back in early 2000.

Since then, it’s been all about growing food closer to home, keeping track of results and encouraging other to do the same.

Here’s the food count so far for 2008

2008 Food Count

Harvested

518 chicken eggs
640 duck eggs
1,614 lbs produce (fruits, veggies, herbs)

.. oh and HONEY (3 lbs)

Preserved

Drying herbs (for tea, medicinal and home craft projects)

Freezing strawberries, blueberries, loquats, elderberries

Getting ready for peach and apricot jam session and winemaking!

Still have a pretty decent pantry cache of homegrown, preserved peach, fig and guava jams, marmalade, fermented grape leaves and tomatillo “green” salsa.

Shared

Eggs, jams, herbs, knowledge and more

If you like to join along in our food security efforts. We have two nifty challenges going on ‘The 100 Foot Diet’ and ‘Harvest Keeper’ over at our sister site FreedomGardens.org ( nearly 300 recruits and growing )

Are you recording keeping this year, setting goals? How is it helping you with your urban homesteading and growing efforts?

Proof is in the pudding as the old saying goes. Care to show/share your numbers!

No Comments

  1. Andrea says:

    I don’t keep track of weights, but I do keep track of what I put by for the season. So far:

    5 pints of serviceberry jelly
    8 pints of strawberry jam
    2 quarts of strawberry juice
    9 quarts of frozen strawberries
    4 pints of brandied apricots
    1 qt of frozen peas-shelled

    dehydrated rosemary, basil, chives, oregano, sage,
    bananas, onions

    and I’m getting ready to freeze fresh sugar snap peas that I harvested an hour ago. I love this challenge!

  2. Andrea says:

    Oh, and I forgot to mention about 3 dozen frozen pesto cubes. Whenever I make pesto, I make a huge batch, pour the leftover into an icecube tray and freeze them. Then pop them out and store them in freezer bags. When you want homemade pesto, you just take out a cube or two and thaw them.

    I think Ma Ingalls would approve.

  3. Anais says:

    Andrea – I use that frozen pesto method too! Very simple and easy – great way to enjoy pesto into fall and winter.

    Yep, Ma Ingalls would be proud.

  4. Kathy says:

    Just gorgeous! I’m in Michigan so haven’t harvested much yet. But it’s coming. First year I planted tomatillos and the plant is amazing looking.
    Thanks for the site. It has been keeping me focused.
    It’s funny. For years my friend and I would almost jokingly say, “How would Laura Ingalls handle this? Or would ma and pa do this?” It really did start me thinking of changing my ways. And now I’ve been reading your site for a month or so.
    To your health!

  5. Di says:

    my harvest so far: 6lbs of oranges
    but I just started last month. Tomatoes are flowering so I am hopeful!

  6. KK says:

    Because of your encouragement, I found a nifty digital scale (at a yard sale, of course. Brand new $30.00 scale for $4.00!) and started tallying up the bounty…so far about 40lbs. of potatoes, 20lbs. onions, half way through garlic harvest and it’s about 15lbs. so far, yellow squash is 10 lbs. so far, citrus-meyer lemon, yureka lemon and navel oranges about 600lbs, and too many other things too small and I didn’t bother to count. Like lettuce, I don’t weigh it, but we’re now just finishing our last bits of it, but we’ve been enjoying great lettuce for about 5 months or so. My figs are coming in, but the birds have all but decimated them and my nieghbor’s fig tree too. Ouch! This coming fall, I will tally my walnut harvest…We also enjoy the frozen pesto method, and we make ours with walnuts instead of pricey pine nuts.

  7. Lehrman's says:

    We’re at 220 lbs or so – mostly strawberries (171lbs). We’ve harvested green peas, a pepper or two, our first summer squash, onions, pulled the garlic this week, and some different herbs (oregano, cilantro, parsley, etc.). This week we planted/are planting green beans, black eyed peas, second planting of dill and cilantro, and the last batch of corn.

    Most importantly though our first tomato is turning! I can’t wait for real tomato flavor again – its been a long winter!

  8. Jennifer says:

    I am wondering what you put your berries in to freeze them? Are you using plastic, glass, stainless?

  9. Di says:

    Forgot to add, that I’d love some squash recipes! I JUST planted some squash, and although I like it I am not that sure what to do with it, lol!
    Oh and question for Justin/farmer D: Whats your favorite Heirloom Tomato? I’d love to hear which work, the hits/misses with varieties. For a beginner a seed catalogue is pretty intimidating. Just when you think it’s a choice of cherry, paste or plain eating toms then you get tons of varieties! I just planted some brown tomato seeds, never knew they came in BROWN! Yikes!
    Gardening is FUN!

  10. Traci Meyer says:

    We just picked our first tomato of the year-Yea! They’re reason enough to grow a garden in my book. We were almost there with squash until the neighbor rabbits decided to help themselves to the “salad bar”. So our fencing is now reinforced, and we’ve replanted. Hope springs eternal! It’s very hot in southern AZ, but at least that means we have a long growing season and can replant if necessary……..

  11. Karen H. says:

    Here’s my list of food preserved so far (2008)

    21 pts lemonade syrup frozen
    13 pts blood orange syrup frozen
    9 half gallons blackberries frozen
    2 qts strawberries frozen
    35 half pts blackberry jam canned
    6 pts blackberry pancake syrup canned
    32 pt peaches canned
    8 pts pickled Sandia peppers canned
    2 qt bags onions dried & chopped
    30 1 cup portions onions chopped and frozen
    1 qt blackberry cordial (an experiment)

    We’ll have apples coming in soon for dried apple rings and applesauce. Probably some more pickles. Then tomatoes……my husband helps with all of this, and we are enjoying the challenge. Plan to do better with the strawberries next year.

  12. Isabelle says:

    Thanks for all the inspiration… We live in central British Columbia, Canada and winter was very late this year. With a bit of extra work, we build cold frames, started plants inside the house and then transplanted these to cold frames. We also started all our plants indoors… even beets… Our garden is starting to look wonderful. It has been quite a cool spring and therefore the greens have done well. We have not bought a vegetable since the middle of May but rather feasted on huge salads of mixed greens, green onions, radishes and herbs (our favorite is dill). Not much variety but incredible taste and very nutritious. (Even our three teenage daughters and our 8 year old never complained.) We just had our first broccoli and a small pickling cuke which we chopped up and shared in our salad. This week we had our first strawberries and are excited about the size of the fruit and the crop this year. I can just visualize that freezer filling up…

    Here’s a question… Has anyone tried freezing berries on a cookie sheet and then packaging them in a special cardboard freezer box? My sister bought blueberries this way last fall and the owners of the organic farm where she bought them told her to just put the box in the freezer and use what she needed, just reclose the box and that the berries would keep. She said that they kept their flavour really well.

    Happy harvesting everyone!

    Isabelle

  13. Ellen says:

    Well I’m in Vermont so we aren’t harvesting that much yet but I have gotten arugula, lettuce, radishes, chives, thyme and rhubarb. I’m patiently waiting for the rest.

  14. KK says:

    Here’s some summer squash recipes that might help fellow gardener’s: Cut squash in rounds or slice length-wise, nice even slices about 1/8 in. thick. Roast them on the bbq with onions and mushrooms (yum) or here’s one the kids go for: top slices with parmesean cheese and roast in oven on cookie-sheet at 350 for about 15 min. or until you get them just brown/crunchy edges–they’re heavenly! my personal favorite! Or, steam slices gently for 7 min. or so, and top them with some home-made pesto. You’ll be asked for the recipe! The next thing I’m going to do with some excess squash is try dehydrating some in my newly-made solar dehydrator, and pack in jars for use in winter recipes…or eat like potato chips!

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