Monday, September 22, 2014

Pawpaw Fun (with a Pawpaw Ice Cream Recipe, too!)

-posted by Jayne

This is a post about one our newest favorite local fruits:  Pawpaws!  Have you tried them?  

They are ripe when they start to get soft and squishy, with some brownish
marks on their skin.

The insides will be bright yellow and softer than a
ripe banana.  There are lots of black seeds that you
need to pick out.

We went pawpaw hunting on Sunday at a friend's property.  "Take all you can find," they said... "we don't need them."  The kids were delighted that pawpaw hunting was much easier than springtime mushroom hunting.

To start things off, Isaac decided to show off his climbing skills by going for the pawpaws waaaaay at the top of the tree.  Do you see the monkey in the photo?

The pawpaws hang in clusters, varying in shape and size.  Very easy to spot.

The kids fought over the ones low to the ground, easy to pick.  Because you know, that's simply the natural thing to do with a sibling.

Maizy spotted a tree frog up in the tree, which eventually ended up clinging to Mason's shirt... right there somewhere in the middle of Saturn...

And I decided to do some sampling right there, to make sure they still tasted as good as I remembered from the week prior.  

Ah yes, the fresh pawpaw.  Ohio's tropical fruit.

But by the end of the day, there was no need to fight.  Plenty of pawpaws for friends, neighbors, and curious aquaintances.

The kids weren't wild about the taste of the fresh pawpaws, so I thought we'd make some pawpaw ice cream to entice them.  They got the task of scraping those little black dots out of the vanilla bean.

I really make them do these things so that when they are older and learn about vanilla bean extract, they tell their friends, "When I was little, my mom made me scoop the little vanilla bean dots out of the bean itself!"

I worked on mashing up the pawpaws to make the pulp.  I asked the kids to help but they thought it seemed "too messy."  "Too messy!?"  Have they looked at their play room lately?

The above and below photos are courtesy of Maizy.  I'm trying to let the kids improve their photography skills so they can enter a photo in the Circleville Pumpkin Show art exhibit.  Keep practicing, Maizy...

Getting the pawpaw pulp is the messiest and most difficult part.  I squeezed the seeds and surrounding pulp into my strainer, then worked the rest of the pulp away from the skins.  After the strainer was full I simply used my hands to push the pulp out into the pan.  If your pawpaws aren't ripe enough to mash through the strainer, I would recommend pureeing the pulp pieces with a food processor.  Chunks of under-ripe pawpaw really has no place in pawpaw ice cream (speaking from experience).

And here is the finished product!

And here is the recipe I used:

Pawpaw Honey Ice Cream

1 C. sugar
2 C. whole milk 
1/4 t. salt
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
3 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 C. pawpaw pulp
1/2 cup honey
2 C. heavy cream
*You will want to wait to mash your pawpaws until the first two steps are complete.  You don't want the pawpaw pulp sitting out waiting to be used.

1.  Combine first 4 ingredients in a saucepan over low heat.  Stir until the mixture begins to simmer.  Place egg yolks in a bowl.  Stir in about 1/2 cup of the hot liquid to temper the eggs, and return everything to the saucepan.  Continue to heat to 160 degrees.
2.  Heat until thickened, about 5 mins.  Do not boil.  Remove from heat and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
3. Stir in the pawpaw pulp, the honey, and the heavy cream.  Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.  

The reason for our newfound pawpaw craze?  We went to the Pawpaw Festival at Lake Snowden the previous Sunday.  

One of our favorite authors, Joel Salatin, was the featured speaker on Sunday afternoon.  He has written several books that have inspired us on our journey as small farmers and ag entrepreneurs.  

And of course the festival was filled with the usual festival fun.  Giant bubbles...

And pawpaws in every kind of food imaginable.  Pawpaw beer, pawpaw burritos, pawpaw ice cream, pawpaw popsicles, pawpaw salsa, pawpaw curry puff, pawpaw smoothies, pawpaw cookies, and pawpaw cakes.  I'm sure I've missed something.  

One thing missing from the festival was our Cinnamon Honey.  But it is not missing on the Whole Foods shelves!  Finally!  
And you can save yourself .01 if you buy it at Whole Foods versus from us at the farmer's market.  

If you're coming to the Worthington market on Saturday, I may just have a few extra pawpaws to share.  Hidden under the table.  Secret code:  pawpaw.  And a smile and a wink.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bee Pollen - collection and harvesting, health benefits, and flavor

-posted by Jayne

Pollen abounds at Honeyrun Farm!  Isaac put on the pollen traps about a month ago, and the bees have been really busy bringing in all that sweet goldenrod pollen.  I love to grab an afternoon pollen snack in the freezer in the honey house, where I can eat it fresh and raw.  We have actually had to go out and buy 2 new freezers to hold all the new pollen collected, as our current freezers are full of comb and chunk honey waiting to be purchased.  (Come, on customers... what are you waiting for?)

If you are new to the Honeyrun Blog, you might want to look over a past blog we did in 2012 about bee pollen- all about how we collect it, clean it, dry it, store it, and eat it.   Here it is:  "Bee Pollen - the Intricacies and Health Benefits of this Superfood."

Today I thought I would offer a pictoral "Blast from the Past"- a collection of photos of pollen collecting over the years here at Honeyrun Farm.

I love this photo of our pollen, as it shows the beautiful
textures and colors of the varied bee pollen.  

Somebody got into the pollen jar...  that's a guilty face!


Even at a young age, Maizy had upper management
skills- telling Daddy how it's done.

The yellow in this picture is mostly ragweed pollen,
 collected in early September.

At the age of 4, Maizy could finally help harvest the pollen herself.

But her favorite job is "taste tester" (and flower picker).

We think Goldenrod provides the tastiest and prettiest
pollen - bright orange in color and sweet in flavor!

This bucket shows the varied pollen collected by
different hives - on the same day!  It is neat to see
how they each visit different plants in the same area.

Backdoor smorgasbord for these hives!
We'd also like to thank Vicki from Love Ohio Crafters and Artisans blog, for interviewing us and featuring us this past week!  Check out the interview here.   We actually got to know Vicki through her personal love of our bee pollen.  She is one of our most faithful pollen customers, and she feels that eating bee pollen helps her stay healthy throughout the year.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Honeyfest 2014

-Posted by Isaac

Lithopolis had their annual shindig this last Friday and Saturday. This year the program was dedicated to Dan Cottrell.

We lost Big Dan about a week after last year's Honeyfest. Everyone remembers him as an exuberant volunteer in the Scioto Valley Beekeeper's demonstration booth and a permanent fixture cranking out the honey. He was a Santa Claus figure at the extractor-- surrounded by kids. Teaching, laughing, entertaining; always a twinkle in his eye. It was painful not to have him here.
The Honeyfest sponsored their first honey contest this year, and the "Best of Show" award was sponsored by our SVB club in Dan's honor.
More on that later.

Honeyfest is a big deal for central Ohio beekeepers and as usual we brought a whole bunch of stuff.

However, this year I got a bit smarter with the transport of this stuff to the festival. We now have a big flatbed... why not use it? This would eliminate the need for multiple vehicles to carry things. The only problem is, you can't run a thousand straps across a thousand different items.
Sideboards were needed. Another last minute project on a hot Thursday afternoon:

Friday morning: Here come the Clampetts.

By noon, everything was taking shape, looking good.

Once again, a wonderful Jayne-inspired masterwork of honey, ready to fly home with eager Honeyfesters.

And they came in droves.

Another (very smart) development this year. We were aided in the honey selling by no less then seven attractive young ladies over the course of the two days.

(Were the sales better this year?  Well duh...)
Eight, if you include the star of the show:

It quickly became evident that they didn't need me standing there looking stupid.
I got to walk around and take pictures. This year I soaked up the Honeyfest.

There were bee beards all day long-

American Honey Princess, Elena Hoffman models the latest in Bee Fashions.

And music-

And Art-
Both to wear..

And to buy...

A little Education-

And a Little Fun-

Food, of course-

And Honey of Every Shape, Size and Color-

Candles Too-

And Interesting Things-
Having nothing to do with honey or bees.

"Are you kidding? Yes, for the thousandth time, local anvils are good for your allergies."

"Seriously, I hate that question!"

Demonstrations of all Types-

I've got to highlight our own club!

SVB put on the ever popular extracting demo.

And Contests Galore-

ECOBA sponsors the annual photo contest:

My vote for "Peoples Choice" award- 
These crotchety beekeepers doing "American Gothic"
Who are these guys?
Carmen and The Devil

As I mentioned earlier, this year was the first for a real honey judging contest.

Maybe I got overzealous, but I entered honey or comb in seven different categories.
It was the shotgun approach.
Which fits nicely with that Taj life philosophy I talked about--(Many fish bites if you got good bait.)
So with the odds in our favor, we were bound to collect a few ribbons.
And we did.

But what about the Dan Cottrell "Best of Show?"

Well, you know...

I don't never like to brag none.

But you know...

Joking aside, I'm humbled and honored.
And I really felt moved when Dan Williams our club president shed some tears while presenting the award and talking about Big Dan.

What a two day whirlwind. I was happy to be able to document all my playing around.
When the big band plays late Saturday, you know it's about time to wrap things up.

Time to get back to the bees.
And kids, and everything else. On Sunday Maizy demonstrated one of the new time saving routes they had learned in our parental absence.

Masters of efficiency, our children.