The best part for me is enjoying the fruits of the harvest - the potato bin filled in the cold room, bags of onions hanging on the wall, jars of preserves, pickles and fruit lining the other wall of the room. The freezer packed with lots of frozen peas, carrots, beans and our own butchered beef. This year however the pickin's are a little slim. The garden did so poorly I only got about a quarter of last years veggies, the strawberries however did well.
I thought ever bearing would be nice to have with strawberries all summer long, but they just don't survive the winters up here. By the time they have recovered from the cold, they didn't produce much fruit. So last year I took them all up and planted the June bearing kind, they produce lots of fruit in late June/early July and are much hardier. Surprisingly enough, after the initial rush they went on to have berries right up until it froze a couple of weeks ago so I was able to pick and eat strawberries all summer.
As well as these jars of fruit I also was able to eat lots, make strawberry cheesecake, and freeze several large tubs without sugar for other baking projects this winter. Today I started canning my tomatoes, sadly there won't be many of those either this year. I managed to get 7 quarts this time and probably have enough ripening to can another 4 or 5 quarts. Last year I had 27 quarts - even though the plants were in the greenhouse, it was just too cold to have any sort of good crop.
The other thing I always can are pears., I did 14 quarts of them 2 weeks ago. They were always one of the favorites Mum did when I was growing up and I still like them, hubby does too which is a plus. Sadly he doesn't like peaches so I quit canning them, it's easier to buy a can now and then if I want some.
I usually make strawberry jam, raspberry jelly, crabapple jelly and my 3 fruit golden jam, but I'm running behind this year. I have a pail of raspberries in the freezer waiting to make jelly, but no crabapples this year because of the weather and no yellow plums for the golden jam either. The strawberry jam......maybe if I feel like it later on - I can always buy strawberries.
It does give me a great feeling of satisfaction to sit down to a meal and know that everything I'm eating including the dessert we grew on our farm.