THE RECIPE BOX – Fruit crisp is a tasty seasonal treat

THE RECIPE BOX – Fruit crisp is a tasty seasonal treat

JOHNSTON – Darlene Dame, her husband, James, and their three children Kristen, Justin and Samantha, along with their families all get to participate in the family farm life at Dame Farm, a mile and one half up Brown Avenue.

For Darlene, watching the seasons change, and her children and nine grandchildren grow up here, as well as knowing that her husband’s great-grandmother had been here since 1840, is all she needs to keep going.

There are many teaching moments at the farm, too. “We have multi-generations represented here in every inch of this farm. We value that heritage,” Darlene said.

Farmers must have resiliency. Weather events such as the recent hailstorm can be devastating, and owning a small business is challenging as well. She has to do the books, run the farm stand, and do payroll. She said, “I’d rather be weeding a garden.”

Covering berries with nets, trying to win the battle with pesky chipmunks, migratory birds and wild turkeys is all in a day’s work.

The recent rainy months made growing a challenge. “We have to do the same amount of work in a shorter window (of time),” Darlene said. “Next, we could turn hot and go into a drought and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

But the day-to-day beauty of nature and God’s blessings far outweigh the long hours, hard work and worries, she shared. Despite the weather, their crops look beautiful.

Venturing into more of the pick-your-own has proven a way to stay viable. Sunflowers, dahlias and zinnias have been added to the pick-your-own selection of flowers and the blueberries are ready to pick now.

“We want other families to come and be able to appreciate the beauty of creation and share in the joy,” she said. They also offer wagon rides, depending on personnel availability.

“Downtime is getting harder to find,” Darlene said. “We are really good at working! We have three generations at any given time working right beside us, weeding the gardens or picking the rewards, even the smaller grandkids,” she added.

“We go to church on Sunday, that’s how families grew strong.” They take coffee breaks together and still share meals together as a family. And she added, “We try to show gratitude for what God has given us.”

Darlene’s recipe for the fruit crisp is tried and true. She uses combinations of fruit, sometimes frozen which works just as well except she finds the need to add 1/2 cup of flour and sugar each to the frozen fruits.

She sells her own packaged topping mixture for the crisp, premade and measured, so all you have to add is the butter and eggs.

Her 9-year-old grandson, Jackson, is a huge fan of the blueberry crisp. He went back for seconds and did not spare any whipped cream. “It makes a very generous amount,” said Darlene. “It would be ideal for a large crowd get-together.”

Delightfully Delicious Fruit Crisp

Dame Farm Recipe

Ingredients: Topping
1 & 1/2 cups flour
1 & 1/2 cups uncooked oats
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 & 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup butter (12 tbsp.)
2 eggs, slightly beaten.
You can add 1 cup walnuts, pecans or sliced almonds to topping mix.

1. In a large bowl place first 8 ingredients (excluding the butter and eggs). Mix all dry ingredients together thoroughly. If adding “optional” nuts add that in now.
2. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter – it can be cold or at room temperature. Set topping aside for now.
Fruit Filling:
6-8 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, (or your favorite fruit). Wash and pat dry if fresh. (Note: If using frozen fruit add 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup sugar to fruit before filling dish.)
1. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch or a 10.5-inch baking dish.
2. Place fruit in the bottom of baking dish, filling generously and leaving about 1 inch space from top of dish.
3. Now, add the two beaten eggs to “set aside” topping mixture, mix well.
4. Evenly cover the fruit filled baking dish with the topping, spread evenly.
5. Bake uncovered in a 350-degree oven for 45 to 55 minutes. Serve with ice cream and/or whipped cream for a delightfully delicious treat!

This recipe is very adaptable to the fruit season. Combinations such as half blueberries and half peaches go together. Apples: Choose 8 to 10 apples, peeled and sliced. Works well with half pears. Cherries: Pitted and halved, 6-8 cups. Strawberries: rinsed, hulled and halved, 6-8 cups.

Darlene Dame, of Dame Farm in Johnston, and her 9-year-old grandson, Jackson, share this Delightfully Delicious Fruit Crisp recipe that she created using the fruits of the season. Jackson’s favorite is this crisp with blueberries.