By Hannah Curcio

The flow of traffic and goods at our cellar door has switched directions. The constant shuffle of goods to stock the shelves has been replaced by our family’s new hobby: cellar shopping. 

For Christmas, after reviewing the shelves, Cole decided he would like to make breakfast for our family, using canned cherries from the cellar, as well as supplemental cherry/raspberry jam from Joyce Miller. The cakes themselves were made from Deep Creek wheat, eggs from Bare Ranch, and milk from our goats. These were the first cherries of winter, and it was a special meal, not only for the sweet taste of July cherries, but also for the memory of the hands that had pitted each of those cherries, which was not lost on our boys (who both contributed). We also got the chance to smile about cherry-colored lips and fingers for days following cherry projects. 

Cole’s prepared Christmas morning breakfast with the first of our canned cherries, cherry/raspberry jam from Joyce Miller, Deep Creek Wheat, Bare Ranch eggs, and Down the Mountain Farmstead goat milk.

This month we have also begun enjoying canned dilly beans, pear sauce, and dried fruit from the cellar. With pumpkins aplenty, we have also been stir-frying pumpkin and making pumpkin pies, as well as learning how to be creative with what we have on hand. Already, our thoughts have begun to turn to next year’s summer garden–specifically a scaled-up pumpkin patch–and our family’s diet going forward. What pumpkins varieties have kept best? Which piece of land should we start preparing for additional pumpkins, and without the challenge of the local food experience after June, what will our daily diet look like? Will we choose to make exceptions for foods that are not sourced from our farm and our community without the pressure of the LFX?

Also new this month: our gifted chickens from Oz Garden have begun laying, we are giving our loyal Jersey milk cow a break from milking while we prepare for her next calf, and we are grateful to have additional milk goats on loan from the neighbor on hand for the winter months (which means more goat cheese!). Additionally, we are going heavy on apple crisps and jars of applesauce from the 100 lbs. of apples we have on hand from Betsy Ingram in Davis Creek. Thanks to an exceedingly mild start to winter, we have been enjoying an unseasonably large bounty of salad greens from the hoop house, as well as kale, chard, collard greens and parsley. We can’t wait for the carrots and cilantro that have sprouted to be ready for harvest, a sure sign of spring and the chance to once again rely primarily on fresh local nutrients.  Until then, the pitter-patter of little feet on the cellar stairs will remain a constant part of our daily soundtrack.

Jersey cow Princess also taking up the local diet, as she munches on extra hoop house salad greens.

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