Meandering the backroads of New York state, I have frequently passed farm stands. What is it that makes some of us stop and return to take a closer look?
A few weeks ago, I pulled into a farm stand in Milan, NY. At first, it appeared to be a simple setup with some vegetables arranged on a wooden table. When I approached a gentleman seated on a lawn chair, we greeted each other before I began to examine what was on display. A jumble of vintage books in a crate and other curiosities surrounded him. He slowly began to tell some stories about the items, and I prompted him with questions and some of my memories of visiting relatives at Trail’s End Farm.
Gradually, I explained my fascination with stories passed down through the generations, and he began to tell me about his origins as a Czech immigrant. His eyes sparkled and his voice became resonant as he recalled those earlier days and a time that was pivotal in the life of his family. It is not only his poignant story which should be heard but also those stories in our own families or communities.
As his story ended, I realized that I hadn’t chosen any vegetables for dinner. A vivacious young lady assisting him packed up my selection ranging from patty pans to blueberries. After we said our goodbyes, I drove away wondering…
What is the lure of a farm stand?
Is it the beauty of the palette of nature?
Is it the succulent flavor to add to our meal?
Is it the yearning for a simpler life?
Does it bring back memories?
Whatever compels me, you may still find me stopping at a farm stand… What are your memories of a farm stand?
Blackberries, blueberries, huckleberries, raspberries, loganberries, gooseberries and strawberries should be canned as soon as possible after picking.
Hull or stem.
Place in strainer and wash by lifting up and down in pan of cold water.
Pack into hot sterilized glass jars, using care not to crush fruit.
To insure a close pack, put a 2 or 4 inch layer of berries on the bottom of the jar and press down gently with spoon.
Continue in this manner until jar is filled.
Boiling water or boiling thin or medium syrup should be poured over the fruit at once.
Sterilize 10 minutes in boiling water.
Remove jars, tighten covers, invert to test seal and cool.
Note: This torn and yellowed recipe was preserved in Auntie’s recipe box.
As I select vintage recipes to transcribe from Auntie’s recipe box, I recall those treasured moments in her kitchen when I observed and assisted or perhaps hindered her progress with the meal.
My memories of the cooking experience include my hesitant journey into the dirt floor cellar of the old farmhouse to retrieve a Mason jar of the requested fruit canned the previous season. Slowly, I took the first step on the worn narrow stairs illuminated with a swinging dusty bulb. I viewed the cobwebs, smelled the dust, and felt the damp chill of being underground.
I proceeded cautiously toward the wooden shelf containing neatly lined and labelled Mason jars. With two hands tightly grasping the blue glass jar, I turned around and saw shadows in the dark corners. An avid reader of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, I imagined myself the protagonist of my own mystery …
until I heard my Auntie calling.
Auntie was the best cook that I can recall. What are your memories of a favorite cook?
1 cup of milk
2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of molasses
1/2 cake of Baker’s chocolate
Boil an hour and cool on buttered tins.
Courtesy of Mrs. A. Campbell
2 tablespoons of tapioca, soaked in cold water.
Set on the stove.
When thoroughly dissolved, pour in a quart of milk.
When this begins to boil, stir in the yolks of two eggs, well beaten.
Stir in a cup of sugar.
When this boils stir in the egg whites, beaten to a stiff froth.
Take immediately from the fire.
Flavor to taste.
Courtesy of Mrs. A. Campbell
Ruth’s Layer Cake
(Ruth may have been Ruth Coons of Barrytown, NY- the site of memorable July Fourth Family Gatherings.)
1 cup of butter or lard
2 level cups of sugar
4 eggs (separated)
1 cup milk
4 level cups of flour
4 teaspoons of baking powder
1 level teaspoon of salt
Bake in 4 layers.
Pare and core half a dozen very tart apples;
cook them in half a tea cup of water till they begin to soften;
put them in a pudding dish and sugar them;
beat eight eggs with four spoons of sugar;
add three pints of milk;
pour over the apples and bake half an hour.
Shared by Miss M. A. Hedden
Into a quart of sifted flour put two heaping teaspoons of baking powder and a pinch of salt;
mix together while dry;
then rub into it a piece of lard a little larger than an egg; mix with cold sweet milk;
cut with a tin cutter;
and bake a light brown in a hot oven.
Send to the table immediately.
Come back to visit again soon. New recipes will be added each week.
~Dedicated to researching and sharing local history~