Christmas Gift Baskets Available

Excited to announce that we are again taking orders for Christmas gift baskets!

Werner Creek Farm Holiday Gift Basket Order Form

We have two basic gift baskets but we can customize a package for you if these aren’t exactly what you want.

Our Large Holiday Gift Package includes: a one pound local, raw honey, one pint local salsa, two local fruit jams/jellies, and one beeswax lip balm from our bees, all in a cute buffalo plaid crate.  Cost for the large basket is $30.  Upgrade to a 2-pound honey for $7 more.  Include a beeswax hand balm for $10.  (Pictured below with a 2 pound honey)

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The small package includes: a 1 pound jar of local, raw honey, one pint local salsa, and one jar of local fruit jam/jelly for $20.  Increase the 1 pound honey to 2 pound to make the price $27.

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In each gift basket, you can specify the following:

Salsa:

Mild, Medium, or Hot

 

Jams and Jellies:

Spiced Tomato Jam (sounds gross, tastes amazing! trust me!)

Elderberry Jelly

Blackberry Jam

Blackberry Jelly

Blackberry Jalapeno Jam

Apple/Grape Jelly

Aronia Berry Jam

Mixed Fruit Jelly  Sorry sold out!

Point of clarification – jelly is made from fruit juice, so is therefor smooth and with no pulp.  Jam is made from the whole fruit, so it will contain chunks of fruit and seeds. All of our jams and jellies are made with produce from our farm, or from our friends’ farms nearby.

We can also change the gift tags to say Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays or whatever message you choose.

To streamline things this year, we have an online order form here –

Werner Creek Farm Holiday Gift Basket Order Form

We would also love to sell individual products, if that is more your style.  We have three sizes of honey – 2 pound for $14, 1 pound for $7, and half pound for $4.

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Pint jars of salsa are $7

Quart jars of salsa (mild only) for $12

Half pints of jam or jelly are $4.50.

Beeswax lip balm is $3

We also have 1/4 pint jars of beeswax hand balm available for $10.

The individual items aren’t on the order form, but just make a note in the instructions if you want to add on any of these items.

Please contact us with any questions you might have!  My email is slwerner8@yahoo.com and my cell is 620-222-5821.

 

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Strawberry Jam

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I bought some delicious strawberries this week from some other local farmers.  Despite my daughter’s protests (she would have eaten them ALLLLL), I made strawberry jam for the first time in years.

On our farm, we usually make jams and jellies only from the fruit we produce.  But, we love having a source for local strawberries, since we don’t currently grow them ourselves.

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Making our canned products – jams, jellies, salsas, etc. – with local products is important to us.  Locally grown, locally made is our philosophy.  On a rare occasion, we might have to substitute something like onions in our salsa, but only when our local sources have run out (which isn’t often!).  And then, we look for the From the Land of Kansas tags on the onions in the grocery store, so we can at least buy from Kansas.

I used to be intimidated by making jam and jelly, but just like with anything, after a little practice, it’s no big deal.  For me, the there are really only two key factors to making jam.  The first is understanding the basics of home canning safety (check out freshpreserving.com for great information).  The second is understanding the role pectin plays in gelling your jam or jelly.  I didn’t take the time to understand this when I first started out.  If I had, it would have saved me a lot of frustration.

This is a really great article that explains how pectin works (plus, it’s really funny): https://www.seriouseats.com/2014/08/jam-making-101-pectin-sugar-gel-point.html

If you’re thinking about making some jam or jelly, don’t be scared! … just dive right in and give it a try.  Here are a few things I’ve learned (disclaimer, these are intended to be helpful hints, not a full-tutorial on home-canning).

Step 1: Prep your jars, lids, and rims (freshpreserving.com)

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Step 2: Place clean and de-stemmed fruit in pot.

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Step 3: Mash ’em up with a potato masher.  If you’re not always in a hurry like me, you can take the time to methodically chop your fruit.  But who has that kinda time?

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Step 4:  Add the pectin and turn up the heat!  It’s important with jam or jelly to continually monitor it.  But honestly, the entire stove-top process takes less than 10 minutes, so it’s not big deal.  Turn on Netflix.  Just keep stirring.

Step 5: (This is the part where if you want to pretend jam is health food …. look away)  Once the fruit and pectin has just begun to boil, add the sugar.  LOTS of sugar.  (But don’t feel bad!  The sugar is part of what keeps jams and jellies from spoiling!)

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Step 6: Stir the sugar until it is completely dissolved.  KEEP STIRRING.  This is the part where it is easy to get impatient, but don’t.  This part is critical.  Your mixture should reach a boil that cannot be stirred down.  I repeat, CANNOT BE STIRRED DOWN.  No flimsy boils – a full rolling boil.

Once it has reached this point, keep boiling (and stirring!) for a solid minute.  Cannot stress this enough.  Jam has to have enough time at that really high boil for the extra water to evaporate.  If the water hasn’t evaporated, the pectin can’t bind, and you will have runny jam.

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Step 7: Fill your hot, sterilized jars and follow your recipe’s processing instructions.

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Step 8: Slather on toast (or better yet, a biscuit!) and enjoy!

 

Helpful hints:

Use a good pot for jam-making.  A really good pot.  One with a thick base is best for keeping the heat evenly distributed and to keep it from heating too quickly.

Sometimes it’s helpful to wear long sleeves, especially for step 6, as boiling jam tends to pop.

Depending on what fruit you are working with, it can sometimes take up to a day to gel.  My tomato jam always takes longer to gel than others.  Don’t get discouraged if yours hasn’t gelled right away.  Just give it a little more time.

Make sure you use recipes from trusted sources.  It’s possible to make your own recipes once you understand the basics of jam-making and how pectin and sugar interacts with different fruits.

 

See?  Easy, right?  Homemade jam is simply the best!  Locally grown, locally made jam is even better.  🙂

 

 

 

2017 Holiday Gift Packages

December 19, 2017 Update:  We have had TREMENDOUS support for our holiday gift packages this year!  We want to thank everyone who has helped make this Christmas sales season a huge success for our farm.  We are no longer accepting orders for Christmas 2017.  We look forward to serving our customers in the new year!

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Last year, we had so much fun launching our first Christmas gift packages!  We have been working to make some tweaks to the products and process this year to make things even BETTER.  Our local flower shop, Timber Creek Floral and Gifts has been awesome at helping us prepare the packaging, and we are really proud of the way they look AND taste!

We have two basic packages we are offering this year, but we can customize a package for you if these aren’t exactlywhat you want.

Our Large Holiday Gift Package includes: one 2 pound local, raw honey, one pint local salsa, two local fruit jams/jellies, and one beeswax lip balm from our bees, all in a cute buffalo plaid crate.  Cost for the large basket is $36.

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The small package includes: a 1 pound jar of local, raw honey, one pint local salsa, and one jar of local fruit jam/jelly for $18.  Increase the 1 pound honey to 2 pound to make the price $24.

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In each gift basket, you can specify the following:

Salsa:

Mild, Medium, or Hot

 

Jams and Jellies:

Spiced Tomato Jam (sounds gross, tastes amazing! trust me!)

Elderberry Jelly

Blackberry Jam

Blackberry Jelly

Blackberry Jalapeno Jam

Apple/Grape Jelly

Grape Jelly

Aronia Jelly

Mixed Fruit Jelly

Point of clarification – jelly is made from fruit juice, so is therefor smooth and with no pulp.  Jam is made from the whole fruit, so it will contain chunks of fruit and seeds. All of our jams and jellies are made with produce from our farm, or from our friends’ farms nearby.

We can also change the gift tags to say Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays or whatever message you choose.

To streamline things this year, we have an online order form here –

Werner Creek Farm Holiday Gift Basket Order Form

We would also love to sell individual products, if that is more your style.  We have three sizes of honey – 2 pound for $12, 1 pound for $6, and half pound for $3.50.

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Pint jars of salsa are $7

Quart jars of salsa (mild only) for $12

Half pints of jam or jelly are $4.50.

Beeswax lip balm is $3

We also have 1/4 pint jars of beeswax hand balm available for $10.

The individual items aren’t on the order form, but just make a note in the instructions if you want to add on any of these items.

Please contact us with any questions you might have!  My email is slwerner8@yahoo.com and my cell is 620-222-5821.

 

 

 

 

Tomato Season Underway

It’s official.  Tomato season has begun!

We picked our first ripe tomato on June 2.  JUNE SECOND.  The earliest by far that we have every had tomatoes.  This is thanks to converting our useless greenhouse into a highly productive high tunnel.  The little bit of extra heat from the wood stove heater in the greenhouse/new high tunnel allowed us to plant tomatoes in late February.

And here they are now:

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The kiddos in the “greenhouse” about three weeks ago.  Yeah, it’s a little tight in there.  It may or may not be a jungle at this point.  Let’s just say, I won’t be posting any more pictures.  I will also say, we will most likely rethink our spacing in the greenhouse next year.

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The old high tunnel is looking good, too.  Especially since this is the fifth year for tomatoes in the high tunnel.  Yikes.  That’s too long to have tomatoes in one spot.  These are all determinants, meaning we will get a big crop off of them, and then yank them out. After this year, we have plans to rest a replenish the soil in this high tunnel, and then decide what crops to plant in it next spring.  We also have plans to put in another this fall.

Look closely and you will see that we have wire along the sides of the high tunnels.  That’s to keep critters out.  Last year, we had terrible trouble with possums, raccoons, and skunks sneaking in and eating big bites out of each ripe tomato.  It was disgusting.  This year, we’ve outsmarted them.  We hope.

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The field tomatoes are looking good, as well.  Tilled, mulched, caged, and irrigated – it’s been a busy week in the garden!

 

Procrastination

I truly don’t know how this happens.  The plan is always to make jams and jellies all winter long to use up the fruit and juice from the summer before that we didn’t have time to use and stuck in the freezer.  And then somehow, it is the end of May and my freezer still looks like this:

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Part of the problem this year (I think) is that we had such a mild winter that we were never really stuck inside.  We sure got a lot done outside around the farm, but I didn’t get as much canning done as I needed to do.

So yesterday, I made a tiny dent in the juice we have frozen.

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The result?  Delicious elderberry jelly and apple/grape jelly.  Still have a ways to go, but at least I freed up a little room in the freezer.

Oh, and this year’s blackberries are already starting to ripen.  Another season begins!

Local Product Christmas Gift Baskets


I know, I know, Thanksgiving isn’t even here yet.  But, for the early Christmas shoppers, we are now offering Werner Creek Farm Christmas gift baskets!  Pictured above is the deluxe basket for $35 and includes:

2 pints of salsa – one medium and one mild heat

2 pound jar of honey

Two half-pints of jam or jelly.  Flavor options are:

Mixed berry jam

Tomato jam

Blackberry jam

Blackberry jelly

Elderberry jelly

Apple/grape jelly

Jalapeño jelly

Blackberry jalapeño jam

Honey also makes a great gift by itself!  New this fall are our 1/2 pound jars (on the right), which are perfect stocking stuffer size.


We also have smaller baskets available for $22.  They include:

One pint of salsa

One pound jar of honey

Two half pints jam or jelly

We will make individualized arrangements for pick-up or delivery in the Cowley County area.

Orders can be made by messaging us on Facebook, calling 222-5821, or commenting below.

Thanks for looking and Merry Christmas!