This past week my friend (and former roommate), Elise, has been back in the midwest. She is currently working on her PhD at LSU in animal science specializing in goats. She was back in the midwest to attend and present at the National Goat Expo in Illinois and to see her family. I wanted to see her while she was home so a plan was hatched to take me down to Kalona with her mother and to go to the small animal auction there.
Oddly enough, I went to a small animal auction and came away with a big box of assorted winter squashes and two bundles of beets. The beets have already been pickled and the squashes stored for winter eating. It’s probably a good thing that the auctioneer was so slow as there was a real possibility that I would have come home with an Angora rabbit or two:-)
Iowa has several disparate communities of both Amish and Mennonite spread throughout the state. One of these communities is around the Lamoni area where I have gone for produce auctions in the past. Another one is Kalona, which isn’t too far from Iowa City. Around Kalona there are a number of businesses that cater to both the local community as well as the tourist groups that visit to see the Amish of the area in their horse and buggies driving around.
At one of these, a grocery store, I found the best prices on both Clear Gel and Pectin that I have been able to find, including on the internet. I also picked-up two big cabbages to make sauerkraut from.
Elise’s folks have an overachieving pear tree in front of their house. This years crop of pears was so abundant that it was bending the tree to the breaking point.
Elise and I spent the afternoon picking pears from this poor tree. At one point Elise got stuck in the tree.
But most of the time it looked like this.
Elise’s neighbor grew an unexpected crop of pumpkins and I got to bring one home. It isn’t pretty, but it’s going to be going into jars, pumpkin butters, and pies so it doesn’t really need to be.
I bet it’s tasty though!