We did our test batch of elderberry syrup and an oxymel this week.
We started with frozen elderberries from the farm. They went in the steam juicer for 40 minutes. The steam juicer pulled the eldeberberry juice out of the berries and allowed us to drain juice into a pot. We added ginger and clove to the juice and then simmered the juice to reduce the volume in half.
We then strained the mixture to remove the pieces of ginger and clove. The next step was to let it cool before adding the raw honey from the farm. We want to make sure we don’t heat the mixture above 105-110 degrees F. This helps preserve the benefical qualities of the raw, local honey.
You can see the dark color of the syrup, even after we mix it with the honey.
The next step was to pour the syrup and honey mixture into jars for elderberry syrup.
We also made an elderberry oxymel. The oxymel is approximately 1/3 apple cider vinegar. So we added the vinegar to the jars and then filled jar with the elderberry syrup mixture. The oxymel has a longer storage life in the refrigerator because of the vinegar and a different taste.
Both of the concoctions have a strong amount of elderberry juice. This helps maximize the health benefits of the elderberries. Both the syrup and oxymel need to be refrigerated.
We hope to have a limited run to jars available for sale around 9 December 2023, just in time for Christmas.
Every year the bees make the trek up to the mountains where they spend a little over a month at Troublesome Gap. We have a campsite on Troublesome Gap. It is a remote area and the bees have access to sourwood and locust flowers. This gives the honey a unique flavor and color that varies each year depending on how soon or late the different trees and bushes bloom.
The honey has a crisp color and flavor. If you have camped on Troublesome Gap, adding a jar of honey to your pantry is a good way to bring home some of the uniqueness of Troublesome Gap and enjoy it all year.
A farm can be beautiful and functional. We have put a lot of emphasis on getting the orchard and food forest planted and growing crops for the past 2 years. This week we put the emphasis on improving the property and doing some cleanup.
Hargrove Lawn Care in Bear Creek, NC did a wonderful job helping to move brush and clear out areas so we can come back and plant pollinators. They also took out trees and bushes to make maintaining the property easier. They also opened up a spot for a fire circle and chairs. Its amazing what a trained operator with a skid steer can do in a day. Now we need to get planting clover and pollinators in these areas.
It will be nice to have a spot for a fire circle with room for a big group. The trees are out of the way so we can start bringing the rocks over and build the fire circle.
We have honey ready to ship or for local pickup. We are so excited. This honey is raw and from our farm. This is the first time we’ve ever had honey for sale. Contact us for local pick up or visit here for honey shipped to your door.
My wife and I love spending time outdoors. Having a farm and garden is a great way to do that. It also means we have more nutritious foods. Many of the people we have met on this journey like similar things and that makes it even better. I’m a mechanical engineer turned weekend farmer, so I’m just smart enough to know that there is a lot that I don’t know especially when it comes to farming, permaculture and food forests. Come on the learning journey with us!
We would love to share what we are learning so that you can grow at least part of your own food. It is within your grasp to grow part of the food that you eat. You can improve your food security and enjoy higher quality food in the process.
We also have limited opportunities for you to camp out on our farm, enjoying the serious peace and quiet. Sometimes we hold classes, usually on Food Preservation. Join us for those too.
Meet the Farmers
I’m a mechanical engineer turned weekend farmer, so I’m just smart enough to know that there is a lot that I don’t know especially when it comes to farming, permaculture and food forests. I’ve been heavily influenced in my love of farming and permaculture by my Mom and Dad and also by people like Jack Spirko (TSP) and Dan (Plant Abundance)
Connie has her certificate in Sustainable Agriculture from CCCC. She really enjoyed the classes at the community college and learned a lot. The program was a mixture of classes and work on the school farm. What she learned has really added to our technical proficiency on the farm.