Picking Apples Such a Simple Country Pleasure

Gene and I picked organic apples at Evergreen Land Farm and Creamery in Fennville last weekend. It was an overcast day but a perfect one for being in the orchard among the brilliant colored fruit.

Gene picking arm up

Gene is picking his favorite apple variety, Empire

Evergreen Lane Farm focus’ on making artisanal cheese and growing organic apples.

DJ with goat good

I made a new goat friend!

The story of the farm is an interesting one. They say that their cheese making began when a single runaway goat burst into their lives and their living room and has blossomed into a seven-year journey, and 100 goats later, a thriving business of cheese-making. All of their cheeses are available at their on-farm tasting room and at a number of local retailers and restaurants.

Purple Creamery

The on-farm creamery store.

We have enjoyed this simple country pleasure of apple picking there for many years. We will make applesauce, freeze apple chunks and many delicious apple crisps in the days to come.

Tom on tractor USE

Owner Tom on his New Holland tractor.

Evergreen lane collage 3 jpeg 9 2015 Evergreen Lane 7 collage jpeg

Small House homesteader, Donna


Putting Food By

This time of year is very busy on our homestead. Like folks on homesteads everywhere we are getting ready for winter.

In our case this means, freezing and dehydrating food grown or bought. Because we do not have a basement we simply don’t have a lot of room for canned goods. I can put a few jars in our kitchen pantry cupboard but cannot make canning the focus of my food saving system. Although we have an ample sized 2,000 sq. ft. home, our heated storage area is a bit tight.

Canned good on windowsill

A few of the fruits of my labor this summer; kale, green peppers and peaches.

Initially I dabbled with air dehydrating of herbs and oven dehydrating of apple slices both of which work but take  more drying time and space.

Then late this summer (after many years of saving for and dreaming about a highly efficient dehydrator) I purchased a 9 rack Excalibur dehydrator and am in the process of learning about it. My first project was to dry sliced green peppers and much to my surprise I found that I could get 15 large green peppers in one quart jar after they were dehydrated. Now that’s a great space saver! Peaches were next up and then some giant curly kale leaves. Soon I will try dehydrating sliced apples and pears.

With the exception of strawberries, black raspberries, and a scraggly old apple tree, we don’t grow our own fruit yet so I am dependent on either buying or gleaning them, the method that I prefer. Luckily we are blessed to live in what is called the fruit belt and wonderful fresh fruit is prevalent here. I am so grateful to live in this lake moderated area with many orchards to choose from. We can easily find and purchase apples, peaches, apricots pears, plums and more.

I am currently researching heritage trees for our own orchard and hope to get this orchard going as soon as possible. We want to have our own apples, peaches, pears, paw paws and fig trees.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Drying basil on cookie sheets takes approximately two weeks and no fossil fuels.

One of my favorite books on fruit trees is The Beautiful Edible Garden, by Leslie Bennett and Stefani Bittner with Studio Choo. ISBN: 978-1-60774-233-3.

I plan on visiting a great heritage fruit tree nursery is Southmeadow Fruit Gardens, Baroda, MI. e-mail: smfruit@a

Southmeadow Fruit Gardens Choice and Unusual Fruit Tree Varieties for the Connoisseur and Home Gardener.
Southmeadow Fruit Gardens was established to make available choice and superior varieties of fruit trees and plants for the connoisseur and home gardener. After searching for sourcewood and testing for authenticity, these varieties are propagated at our nursery in Southwestern Michigan. They are available to the public through this online catalog.
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Thanks you for reading and/or following.

Small House Homestead Donna