Jones' Farmer Blog

Behind the scenes and lessons at Jones Family Farms in Shelton, CT

First Week

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Hi there!  My name is Ryan Hunter. I am 20 years old and a graduate of Lincoln Culinary institute (Formerly Connecticut Culinary Institute).  I came to the farm as an apprentice to better understand my relationship with fresh, locally grown foods.   I believe local foods should become a major part in the restaurants of CT.  As a trained chef, I know that the fresher and purer food is, the better it tastes.  With so many fantastic local food sources in CT, I hope to one day join the chefs and restaurant owners who feature locally grown foods on their menus.

This season, I hope to post some fantastic recipes featuring farm-fresh foods.  Today, I have an excellent recipe for chilled strawberry soup. A personal favorite for the long summer days in the heat picking your own fresh Jones strawberries.

The recipe requires:

  • 1 quart Jones strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp orange juice (optional)

To create the soup:

1.) Combine the first six ingredients in a blender  (remember to not fill your blender more than 2/3 of the way full, or you could make a mess!)
2.) Cover and process until pureed.
3.) Transfer the mixture to a sealable container.
4.) Stir in cream and orange juice, if desired.
5.)  Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

The original recipe can be found HERE.

Coned Tree

A huge amount of young pine cones

My first week on the farm has been interesting. We spent our mornings in the Christmas tree fields, picking cones off the Fraser Fir trees..  The Fraser Firs produce cones every couple of years.  Due to the drought that we experienced last year, the trees became stressed and produced cones in order to survive through reproduction. On our farm, however, the trees do not need to reproduce because we manage a nursery on the farm and replant baby trees out into the fields each spring. The trees waste energy and resources on producing these cones and grow in odd shapes.  So they must be picked off, by hand!

The inside of the young pine cones

In the afternoons we attended strawberry school.  In strawberry school we learned about the farm and its history.  We learned about the seven generations of the Jones family that have lived on this farm and the different crops that have grown here.  We also learned how to give all of our guests the excellent customer service that helps make our farm a vibrant place.


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