Current Newsletters

Posted 1/6/2016 4:25pm by Don Kretschmann.

Jan. 6, 2016

Greetings from the Kretschmanns, Happy New Year! Looks like our string of warm weather days has come to an end as the New Year’s first week unfolded. But it’s actually good news to have the fruit trees harden off so it will be safe to begin pruning. This task will dominate our attentions over the next two and a half months as we race the new buds’ emergence.

Likewise, our subjective world has experienced a sea-change as Don was diagnosed with a muscle tear in the shoulder after the last Dec. box, had a pre-Christmas surgery, and is now in recovery. This schedule gives the longest healing until the seasonal workload ramps up in the late spring. So far, it’s been much easier going than the identical operation on the other shoulder a year ago.   

Enjoy all the cooking greens in this perfect time for soups. Nothing warms one like a hearty broth in frigid weather. Greens are a perfect complement to these liquids—high in vitamin C and minerals. Collards especially stand simmering on the stove without breaking down. We’re hoping to get at least one more picking from the remaining kale in the field. What more could one expect, unless you’re from one of our southern tier of states where these staples continue pretty much all winter long?

We hope you like our first-time-ever canned tomato products. It’s like having a jar of summer sunshine. They are made nearly 100% with our farm grown organic produce—right down to the cilantro, basil, onions, and peppers. Note the tomato sauce jars are actually Mason jars and could be reused for canning as the standard jar lids fit them.

Hoping your household is buttoned tight against the winter, the while supping on hot delights from summer’s garden and non,                                            

Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

Winter Box Schedule: Next box is in two weeks for standard size only. Both Standard and Light shares get a box in a month.

Veggie ID: You might have a mix of purple and orange carrots. All carrots were purple until they gradually selected for the orange we now know.

FYI-New Season Signup has begun: We’ve updated the website and begun adding subscribers for the 2016 season. Basically all prices will remain the same as ’15. Since you are already receiving veggies in the new year, you are on that active list. If you know you won’t be continuing on into the summer, please let us know so we don’t accidentally send out veggie boxes for you come June.  

Lactofermentation: Sauerkraut. Ingredients are simply salt and cabbage. It’s naturally fermented and in the raw state. Cabbage was a little late this fall, so we didn’t get it fermenting in time for the holidays, but it’s just as delicious now. The following soup can be made just as nicely with collards. We have found you can just cut out the thick rib and slice collards in ribbons. The ribs are OK too, just chop more finely.

Portugese Kale Soup: Soak overnight 1/4 c. chickpeas and simmer until tender. (or use 1 can precooked ) Cut up 1/2 # potatoes into 3/4 " cubes and simmer 1/2 hr in 2 qt. chicken stock with 1/4 tsp pepper, a dash ground cloves, a dash ground alspice, 1 clove minced garlic. While this is cooking, fry 1/4 # hot sausage and cut into 1/3" pieces. (loose sausage can be fried as bitty meatballs) Break or cut kale into bite size pieces (4-5 cups or as desired). You can break it into pieces, leaving the larger ribs. These then can be cut up and cooked a little longer. After the 1/2 hour of simmering the potatoes, add the kale, chick peas, and sausage and simmer for 1 more hour. Add 2 c. (dry) precooked tubular pasta just before serving. Garnish to taste liberally with romano or parmesan cheese.

Rosemary Focaccia with Garlic and Onions: Saute 1 med. coarsely chopped onion and 2-4 cloves finely chopped garlic in 2 tbs olive oil until tender and golden. Set aside. Make recipe of your favorite bread proportioned to use 1 c. liquid. When preparing the liquid ingredients add the sauted onions and garlic and 1 tbs. finely minced rosemary. Add the flour, knead and raise the first time. Punch down and roll into a flat rectangular shape. Oil a large baking sheet and dust with cornmeal. Lift focaccia onto sheet and press dough out to cover. Allow to rise again, and before baking (400 deg) press a number of indentations in the top with your fingers. Brush with 2 tbs. olive oil and sprinkle with another tbs finely minced rosemary and grated Parmesan cheese. Bake approx 20 min until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped. Serve hot! Note: Easy bread recipe is Don's basic 1-1-1 in the breadmaker. 1 c. water 1 tbs honey, 1 tsp salt in first. Then 1 c. white and 1 c. whole wheat bread flour with 1 tbs dry yeast in a cavity on top of the flour. Put it on the dough cycle. Turn out when done onto floured surface and knead in a little extra flour if too sticky.

Rosemary Fries: Wash, pat dry, and cut up potatoes into 3/8’ thick slices halved if they are too large. (or if we’re in a hurry we just put them through the Veggie-matic and they come out like conventional French fries) Toss with several tbs. oil until well coated. Turn out on oiled cookie sheet. Bake @350 until they are tender and golden. Salt and sprinkle with a tbs. finely chopped rosemary. The rosemary seems to cut the oil and adds a Mediterranean ambiance. Special Orders: Bloody Mary Mix—made from our own tomatoes with a little horseradish kicker.  $7.00/liter  (It’s also great as a refreshing breakfast tomato juice!) We’ve gotten lots of rave reviews for this tasty treat—mostly consumed without alcohol.  

Posted 12/17/2015 8:29pm by Don Kretschmann.

Dec. 16, 2015

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

The warm weather has been a blessing for us, allowing easy and comfortable harvest of crops remaining in the fields. Incredibly, all the greens this week were not from greenhouses at all, but directly from the fields. If we had had the time and regular summer crew, we could likely have harvested enough for weekly produce boxes. But we hear the cold reaper is on the way…

Right after the delivering the last veggie boxes, we quickly changed hats, and launched into a long-awaited construction job. We had built a larger apple cooler last summer. This needed a roof and the small packing shed off the main barn was getting a little cramped (as well, the rafters were rotting on the ends). With greenhouse panels above, this had been our first tiny greenhouse many decades ago. We decided to span the whole pad with 40’ trusses and create a spacious new packing shed. We could not conceive of a way to get the trusses up, even with a crane. Nightmares were playing daily, when I called a neighbor with some experience who came up with a simple, but classic old time method of raising the trusses. We attached a pulley from a beam below the highest window in the old bank barn and pulled three preassembled braced trusses at a time with a very long rope hitched to a tractor. Then, slid them in place using a little soap. One could have done it with horses in the old days. Metal roofing and skylights go on this week. Hopefully we’ll test the roof with the coming snow.

Hoping you are blessed with a wonderful Christmas season, family and friends supping on all the treats from farm and kitchen,                                            

Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

Winter Box Schedule: Both Standard and Light shares get a box in three weeks, Jan. 6-7. After that, light shares will be only once a month. Standards will be biweekly.

Veggie ID: Bunched stalks are leeks. In the onion family, they are great in soups and stews. Long red roots in plastic bag are a favorite heirloom beet—Cylindra. They cook a little quicker than round beets and after slipping off the skins they cut up into deep red slices—very sweet and uniform.

Holiday Tip: Julienne radishes for a holiday salad. Slice both ways for delicacy.

Lactofermentation: We’ve been watching Todd fermenting every manner of veggies all summer long. Here are some tips from our resident expert.

Crockpot Apples: Remove cores from enough apples to fill crockpot. Mix equal amounts of raisins and sugar (1/4 c.) Fill apples with tbs of mix. Dot with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon, put in 1/2 c. water, and cook in crockpot for 6 hrs. Italians have “rucola” salad all winter long made in various ways…

Arugula, with Beets, Gorgonzola, and Sweet Walnuts: Cook beets until tender, slip off the skins and slice. Toss with the 1 T olive oil, 1 T wine or herbed vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper. Mix 1 c.chopped walnuts well with ¼ c. corn syrup and ¼ c brown sugar. Spread on cookie sheet and bake @ 350 deg. about 10 min. until crisped. Cool. Serve beets atop small portion of arugula greens, sprinkling crumbled gorgonzola and walnuts. Another great salad is mesclun greens topped with apple slices and candied walnuts.

Carrots with Cranberries: Combine 1 grated apple, 4 c. grated carrots, 1 c. cranberries, 4 tbs brown sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 c. cider. Place in buttered cassarole dish and dot with butter. Cover, and bake in @350 deg. for 40 min., stirring once.

Posted 12/6/2015 9:29pm by Don Kretschmann.

Dec. 2, 2015

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,   

Whether it’s global warming, or just an unusual late fall, we’re delighted by the natural extension of our growing season this year. Beautiful red leaf lettuce is right from the field, though floating row covers protected it through the 20 degree dip two weeks ago. There have been many years when lettuce was irretrievably damaged when similarly protected even in early November. Ditto for the Tatsoi, Romanesco, and cauliflower.   

We hope you aren’t overwhelmed by the volume of this box. We felt it best to pick what was in the fields before the weather takes a turn for frigid. If sheer volume cramps your storage space, kale and tatsoi can easily be blanched and frozen for later use. Potatoes, onions, garlic, and beets store very well in a cool location and needn’t take up refrigerator space. Even the apples or carrots will keep well in the bag in a seasonally cool garage.   

In two weeks, we can’t promise lettuce, though there’s lots of perhaps even more beautiful red and green bibb. We are confident we’ll have kale and/or collards, cabbage, leeks (!), and all the roots and fruit we have in the barn coolers.    As 2015 winds down, we are gearing up to do some long anticipated building improvements—a unified packing shed-- which should make our work easier and more sheltered.       

We took a day after Thanksgiving to visit for the first time Malabar Farm of pioneering sustainable innovator and farmer Louis Bromfield (now an Ohio state park). In the 1940’s and ‘50’s he penned many of my favorite wise and pithy quotes. “No force on earth will give such a response and such a reward as nature when you understand her and work with her.” “It is one of the failures of our fundamental American philosophy that we confuse education and intelligence as much as we confuse plumbing and civilization. One ounce of intelligence is worth a pound of education, for where there is intelligence, education will advance and follow on its own, but where education alone exists, the results can be terrifying beyond even the realms of untutored stupidity.”   

Wishing you delicious meals and many blessings of the season,                                             Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

Winter Box Schedule: Both Standard and Light shares get a box in two weeks, Dec. 16-17 and then Jan. 6-7.

Veggie ID: (If you got a head) Star Warsy coral-cauliflower looking head is Romanesco. It’s in the brassica family. The bunched greens are tatsoi, an oriental green.

Apple Corner: York (larger, firm, and very juicy, excellent for pies), and Goldrush (unique full bodied flavor).  

We’ve been enjoying pansful of roasted roots lately. Very simple to make.

Roasted Root Vegetables: Wash a variety of roots well and towel dry. Cut them up into bite sized chunks slicing those which require a little more time to cook slightly smaller or thinner--typically beets, carrots and potatoes. White turnips take less time to cook. Scrub beets with a good vegetable brush and just cut the shoulders and root off, don’t bother peeling. Toss veggies with vegetable oil until well coated then spread one layer deep on an oiled cookie sheet. Toss the beets separately unless you don’t care that the other things turn red. Onions are great too, but in larger chunks and put in the oven for only about half the time. Bake @350 deg. until tender. With cranberries in season, this was outstanding…

Apples with Cranberries Citrus: Slice the peel of an undyed orange or lemon into thin slivers about 1/2” long. Place in 2 qt saucepan with 1 c. honey or 1 c. sugar and ½ c. water. Bring to boil for 10 min. then add 4 c. Fresh cranberries. Simmer until cranberries begin to pop, then mash them with a potato masher until they are pretty much all popped. Then add 4 c. diced apples and continue to cook for about 15 min longer. Allow to cool. Mmmm… With such a great variety of veggies, it’s hard not to get into some type of stir fry…

Shrimp Tatsoi Stir Fry: Get brown rice cooking—2 c. water 1 c. rice. Cut up 1 large or 2 small carrots into thinner slivers—about 1” long x ¼” square. Cut up stems of tatsoi about ¾” long; keep the leaves separate and chop. Cut up ½ onion into coarse 1/2” thick rings quartered. Mince 2 cloves garlic and about equal amount fresh ginger or turmeric. Saute carrots, garlic and ginger in 2 tbs. coconut oil 5 min. then add the tatsoi stems, ½ # peeled shrimp, and onions stirring constantly for about 3 min. Lastly add the tatsoi leaves and saute until they begin to wilt. Turn down heat and cover 5 min. Season with a little soy sauce. Also can add a little sesame oil in the middle of saute. Or add some curry. Serve over the rice.

Apple pie is good with the Yorks; Whole wheat makes a perfectly great crust too.

Applebutter & Apple Slice Shortbread:  Fill a 2 qt. saucepan about half full with coarsely diced apples (don’t bother peeling them).  Add about ¼ c. water, cover and boil about 10 min. or until very tender.  Drain liquid & add 1 tsp. cinnamon ½ c. coarse cane sugar and mash with potato masher until it’s smooth.  Put back on low heat uncovered.  Meanwhile, sift 1 c. whole wheat, 1 c. white whole wheat, 3 tsp. baking powder, ½ tsp salt, 4 tbs. sugar.  Melt ½ c. butter and pour into flour.  Mix well until crumbly then mix in 5/8 c. milk.  Mix & form a nice dough.  Spread out in buttered 9x13 pan patting with rubber spatula until it’s even in the bottom.  Spread hot apple butter on top evenly, then arrange slices of unpeeled apple in rows on the top.  (I like to quarter, pare, and then slice each quarter into about three curved pieces) sprinkle top with cinnamon and about 2 tbs. sugar. Bake @ 350 deg.  

Posted 11/21/2015 7:12am by Don Kretschmann.

Nov. 17, 2015

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,   

Forget about those “wool socks and heavier jackets” mentioned last week, we’re back to t-shirts in this wonderful mid-November weather!  Who’d a thunk?  A walk around the farm Sunday revealed crops coming on like there’s not going to be any winter.  Though the tips of some of the lettuces were nipped by one of the frosts, the heads are as robust and sweet as they’ve been all season.  Mesclun greens abound in half a dozen different fields, as well as the hi-tunnel.  I could go on and on, but alas, it’s our last box of the season.  We imagine that the winter boxes up to Christmas will contain many unexpected bonanzas.  (Maria prevailed upon us to plant a row of Romanesco—a cauliflower/broccoli Star Warsy brassica.)   

We finished picking the last of the apples right before all the winds came late last week.  Then a later than normal annual turnip pull yielded some for the Thanksgiving root medley.   

We very much hope you have enjoyed the season with our farm—all the ups and downs, twists and turns, bumper crops and lacks thereof.  The floods of June were enough to threaten faith, until drought had its turn.  Healthy soil, decades in the making, and perseverance eventually came to reveal 2015 as a unique, but quite characteristically bountiful year.               

Wishing you Thanksgiving blessings, and of the harvest season,                                             Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

FYI: This week is the last box of the regular summer 2015 season! Leave all wooden crates at the pickup location. Winter Season begins Dec. 2 with boxes either every two weeks or once a month until March.  If it’s blank above, you have not signed up yet.  We’ll have quite a variety of produce: carrots, onions, beets, potatoes; brassicas: cabbage, kale, collards; winter squash; apples; arugula; greens from the greenhouse… See the website for dates & more info. Send a note with subject: Winter boxes

Veggie ID:  The bag of herbs contains rosemary, thyme (tiny leaves), and sage (ovals) and tumeric!  Yes, Becky was able to eke a crop out of our large greenhouse after 8 months of growing. It’s one of the most healthy herbs one could consume.  The bunched greens are tatsoi, an oriental green. 

Apple Corner: Apples are Liberty (last of them), York (larger, firm, and very juicy), and Goldrush (unique full bodied flavor). It’s a shame the Goldrushes ripen so late in the season and store so well that we generally don’t get many to our regular season subscribers.  Don’t deprive yourself of enjoying one of these unique apples by relegating it to a cooking apple because of the dark splotches. Especially if it has a tinge of yellow, it will knock your taste bud socks off.  Winter boxes will have lots of Yorks and Goldrushes should last well into spring. Speaking of spring: Remember those grafts we did last spring? They’ve grown up.  Here’s our little nursery of new trees to plant as soon as it warms up in 2016.   

German for "Heaven and Earth"--thanks, Jim

Himmel und Erde:  Cook until tender roughly equal amounts of potatoes, turnips, and apples.  Mash together and add butter, salt, and pepper to taste.  Wow, that is heaven on earth!  (The potatoes might be cooked separately as they take longer than the apples and turnips which are about the same.)  

Tatsoi, Ginger, and Garlic: Mince 2 cloves garlic, and about 1 tbs. fresh ginger.  Chop tatsoi into bite sized pieces putting the stems in one pile and the leaves in another.  Saute garlic and ginger in olive or coconut oil a minute then add the stems stirring constantly then add the leaves and saute until wilted.  Turn down heat and cover tightly.  Allow to steam 5 min.  Serve with soy sauce.  One can also add slivered carrots or other vegetables.       

Arugula, with Beets, Gorgonzola, and Sweet Walnuts: Cook beets until tender, slip off  the skins and slice. Toss with the 1 T olive oil, 1 T wine or herbed vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper. Mix 1 c.chopped walnuts well with ¼ c. corn syrup and ¼ c brown sugar.  Spread on cookie sheet and bake @ 350 deg. about 10 min. until crisped. Cool.  Serve beets atop small portion of arugula greens, sprinkling crumbled gorgonzola and walnuts. Another great salad is mesclun greens topped with apple slices and candied walnuts. Fruited vinegrette

Posted 11/21/2015 7:09am by Don Kretschmann.

Nov. 10, 2015

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   Wool socks and heavier jackets are starting to become the norm.  Frost precludes early morning fieldwork; after fueling up with hot coffee, bagging produce in the barn has been the start of our days. Though normally picked first, this week’s lettuce was picked last, so we’d have something to do in the morning waiting for frost to melt.  Ice is very hard on the fingers, so afternoon work hours are most precious.

   A big surprise this fall has been how well the lettuces have grown.  We’ve been somewhat short of this green since sometime in early August with a prolonged dry spell.  We were so busy picking the avalanche of tomatoes and the hot dusty conditions didn’t seem very condusive to planting a succulent crop like lettuce.  We missed seeding one batch of plugs entirely.  We thought we could make up time by seeding in the tiniest plugs where the roots would fill out the plug quicker, then put them in the ground by hand rather than with the machine.  In early September, it was make-or-break time.  It would be too late to mature if we didn’t get it planted.  So into the ground it went “with a hope and a prayer”.  We drip irrigated it several times and when cooler weather came, put on thin row covers to add warmth and speed it up.  Nip and tuck all the way to the finish line, but we trust you’ll agree the result has been some remarkably nice salad fixings.

  Among next week’s offerings we should have potatoes, sage-thyme&rosemary (for that stuffing), turnips, greens, and Goldrush apples.      

      Wishing you blessings of the harvest season,

                                            Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

FYI: Next week is the last box of the regular summer 2015 season! Return all wooden crates to the pickup location. Winter Season begins Dec. 2 with boxes either every two weeks or once a month until March.  There’s a variety of produce even after freezing temperatures predominate: carrots, onions, beets, potatoes; brassicas: cabbage, kale, collards; winter squash; apples; arugula; greens from the greenhouse… See the website for more info. Let us know by sending a note with subject: Winter boxes (and indicate size). We’re always in need of good dropoff sites for winter pickup.

 

R&D came up with this simple sweet…With whole grains, it’s lots more wholesome than the pastry puff recipe it was taken from. Also, it’s very easy to whip up.

Applebutter & Apple Slice Shortbread:  Fill a 2 qt. saucepan about half full with coarsely diced apples (don’t bother peeling them).  Add about ¼ c. water, cover and boil about 10 min. or until very tender.  Drain liquid & add 1 tsp. cinnamon ½ c. coarse cane sugar and mash with potato masher until it’s smooth.  Put back on low heat uncovered.  Meanwhile, sift 1 c. whole wheat, 1 c. white whole wheat, 3 tsp. baking powder, ½ tsp salt, 4 tbs. sugar.  Melt ½ c. butter and pour into flour.  Mix well until crumbly then mix in 5/8 c. milk.  Mix & form a nice dough.  Spread out in buttered 9x13 pan patting with rubber spatula until it’s even in the bottom.  Spread hot apple butter on top evenly, then arrange slices of unpeeled apple in rows on the top.  (I like to quarter, pare, and then slice each quarter into about three curved pieces) sprinkle top with cinnamon and about 2 tbs. sugar. Bake @ 350 deg. 40 min. or until apples are tender. Serve warm or cool.

Butternut Soup:  Chop coarsely 1 large onion. Coarsely cube 6 c. butternut (you needn’t peel it).  Saute onion in 2 tbs butter, add squash and add 6 c. water or stock, ½ tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp black pepper, and simmer until butternut is tender.  Then puree in blender in small batches with 8 oz. cream cheese.  Reheat slightly but don’t boil. 

Carrot Soup With Dill Pesto: Saute 4 large carrots, 1 onion and and 1 tsp dill seeds in 2 tbs butter until tender, about 10 minutes. Add 4 cups broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 35 minutes. Transfer soup to blender in batches and puree. Thin with more broth if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Combine 1 c. fresh dill and 2 tbs pine nuts or sunflower seeds in processor and chop finely using on/off turns. Then  slowly add 2 tbs olive oil and process until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.. Ladle into bowls. Swirl pesto into soupbowls.

Arugula, with Beets, Gorgonzola, and Sweet Walnuts: Cook beets until tender, slip off  the skins and slice. Toss with the 1 T olive oil, 1 T wine or herbed vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper. Mix 1 c.chopped walnuts well with ¼ c. corn syrup and ¼ c brown sugar.  Spread on cookie sheet and bake @ 350 deg. about 10 min. until crisped. Cool.  Serve beets atop small portion of arugula greens, sprinkling crumbled gorgonzola and walnuts.

Another great salad is mesclun greens topped with apple slices and candied walnuts. Fruited vinegrette?

Stuffed Cabbage- Filling:1 c. minced onion, 1# ground meat, 2 c. cooked brown rice, 1 egg, salt and pepper. (Some people use ground pork, a mix, or hot sausage as well) Mix well with the hands.  While mixing filling, bring really large pot ½ full of water to boiling.  With a large meat fork stab the cabbage in the butt end so you can lift the cabbage with the fork.  Then Then emerse cabbage in boiling water long enough to partially cook and soften the outer layer of leaves.   Remove to a plate and cut the outer few leaves which have been cooked at the base and remove keeping them whole.  Roll up filling in cabbage leaves and place in large pot with a little tomato sauce on the bottom.  Repeat the process cooking the cabbage a few minutes at a time and removing each layer of leaves.  When filling is used up, you can fill in the top layer with chunks of remaining cabbage or saurkraut and add enough tomato sauce to cover.  Simmer until meat is cooked.

Posted 11/6/2015 3:07pm by Don Kretschmann.

Nov. 3, 2015

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,   

A glorious “Indian Summer” it is right now.  Though spritzed with an occasional shower, we’ve enjoyed one enjoyable day after another.  Sunsets have rivaled Southwest desert displays.  Root crop harvest is reaching a fever pitch.  We had to pinch ourselves Monday when we realized while digging the last row of carrots that we’d only begun the beet/carrot field exactly a week prior. At that time the barn cooler was nearly empty.  Now it’s full of carrots, radishes, and greens.  The basement of our bank barn is now congested with harvested beets.    

We’ll be into cabbage before the season ends. Cauliflower is currently MIA.  We’ve merely picked a head here and there, but there are thousands of big bushy plants in the field.  Sometime in the next two weeks we’ll be picking it--madly rocketing cauliflower darts to the catchers near the bins on the roadways around the field.  Turnips are the next big field of roots to harvest.    

Nice green blankets are starting to overtake our vegetable fields.  Sometimes it’s a blue-green blanket of Austrian winter peas mixed with oats.  This cover crop will fix lots of nitrogen naturally from the air and die back over winter to make a rich easy-to-till field for the earliest plantings next spring.  Some fields are tucked under a brighter almost Kelly green cover of cereal rye.  This will remain green all winter, growing whenever not underneath snow, as it takes carbon from the atmosphere sequestering it in leaves, stems, and voluminous roots for digestion by soil microbes when plowed down later in the spring.  Then there are those most satisfying deep green carpets of alfalfa and clover mixed with grasses whose roots are colonized by nitrogen fixing bacteria pulling that gas out of the air to start the process of building proteins.  The incredible fuel for all of this is most advanced--fusion—simply sunshine harvested by chlorophyll. This harvest will continue even as the food crops wane. (and as the Irish know, it makes a mighty nice landscape as well).     

Enjoying a tad more sleep, the last of woodsy northern glory, and blessings of the harvest season,                                             

Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

There are two more weeks of the regular summer 2015 season. After Thanksgiving we begin the Winter Season.  These boxes are either every two weeks or once a month (S or L) from December until March.  It surprises many (including us sometimes!) the variety of produce even after freezing temperatures predominate: the roots—carrots, onions, beets, potatoes; brassicas: cabbage, kale, collards; winter squash; apples; arugula; greens from the greenhouse…  It’s often more than is available in the early summer!  This year we’ll have some of our own canned tomato products in the boxes.  See the website for more info. To avoid last minute signup, let us know early by simply sending a note with subject line: Winter boxes (and indicate size). Also, we’re always in need of good dropoff sites for winter pickup.  Let us know if you’d like to offer, or know of a business which would fit.

Veggie ID: Apples this week are Liberty.  Kale is Tuscan kale.  We find one gets more out of this kale when cooked than other types. The lettuces are all Salanova types.  They’re made to snip the bottom and all the small leaves fall apart to add to some mesclun for a salad greens mix.  You might have a mix of purple and orange carrots.  All carrots were purple until they gradually selected for the orange we now know.  

This has quickly become one of our fall favorites.

Butternut and Fall Greens over Pasta: Peel and cut up butternut into bite sized pieces. Toss with oil, put on cookie sheet and roast until nearly tender, then broil carefully to just barely toast the top.  Meanwhile chop and steam or boil greens of your choice.  Tuscan kale or turnip greens are great.  Chop greens, combine with butternut and 1# of your favorite pasta.  Salt & Pepper, shredded cheese, and perhaps a little roasted garlic fill out the taste pallette. A really rich version for guests…saute the squash in butter.

Butternut Squash, Bacon, And Rosemary Pizza: Peel, remove seeds and dice 1 med. butternut into ¾ inch chunks. Saute in 2 tbs oil 2 min.  Add 1/2c. water, cover and simmer 10 min until squash is just tender.  Drain. Puree in food processor or mash squash with salt and pepper to taste. Puree can be made ahead and chilled, or frozen for later use.  Preheat oven to 400F.  Spread pizza dough on pan or stone.  Spread squash puree evenly over top.   Spread ½ c. grated parmesan cheese on top with pieces of 1 small thinly sliced onion, 1 tb. Minced rosemary leaves, and pieces of bacon if desired.  Bake about 15 min. until golden.

Portugese Kale Soup: Soak overnight 1/4 c. chickpeas and simmer until tender.  (or use 1 can precooked )  Cut up 1/2 # potatoes into 3/4 " cubes and simmer 1/2 hr in 2 qt. chicken stock with 1/4 tsp pepper, a dash ground cloves,  a dash ground alspice, 1 clove minced garlic.  While this is cooking, fry 1/4 # hot sausage and cut into 1/3" pieces. (loose sausage can be fried as bitty meatballs)  Break or cut kale into bite size pieces (4-5 cups or as desired).  You can break it into pieces, leaving the larger ribs.  These then can be cut up and cooked a little longer.  After the 1/2 hour of simmering the potatoes, add the kale, chick peas, and sausage and simmer for 1 more hour.  Add 2 c.(dry) precooked tubular pasta just before serving.  Garnish  to taste liberally with romano or parmesan cheese. 

Apple crisp: Combine ¾ c. flour (wholewheat is fine), ½ c. brown sugar, ½ tsp baking powder and ½ c.butter(stick) which is softened or melted.  Mix well with pastry blender or between your fingers until it starts to clump together. Slice or coarsely dice 2# apples (we never peel our apples), mix with ¼ c. cider, ¼ c. brown sugar, ½ c. raisins, 1 tsp. cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground cloves and simmer until apples are cooked slightly.  Put apple mix in deep pie pan or 9” square glass dish, top with crumbs, and bake @ 350 deg. 30 min. (If you’re in a hurry, one could also use your favorite granola atop)

If you haven’t tried these, you owe it to yourself and openmindedness to try them.

Quick Pickled Radishes: Slice 1 bunch of radishes into thin rounds with a knife or mandolin. Place in pint mason jar.  Add ½ tsp. mustard seeds, 1 tsp. minced jalapenos (or not, depending on taste). Bring ¾ c. water, ¾ c. cider vinegar, 3 tbs. honey (or sugar), 2 tsp salt to a boil in small saucepan.  Pour over pickles.  Allow to cool and refrigerate.  Can be used immediately.  They keep for a few weeks.

Posted 10/28/2015 2:17pm by Don Kretschmann.

Oct.27, 2015 Greetings from the Kretschmanns,   

After the frost last week, we’ve been scrambling to harvest with the reduced daylight hours.  Cold morns make it a little slower on that end. Brilliant and beautiful autumnal afternoons end quickly as the chill returns.  But it also makes for suppers more to Becky’s preferred timing.    

Seems like nearly every cropped field has been greening with the cover crops planted and taking over.  They contrast with the remaining brassicas.  And we’ve even got cover crops peaking up through the mesclun greens, dill, radishes, and turnips.  It’s always nice to know while we are taking out, we’re putting back as well.   

Though we’ve been digging carrots to beat the band, the crazy weather this week prevents us from having the time to bag them up.  Finishing the harvest is more important-- before the heavy rains predicted Tuesday and Wednesday night.  They are accumulating in the cooler!   

Apologies to those who said they didn’t want radishes.  We were overcome with how nice they are.  See the recipe below.  It could be a change of heart.   

In Autumnal Tints, Thoreau imagines that if the earth itself were seen as a fruit on a stem, it would ripen with a rosy blush as it faces the sun.  He writes that while we make a big show of produce and fruits at our harvest fairs, “…we are wont to forget that an immense harvest which we do not eat, hardly use at all, is annually ripened by Nature…and around about and within our towns there is annually another show of fruits, on and infinitely grander scale, fruits which address our taste for beauty alone.”      With you, enjoying the spectacular colorful fair,                                               Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

FYI: Winter season signup! We’d like to not have to deal with lots of last minute signups. Please let us know early, by sending us a note with subject line: Winter (and indicate size).  Boxes are available either every two weeks or once a month (S or L) from December until March.  It surprises many (including us sometimes!) the variety of local produce which one can have even after freezing temperatures predominate.  It’s often more than is available in the early summer.  We’re excited to have some of our own canned tomato products for off-season use.  See the website for more info.  Also, we’re always in need of good dropoff sites for winter pickup.  Let us know if you’d like to offer, or know of a business which would fit.

Of Interest:  On Sat. Nov. 7, we will host a workshop on the farm: Adapting to Climate Change by Building Healthy Soil.  This is sponsored by Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture.  Though primarily for farmers, this is an opportunity to see our farm and come to understand our commitment to constant environmental improvement and long term investment in our soil. There is a charge, and includes a wonderful lunch by Burghers’.  

Quick Pickled Radishes: Slice 1 bunch of radishes into thin rounds with a knife or mandolin. Place in pint mason jar.  Add ½ tsp. mustard seeds, 1 tsp. minced jalapenos (or not, depending on taste). Bring ¾ c. water, ¾ c. cider vinegar, 3 tbs. honey (or sugar), 2 tsp salt to a boil in small saucepan.  Pour over pickles.  Allow to cool and refrigerate.  Can be used immediately.  They keep for a few weeks.

Twice Baked Spinach Potatoes: Bake 3 large potatoes until tender and cool. cut each potato lengthwise and scoop out all but 1/4 " thick shell. Mash pulp with potato masher add 1/2 c. milk, 1/2 c. cream cheese, 1 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 1/4 c. finely chopped onion, 1/4 tsp. salt, pepper and 10 oz. steamed, chopped spinach (Or other greens).  Stir well and spoon mixture into shells.  Sprinkle top of each half potato with cheese.  Place on a baking sheet, bake @ 400 deg. 15 min. or until thoroughly heated.

Fennel Quinoa Pilaf: Cook ½ c minced onion, 1/2 c. diced chard or beet stems or celery, ½ c diced carrots, and 1 c. diced fennel bulb, in 1 tbs butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until veggies are softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add 1 c. quinoa and sauté over moderately high heat, stirring, until lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 ½ c. water and salt and pepper to taste and cook over moderately low heat, covered, until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Couscous could also be used but add the water before the couscous and when it begins to boil, add the couscous, turn heat off, and cover for 5 min until the couscous is cooked.

Pasta with Beets & Greens: Roast 2 large or 5 smaller beets and chop.  Heat 1/2 c. olive oil add tsp garlic.  Add juice of 1 orange and 1 lime, salt and pepper, and boil until volume is halved.  Add 1# chopped greens (Chard, beet greens, kale) and cook.  Cook 1 # linguini or other pasta, add beets, greens, 4 oz. crumbled gorgonzola or feta, and a few nuts if desired.

Posted 10/28/2015 2:07pm by Don Kretschmann.

Oct.20, 2015

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,   

Frost, freeze, panic! That used to be the norm the early years of growing vegetables.  We’ve gotten ever better at planning well in advance so when at last that night arrives, we don’t have all those last minute surprises.  But there’s always those close calls shrouded in uncertainties.  At what temperature is fennel damaged?  Are the greens too young to survive a hard freeze?  Will it get cold enough to actually freeze the ground and perhaps damage root crops?  We’ve seen so many incredible veggie feats.  Like peppers (which are tender tropical plants) survive repeated frosts—two, three, four frosts and there are still fruit in the field.  Last Wednesday, after cultivating one last time, and then seeding a cover crop of rye between the rows, we put row covers over all our remaining lettuce.  This is not only to give a little frost protection, but also to boost the temperatures so it grows faster in the fall. We’ve likewise covered a new planting of dill which we seeded because it looks like a great fall carrot crop which would be wonderful to put together with dill pesto in soup.  

As the weekend progressed, there was that usual last minute panic when you make the conservative call to cover things because it’s easier than wishing you did after they’re ruined.  In a rare Sunday task, we covered beets and fennel.  And then, because we forgot, the late day trip to Walmart for some antifreeze to put in the irrigation pump before nightfall—just in case (and so you can sleep a little sounder).  But sooner or later—the party is over, with a bang or with a wimper.       

All bets are in, as clouds clear and the sun sets.         Your farmer gamblers,                                             Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

FYI: Winter season signup is upon us! We’d like to not have to deal with lots of last minute signups. Please let us know early, by sending us a note with subject line: Winter (and indicate size). Boxes are available either every two weeks or once a month (S or L) from December until March. It surprises many (including us sometimes!) the variety of local produce which one can have even after freezing temperatures predominate. It’s often more than is available in the early summer. We’re excited to have some of our own canned tomato products for off-season use. See the website for more info. Also, we’re always in need of good dropoff sites for winter pickup. Let us know if you’d like to offer, or know of a business which would fit. Of Interest:  On Sat. Nov. 7, we will host a workshop event on the farm: Adapting to Climate Change by Building Healthy SoilThis is sponsored by Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture.  Though primarily for farmers, this is an opportunity to see our farm and come to understand our commitment to constant environmental improvement and long term investment in our soil. There is a charge, and includes a wonderful lunch.  

Kabocha Squash: This winter squash is one of the “richest” of them all with a flesh which is every bit as meaty and sweet as a yam or sweet potato.  It’s always a shame to waste any bit of the edible portion, so we usually peel it with a potato peeler and then halve and scoop out the seeds.  From there, one can either toss in oil and roast it, or boil it like sweet potatoes.  One can roast it, and scoop out the flesh, but this often results in more waste than peeling.

Pea Shoots: These tender leaves and tips of the pea plant vines are perfect raw in a salad, or stir fried with some garlic and sesame oil. High in anti-oxidants, and vitamins A and C!

Stir-Fried Spicy Carrots With Peanuts• Preheat the oven to 350 de Put ¼ c peanuts in a shallow pan, and bake for 10 minutes . Cool and chop coarsely. Coarsely grate 1 pound medium carrots and stir fry in 2 tbs butter or peanut oil about 5 min. Stir in peanuts, ¼ tsp ginger and hot pepper flakes (if desired) to taste.  Season with salt pepper and a dash of lime juice.  Serve hot.

Apple Squash Casserole: Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Peel 2 lbs. winter squash, cut in half, and cut in 1/2 inch wide slices.  Arrange squash in small ungreased 9x13" pan. Slice 2 apples into 1/2 inch wide slices.  Arrange these on top of squash. Mix together 1/4 c. melted butter, 1/2 c. brown sugar, 1 T. flour, 1 t. salt, 1/2 t. mace or allspice.  Sprinkle this over the top of the squash and apples. Cover & bake for 50 to 60 min.

Swedish Apple Ring: Basic sweet yeast dough—easy way. Microwave1 c. milk in larger pyrex measuring cup until it just starts to boil.  Add ¼ c butter, 1 tsp salt.  Allow 1 tbsp. powdered yeast to soften in ¼ c. warm water.  Place milk in breadmaker or mixing bowl.  Add ½ c. sugar or honey, 1 tsp lemon zest, and the softened yeast.  Then add about 5 c. flour.  (I usually go ½ whole wheat and keep it to about 4 1/2c. if using the bread mixer—otherwise add flour until it’s soft dough)  Let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk or use the “dough” option on the breadmaker.  Dice 2 apples, mix with 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ c. walnuts meats, and ½ c. brown sugar.  When dough is ready, divide into two and roll each out to about 6”x16”, brush with melted butter and spread half the apple mixture on top evenly.  Roll like jelly roll and place on greased cookie sheet in a ring, pinching the ends together.  Cut with scissors at 1” intervals almost through ring and turn slices slightly.  Let rise until doubled and bake @ 375 deg. 25 min.  While warm, drizzle with powdered sugar icing.  Wait till it cools before….Mmmm….  

Posted 10/16/2015 11:41am by Don Kretschmann.

Oct.13, 2015

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,   

Where have all the ‘maters gone, long time passing…?  This time of the season, nearly everyone at the farm is ready to be done with tomatoes.  We’re burnt out picking them, sorting them, irrigating, and hauling the bad ones to the compost pile.  They’re also starting to taste like those strange redish orbs one sees all winter long in stores and salads.  Even new foodie crew members are cheering the demise of the tomato stake forest.   Right now, to us, a field seeded to a rye cover crop is a beautiful tomato field.  A peek at the long range weather forecast shows predictions of a low at 34 deg. next Saturday night.  Highs in the 50’s.  No one is saying frost yet, but it will come.  Yikes, that sounds like the end of the line for the summer garden!  

But not to worry, the frost-hearty plantings are doing just fine and should be ramping up just as the tropical stuff fades from the scene.  Broccoli is in full swing.  We can’t yet see any signs of heading cauliflower, but it will come. With all the brassica greens, you will notice the leaves are lush, thick, and blue green. Some are curly, some flat.  But they are all edible and highly nutritious.  They’re really no different than kale or collards.  So don’t toss those broccoli leaves—eat them too.   

Even as the last big honeyflow—goldenrod—is ending, honeybees are still out industriously gathering pollen from wild asters and other late blooms.   

Enjoying the colors and crisp fall weather, we are sincerely,                                             Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

FYI: Signup for the extended winter season is now beginning. If interested, send us a note with subject line: Winter (and indicate size). Boxes are available either every two weeks or once a month (S or L…)from December until March. It surprises many (including us sometimes!) the variety of local produce which one can have even after freezing temperatures predominate—often more than is available in the early summer. As we mentioned previously, we’re excited to have some of our own canned tomato products for off-season use. See the website for more info. Also, we’re always in need of good dropoff sites for winter pickup. Let us know if you’d like to offer, or know of a business which would fit.

Of Interest:  On Sat. Nov. 7, we will host a workshop event on the farm: Adapting to Climate Change by Building Healthy Soil.  This is sponsored by Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture.  Though primarily for farmers, this is an opportunity to see our farm and come to understand our commitment to constant environmental improvement and long term investment in our soil. There is a charge, and includes a wonderful lunch.  

Broccoli Salad: Chop 1 head broccoli into bite size pieces. Stems can be used too, just peel them. Shred 4 oz. cheese. Add ¼ c. chopped onion. Toss with ½ c. raisins.  Mix ½ c. mayonnaise, 2 tbs. sugar, 1 tbs. vinegar.  Drizzle over salad ingredients and toss well.  You can add bacon bits as well. 

Dilly Beans: Cook or steam trimmed beans 3-5 min. Drain when beans are still bright green and just tender.  Stir 2 Tbs. fresh chopped dill into warm beans.  Combine 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/3 c. cider vinegar, 2 lg. cloves pressed garlic, and  1/2 tsp honey in saucepan and bring quickly to boil.  Simmer 2 min., pour over green beans and mix well.  Add 1 tbs vegetable oil if desired.  Serve hot or chilled.

Citrus Beets: Cook and slip skins off 1 bunch beets. Grate or slice them. Quarter two oranges and chop. Blend 2 peeled oranges in blender with 1tsp honey, and ½ peeled lemon. Combine mixture with grated beets. Add 1tsp. vinegar, craisins, and salt to taste. Chill and let marinade before serving.

Garbanzo Bean and Parsley Dip Blend until smooth-2 c. cooked garbanzo beans, 1 clove garlic, 3 tbs. lemon juice, 1/3 c. tahini, 1/2 tsp. ground cumin, 1/4 tsp soy sauce, and 1/2 c. chopped parsley. If needed add extra bean liquid.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne

Posted 10/9/2015 12:33pm by Don Kretschmann.

Oct. 6, 2015

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,   

After the storm clouds cleared out Sunday the sun warmed things up perfectly for a pleasant walk-around-the-farm. It’s amazing how quickly the crop-scene is changing even as we see little signs of and anticipate the big change of fall leaf color in the coming weeks. Where just two weeks ago we had almost depressingly dusty conditions. We seeded late roots and greens and Sunday we saw all those little sprouts thriving on all the moisture and loving the cooler temps. We’re already seeing the first baby salad greens and are on the cusp of lots more. Radishes and turnips are on a fast track for later in the fall.   

Late last week, I finally got a minute to inspect the bees—a job which has been in the back of mind for the last month. In midsummer, I’d put a “super” on top of the fast growing colony in our trellised orchard. You’ll remember I mentioned capturing this wild swarm in June. They looked to be very industrious and when I looked in August, they had filled the two hive bodies nearly full. So they needed room to grow and stock away that nectar they are so famous for gathering. I’d ordered in a bee escape, which is a device to vacate the worker bees from honey comb so it can be harvested. The super was about full of honey and the rest of the hive seemed to have an adequate supply for the bees to survive the winter, so I put on the escape, waited a few days before taking off the super, and harvested the honey last evening.   

The Sunday tour also revealed a really nice crop of carrots in the offing! In addition to nice orange carrots of three varieties (all three doing very well) Maria has prevailed upon us to try some heirloom purple carrots. This was the natural color of the carrot before they were bred to be orange.   

Over the last two weeks tomatoes have become increasingly infected with late blight. This is somewhat normal for this time of the season and signals the season is about to end (if frost doesn’t end it first). We picked late last week most of the fields with that in mind. Thus there are many fully green tomatoes. Our call is that these wouldn’t make it to maturity anyway and are best harvested green. They are good battered and fried, or in relishes and pickles (see recipe below).   

Enjoying the great fall weather, we are sincerely,                                            

Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

FYI: Signup for the extended winter season is now beginning. If interested, send us a note with subject line: Winter (and indicate size). Boxes are available either every two weeks or once a month (S or L…)from December until March. It surprises many (including us sometimes!) the variety of local produce which one can have even after freezing temperatures predominate—often more than is available in the early summer. As we mentioned previously, we’re excited to have some of our own canned tomato products for off-season use. See the website for more info. Also, we’re always in need of good dropoff sites for winter pickup. Let us know if you’d like to offer, or know of a business which would fit.  

If you aren’t in the mood to fool with pie dough, try using shortbread for a crust. Press it with a rubber spatula or your oiled fingers into shape in the pan.

Apples on Shortcake: Cut up apples as you would for apple pie, adding honey or sugar and raisins if desired, plus a little cider if apples aren't too juicy. Shortbread: Sift 2c. flour, 3 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 2 tbs. sugar. Mix in 1/2 c. oil well, until evenly absorbed. Then mix in 5/8 c. milk and one beaten egg. Spread this shortcake dough into the bottom of a 9x13" baking pan. Spread layer of apples on top and bake @ 350 deg. about 45 min. or until apples are cooked. For a special treat, try using butter for half the oil. If using a smaller pan, adjust the amounts. Another variation is to make it more like a breakfast sweetroll by adding ¼ c. sugar to the dry ingredients and sprinkling a coarse cane sugar on the top and dotting with butter. This will make a sugary crunch to top the treat.

Butternut and Fall Greens over Pasta: Peel and cut up butternut into bite sized pieces. Toss with oil, put on cookie sheet and roast until nearly tender, then broil carefully to just barely toast the top. Meanwhile chop and steam or boil greens of your choice. Tuscan kale or turnip greens are great. Chop greens, combine with butternut and 1# of your favorite pasta. Salt & Pepper, shredded cheese, and perhaps a little roasted garlic fill out the taste pallette. Butternut “Fries”- Peel butternut with a potato peeler, then cut and remove seeds in seed cavity. Slice into slices about 3/8” square and about 2-3” long. Toss with oil and spread on oiled cookie sheet one layer deep. Bake @ 350 deg. About half an hour or until tender and slightly browned. Salt to taste. These are sweet and remarkably like sweet potato fries and yummy. Green Tomato Chutney: Boil ¼ c. cider vinegar, 2 tbs honey or maple syrup (or 3 tbs sugar), 1 lg. clove minced garlic, 1 tbs finely grated ginger, ½ tsp ground cumin, 1/8 tsp. dried hot pepper flakes (if desired) until reduced in half. Stir in 2 finely chopped green tomatoes and salt to taste. Cool and add 2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro.  

Special Orders: Seven grain bread @$4/loaf; various cheeses; ground and whole bean coffee. Green tomatoes: 10# box $10. We generally have lots of different herbs on hand—rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, dill. If you have need of some for a special recipe, just let us know. Butternut Squash—Bushel $40. Red Jalapenos—3# $10 Last call for those who want to stash away some pickled--Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers--$25/half bushel.