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A Harvest That's So Sweet!

Summertime starts our harvest season. No, not early corn or soybeans -- berries, veggies and fruit.

We plant a small garden for our use and a sweet corn patch shared with neighbors. It’s a miracle to watch those seeds turn into mature producing plants. What’s even better is knowing what to do with the food we grow.

Mike: Last year, Sheilah froze a bunch of green beans and sweet corn. I have to admit I was amazed.

I knew there were people out there that preserved their own vegetables for later use, but it never occurred to me that my new wife was one of them. That woman is full of surprises!

One day, I picked three dozen of sweet corn and took them home. “We’re going to have a lot of corn to eat within the next couple of days,” I thought. When I came back later that evening, it was nowhere to be found. Sheilah had it husked, stripped and froze! Next thing I knew, she was doing the same with a mess of green beans.

Sheilah: I enjoy being able to take something fresh and homegrown, and capture that flavor for a later time. As a child, our kitchen always smelled wonderful as my mom worked in the summer and fall to freeze and can fruits and vegetables. Nothing quite compares to the wonderful scents coming from a kitchen when food preservation is underway.

Mike: Since we've gotten married, I've become a professional berry scouter. I’ll confess I’m not always sure which berries I’ve found. But I know where they are!

When out spraying or brush hogging, I always have an eye out for those berries – mainly because I know the goodness that'll come from them. Jelly and pie!

Sheilah: I laugh when Mike tells me he has found such and such a berry. Usually, it's not what he thinks it is. But, most of the time they're a berry I’m looking for, and we go on a berry-picking spree.

Last year, I made the mistake of letting him help me make jelly. Now, I can’t keep him out of the kitchen when I’m making jelly or pie.

Mike: I’m usually told to get out of the way. When she doesn’t get rid of me that way, Sheilah makes me handle the hot lids for the jelly jars. Her mom bought me a magnetic lid lifter for Christmas. Awesome gift!

Sheilah: Canning and freezing is becoming a dying art. I feel it's a privilege that I was taught. Someday, I hope to pass my tips, recipes and knowledge down to the next generation.

The Reskovacs farm near Uniontown, Pa. Read their "Two Hearts, One Harvest" columns in American Agriculturist.

This opinion is not necessarily that of or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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