Farm Fresh

… Fresh on to the farm. Here is an occassional chronicle of a new family in a small town.

Pulled Pork

We are entertaining twice this week so I thought I’d make a shitload of pulled pork. I used three recipes to come up with something. The result includes cumin seeds, fennel seeds, chili powder, molasses, chopped onion and garlic and a splash of cider vinegar(I also did not grind the spices- why bother?). I filled the crock pot with 10 lbs of pork roast, the leg because it was on sale even though most people recommend Boston Butt. I left it in overnight (11pm-7am) and voila.  This morning then, I added ketchup, vinegar and molasses to taste, and it tastes good!

I’m serving this with green bean and potato salad, bread and butter pickles, and for dessert, the Martha Stewart Apricot/Peach upside down mini cakes. Delish.  Also I should mention I made a couple in the 8 oz canning jars and yes, they were beautiful.

Both Martha Stewart and Alton Brown had two recipes that looked good but I wanted to slow cook overnight so I then referred to the below recipe from Natalie for guidance. I was worried about leaving it unattended at night but it worked fine and at 3:30am was still in good shape- not too dry or overcooked.

Pernil Pork from Natalie
Prep Time:
20 Min
Cook Time:
6 Hrs
Ready In:
6 Hrs 20 Min


Original Recipe Yield 1 – 3 pound pork loin


4 cloves garlic
1 large onion, quartered
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground ancho chile pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 (3 pound) boneless pork loin roast
1 lime, cut into wedges

Place the garlic, onion, oregano, cumin, chile pepper, salt, and pepper
into a blender. Pour in the olive oil and vinegar. Puree until smooth.

Spread this mixture all over the pork loin, and place into a slow


Filed under: Food


What’s that movie with Jim Carey and Ed Burns. Jim lives in this perfect world where there is no trash and everyone is smiling. He finds out and rejects it. Whatever. We paid to go there. Seabrook. We went with our moms and Porter. We each cooked dinner one night. We went to the beach everyday.  Justin, Porter and I went for a hike on the Quinalt Reservation.  We will probably go again, like every year.

Filed under: Family, Travel

Summerfest 2011

We do this thing, in the summer, we call it Summerfest.  The Punch members who live in Thorp and Ellensburg host a get together of our closest friends and anyone on the email list of 1000.  It’s beer, art, music, rafting and food (this year the taco truck and pies).  It’s fun.

Highlights include:
1. Campfire and Whisky on Friday
2. Check In at the Thorp Mill with donuts and ginger lemonade at the Vanagon Stand
3. Leisurely float with new and old friends
4. Taco Truck and Iron Horse beer for dinner
5. The Daffodils from Edison
6. Pies in a Jar- with Winegars Ice Cream
7. Sleeping in the Vanagon under the stars
8. Sausage biscuits and fruit for breakfast

Yes, it was really that good.

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Filed under: Art, Event

Pies In a Jar

We made a lot of these for Summerfest! More on that to come. But what we learned is- do not cook them frozen- duh! You can store in freezer which is awesome but you should thaw them before cooking.  We had 50 to bake and it took us along time. They were worth the wait. I am excited to try them with savory fillings like beef pot pies.

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From this awesome gal.

These are too good to be true. I roped Natalie into helping. She is the baker after all. I am not. But I was driven by the cuteness. One batch of dough made 5 pies. We used the lids to cut out the bottom and top of the crusts. Crust recipe is 2 cups flour, 1 cup butter minus 2 tbsp butter and substitute for crisco. Better if cold not frozen. Put in food processor and pour in ice water until a good consistency. Good luck with that.

Filed under: Food


I am in a canning fever. I am convinced I should start making and selling jams and pickles. What is wrong with me? I can’t help it – they are beautiful. I am obsessed with anything in these canning jars. Argh!I have even looked into the rules and regs for doing this legit and started a business plan.

Luckily I am not alone. There are others!

To Inspire

Food In Jars

Canning Across America

Inside the Kagonoff Kitchen

To Buy

This is how deep I am:

My fake start of a business plan…

Backyard Lab

Fresh preserves and the supplies to make them.

We offer jams and pickles made from local and fresh ingredients from the Yakima Valley.  Products can be purchases online, at the store and café or at the Ellensburg Farmer’s market.

About Me

I fell in love with canning immediately. Upon moving to Central Washington to start a family with my husband artist, Justin Colt Beckman and son Porter, I was inspired by the jewel tones of the fruits and vegetables in the garden and wanted to hold on to the beauty year around.  I love the process of preserving too, the work, the sun, the tiniest bit of creativity amidst the chemistry of it all.  While I also enjoy a career as an arts administrator, canning allows me to integrate creativity and domesticity at once.  It’s my hope that these products will inspire the love of local products, the beauty that surrounds us and encourage conversations around a table with friends and family.

10% of proceeds go towards the arts in Ellensburg.



Biscuit Mix





The Lab

Located in downtown Ellensburg, we make our products on site and offer a place to enjoy them with Herkimer coffee, homemade ginger beer, on biscuits paired with peanut butter or in a pie!

More then local- next door! The main ingredients come from local farmers or neighbors and friends backyards!

I found this from someone- “I preserve local and organic produce by hand, in small batches, on the same day I pick or purchase it from local markets. “ “never any artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or colorings. “


Blueberry Basil Apricot

Summer in a jar. This jam is made from three ingredients as they simultaneously come in to season.  It’s a versatile jam that can be used on a warm buttered scome o rmixed with balsamic vinegar and oil for a summer dressing.  The good thing is, it lasts all year!

Strawberry Ginger

For the little girl in everyone. This jam is sugar and spice and everything nice! Fresh strawberries are paired with ginger chunks and transform the traditional strawberry shortcake into a new favorite.

Cherry Almond

A tiny bit if almond flavor mellows the Bing cherry sweetness. Why bother with the bread, you’ll want to eat this one with a spoon! Or, surprise your guests and spread this on lamb for dinner!

Apricot Rosemary

Dribble this on your pancakes for breakfast or take a brie and Apricot Rosemary sandwich to the lake. Small apricots make for a nice light flavor that holds on to the end of summer as the subtle hint of rosemary prepares you for fall.

Raspberry Rhubarb

Spicy Plum

Pear ?

Caramel Sauce

Filed under: Food


My moms neighbor has a tree that hangs over the fence. All week (mid August) I have been climbing up a precarious ladder to pick them. Who knew? I never thought I would like these things but I can’t resist and they are so beautiful. Plus Justin’s friend Ryan brought us 20lbs from his tree. I froze two trays worth- Apricot Dacquiri’s anyone? We’re drying a bunch and I couldn’t resist the following jam recipe.

Apricot Rosemary Jam from
makes 4 half pints- I made two batches and cut the rosemary in half and used lemon juice (2 1/2 tbsp). It took longer to get jammy than I thought necessary but it took about 25 minutes. It is good! But sort of weird.

4 cups mashed apricots (about two pounds whole fruit)
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
1 lemon, juiced

Prepare a small boiling water bath canner and 4 half pint jars. Place lids in a small pan of water and set to a bare simmer.

Combine mashed apricots, sugar and rosemary in a roomy, non-reactive pot and bring to a boil. Let cook for 7-15 minutes*, until the fruit thickens and runs slowly and thickly off the back of a spoon.

When jam seems thick and spreadable, add the lemon juice. Stir to combine. Remove pot from heat.

Carefully ladle jam into four half pint jars (depending on the concentration of the sugars in the fruit, it may reduce down further and leave you with just three half pints. Prepare to be surprised). Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in your small boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

When time is up, remove jars from pot. Let cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and test seals. If seals are good, store jars in a cool, dark place. If any of the jars did not seal, put those jars in the fridge and use within a month or two.

*Please remember that cook times are approximations that can vary greatly depending on the width of your pot, the amount of water in the fruit and even the humidity in the air. Don’t just blindly rely on that time frame, use your senses to help you.

Apricot Upside Down Cake from Martha Stewart.

Martha Bakes, January 2011

  • Yield Makes five 6-inch cakes or 36 mini cakes


  • For the Fruit Enhancer

    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1 teaspoon dark rum
    • 2 cups light-brown sugar, packed
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • For the Cake

    • 2 1/2 pounds nectarines, plums, or apricots, about 10 to 15
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
    • 1 1/2 cups cake flour, not self-rising
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
    • 1 3/4 cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling fruit
    • 4 large eggs
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 1 1/4 cups milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the fruit enhancer: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, maple syrup, dark rum, light-brown sugar, vanilla extract, and salt until well blended.
  2. Spray five 6-by-3-inch round cake pans or three 12-cup standard muffin tins with cooking spray; if using cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Divide fruit enhancer evenly among cake pans or muffin tins and spread with an offset spatula to make smooth.
  3. Slice fruit into 1/4-inch wedges. Starting from the inside and working outwards, arrange fruit slices in a fanlike, circular pattern on top of fruit enhancer, using about 2 to 3 pieces fruit per cake. If making mini upside-down cakes, slice fruit into circular, cross-sectional slices about 1/4-inch thick, using one round slice per muffin tin. You can also use thin wedges or slices for the mini upside-down cakes, and arrange in a decorative fashion.
  4. Make cake: Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  5. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and then beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.
  6. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes for the 6-inch cakes, or 20 to 25 minutes for the mini upside-down cakes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 30 minutes, or 20 minutes for minis. Loosen side of cake with small offset spatula or paring knife. Invert cakes onto a rack set atop a baking sheet; peel off the parchment if necessary. Serve warm or cool.

Filed under: Food, Garden


Pickles- I got 20 lbs on August 15th from Blue Heron Farms. I think I overdid it. The bread and butter are a hit but I haven;t tried the others.

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Dill Pickles – made 12 jars- mostly pints
Recipe was from Country Wisdom Know How – I added peppers

2. Bread and Butter Pickles- So good. I substituted fennel seeds for the celery seeds and added crushed red pepper. Enough to make it look pretty- 2 tbsp?

Bread and Butter Pickles

(Yields 7 pints, from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)

  • 16 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
    (If you have a mandolin, this is the time to use it!)
  • 8 sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup pickling salt (or Kosher salt)
  • 3 cloves garlic, halved
  • Ice cubes
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seeds

Combine the sliced cucumbers and sliced onions in a large stock pot. Stir in the salt and the halved garlic cloves. Top with a layer of ice cubes (about 1-2 inches), cover, and refrigerate for 3-4 hours (up to 12).

After refrigerating, discard any ice that has not melted.  Drain in a large colander, and remove the garlic cloves.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, vinegar, and spices in the large stock pot.  Heat to boiling. Add the drained cucumber mixture, and return to a boil.

Transfer the pickles to sterilized pint canning jars.  Wipe the jar rims and add the lids. Process in the boiling water canner (placing the jars on a rack, filling with liquid to cover the jars, and returning to a boil) for 10 minutes. Be sure to start timing after the water returns to a boil.
Remove the jars and allow to cool. If the lids remain down when they are pressed on, the jars are sealed properly. Refrigerate any jars that did not seal properly.

Homemade Cornichons from I omitted the grape leaf and added a red pepper.
for each half pint jar

2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup water
5-8 whole 2-4 inch cucumbers, washed thoroughly with spines rubbed off
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 small bay leaf
1/2 tablespoon pepper corns
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 fresh grape leaf, washed, optional

1. Heat salt, vinegar, and water in a pot over medium heat until boiling.
2. Pack cucumbers into a sterilized jar with peeled garlic clove. Sprinkle spices over cucumbers.
3. Pour boiling vinegar brine into the jar, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
4. Wipe rim and place new lid on the jar. Finger tighten a ring on the jar and place in a hot water bath.
5. Boil in hot water for 15 minutes. Remove from water bath and allow to cool to room temperature.

Filed under: Food, Garden, Random