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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.

An Introduction to Permaculture Tools and Methods

Permaculture principles

Permaculture principles

Saturday March 4th, 2017 10am to 12pm – PFH Organics

The goal of Permaculture Design is to provide for the needs of people and communities in a way that is also beneficial to the earth’s natural systems. Starting from the basics of food, water, shelter we plan and build stable and efficient systems and also aim to go beyond toward increased yields, quality of life and community.

Permaculture design is built on a practical, common sense approach, direct observation of nature, learning from historical and cultural successes and technological advancement.

In this introductory workshop we will look at the Permaculture concept in general and learn some of the basic principles and methods of design. The emphasis will be on the local area and the tools and techniques for gardens and farms that can be applied here.

Everyone is welcome with a suggested donation of $8. Proceeds will be given to benefit local agriculture.

Instructor Bio

Our highly qualified Instructor, Aaron Jerad (Heideman), is a Paonia native. He grew up on an organic apple orchard and farm that later became the home of Big B’s Apple Juice.

He encountered the Permaculture concept around 2006 and was immediately drawn to learn more. In 2009 he traveled to Australia to study with some of the leading thinkers and doers of Permaculture including Geoff Lawton and David Holmgren.

After a year of intensive study and hands-on experience, Aaron returned to Colorado and began working with the new principles and methods on his family farm outside Hotchkiss. He continues to practice, teach and learn. He runs two small businesses: a web design and development company and a Permaculture design and consulting company.Permaculturegraphic

Enstrom’s Style Homemade Toffee

Finished Toffee

Finished Toffee

For about $10.00 for the ingredients including butter, sugar, chocolate and almonds, you can make this delicious toffee and have about 3 pounds of finished product. That is enough toffee for several generous, very welcomed gifts right from your kitchen!

Enstrom’s Style Toffee Recipe

Norpro Digital Thermometer/timer combo

Norpro  Thermometer/timer combo available in the store

2  3/4 Cup sugar
1 pound salted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup slivered almonds

1 – 12 oz pkg milk chocolate chip

3/4 cup whole almonds, chopped very, very finely in a blender- almost a powder
NOTE:  Follow directions carefully and use a candy thermometer.  Be sure to subtract two degrees Fahrenheit from a stated temperature for every 1000 feet you are above sea level. Test your thermometer with boiling water before starting and make any additional adjustments accordingly.

Melt butter in a medium sized sauce pan – about 3 quart size over medium to medium high heat. Add the salt. When the butter is almost melted, add the sugar in quickly. Stir slowly, using a figure 8 motion with a wooden spoon. The sugar will not immediately dissolve or mix in, this is normal.

When the sugar absorbs into the butter the mixture will look more homogeneous and smooth. This takes 5-10 minutes. Then add the slivered almonds. This is what it will look like when you add the almonds. A would call this the blonde stage.

Blonde stage
Blonde stage

Continue to slowly stir the mixture in the saucepan for about another 10-15 minutes until the mixture reaches the hard crack stage.  Do not hurry this process by increasing the heat or you risk failure. This is 290 ° F on a thermometer at sea level. (I use the instant read thermometer with a probe from Norpro.) You will notice that the sugar mixture is turning a darker more caramel color and it is almost starting to smell like burnt sugar. You can also drop a small amount of the mixture into iced water to test for the hard crack stage. Do not under cook. This picture shows how much darker the mixture becomes.

Hard Crack Stage
Hard Crack Stage – ready to pour out on cookie sheet

If the mixture has reached 290 or hard crack, (adjustment for altitude in Paonia is about 276 degrees F.) pour the mixture onto a large cookie sheet and allow it to spread out. Place the cookie sheet on a cooling rack NOT ON A COUNTER because the mixture is so hot it could warp your counter.

After the toffee hardens, about 30 minutes, melt half the chocolate chips in a double boiler and spread over the toffee in a thin layer. Sprinkle lightly with finely diced. like powder almost, almonds. When this is cooled, flip the toffee over and repeat. Spread the other half of the chocolate chips, melted over the toffee and sprinkle with finely chopped almonds. When it is totally cooled, put portions into cellophane bags tied with a ribbon to use for gifts.

Wrap toffee in cellophane bags or similar packaging for gifts

Wrap toffee in cellophane bags or similar packaging for gifts

Putting the Garden to Bed

Putthegardentobed

Cooler temperatures tell us it’s time to put the garden to bed and store the fall harvest to be enjoyed throughout the winter.

Fall Harvest

At my home, potatoes have been dug up (one of my favorite garden chores) and stored away in a dry, cool place.  I have now harvested half the carrots and left the other half in the ground.  The carrot tops have been removed from the carrots  in the ground and covered with 16 inches of straw.  In mid-to-late winter, I’ll be able to harvest out of the ground the sweetest, tastiest carrots ever because they over-winter well when covered deeply with straw or bags of leaves.

Store up squash and pumpkins

Store up squash and pumpkins

Also, my garden cart is heaped up full, with butternut, delicata and sweet meat squash and pumpkins.  I bake and process the pumpkins for pies and soups.

I also like to roast the pumpkin seeds for munching while they last.  One secret to tasty, nutritious pumpkin seeds is to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes.

Lastly, we’re enjoying kale and swiss chard in soups and stir-fries.  More kale and chard have been frozen – hopefully enough to enjoy in soups and stews this winter and last until spring!

FermentedbeetsFermenting Vegetables

I have also just harvested the last of the beets and turnips and made fermented beets and turnips for the first time.  I learned the art of fermenting  from local fermentation guru, Maria Hodkins.  It’s not to late to ferment just about any leftover/surplus veggies like carrots, cabbage, broccoli, onions, etc without using vinegar, pressure canners or freezers.

Fermentation, makes it’s own vinegar, so-to-speak, which is actually  lactic acid produced by bacteria naturally present in our environment.  Not only are the naturally occurring bacteria beneficial for health and eliminate the canning process, but the fermented veggies can be stored for months in cold storage or refrigerators.

Apple Fruit Crisp

Use tart cooking apples for best flavor

Use tart cooking apples for best flavor

An easy, delicious dessert in our valley of abundance is a fruit crisp.  Substitute peaches, apricots, cherries, nectarines, pears, rhubarb in season, or any combination of fresh or frozen fruit in the basic recipe for a quick and tasty dessert for all occasions.  The following recipe is for an 8 X 8 inch baking dish.  Double the recipe for a 9 X 13 pan.

Ingredients

Mix the fruit, sugar and flour together in a mixing bowl and then evenly arrange the fruit in the bottom of an 8″ X 8” baking pan.

5 Cups sliced apples or other sliced fruits
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 TB flour
squeeze of lemon juice

Topping

1 Cup flour
1 Cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 egg

Mix the topping ingredients together until it is like a crumb mixture and sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Pat down and then carefully and evenly pour the butter over the topping.

1/2 Cup (one stick) melted butter

Bake the Crisp for 55 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until the topping is evenly brown.

This simple device will save hours of old-fashioned peeling

This simple device called an apple/potato peeler, sold in the store,  will save hours of old-fashioned peeling.