Our Last Major ‘Put Away’

It is December, and we have just finished our last ‘put away’ of food for the upcoming dark days of winter.  I’m sure you are probably thinking ‘what the heck is growing in December?’, to which I will reply, ‘not much’.  However, the food we received last Sunday has been carefully harvested, dried and tested for us before we were able to go and collect it.  We picked up our Grain CSA for 2011!  100 pounds of the loveliest local grains and beans!  Be still our beating hearts!

We picked up Sunday, December 11th.  Unlike last year, this one was given to us in one fell swoop, which is nice that we didn’t have go out to Western Mass twice.  We arrived a few minutes after the start of the pick up, and there was already a line!

The place we picked up at was super cool: Pioneer Valley Cohousing, in North Amherst.  We were in the main house which has guest rooms and a large dining area for all of the cooperative members.  While I held our place in line, Laura dashed around getting pictures of the pickup and the great people who make this all possible.

The space was nice and big, and the grain was set out similarly to last year, in large baskets with scoops to measure the grain, one scoop for a half share, two scoops for a full share.

We whipped through the line, so no pictures of us actually measuring out our grain (though Ben did take some pictures of us which may or may not appear on his blog at some point, we will keep you posted).

Once home, we piled up our stash and admired all 100 pounds of it.

Garlic for scale. 🙂

This current weekend, we finally got around to storing it.  We collected and washed all of our numerous glass jars.  Laura is very fastidious about cleanliness, partly from her time working in a lab, and partly because we had a moth outbreak this past summer (we are still not sure if they are from the bird seed, the cat’s corn husk litter, or one of the grains, or even the mysterious other).

We poured in the grain, moved them to cold storage and enjoyed knowing we had lots of grain to fill out our vegetables and preserves for the next year or so.

So what all in all did we get?

Live oats and spelt.  Can you see the color difference?  The entire sensory experience of each grain is so unique.  Oats are grassy, greenish and long grained where spelt is nutty, tan and short grained.  Laura is good enough to identify  most of our grains by sight alone, I’m not so talented, hence the labels.

Zorro Wheat, emmer/farro and more live oats.  We also got red turkey wheat, but Laura found a bug (or four) in the grain, and that went directly into the freezer for killing any more buggies that might be lurking.

Just pointing out canning funnels are good for more than just canning preserves.

Black turtle beans





Pinto beans





Kidney beans








Mandan Bride dent corn





Northshire dent corn


Very successful, I think.  We have made soup and tamales so far, and they have been splendid.  The grain mill is going to get a lot of use, and we are excited!  Look out for lots of baked goods in the future!

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2 Responses to Our Last Major ‘Put Away’

  1. Pingback: December 27, 2011 Potluck Resources List | Edible South Shore

  2. Debbie T says:

    Oh what a great idea~ Thank you!
    I’ve been browsing your site, getting tips and ideas about local grains and what to do with them, etc. I don’t have a grain mill yet, but I’m hoping very soon to get one. I was thinking of using the food safe plastic tubs to store large quantities of the whole wheat berries, but I simply love your idea of using the old glass hinged canning jars. I inherited boxes of them from my MIL this summer, and this would be perfect. Glass is so much better than plastic…this is awesome.
    Thanks for your tips, I wish you would post an update as I’d love to hear what you are doing now!

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