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Pizza and Ice Cream Party Class coming up!

What could be better than making pizza and eating ice cream?  To learn HOW to do it at home!  Attend our Pizza and Ice Cream Party, coming up this month!


 And NEXT Month:



Posted on Monday, July 9, 2018 at 4:22 PM

Summer Fruit

It is easy to take for granted the improvements to our current produce selections made possible by decades and centuries of careful observation by farmers, nurserymen, plant breeders and even plant hobbyists.

Saturday, on my way home after checking out the latest Nashville Hot Chicken pop-up by Barts' BBQ, I stopped @ Vallarta Markets, a regional ethnic grocery chain located primarily in the San Fernando Valley.

Rainier cherries @ $2.99/lb. A great price considering most retailers hold the line @ $5.99/lb, occasionally dipping to $4.99/lb. The market was 4 pounds lighter upon my departure.




 Plump, juicy, fresh, and larger than a quarter. The second picture has the quarter underneath the cherry.








I wanted to process some pitted with the stems in a brandy syrup and some in a lightly spiced syrup. I was thinking I would expedite the process by breaking out an antique cherry stoner although I already knew the answer. NO!

Cherries in the early 1900's were significantly smaller and the bulk of preserved cherries, canned and dried, were sour Early Richmond , English Morello, or Montmorency cherries. Once preferred for jams, jellies, preserves, pies, syrup, pastries and cakes, sour cherries are not the retail force today that they were in an earlier era.

When we think of cherries today, most people dream of Bing cherries or its offspring, big, dark burgundy red, and sweet.

BTW, the Bing cherry was named for Chinese national, Ah Bing, a decade's long employee who worked in the orchards of Oregon horticulturist SethLewelling.Ah Bing returned to Manchurian China in 1889 to visit family and due to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was never allowed to return.


My Rainier cherries would not fit in a finger operated cherry stoner, patented in 1937 by J.C. Brown. They would not feed into a 1920's, No. 50 cherry stoner by the New Standard Corp. of MT. Joy, PA. However, I could hand position each cherry individually in the well below the plunger. Say “goodbye” to speed and efficiency.




I love the ingenuity of early mechanical marvels, designed without Cad-Cam computer programs, CNC machinery, or 3-D printing.

Each design had to be mocked up by pattern makers, a specialized form of woodworking, and made into casting patterns for the foundry to cast the item in molten iron. Patterns had to be made oversize (6-9%) to account for the percentage of shrink as the cast iron cooled.

My cherry canning project is on temporary hold due to the rapid disappearance of the fresh cherry stock from my refrigerator.

It occurred to me that this is the reason why I never have any preserved cherry items to enter into the county fair.

Handful here, bowlful there, then death by attrition.

It's the pits (pun intended).


--Darrell Fluman





Posted on Monday, July 2, 2018 at 12:22 PM
  • Author: Darrell Fluman
Tags: ah bing (1), bing (1), cherry (1), fruit (5), modern fruit (1), processing (2), summer (1)

Pumpkins for Halloween


Sandy Szukalski and I enjoyed a visit to the McKinley Elementary School Garden this past week.  Virgina 'Gin' McMillin, the Garden Director had an amazing amount of enthusiasm for the garden, the children, her IERCD grant, the future...

Posted on Monday, July 2, 2018 at 12:08 PM
  • Author: Robin Rowe

Just for fun: Remember to Radish Responsibly


This spring my husband wanted to plant some stuff. I suggested a few radishes for sister and a couple of other things for us. All was good; we purchased seeds. Come planting he insisted we plant a FULL package of radish seeds—all at once. Do I like radishes? No.  Does he like radishes? No. Can my sister use all of them? No--maybe a bunch a week, tops. Result? Way too many radishes at one time. Soooooo. . .

Here's something just for fun: Sculpture for the Night Of The Radishes; La Noche de Rábanos.

And remember to raise radishes responsibly!


courtesy of yair lobo [atlas obscura user]
Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 9:30 AM
Tags: food (3), fun (1), night of the radishes (1), radishes (1), sculpture (1)

Flavors of fall! Taste 'em.


Put it on your calendars:  The Flavors of Fall Class is coming quick.



And welcome to new MFPs Tim, Lynn, Betty Jo, Lorena, Marty, Jill, Beverly, Rebecca, Clare and Beatriz!


2018 Certification Class, April 16, 2018







Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at 10:59 AM
Tags: apple (2), class (7), drinks (2), fall (2), flavors (2), pie filling (2), preserving (17), pumpkin (2), squash (2)

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