Wednesday Webs: Autumnal Equinox

autumnal equinox pumpkins and squash

Happy Autumnal Equinox. What an ABSOLUTELY gorgeous day—81 degrees, sunny and crisp. I love autumn!

Canning and Planning for the Upcoming Months

Homemade grape juiceIt’s Foodie Friday and we’ve been canning homemade grape juice. We use my mother’s recipe, hence every jar conjures up childhood memories of sweet, purple purity (unlike the artificial, high-fructose infiltrations we have today). I’ll share the recipe below, it’s super easy peasy. Anyway, we did 53 quarts and that means we can enjoy our little vineyard at least once a week for the next 12 months. That, my friends, is how I plan all my gardening and preservation.

I’ve also been planning ahead for Adunate. This is my 10th year in business and I want to do something equally sweet for my clients who’ve made ten years possible. I haven’t finalized my plans but I do know one thing, come this Christmas I’m not going to be rushing around at the last minute. With that in mind, this week I went to Ascentives‘ Customer Appreciation & Product Showcase. What fun! I came away with oodles of samples—gotta love those!—and some neat ideas.

Business owners, what are you doing for your clients this holiday season? Customers, what holiday gifts stand out as special to you? I’m brainstorming ideas, so please share!

In the meantime, here’s the juice recipe:

Homemade Grape Juice

This year we started using a refractometer to measure the brix (sugar content) of our grapes. It’s divine! This means I can take detailed record of brix levels and hopefully eliminate the uncertainty of how much sugar to add to the juice. Last weekend we picked our Concord grapes at 18 brix, Frontenac Gris at 22, and Marquette and Frontenac at 24. 

Per 1-quart jar:

  • 1-1/2 cups washed, de-stemmed grapes
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cups sugar (different grape varieties require different amounts, depending on their brix. I used 1/3 cup, plus or minus)
  • Boiling water

Fill each sanitized jar with grapes and sugar. Top off with boiling water. Skim off any floating whatevers (dried grapes, chaff and, yes, even a few tiny black bugs—this is homemade goodness, after all:-). Seal for canning and process 20 minutes in a boiling-water bath.

When it’s time to indulge, simply pour the juice through a strainer, discard the grapes, and enjoy your tasty nectar!


October is Fermentation Fest!

2015_FF_EventGuideFermentation Fest is only three weeks away and I’m really pumped! Should I take a class on winemaking? Hands-on cheesemaking? Or kombucha for beginners?

Just as exciting is the Fermentation Fest Farm/Art DTour. With 50 miles of art, music, food, and crisp, colorful countryside, the DTour is what autumn dreams are made of. Better yet, this year it travels a new route. Think quaint villages named Rock Springs, Loganville and Hill Point, or scenic stops such as Ableman’s Gorge and White Mound County Park.

So this event guide was my summer project: This stack of eye-catching design so strategically placed on my bucket of Marquette grapes (what, don’t we all read 20-page, newspaper-style event guides while picking grapes?). It was a great project, made even more fun by working with Cricket Design Works, who did the Fermentation Fest logo and masthead.

2015_FF_EventGuidePgRemember my Wisconsin barn tour? Well, here’s the corresponding story. This and other engaging articles are all part of the Fermentation Fest event guide, as well as maps, schedules and, yes, great photography! Check it all out here.

You can also request your own free copy here, or find them in locations throughout southern Wisconsin. I’ve seen them in these venues (and elsewhere):

Fermentation Fest: You’ve gotta go!

Wednesday Webs: Coming Together (with artistry and deliberation)

The beauty of children's art

Dinner on the Farm!

Soil Sisters ad in Edible Madison Magazine, by Adunate Word & Design

Earlier this year I was honored to design promotional pieces for Soil Sisters, an event celebrating Wisconsin family farms and rural life. Well, here it is August and this past weekend was the big occasion. It was divine!

Dinner on the Farm, Inn Serendipity, Browntown, WISoil Sisters filled the weekend with five fun components from farm tours to hands-on workshops. My husband and I went to the Dinner on the Farm at Inn Serendipity, a B&B and 5-acre organic farm. You see a lot of these farm-to-table meals happening lately and I’d been wanting to try one. I wasn’t disappointed. It was a warm, old-fashioned gathering of people and food…

Dinner on the Farm, Inn Serendipity, Browntown, WI

…with tours of the farm and games for the kids…

Moo Grass Band  at Dinner on the Farm, Inn Serendipity, Browntown, WI…and fun-loving bluegrass music by the Moo Grass Band.

Solar-heated straw bale greenhouse at Inn Serendipity, Browntown, WI

Our fascinating hosts, John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist, describe their Inn Serendipity as an “incubator for land stewardship, ecologically-based design and living.” The inn is fully powered by renewable energy and what once was a grainery barn has now been renovated into this solar-heated straw bale greenhouse. John and Lisa use this building to germinate seedlings, dry garlic and store the many books they’ve authored.

Dinner on the Farm, Inn Serendipity, Browntown, WI

Monica Walch, left, talking with John and Lisa, coordinated the dinner. Monica founded her Dinner on the Farm business on the ideal of connecting “people back to the land and to the farmers and artisans who are making our communities a better place to live.”

I love this. We simply must support entrepreneurs dedicated to producing good, sustainable food!

Underground Food at Dinner on the Farm, Inn Serendipity, Browntown, WI

Speaking of dedicated entrepreneurs, look at the work and equipment that goes into preparing such a meal. Our chefs for the day were the Underground Food Collective, of Madison, often featured on public television’s Wisconsin Foodie.

Dinner on the Farm menu by Underground Food Collective, Madison, WI

Here was their menu.

Buffet by Underground Food Collective, Madison, WI

And here was their magnificent spread. Oh, it was so-o-o-o good!

Giardiniera by Underground Food Collective, Madison, WI

My favorite was this slow-pickled Giardiniera, with its hint of spicy pepper and heaps of flavorful vegetables. I took this picture knowing I’d never remember the name or yummy ingredients.

New Glarus Beer at Dinner on the Farm, Inn Serendipity, Browntown, WI

Top all of this off with a New Glarus Beer and our first dinner on the farm couldn’t have been any better.

Where’s that schedule of events—I want to do this again!