Brown Bag Monday: Increase your Sustainability through Food Preservation


The photo above is of the last batch of Kiwi fruit from Ariza Farm in Orland. We picked it up at the Sacramento Farmer’s Market directly from Mike Ariza. When Mike mentioned that this was the last kiwi for the season, I instantly wondered if I could freeze or can Kiwi. Funny how big a difference a week or two makes.

Our interview with Kara from Smokey Ridge Charcuterie, gave me a new appreciation for the importance of food preservation. I certainly had no idea you could become a Master Food Preserver. This piqued my interest.

In addition I have been reading Farm City, by Novella Carpenter, and after that Featured Food Friday post I read a brief mention of “The Encyclopedia of Country Living” by Carla Emery in Farm City. Scanning Amazon’s description for Country Living, I zeroed in on “growing and preserving foods”. That sounded pretty interesting to me so I picked up a copy. After downloading the 40th anniversary of a book that was first conceived in 1969, I used my Kindle’s goto feature to jump to chapter 7 “Food Preservation”.


Carla begins this chapter by introducing the reader to the idea of 365 independence days. What she means is that with careful planning, growing, milking, slaughtering and preserving, you can manage to be completely food self sufficient from your farm. Well I don’t have a farm, and even though I eat meat, I don’t plan on slaughtering anything running around my backyard anytime soon. However, the idea of making local seasonal foods last longer really spoke to me.

Essentially there are only 6 basic methods of preserving food.They are:

  1. freezing
  2. canning
  3. drying
  4. pickling
  5. sugaring
  6. root cellaring

Freezing, canning, pickling, drying and sugaring (jellies and jams) I was at least familiar with, but I hadn’t heard of root cellaring! I guess since I have never met a Californian with a cellar I have a legitimate excuse.

Back to my end of season kiwis. I wanted to can the kiwis, but had to defer that venture due to my current project; raised garden beds (stay tuned).

So I turned to the next option I had thought of at Mike’s Farmer’s market stand, freezing. I Googled “freezing Kiwi’s” and for me the very first hit is from the California Kiwifruit Commission. It certainly looked like you could freeze Kiwi, so I read the more detailed directions on freezing food in general from Urban Living. In reality the process is pretty basic with only a couple key steps. Here’s how I did it.


How to Freeze Kiwi

  1. Start with already ripe kiwi fruit
  2. Peel your kiwi and trim away any bad spots
  3. Slice the kiwi into even sections, about a quarter inch thick
  4. Spread the kiwi evenly onto a cookie sheet
  5. Squeeze lemon juice onto the kiwi slices
  6. Sprinkle the kiwi slices with sugar
  7. Cover the cookie sheet with plastic wrap or aluminum foil
  8. Place in the freezer and leave until frozen
  9. Remove the cookie sheet and bag your frozen kiwi slices (be quick)
  10. Return the bagged individually frozen kiwi slices to the freezer and you’re done

This was a very small experiment (even smaller since we’d already eaten half the kiwi we’d picked up as dessert) but regardless I’m still looking forward to pulling my pieces out of the freezer late this summer to see if I can still enjoy local California kiwi out of season! 

What food preservation techniques do you or your family practice? Have you had any homesteaders in your families lineage that have managed 365 Independence Days?

Lolo’s Dad



Featured Foodie Friday: Ten Questions for Smokey Ridge Charcuterie

In the Featured Foodie series, we will be featuring a person or a business doing something interesting with food in the Sacramento region. This is our inaugural post on the topic. Let us know what you think or suggest someone you would be interested in having us feature!


Photo courtesy of Smokey Ridge Charcuterie

Smokey Ridge Charcuterie, located in Apple Hill, is a staple of the Auburn Farmers’ Market. Kara, in the photo above with her husband Zach, answered ten questions for us on her meat preservation craft, being a food entrepreneur and how to use duck fat!

1.  In the US, we have a strong culture of preservation of jams, jellies and canning veggies, but you don’t hear a lot about meat preservation. What inspired you to preserve meats?

I’ve always been attracted to forgotten, esoteric knowledge and I think meat preservation in this country falls into that category. I was living in Montana and surrounded by hunters, and game when I started researching and experimenting with air dried hams. I found it satisfying in kind of a primal way to work with meat, salt and fat.

2. Where do you source your meats? 

We use several meat purveyors in Sacramento that are able to accommodate the quantities that we need for our farmer’s market products, Del Monte/Port Seafood and Reeds Gourmet Meat. We source primarily Mary’s Free Range Chicken, and Natural humanly harvested pork, but we will also source duck and game from our purveyors for specialty products. We’ve tried pastured pork from Niman Ranch for Farmer’s Market products but have found customers don’t want to pay the higher price for it. For our Charcuterie Club and Sausage Club, we tend to use more pasture raised pork or meat raised from local farms. We make our club products in smaller batches so it is easier to find small farms that can meet those quantities.

3.  Where did you learn to preserve meats?

I learned to cook working in restaurant kitchens but I taught myself how to preserve meats through research and experience. I then expanded my knowledge by becoming a Master Food Preserver with the University of California Cooperative Extension in El Dorado County, which is a great organization that teaches the public safe home food preservation methods.

4. Why do you think bacon is the most popular of preserved meat in America?

Bacon is incredibly versatile – a seasoning ingredient for soups, beans and other dishes, or a main ingredient to be eaten fried for breakfast. It’s sweet salty flavor taps into the pleasure center in the brain (or at least in my brain). I find it interesting and encouraging that bacon has been spared by our cultural preference for leaner and leaner meat, like society decided bacon was worth making an exception for. I know many vegetarians that will even make an exception for bacon.

5. What is your favorite meat to preserve and why?

I love confits, especially duck confit. They are so tasty and easy to use for a quick meal or rillette. I love making duck prosciutto but we don’t package it for sale, though it will sometimes grace our Apple Hill lunch menu or catered events. I also like dry cures.  We use them for hams, bacon and tasso; they produce a wonderfully concentrated flavor.


6. What is the biggest technical challenge in meat preservation?

It depends on which type of preservation techniques you’re using. In air dried meats and sausage getting the ideal drying conditions is difficult, especially in our region where humidity tends to be really low for most of the year. Controlling mold growth is another challenge, and the bigger the piece of meat and the longer the hanging time, the more chance something will go wrong. In brined meats like hams, the challenge is finding the right brine time so the cure goes all the way through but the meat isn’t unpalatably salty. With confits the challenge is being patient enough to let the meat cook really slow and to leave it in the fat long enough for the flavors to fully develop, when its so tempting to eat it right out of the oven.

7. How does Apple Hill influence your charcuterie?

Our products are heavily influenced by what we grow on our Apple Hill farm (Smokey Ridge #133). One of the main reasons we started the charcuterie was to find ways of using farm ingredients that were different from all the other Apple Hill farms. In the spring we make a Lamb and Grape Leaf sausage from our vineyard trimmings, in the summer we make a delicious Andouille with peppers from the garden, in the fall we do an Apple Sausage and Duck and Pear sausage, we make a farm-style pate that uses whatever greens are in season at the time (chard, grape leaves, kale….). We also offer condiments like apple ketchup and verjus that compliment our charcuterie and sausages. Our goal is to source all the produce and herbs that we use from the farm.

8. What has been your biggest lesson since you took on the challenge of becoming a food entrepreneur? 

There’s been many challenges. Figuring out how we want to grow has been one and learning how to say no to things that don’t help us head in the direction we want to.  Financing has been another. We started the business with a couple thousand dollars of wedding money and have boot strapped the whole thing which often feels like the hard way to do it but, at the same time, not having a lot of debt hanging over our head gives us flexibility and freedom in the decisions we make and that’s worth a lot to us.

9. What is one piece of advice you have for aspiring food entrepreneurs? 

I’m kind of reluctant to give advice because I think we’ve respectfully ignored all the advice we received from our friends and family regarding this venture. I think to be an entrepreneur of any kind, you need to be ready to take risks, work however many hours it takes to get to a stable place, and spend a couple of years bringing in no money. If that doesn’t sound so bad, you may enjoy running a business. If that doesn’t sound so good, you may be better off finding someone to hire you to do what you love to do.

10. We purchased a jar of your duck fat at the Auburn Farmers’ Market. Do you have a simple recipe or use for those who are just learning to appreciate this product? 

We have a recipe blog ( and there is a link to it from our website. We post recipes for our products there. It’s fairly new but we are always adding to it. You should be able to search by product and all the recipes that use it will come up. As for duck fat, you can use it just like butter for cooking, making a roux or spreading on toast. At home, I cook almost exclusively with duck fat. I love the flavor of it.

Scrambled Eggs with Apple Sausage


Inspired by the ingredients we picked up after our trip to the Auburn Farmers’ Market we cooked this easy scrambled egg recipe.  Cilantro is not something we traditionally add to our scrambled eggs, but we found its mild citrus flavors a great addition to this dish.


  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Ground Apple Sausage
  • Sliced Crimini Mushrooms
  • Butter
  • Grated Colby Cheese
  • Fresh Cilantro



In a bowl mix the eggs and a little milk together until the whites and yolks are fully mixed.  Next brown the apple sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, then set it aside.  In a new pan melt your butter over medium heat and then add the sliced mushrooms.  Saute the mushrooms for a couple of minutes or until they are tender.  Add the egg and milk mixture to the pan and sprinkle the grated cheese over it.  Add your sausage and scramble the eggs until fully cooked.  Move the scrambled eggs and sausage to a serving bowl and top with a little fresh cilantro.  Enjoy!

Lolo’s Dad

Local Ingredients Used

The Natural Trading Company Eggs – Newcastle, Smokey Ridge Charcuterie Ground Apple Sausage – Apple Hill, Mushroom Adventures Crimini Mushrooms – Marysville

Foothill Farmers’ Market

Dad and Lolo

Yesterday morning was Lolo’s first Farmers Market adventure. Lolo is 11 weeks old today.  Auburn has a year round Farmers’ Market on Saturday’s from 8 AM to 12:00 PM, which is a quick drive up Interstate 80 from our home in Rocklin.  The market is part of the Foothill Farmers’ Market Association, which runs several other markets in  Placer County.

Broccoli from Salle Orchards

Their winter market set up was two rows of vendors selling mostly green winter vegetables, winter citrus,  some squashes and specialty items. The market is set up in the Old Court House parking lot in Old Town Auburn.   We found beautiful broccoli from Salle Orchards in Wheatland, fresh halibut out of Bodega Bay from The Little Fish Company (the crab looked great too!), Swiss chard and collard greens from Vue Farms, crimini mushrooms by Mushroom Adventures in Marysville, plenty of great sausage and kielbasa from Smokey Ridge Charcuterie in Apple Hill, eggs from The Natural Trading Company in Newcastle, and Pine Mountain coffee located right in Auburn. As a coffee fanatic I am excited to brew it and see if it rivals Peet’s!

Shitake's from Mushroom Adventures

Crab from The Little Fish Company

After returning home it was time for lunch so we fried up the kielbasa.  As great as the kielbasa was the apple sausage we cooked for dinner was even better.  Hands down some of the best sausage I have ever tried.  Loved the ingredients too: Pork Shoulder, Smokey Ridge Apples, onion, apple cider, sea salt, brandy, spices, and garlic.


Mom and Dad both agree that Lolo’s first Farmers Market excursion was a smashing success.  We are also sure we will revisit some of these ingredients and farms in future posts!  Have any favorite recipes that come to mind from any of the ingredients we picked up today?  If so share them, we would love to try them!

Lolo’s Dad