By ROBYN KRUGER
Farm News staff writer
ESTHERVILLE – June Bruns credits her mother-in-law with giving her a fresh outlook on baking and cooking.
“She was such a good cook and shared many of her recipes and cooking techniques with me,” Bruns said.”Through the years I was busy cooking for my family and those helping out on the farm.
“Now, in our retirement, I share my favorites with visitors to our (farmers market) stand and my grandchildren.”
June and her husband, Irel, have lived on their acreage in Estherville since 1967. The two retired from farming in 1993 and began a new career in the produce business, selling at the Iowa Lakes Farmer’s Market. They are now in their 18th year of the business.
They grow, harvest and sell everything from asparagus to zucchini.
Green beans are the most sought-after item. The couple fills several large coolers with string beans the day before market and will often sell every one, Bruns said.
The two have made many friends being in the business for so long. They are often sought out by return market customers. With a smile and a hand shake they keep the markets’ friendly atmosphere one that leaves customers with a feeling just as fresh and inviting as the produce they sell.
With the fall season looming on the horizon, the couple’s apple crop is beginning its yield. This can mean only one thing – fresh pie season has arrived.
At the crack of dawn on the day before market, June will be busy in her kitchen putting together her fresh apple pies to sell the next day.
Market goers will crowd the couple’s booth to be the first in line, hoping the delectable wares have not been snatched up by other greedy customers.
“I start the market year making rhubarb pies. Usually I will have cherry pies in late-June into July, but not this year.
“I believe the month of June was just too cold for our cherry crop. We had no cherries this year.” she said. “Right now my Paula Red apples are ready and there are plenty of them,” Bruns said.
You can find the couple at the Iowa Lakes Farmer’s Market on the Spirit Lake fairgrounds throughout the summer months from 7 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays and Saturdays from June through October.
When the couple isn’t busy with market you might find them out on the dance floor.
They are members of the Estherville Bustle Rustlers, a square dance club that meets once a week through the summer months and once a month through out the winter.
“Dancing keeps us young” smiled June.
A few Bruns family favorite recipes include:
2 cups grated zucchini
4 eggs beaten
1 cup of cooking oil
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups of sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
Sift dry ingredients and fold in grated zucchini, oil and beaten eggs. Pour into greased and floured jelly roll pan or two 9-by-9-inch square pans.
Bruns likes to use the square pan as it makes a thicker bar or more like cake.
She also frosts the cooled bars with cream cheese icing.
7 cups of fresh, thinly sliced cucumbers
2 cups of onions
Cover with cold water and 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt and let stand covered in the refrigerator overnight.
Drain, but do not rinse.
In a sauce pan, mix 2 cups of sugar
1 cup of light vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seed
Heat to dissolve sugar.Cool mixture and pour over pickles and onions.
Store in a large jar in the refrigerator.
June’s outrageous chocolate chip cookies
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Cream above mixture and then mix in:
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon soda
1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.
Contact Robyn Kruger at email@example.com.
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