Time to preserve the great taste of summer

From the Delta Optimist.......

The kids are on there way back to the classroom in just over a week but that does not mean that we have to say good bye to summer quite yet. The fall Equinox is September 22 so we have lots of time to enjoy late summer. You can usually smell fall coming but I personally have not had a whiff quite yet which is just fine with me.

I really enjoy this time of year for many reasons but if you are a fruit lover it is full on Peach season. Can’t get enough of them to be honest, One or two a day at least. Our BC farmers have had some great crops over the past couple of years and this year has been no exception.

It started with an early bumper crop of strawberries whose plants yielded two and three harvests. A fantastic blueberry crop ensued, producing  massive sweet berries. Next on the agenda was an unbelievable cherry crop. A few pounds of cherries for dessert was the norm at our house for a while.

The peaches and nectarines will soon give way to what promises to be a robust apple and pear offering.

If you haven’t already been market shopping during this summer, you have to take in the sights and smells of nature’s bounty. A good place to do this is at the Backroads Family Farm Market at the foot of 52nd street. Another good spot to load up on goodies from the Okanagon is Richmond Country Farms on the Steveston Highway. The Keremeos tomatoes are rolling in now... another favourite of mine. 

Over the past few weeks we have been harvesting a boat load of cucumbers from our neighbourhood school farms and are on the process of pickling. The kids in the Delta School District will be learning some of these often forgotten skills.

When I was a kid, our basement shelves were stocked with home canned fruits and vegetables. Jam. apple sauce, canned peaches, tomatoes and pickles were some of the mainstays.

I didn’t really appreciate the product then and thought it somewhat pedestrian to be eating home canned food.

Today, however, with the persistent buzz around supporting local farmers and buying local, it makes perfect sense to load up on our delicious local seasonal fare and freeze or can our produce for a surprise taste of summer in mid winter.

When my backyard tomatoes are done which won’t be for a while, I will buy a case or so of the Okanagon toms to make marinara sauce that will be portioned and frozen. My backyard with this supplement will keep us in sauce until the spring.

I actually just finished off frozen blueberries from last year and have already put a few pounds in the freezer from this year.

I am a big fan of fruit smoothies for breakfast and there is nothing as simple and tasty as throwing a handful of berries and peaches at some yogurt for a blend.

If you want to support local farmers and enjoy the taste of summer all year round, stock up on our local seasonal crops and preserve or freeze them. You will be glad you did.



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