Food and Farming with the Creekside Cook

From Donalyn Ketchum, Creekside Acres & The Creekside Cook

Creekside Acres in Berkshire, Tioga County is owned and operated by Larry & Donalyn Ketchum.  Long time gardeners, in 2015, they decided to become Farmer’s Market vendors at the Thursday Night Farm to Fork Market in Owego.

Locally grown food is a passion of theirs, reflected in their own lifestyle, as well as in Donalyn’s blog, The Creekside Cook [thecreeksidecook.com], where she encourages people to cook at home, with simple, delicious recipes, garden tips and stories of their life “way out in the country”.

The decision to become vendors, was rather a spur-of-the- moment thing, as the Ketchums were looking for a way to utilize all of the produce that they grow, which often exceeded what they could use or give away to family and friends.

“The other vendors at the Thursday Night Market in Owego have been very helpful right from the start, when we showed up as total rookies.  The majority of the information we have benefited from still comes from them – a fun group of people who we are enjoying getting to know better.”

Since Larry’s retirement, the size of their gardens seems to increase by the year, as they have added asparagus, raspberries and more fruit trees over the past few years. Larry’s garlic patch also gets bigger every year, as he works to cultivate a strain of hardneck garlic that does particularly well on the property.

In addition to produce, and eggs from their free range chickens, Donalyn sells baked goods, jams and beginning in June 2016, skin care products made with all organic ingredients and essential oils, plus bedding plants and herb plants from their greenhouse.

Larry continues to satisfy his need to build things [he retired from carpentry in 2014] by making blue bird houses, which will be for sale this year.   He would like to see more people site blue bird houses on their property, as they eat so many garden pests, helping eliminate the need for pesticides.

The Ketchums plan to plant more raspberries this growing season, and expand the vegetables they grow, to continue to bring interesting veggies to the Market each week, as well as stocking the small stand they have on their property. “Outside of the market, we generally only have eggs to sell on a regular basis. I do have some jam still, and I am working on my skin care products for next year already, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.”

As FaHN sponsors, “We became involved when Nancy Eckstrom [a FaHN Steering Committee member] introduced us to the idea during the market last summer.  We like the idea of being a sponsor because we feel FaHN encourages people to seek more local sources when they are shopping for food.  Even before we became vendors ourselves, we believed in local sourcing as much as possible.”

You can reach Creekside Acres by phone at (607) 765-8345. Visit Donalyn’s blog, The Creekside Cook, for recipes, gardening tips, and more.