F.O.O.D. Focus on the Organic Difference
Profile and recipe from Angela & Michael Pollier of Bee Fruitful Acres, Barre, MA
By Christy Bassett for The Organic Food Guide and NOFA/Mass
October 19, 2018
Welcome to the first edition of F.O.O.D., Focus on the Organic Difference, a running series of interviews and articles featuring real food from real people. This week, I had the pleasure of connecting with Angela Pollier of Bee Fruitful Acres in Barre, MA. She is a wonderful example of someone who is connected to the land she lives on and the food she produces. Read on to learn about her homestead farm in central Massachusetts and get her delicious recipe for homemade wild grape fruit leather. Follow them on Instagram: @beefruitfulacres for homestead anecdotes, photos of Angela’s beautiful granddaughter and goats galore!
Are you a farmer, gardener, homesteader, consumer, landscaper, or organic activist?
We consider ourselves to be homesteaders. My husband and I are working toward raising or growing the majority of the food we consume. Our needs and desires change from year to year.
What type of food to do grow, if any?
We raise chickens for eggs & have raised them along with turkeys & pigs for meat. We have raised registered Nigerian Dwarf Goats for milk and are currently making the switch to registered Nubian Goats to meet our dairy needs. This years garden consisted of a great garlic harvest along with a variety of squash, cucumbers, radishes, carrots, green beans, lettuces, tomatoes and herbs such as parsley, oregano, mint, and dill. This is our second year growing our asparagus plants. We are harvesting our first ever potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Do you sell it? If so, where can we find it?
As far as sales goes; we are always praying for direction for the future. We have been on this property for a little over 3 years. Our last homestead had a little over 3 acres… much of it being used. This homestead has a little over 15 so we seem to be in a constant state of fencing, building and sprawling out. Currently we consume for ourselves, share with friends and family & are in the business of selling goats and eggs.
Why do you choose organic?
We grow and try to buy organic, non GMO food. Our animals are fed a diet consisting of organic/non GMO soy free feed. Choosing to eat organic in our opinion is eating food the way God intended & created it. This food is most nutritious and easily assimilated by our bodies.
Why do you love Massachusetts?
Massachusetts is where Mike and I have resided most of our adult lives. The both of us love the geography plus the 4 seasons. This is the place where most of our friends and family reside.
Why do you love local food?
Local food takes the place of the Big Agriculture Industry and Philosophy. It consists of local people in our town or somewhere in our state who have a passion for food and growing good nutritious food. We consider it a blessing to get to actually meet people face to face and sometimes even on a “first name basis”. Country stores and local Farmers Markets are a great resource for food and meeting people in our community that share our similar visions.
Recipe: Applesauce Based Wild Grape Fruit Leather
I love this recipe because it’s easy, nutritious and versatile and it utilizes ingredients that are harvested here in Massachusetts. If you are into canning your own applesauce and freezing your hand-picked berries plus wild grapes; this recipe can be made any time of the year. TIP: I like to make sure my home canned goods get rotated. This recipe is a great way to use last year’s applesauce, making room for this year’s bounty.
Kitchen tools needed for this project will be a food processor or blender, a dehydrator lined with drying sheets or parchment paper and a home juicer for the wild grapes. (A juicer does the job of separating and grinding the hard grape seeds that are in wild grapes which my food processor couldn’t accomplish ). Grape seeds are noted for having some good nutritional value.
*4 cups of applesauce
TIP: (I love using applesauce in berry fruit leather. The leather still takes on the taste of the berries but has greater volume in the end product. More fruit leather can equal more joy! Plus, if money is spent on organic berries this stretches your dollar… more joy with this too!)
*3 cups of mixed berries
*2 cups of wild grapes (juiced)
*2 Tbsp. Maple Syrup (This balances the tartness of the wild grapes.)
- Purée all ingredients in the food processor or blender. You are looking for a smooth applesauce consistency.
- Spread the fruit purée on the lined dehydrator trays using a spatula. It’s helpful to slap the dehydrator trays on the counter a few times to help level the purée. This will give your leather a more even thickness. You want about 1/4 inch thickness once poured.
- Dehydrate at 125 degrees & start checking at the 10 to 12 hour mark. The leather will have no wet tacky spots and will easily peel off the dryer sheets when ready. Drying time can vary greatly depending on thickness of your purée once poured. I’ve had some that has taken up to 15 hours. Oftentimes some trays will be ready before others.
Fruit leather can be stored in an airtight container with parchment papers between pieces. Store in a cool dry place for up to a year.