Zina's Produce

  (Williamsburg, Virginia)
A Country Affair Farm
[ Member listing ]

County Fair, funnel cakes, kettle corn,pickles, blue ribbons...

Our County Fair is fast approaching! My son and I love to enter things in the fair, always hoping for a blue ribbon! He sells Justin's Ranger Cookies at our market and he always tells a joke when you buy a cookie. “Why did the cookie go to the doctor” ? "Because he felt crummy”. He has won a blue ribbon for his cookies, but the customers love his jokes! He is quite the entrepreneur. He is going to sell fish bait (worms) for the campers who come to our produce market. He already sells them  fire wood . He is as excited as I am about the Fair, we talk about it all the time. What jams and pickles should mom bring. What should we bake? But there are times when we can't wait to eat funnel cakes , kettle corn, corn dogs,fried Oreos ,let me stop! I have included a few  recipes for you to make at home. You don’t have to have a big fancy kettle to make kettle corn . It’s fun and easy. Moms Dill pickles are always a treat, the best I have ever had. And a simple funnel cake recipe. Enjoy! See you at the Fair!

               Easy Kettle Corn Recipe

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt

*Special Equipment – A large pot with lid

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add popcorn and sugar giving it a quick stir and then cover with lid.  Once popcorn starts popping, pick it up and give it a quick shake every few seconds until popping slows down, between 3-4 minutes.  Remove immediately from heat and pour into a large bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.  Do not make the mistake of removing the pot from heat without transferring to a bowl. Due to the high heat of the pot, if you don’t transfer the popcorn it will caramelize and perhaps burn


                   Keuchels (German Funnel Cake)

Keuchels (KEE-kulls) are wonderful things! They are puffy, round pieces of fried dough which are thick and chewy around the edges and thin and crunchy in the middle. A proper keuchel should be about the size of a luncheon plate and be a lovely, golden brown color. This is an old German recipe, similar to a funnel cake!

Mix well:

 1 qt. milk

1 c. sugar

1 stick margarine or butter

Dissolve a yeast cake in ½ c. warm water.

Knead together 8 c. flour and 6 eggs. Add the yeast and the milk mixture. Knead well. Cover and let raise.

Pinch off pieces by the handful and shape into round, flat shapes that are thicker toward the edge and flat toward the middle. Drop into a fryer of hot oil and fry until golden and floating. Drain well and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Eating them warm with jam or fresh fruit on top is a real treat.

Mom’s Best Dill Pickles
They are the very best pickles she has ever tasted or made.
Boil together:
3 quarts water
1 quart vinegar
½ cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp alum
Pack 20 to 24 small cucumbers into glass jars. Add 2 cloves of garlic and a head of dill to each jar. Pour the hot brine to fill the jars. Seal and process.


Tomato Marmalade


This is excellent with any meat. If you mix equal parts of this and hearty mustard it makes a great glaze for roasts.


Peel 3 oranges and 2 lemons. Cut the peelings into very fine slivers. Combine with 2 cups water and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain.


Remove all pulp from the fruit and add it to the peelings. Blanch and peel 5 ½ pounds of tomatoes and slice.


Combine all ingredients in a kettle and mix lightly. Add a spice bag containing 5 cinnamon sticks and 1 tbsp. cloves. Add 6 cups sugar and 1 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until thick and clear. Ladle into sterile jars and seal. Process 15 minutes.


Green Tomato Relish
This recipe is a great way to use up green tomatoes when the season is coming to an end.
Clean and cut into manageable pieces 5 pounds of green tomatoes. Pack them into sterile jars and to each jar add 1 clove of garlic, a few slices of onion, 1 whole clove and 3-4 dill heads. Place in a large pan:
1 quart of vinegar
1 quart of water
1/3 cup salt
sugar as desired
Simmer for five minutes then pour into the jars over the tomatoes. Seal and process for 20 minutes. These are really delicious!!!


"Local Loofas"


I am always about looking for something that is special or amazes people as they shop at our market. Sometimes these things find me!  A good friend and farmer showed up one day with burlap sack full of Loofas. All different shapes and sizes. Bartering is something that we do here at Zina's Produce. I’ve bartered watermelons for peaches, cucumbers for chicken manure, and now I am bartering for Loofas. I never even knew they grew on vines! I guess I never gave it much thought. I thought they came from the ocean as did most of my customers. I made a sign that read "Local Loofas", and they flew out the door. People were just as amazed as I, to find out that they grew right here in town.  We even left seeds in some so they could grow their own. I was even more blown away by the fact that they are edible when harvested very young, 2 to 3" long .Looks allot like a giant cucumber. The vine grows best in full sun with a fair amount of water and something to grow on .It can grow a big as 30 ft. and has the most beautiful yellow flowers 2-3 inches, and green fruit that grow up to 24 inches in length. Being a soap maker I love to pour my soap into a loofa (while in a loaf pan) letting it fill the whole thing up and when hardens, I slice it! If I use orange or lime  colored glycerine soap , it looks just like a citrus slice! It is a great project for kids, making gifts that are local and organic is all the rage right now. A little glue on a dowel (that they have stained) inserted into a loofa and bingo, instant gift.  I am always amazed at the wonders of Gods nature and my farmers! Thanks Anne.



Early to Rise" Strawberries and Rhubarb"

Soon strawberries and Rhubarb will be center stage! I can’t wait until I taste the first local strawberry. Failing a backyard bed or pick- your-own farm, try to find local strawberries! In season these babies are best when eaten right out of the patch sweet and still warm from the sun. Strawberry varieties grown for mass production and transportation, fail in comparison to local berries. Make sure when you visit a farm, market or pick your own. To buy berries that are scarlet, shiny, plump and fragrant. Store the berries in the fridge in well ventilated baskets so they can breathe. Wash them just before eating and remove the hull and stems AFTER you wash them. Remember a fresh local berry is worth the wait. Eating and cooking seasonal is close to our hearts here at our farm. My husband and I have always taken our children out strawberry picking. And although we own a produce market, things haven’t changed. We still pick berries together and make jam. Remember the intensity and scent is what makes a fresh berry remain unsurpassed. The aroma of strawberries and spring onions as I make my daily pickup is incredible! It lets me know, Spring has Sprung!

Strawberries are a natural complement to Rhubarb, which come into season at the same time. Coming from stores Rhubarb has been stripped of its leaves, which are toxic, containing oxalic acid. Never eat the leaves! Rhubarb season here in Va. Is April-May. Refrigerate them as soon as possible. To cook cut the stalks across into ½ “ -1 “ pieces. You can stew or bake them with plenty of sugar as they are tart. Hot house varieties are sweeter compared to home grown, so adjust sugar accordingly. Rhubarb cooks quickly, so cook it no longer than necessary. Stringing it is not necessary  but some prefer . It is a natural laxative. Some call a spring tonic. I love strawberry rhubarb pie and jam. Recently I discovered how good a rhubarb sauce goes with pork or lamb. The tartness offsets the meats richness, much like apples and pork. (Yum) And the best part is Rhubarb is a perennial,coming back year after year!

One day while making jam, it just would not jell. So I changed my labels and made Zina’s Strawberry Topper. It is great topped on anything…pancakes, waffles, yogurt, cake… It quickly became one of my better sellers. Then my husband bought me an ice-cream maker! Zina’s topper  became my year round supply of strawberry ice-cream, any time you want it! It has less sugar than strawberry jam (hence the reason it didn’t jell) I use this recipe for all seasonal berries blueberries ,raspberries, blackberries… Here is the recipe for Zina’s Strawberry Topper and ice cream. Enjoy!

Strawberry Ice-cream

This ice cream is delicious adding fresh local strawberries or Zina’s Strawberry Topper: Recipe as follows.

1 ½ pint of Zina’s Strawberry topper

½ cold milk

2 ¾ cup of heavy cream

11/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

In a medium bowl combine the milk and sugar, mix with mixer until sugar is dissolved. About two min. Stir in heavy cream, vanilla, and strawberry topper. Pour mixture into the freezer bowl, turn on maker and let it mix for 25 min. If more berries are wanted add during last 5 min. Enjoy!

                                       Zina’s Strawberry Topper


Use the best local strawberries you can find. Can be used as a jam, but runnier than your traditional jam. You can substitute any berry in season. 

6 cups of fresh berries 

Juice of 1 lemon 

4 cups of sugar

Combine the berries and lemon in a heavy pot. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until juice runs from berries and they float. Add sugar, stir until dissolved, bring liquids to a boil. Cook until the topping reaches setting point.220 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 15 min. stirring as it boils to avoid scorching. Skim off foam, adding a tsp. of butter will help this, spoon clean ½ pint jars. Hot water bathe for 10 min. Store in cool, dry cupboard.

Makes about 6 half-pint jars 

                                       Rhubarb Coffee Cake

This coffee cake has a nice balance between the sweet of the topping and the tart of the fruit. Great with coffee for a real morning treat!

1 1/4 c. of milk

1 T. vinegar

2 1/4 c flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp.salt

8 T. butter (1 stick at room temp.)

1 1/4 c. brown sugar

1 large egg

2 c. of rhubarb 1/2 " thick


1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. old fashioned rolled oats

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Bake 350 

Butter and flour 9x13 pan. Tapping out excess flour.Combine the milk and vinegar and let stand until curdles (5 min). Mix the flour baking soda ,salt together. Cream the butter,brown sugar together in med. bowl until fluffy about 3 min. Beat in the egg. Combine flour mixture ,sour milk, and creamed butter and sugar. Do not over mix! Mix just until ingredients are moist. Fold in rhubarb, spread in pan. Mix topping : Brown sugar, oats, and butter. Spread evenly over batter, mash down a bit with the back of a spoon. Bake until a tooth pick comes out clean.35 min. Cool in the pan on a rack.Enjoy! 


               Easy Balsamic Strawberry Jam Recipe


2 cups of chopped strawberries  

1 cup of sugar

2 Tbl. of balsamic vinegar


Cook strawberries, sugar, and balsamic vinegar in a medium pan on med heat for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally. I usually eye-ball the thickness of the sauce to determine when it is done. When the jam mixture has reduced to the consistency of thick honey or 220 degrees F. remove from heat and allow to cool. Enjoy!


Eggs Eggs Glorious Eggs!!!


Eggs, Eggs glorious Eggs!! If you haven’t had a fresh, local farm egg. You need to do so soon. They are coming in by the dozens (no pun intended), this time of year. The taste alone is worth buying a doz.  from your local farm.  Here are a few amazing facts I like to share with my customers.

*For every one egg you eat from a pastured (farm) hen, you would also have to eat three factory eggs to get the same amount of vitamin E and five for as much vitamin D. All the while, each additional conventional (factory) egg you eat will be giving you one third more cholesterol.

To get the amount of beta-carotene present in one pastured egg, for instance, you would have to eat seven from a factory farm*, according to the 2007 Mother Earth News egg testing project.

They are an ideal form of protein.

They provide a higher combined level of the nine essential amino acids than anything else we eat!

All of this is very important for our health, but the most outstanding quality is the luscious taste. The versatility is endless… meringues, custards, omelettes, mayo….

The culinary feats are endless. All the while encased in its own natural container. 

We were so blessed this year to have our chickens laying all Winter. Finally.. We realised we need to replace the flock each year. (One year they moulted for nearly 5 months)I don’t know about you, but feeding chickens in the cold, for five months with NO EGGS is not my thing. All ready for laying in the Fall, we have our new baby chicks!

I also learned somewhat late if you want a Momma Hen. Buy a Bantam! They will hatch anything. We have such a hen at our farm now. She supplies us and our visitors, with many hours of enjoyment. She is the best mom, teaching them to roost, dig for bugs, dust bathe.. All the while planning her next clutch of babies. To do it all over again. Hence the Name Momma Hen! I waited three years for my Rhode Island Reds to sit. One of our famers shared this titbit of info. Since then it’s been Eggs, Eggs, Glorious Eggs! What to do with all of those eggs! Here is a recipe for all of your eggs, whether you’re own, or a local farm.

              Pickled Eggs

  • 1 (15 ounce) can beets  
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced 
  • 12 hard cooked eggs, shelled and left whole
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vinegar

1.      Drain liquid from the beets into saucepan. Place beets, onions, and eggs into a large bowl or pitcher.

2.     Pour sugar and vinegar into the saucepan with the beet liquid and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and let the mixture simmer 15 minutes. 

3.     Pour the beet juice mixture over the beets, eggs, and onions. Seal the bowl or pitcher and refrigerate. Refrigerate for at least one to 3 days; the longer they are allowed to sit the better they will taste.



Home Made Laundry Soap!




The weather has been gorgeous this week.  It has got me thinking about hanging clothes on the clothes line! I love the process of hanging clothes out. The smell and the satisfaction of knowing you are being greener.  Last year I started making our Laundry Detergent, both liquid and powder. Cost is .7 cents per load! It is nice to save money, but I want laundry clean and stains gone. I had to see for myself if it was actually worth it. I have 6 children and 4 grand children, and we live on a farm. So I know a little about stains!  Most people are in the mind set that if it there is not allot of suds, then it isn’t clean. Not true, it is actually  cleaner. This is a great soap for High Efficiency Washers too!  All of the ingredients are made in the USA, Yeah! Also are safe for your family and our environment. I also love the smell... there are many recipes you could try. But I have already done the trial and era process for you. I tried less water (for concentration) more water to see if I could stretch the dollar more. Anyway I like this recipe the most and I think you will too! I bought all I needed for this soap at Ace Hardware. If you can’t find what you need request that your local store carry it.( Hint: share the recipe maybe it will speed things up!) I was so excited to get ready to make mine, I could hardly wait! Some recipes call for Dove soap, Tote, and my favourite Fels-Naptha!  It smell soooo clean, I sometimes add essential oil to the wash. If we are picking berries, or working in the garden, riding horses, then I might add citronella oil. This help ward off insects and, chiggers hate it. Otherwise I just love the smell of the Fels-Naptha. It is a great idea to keep a bar handy in the laundry room for stubborn satins. Just rub on stain and throw in the wash or laundry basket. Another green alternative for softening clothes is vinegar in the rinse cycle. The smell does rinse out.  For all of you soapers out there, you can grate your own soap to replace commercial bar soaps. Castile soaps are a great choice! Remember the finer the cheese grater the smaller the soap particles. This is good for the liquid because the time for the soap to melt takes less time ( you do not want clumps, be sure to dissolve all the way.)




I triple this recipe due to large family! It is hard to get use to the small amount you use, but commercial laundry soaps are full of fillers.


1 c grated laundry soap bar (which is about 2/3 of a bar)  Fels-Naptha
1/2 c washing soda ( pure baking soda, not the one you bake with,
1/2 c borax

Grate the soap with a cheese grater or food processor. Add all ingredients into a bowl that has an airtight lid. Stir or shake to mix well. Store the air tight container. Use 2 Tablespoons per load.


Now you have 2 choices, either liquid or powder detergent.  Powder is simpler, both are good.


 Liquid Detergent


  • Borax  


  • Washing Soda(Related to Baking soda, and can be found in most laundry detergent sections of the grocery store.  Washing Soda does not give off harmful fumes, but you must wear gloves while handling it.)  


  • Fels-Naptha 




1 quart water (boiling)
2 cups bar soap (grated)
2 cups borax
2 cups washing soda


1. Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until soap is melted.


2. Pour the soap water into a large, clean pail and add the borax and washing soda. Stir well until all is dissolved.


3. Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed.


4. Cover pail and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Once it’s cool, add 5 - 7 drops of your favourite essential oil per gallon (optional) Stir the soap each time you use it (it will gel).



Oatmeal Cake Recipe!

This is one of those recipes you don't want to miss out on! It is soo moist and decadent and is is always a hit. Making the day before is even better. After some research, I found that the ingredients or amounts seldom vary . Which tells me it is perfect just the way it is.When you combine perfect with simplicity, you can't lose. It has just the right amount of spice. With a wonderful coconut, pecan frosting you spread on while the cake is still hot. Placing it back in the oven to toast the coconut a bit! I love it! One of my C.S.A share holders said "Oatmeal cake was the requested cake by her father for his birthday every year". I figured it was worth looking in too. It has diffidently won a spot in my next cook book. Thank you, Tiffini Goesel!

Oatmeal Cake Recipe

1 1/4 cup boiling water, Add one cup quick oats, mix and let stand awhile, then add one cup of brown sugar ( with water and oats). In a separate bowl. Cream together 1 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup of shortening (or butter) and 2 eggs. Sift 1 1/3 cup of flour,1 tsp. Baking powder,1/2 tsp. salt,1/2 tsp.cinamon,1tsp. of vanilla. Add all ingredients together, being careful not to over mix. This causes the cake to be tuff. Pour into a 9 by 13” greased and flowered, pan and bake for 40 min.If you decide to go with two 9" cake pans bake only 25 min. No need to broil the icing ,but do pour in on when cake is hot. Bake until an inserted tooth pick comes out clean.

Topping for cake:
1 stick butter,1 cup brown sugar,1 cup coconut, 1 cup of nuts( I like pecan) , 5 oz. of evaporated milk( not sweetened condensed) 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Heat on top of the stove the above ingredients, until butter has melted. When cake is done pour topping over cake and place back in the oven until it bubbles around the edges.You can serve it warm with ice cream or cool. It is great the following day as well. Seems to get better with time. Great for entertaining. Travels well for church events ,picnics, pot luck, every one will request this classic.

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