The early bird

Although produce from the garden is limited at the moment, I still wanted to make sure that we have access to the abundance of summer when the winter comes around. Next year I hope to have a good tomato harvest, but I expect this year’s to be small, late and only enough for immediate use.

I had heard about a seller of fruit and veg who visits a nearby town once a week and who has good quality produce to buy in bulk, so this morning at 7:15 I set off to investigate. I had been warned to get there early – ideally between 7:30 and 8 – and the advice was good. Even just after 7:30, when the sun was struggling to be seen through the morning mist, the place was busy. Other stall-holders were just setting up, but the fruit and veg man (and half a dozen staff) were doing a good trade.

I had gone specifically to buy peaches and tomatoes for bottling, having been so successful with both these in the past. And, much to my delight, there were trays of flat peaches and of plum tomatoes – I was even given a peach to taste and, my word, it was fabulous. So I bit the bullet (like the peach) and bought four trays of each.

I was back home by 8:30, and had even had time to take a picture or two on the way, although by that time the mist was clearing:

Homeward bound

Homeward bound

Now, I have some work to do in the kitchen…

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  1. Your cargo looks fantastic, I hope the bottling goes well. The homeward bound picture shows why Wales is such a special place. It was great.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  2. They all look lovely. I have been picking more raspberries and blackcurrants at Dads garden. I shall miss it next year.

  3. Fabulous!! Nothing tastes as good as soft fruit freshly plucked ….. I miss those days when that was a regular part of each season. I would be so pleased, proud and happy standing back and looking at my rows of preserved fruits 🙂

    • You really can’t beat a cupboard full of preserved fruit! And the taste of summer fruits in the winter is magic to me when I know I’ve got them because I preserved them myself.

  4. Beautiful produce! It’ll be a messy day or so, but then you’ll have rows of jars to admire, be proud of and enjoy when the sun has gone elsewhere in the coming winter!

  5. And here I was thinking that teaser photo on Facebook was your enviro market day! Love those doughnut peaches. They are SOOO sweet. Have fun preserving 🙂

  6. I bet your car smelt amazing too. 😊 I am curious to know how you preserve them. It is something I have long thought about doing, but never got around to. Do you bottle them and then cook the bottles for a little while?

    • Not sure if you can bottle large quantities, but there’s a great book called Food in Jars, by Marissa McClellan. She’s got a blog, too. She greatly simplifies the usual instructions and the recipes are small quantities, so you can try things…

    • Yes the car smelt lovely… and when I walked into my kitchen this morning I was greeted by the the aroma of peaches – bliss!
      For tomatoes I roast them first, pass them through a mill to make passata and then bottle the hot sauce before using a hot water bath. For the peaches I skin them and remove the stones, then cook them for a couple of minutes in syrup before bottling and using a water bath. This is fine for acidic produce, but vegetables need to be bottled under pressure to ensure they are safe – for this purpose I have a pressure canner… which I had to order from the US because they are simply not available in the UK.

      • Thanks for all that info. You make it sound very easy, and I bet it is fun! And satisfying. Enjoy your weekend

  7. Goodness, Jan, I’ve been feeling bad about not canning so much this year–been eating it as it comes. If I could get more produce at a good price nearby I would, but alas, here in Arlington, the farmers charge what the market will bear, so I’d gain lovely canned stuff but the cost would not be helpful. Good luck in bottling up those goodies! You will enjoy them so much in January!

    • I’m so excited to find a source of cheap bulk produce – it’s not easy, but once I found out about this market, I just had to go and check it out and I really wasn’t disappointed/

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