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Welcome to Paonia Farm and Home Supply

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Paonia Farm and Home Supply, also known as Paonia’s do-it-yourself center, wants to show your project(s) with pictures to inspire our community to get started with their project.  Please come into the store and share your before, during, and after pictures of your projects, gardens, remodeling efforts, and farm animals.

Simple Steps to Home Canned Fruit


Home Canning is NOT old-fashioned but healthier and more delicious

Canning Season will soon be upon us.  Nothing compares to preserving our delicious, tree-ripened, locally grown North Fork fruit that we preserve ourselves.

It’s time to start gathering the canning supplies as you wait for the peaches, nectarines, plums, and even pears to ripen!  (Yes, this year the supply will be a little more challenging to find but you will find fruit, even if you have to pick it yourself!)

If you get all your supplies gathered together that are listed below (all the supplies needed are available at Paonia Farm and Home), re-familiarize yourself to the 12 Simple Steps to Canning you will soon be making your shelves sparkle with colorful, delicious North Fork Fruit.

 How to Make Homemade Canned Peaches, Plums, Pears, Plums, Nectarines and Cherries Detailed Steps Tutorial

(Click here for downloadable pdf)

The 12 Simple Steps for Canning our delicious North Fork Fruit are summarized below.  Click on the above link for detailed pdf instructions.

Gather Supplies – All the supplies listed below are available at Paonia Farm and Home Supply

  • Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)canningsupplies
  • Lid lifter (has a magnet to pick the lids out of the boiling water
  • Jar funnel
  • Large spoons (stainless steel is nice) and ladles
  • lids and rings
  • Ball jars – pints, quarts, jelly size
  • Sugar (or fruit juice) and pectin
  • Water Bath Canner

12 Simple Steps

1.   Select sufficient Fruit – Peaches, Nectarines, or Plums from local orchards including Stahls, Orchard Valley Farms, First Fruits, JJ’s, and others).

2.  Prepare the Sugar Solution.  Using light or medium syrup helps avoid floating fruit issues.

Sugar Syrup Chart for Light, Medium, and Heavy Syrups

Sugar Syrup Chart for Light, Medium, and Heavy Syrups

3.  Wash the jars and Lids.

4.  Wash the FruitPeaches.

5.  Peeling the Peaches or Nectarines by a quick blanching method.

6.  Cut up the fruit to fit the jars in halves or slices.

7.  Take steps to prevent browning of the fruit.  Use fruit fresh or powdered vitamin C according to directions.

8.  Determine Hot pack versus Cold Pack alternative.

9. Fill the Jars with Fruit.  It takes about 5 regular peaches to fill one quart jar.

10. Process the Jars in a water bath for our altitude.

HomeCannedfruit11. Remove the Jars from the Canner to cool on top of tea towels to absorb water.

12. Cool jars for 24 hours, check lids for any sealing failures.  Store in a dark, cool place

How to Make Homemade Canned Peaches, Plums, Pears, Plums, Nectarines and Cherries Detailed Steps Tutorial

(Click here for downloadable pdf)

Your Done!

Second Season Gardening

fallgreensDid you miss getting some carrots, kale, herbs, or chard into the garden this spring?  Gardening for a Second Season starting mid to late summer (late July early August) is as an ideal time to plant seeds for a second gardening season as early spring.   Plus, that second season can be as productive as your major early spring plantings.

For a delicious and very nutritious cornucopia of fall meals, late summer is the time to plant juicy lettuces, the cool -season aromatic herbs – dill, garlic chives, chervil, cilantro, arugula, and parsley; hearty greens like chard or kale;  Oriental greens; carrots, beets, leeks, peas, green onion, spinach, radishes, fennel and all the brassica family members.

Plant a second season garden of crops that tolerate cold

Plant a second season garden of crops that tolerate cold

Late planted crops have less competition from weeds and pests and grow beautifully with less garden work. It may seem odd to be starting new seeds when a lot of your summer produce like squash and tomatoes are still cranking, but it’s well worth the effort.

For reliable harvests in cooler weather, seedlings must have good initial growth and well-established root systems. The goal is to have fully grown, ready to pick plants that basically store themselves in the garden throughout the fall, so you can pick them as you need them over a long sustained harvest season.

Start seeds in containers or in a garden area with dappled sun or light shade — wherever seeds can germinate comfortably out of the hot sun but still get plenty of light after seedlings are well-established. Plant in well-prepared moist soil and in the evening so they will have the advantage of cooler night temperatures to settle in and minimize shock.

With daytime temperatures likely to  still be in the high 80’s, or even 90’s you will need to shelter your newly transplanted seedlings with row covers or a shade cloths for a few days so they can adjust heat and sun.

Once the seedlings have acclimated, don’t forget to supply adequate moisture to these young crops and fertilize them regularly in the early growing stages.

All herb, vegetable and flower seeds can still be purchased at Paonia Farm and Home.

Aphids! Augh!

Pea aphid

Pea aphid


a kind of insects named aphid



Today when harvesting the lettuce, I noticed, for the first time this year, that there were aphids on the leaves. I plunged the lettuces into a 5 gallon bucket of water and sure enough, there were small green destroyers of my salad floating around. Curled, mottled leaves are a sign that aphids (or similar insects) are present.

Aphids_May_2010-2Just in case you aren’t familiar with what aphids look like there are a few images above and to the left.  Obviously, they come in many colors but all are small. They suck the juices out of your plants. Veggies, trees, flowers: Nothing is safe from aphids.

If you can’t see them, check for ants running up and down the trunks or stems of your garden plants. Ants tend aphids as we humans tend cows, using aphids’ secretions to grow a fungus in the ant hill that the ants eat.

Cute & clever but not in my garden!  How to rid my garden and even landscape of these voracious and fast spreading pests was my next concern.

Here are some easy organic remedies for those destructive aphids.

Ladybugs will feed on aphids

Ladybugs will feed on aphids

1. Ladybugs are aphid predators.

2. Neem oil mixed with biodegradable soap.

3. Insecticidal soap.

4. Plant onions or garlic interspersed in your garden.

5. Lacewings are also predators of aphids.

6. Hand pick them if there are only a small number or use the pressure of your hose to rinse them off, just be sure to check for the level of re-infestation.

Both Farm & Home Organics and Paonia Farm & Home Supply have Ladybugs and Neem oil in stock.

The above post was written by Cedar Keshet.

Time to Harvest Fresh Herbs

Fragrant, savory, aromatic herbs enhance flavors ocooked food without salt.

Fragrant, savory, aromatic herbs enhance flavors of cooked food without salt

How to Harvest Fresh Herbs and other Helpful Tips
  • Preserve the maximum flavor and color of homegrown herbs by cutting the plant on a sunny day after the dew is dried from the leaves.
  • Wash herbs, if possible, before harvesting to preserve maximum amounts of the precious essential oil component of the leaves.
  • Usually most herbs thrive when they are harvested multiple times or frequently harvested. Cut the herbs back in June or July by about half with scissors or a sharp knife and you may have another complete harvest to reap come Fall. In the Fall, herbs can be cut back to a few inches above the ground.  Here is a delicious, easy, flavorful vinaigrette for seasonal salads:
  • Sweet Basil Vinaigrette
    • 1-2 cups packed, fresh basil leaves to taste.
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    • ¾ cup canola oil
    • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
    • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Whirl all the ingredients in a blender until smooth, about one minute.  Store in a one pint jar.

  • Hang small bundles of herbs on a line with clothes pins

    Hang small bundles of herbs on a line with clothes pins

    Although fresh is always best, extra leaves and stalks can be dried. Freshly picked herbs should be used right away, or dried upside down in small bundles in a dark, dry place.

  • Harvest herbs at peak flavor because it will surpass the dried herb in quality and flavor.
  • When the herbs are thoroughly dry, 3-5 days up to two weeks, strip the leaves off the stalks and crush them to a fine texture to use in cooking. Tea leaves can be kept whole.
  • A small jar of commercially dried herbs averages $6.00 for small containers. Think of the savings if you harvest more and the gifts you could make!
  • Paonia Farm and Home has a huge assortment of containers for storing dried herbs, making herbal gifts and even herbal vinegars.

    Various sized decorative jars for storing herbs and other seasonings

    Various sized decorative jars for storing herbs and other seasonings

Small tins can be used for dried herbs and gifts.

Small tins can be used for dried herbs and gifts.

Small decorative jars for herbs and making gifts.

Small decorative jars for herbs and making gifts.

    • Use herbs for flavor and reduce the need for salt and sugar! Allow the bounty of tasty herbs to encourage new creative and delicious cooking experiments. No more ho-hum dishes.
    • Herbs provide can be used in tasty teas, or garnishes for other drinks.

• Pick a small nosegay of herbs to scent your kitchen as you cook.
• Tiny bouquets of fresh herbs can be used for a hostess gift.fresh herbs