Chronicles of the Long Shot Farm

Sock Donations

SOCK DRIVE for the HOMELESS!!!

The Winery is collecting socks to benefit local homeless shelters. The sock donations will help prevent mild to severe foot problems in our local homeless community.  Please help us assist local UPMC Wound nurses with their ‘Socks for the Sole’ Sock Drive! Drop off donations by Wednesday November 25th.  You can also ship socks directly to us at the winery if you do not live in the area.  We are also collecting new-like shoes, washcloths and nail clippers.

Look at the socks that have already been donated (this is a portion of donations)! We have also received lots of very lightly worn shoes.   Hopefully with clean socks and shoes, it’s one step closer to getting back on their feet.

Posted by Anja Weyant and Samantha Shaffer

Elderberry Wine

Our Elderberry Wine is now available! This wine is made from elderberries grown on the farm. If you have ever picked elderberries, you can imagine how long it took. This is also our first wine in sold in 375mL bottle.  Enjoy the wine description below.

Our Elderberry wine is something special indeed. Collecting the berries is a pains-taking process, requiring muck boots, gloves, and delicate patience. The result is a sweet red port-like wine, with the essence of ripe elderberry, blackberry, and thick tannic mouthfeel.

Posted by Anja Weyant and Samantha Shaffer

Pumpkin Wine Slushy

Fall is here and the Winery is ready for the season with our new pumpkin wine slushy. This cool, creamy wine slushy is full of warm spices and perfect for a pleasant fall day.

Earlier this year we made about 35 gallons of pumpkin wine  from long neck pumpkins and spices like cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg.   The dry, amber yellow wine tasted like toasted pumpkin seeds.  To turn it into a fall slushy we added sugar and upped the spice.  The result is a decadent treat reminiscent of pumpkin cheese cake; it is creamy and sweet and reminds one of the best flavors of fall.

This wonderful treat has been popular even among non pumpkin fans and is something the Winery will likely produce seasonally.

Posted by Anja Weyant

Small Batch Wine Experiments

Over the last couple of weeks, we have been experimenting with some non-grape based wines.  We have always made wines from fruits other than grapes – actually that is how we got started.  Our first wines were blackberry, strawberry, cherry and peach.  But then we concentrated on learning to grow grapes and making grape wine.  We do blend our grape wines with fruit wines for certain blends, for example, our Bow and Arrow is a blend of Chambourcin and Blackberry wine, and our Summer Blend is a blend of Vidal Blanc and Apple wine.  But these current experimental batches are new to us.

Dandelion Wine:
During the first weeks of April, we picked the yellow petals off dandelions.  The recipes we found varied from 2 cups per gallon of water to 1 gallon of petals per gallon of water, and every ratio in between.  We opted for a 1:2 ration, so 8 cups of dandelion petals per gallon of water.  After about three weeks, we had picked  56 cups of petals – enough for a seven gallon trial batch!  We froze the petals right after picking, in small freezer bags marked with the number of cups.

As with any of the blossom wines, you basically make a strong “tea”, to extract the flavors and aromas of the flowers. So we used our large pressure canners to bring about 8 gallons of water to a full boil.  We did not have a large enough container to make this”tea” in, so we used two fermentation buckets from our home-winemaking days.  We did this initial step in our kitchen, not the winery, since we needed a stove.   Each bucket had a finely woven fermentation bag with the 28 cups of pedals, which we covered with 3.5 gallons of boiling water.  We then added the required amount of sugar – which brought the total volume up another half gallon –  and let the mixture steep.  We did measure  Brix, pH and TA and made some slight adjustments.

It smelled very pleasant, a bit like honey – but unlike anything we had ever smelled before.  Once the temperature cooled down to lukewarm, we added chopped yellow raisins, tartaric acid, some grape tannin, yeast nutrient etc. to the fermentation bag with the petals,  and left this sit for a day, before pitching yeast. We had a hard time getting the fermentation started, and it took three tries of different yeast strains, but it finally started a pretty rigorous fermentation.  We are waiting for it to complete, before straining the wine into carboys, and then start the racking regiment.  Seven gallons is not very much wine, considering that one gallon roughly fills 5 standard bottles – or ten 350 ml bottles.

 

Pumpkin Wine:
Last fall, we bought a lot of neck pumpkins, from which we removed the rind, seeds and all stringy matter.  We cut the pumpkin “meat” into cubes and froze them.  Earlier this month, we thawed them out and weighed them – we had 121 lbs.  We added the required amount of water, sugar, acid, tannin etc – as well as a small spice bag.  There were no precise recipes that we could find, so we made our own best guess.  We used two whole nutmegs and 14 allspice berries, which we put in a ziploc bag and smashed slightly with a hammer into course chunks.  We poured this into the spice bag and added 14 smallish cinnamon sticks, as well as chopped raisins.  Then we pitched the yeast, and the fermentation started on schedule.  This batch is fermenting in the winery, which is still rather cool,  so the fermentation is not too violent, but rather progressing at a nice pace.  We hope to rack this off on Memorial Day weekend – likely into 15 gallon demi-johns.  This should make about 35 gallons.

 

Elderberry Wine:
We just bottled 20 gallons of Elderberry wine in small, 350 ml bottles.  It took us two growing seasons to pick enough elderberries from our bushes, which we froze in gallon bags.  Last August, we thawed them out and mixed them with water, sugar and acid to get the correct balance for adding yeast and making wine.  As far as an experiment goes, this one has taken the longest so far!  The wine fermented without any issues, and we followed the same process as we do for all our wines, in regards to testing, racking and aging.  This prurplish red fruit wine has a very unique taste – and we look forward to sharing it.  The bottles still need to rest a bit and they need to be labeled.

We also have several bags of frozen elderberry blossoms that we picked last year, and we hope to get a lot more this year.  Elderberry blossoms make a beautiful white wine – we can’t wait to try it!

Leek Casserole with Rice

Here is one of my favorite leek recipes. Typically, you can find nice leeks in the spring at the local grocery store.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 4 thick leeks  (basically one per person.  If you use thin leeks, then you may want to use 8)
  • 8 slices of Muenster cheese, or another cheese that melts easily
  • 8 slices of ham, the kind that you would use on a sandwich (on the thin side)
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 and 1/3 cup of sour cream
  • 1 cup of milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the rice:

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup of rice per person
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (or 2 and 2/3 cup if using more rice)
  • 2-4 tablespoons of butter
  • one small onion, finely chopped
  • salt to taste

Wash leeks, cut off the bottom hard root end, and cut off where the white stalk changes to green leaves. Check and make sure that there is no dirt on the top end where the leaves start.  Add leeks to a pot of boiling, salted water and boil for about ten minutes.  Remove from water and let drain and cool slightly.

If the leeks were thick, cut them in half. Wrap each piece in a slice of ham, then in a slice of cheese and place in a greased casserole dish.

Beat the eggs thoroughly with a hand mixer or a stand mixer.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Beat in the sour cream and milk until the mixture is smooth and pour over the rolled leeks in the casserole dish. The egg mixture should cover the leeks.  (you can make more, with the same proportions, and add it).

Bake at 400 degree F, approximately 35-40 minutes.  The egg mixture should be firm and golden brown on top.

While the casserole is baking, prepare the rice.  Heat butter in a medium sized pot until hot, then add the chopped onion and heat until glassy looking. Add the rice and stir into the hot mixture until the rice is coated with the butter.  Add the chicken broth and salt if desired.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a slight simmer, cover pot and let the rice cook until all liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.