Jams & Jellies
Apples (standard and crab)
It depends on what variety on when they will ripen. We have varieties that usually ripen around the middle to end of August. We usually don’t have enough apples to sell fresh but will always have enough for apple butter. Our crab apple trees make a great jelly and you will see that variety at the market in season which is usually in late summer.
Apricots are one of my favorite memories of pies from my childhood. My aunt used to make apricot pies for the workers who came to make hay at their farm. Used for canning, in pies and cakes (apricot upside down cake) and great for jams. Our trees are hit and miss when it comes to having apricots consistently. We will let you know if and when we have them available. First priority will be for jam and for our own needs. If we have excess we will sell them at the market. Hopefully, 2018 will be a good year for apricots.
Aronia (Black Chokeberries)
Aronia berries are not berries that you want to pick straight off the bush to eat, but boy do they pack some antioxidant power. The dark blue pigment is what makes these so high in antioxidants and why people seek them out. Eating the berries fresh is like drinking a very dry wine. Mixed with sugar and pectin to make jellies is our first priority when we pick our berries here at Arnold Acres. There are always berries left over to sell fresh by the pound. They are very reliable so we expect to have these berries available every year. We plan to expand our number of plants in the future.
Blackberries have to be one of the most prolific growers of all time. The varieties that we have will grow canes that are over 10 foot long. They will start bearing in July and we will make both jellies and jams from the fruits. We always have fresh fruit available to sell at the market also. We will let you know when these are available.
Cherries (Sour Pie)
Pie cherries are great for pies as goes the description. They also make great jams and jellies in season. Our trees are very reliable bearers every year so that is something we can count on almost every season. After we freeze some for the great pies that Mary Kay makes we will have fresh cherries available to sell at the market. We will pass this information on via the web, facebook, and by word of mouth when they are available.
Chokecherry has always been one of our favorite fruits to make jelly out of and is probably our best seller of the more exotic small fruits. The dark small cherries are not as stringent as the chokeberry and will get a bit sweeter later in the season as they turn darker. We have around 100 running feet of chokecherry shrubs in our windbreak so will have plenty as they always come through for us. We always seem to sell out of the jelly but can harvest the tops of the shrubs if there is a demand for the fresh chokecherries. Just let us know and we can provide.
Elderberries are abundant alongside road ditches and we grow a domestic variety also. Once people develop a taste for elderberries it seems to stay with them for life. They make a great jelly and also wine. We will probably never have enough to sell fresh as they are very small and it takes a bunch to make a limited amount of jelly. These seem to be another fruit that is hit and miss on consistent production and we hope to have some jelly this late summer.
Gooseberries are an old fashion treat in SE Nebraska. They used to grow in the wild in the past, but most now days come from plants that have been bought at nurseries. They make great pie and jams. At Arnold Acres, we just started gooseberry plantings and won’t expect to have them for making jams until 2019.
Thank goodness for the birds when it comes to our harvest of mulberries on Arnold Acres. No, they don’t help us harvest them (they eat their share) but they spread the seeds around through their poop and new mulberry trees pop up all over the place. We have to control mulberry trees or they become a weed to us. We keep a few of them in strategic places for harvest so we can make the jellies and jams from them. A dependable bearer every year, the only challenge is shaking them out of the trees to get enough to harvest.
Peaches are a summer delight of sweetness and juiciness. Peaches are one of those fruits that just make your mouth water. You have to buy them local and fresh to get the most juiciness and sweetness out of them. Our 1st priority on peaches is to make great peach jam. Rarely will we have fresh peaches available for sale but may have on occasion. One of our customers’ favorite Mary Kay’s’ jelly never lasts long.
Black Raspberries are a favorite for a lot of people. It has a unique flavor versus red. We will have limited amounts versus red raspberries and will have them available only for jellies and jam. We are just starting our black raspberries this year and will have jellies and jams available on a limited basis starting in 2019.
One of the favorites to grow here at Arnold Acres. We grow both summer-bearing raspberries and fall bearing raspberries. There is only a short window in late July and early August that we will not have fresh fruit available at the markets or we will sell directly from the farm. Just let us know if you want us to reserve some for you. They make great jelly and jams and we will have plenty available in the markets for sale.
Some people enjoy rhubarb by itself but not very many. It is one of those fruits that for the most part need to be mixed with other fruits like strawberries to enjoy it. We will have fresh rhubarb for sale at the market as well as rhubarb jams mixed with other fruit grown at Arnold Acres. Strawberry Rhubarb jam is another favorite of our customers and sells out quickly.
If there is one berry that the birds love as much or more than mulberries it is the Saskatoon berry. A more common name is serviceberry. They look much like blueberries when they are ripe but can be grown in soils locally that have a neutral pH like we have here. Sweeter than blueberries and they make great jams. If we can keep the birds out we should have plenty of jams and possible some fresh fruit to sell at the market. If you have never tried Saskatoon jam you should give it a try.
I have met very few people who do not absolutely love strawberries. It is the first fruit of the season other than rhubarb. You will never taste a strawberry from the grocery store that can compare to a fresh picked local strawberry. One of the favorites for jams as we sell out quickly at the markets. We also sell the fresh fruit at the markets and they sell out quickly. Strawberries are the tomatoes and sweet corn of the fruit world. Nothing compares to fresh and local for sweetness and juiciness.