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Oct. 6,2015

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.