July 2016: A Backyard Feast



July heat settles over the land like a clear, shimmering cloak, drawing sugars into fruits. July sun gleams and roars above the fields, beading sweat on the brows of workers who gather the harvest. There is sweat of another kind, too, on the chilled bottles brought by friends into the sun, cracked open to fend off thirst, or to set the mood around a celebratory barbecue, cool and refreshing in the summer heat. On farms, in gardens, on the wild hillsides surrounding the towns, leaves unfold like green umbrellas, whose job is not to shade but to concentrate sun, to feed, to grow, to thrive, in the short time allotted them. July is bright and fierce, a firework of a month, long days and warm nights smudged with smoke and sizzle and mosquito repellent. Gather friends together, circle around a fire. Eat with your fingers. Raise a toast to the earth, to America, to the sunflowers that seeded themselves along the sidewalk. To all that. To everything.

BBQ Pizza with Homemade Dough & Sauce
bbq pizza


The tomato sauce above makes an incredible base for pizza, pasta, or any other marinara-esque application. But you know what is just as awesome as red sauce? Green sauce.

Basil Pesto

homemade basil pesto

Hand-Churned Blueberry Ice Cream

Now you've eaten your fill, have you? You couldn't possibly eat another bite, you say? Nonsense, say we. Take a turn at the crank.

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream

Peach Jam

Sometimes you truly cannot eat another bite. And sometimes a harvest is so large that it's foolish to try. Sometimes, too, preservation is a kind of edible memory, a taste of the season at it's peak, when the fresh fruits are out of season at the market, or pale and watery facsimiles of themselves from foreign greenhouses. In that case, we turn to the time tested methods of preservation; jam and pickling in the water bath canner. Whatever your reason for preserving (besides taste, besides thrift, besides joy) this recipe is summer in a jar, a stonefruit postcard from the heart of July, no matter the season.

homemade peach jam

Workshops & Events

Summer is a preservers’ paradise, with new crops swinging into season every week. We aim to keep up with the bounty, but sometimes we need a little extra inspiration, a fresh idea, or a reminder of something we’ve done before, to spur us into the kitchen. Perhaps it is the same with you, dear reader? Look back through old notes, or check out a new book. Come on in to the store, and chat with us about the seasonal possibilities. Look back through old recipes we’ve posted here;  Zucchini Chocolate Cake? Fermented Nectarine Chutney? Yes, please!

Another way to fire that culinary spark again is to come to one of our free classes!

This summer we’re teaching at various Farmer’s Market’s across the county. This month, we’ll be celebrating the Berry Bonanza on July 16th at the Scott’s Valley market. Shrubs, fruit leathers, and water-bath canning of berry jam will all be covered. Later in the month, (July 30th) we’ll be there again, this time with sage advice for Taming the Wild Zucchini Monster. Yes, rather than abandon boxes of zucchini on your neighbor’s doorsteps under cover of darkness, we’ll learn ya how to make delicious Zucchini Relish, Fermented Squash Pickles, and dehydrated Zucchini Chips. Come join us!

We will also be joined July 21 by Emily Han, author of Wild Drinks & Cocktails for a Shrub Making Demo and book signing. Learn the art of making Shrubs, get your book signed and taste some sparkling shrub deliciousness.

As always, we leave you with best wishes for the month ahead; may your kitchens smell delicious, and may all your jars seal.

July Staff Pick: Ball Waterbath Canning Kit

ball fresh preserving canning kit

This 21-QT waterbath canning kit is perfect for canning fruits, salsas, pickles, jams, jellies and more. The Enamel coated steel canner is non-porous for easy cleaning and will not react with foods. This kit includes everything you need to get started canning: just grab your favorite jars, a trusted recipe, and some produce to get canning!

INCLUDES: Canner, Canning Rack, Jar funnel, Jar Lifter, Lid Lifter, Bubble Remover Head space Tool


It’s part of our mission here at Mountain Feed to help you make delicious, sustainable, homemade food more often. Stop by and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Or, as always, you can do it the old fashioned way and come by the store to speak with one of our in-house experts.