It is the peak of local foods luxury in Minnesota. Everything is bursting forth... at last. The harvest is rolling in. Thanks to Izzi who offered up the bounties of her apricot trees in Clinton, I've been able put up apricot jam and apricot chutney using my own ad lib recipe which turned out great (apricots, dates, raisins, garam masala, sugar, and onions). Last night's dinner (below) was Wild Rice (MN lake harvested) hotdish with carrots and our own chicken. Accompanied by the fresh Koopman blueberries, sliced green peppers, and local red wine. A perfect meal for a cooler August evening.
Easy summertime meal... local wine, wild rice hotdish with our own chicken, carrots, and ground flour, and fresh sliced green peppers
And then I had the adventure of buying my first piece of farm equipment at the auction on a neighboring farm. It was the first ever auction at this farm that had been in the same family since this land was settled. Jiggs was a good man who cared for his farm until his dying days in his 90's. He made sure, even from the nursing home, that the buildings were painted and the lawn mowed. He'd fed the deer for many years and they still congregated at his farm waiting for him, even a couple years after he'd moved to the nursing home.
Chances are his parents were immigrants... making him a second generation American. There's what I think is the original house on the farmstead-- a small, tall, thin wooden house. It sits behind the more modern 1950's rambler where Jiggs and Marge lived out their lives.
So, at that auction, I had the thrill of holding up my white numbered card, surrounded by a crowd of a hundred and bid on my hearts desire. There was only one thing on the auction bill that I really wanted. If your a farmer, look at the picture below and see if you remember this piece of farm machinery.
I bought myself a Fanning Mill. Originally hand cranked, Jiggs or his dad rigged this one up with an electric motor and it still works. This is a beauty, with all the screens for the different crops. I wanted this for my wheat and edible beans. Right now, I wait until a windy day to separate the wheat from the chaff to grind it for flour. Likewise with my beans, I hand picked through them to get out the little clods of dirt and the dried bits of bean pods.
This mill was proudly made in Minneapolis and attention was paid to make it look beautiful.
Here's how it went... The auctioneer came over with his microphone and started calling for opening bids. When he got down to $25 I put up my card. He scanned the crowed yelling "25-30-25-30-25-30." Then he went 'whose gonna give me 30-35-30-35-35-35." Well, since he'd skipped 30, and the way he was gesturing, I thought someone had bid 30 and so I held up my card for $35. Then we kept going and the same thing with 40-45-40-45-45-45-45" So I raised my card again. At this point the auctioneer stopped the auction. As it turns out. I was the only bidder and had bid myself up from $25 to $45. So we started all over again, and much to the amusement of the hot, overall wearing crowd. "Oh come on!!" said the auctioneer "I just sold one of these last week for $140."
I got my Fanning Mill for $25.
Pretty darn proud of myself for scoring this lovely equipment for my local foods dreams and ventures. Thanks Jiggs for taking such good care of it for all these years. I'm lifting a glass to you tonight sir!