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Jackie Clay

I hope you have a great fourth of July!

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

We did, although the days leading up to it were pretty busy. On Monday, Will and I traveled to Bagley, Minnesota, to visit Jim and Bernis at their farm, Honeyberry USA. They raise and sell many varieties of berries, chiefly many kinds of honeyberries along with hardy cherries and others, coupled with their U-Pick farm.

We really love honeyberries, which look like a large, elongated blueberry, growing on upright bushes about three feet tall. They excel in jam and we were out to restock our depleted honeyberry jam. (Of course, it wouldn’t have been depleted but for Will generously giving jars to many visitors…)

Will and I picked while we visited with Bernis as she escorted pickers to their own sections of the netted bushes. Like us, they have hungry cedar waxwings and have to net to get berries for themselves. Without nets, the birds get most of the berries. We also got to sample many different varieties and we chose our very favorites so next spring we could buy a few new bushes to add to our growing orchard. We ended up with almost 30 pounds of berries!

Guess who gets to make jam now? I did five batches yesterday, netting 22 half-pints. But today the temperatures shot up to the high 80s and I’m not doing jam until evening. The berries are in the fridges and seem to be holding well. But I have to keep at it so they don’t start to spoil.

We were impressed with Bernis and Jim’s berry cleaner. They have a cardboard trough on a slant with a heavy duty leaf blower facing it. As berries are poured slowly down the chute, the blower blows leaves and debris away leaving clean berries. Very nice and the berries keep much better than if they were rinsed in water. While we were there a friend of theirs was remaking the chute with plastic. The advantages are that it can be washed between cleanings and will last much longer. Very innovative! — Jackie

7 Responses to “I hope you have a great fourth of July!”

  1. Nana Says:

    What variety of the honeyberry are you looking to buy? They look and taste fabulous!

  2. Kathy Says:

    Nice idea on the berry cleaner. That is what make you good homesteaders. Always thinking.

  3. gen Says:

    It’s been getting into the mid 90’s here, but luckily mother nature has been kind enough to rain at least once a week. My dad and I put up 13 pints of bread and butter pickles yesterday, and tomorrow i’m hoping for at least a dozen half pints of pickle relish. We’ve never made that before, so I hope it’s as good as it sounds. So far I’ve gotten one tomato each off my plants and three sweet banana peppers, plenty of blooms but I’m afraid the heat is going to slow everything down. I’m looking to be canning about 50 to 60 pints of green beans by the end of this week, and I’m gonna be grinning ear to ear once I see those in the pantry. Blessings on everybody! gen

  4. gen Says:

    I know this is EARLY to post, but I found an “interesting” recipe, that I will be trying this fall after the pumpkins are ready to harvest. I hope it’s ok, I’m listing the website I found it on


    2 lbs of sweet apples (measurement before coring and peeling)
    2 1/2 T. pumpkin powder (purchased from (or dehydrate your own pumpkin and grind to a powder)
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 t. pumpkin pie spice
    1 T. bottled lemon juice

    Peel and core your apples and then process in a blender till smooth or cook the apples down in a crock pot or stainless steel pot. Once the apples are cooked and have reached a butter consistency (creamy) add the pumpkin powder, sugar, and pie spice. Stir in ingredients and cook for another 30 minutes. Taste the butter. If you think it needs more pumpkin flavor add another teaspoon, but it was really good after the 2 1/2 tablespoons. The flavor had that great pumpkin pie richness.
    Add your lemon juice just to preserve the color and ladle into your sterlized jars. Remove air bubbles, fill to 1/4″ headspace and wipe rims. Add hot lids/rings and process in the water bath for 10 minutes at a full rolling boil.

  5. gen Says:

    PS: Dad and I managed to get 12 half-pints of sweet pickle relish canned yesterday, and I talked to a pick your own gardener near by, hopefully I will be able to pick green beans on Monday and beets on Wednesday. At 91 dad has decided to stop gardening, as much because we lost the last four gardens to SEVERAL types of critters, and his health isn’t as good now, either. We are making plans to preserve 2 turkeys, 2 roasting hens, several beef and pork roasts, a ham, and some ground round. Dad is in 7th Heaven just thinking about it. If the current heat wave doesn’t stop our cucumbers, we’re also looking to can as many sweet lime pickles as possible. Jackie I love your ongoing enthusiasm and your nature to help all of us, it makes us know so much is possible! Take care, gen

  6. Jackie Says:


    We’d like to add Kauai honeyberries to our orchard but have heard they won’t be available until 2019….

  7. Jackie Says:


    Sounds like you and your dad have been busy! And will keep busy too. Hey, that’s how we get ahead. I know I’ve still got a lot of ground beef to get canned up myself! Yum. (And it’s SO handy too.)

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