January 2016: an Old Beginning



A new year has begun, young as the green grass that has sprouted up everywhere after the recent rains, and as full of promise. This year might become anything we make it, and many of us will be resolving, in some form or another, to make the most of it. (Of course, we try to make the most of every day, but sometimes it takes the nudge of a calendar change to remind us.)

Yes, it’s a new year. Our lives are presented to us again, as they are every morning, and the days are ours to shape and fill as we will. Yet outside, perhaps not much has changed. The holiday bustle is over, but winter still cradles us in clouds. The animals still need to be fed, and the dishes washed, and breakfast, lunch, and dinner made. We carry on, into the New Year.

There is a kind of peace to be found in the steady rhythm of everyday life, a satisfaction hiding at the heart of every action, that sometimes needs to be called forth to be felt. The ancient winter holidays, and the New Year celebration are great for that; they lift us up in a swirl of activity and preparation and celebration…and then set us back down, gently, into the heart of our same old, brand new, everyday lives.

Welcome back

In this issue of the monthly journal, we’re settling into a new year and a slightly revised format, right along with you. We’re excited at what the future may bring. Some of it is easy to foresee (there will be kraut! and jam!) and of course, some of it remains a mystery. Most of it, we hope, will be spent firmly in the present, as we continue our work of reconnecting people and skills and traditional foodways, in the day-to-day.

Our monthly journal, as always, features recipes that showcase the best that the season has to offer. As the weeks and months pass, it becomes both a record of the past and a resource for the present, as well as a blueprint for the future. In our modern age of supermarkets and deep storage, it is possible to eat cantaloupe in December, a pumpkin in April. But something has been lost, in the age of convenience, something that many of us are working to unearth, like the golden beets that were pulled from the ground to make our pickled beet recipe this month.

It’s a connection to the earth itself, to the seasons and the passage of time, and a sense of our own place within it. To tend the garden, gather the harvest, and preserve it against future scarcity, is an ancient act, one that humans have been doing for as long as we’ve been human. Although we no longer have to do this simply to survive, there is still great value to be found in the practice of preservation and fermentation. It strengthens that elusive, imperative connection, and anchors us more firmly to the season, the earth, and the act of nourishing ourselves and loved ones.

With no further ado, then, we are proud to present our Featured Ferment for January: a pomegranate kimchi that is bursting with spice, sweetness, sparkle, and surprise. It’s not strictly traditional, except in the sense that kimchi itself is a catch-all word for a broadly defined tradition of fermenting a wide range of ingredients. We hope you’ll dig it as much as we do.

(Ha! That was a kimchi joke! Because traditional Korean kimchi is often buried in the ground to age…sigh. Some jokes only a fermentation nerd can love. And sometimes even then it’s a stretch.)

Pomegranate Kimchi Recipe

pomegranate kimchi recipe

Persimmons are Hanging Heavy in the Yard

Those persimmons have been hanging on the tree now for several months. The cold weather keeps them fresh for months, but by now you may have run out of fresh ways to savor their sweet, unique flavor. We’re here to help, as always. Here’s a recipe for persimmon fruit leather that will have you giddy as a kid with a well-packed lunchbox. Please note that these treats are great for adults to enjoy, too...

Persimmon Fruit Leather

persimmon fruit leather recipe

Gold From the Garden

Gray clouds and raindrops outside, a secret sunshine buried in the ground. Golden beets, each one like a tiny oblong planet. A farmer pulled them from the dark earth, sold them at the market, soil still clinging to the crevices. We bought 6 pounds so we could make this pickled beet recipe to share with you.

Pickled Golden Beets with Ginger

pickled golden beets with ginger

An Exotic Winter Canning Recipe...

The kiwi holds its secrets close, hidden in a drab brown coat. But inside are green fireworks, starbursts and seeds - like strawberries and bananas and poppyseeds all mixed together! Tropical flavor growing from our own cool soil. We peeled them from their bristly covering, and grated in a little lemon peel.

We cooked 'em down with sugar to make a truly special jam, tart and seedy, with a hint of citrus to both brighten and add pectin. This recipe can also be used to make a gorgeous, seedy fruit leather, if spread over parchment paper or silicon sheets while it is still warm, and dehydrated as per instructions for persimmon fruit leather

Kiwi Jam Recipe

kiwi jam home canning recipe

Notes from the Shop

in store departments homestead supply ben lomond mountain feed and farm supply

The first of our Give the Gift Classes is scheduled for January 9th; we hope to see some of you there for our 2 hour class on Fermented Vegetables.

Bee Season is Upon Us

beekeeping season supplies and equipment and classes

Kraut isn’t the only thing on our minds! We’re thinking about bees, too. The aspiring beekeeper would do well to note the date of our beginners' overview class, To Bee or Not to Bee. This year it will be held on Jan 31st from 5-8pm at Park Hall in Ben Lomond.

For those who are currently keeping bees, we also offer seasonally appropriate tutorials throughout the year. The Winter Management Class will be held on January 24th, at Alba Schoolhouse.

Both of these classes require pre-registration, please give us a call at (831)336-8876 to reserve your space. We'll be sending out some more detailed, bee-specific emails in the coming weeks.

Want to receive our beekeeping updates by email? Make sure to sign up for the monthly journal and set your preferences so that you are signed for our beekeeping updates!

Have a Wonderful January, Friends

Whether it’s kraut or cocktails, bees or jam, that has you most fired up right now, we’re here to help. As the New Year unfolds, we look forward to joining in, and being inspired by, the projects and passions of those in our community. That’s you, reading this! We are so deeply grateful for your continued support and feedback. We wish you the very best that the new year has to offer; flower, fruit, and leaf. Sunshine and rain, deep roots, dear friends.

Staff Pick: Last Chance for 2015 Purple American Heritage Jars from Ball

purple american heritage collection ball canning jars

One of our favorite items of 2015, we've still got a handful of these elegant purple Heritage Collection jars left in stock.

A celebration of American home canning heritage, they feature a period-inspired purple color, embossed logos on front and back, and the word "Improved" across the front. These jars maintain all modern Ball jar standards for quality and reliability. Perfect for all of your creations, gift giving, or as a collectible item!

These purple jars are the third installment in Ball's American Heritage Collection series, with the Blue jars and Spring Green jars released in 2013 and 2014, respectively. They are Made in USA and each set contains 6 wide-mouth quart or pint jars with lids and bands.

We've been hearing rumors that Ball will be releasing another series of collectible jars in 2016, but for now grab these classic purple jars while supplies last!


Over to You...

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.