SIOUX CENTER—Yardage bags and textile goods by J&E Wassink are part of this year’s Sioux Center Farmers Market.
“It’s kind of fun to be here,” said Elaine Wassink of rural Hull, who partners with her daughter Jackie Wassink to create the goods they have for sale.
The yardage bags, in particular, are designed by Jackie and sewn by Elaine.
Some of the textile goods are Elaine’s tasty, homemade syrups such as mulberry rhubarb and aronia/elderberry combinations made with 30 years of experience.
“My mom always put any kind of berry with rhubarb,” Elaine said. “I thought I’d try it because I had lots of mulberries and rhubarb one year. I hit upon a recipe in that worked, everybody loved it and I’ve been making it every since.”
Syrup seemed like the best way to eat mulberries as well, as the fruit comes with stems and a core that aren’t so fun to chew.
“Ounce I run it through siv, I just have juice anyway, which is easier to us” she said. “We like it so well on ice cream and pancakes. Sometimes I marinate berries in the syrup for a couple of hours and put that on cake. It’s real pretty on white cake with some cool whip.”
Elaine also has grape juice concentrate and grape jam made from grapes grown on her brother’s farm in Minnesota and homemade sweet CuPeOnCa relish.
You read that right — sweet CuPeOnCa relish made up of cucumbers, red bell peppers, onions, carrots, sugar, vinegar, mustard seed and celery seed.
“Use it on brats, hamburgers and hot dogs,” Elaine said. “I often used it with Miracle Whip for chicken, egg, ham, tuna or crab salads too.”
She’s put those instructions right on the jar even.
What’s not on the jar is her 15 years experience making the relish that all started with a summer of abundant cucumbers and a recipe from a cookbook sold by the Orange City Christian School’s Monica Society.
“I hate waste,” Elaine said. “As much as I can use and provide good food, I use it. I don’t mind working either. It takes some work to grow it, pick, it cut it up, turn into a product but it’s fun.”
Being able to meet more people from the community is also part of the fun of selling the products at the farmers market, open 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesdays at the Centre Mall in Sioux Center.
“It fills my time and if I can fill someone else’s taste buds with good food too, why not,” she said.
Have questions or want to learn more, stop by her booth at the farmers market or call 712-439-1793.