Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Reaping the Bounty of the Land

Just the other day we ate the last of about a dozen grapefruit we had harvested right from the tree. They were so delicious, fresh, satisfying! And they didn’t cost us a penny! We had been staying at Beaudry RV’s park in Tucson, and took advantage of the lemon and grapefruit trees scattered among the sites. This is just the latest example of one big benefit of the RV life – you can be where the harvest is and get the freshest food around.

You may remember our stories about our other finds over the last few years:

Halibut in Alaska.
We came home from a charter with 33 pounds of fresh halibut that we had caught and taken to a packing house where it had been filleted and flash frozen in half-pound packets. We nearly over-stuffed our little freezer with them, and were able to eat halibut for at least two years!
Peaches in Washington.

We happened upon a fruit stand with an excellent price on a lug of just picked freestone peaches.
Then we had to go out and buy a bunch of quart-sized freezing containers, and a can of Fruit Fresh. Hours later, we had half a freezer full of peaches! I blanched the peaches, Suzy peeled and sliced them. Yum! They lasted about a year.

Chilies in New Mexico.
Driving toward White Sands National Monument we passed a small roadside stand offering ristras and fresh-roasted chilies. Suzy swung the motorhome around the nearest block and found a place to park it along with the “toad” (our towed car).
That evening we peeled the charred skins from the chilies, then bagged and froze five pounds of freshly roasted chilies. We still have one or two bags that are destined for my special recipe: Chili Relleno Omelet. (We also bought a little ristra to hang in the motorhome.)

Cherries in Montana.

Another special buy: we had been told by our friends Art and Connie about a cherry stand nearby, selling Flathead cherries, the finest tasting cherries in the entire universe. We remembered Flathead cherries from our nine years living in Montana, and had to get some. The best price for these best cherries applied to a 20-pound lug. We already had a cherry pitter from a previous buy, so all we needed was quart freezer bags and a free afternoon. We had both. So we set aside a couple of pounds of cherries to eat fresh, and Suzy pitted the rest. Do you have any idea how many cherries there are to pit in 18 pounds? Suzy’s thumb was nearly swollen from pushing that pitter, so I took her out for a steak dinner at the local truck stop.

Blueberries in Washington.

This time we cheated a little – we bought 8 pounds of Canadian blueberries from Safeway, washed them, divided them in 2-cup portions, then bagged and froze them Suzy thought about buying another 4 pounds, then realized just how far a 2-pound bag would go and decided against getting more.

Corn in Iowa.
In the tiny but patriotic town of Brooklyn, Iowa, down the street from the Avenue of Flags, we bought a dozen ears of fresh-picked corn for about $2.

Marionberries in Oregon.
Marionberries are a variety of blackberry, larger and sweeter than some of the others. They are grown extensively in the Willamette Valley, and we found a stand that was about to close at the end of the season. We bought as many as we felt we could handle in our freezer. Yum!

In much smaller quantity, we picked apples and pears from trees at an RV park in Whitebird, Idaho, and blackberries at an abandoned lumber mill site by the Office Covered Bridge in Oregon. While we stayed at the RV Park of Portland, we were able to pick berries from vines along the park driveway, right from the car window, to have with the next morning’s breakfast!

It’s not the same, but at the Scappoose, Oregon, Sauerkraut Festival we ate sauerkraut sandwiches, sauerkraut chocolate cupcakes, and sauerkraut ice cream!

We even met the Sauerkraut Queen for that year!

There’s probably more we’ve found that we haven’t thought of, and there’s certainly more bounty ahead as we continue to travel … Our Life on Wheels!


  1. Aren't all these great food finds wonderful! It's one of the things we love about being on the road ~ like discovering hidden treasures!

    Suzanne & Brad

  2. Everything looks so de-licious! I remember how good those Flathead cherries were when we were in Big Fork. Wish our freezer were big enough to store more than we did.

  3. Dear hunters and gatherers:
    That was quite a trail of edibles you two have followed over your years of wandering hither and yon. I can't quite believe that your small freezer can take as much as it can, canned or bagged.
    Here Spring has finally arrived. Small mounds of snow are getting smaller, though I have not yet found the time to get out in the Jesuit House gardens. Had hopes on Friday, but then remembered a 4 p.m. meeting I needed to attend. It was in preparation for a retreat coming up this next weekend and though I missed out on gardening I am glad that I went to the meeting.
    Today I attended what may very well by my last high definition live broadcast of an opera from the Metropolitan Opera in NYC. I saw it in a local movie theather. It was Rossini's La Sonnambula, the story of a woman whose sleep walking gets her into trouble the day before her wedding. It was a great performance. The next one, La Cenerentola (the Italian form of Cinderella) will be broadcast on our graduation weekend and I won't be able to attend it, being somewhat caught up in graduation exercises and two symphony performances (Beethoven's Ninth and a song by Brahms).
    Had the 5 p.m. Mass at Our Lady of Fatima Parish this evening and then went out to dinner with four of the parishioners. During the dinner our men's basketball team won its second victory in the March Madness goings-on. That means we have made it into the Sweet Sixteen and will play somewhere in the South next weekend or so. Our women's team is also involved in all of this, though how they have done I presently don't know.
    Thanks again and until we meet virtually again, may the good Lord take a liken' to you.


  4. Finding all these "local" foods just seems soooo exciting to get to do. Wish I could be right there with you looking for those special finds toooo!

    Donna Daniel

  5. Great post! Loved looking at all the wonderful fresh food finds and am having freezer envy! Maybe when we remodel our Penny we can find room for a small one. Well, I can dream anyway.

    Safe travels!
    Joy and Phil


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