Muirhead Canning is featured in Capital Press “The West’s Ag Website” with a great article. Some of the highlights from the article:
Russell Loughmiller has seen first-hand how the food processing industry has changed over the years. He’s changing with it.
But Loughmiller, 42, who has been canning peaches, cherries and pears for 11 years, has noticed a steady decline in consumers’ desire for canned goods.
“That affects me directly. I go into grocery stores and see that canned fruit is shrinking,” he said. “I feel like some of it is generational, and some of it is the availability of fresh fruit year-round.”
Loughmiller bought the cannery in 2006, and employs 25 people.
“Local” is also a factor among many consumers. A 2016 study by Duff and Phelps, global corporate financial adviser, found that 53 percent of consumers seek out locally grown or processed food.
Muirhead Canning caters to that niche — offering local fruit packed with only fruit, water and sugar.
“Even as (consumers) eat more fresh fruit or get away from canned fruit, there are more opportunities for us as a smaller player to say that this is a local product and local fruit that can be consumed in the winter without being shipped across the country,” Loughmiller said. “There are opportunities there for us.”
The competition from private labels isn’t there for Muirhead Canning Co. Loughmiller, the owner, said he doesn’t compete with store brands, but rather with home canning. Even though his price is higher than store brands, he says the difference in fruit quality is enough that it hasn’t impacted his business.
“Private orders keep the company going. When competing in stores the consumers find the price more important,” he said.
It’s getting cooler now (especially in the mornings) and some of us have even seen a good heavy frost a couple days in a row now. Our phones have been ringing off the hook with one burning question: Can we come up early and get our fruit?
Yes, you certainly may provided you’re ok with a potential lack of labels. We have all the fruit in cans & jars! There is a stamp on the top of the can indicating what’s inside, but there may not be labels on them until after November 1.
No appointment necessary; just come on up!
Just in case you’ve forgotten how to get here, here’s a printable map… Click it so you can print it more clear.
Hurray! Summer is here! Summer is here! We’re transitioning into our summer hours next week, so the hours are a bit on the wonky side. Please bear with us… Here’s an overview of the week:
May 30: Closed for Memorial Day
May 31: 9-4
June 1: 8-5
June 2: 8-5
June 3: 8-5
June 4: 9-4 <–Saturday!
So, we’ll be around Monday through Saturday until Christmas time to help you get your fruit this year.
Oh! Don’t forget!
If you have cherry, pear, peach, apricot, or Italian plum trees that are bearing fruit but you don’t want to can them this year, just bring them in while we’re canning that particular fruit and we’ll do it for you. The cost is minimal and there’s even more benefits for you:
NO MESS to clean up.
No working in a hot kitchen processing your fruit over a hot oven in a water bath.
We offer custom canning in two sizes: 15oz and 28oz.
It’s pretty easy to make up your own labels and have them printed at Staples, then just glue them on!
You get bragging rights that it’s YOUR fruit in those cans.
Today, I started organizing all the recipes we’ve collected over the last few years. I put them all into Google Docs, so they’re easy to find and you should be able to search them, even! Currently, it’s just pears, but I’ll get around to those other fruits soon. If you use Gmail, you can even add the folder to your own Drive so you don’t need to have the link each time you want to take a look at them!
The bad news: We’re not going to can any more fruit with Splenda sweetener.
The good news: We still have a little bit left from last year. There’s still cans of all of our different kinds of fruit (except cherries – nothing is available in cherries in Splenda). We’ve got a total of about 100 cases and they’re going fast at the special price of just $35/case of 12 28oz cans!
Give us a jingle to let us know if you need to put your name on any of them! 541.298.1660 Talk soon!
Spring Cleaning is still happening around my kitchen these days; it takes a long time to clear out to cook and bake things! A half dozen cans can represent an entire day’s worth of cooking/baking, I’ve recently discovered. So, with three whole boxes of them, I’m looking at least another couple weeks of “Spring Cleaning” after the fashion my Mom always does it.
I also discovered that the freezer is my BEST FRIEND. Mom’s freezer was constantly full of baked goods, casseroles, alongside the fruit and veggies from the garden. It’s a case of Mom really does know best and I was a fool for not listening more carefully. It was just shuffling food from one place to another (sometimes in the same form, sometimes in different forms) when I was a kid. It was a chore and I hated it; vowing never to do it as an adult.
Here I am.
Baking casseroles, breads, and cookies for the summer events so all I have to do is pull it out of the freezer, let it thaw in the refrigerator and bring it along to the myriad potlucks and family gatherings I know are coming, even if no one has yet planned them. Graduations, house warmings, reunions, Fourth of July, trips to the Oregon Coast, Faerie Worlds… It’s all coming my way regardless that the calendar currently says nothing is happening. I know in my heart that calendars lie. They’re only there to taunt you into believing you have a series of weekends all to yourself.
This year, however, I may have a few more of those weekends – in a COOL house, no less – than I had last year because *I* will be prepared and everything I’ll need to bake will already be done and in the freezer. Smart, huh?
Mom is so smart. I just didn’t give her enough credit. All she got was eyeball rolls and faces behind her back. Well. No more! She’s got my complete respect and, most likely, I’ll be getting the eyeball rolls behind my back from my niece and nephew as I do the same things with my canned goods and freezer space.
The joke was on me all along.
Sour Cream & Pear Muffins
1/4 c real butter
1/3 c sugar
2 large eggs
2 tspn vanilla
1/2 c sour cream
4 Hood-Crest pear halves, canned in light syrup
1 3/4 c flour
3/4 tspn baking powder
3/4 tspn baking soda
1/4 tspn salt
1 tspn cinnamon
1 tspn ginger
4 Hood-Crest pear halves, canned in light syrup, chopped coarsly
Preheat oven to 350*.
In bowl, mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla together well.
In separate bowl, stir flour, powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger together. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing just until blended.
Fold in chopped pears.
Spray muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray or butter, pour mixture into muffin tins, filing 2/3 full.
Bake 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool on rack.
Continuing our Spring Cleaning project, Mom decided to make up some pear bread pudding now, when it’s cooler, and add it to the freezer for a lovely treat in the summer months without needing to make the house hot from baking. Sometimes, she uses a Sharpie marker to label the contents of her freezer bags and sometimes she uses labels. Personally, I’m a Sharpie user. Occasionally, it smudges, but you can still make out what it says. But when the labels freeze right off the bag, you end up with a guessing game as to what you’re taking out to thaw.
It’s always fun to get a sweet when you’re expecting to serve dinner! It’s a favorite memory among myself and two brothers to have desert for dinner and vice versa. Personally, I do it on purpose as an adult because it brings back the childish delight of having everything backwards.
Pear Bread Pudding
2 Tbsp butter
6 large eggs
1 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
zest from a lemon, grated
1 c milk
1 c heavy whipping cream
4 c day old bread, cubed
1 1/2 c Hood-Crest Pears, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/3 c toasted sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350*.
Coat baking dish with butter and set aside.
Wisk eggs in a bowl. Add all but 2 Tbsp of the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon zest. Wisk in milk and heavy cream.
Place bread cubes and pears into the baking dish, then pour liquid mixture over the top of it. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 Tbsp sugar and the almond slices.
Bake until pudding is set and puffy, about 45 minutes. Let cool on a rack for a full 15 minutes.
If you’re planning to keep this for the summer, cut into serving sized pieces, wrap in syran and place all of it into a freezer bag, labeled with the contents and the date made. Place flat in freezer and wait for summer!
If you just want to enjoy it now, you can serve either warm or at room temperature. Add a dollop of whipped cream for a special treat!
Traditional spring cleaning has gone the way of cursive writing, it seems. As we rediscovered how wonderful canning really is through this past winter, with lovely tastes of summer and early autumn from 2015, it’s time to take a second look at the Spring Cleaning rituals and apply them to our cupboards and pantries.
“I feel a little foolish for not reasoning that out on my own.”
Mom always turns the cans and jars from the previous year upside down. I never really understood why, but we had a conversation about that just last night, because I wondered what the reasoning was (finally, at age 44). She was happy to share with me that there were some valid reasons for it:
Anything left upside down when you first start the Spring Cleaning ritual is clearly “marked” as older and the cook/baker of the family knows immediately that it needs to be used before any of the cans or jars with labels and lids still upright.
Veggies and fruits are often in water or syrups. During the canning process, some of the contents aren’t covered all the way. Turning the can/jar over gives those items a chance to soak up the juices again.
During the Spring Cleaning process, Mom pulls out the products that are upside down and designs the menus around what needs to be used up first. She does this with the refrigerator and freezer items, too, but it’s not quite as obvious to the people who just choose to stay out of the way of the Cook. First in, first out.
The necessity of using up the older stock reminds you of great dishes you bought those canned goods for in the first place, like whipped cream on your apricots or peaches. Yummmmy. Or you could just open a can and eat those delights with a little cottage cheese for breakfast.
You take stock of what you have, how old it is, and pushes you to use up the older products to make way for your 2016 order!
Mom had great reasons for what I always viewed as peculiar “busy work” she always did in the spring.
I get it now.
I feel a little foolish for not reasoning that out on my own.
Hurray! We just learned that we’ll be picking up more maple sap from Wisconsin and should have more Maple Syrup in stock around the first part of June. We hope your stock holds out until then!
Advantages of Real Maple Syrup (read full article) Real maple syrup comes from sugar found in sugar maple trees. The University of Maine notes that American Indians were likely the first to make maple syrup by tapping the sugar maple tree to release the sticky sap from its core. The sap is then boiled to release moisture and concentrate the sugar. As a result, pure maple syrup contains no added or artificial ingredients and is an all-natural food.
We just got confirmation from Maryhill Orchards that we’ll be getting our apricots from them this year, as we did last year. Hurray! Russell is out working on the truck so we can take bins up to them to fill up. It looks more and more like apricots will be first to the cannery! We should start actually canning about mid next week. Of course, everything is still up in the air a bit and, until the fruit actually arrives, we won’t be certain of the true start date.
Tree-ripened fruit really has us at Ma Nature’s beck and call! She says jump and we scramble around to ask how high. ::grins::
But once we start canning, we should be crazy busy through the end of the year. If you’d like to tour the cannery and see how our delicious fruit gets into those cans, give us a jingle so we can make sure you arrive when we are canning. It would be absolutely lovely for you to visit! 541.298.1660
You could also bring up your own fruit for us to can for you this year so you get to stay out of the kitchen.
We’ve just created a *rough* guestimate of when we’ll be canning the different kinds of fruits. It’s a lose guide, but no more, to keep yourself on schedule to get your fruit in to us so we can preserve them for you the same way we’re preserving our own Hood-Crest fruit.
July 1: Apricots
July 7: Cherries
August 1 through (maybe) early September: Peaches
August 25: Fruit Spreads (bring in your clean berries!)
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