The History of Our Preserves
Growing up a farm girl, enamored with all things country, became the beginning of more joy and pleasure than once could have imagined! With horses and puppies and kittens too, I was in heaven!
My farm experience was not at my home in Washington State, but at my grandmother's or Nana's home, some 30 miles away, in Warm Beach, Washington. That's where all things necessary came to be.
There were milk cows, chickens, turkeys, and a memorable rooster that became Sunday dinner because he was so scary! There were rabbits and the occasional rodent we brought to Nana's so she could care for them as my teacher said he had to go because school was out for the summer. Nana was always very helpful for those needs and happy to as I remember! Cotton bolls were given to our class to see if we could grow them and produce cotton. Nana had a corner window that faced south and she watered with a little tea. I had cotton bolls for the next year for the class to see that Nana had grown. I have seeds from that plant today, all memories from the farm I loved.
Puget Sound rests just below the farm with a backdrop of the amazing Olympic Mountain range hovering over the land and sea. Salmon, crab, clams and shrimp are prevalent within these waters with the San Juan Islands just to the north. Shrimp boats would come into the docks and unload their catch at the beautiful park at Kayak Point. This park was just a hop down the beach from Nana's farm that sat high above the bluff but we had to be watchful of the incoming tide. We often fished that sound and my first big fish ever was a 25 pound King Salmon caught as my dad handled the little trolling motor, helping me reel the monster in, and my uncle leaning back against the bow of the boat, drank his beer and smoked cigars! We swam and shared home made root beer, always being warned that to juggle the quart jar down the path to the beach could mean trouble, as it would burst if we were not careful. We walked slow and carefully down the steep trail mainly because we ate salmon berries and red caps all the way down!
At the farm I treasured the orchard, garden and berry patch where all that grew there became the most wonderful snacks. Warm boysenberries, raspberries and blueberries always tasted the best if the sunshine had warmed them. We pulled them off the vine with our little fingers, the sugar was high, there was just nothing better and popped them quickly into our mouths!
Nana's garden and the orchard had all things needed for preserves. She had peaches, apples of all kinds, plums and prunes, pears and cherries and her conserves often included nuts some of which came from an aunt in Texas, pecans, and also occasionally almonds from California from a cousin. Nana always had walnuts from a neighbor for all things delicious that she baked in her tiny kitchen. Fresh yeast rolls just from the oven, many of our Featherwinds guests have encountered them, warm buttered muffins topped with her latest conserve were just plain wonderful treasures to enjoy! My imagination was never without dreams of having the same luxury as Nana had when I would have a kitchen of my own for such wonders to make when I grew up. Funny now I realize that it never occurred to me or looked like work what my Nana did!
My endeavor is to share some of the past with my memories of making wonderful conserves, preserves, marmalades and chutneys as my Nana did. She made preserves as the fruit ripened choosing various degrees of ripeness in each batch. She believed you needed a spoonful of fruit in every bite to enjoy the wonders of the orchard. Nana was the orchard of my childhood and the intense sunshine of my country beginnings as I learned so much from her.
To my family that always gave me reason
Simply Featherwinds™ Best
Preserves done the old fashion way!