Opening soon! That’s what most fruit farmers were saying early last week when I checked the Prairie Fruit Growers Association website. By now, many will be open — unless we’ve had an unexpected turn of weather recently.
This year you may spot on pails, aprons or baskets a bright reminder of why you eagerly anticipate sampling the first Manitoba-grown berries local farmers grow.
“It’s the Taste” is the slogan growers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are beginning to adopt this year as part of a new fruit branding program in effect.
The slogan will be affixed to pails, signs, baskets, maybe even hats and vehicles as growers voluntarily sign on to the branding program. It was developed by the Canadian Prairie Fruit Federation and, much like the B.C. fruit branding program, it aims to remind us about the goodness of Prairie-grown fruit. Before launching the brand market research found the No. 1 reason most of us buy Prairie-grown fruit is because of its great freshness and flavour.
Meanwhile, the fresh new website of the Prairie Fruit Growers Association is now the go-to site for all the info you’re looking for on growers, types of berries they have and farm hours. The PFGA discontinued operating its manned Berry Hotline due to the website’s increasing popularity. We’ll be running more fruit recipes in future issues.
For all the fruit growers’ locations, info on farm hours and loads of recipes log on to www.pfga.com. Prairie Fruit Growers Association
Here’s three recipes sourced from the websites, or links on the websites of fruit growers in Manitoba, plus short snapshots of some of the growers found in eastern, central and western Manitoba.
Strawberry Amaretto Pastries
This recipe is found on the home page of Good Earth Gardens and Berries, a four-acre strawberry farm near Glenboro owned by John and Pam Griffin. This is the Griffins’ fourth harvest year and they hoped to have strawberries ready to pick this week. You can find the strawberry farm on Highway 2 near Glenboro, two km east of the junction of Highways 2 and 5.
- 1/2 pkg. frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed1/2 c. sliced almonds, divided2 tbsp. granulated sugar, divided1 orange1 c. sour cream1/2 c. icing sugar1/4 tsp. almond extract1-1/2 c. thawed, frozen whipped topping12 large strawberries, sliced
Cobbler Buckle Crumble
Riverbend Orchards Inc. is the new name for a familiar company in Portage la Prairie. In spring 2009, Philip and Karen Ronald purchased Linden’s B B Farm. The Ronalds and their five children hope to continue the tradition of providing locally grown fruit for consumers in the central plains region of Manitwoba. Riverbend Orchards grows saskatoons, raspberries, blackberries, sour cherries, apples, gooseberries, plums, rhubarb and blackberries. They’re also a licensed propagator of cherry and haskap plants. I found the following recipe from Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association on a link via the website of Riverbend Orchards (www.riverbendorchards.ca). It’s listed as a cobbler buckle crumble because it’s dessert with several different names. Warm, it is a pudding, and cooled, it is a cake. Either way, it’s delicious and served with ice cream it’s heavenly!
Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and beat. Add dry ingredients alternatively with milk. Mix well and pour into well-greased baking dish. It may be baked in a 9-inch square pan for a thick dessert or in a 9×12-inch pan for a thin dessert. Sprinkle saskatoons over batter. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter and spread evenly over berries. Bake in a 350 F oven for 40-45 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream. Makes 8 to 10 servings.Source: www.albertafarmfresh.com/recipes
Black Currant and Orange Coffee Cake
I have made this wonderful, moist and incredibly delicious cake several times and vouch for it as a perfect cake for a special occasion. Even if black currants aren’t a fruit you typically consume, you will love these berries after sampling this cake. This recipe comes from Stonelane Orchard, located just east of Steinbach and owned by Kim Shukla and Richard Whitehead. Stonelane Orchard specializes in Prairie-hardy trees and shrubs, gourmet vegetables (over 25 different types) and Prairie fruit such as raspberries, black currants, grapes and saskatoons. They also do landscape consultation and planning.
- 1 c. unsalted butter2 c. granulated sugar4 eggs2-3/4 c. all-purpose flour 1-1/2 tsps. baking powder1 tsp. cinnamon1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. salt1/4 tsp. ground cloves2 c. fresh black currants1 c. slivered almonds 1 tbsp. orange peel, coarsely grated1 c. sour cream
- Glaze:1/4 c. orange juice1/4 c. granulated sugar1 tbsp. orange liqueur (optional)
Grease a 9-inch tube pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 325 F. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and cloves. Stir in the black currants, almonds and orange peel. Stir into the batter in three parts, alternating with sour cream in two parts. Scrape batter into prepared pan, tapping pan lightly on the counter to release air bubbles. Bake for 1-1/2 hours or until the cake has come away from the sides of the pan and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto rack and set right side up.
Glaze: In a small saucepan, heat together juice and sugar until syrupy. Stir in liqueur if using. While cake is still warm, use a skewer to make about 25 holes about 2 inches (5 cm) deep in the top of the cake. Drizzle orange syrup over top of cake and let cool completely. Serve immediately or freeze. Serves: One large cake that can be cut into approximately 20 pieces.Source: www.stonelaneorchard.com
- 1/4 c. butter or margarine1/2 c. granulated sugar1 egg1 c. flour (1/2 whole wheat)3 tsp. baking powder1/2 tsp. salt1/3 c. milk3 c. saskatoons
- Topping:1/3 c. sugar1/2 c. flour1 tsp. cinnamon1/4 c. butter or margarine
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