Tag Archives: local farms

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

17 Nov

Jars of Apple Butter

Since I haven’t had much success with making jams and jellies, I’m glad to have had success with making apple butter.  Mid-October, my family made a trip to Apple Annie’s Orchard to pick apples.  At that time, what they had for harvest was lots of Granny Smith and some Rome Beauty.  So, we got around 8 pounds to bring home.  We won’t really eat Granny Smith plain, but, with a little added sugar, we like them prepared in things.  Now, mine never turns out as pretty as other pictures that I have seen, but it works out well enough for us!

I used 6 1/2 pounds of the apples we picked, a mix of Granny Smith and Rome Beauty varieties, and used my peeler/corer/slicer  to prepare all the apples, then used a hand chopper to chop them into smaller pieces.  This filled up my 6 quart slow cooker pretty much to the top.  Then, I added sugar and spices, skipping the salt and vanilla extract, according to this recipe for Slow Cooker Apple Butter:

– 1 cup granulated sugar
– 1 cup light brown sugar
– 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
– 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Normally, I wouldn’t add sugar, but with as many Granny Smith apples as I had, it needed the sugar to balance out the tart.  I cooked it on low overnight, about 10 hours.  In the morning, I removed the lid and used my hand mixer to smooth out the apples in the slow cooker.  I left the lid off and continued to cook it on low for another 2 hours, until it had gotten a thicker consistency.

We love to eat this on toast and waffles, plus it’s a nice addition to a peanut butter sandwich instead of the grape jelly I buy at the store.  It’s a wonderful fall treat!  The prep takes some time and effort, but then you can let it cook all day while you work on other things.

Farmer’s Market Finds: 8/8/2013

8 Aug

I missed the market  last week, but after I picked my younger daughter up from school, we headed out to shop.

Our first stop was for pork spring rolls from J’s Kitchen.  Since we were there a little later to the market this week, she didn’t have enough for a full order (12 pieces), so she substituted in pork wontons, which I hadn’t tried before.  They were great, along with the spring rolls.  We also had 2 bottles of water, making our total here $6.

While we were waiting for our food, we stopped and got kettle corn from Tata Ruben’s Kettle Corn.  He gave us a sample first, which convinced me to get the big bag over the little bag (which was $3).  The big bag was $6.

Next, we headed into the vendors.

Farmer's Market Finds: 8/8/2013

First stop was Gabe the Bread Man.  He greeted us with a smile on his face, happy to tell us how much joy baking brings him.  I think that’s his secret ingredient to his delicious bread; he bakes it with joy in his heart.  This week,  I got one of his new breads to try, Butter Top Italian bread.  You can see I tried some before taking this picture. It’s delicious, fluffy, moist, and a nice buttery taste without having to add any extra butter spread.  I will enjoy eating this a lot.  His loaves are $6 each.

Next, I picked up a 3 lb bag of organic jonalicious apples from English Apple Orchard/Arizona Apple Cider.  They always have free samples to try the variety before you buy, and this is the one we picked today.  This was $5.

We stopped next at the Elfrida Community Garden stand.  I got 1 pound of lemon cucumbers, something I haven’t had in a while.  I had one as a snack tonight, and it was perfect.  It was $1.50 for the pound.

Then, we stopped for truffles at The Sanctuary stand.  We picked Mocha flavor, and got 2, one for me, one for my daughter.  They were $1 each, so $2 for both.

The next stop was something I had wanted to try for a while, so we stopped to try SAS-Z Nuts pistachios.  I tried the salted and roasted variety, and decided to buy the 1 pound bag for $10.  He has other sizes available as well.

Finally, I got 1 pound of organic peaches from Grammy’s stand that were from Briggs & Eggers orchard. I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m sure they will be great like the ones in my FarmBox.

It was a hot one today, so we headed home after we’d made our round.  I have some ideas of what to try the next time we make it.



The Sierra Vista Farmer’s Market is held every Thursday from 10am – 2pm at Veteran’s Memorial Park.  To learn more, you can visit their website here or their Facebook page.  Every week they publish a newsletter with upcoming events and vendors they are expecting at the market that week.

Farmer’s Market Finds: 7/25/2013

25 Jul

We had another fun week at the Farmer’s Market!  This week, we went after Katie’s basketball camp with some friends, and then saw more friends there!  It was a busy week there again, lots of people.  Here is what all we got this week:

Farmer's Market Finds: 7/25/2013Leeks, lots of leeks again…my husband came along this week too, and he wanted more leeks for Potato Leek Soup.  It’s actually not too hard to make and I really like it too, so that makes meal planning easy for this week!  All those leeks he got for $2.50.

Asiago Bread from Gabe the Bread Man.  Haven’t gotten his bread in a while, but it’s so fresh and delicious, and no preservatives.  It was hard to pick just one, but I chose the Asiago this week, and hopefully will get to try another one next week.  Really nice guy too, he donates a lot of bread to local food banks as well.  He has quite a variety of breads, now including a gluten-free sandwich bread.  I haven’t tried it yet though.  This loaf of bread as $6.

Blueberry and Chocolate Mochi Cakes from Hana’s Japanese Bakery.  We had gotten her cookies previously, and they were really good, so we got her mochi cakes to try today.  These are gluten-free.  I tried a small piece of the chocolate one, it was really moist and tasty.  These were $3, so $6 total.

3 lb bag of organic apples from English Apple Orchard.  I can’t remember the variety and the bag isn’t marked, but they are good!  This bag was $5.

5 honey sticks, various flavors from Simmons Honey Ranchito.  Great deal at only $1 for all 5!

Lunch was at J’s Kitchen food truck.  What is in the box is the only leftovers.  We got 2 of her Veggie Spring Roll meals, which includes 6 spring rolls and a side of fried rice.  Delicious!  We also got 2 16 oz bottles for water, and paid $11.

After lunch, we stopped at Big Woody’s food truck to get shaved ice (no picture).  Katie got the pink cotton candy flavor, Sophia got the blue bubble gum flavor.  Great treat for a hot day!  The small is plenty big and $2.50 each, so it was $5 for both.  My husband got his lunch here today, he had their Big Woody’s Cuban, which he loved.  All beef hot dog with ham, pork, Swiss cheese, mustard, and pickle on a Cuban roll.  I don’t remember how much it cost, but he says it’s well worth the money!


The Sierra Vista Farmer’s Market is held every Thursday from 10am – 2pm at Veteran’s Memorial Park.  To learn more, you can visit their website here or their Facebook page.  Every week they publish a newsletter with upcoming events and vendors they are expecting at the market that week.


Farmer’s Market Finds: 7/18/2013

18 Jul

Our Farmer’s Market has changed venues!  Last week was the first week, but I was travelling home that day and didn’t get home in time for the market.  However, I was able to make it this week.  Wow!  There were so many vendors and people, it was great to see so much support for the market!   It was a little overwhelming to take it all in, but I managed to narrow it down to a few good finds and then we headed out.

Farmer's Market Finds: 7/18/20133 lb bag of organic Jonamac apples from English Family Orchard in Willcox, $5. They are small, but the perfect snack size for my girls since they take about 5 bites out of the big apples and stop.

2 lbs of leeks and 2 pounds of potatoes from Beatty’s Apple Orchard, $6 total.  I started at only 1 pound, but Dale has been begging for Potato Leek Soup, so we got 2 lbs.  It’s not enough potatoes, but I’ll get more when I head to the grocery store soon.

2 lbs cucumbers, 4 onions, 2 dozen eggs (not pictured), Tea Tree Lemon scented goat milk soap, and Tea Tree Lemon scented lotion from Basic Farm 7, $19.  I should be set on eggs for a while!  The cucumbers I’ll be making into pickles.

Fresh rosemary, $1.  I can’t remember which stand I got it at, but am all out of rosemary, so I’m glad I found it!

Excited to go again next week and see what all I can find!


The Sierra Vista Farmer’s Market is held every Thursday from 10am – 2pm at Veteran’s Memorial Park.  To learn more, you can visit their website here or their Facebook page.  Every week they publish a newsletter with upcoming events and vendors they are expecting at the market that week.

FarmBox Fresh: 6/12/2013

14 Jun

I haven’t posted FarmBox picture recently, and since they started offering new items, I wanted to make sure to give an update!  They now are offering items like oats, lentils, peas, raisins, and other items from their sister company, One Degree Organic Foods.  Plus, they provided us with a copy of a new magazine, Edible Baja, which is all about food and drink in southern AZ.  It’s a really neat magazine!

FarmBox Fresh: 6/12/2013


So, this week you can see I got the following:

1 Bread – Sprouted Spelt (1.0 loaf)
1 Lettuce – Green Leaf (1.0 head)
1 Zucchini (1.0 each)
1 Squash – Yellow Straightneck (1.0 each)
1 Radish (1.0 bunch)
1 Carrots (1.0 bunch)
1 PantryItems: Rolled Oats Organic (1.0 bag)
1 PantryItems: Raisins Organic (1.0 bag)

Total: $23.50

The carrots and radishes have been great snacks, and I’ve been on a salad kick lately, so the green leaf lettuce is perfect for salads for lunch.  I think I will be making oatmeal raisin cookies with the oats and the raisins, that is, if I don’t eat all the raisins first!  Still love getting fresh food from them, and happy to hear that they are partnering with farms with the same quality values as them to be able to provide more for us who participate in the program.  Looking forward to them offering peaches again soon from a local grower, last year they were amazing!

Farmer’s Market Finds: 6/6/2013

6 Jun

We had a lot of fun at Farmer’s Market today!

First, we stopped at the Basic Farm 7 table.  Christie had one of her male baby goats, Tiny Tim, at the market with her today, and she let my kids bottle feed him.  She also had onions, feta cheese, jams and jellies, soaps, and lotions.  I got 8 oz of feta cheese for $4 and a bar of unscented soap with goat’s milk for $5.  Here is a picture of my oldest bottle-feeding Tiny Tim:

Feeding Tiny Tim

Next, we stopped at the Hana’s Japanese Bakery table.  She has a variety of baked items and this week had fresh Japanese green tea leaves.  We chose a bag of black sesame cookies and a bag of lemon cookies.  The cookies are $3 each, or $5 when you buy 2, so that’s why we bought 2 to pay $5.

Next, we headed to the Sanctuary Farms table.  She gave us some samples of her chevre and truffles.  Both are very good!  We bought 4 oz of chevre with garlic and chives for $4.  Next week, I think we’ll be buying some of her truffles, yum!

The girls were hungry, so we headed to a new food truck to the Farmer’s Market, J’s Kitchen.  I have heard a lot of good things about her food, so we finally tried it today.  She had samples of mango and avocado salad and banana and brown sugar spring rolls.  Both were delicious!  We got an order of chicken rice noodles and 6 pork spring rolls, plus 2 bottles of water, all for $8.50.

After we sat to eat, I got Hawaiian shaved ice from the Big Woody’s food truck.  We got the small size, which were $2.50 each.  The girls wanted a rainbow of flavors, and it was really tasty and a nice cool treat on a hot day.

K eating her Hawaiian shaved iceS eating her Hawaiian shaved ice





While we ate, we listened to banjo music by Don Van Palta.  He let both girls come up and play a song with him.

K playing banjoS playing banjo





Finally, we picked up a quart size bag of fresh blackberries from Bob Dirks, who was at the Information booth.  They were $8, and are delicious!

So, here is a picture of all the goodies from today.  Quart size bag of blackberries, garlic and chive chevre, feta cheese, soap with goat’s milk, black sesame cookies, and lemon cookies.

Farmer's Market Finds: 6/6/2013

Looking forward to having fun again next week, and seeing what other goodies we can find!

Farmer’s Market Finds: 5/9/2013

9 May

I haven’t made it to the Farmer’s Market in a long time!  It does run year round here, but I just haven’t found the time to make it.  Today, I finally made it back and also picked up some things from a friend’s farm as well.  She is going to be at the Community Market on Saturday, but I’m not able to make it then, so I met her today.

So, I’ll start with the items from Christie, from Basicfarm7.

Food from Basicfarm7I got 1 dozen fresh eggs, onions, feta cheese, and mozzarella.  I had almost half the feta crumbled on a salad for lunch (I LOVE feta!).  I chopped up a red onion and some of the greens to add to my stuffed shells filling that we had for dinner tonight.  I also grated one bag of the mozzarella for the filling and over the top of the stuffed shells as well.  The rest of the mozzarella, another onion, and an egg will go into making a Sausage & Potato Pie.  So excited as it’s been a while since I made it.

Then, later in the day, I headed to the Farmer’s Market.  Not much, but it was nice to walk around and see what was available.

Farmer's Market Finds


The maple syrup is pure maple syrup brought in from New York.  It looks really good, and I can’t wait to try it out on pancakes and waffles.  Then, I also got 2 books written by Suzanne M. Malpass.  She has written four books that are true stories about animals and have happy endings. Plus, they have wonderful illustrations.  A Lab’s Tale is for us to keep, and Colorado, The Flying Horse is for my friend’s daughter who loves horses.  Suzanne was there today and signed these books for me. To find out more about Suzanne and her books, you can visit Straddlebooks.com.  She will be selling them at a festival in St. David, AZ, this weekend, and then is headed back north for the summer. You can also find her books online, but if you buy them in person, she will sign them as well, which is neat.  My older daughter read A Lab’s Tale for her nightly reading log for school, and she really enjoyed the story.

Hopefully, I will get to check out the Farmer’s Market more in the weeks to come, instead of going months in between!


FarmBox Fresh: 3/27/2013

29 Mar

I know I haven’t done this in a while, even though I still get a Farm Box weekly.  But, this week, I was very excited about my box, so I just wanted to share!

Sunizona Family Farms FarmBox 3/27/2013


This week, I did a Custom box and picked:

– Spouted Spelt bread: our favorite sandwich bread, very light and very tasty
– Seedless hothouse cucumber: making refrigerator pickles
– Green beans: My 4-year-old and 6-year-old LOVE green beans and can’t get seem enough of them right now!
– Beets: Making pickled beets and using the water from boiling them to color Easter eggs, hoping it works!
– Radishes: Kids and husband love them!
– Green leaf lettuce: Great for salads for me for lunch

And last, but not least, the item I was most excited about…


Sunizona Family Farms peas


We love peas, but they are usually so expensive or hard to find at the store, and they never seem to make it into the Bountiful Baskets rotation.  So, I was very excited to see them available through Sunizona.  And, they are delicious!  We will probably eat these raw.

Grass Fed Beef from Starbar Ranch

21 Feb

Back at the end of November, I heard about a ranch in the area, Starbar Farm & Ranch, that was gauging interest in grass-fed beef.  I have had grass-fed beef before from another local ranch that sells at the farmer’s market, and have been interested since then in getting more.  So, I was very interested, and also got the opportunity to visit the ranch.

First, Starlene and Barbara are both very welcoming and were happy to show us around the ranch.  Next, we got to learn about their feeding system.  For feed, they grow their own alfalfa hay for feed, using no weed killer or pesticide.  Once this alfalfa is cut down, the cattle graze in the field.  Then, they also use a fodder system to grow feed.  The fodder system was really interesting.  They are large trailers with doors on both ends, and each one is temperature regulated and self-watering.  Trays of barley seed are started on one end, then each day a tray is added, pushing the other trays down through the system.  The barley sprouts hydroponically, and goes from the seed to being feed in 6 days.  The barley mats, referred to as biscuits, are able to be fully consumed by the cattle.  You can see a picture of the system and of the biscuits on their Facebook page.

Then, we walked around to see some of the cattle.  Their property is beautiful.  Open views to mountain ranges, and just lots of open country.  The cattle all looked really good and well-cared for, and they don’t receive hormones or antibiotics.  They have red angus, black angus, hereford and belted Galloways at their ranch, and their goal is to get a very lean beef.  Here is a picture of a belted Galloway calf, only 3 weeks old in this picture:

Belted Galloway calf at Starbar Ranch


So, after the visit, I had to wait patiently until now to get some of the beef.  I chose to get 2 packages of top sirloin steaks (2 to a package), 5 1-pound packages of ground beef, a flank steak, a 3 pound chuck roast, and 4 packages of rib eye steaks (2 to a package).

My grass fed beef order from Starbar Ranch


This came to $152.19.  To see their list of prices, you can visit their website here.  Hopefully, the weather will stay warm here for a little bit so I can grill the steaks.  The chuck roast and flank steak I’m planning to make the sauce I use for barbacoa to make barbacoa again with the roast, and to marinade the flank steak and grill it.  I’ll try to give an update after we have it!

Time to thaw those Thanksgiving turkeys!!

19 Nov

Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and if you are cooking a turkey, it’s probably time to start thawing it in the fridge, if that’s the method you choose.  There have been a couple of years where I almost forgot to start thawing it out, or started it too late, so at the end, I had to put it in cold water to thaw it the rest of the way.

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has a fact sheet on safely making your turkey for the holiday, including guidelines on thawing and roasting your turkey.

Let’s Talk Turkey – A Consumer Guide to Safely Roasting a Turkey

I ordered a fresh turkey this year, so I get to skip the thawing process!  In addition to turkey, we will also be having mashed potatoes, bread and celery dressing, wild rice and sausage dressing, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, and sweet potato pie.  The potatoes, green beans, dinner rolls, and sweet potatoes are all from Sunizona Family Farms, the celery and bread from Bountiful Baskets, and the turkey I ordered through the Sierra Vista Food Co-op.  I am so ready to cook and eat it all!

What will you be cooking and/or eating this week?

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