It's Almost Winter, and I Still Love Our Cold Room
There is snow on the mountains. I guess I took a break after cherry harvest, then harvested apples (and plums) and started preserving, enjoyed the beautiful Fall we had here in the Flathead Valley, caught up on some Mandolin work that had been piling up...and poof, it started snowing with no post to you wrapping up the 2022 Cherry Season, so here we go.
We froze cherries- 250 lbs to be exact- and here they are in our freezer. There is a great place in Ronan, about 30 miles from us, that every year performs commercial pitting and packaging for the local cherry growers called Mission West Food Enterprise Center,
No room for fresh squeezed apple juice this year, but I have plans....
The project involved de-stemming all 250 lbs. Turn on the tunes and go.
First thing made was this Cherry Tart.
I think some of you might be interested in Bruce's big cherry project this year which was building a Cold Room in our Cherry Barn. Luckily he started the project way back in April as it turns out because, as usual, there was more involved than 'the plan'. First the the bathroom had to somewhat remodeled, things ordered that took awhile to get in, etc. It was ready to go not too long before harvest. Whew. The cooling uses Coolbot technology which has been very energy efficient. Since it's inside, and two sides and the roof are already heavily insulated, the framing and insulation need was moderated, too. This thing is great! Cherries, and really most fruit, have to get to you pretty quickly after picking and this room will extend the time available to get them to market. The room easily stays at 34-37 degrees which is a the perfect temp to keep fruit. We have apples in there now, and will be able to store homemade ciders, fermented foods, and garden produce.
There are things left to do like cover the outside of the room, and build or buy shelving for the inside. We also need some plastic strip material for the door to hold in the cold when it's open, and we think we'll divide the room in two parts, with the material, for times there isn't as much produce to cool down.
Anyone have cold room experience and tips?
Following are a few pics:
And lastly, a big Thanks! to everyone who partook in our cherry season. It's fun to have consumers in the literal sense. I usually dislike that term as it's so impersonal, but eating cherries fits the bill.
Locally, I met several young people in the Flathead Valley who are involved in home agriculture to varying degrees and traded cherries and apples for lavender, eggs, and burger. There is a quiet Homesteader Movement going on all over the country. I read some of their blogs and have used their material (my soap recipe for one) and got the idea to reach out locally for trades. The whole idea is to get people to eat and enjoy our cherries, right? It was SO interesting to meet these motivated, creative, hardworking families and their products were impeccable.
I LOVED ALL THE PICTURES OF THE CHERRY SALSA YOU MADE! (a recipe went out with each box of cherries)
Here's a very nice testimony from our first ever STE Orchard customer who ordered last year and this year, sending them to her friends and family. She helped us try to figure out a way to get unsquished cherries to people as fast, and cheaply, as possible by reporting in results last year.
Mary, although I received pictures from several, this one is from Watford City, ND! This is the first time in all the years that I have been sending cherries, that she received cherries in such wonderful condition. You are a genius and the comments from everyone were the same: beautiful and great condition. Thank you so much for your caring. Always, Boni, a very satisfied customer.
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Silky smooth with only two ingredients~ Organic Olive Oil, and Organic Coconut Oil