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Happy Holidays!

Christmas gift on defocused lights background

In honor of the Christmas holiday, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy holiday season.

We appreciate all of our customers and wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year.

Here’s to a wonderful 2014!

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Holiday Tablescapes

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If you’re stuck on ideas of how to elegantly decorate your table this holiday season, we have a couple ideas to wow your guests.

Of course, here at Farm Stand we like to incorporate natural elements in our tablescape. We suggest using foliage of the season like pine leaves, mistletoe, pine cones, or even cranberries! Use your imagination, but we like to have a run of pine tree branches up and down the table, with a sprinkling of cranberries for a pop of color.

That’s where another idea comes into play: use the colors of the season as well. Plenty of red, green, gold, and silver. These can be incorporated most easily with the linens. We love the look of elegant gold napkins at each table setting.

Hopefully these few quick tips will come in handy and spark more table decor ideas! Be sure to share with us your favorite holiday decorating ideas.

Happy Holidays!


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Go Green: Christmas Tree

Michigan Christman tree farm

Many of us wonder whether we’re being wasteful, buying a cut Christmas tree every year. It may seem to be more “green” to buy a live, potted tree, but the reality is that potted evergreens generally don’t do well indoors in a heated home, and it’s not easy to plant a live tree outdoors in late December or early January if the ground is frozen. In short, the chances of a potted tree surviving more than a few months are slim.

Nearly all Christmas trees sold in seasonal tree lots are grown on tree farms, so forests aren’t hurt if you purchase a cut tree. Artificial trees consume significant energy and petroleum-based materials in their manufacture, but with care they can last many years. So feel free to choose your preference — cut or artificial. Just be sure to make that artificial tree last through many Christmases, or to recycle that cut tree.

Many communities now offer recycling; you leave your tree curbside, and your DPW or a recycling company picks it up free of charge. Usually the trees are chipped into mulch for use in city parks, on hiking trails, in playground areas, and in public gardens. Whole trees are sometimes used in stabilization projects for river shorelines, for beach erosion prevention, marshland sedimentation, and even hazardous chemical clean-ups. If there is no recycling program in your area, prop your tree up in your backyard or in the woods, where it can serve as shelter for wildlife and can break down naturally, giving its nutrients back to the soil.


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Leftover Pumpkins?

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Leftover pumpkins? Don’t throw them out! Those gorgeous orange beauties are waiting to be transformed into pumpkin bread, pasta fillings and soup to name a few! Pumpkin puree is perfect to keep all year round and is a cinch to make. Follow this easy recipe to learn how to cook up your leftover pumpkins!

Ingredients

  • 2 whole Small Pumpkins

Preparation Instructions

Select a couple of small-ish pumpkins. Cut the pumpkin in half. With a spoon or a scoop, scrape out the seeds and pulp from the center. You don’t have to be too thorough with this.

Place all the seeds into a bowl (you can roast them later and make pepitas). Repeat until all the pumpkin pieces are largely free of seeds and pulp.

Place pumpkin pieces on a baking sheet (face up or face down; I’ve done both) and roast in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes, or until pumpkin is fork-tender. They should be nice and light golden brown when done.

Peel off the skin from the pumpkin pieces until you have a big pile of the stuff. If you have a food processor, throw in a few chunks at a time. A blender will work, too, if you add a little water. Or you can simply mash it up with a potato masher, or move it through a potato ricer, or process it through a food mill.

Pulse the pumpkin until smooth. If it looks too dry, add in a few tablespoons of water during the pulsing to give it the needed moisture. (Note, if the puree is overly watery, you should strain it on cheesecloth or over a fine mesh strainer to get rid of some of the liquid.)

Dump the pureed goodness into a bowl, and continue pureeing until all the pumpkin is done.

You can either use this immediately in whatever pumpkin recipe you’d like, store it in the freezer for later use.

To store in the freezer, spoon about 1 cupful of pumpkin into each plastic storage bag. Seal the bag with just a tiny bit of an opening remaining, then use your hands to flatten out the pumpkin inside the bag and push out the air. Store them in the freezer until you need them.