My last post was at the beginning of what would be a very long eight months...for everyone! What started out as a nice two week breather with family and the farm turned into a much longer, stressful and unfortunately uneventful 2021. Like many of you, we were faced with homeschooling, work and learning how to all get along for months on end without our normal breaks, camps, work weekends, etc. We survived....at least thus far and I am sure we will look back and remember the good that came out of 2020.
With that being said, it was a hard year for Black Acre Farm. We had set an intention that we would take a break from events, classes and the such at the end of 2019. We planned to be back at it by June of 2020....well as they say, the best laid plans. We were hopeful and had tentatively planned a late summer farm to table, a hand full of summer classes and a fall pumpkin patch....that of course was all canceled. Just as our events had to be canceled so did so many others, and so many other businesses shut their doors. Without a market for our products, we stopped making soaps and lotions and instead focused on improvements around the farm.
We have painted fences, gave a facelift to our chicken coop and planted over 100 new lavender plants...and we finally got our high tunnels up and running proper! Also, we are working towards getting a working canning, soap making and bread baking kitchen completed in our old wash house. We are very excited to host classes in our new space...this spring?!?
So here is to 2020...the year that went by so slow, yet so fast that we didn't even post to our website for eight months! Keep a lookout for news of upcoming events this spring...we have a goal to update at least once a month for 2021.
To celebrate Pie Day as well as to kick start the next two weeks of staying home, Charlie and I decided to make hand pies today! Recipe and instructions below:
My go to pastry crust recipe: (I use this for all my pies and quiche)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
1/4 cup ice water
Jam- whatever kind you like
Pie spice or cinnamon
turbinado sugar or any coarse sugar
To make crust I am careful to measure the flour precisely. Using a 1/4 cup measuring spoon and helps! I also dice the butter and then place it back into the freezer for a few minutes before combining it with my dry ingredients.
Step by step instructions are given in the captions of each photo:
Once the dough has had time in the fridge to rest and cool down I begin rolling it out onto a lightly floured surface.
Now to add some jam! I use approximately 1-2 tablespoons of jam for each hand pie. Today we made strawberry and cherry. I also sprinkle pie spice onto the inside with the jam. If you don't have pie spice, just add a bit of cinnamon.
The pies will not expand much in the oven, so you can place them fairly close together on a baking sheet. I stick the whole baking sheet with the pies in the freezer for about 10 minutes to chill the dough again. After removing from the freezer I give each pie a quick and light egg wash and sprinkle turbinado sugar over the top...you can use any kind of coarse sugar.
After the egg wash and sugar, I place the pies into a 450 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown on top. After removing from oven let them set on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before plating. If you wish to also add a glaze wait until the pies are completely cool.
This is a fun and easy baking project to do with kids. Charlie loves to help out with everything and making hand pies is a great way to teach him some baking basics and make a treat for him and Lita to share.
It has been awhile since I have had time to update the happenings around the farm. Summer seemed to sneak up on us and then BAM...it's over! We had a busy summer traveling, gardening and spending time with family. We also stayed busy with events. In June we had our first summer farm to table dinner, which was such a fun and memorable evening. Pit roasting a hog for the first time was definitely a learning experience and not one that we will be repeating anytime soon. We also hosted jam and pickling classes with canning extraordinaire Jolene, who just started her own business, Preserve. There was a great turn out for the annual lavender wreath making event...so many beautiful wreaths were created! Guests were also able to let their creativity flow with our first pottery class. I was inspired to work more on my pottery as well....a few new products might be on the way.
Also, many of our Black Acre Farm products hit the shelves of some local businesses. The SAGE center in Boardman now carries our soaps, Sheepdog Mercantile in Heppner also has a selection of soaps, Rendezvous Vintage in Echo has a collection of both soaps and lotions too. During August the Sage Store in Heppner featured a plethora of our skincare products. We are looking forward to Junk Barn Girls in October, where we will have soaps, lotions, bath bombs and some sweet vintage finds.
Looking forward into Fall we are gearing up for a few fun events and classes before Christmas. Check out our events and classes page to sign up and keep up to date on our latest happenings!
Like most folks our spring has been flying by at break neck speed. Between preparing the garden, working in the yard, farm events, baby animals and podcasting we have had barely a moments rest. Check out what we have been up to!
Teacher. Student. Mother. Daughter. Sister. Wife. Farmer (well... I try).