Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

Welcome to “What’s In …,” a new feature offering a peek into HOMEGROWN members’ pantries, fridges, and freezers. If you’d like to volunteer your own kitchen for a future installment, say the word! We won’t expect everyone to be as organized as Jon, an American expat living in the awesomely named burg of Kitchener, Ontario, and blogging at The Local Kitchener. Ogle his pantry then post your thoughts below!

1. VARIOUS JAMS: “For the strawberry-rhubarb jam, we picked the strawberries at an organic farm, and the rhubarb came from my wife’s parents. The grapes were from the St. Jacobs farmers market, the arctic kiwis from a friend, the raspberries from another friend. The quince was from friends of a friend who had more than they could deal with. We also pressed the quince with apples and made a cider that has an incredible aroma.” TRY IT YOURSELF: Small-Batch Canning 101

2. CANNED TOMATOES: “We grew Roma, sun sugars, green zebras, and Old Germans. We also bought paste tomatoes from a noncertified organic farmer at the St. Jacobs market.”

3. BEER & WINE: “I formed a small co-op with friends and family to help pay for beer-brewing supplies. We call it the Kitchener Spee Keasy. [Jon’s last name is Spee.] We’ve brewed five all-grain batches. In the fall, I also fermented 18 gallons of cider that are aging right now. The wine was a side project with my brother and sister-in-law. We bought five gallons of unpasteurized sauvignon blanc juice from a small grocer who sells it mostly to the Eastern European community here. For $40, we got enough juice for 24 bottles of wine.” TRY IT YOURSELF: Green Tomato Wine 101

4. FLOUR: “We get almost all our flour from a local mill, Oak Manor Farms, that offers local, organic grains. I also buy unmilled grain from them for brewing.”

5. CANNED PEARS: “The pears came from an old tree in our yard. We think they’re Bartlett and we harvested them in September, but we lost about three-quarters to the squirrels!”

6. APPLESAUCE & CIDER:Some of the apples came from a friend with a huge tree. We set out a tarp and took turns climbing the gargantuan branches and shaking them like crazy. It was tons of fun. We bought more apples at the farmers market, as well as at several Mennonite farms. We mixed all those for four or five batches of applesauce, each slightly different. We also used them for cider pressing. One local farm has a sweet device that presses the apples and bags the juice.” TRY IT YOURSELF: 5 Ways to Preserve Apples 101

7. LYE: “My first soap attempt used only local fat: lard from a local butcher, ghee from a local dairy, and canola and hempseed oils from local producers, plus local oats and honey. I haven’t used it yet because it’s still drying, but it appears to have worked. Apparently, it’s hard to get a luxurious lather without coconut or palm oil, but I figure homesteaders didn’t have access to those for hundreds of years, so why should I need them?” TRY IT YOURSELF: Cold-Process Soap 101

8. DRIED BEANS: “These are from Rounds, a local producer. I order them through Bailey’s Local Foods. I write recipes for Bailey’s blog and love them!”

Views: 298

Comment by Heirloom Lizzie on March 3, 2014 at 9:59pm

I love your pantry, Jon!  I wish that I could have one as large and open as yours!

Comment by Jonathan Spee on March 6, 2014 at 9:16pm

Thanks, Heirloom Lizzie!  Keep in mind that it's large and open because it's just a shelf at one end of our basement, not an actual separate pantry :)


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