Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Larriland Farm In Fall: Apples, Pumpkins, And More Beets Than You Beat With A Stick

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.

I come to pickle beets, not to praise them.

I have chuckled for several years about signs for "pick your own beets" when we went to Larriland to pick our apples and pumpkins.

But we went to Larriland Farm yesterday and took home 10 pounds of beets -- which turns out to be only seven and a half pounds, but more on that later.  The plan is to pickle the beets this year with a few ideas from the Put 'em Up! cookbook and a horseradish idea from the Web.

You really can't beat Larriland this time of year.  Even without the special weekend activities like hay rides and apple fritters, the place was packed.  They had two apple varieties on the trees, plus three more that they were selling from crates because their own trees hadn't been pollinated during our cloudy spring.

We went huge on the apples, including matsu from the crates, stamen and braeburn from the trees.  Then a bag of beets where the secret was clearly to walk far down the row to find the bigger ones. (Bring a knife.  You want to save beet greens that look good, but cut off the ones that are ragged, insect eaten or covered with discolored spots.  I probably saved half.  That was two or more pounds with all the stems.  They're easy to saute -- and a scattering a Harris Teeter chicken sausage bumps up the flavor.)  Then our younger friends got some time in the hay maze.

That leaves me with a pile of jars from Kendall Hardware and a huge baking tray of roasted beets.  Wish me luck!

Whenever you go to Larriland, you need to check out the main farm stand.  Check out the crazy squashes -- most of them edible!  And check out the apple sauce made with Larriland apples.  That seemed new to me.

Prices -- $1.29/pound for beets, 79 cents if you buy 20 pounds.  $1.69/pounds for apples, $1.29 if you buy 20 pounds.


HowICook said...

I hope that missing 2 1/2 pounds is the beet tops aka greens and you're going to eat them not compost or field litter.

I went to Lariland the same weekend at opening on Saturday, 9am. There was a rather long line of cars just waiting to goto the apple orchards. They had 6 varieties of apples for picking off the trees. I picked beets too and sautéed the roughly chopped tops in some oil with garlic, salt and pepper. Additionally I picked cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Take a knife to cut them off the stalk. You can borrow one of theirs but they'll want $5 or your keys as collateral.

Katy said...

I love going to the HoCo farms and farmer's markets in the autumn! This year was my first for trying roasted beets and I have been pleasantly surprised.

I bet their homemade applesauce is delicious! In fact I just wrote a post about my own applesauce-making with apples I got at the Thursday Howard County Farmer's Market: http://peaceful-plate.blogspot.com/2011/10/simplest-plate-applesauce.html

(I have a couple of beet posts too :-) )

BBG said...

Beet junkie here ...

Yeh the additional weight is the greens/tops which are edible. Quite tasty actually once you get all the dirt etc. off them I usually saute them with some oil, garlic, sesame seeds, maybe some soy sauce. I'll chop the stems real small so they'll cook down and add them in the pan too. Just treat the leaves like spinach or Swiss chard. The large volume cooks down to almost nothing in rapid time.

If you're not going to eat them just bring a knife or snap the tops off with your hands. No point in paying for additional weight you're not going to use. Just remember the leaves wilt pretty quick at home, don't let them sit around for even a day just cook them up fairly quick.

I prefer smaller beets, they're a little tastier and cook quicker, just rinse them and then put in a foil pouch and bake at I forget what temperature for a while, pull out of the oven, peel some of the tougher outer skin then go to town. I eat them straight but my family usually adds some butter/salt/pepper, chop them up throw them in a bowl with the toppings and enjoy.

Pickled beets are amazing but I've never actually home canned before. Best food pairing ever for cold pickled beets, BTW, is cottage cheese. They go together amazingly well. Smart delis will usually have both available and I can make a great lunch just eating those two in combination.

whatsanitasdeal said...

hi HowChow, where can I buy golden beets I can't stomach red beets.imnotarunner at gmail dot com