Rockgate Farm

  (Conway, Missouri)
A Small Slice of Heaven!
[ Member listing ]

It's Market Time Again!

It's the most wonderful time of the year......I've been singing that song for days.  It's Market time again!!!

The Marshfield Farmers' Market will celebrate its opening day on May 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm until 7:00 pm.  All the usual offenders will be present.  A Master Gardener will be available to answer questions.  All the goodies that you expect, will be available in abundance.

The Strafford Route 66 Market will celebrate its opening day on May 19, 2012 at 8:30 am until 12:00 pm.  Still lining up vendors, but we will have a bunch of goodies, and a Master Gardener will be available to answer questions.

Anyone interested in participating in either Market, give me a holler.  I'll be happy to point you in the right direction.



As the 2011 County Fair Draws to a Close.....

Well,   I WON! I WON! I WON!!!

  Another County Fair has drawn to a close.  The day to pick up my entries, ribbons and premiums....if I have any, and lick my wounds and mutter a few chosen words under my breath if I haven't.

  I wasn't going to enter this year.  It was/is so hot, and I was so tired.  I just didn't want to exert the effort for just a few winks and nods.  Not a whole lot of money in the county fairs, just braggin rights.  But, at the last minute, I had a change of heart.  If I don't enter, people will think that I really am dead...That rumor circulated a few years back.  Surprised a few people when they found out that I was alive and well.....Just looked kinda sick at the time.

  So, I boxed up a few pickles and jellies (20 to be exact), picked some green beans, banana peppers and zucchini to enter into the crop section...and headed down to the fair grounds.  That was Wednesday last.   Didn't give it another thought until just a couple of hours ago.  My mother reminded me that I needed to pick up my entries between 1:00 and 4:00.  So off I went.

  Needless to say, I was VERY surprised.  I'm pretty used to winning with my jams and jellies, but with my crops?!  Took best in show with my banana peppers.  First place with my green beans, and second with my zucchini.  I am so floored!!  I guess those Master Gardener classes paid off after all. 

  My winnings this year:  12 first places, 7 second places, 2 third places, and (1) Best in Show.  $57.00 in show premiums.  That's a nice dinner out to celebrate!  The irony:  The local Farmer's Market Sponsored the premium for Best in Show in the Crops division.  I'm a member of that market.  Do you think people will think that it was rigged?


So, let the games begin!

So, it finally happened.....The Government drew a line in the sand  that I just wouldn't/couldn't cross.   Just one more hit to the small farmer/producer. 

In my misguided attempt to "do it right", I made it past the county and the state requirements.  I attended their Process Control School.  I got myself certified every which way....I cooked in a commercially inspected kitchen, but it just wasn't enough.

NOW, I need to be registered with Homeland Security....I could actually be a potential bio terrrorist.  Lord knows how many people I could do in with my Salsa and  I realize that I could be considered a Serial Pickler, but this is down right ridiculous. 

Once I break down and register with Homeland Security...we begin the actual process control.  Each one of my products, in each size jar is considered a process.  Each process must be submitted to an independant Process Authority to be tested and approved.  That cost can range anywhere from $250-$500 per process.  I estimated that it would cost me somewhere in the $40,000.00 range to get all my processes approved.....That's a lot of pickles!!

And, should any of my ingredients change....such as the variety of tomatoes in my Salsa, it's a new process.  Sweet, huh?

So, bottom is no longer legal for me to SELL salsa, pickles or relish.  Can't afford the process costs.  So, I've closed my listings. 

Now, you dairy people out there who complain because you can only sell raw milk from the farm...take notice...I don't even have that option.  I cannot sell acidified foods at all.  I am completely shut down.  FEDERAL.  My Grandmothers would be mortified.

Home processing is now becoming a thing of the past.  Unless your name is Libby, Del Monte, or are  most likely not producing legally.  Anything promoted as  Amish actually produced in a factory.  Where I come from, Amish don't work in factories.  Home made pickles are only for personnal consumption.  Those Hot Pickled Eggs that I've made so popular...are no longer available....unless you have something to trade:)

Hey, let's bring barter back on a large scale!!

But then again, they would probably figure out a way to regulate that also :(


"Braggin Rights"

It's all about the braggin rights!

  So, I live in a small rural community where everyone has known everyone for generations.  I'm kind of a throw back, since I wasn't born and raised here.  I returned to the area voluntarily.....what was I thinkin :) 

  As you might well imagine, there's really not much goin the County Fair is a big deal.  We womenes cook for weeks to get ready for the canning competition....We all know each other, and we've sized each other up, for years.  A lot of rivalry.

  I compete with around 7 very competent cooks from five surrounding towns.  We all have our specialties...mine being the jellies.  But, my ambition, was get my pickles and relishes "on the board".  Well, after about 6 years of fighting the good fight, I finally scored big.  Three first places on my relishes, and second place on my dills.  That's HUGE!!!

  Relishes, OK....gotten ribbons over the years, but the blue has gotten past me repeatedly.  This em!  Admittedly, my dills "suck".  Always mushy, and tooooo bitey.  This year, I finally made a pickle worthy of my label!  Through all of the oooohs and ahhhhhs of amazement, I emerged from battle with the ever elusive red ribbon!!  Just a blushing blue! 

  I know, I's such a small thing.  But, in a small county, where everyone knows everyone, now everyone knows who rules!

  Like I said:                It's all about the Braggin Rights! :)

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