So about a second after I announced Can-Do Real Food unfortunately had to stop because of health issues I began to feel like that was NOT the best solution.
In 2017 I canned lots of fruit and veggie recipes but I also expanded what we were doing with dehydration. I became fascinated how we could develop meal mixes, not just dried fruit or leathers.
We asked shoppers at the downtown farmers’ market to taste and comment on some new concepts, like dried tomatoes. People responded well by offering suggestions like putting herbs on some, salt on others. One guy said, “Yup, it tastes like tomatoes and I hate tomatoes.” He was a good sport!
We had some disappointments. For example, a recipe we first prepared fresh and thought a winner did not work the same when dried, so we had to let that one alone.
But others were winners. Our Mole Mix, for example, always sold out each time we prepared a batch.
And always, we stayed with our mission and obtained surplus produce from farms, helping reduce food waste. We will continue to purchase produce from our farm partners.
Meanwhile, in my private life I was watching my daughter Lisa and her dude go on their back country adventures. They backpack, mountain bike and ski, often in places few people go. They carry their food, their water, and their fuel as no wood fires are permitted any longer because of the threat of wildfires.
I listened to their comments about the dehydrated foods available on the market. There were some they loved and others that were never going to be repeated. Lisa also combined some things together herself to supplement the prepared mixes because there were things they liked and could not purchase.
They already had told us how they enjoyed the Winter Squash Coconut Curry instant soup mix and challenged me to develop more foods that could be edible with a short fuel usage to bring water to boil. Our Mole Mix will do that, too!
We will be in the test kitchen in the next few months to see if we can develop a powdered version of the canned Loaded Pasta Sauce. We believe we can come up with something definitely different in texture and a bit different in taste but still really good. The sauce can be used with the dried zucchini noodles we make from those squashes that get away from the farmer and become watermelon size.
So, in 2018 Can-Do Real Food will be preparing canned products ONLY for contracts with our farmers or others and about 3 or 4 savory dehydrated offerings and a number of fruit based dried foods. For example, when we processed one of our farm partners’ garden huckleberries into a syrup, we milled to separate the berry skin from the juice. We then took the solids, added a bit of sugar (in this case only because garden huckleberries are NOT sweet) and dried the mix. Because of the lumpiness of the skins, we could not make a fruit leather, but we grinded it to offer as an add-in to oatmeal or yogurt.
The backpacking community will enjoy this, as well as other campers who want a break from preparing a meal from whole foods. In addition, a supply of some of our foods would make sense to anyone who loses power at home several times a year. If you have a grill, you can heat up water and then you can prepare the mix into a good meal.
We will NOT be at the farmers’ market as we have been the last two summers. Instead we may have a table one week in September when we have built up an inventory during the harvest season. Generally, we will market online and be able to mail these lighter weight foods easily.
Please let me know if you’d like to be on a special email list to announce when we will be at the market or when foods are available online.