Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Peaches and Blueberries!

Eric, Lucas and I went and picked our own peaches and blueberries at Bush N Vine Farm in York, SC last weekend. Lucas was a surprisingly good helper. We told him just to get the big blue berries and he actually did! At one point I turned around to tell him to stop throwing blueberries out of our bucket, but he was actually getting rid of some reddish ones Eric had picked too soon.

It was a fun way to spend the afternoon, and we took home a half gallon of blueberries and a half bushel of peaches for just $18!  To put that into perspective, the blueberries were $7 a half gallon, while their pre-picked berries were $16 a half gallon. Big difference! I never liked blueberries because I thought the skin was too tough and tasted gross.... then I had one of these. What a difference it makes when they haven't been shipped and sitting in a grocery store!

Besides snacking on some and sharing some with friends and neighbors, we canned the peaches and made a quart of blueberry syrup.  We gave away quite a few peaches, but we were still able to can 10 pints and 2 quarts.  Both making the syrup and canning the peaches were surprisingly easy!  I got my blueberry syrup recipe from It turned out every bit as delicious as the article promises, and it keeps in the fridge for up to 6 months.

Do you have yummy recipes for canned peaches? Please share! Now that we have so much, I'm going to need the help!


  1. I just found your page. What a fabulous challenge! You are inspiring me, and my kids are scared :). RE your peaches: I made a regular peach jam last year with an abundance of "smooshed" peaches I received from a friend. I added whole cloves & cinnamon chips to the recipe....and must say that it is the best jam ever. I use honey, and "no sugar" pectin, so the peaches are naturally sweet & tangy...and the spices compliment that. Looking forward to following you this year. Greetings, Heike

  2. I just read the article on the Take Part website.
    What you are doing is a huge endeavor...its extremely admirable! I am trying to reduce spending in supermarkets as well...started growing some of my own veggies this summer. I am very interested in finding out what you are doing about protein. Are you going vegetarian or vegan? I am just curious because I am not sure how to do that. I just don't like tofu and there is a local ranch here where the cattle are treating humanly (on the extreme side...which is good) but they are VERY expensive. I like you do not what to eat meat where the animals have been treated horribly. I am looking forward to reading how your family does this. You are not on your own in your desire to eat better and control your food.

  3. I just read about you guys on the Food Inc. Facebook page. I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS CHALLENGE! My husband and I recently did a lot of soul searching when it comes to the food we have been eating. We too have a little guy and another on the way and just did not feel right about the food attitude we were creating for our son. We watched, Food Inc., Food Matters and read The China Study, among other things, and we chose a plant based(90% vegan 10% vegetarian - we just can't give up cheese 100% - lol) WHOLE FOOD diet. We were SHOCKED at how many of our friends and family reacted so negatively toward our decision. We have LOVED the change in our bodies and especially loved seeing our son enjoying fresh picked strawberries for dessert rather than cookies and ice cream (although on special occasions like holidays and birthday we do allow him those special treats) and cucumber slices as a snack rather than gold fish crackers.

    Good luck with the challenge! I'm excited to follow your journey and learn from your good examples!

  4. Way to go! We both travel very much so it's hard for me, but I try to buy all my produce at farmers markets, and I haven't bought meat or eggs at grocery stores for years. I usually take a quarter cow from a local farmer, certainly cheaper than the grocery store meat and definitely better, and lamb and chicken and eggs from another farmer that by now I'm really good friends with.

    I get funny looks from visiting friends and relatives when I we go to the grocery store and I refuse to buy veggies or fruit that aren't in season or not from a local farm. "But you can buy it here!" - "Yes, but if I can't get it at the farmer's market it's not in season, and why would you eat it then?"

    I guess I'm lucky living in California, there is so much in season all the time...

    So Angie, keep on going, I'll read along!

  5. This is FANTASTIC! My Husband and I have 2 kids. We also run a SMALL Dairy farm. We try to do as much as we can on our own. You have inspired me to try harder! Thank you and I am going to try to keep up with you. We are doing our best here!

  6. I just came across your challenge - how awesome! I've been trying to eat more local foods and am now inspired because of your quest. I've found a farmer's market to visit while we are on vacation.

    By not going into a grocery store, how do you purchase shampoos, deodorants, etc? I'm thinking that you purchase those in an organic store?

    I'm 42 and have never canned anything in my life. Imagine my surprise when I call my mom later and ask her if she'll teach me how to can!

    Thank you and good luck!


  7. I've got to try that blueberry syrup recipe! We're going picking cherries this weekend and I can't wait to start working with them!
    I can't wait to see how you all do! We're trying somewhat of the same idea as you all and recording it as well here on Blogger. Good Luck!!

  8. I just found about your challenge through the Food Inc. Facebook page, I love what you are doing for yourselves and for the local farmers and businesses around you, I also try doing the same, I have 4 hens and a veggie garden. And when I give cooking classes or cook for people I always encourage them to shop local, organic and in season. If you like reading I can recommend you the book by Barbara Kingsolver "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle"(HarperCollins, 2007), she did the same as you. Keep up the good work and bon appetit! Petite Chef Anne

  9. A friend in VA posted the Take Park link on her Facebook, and I was so surprised to see Gastonia, since that's where our family lives! The article is really great....congratulations on you decision and the best of luck. It is easy right now, as there are so many great things at the Gastonia Farmers' Market. Linebergers is another pick-your-own farm in our area....we're going for blackberries soon!


  10. yum! We have a local organic blueberry farm we love. We picked 6lbs last week and are going back for more next week. I wish I could find a peach farm with peaches, the drought here in TX has really effected the crop this year :(

  11. I make peach butter. It's a great gift for the holidays if you decide to can them . . . like summer in a jar.
    -Peaches - About 35 peaches for a full 6 quart crock pot batch
    -Ground Ginger

    Wash and peel the peaches (make a small x in the bottom and drop them in boiling water for about a minute. Move to a bowl of ice water, and rub the peaches when they're cool enough to handle. The skins should come right off).

    Cut the peeled peaches, and run them through a food mill, the food processor, or use an immersion blender if you're partial to smooth fruit butters.

    Fill the crock pot to within an inch of full with the peaches. My crockpot holds about 5.5 quarts. Now, you CAN do this using a regular large pot on very low heat on the stove, but the crockpot works much better, because its heat is very low. I've never had a batch burn in the crockpot.

    To the crockpot full of cut up peaches, add:

    2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/2 teaspoon of allspice
    1/2 teaspoon ginger
    4 cups sugar (or other sweetener)
    The sweetener can be sugar, Splenda, fruit juice (peach juice or white grape juice work well) or none at all! Generally, a fruit butter, like peach butter is a fairly sweet concoction, so you might want to add some sweetening. I usually add about 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of Splenda, so it's sweet, but not loaded with sugar.

    Cook on low for 12-24 hours with the glass lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape. Stir occasionally. I do leave mine on overnight. When the mixture is reduced by half, you've got peach butter!

    Can according to the regular directions.

    I make fruit butters every year for the holidays, and it's a huge hit with my family. :)