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Sep 15, 2014

Preserving the harvest when you don't have a garden or orchard



How do you stock your pantry for the dark winter months ahead if, like us, you aren't living full-time on your homestead or you don't have the space or option to garden where you are?

Our solution?  "Pick Your Own" farms.  We are fortunate enough to have several orchards near us that offer very reasonable rates for gleaning your own fruits.  We try to take advantage of these as often as we are able.  We've mostly had success in getting loads and loads of apples and pumpkin but ours also offer pears, peaches, strawberries and cherries in season.


How does it work? If you aren't familiar with these, the concept is very simple.  You check the Pick-Your-Own website here to see if there are any in your area; then grab your family and as many friends as would like to tag along before heading to the closest farm or orchard.   Once there, you generally will be directed to the farm store or produce stand where you will be able to chose the amount you'd like to pick (for example: 25lbs is our standard but we could choose to get multiple 25lb bags and fill those if we wanted to.)  Once you make your selection you pay up and head out into the orchard.  The experience will vary depending on how large the operation is.  We have a mix of farms near us so some of them are relatively small and offer only a few varieties but others have a wide range available and require a drive-through in order to access the portions you want to pick from.  A map depicting the farm's layout and their varieties is generally available where you pay, make sure to grab one!  And that's about it, you get your bags and stuff them as full as you possibly can, put them in your car and head on home.  We've canned apple wedges, apple pie filling and apple sauce; not to mention dehydrating apple slices for snacking as well as drying the peels to use in tea.  We've also picked our own pie pumpkins from the pumpkin patch and made pie filling as well as canned pumpkin chunks.
a small part of our pick-your-own apple bounty
Having no option for gardening right now, we are very thankful to be able to do this.  If you have the opportunity to check one out for yourself I'd encourage you to go for it.  It's a great way to spend the day with your loved ones and do a little bit for your self-reliance and preparedness.

this post may have been shared at one (or all) of these wonderful blog hops!

8 comments:

  1. So jealous of your giant sink! We are looking to upgrade our double sink feature to one large tub-like one but just haven't gotten around to it. These larger sinks make everything about canning clean up so much easier!

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    1. Thanks so much for the visit, Sarah. A large sink does make everything that much simpler doesn't it?

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  2. Love this post. We don't have apple trees so when harvest time comes we always head to our favorite apple orchard to stock up on the kinds we like. I usually take our granddaughters along and make a day of it since there is a restaurant, too. Fun times. :)
    Have a great day!

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    1. Hi Magnolia! Aren't orchards fun? Ours makes the best apple cider donuts which I just can't resist. Thanks for stopping by again this week.

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  3. Great post and it is so true that not everyone has the option to grow their own food. We buy from a local people that know how the food is growing. We bought cabbage from an non-certified gardening that sells all kinds of produce for $2 a head and they were 4-6 pounds heads (we couldn't of grown it ourselves for that price) We are making homemade sauerkraut and storing the rest for fresh cabbage to eat in the winter. I have shared on twitter, google. Visiting from Home Acre Blog Hop. Have a healthy happy weekend.

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    1. Hi Marla, thanks so much for stopping by and also for leaving your own experience for me. That sounds like an amazing deal you got on cabbage. Have a great weekend!

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  4. Great post :) Also, checking the dates and calling to verify really helps! How many times I missed cherry season!!! Have a wonderful week and thank you for sharing at the Art of Home-Making Mondays!

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    1. Oh yes! The calendar tip is excellent! I've missed a few seasons due to that as well. Thanks for stopping by again JES!

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