The Fruit Report

In 2011, I had a goal that I never said out loud. I wanted to return to the reason I first started preserving, which was to make good use of the fruit around me — homegrown or wild — that might otherwise go to waste. I’d strayed from that purpose in 2010, when I started blogging about jam and preserves. I was so caught up in the excitement of it all that I spent an awful lot of time and money on market produce. I had a great time and learned a ton, but in the end I felt I’d gotten a bit carried away from my original love for the gleaned and foraged.

I’m not rigid about my ongoing intention to make mostly homegrown preserves. For example, I’m just not willing to give up jams made from grapefruits, strawberries, good apricots, or raspberries — and I don’t have homegrown sources for those —  so I’ll keep right on buying them. But I do want the entries in the first three columns below to significantly outweigh those in the fourth column, and I’m glad to see that last year they did.

I plan to keep the same kind of record for 2012. This time, I’m going make my notes as the year progresses and keep track of dollars spent, as well.

A rough list of what rolled across my kitchen counter in 2011.
(I’m sure I forgot something!)

This is a good time to express my gratitude to the people who gave me so much beautiful fruit in 2011: Jen & Mark, Em & Luan, Annie & Richard, Patti, Mom & Jay, Fran, Bridget, Suzanne, Yaniv, Christine, the kind folks who participated in the Marin Open Garden Exchanges, and perhaps above all my neighbor, Joanne, who provided me with at least six of the fruits on the “gifted” list, not to mention a steady supply of eggs from her chickens and ducks. Not everyone gets to live in a place where nature and neighbors constantly provide them with this kind of bounty. I am blessed!

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  • Reply kaela January 12, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    I want to live in your neighborhood! Exactly 2 people ever gift me fresh fruit: Julia and my friend Nadine. You’ve got the network a-crankin’ missy.

    Nevertheless, you know that I am totally down with your efforts to source all the local fruit you can, be it grown, foraged or gifted from your generous friends. Just remind me to visit round about August… :)

    • Reply Shae January 14, 2012 at 10:58 am

      Kaela, you should come here in August. We’re in Alaska, so you could make use of all the good fruit that I miss out on. I love going to Alaska, but I hate skipping one of the best fruit bearing months in Northern California!

  • Reply Jackie @ Auburn Meadow Farm January 13, 2012 at 3:02 am

    I love this post. I think this way too – it’s easy to get carried away with all the fancy options and lose the beauty of the economy of preserving.

    You’ve inspired me to keep a list this year too! Really enjoy your beautiful work, thank you.

    • Reply Shae January 14, 2012 at 10:59 am

      Thanks so much, Jackie. I find that writing things down, even in a very simple form, does help me to stay mindful of what I’m trying to do. Maybe next year you will share your list!

  • Reply Denise | Chez Danisse January 13, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Nice work in those first three columns, especially in your special Alaskan finds. Bravo!

  • Reply Shae January 14, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Thanks, Denise. I hope to stay the course this year. :-)

  • Reply RedGardenClogs January 16, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Wow. This is really inspiring. I just got back into canning and preserving last year myself, and I also had a moment of hmmm….I’d really like to grow or collect more of what I can this year as opposed to buying all of it, as I did last year.

    Your list is great and it appears you are already well on the way to your goal of cutting back on market produce purchases for canning! (although I am happy to hear you aren’t cutting out citrus, etc.) :)

  • Reply Sara January 19, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Can you add pictures to your list? I love these gorgeous photos! Such an amazing variety of fruits too…I have no clue what some are. Best of luck on a great resolution!

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