Tag Archives: strawberries

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You might be thinking that strawberry spread is just for toast or peanut and jelly sandwiches but, if you’ve visited our stand at the local Farmer’s Market (Fluvanna, Farmers in the Park, UVA) you’ve heard about lots of other ways to enjoy our Spreads. This post has some edible ideas and some actual recipes.

For breakfast, MFF Strawberry Spread is not just great on your favorite toast but also on biscuits, scones, and crumpets. It’s equally delicious on waffles and pancakes—either straight from the jar or as a quick strawberry syrup (mix with water or fruit juice to create a syrup imagesconsistency and heat in the microwave or on the stovetop). Or, for a healthy option, make a hiker’s breakfast of plain Greek yogurt, MFF Strawberry Spread, granola and fresh fruit.

Later after a busy day, for happy hour or an appetizer, top Brie or Chevre/goat cheese with MFF Strawberry Spread and garnish it with mint or basil. A customer last week had a great variation on this (Thank you!). She suggested filling mini phyllo cups with a slice of cheese, heating them and then putting a dollop of strawberry spread on top--couldn’t be easier. I’m thinking the phyllo cups have lots of possibilities for dessert, too:

filoshellsMelt a little chocolate then top with strawberry spread or
Fold strawberry spread into cream cheese whipped cream (see https://www.preparedpantry.com/blog/make-cream-cheese-whipped-cream/) and fill the phyllo cup.

Then for dinner, the strawberry balsamic is just right for savory dishes. It has just enough acidity to make a great BBQ sauce, glaze or marinade and goes well with any meat, firm white fish or salmon, or shrimp. Bruce has been experimenting with sauces and came up with this recipe:

Bruce’s Strawberry BBQ sauce
Ingredients:
2/3 C MFF Strawberry Balsamic Spreadphoto 1
1/3 C Ketchup
¼ tsp Chipotle Pepper powder
½ tsp Ancho Chili powder

Directions:
1. Mix Strawberry Balsamic Spread and ketchup
2. Add Chipotle and Ancho powders, stir well

Last night he made tasty Shake and Broil Shrimp by pouring the BBQ sauce into a baggie, adding shrimp and tossing until coated. We broiled the shrimp and served over Basmati rice—yum!

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Finally, for dessert (there’s always room for dessert) try this:

Sara’s Strawberry Lavender Yogurt PopsIMG_6869
Ingredients:
2c plain Greek yogurt
3 tbsp honey (I use more than the original recipe, which called for only 2 tbsp)
1/4 c Middle Fork Farm Strawberry Lavender spread (Strawberry Vanilla is good, too!)

Directions:
1. Mix Greek yogurt and honey until well blended.
2. Pour into ice-cream attachment/machine.
3. Mix until starts to thicken, then drop the Strawberry Lavender Spread in by spoonfuls.
4. Continue to mix until well frosted but not stiff.
5. Spoon into popsicle molds and put in freezer for at least 2 hours.
6. To remove from the molds, turn under hot water until loosened slightly, then slide off and enjoy!

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Let us know what you think of these ideas and recipes and send us your favorite Strawberry Spread recipes so we can share them with others.

A lot has happened on the farm since my last post, so here’s an update on the goats, strawberries, vines and bees.

Quizno, our buck,  was happily reunited with the does at the end of the June. Sara says that not only was Quizno elated but the ladies were pretty darn happy to see him, as well. They

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are now enjoying the ample grass and forage in their new field and, hopefully, all or some of the does are already carrying their next offspring.  The average gestation period for meat goats is 150 days, which means we should start having kids on the ground around December 1 (hopefully, we won’t have an arctic blast during kidding as we had this year!).IMG_4377

This year’s crop of does are continuing to grow (especially their ears) and entertain us with theirIMG_4392 antics. You can see Apple’s ear taking off as she and her friends race down the hill to greet Sara (hum, does Sara have treats in her pocket?). Annabeth is the adorable kid playing hide and seek inside the tree and in the next photo, her friend, ShyGirl, is trying to squeeze in with her.

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Snickers and Doodle are continuing to work as a team to round up the kids for us. This is tremendously helpful when we need to catch them for worming, hoof trimming, or any other reason. Check out this very short video on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5iR4oBrgWU&feature=youtu.be. Once they have them corralled Snickers patrols the perimeter like a herd dog should, while Doodle prefers to pass out kisses to any goats that are willing. It’s a tough life for dogs and goats at MFF!

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Our strawberry season was shorter than anticipated due to the rains in early June. We were hoping our ever-bearing plants would make a comeback and produce a July crop but sadly it didn’t happen. We still have plenty of berries in the freezer for our spreads so I’m making it as fast as I can! We sell it at the Fluvanna Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays, Farmers in the

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Park on Wednesday, and the UVA Market on Thursday. This week we introduced a sampler pack which includes three 4 oz. jars--one of each flavor and it sold out in no time. It’s a great choice if you can’t decide which flavor you like best or as a gift pack (great alternative to a bottle of wine).

In addition to all the traditional uses, we’re discovering lots of new ways to enjoy strawberry spread. Our friend, Mark, served 4th of July ribs cooked with a sauce made from our Strawberry Balsamic spread. I’m trying to get the recipe but Mark’s not a recipe kinda guy -- we’ll see. He also made a chicken marinade by combining Strawberry Vanilla and tomatillo sauce. Daughter Amy created a summer cocktail by combining Strawberry Lavender spread and vodka, then adding sparkling water, and finishing it off with a sprig of mint. Thursday a group of ladies were excited about scones and strawberry spread—a little afternoon tea? And, of course a super simple dessert is topping your favorite ice cream with Strawberry Vanilla spread. If you’ve got a recipe using any of our strawberry spreads, send it to me (with pictures, if possible) and we’ll share it!

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The vines are prospering and look beautiful! It looks like we had minimal damage from the winter this year (those burning hay bales must have helped)! Our new sprayer and spray program are doing great and the irrigation system for Block A and Block B are photo 5operational. As of Friday, all 400 posts for the new vineyard, Block C, are in the ground---good work guys! Next, comes trellis wires and then irrigation to complete Block C.

The beehives are filling up with honey. Both hives now have two supers and the bees are starting to draw out the wax in the upper super. Its really amazing watching them work and seeing the growth of the honeycomb and development of the eggs. Cover crops and crop rotation are an important part of sustainable farming so Rick planted one of the empty berry fields with cover crops, buckwheat and clover, and the bees love it!

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Remember to send us your Strawberry Spread recipes and photos!

P1070177Saturday was our first Pick Your Own strawberries event and it was a big success! Our customers left with smiles and berries (lots of berries!), we met some new neighbors and area visitors, Snickers and Doodles made lots of new friends, and at the end of the day the fields were in great shape (which made Rick very happy!). We saw a variety of picking styles from the very serious selector to the random picker, but all variations included some taste testing in search of those delicious ripe red all over berries.

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We want to thank all of our visitors for following our one rule, be nice to the plants! P1070180We also want to send an especially big shout out to the moms, dads, and grandparents with young kids—thanks for teaching them to respect the plants! Please come again!

Getting ready was a multiday project. Friday was clean-up day for the strawberry fields, mowing around the area, and staging for the morning. Saturday we got an early start setting up displays, canopies, signs, and (very important) the PortaJohn. Rick made a new two-sided chalkboard from an old farm window frame and we discovered that Sara has a highly valued skill—hand-lettering. From now on, in addition to being our goat whisperer she is also our talented sign writer.

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In addition to you pick berries, we sampled and sold our yummy spreads —Strawberry-Balsamic, Strawberry-Lavender, and Strawberry-Vanilla.   They are made with twice as many berries as sugar so the taste is much different than what you’ll find at the grocery store. Each has a unique flavor and, borrowing from my (many) wine tasting experiences, I sequenced the tasting to highlight each flavor profile.P1070174

We began with Strawberry Balsamic, which tempers the sweetness to enhance the naturally rich berry flavor. This was our best seller. Sample #2 was the Strawberry Vanilla, which is made with real vanilla beans. It produces a mild vanilla note that pairs well with the sweetness of the berry (Our young customer, Simon, left with 2 jars and a big smile). We ended the tasting with Strawberry Lavender. According to Sara (its her absolute favorite), “the flavor is unexpected and addictive.” It has a strong berry flavor with a floral note at the end—you can smell the lavender, as well as taste it.  All of the flavors make a tasty and quick appetizer when paired with a soft white cheese, such as brie.  Sprinkle a few nuts on the top or garnish with mint or basil and you're set to go.

It seemed that for many of the kids the creek (the Middle Fork of Cunningham Creek—the source of our farm name) was a bigger attraction than the berries. Laura and Maya graciously Kids@Creekshowed visitors where to find and sometimes how to catch fish, crayfish, and frogs. Of course, rocks, sand and water are enough to keep most kids busy for a long time and on Saturday it really did. I think we even had a few adults cooling off in the creek after doing their time in the berry field.

 

At the end of the day, we “debriefed” about the pick your own experience. We talked about a lot of details but the big question was, should we do this again? We all agreed that Pick Your Own will become a regular part of our strawberry season and we will do it again later this summer.  Next time, we're thinking we'll open "picking" from 9-12 on Saturday morning and 1-3 on Sunday afternoon.  We'd love to know what you think of the Sunday option (send us an email).  As soon as we have dates, we'll post it on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Middle-Fork-Farm/540326095986621). And, next season we’ll start Pick Your Own early in the season so more people can enjoy getting their berries straight from the field.

In other farm news, Bruce has finished his winemaker certificate courses through PVCC and UC Davis--kudos! Just for fun, he’s going to make some strawberry wine this summer and then in the fall, he’ll start making red wines so they’ll be aged just right for our tasting room opening in the spring of 2016.