Local Meads

A local meadery, Haymaker Meadery, decided to run a fun competition among local beekeepers across three counties.  The idea was that beekeepers from Philadelphia, Chester, and Montgomery counties in Pennsylvania would bring in honey from their beehives which would then be turned into three separate meads using only honey from each individual county.  They collected the honey in August 2017 and in February 2018, the meads were finished, bottled, and ready to be tasted and judged.

Since I make mead at home as well, I was pretty psyched to be a part of this and rustled up two jars of honey to participate.  Each 2.5 lbs of honey is returned to the beekeeper in the form of a bottle of mead which is a pretty great trade!  Plus, participants also received a discount on purchases during the judging day.

The honey in the photo above is late Summer honey from my hives, so it’s darker than its earlier Spring counterpart.  As part of Chester County’s mead, the final product was indeed the darker of the three meads, so I have to imagine I wasn’t the only one bringing in fresh, late summer honey that was probably mostly clover-based.  After judging, the winner was declared to be Montgomery County’s mead, a lighter mead reminiscent of a Riesling with a touch of lemon and floral notes.  I’ll hand it to Montgomery County bees and beeks – they really put together some lovely honey to create a great mead.  I mean, they’re all good, and I was hard-pressed to pick a favorite since they all have their merits, but it was neat to see that even a matter of 10 or 20 miles could create honeys so different and as a result, meads that were so different.  Haymaker Meadery is looking to start another round of county-specific meads this year on Mead Day in August of 2018, so beekeepers, be sure to set aside some honey to participate this year!  It’s exciting to see your honey made into a professional mead, and getting to chat with other area beekeepers while sipping on delicious meads at judging day is a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  There may still be bottles of these three available at Haymaker, so I’d definitely suggest visiting the shop and trying some truly local flavor!

One Local Summer 2015 – Week 10b

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Still another catchup post, but I think as of next week I’ll be back on track.  This week, even though the husband was home, I contributed a good bit!  We have a basil plant that’s gone wild and before it bolted, I thought I’d gather up the basil and put it to good use as basil pasta and pesto.  I blenderized the basil with some whey leftover from a batch of cheese the husband made earlier that week, olive oil, and a small amount of non-local pine nuts, then combined that mixture with flour to make the pasta (1 cup flour to 1/4 cup liquid).  The meatballs were part veal, part pork with onions, chives, basil, and some salt and pepper, baked in the oven.  Then grilled zucchini and a cucumber salad finish the meal along with a glass of mead (technically a pyment) from the Sap House Meadery in New Hampshire.  Okay, that’s not entirely local, but it did follow us home from vacation and didn’t take a special trip to get here, so I’ll allow it!

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For something special this dinner, we made dessert with leftover milk from the waffles last meal, honey, and raspberries from the bush in the yard.  Paired it with a raspberry mead from Moonlight Meadery (another followed-us-home mead from New Hampshire).  It was the perfect end to a lovely evening!

Ingredients:
Zucchini – Clover Hill Farm
Basil – My Garden
Cheese – Birchrun Hills, Equinox
Ground Veal – Birchrun Hills
Ground Pork – Countrytime Farm
Cucumbers – Clover Hill Farm
Onion – Clover Hill Farm
Flour – Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, Mill at Anselma
Milk – Camphill Kimberton
Honey – Baues’ Busy Bees
Raspberries – Our Yard
Raspberry Mead – Moonlight Meadery
Pyment – Sap House Meadery
Non Local – Pine nuts, salt, pepper, olive oil, homemade vinegar

One Local Summer 2014 – Meal 16

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Oh yes, it’s crock pot season!  The husband is a master of the crock pot and always manages to work up meals that blend perfectly together in that steamy cauldron of good cooking.  It’s funny, crock pot meals never tend to look all that appealing, but you can be sure my mouth was watering for the last two hours of cooking because the whole house smelled amazing!  Starting with a base of apple cider from our local orchard, husband added a Pork Loin Roast to the pot and topped that with cabbage, apples, onions, a little maple syrup, salt and pepper, and a little dried mustard powder.  Such easy prep for such amazing results.  By the end of the six hours, the pork had become incredibly tender, the cabbage simmered down, and the apple cider had infused its way into everything.  Add to that a little bread (not entirely local, but from a local bakery), a chunk of cheese, and some delicious Hopped Blueberry Mead from a Meadery in New Hampshire, and we had a great fall dinner.

Ingredients:
Pork Loin Roast – Countrytime Farm
Onions – Hoagland Farms
Cabbage – Jack’s Farm
Tomme Mole Cheese – Birchrun Hills
Bread – St. Peter’s Bakery
Cider – North Star Orchard
Apples – Grandparents House (tons of apple trees!)
Mead – Sap House Meadery
Non Local – Vinegar, salt, pepper, mustard powder

One Local Summer 2014 – Meal 15

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And now we’re surpassing the goal of 14 with ease!  I think this is the best attempt at cooking Bison Ribs the husband has ever had.  They’re a little tricky being much lower in fat and need to be cooked low and slow.  The ribs were back ribs and were put in the smoker with apple wood, cooked for about 4 hours resulting in DELICIOUS ribs.  On the side we have those popular corn fritters, a grilled peach with melted blue cheese, and a bowl in the back with tomatoes from the garden, a sprig of basil, and some local cheese.  The wine is a homemade mead made partially with cherries I picked in Maryland and was a great match to the rest of dinner.

Ingredients:
Bison Ribs – Backyard Bison
Corn – Brogue Hydroponics
Peaches – North Star Orchard
Flour – Mill at Anselma
Peppers – Neighbor’s garden (we share!)
Blue Cheese and Equinox Cheese – Birchrun Hills
Tomatoes – Our Garden
Basil – Our Garden
Non Local – Wine, spices, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper