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Nov. 3, 2015

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.