Author Archives: quarryadmin

Relaxed Living | Bill’s Annual Newsletter

It is said whatever else you do to make a living will “take up most of your life”. “No matter what” there must be moments to break away from it. I am no good at it. Those around me appear to suffer because of the deficiency. Jacque, Ben & Adrianne have sacrificed some joys from my insistence that farming tasks at times come first. This dilemma carried on as they expanded their lives. There are occasions when my judgment becomes clouded in an effort to get things done right. Simply put I like the work as much as anything. I like to sweep floors. I like to clean corners. Of course being part of a family business I need to reach higher. I need to talk to the banker. I need to confer with the accountant. (These painstaking discussions now have been deferred to Ben for the most part). Ben, on the other hand, is much more focused on a better balance. His schedule and Brooke’s schedule can be “mean,” but in the sense that it denies them the chance to please themselves. But above all else they want to rejoice in their kiddos, their love for one another, and their new home. Perhaps I am confused in believing I must always pick up pieces of events I have stirred up. The next generation does not have to do that. A couple weeks ago the clan camped out behind the barn on a Saturday eve. They grilled that night and again in the morning with everyone required to ante up something meaningful. 

Jacque and I were included for eggs, bacon, and pastry on the grill. A leisurely breakfast outside is the greatest of tonics. It is an antidote for the mundane and the routine. Drama is not required to break away. This was all spontaneous. It defies relaxed joy. At this point in my life I can readily absorb such feeling that I have striven for what seems like always and forever. When I ask someone what they did over a weekend or holiday I often get the response, “I relaxed”.  If I were asked that I would be hard pressed to respond in a similar way.  I seem to be confused in distinguishing between relaxing and wasting time. This thinking had to come from our Uncle Len who often said that if you are waiting for someone or something you are “wasting time”. Do you not do that when you are relaxing or is it a time to recharge. Yet, he had to relax – fishing, reading, tasking for family & neighbors. But his relaxing was always moving forward. Ben Franklin stated that his goal as “Lose no time; be always employed in something useful.” I recall a segment on 60 Minutes of a college professor of philosophy who retired early to pursue his passion of waving. He sat by the roadside by his home on a busy road and waved at passersby. That was his joy to have the kindness returned. Somehow it is difficult to see the virtue of this, but he was driven (not occasionally but everyday). This relaxing must consist of wonder and a lot of “what ifs.” 

How can our lives be different, better, happier. If relaxing is a mean to an end then it is useful. Thus to me the road must be defined by useful work and being consistently kind.  Will all else fall into place?  You bet. Our clan, I believe, adheres to this. Tom “starts early & stays late” for the architectural firm he works for, but is not always rewarded appropriately. Adrianne does not give in to any difficulty on her flower farm. She blooms. 

Arra’s enthusiasm for reading well above her grade level has her emersed in Harry Potter…. Payton is off for a camping month in Minnesota. Her independence & maturity may be worrisome. Henry plays so many ballgames that don’t wear him down that he has no time to misbehave. Beatrice asked a time ago, “How is your day going Poppy Bill?” That is enlightening from a six year old. Tucker is always building. The last project was a “cat house” for the swarm of kittens that has softened everyone. Brooke and Ben have added a new home to their list of makings but still time to bake bread and fix bikes and above all be loving Mom and Dad. Jacque has endured the trials of back pain and arthritis and all kinds of hurts and still time for making strawberry jams & chattering. And I travel a well worn path. There is nothing like the wrath of “Mother Nature” to make you wish that life had a fast forward button. The cherry crop was greatly diminished by last Decembers cold spell and last weeks storm that featured hail had given us pause, but overall except for cherries, our fruit crops appeared above average.

Apple Crisp with Dorothy and Sam

Dishing with Dorothy: Apple Crisp

It’s the time of year again where the leaves are crunching under our feet, the traffic has slowed here at the Market Barn, and we are prepping desserts for our Thanksgiving feast.

Intentionally, those very special desserts that have been passed down from one generation to the next; recipes we hold near and dear to our heart as we recall memories of time spent in the kitchen with loved ones; those that shape our traditions during this holiday of thanks.

This past month I got the chance to visit my new friend Dorothy Pelanda (Director of Ohio Department of Agriculture) and her husband Sam Gerhardstein at their beautiful family farm, “Wyndanwood”. In celebration of National Apple Month, we prepared an Apple Crisp recipe that had been passed down for generations in Sam’s family.

Dorothy and I “dished” about apples, apple growing, cutting and peeling techniques, how to safely include the children, and the importance of using local ingredients (especially sourcing local apples from local orchards – find an orchard near you at

I also really enjoyed learning about Sam’s fond memories of time spent in the kitchen with his Grandmother Irene (where this recipe hails from), as well as his family orchard (Golden Hill) which solidified our friendship as fellow fruit growers (there is a small fraternity of us left…..).

Not only did I get to enjoy a delicious desert, but I got to spend time amongst wonderful people in one of my favorite environments (the kitchen!). We’re already plotting what to make next year. 

Thank you Sam and Dorothy for sharing your home and family tradition with all of us! During filming, we used Granny Smith, but the Mutzu apple is the preferred variety for this recipe.

The Mutzu apple comes late in season (approximate harvest date at Quarry Hill for Mutzu is Oct. 15th) just in time for all your holiday baking needs. Mutsu apples are a cross between Golden Delicious and Indo (a Japanese cultivar). Mutsu are a smooth yellow/green apple that is firm and crisp. The white flesh has a flavor of honey that is juicy and sweet-tart with a tanginess. This apple is a terrific dessert apple and can be used for baking, cooking, and saucing. Add Mutsu to your pies, cobblers, muffins or breads. Mutsu are excellent keepers and sweeten with age.



  •  6-8 Mutzu apples (Granny Smith is a good alternative if Mutzu is not available)
  •  ½ tsp. salt
  •  ½ cup orange juice
  •  ½ tsp. cinnamon 
  •  ¼ cup sugar (white)


Peel, core, and thinly slice apples (6-8 medium apples) and layer evenly into a seven inch square baking dish. Sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt, ½ cup orange juice, ½ tsp. cinnamon, and ¼ cup sugar (white). Try a variation of equal parts white and brown sugar if desired! 

Then in a separate bowl mix 1 cup sugar (white), ½ cup butter, and ¾ cup flour. This will be your crumble toping. Butter must be softened by room temperature, not heated or melted. Use a fork and mix until you get your desired size of crumble.

“Crumble” above ingredients evenly on top of the sliced apple mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until apples are tender!

Remove promptly on a trivet, and serve with a scoop of real vanilla ice cream on top. ENJOY!  

Ohio Department of Agriculture Socials

What Time is it?

Bill’s Annual Summer Newsletter

July 2022

“The Day is ending as cloud cover thickens. Rain may be coming. It is always calming to dwell on more provoking thoughts than the red cheeks coming to the cherries.”

What phase are we in our lives? Each change, ideally, is to lead to a new opportunity. Our family is an endearing reminder that we are still young or long to be young again.

  • Tucker pinched his fingers in the car door and needs some loving.
  • Payton and Gigi are on a search for dance shoes for her upcoming ballet recital.
  • Beatrice leaps for joy for a push on the swing hanging from the locost.
  • Henry is helping his dad pick up rocks before practice (is it baseball, soccer, or his 2nd baseball team?)

Too much? Too little? All reminders that we must appreciate that life is unfolding now. These moments may never happen again. Do we have to convince ourselves that we are living the right life and not merely leaping from one fire to another? This time of year sixty years ago my father was gravely ill. As a junior high youngster I never thought he would not “make it”. He was resilient, worked harder than most and active in his communities. In “death there is life” is often preached. Was this period to be one of new opportunity?

For many subsequent years my mother would ask my sister and I once a year “do you think of your father?”  Of course I always replied weakly.  Since her love for him was strong and unwavering, I know my response was the wrong one. I wanted to reinforce her.  Yet, I really wanted to say that my Dad and I seldom had time to openly share.  Surely there were moments of give and take, but not enough. I want to avoid this with our clan to “keep our souls alive” (as friends Barb and Bill reminded me).

I have been accused of “probing” too much, but this can’t be confused with heartfelt curiosity which is only surpassed by caution and kindness.  Such is the resort of seven decades of wrestling.  Peace and leisure are as fleeting as the tranquility of early summer mornings.

For some clarity and cleansing we sojourned to Ann Arbor last weekend.  Adrianne, Tom and Arra had a “barn dance” to celebrate their new flower farm down a gravel road west of the city.  “Marilla Field and Flora” has some unforgiving soil that through diligence and broken finger nails has encouraged 300 varieties of flowers.  Arra, too, glooms (?) for she “can read anything”.

Joy, indeed, abounds in our next generations. – Bill

Grammy Fran’s German Apple Cake


September 2021

A delicious and favorite family recipe from Brooke’s Grammy Frances Evelyn (her paternal grandmother).

Join me (Brooke Gammie) and Jen Picciano from Channel 19 news “Cleveland Cooks” as we share one of my favorite family recipes using our homegrown apples. You can view the full segment and recipe here, or follow along below.

Grammy’s legacy lives with me in aiming to add beauty in everyday life; drink from your special wine glasses on an average day; always have fresh flowers in your kitchen; wear a beautiful dress and lip-gloss when you’re hanging around the house; and use a beautiful baking dish and quality fresh ingredients for everyday meals, even when you’re not entertaining (which Grammy did to the nines!!!). Enjoy the beauty in all you do. Thank you Grammy!! I love you!!

Quarry Hill Orchards German Apple Cake


  • 1 cup oil (preferably coconut)
  • 4 farm fresh eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. real vanilla
  • 4 cups peeled and chopped apples, (suggested varieties: Quarry Hill Orchards Golden Supreme and Crimson Crisp)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)
  • 1 cup golden raisins (optional)


Mix the oil, beaten eggs and sugar. Add the dry ingredients. Fold in the apples, walnuts and raisins. Bake at 350*, in a greased loaf pan, for 50-60 minutes. Let cool, slice, and sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.

Optional frosting recipe to top baked cake:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • ½ stick of butter
  • 2 cups powders sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla

Summer’s Sweetness in a Jar


July 2019

This cherry season’s biggest fan:  Jennifer Thornton, Owner & Educator, Buttercream & Olive Oil shares her anecdotal recipe and techniques for canning cherries.  

Living in France for five years, one of my cherished memories is afternoons spent in Lolo’s cherry tree. Lolo is currently 95 years old and afternoons at his ancient Roman quarry farm were always spectacular. During cherry season, after a lengthy lunch, I would climb up into the stately cherry tree and eat as many cherries as I could until I couldn’t eat anymore. Whether they were the most delicious cherries in the world or not is debatable, but the memory of the Provençal sun and cigales singing, the company of best friends and so much delicious food, I cannot remember them being anything but the best.

That is until this summer as we ventured out to Quarry Hill for a Sunday afternoon of cherry picking. The trees were dripping with giant bunches of cherries. I will admit, I am a thoroughly devout sour cherry fan. I only stopped at 15 pounds because it was closing time. The sweet cherries were overwhelming plentiful and awe-inspiring and 20 lbs were picked easily picked in about an hour and half. These cherries are nothing short of exquisite. If you are new to picking cherries, remember the stems will keep the longer, so if you do not plan to eat or use them soon, pick with the stem. Picking your own fruit is one of life’s most gratifying delights. For me the only problem is I never know when to stop. When the fruit is plentiful and beautiful, I always think what I pick is just never enough. Of course, this really is not a bad thing and being staunchly locavore, the only cherries I eat all year will be local. This is why I freeze or can 90% of what I pick. Cherries are particularly fun to preserve through canning because no sugar is needed, in following with the USDA guidelines. This is for both sweet and sour cherries. 

Canning Whole Cherries in Lemon Juice

What you will need:

  • 15 pounds of sweet or sour cherries, whole and pitted (prefererably from Quarry Hill Orchards!)
  • Filtered water
  • 4 Organic Lemons
  • About 6 one-quart mason jars, sterilized

Prepare all the tools necessary for canning. Clean whole cherries well by triple washing in a vinegar bath. Clean your whole lemons the same way.

Pit the cherries, leaving them whole. You can get a handy little tool, but the rounded end of a bobby pin works great on the smaller fragile sour cherries and a small copper pipe works great on the plump sweet cherries.




While preparing the cherries, place mason jars and lids in the dishwasher and run without soap. Fill a large canning pot with water and set on the stove. In a large saucepan, add approximately 4 quarts of water to the halved lemons. Bring this to a boil.





For raw-packing, meaning the cherries are not heated before placing in the jars, add 1/2 cup hot lemon water to each jar. Fill hot jars with pitted whole cherries, shaking down gently as you fill. Add more hot liquid, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process in the boiling water bath, assuring that the water sufficiently covers the lids. Boil for 25 minutes.

*Sweet cherries or sour cherries can be canned separately or mixed together as well.


If this seems overwhelming, come can with me! This summer, I am offering two basic canning courses, because honestly the first time can be overwhelming. Canning is so rewarding and quite easy, but the process can be lengthy. I can about 100 or more quarts throughout the summer and as much as I love it, I always think about how it used to be done with families, friends and neighbors coming together to peel and chop and fill and boil…all in the good company of others. My canning class will hopefully bring a little of that community and have you feeling confident to go home and preserve summers bounty on your own. My July and August Canning Classes will be held in historic Medina Square. For more info, visit

A High Season Thursday at 12:42am


September 21, 2018 – 12:42 am

An email from Ben to his best pals, regarding his RSVP to his 40th birthday party in February 2019……. 


So the sun has long since set here at the farm.  Its just me and the dogs here in the barn office.  Harvest is in full swing… the Gala crop has been picked.  Honeycrisp will be wrapped up by next week.  I usually end the day lining up our wholesale delivery trucks for tomorrow’s routes (that… along with a beer or two and a 3-minute break for a small cat nap on the desk…..). We’ll have 3 drivers rollin’ tomorrow AM.  With good weather leading into the weekend, we should see strong retail sales and plenty of folks coming out to pick their own apples.  All in all, the crop is looking good.  We will finally see good returns off of the trees Dad and I planted the first year I moved home.  Production should be the highest since my coming back.  Quality yet to be determined…

It is far too frequent during this time of year that I get swept up in the hustle of harvest.  This life Brooke and I have chosen has challenged us far beyond what I could have imagined.  Many-a-day I question whether my shoulders are broad enough to keep this thing going.  There is a constant juggle between managing a payroll of 35+ people, forecasting farm profitability (or lack thereof), making harvest & sales decisions… all while driving the forklift around our packhouse like a mad man.  I miss my wife.  I miss my kids.  I long for the tranquility of farm life that was the picture I painted for Brooke so many years ago.  But I don’t think tranquility is my nature.   

It is in these moments that leaving Austin, Texas seemed like a damned foolish idea.  Maybe because its human nature to look fondly on the past.  Maybe because I found confidence in engineering that just isn’t part of farming with Mother Nature.  Maybe because the co-workers I met in that town have turned out to be the most meaningful life-long friends.  For that last reason, this trip is gonna be epic.  I absolutely can’t wait to strap some boards on my feet and earn my turns in some of that fine “Champagne Powder” of Route County, Colorado!  After I help my wife settle into life with new baby #4 and life as a family of six – I’ll be on the plane headed Westbound to play hard.  See you Gents then.                                                                                                         -Ben-


Overwhelming Success at First Peach Fest!

Halle Snavely is a local food consultant and a writer. She documents the best of Northeast Ohio’s local farms through her Instagram account @oneingredientco. This is her first guest blog post for Quarry Hill Orchards.

“We already ran out of peach ice cream!” Brooke Gammie says as she greets me at the Quarry Hill Orchards Peaches and Cream Festival. It’s noon. The festival started at ten. Running out of ice cream that early tells me that it must be really good. Mason’s Creamery clearly knows what they’re doing. Brooke is busy mingling with guests and crafting the dwindling peach sorbet into a beautiful presentation that is garnished with sliced peaches, lavender buds and fresh mint leaves (garnishes courtesy of Executive Chef and friend Jamie Simpson of Culinary Vegetable Institute). I immediately become jealous that I have to photograph this work of art instead of eat it.

Vegan Peach Sorbet from Mason’s Creamery

This is the first Peaches and Cream festival at Quarry Hill, but Brooke says it’s an idea that the Gammie family has been marinating on for some time. “Bill has wanted to do an ice cream social for a while, but we haven’t had a good peach crop and I had my hands full last year with Beatrice, so I didn’t get around to it. Then I thought, ok, I gotta do it this year! And it just happened really organically. I swear 80% of the people I’ve talked to today have never been here before.”

Flower Crown Makers

It’s a heartwarming sight: kids covered from head to toe in ice cream, happy children making flower crowns, people shopping at Fancy Me Boutique, crying children and parents consoling them are peppered throughout the crowd (par for the course), adults of all ages are taking in the scene while eating black bean burgers and empanadas from The Goucho and The Gringa (who also ran out of these crowd favorites), and local musicians are serenading the crowd. The farm store is bustling with people lined up in all directions, stocking up on peaches, eating peach crepes from The Mad Batter Baking Company, and getting their hands on the latest Quarry Hill Orchards gear. (Side note: Quarry Hill’s gear is seriously legit. Any hipster or style maven would be proud to rock these t-shirts, a new collaboration with Unsalted Boutique.)

4th Gen Gammie Girls Payton and Beatrice

There is a Gammie in just about every direction I look. Even in the midst of the chaos, it’s clear from the genuine smiles on their faces that they’re really enjoying themselves. Life on the farm is always chaotic, but to see how seamlessly the Gammie’s blend work and play is a pretty good indication that they really love what they do. It truly is a family affair, and their greatest joy is being able to share their farm with others. In fact, this is what fuels their passion. Judging from the number of people who showed up, it seems their customers are feelin’ the love too.    

Caitlin Davis, who lives just down the road, recounts some of her Quarry Hill memories. “I grew up coming here, so I was not missing this! We come in the fall to the apple event, and we’ll actually be back at the winery tomorrow. There’s something special about it being family run. It just feels like home. Everyone is having a good time, kids are running around. You can’t beat that. I love it.”

Towards the end of the event, I had the chance to grab some food and interact with a few of the attendees. I met Roger and Nancy Wallace, fellow farmers and friends of the Gammie’s. They summed up the vibe pretty well. “It’s a nice family farm. There’s nothing better than to let people experience this.”

Brooke (center) with best pals Katie and Jess manning the ice cream tent (with their collective 9 kids helping out)


Did you attend the Peaches and Cream event?

We’d love to share some of our favorite peach recipes with you!

Please take a moment to fill out this 2-minute survey to help us improve our future events. To show our appreciation for your time, we’ll send you an email with some of our favorite peach recipes once you’ve completed to survey!