Current Newsletters

Posted 7/1/2014 11:13pm by Don Kretschmann.

July 1, 2014

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

"Independence Day" can come and go annually without much deeper thought as to it's meaning. Independence starts with a freedom from preconceived notions and daring oneself to think out of the box. Three years ago, we committed to our best efforts to be energy independent. Most now take this phrase to mean the sudden widespread extraction of American fossil fuels in the shales. With sun energy covering our needs, we have the freedom to say "no" to the landmen seeking gas leases. In these days when most take the image of "independence" to be the rugged individualist, there's lots of personal freedom of action to be gained by cooperative effort. In our neighborhood (and among most neighboring farmers), there's a great cooperation with equipment. My tractor might be in the shop, but there's always those of the Lewis's or the Brenkle's which could be borrowed in the pinch. Who needs the tyranny of maintaining two waterwheel transplanters on two neighboring farms, which we each use only a week a year? Likewise with a logsplitter.

The latest from Becky's succession of flowers in our Floral Park.

Next week, expect the new potatoes we've been mentioning in the last few newsletters, as well as cucumbers. We had thought we'd have spuds this week, but decided in favor of the wonderful frozen cider from our good friends, the Oylers. It was made late last winter from the last of the 2013 apple crop. Like us, they've committed to a fruit very difficult to grow organically. There are very few organic tree fruit growers in the US outside of the desert West and Northwest.

We usually give everyone beets for the first time we pick them for the season, whether they're on the "never eat list" or not. They're so tender, plus they sweeten, and decorate the pure green salads we've been eating this last month. We'll be more looking at beet preferences after this week. Be sure to use the beautiful beet tops. They are a "green" in their own right, just as tasty and nutritious as Swiss chard.

The beans are starting to show flower buds and we've "fortified" the field after tilling in the adjoining field of peas--their favorite flavor of candy. It's a strand of electric fence which they are loath to cross over. So far so good.

Enjoy the 4th,

sincerely, Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

For Extra Purchase: Seven Grain bread @$4/loaf. Indicate the week or weeks. Messages: If you send a note or check, please indicate your stop letter and the last name under which the account is listed. Vacations: Send us a note with the subject line "vacation". Indicate the specific date and whether you want to donate the box or get a credit. If you're a light share, let us know if you want to skip three weeks in a row (the default), if you want an extra box the week before or after, or if you want to just skip two weeks, then swap cycles and continue every other week. Remember that if you get coffee, cheese or chickens, this won't work. When it's hot and soupy, these island (Neville, Herr's...) refreshments can bring one back to life.

Rhuby 'Burgh Mojito: Coarsely chop 3/4 c. rhubarb. Blend with 3/4 c. water until smooth. Strain through coffee filter. (Just clean the pot and pour it slowly into the top where the coffee goes!) Pour into a mason jar, add 1-2 tbs sugar 6 cut up mint leaves and shake well. Pour into glass with ice. Can add sparkling water and/or other refreshment.

Key 'Barb Pie: Line pie pan with graham cracker crust. This is simply 1 package of graham crackers smashed to crumbs with a rolling pin. You can do it in the plastic wrapper if you're careful and do it slowly. Mix this well with 1/c. melted butter. Push it into place in the pie pan with fingers or a spoon, sides first, until it lines the pan and holds together. Dice 3 c. rhubarb. Separate 3 eggs. To the yolks, add 1 c. sugar, 1 c. milk or half and half, 2 tbs. flour, pinch salt. Mix until well blended. Spread rhubarb in crust, then top with custard mix. Beat eggwhites with 1/4 c. sugar and 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar until stiff. Spoon the meringue over the top spreading just to the edge. Bake @ 350 deg. until meringue is golden brown--about 45 min. Beets: Cut off the tops about 1/2" from the root. Boil unpealed until tender, testing with a fork (Don't overcook or they will taste like the yucky canned ones). Run under cold water til they can be handled and slip the skins off. They can then be used ina any beet dish. The first ones we like to slice and add to salads to substitute for tomatoes in color. Zucchini Cassarole: Preheat oven 350 deg. Saute 6 c. thinly sliced zucchini and 1 c. chopped onion in 1 tbs. oil for 10 min. Add about 1 c. beef broth, ½ c. minced parsley, salt, pepper, oregano and stir to cool. Add 8 oz. Grated low-fat cheese and 3 beaten egg whites. Line bottom of 9x13 pan with ¼ “ biscuit dough (shortbread, breadstick, or crescent roll dough). Pour zucchini mixture on top of dough and top with grated mozzarella. Bake 15-25 min until nicely browned on top. Kale Chips: Destem kale and cut into 1"pieces. Whisk together 2 tbs agave nectar, 1 tsp salt, 1 ½ tsp. garlic powder, 1/8 tsp. cayenne, 2 tbs. cider vinegar, 3 tbs. olive oil. Toss kale with mixture and bake on oiled cookie sheet. @ 350 8 min. then turn and bake another 7 min. until crispy. Kale: The center rib in the leaf is thick and takes longer to cook than the rest. Either remove and discard it or cook a little longer than the rest of the leaves. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add about 1# kale chopped roughly and cook 5-7 min. This can be cooled quickly and added to your favorite salad. This adds an interesting deep color and sweet chewyness to a salad. Or add cooked kale to onions and garlic sauteed in olive oil. One variation is to add raisins and top with roasted pine nuts. Veggie ID's: We're starting to take new pictures and reposting old ones from our previous website because we've received a number of panic e-mails from folks who can't ID what they've gotten in their boxes. Sometimes it can be comical, as when someone said they made a great pie out of the rhubarb we'd given them--it was actually red chard! But it tasted OK. Tip: Keep in mind that cooking greens like chard, kale, or collards can very easily be frozen for later use. Parboil, drain well, put them in a heavy plastic bag in a quantity you'll use in one meal. These are great to pull out in the winter and use in omlettes, as a side dish, or in soups. They reduce in volume to very little and you'll never have too many for the off-season.

Posted 7/1/2014 11:05pm by Don Kretschmann.

June 24, 2014

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

Three weeks ago my three brothers and I drove with my 93 year old mother back to Long Island, NY for the funeral of her last brother. It brought into focus some of my real roots as a farmer. We have heard our whole lives the stories of how they had moved as young children from Brooklyn to "the countryside" of Naussa County, and settled in 1928 just outside the boundaries of NYC in New Hyde Park. My grandfather promptly lost his job at the onset of the Depression and then appropriated all the vacant lots adjoining his new home to plant gardens, raise poultry, and provide for his large family. In driving by grandparents' old home I realized it was right between Garden City (where my uncle lived) and Floral Park where my aunt's family were farming landholders. This was where my passion for gardening all began. I'm blessed now with living astride these same two milieus. Becky has created the most wonderful succession of flowers, groundcovers, and shrubs to make our home a beautiful floral park perfectly complemented by our gardens of plenty.

This is the time of the season when we're stretched to the max. Last week we planted winter squash, lettuce, cilantro, dill, and basil in the fields. For the last big push of plantings we seeded dozens of flats of late cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale, lettuce, and basil in the coldframes. We're also making great headway in the tomato fields. We mulched all the tomatoes with straw; staked 2/3 of them, and have tied the early ones.

Rain has been great for the new potatoes, just forming. They are in the on-deck circle. This season we deliberately planted lots more greens--chard, kale, and collards--than we normally have in the past. There's a greens revolution happening, with increased awareness that these foods are nutritional powerhouses containing high amounts of vitamins and minerals. Because they are cooked, we tend to actually eat more because they're more condensed. (hard to eat 8 oz. of salad). The last two weeks, we've sent either collards or Tuscan kale. Both have thick leaves which maintain a nice texture even after cooking or in the saute pan. The rainbow chard this week cooks quicker, much more like spinach. All the greens can easily be parboiled and frozen for later use.

We've got a great early field of beans up and growing well in a field bordered by a deep woodlot. As I've been cultivating the beans I've been scanning the rows, especially on the edge near the woods, for signs of the deer eating them. With all the deer we have, there is no damage--puzzling because they are everywhere! This morning, the reason came to me. Right next to this field are field peas to fix nitrogen and provide green manure for the late seeded root crops. As I contemplated tilling this under, I realized peas are like candy to a deer. After they are gone, the deer would immediately start munching the beans. So the buggers are holding the peas hostage, I can't till them without losing the beans!

Enjoying the first zucs and cabbage, we are sincerely,

Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

For Extra Purchase: Seven Grain bread @$4/loaf. Indicate the week or weeks. Messages: If you send a note or check, please indicate your stop letter and the last name under which the account is listed. Vacations: Send us a note with the subject line "vacation". Indicate the specific date and whether you want to donate the box or get a credit. If you're a light share, let us know if you want to skip three weeks in a row (the default), if you want an extra box the week before or after, or if you want to just skip two weeks, then swap cycles and continue every other week. Remember that if you get coffee, cheese or chickens, this won't work. Cabbage Salad with Celery Seeds: Slice up 6 c. cabbage, 1/4 c. green onions. Toss well with 1 c. mayonnaise, 2 tbs. sugar, 2 tbs. sugar or honey, 2 tbs celery seeds 1 tbs salt. These pickles are easy and taste just like bread and butter sweet pickles. Great for a 'burgher on a burger. Zucchini Pickles: Cut up 1# Zucchini into pickle thicknesses. Cover with cold water adding 2 tbs. salt. Let stand 2 hrs. Drain thoroughly. Bring 1 1/2 c. cider vinegar, 1 c. sugar, 1/2 tsp celery seed, 1/2 tsp tumeric, 1 tsp mustard seed to boil and pour over zucchini. Let stand 2 hrs. then heat everything to just boiling for 5 min. Put in pint jars and refrigerate when cool, or process in canning jars w/lids in boiling water bath for 15 min. Easy to make without a lot of bother. The secret is: don’t cook the pasta. Zucchini Lasagna: Preheat your favorite tomato sauce. Slice zucchinis 1/4” thick in rounds or lengthwise. Mix 1# ricotta cheese with 1/2c minced parsley. Brush bottom of baking dish with olive oil. (9x13” is our favorite size) Spread layer of tomato sauce on bottom of pan, then add first layer of uncooked lasagna. Spread layer of zucchini, then layer of ricotta, and then a more tomato sauce. Repeat the process until the pan is full and top with grated mozzarella. Bake covered at 325 deg. until pasta is cooked, then remove cover and bake another 10 min. Rice Noodles with Diablo Sauce and Greens Blend until smooth: 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes, 3 large garlic cloves or 1/4 c. fresh garlic scapes, 3 Tbs. Minced fresh ginger, 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, 2 Tbs. Honey, 4 tbs lemon or lime juice, 1/2 cup sesame oil, 1/4 tsp. crushed red chili pepper (more or less to taste). Salt. Saute in 1 tbs. Olive oil: ½ c chopped scallions 2-3 min, then add 6 c. chopped chard or beet greens and cook another 5 min until tender. Meanwhile, to a large pot of boiling water, add 12 ounces soba noodles and a tiny bit of oil. Cook until al dente (slightly hard in the middle) –5 min. Drain. Place noodles on plates, spoon sauce and top with greens then more sauce. Veggie ID's: Collards, Tuscan Kale, Curly Kale--all are blue green in color. Collards are very flat leaves. Tuscan kale has little wrinkles. Curly kale is very curly and fluffy. Ropey green stems are garlic scapes. Use them just like garlic. These are to garlic what scallions are to bulbing onions--more or less... Tip: Keep in mind that cooking greens like chard, kale, or collards can very easily be frozen for later use. Parboil, drain well, put them in a heavy plastic bag in a quantity you'll use in one meal. These are great to pull out in the winter and use in omlettes, as a side dish, or in soups. They reduce in volume to very little and you'll never have too many for the off-season.

Posted 7/1/2014 11:01pm by Don Kretschmann.

June 20, 2014

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

We feel sorry for those in the West when we've had such ample quantities of rainfall--a little over an inch each of the last two weeks, quarter inch so far this week. And it's been similar nearly the entire spring. Agronomists say you need about an inch of water per week for ideal growing conditions--the way things look here, I'd say they are correct. It's just that sometimes one has a hard time getting the other chores done besides watching this natural irrigation miracle.

The contrary story this spring has been the spinach. Spinach is easily drowned when it get too much water in heavy soils like ours which tend to hold the moisture longer than sandy ones where most spinach is grown. We plant multiple plantings to hedge our bets. But we're down to the last planting, which looks thin.

Tomatoes are growing like gangbusters in all three fields. Zucchini is as nice and uniform a field as we've ever grown. Cucumbers--ditto. Lettuce causes one to pause to take a picture. We're on the cusp of cabbage (coming next week). Tiny new potatoes are forming nicely in a field growing wildly. We can only hope things continue on this track.

We deliberately planted lots more greens--chard, kale, and collards--than we normally have in the past. There is increasing awareness that these foods are nutritional powerhouses containing high amounts of vitamins and minerals. Because they are cooked, we tend to actually eat more of they're more condensed. (hard to eat 8 oz. of salad). This week, we've sent along either collards or Tuscan kale. Both have thick leaves which maintain a nice texture even after cooking or in the saute pan.

Hoping you enjoy the greens, berries, and the rest of nature's June bonanza, we are sincerely,

Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

For Extra Purchase: Seven Grain bread @$4/loaf. Indicate the week or weeks.

Note: If you send a message, please indicate your stop letter and the last name under which the account is listed. If the name on your check is different than the account name we have, please indicate that name on the memo line. Vacations: Send us a note with the subject line simply "vacation" telling us when you'll be gone. Indicate the specific date and whether you want to donate the box or get a credit. If you're a light share, let us know if you want to skip three weeks in a row (the default), if you want an extra box the week before or after, or if you want to just skip two weeks, then swap cycles and continue every other week. Remember that if you get coffee, cheese or chickens, this won't work.

Was thinking of suggesting another recipe for strawberries, but you really only need this one for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Or perhaps simplify by forgetting the shortbread. :))

Our Favorite Strawberry Shortcake: Sift 2c. flour, 3 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 2 tbs. sugar. Mix in 1/2 c. oil well, until evenly distributed. Beat 1 egg and 5/8 c. milk and mix with dry ingredients. Pat out with oiled hands or use a plastic spatula to spread dough onto an oiled cookie sheet about 1/2 " thick. Bake @375 deg about 20 min. (we use all whole wheat flour with fine results) Cut into squares, top with berries and whipped cream. (I maintain this is an excellent breakfast, though Becky lectures me otherwise)

Collards are spring and fall favorites around here. They hold up much better than even kale when cooked, not getting mushy. They are also a nutritional powerhouse. Tuscan Kale (or Collards): Remove the think rib in the center and break into bite sized pieces. Boil until tender in water or with meat broths. Combine with beans or just spritz with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. Salt to taste. Can be used like kale.

Veggie ID's: Collards, Tuscan Kale, Curly Kale--all are blue green in color. Collards are very flat leaves. Tuscan kale has little wrinkles. Curly kale is very curly and fluffy. Ropey green stems are garlic scapes. Use them just like garlic. These are to garlic what scallions are to bulbing onions--more or less...

Tip: Keep in mind that cooking greens like chard, kale, or collards can very easily be frozen for later use. Parboil, drain well, put them in a heavy plastic bag in a quantity you'll use in one meal. These are great to pull out in the winter and use in omlettes, as a side dish, or in soups. They reduce in volume to very little and you'll never have too many for the off-season.

Posted 7/1/2014 10:57pm by Don Kretschmann.

June 13, 2014

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

By late last week we knew for sure our ship had left port and there was no turning back from the 2014 season. Picking lettuce had commenced in earnest, a peek under the row covers revealed the first tiny zucchini were beginning to form, and we began straw-mulching the tomatoes. Nary a spare moment nor rest until these will have been staked, tied, irrigated, picked, washed, sorted, sold, frosted, stakes pulled, field dismantled and planted to winter rye. OMG! There will be no more leisurely chats until 'ol Jack Frost puts and end to the madness. That said, we love the limitless salads. Winter rations are over.

We always plant a generous amount of parsley in our garden and because it's so good for you and re-grows again and again producing crops from early June until late November. We seed this very early in the greenhouse--Feb. 27 this year--and transplant it into the field by hand. In a short window of time when the fields dried out, we planted it on April 3. It was just about a perfect take and has grown to be as luscious and beautiful as ever we've had. One hears all about benefits of the "Mediterranean diet", and the usual components of olive oil, red wine, and fish. Check out the abundant healthy contributions of this herbal staple of the region. It's can be used with abandon in fresh salads and cooking. We'd like to keep it picked while in it's prime, because if you wait too long to pick, parsley begins to yellow.

Upcoming will be the brassica greens--kale and collards--as well as cabbage and zucchini.

Hoping you enjoy the greens, berries, and the rest of nature's June bonanza, we are sincerely,

Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

For Extra Purchase: Seven Grain bread @$4/loaf. Indicate the week or weeks.

Notes of Note: If you send a message, please indicate your stop letter and the last name under which the account is listed. If the name on your check is different than the account name we have, please indicate that name on the memo line. You can access information--like phone number of your stop host, schedule for chickens, recipes, etc. on our website. If for some reason your box is missing, 1. Let the stop host know because often someone took the wrong box and there'll be one left over late in the evening for you. 2. At certain stops (ones where we deliver chickens) we can easily bring you a box when we pick up the empties the following day--if you let us know in time. If you are missing a supplemental item , like coffee, mushrooms...let us know right away so we can best remedy. Everyone gets a reminder a day prior to pickup whether you're a light share and it's your off week, or if you're on vacation. Likewise, everyone gets the e-mailed newsletter. Vacations: Send us a note with the subject line simply "vacation" telling us when you'll be gone. Indicate the specific date and whether you want to donate the box or get a credit. If you're a light share, let us know if you want to skip three weeks in a row (the default), if you want an extra box the week before or after, or if you want to just skip two weeks, then swap cycles and continue every other week. Remember that if you get coffee, cheese or chickens, this won't work.

Our Favorite Shortcake: Sift 2c. flour, 3 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 2 tbs. sugar. Mix in 1/2 c. oil well, until evenly distributed. Beat 1 egg and 5/8 c. milk and mix with dry ingredients. Pat out with oiled hands or use a plastic spatula to spread dough onto an oiled cookie sheet about 1/2 " thick. Bake @375 deg about 20 min. (we use all whole wheat flour with fine results) Cut into squares, top with berries and whipped cream. (I maintain this is an excellent breakfast, though Becky lectures me otherwise) So many people seem to be becoming aware they are gluten intolerant, this old favorite can easily be altered by using buckwheat groats. Buckwheat is not in the wheat family at all, it's actually an herb.

Tabouleh: (Lebanese dish) to 1c. cooked bulgur (cracked) wheat, add 1/2 c olive oil, 1/2 c lemon juice, 1 bunch finely chopped scallions, lg bunch finely chopped parsley. Salt to taste. (Cucumbers, tomatoes, and celery can also be finely chopped and added.) In this case, one can put all ingredients in a ceramic or glass crock (wheat uncooked) with the tomatoes and cucumbers on top and refrigerate for at least 1 day, and up to two weeks. Another refreshing addition is a little finely chopped fresh mint. Collards are spring and fall favorites around here. They hold up much better than even kale when cooked, not getting mushy. They are also a nutritional powerhouse.

Collards: Boil until tender in water or with meat broths. Combine with beans or just spritz with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. Salt to taste. Can be used like kale.

Caesar Salad Dressing: Blend ½ c. lemon juice, 2 tsp. Cider vinegar, tsp. honey, 2/3 c. olive oil, ½ c. romano/parmesan cheese, ¼ tsp. thyme leaves, 2 oz. Salted anchovies.

Veggie ID's: Oval leaves with tendrels in the mixed greens bag are pea greens. They add pea flavor to salads or can be used to make a special pesto or even sauted. Tiny bunched leaves-thyme; round leaves on stem which could be woody near the bottom-oregano(smell it). Herb which resembles pine needles--rosemary. Very large leaves w/multi colored stems--Swiss chard. Large flat blue green leaves are collards. Note: oregano should be removed from the bag and allowed to air dry or it will rot. When it's crispy/dry, crumble leaves off the stems over a sheet of newspaper. Take out any stems which might have dropped, then put the oregano into an air tight jar. It should last all through the year. Washing of the greens: We usually wash our greens to knock the bulk of rain-splashed soil off the produce. We don’t claim to have them “table ready”. Rewash to your pleasure.

Posted 7/1/2014 10:52pm by Don Kretschmann.

June 6, 2014

Greetings from the Kretschmanns, As people have asked this season how things were going, the reply has consistently been that everything has been almost idyllic--lots of moisture; narrow, but sufficient windows of dry weather to get field work and planting done. The severe winter seemed to have set the pests back a good bit, and we'd gotten an early lead in the groundhog war.

But in the last few days clouds have appeared to darken that sunny forecast. While cultivating over the weekend, I noticed about a quarter of the newly planted celery and celariac were missing leaves. Thinking it was groundhogs, we mowed the alfalfa field just up the hill but didn't find any hidden bunkers. We did spot several turkeys (which we've been seeing a lot of). Could it be the gobblers? Later, my heart dropped while cultivating the pepper field and finding animals had eaten nearly one third of the field! Unless we can find some organic plants to replace those lost, we'll have a light crop.

Spinach has suffered from overly "wet feet". The two early plantings sprouted nicely, only to be drowned when puddles of water. A third one is just poking through soil, crusted from heavy rains last week. We can only hope the other shoe will drop. We'll have lots more greens--lettuce, kale, collards--and then on to cabbage, onions, and hopefully broccoli, though it "buttons" into tiny heads because of early spring cold.

Hoping you enjoy the start of the season with all the greens, we are sincerely,

Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

Notes of Note: The newsletters go out to all subscribers each week whether you are getting a box or not. If you send message during the season, please indicate your stop letter and the last name under which the account is listed. If the name on your check is different than the account name we have, please indicate that name on the memo line. You can access information--like phone number of your stop host, schedule for chickens, recipes, etc. on our website. If for some reason your box is missing, 1. Let the stop host know because often someone took the wrong box and there'll be one left over late in the evening for you. 2. At certain stops (ones where we deliver chickens) we can easily bring you a box when we pick up the empties the following day--if you let us know in time.

Bumper crop of rhubarb! At our house, we start out with Becky's Rhubarb crisp for a few rounds, then on to other decadances...

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake: Melt 4 tbs. butter in bottom of 9x13" pan. Sprenckle evenly 1 c. brown sugar then top with 3 c. diced rhubarb and 3/4 c. raisins. Cream 3 tbs. melted butter 1/2 c sugar, 2 eggs until smooth. Sift 1 1/2 c. flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp. baking powder. Slowly add and mix alternately dry ingredients with creamed ingredients and 5/8 c. milk until all is well mixed. Pour batter on top of rhubarb. Bake @375 deg.25 min. Remove from oven, loosen cake from sides with knife. Place a pan or cake platter on top of 9x13 and flip it over upside down. Scrape out any topping which remains. We've never been big on rhubarb pies, but a neighbor made this and it changed our minds.

Rhubarb Custard Meringue Pie: Dice 3 c. rhubarb. Make half recipe of hotwater pie crust and line pie plate, pinching the edges attractively. Separate 3 eggs. To the yolks, add 1 c. sugar, 1 c. milk or half and half, 2 tbs. flour, pinch salt. Mix until well blended. Spread rhubarb in crust, then top with custard mix. Beat eggwhites with 1/4 c. sugar and 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar until stiff. Spoon the meringue over the top spreading just to the edge. Bake @ 350 deg. until meringue is golden brown--about 45 min. It takes nary 15 min. to put together this sauce which is heavenly over vanilla ice cream. It's also great over pancakes, waffles, cheesecake, poundcake, or puddings.

Rhubarb Sauce: Chop 2 c. rhubarb finely. Cook w/ ½ c. sugar over med. heat 15-20 min. stirring frequently until rhubarb is soft and sauce is thick.

Chard notes: Coarsely chop the stems and cook separately from the leaves--a little longer, but so they retain a little of their firmer texture. Chard can be used just like spinach. You can make spanikopita, balls, or mini filo cups, just as you would with spinach. It can also be easily chopped, sauted, and frozen for later use.

Vinegrettes: combine and shake well-1/2 c. olive oil, 2-3 Tbs. red wine vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 med. clove garlic minced. For variety, add finely minced herbs or fruit juices or fruit vinegars.

Veggie ID's: Oval leaves with tendrels in the mixed greens bag are pea greens. They add pea flavor to salads or can be used to make a special pesto or even sauted. Tiny bunched leaves-thyme; round leaves on stem which could be woody near the bottom-oregano(smell it). Very large leaves w/multi colored stems--Swiss chard. Note: oregano should be removed from the bag and allowed to air dry or it will rot. When it's crispy/dry, crumble leaves off the stems over a sheet of newspaper. Take out any stems which might have dropped, then put the oregano into an air tight jar. It should last all through the year.

Washing of the greens: We usually wash our greens to knock the bulk of rain-splashed soil off the produce. We don’t claim to have them “table ready”. Rewash to your pleasure.

Posted 4/30/2014 8:55am by Don Kretschmann.

April 25, 2014 Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   Hope you enjoy this "pick-up" box at the time of the season when we are all most craving something fresh. Winter has certainly hung on this season far longer than it has for quite a few years. On the other hand, in our many years farming we've seen all manner of seasonal variation. It isn't odd to have had any of the weather of 2014.    It sure looks nice to see the apples breaking dormancy, beginning to bud and leaf out. To follow next is one of our favorite times of the year--apple bloom. With all the insect pollinators working the nectar, pollen is spread around the flowers leading to what we call sex in the orchard--the beginning of thousands of apples. It's a magical time. Feel free to stop out and stroll through the blooming trees.    A wet March had put us a little behind our normal fieldwork schedule. The last two weeks we've been hustling to get fields tilled and the first crops in the ground. We're now nearly up to date. Onions, parsley, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, lettuce, and collards have all been transplanted. Spinach, beets, carrots, and peas are seeded. And the early spuds were planted yesterday. All the tender crops like tomatoes and peppers are in our coldframes waiting until there's no danger of frost. Successions of lettuce continue biweekly.    With you, enjoying the edible greens of the spring, we are Your farmers,--Don, Becky & the Farm Crew P.S. For those of you new to the Goldrush apples, they can be very dark on the surface (something called Sooty Blotch) or they can seem soft. No matter how crinkly, they are never mushy and always crisp. The darkness on the surface can be scrubbed off, or not--it isn't harmful. We typically quarter them and remove the seeds for crunchy, tasty snacks. Chard is becoming one of our favorite greens because it is so versatile and has a long season. Here's one of our favorite breakfasts... Spring Greens Omlette: Chop up several green onions, chop a cup of greens (mizuna, kale, or Swiss chard greens are good), and dice two potatoes. Saute the potatoes in olive oil until tender, toss in the chopped onions and greens, stir a few times until they begin to wilt. Pour three eggs beaten with milk on top and cover tightly. Turn heat to low and simmer. When bottom begins to “set” but before all the egg is totally cooked place pieces of your favorite cheese on top and put under the broiler until cheese melts and top is slightly golden brown. It will puff up and look like a picture in a cooking magazine! Potato Pancakes: Clean and grate potatoes, add salt, and egg or two, and enough flour to make a kind of batter (about 1/2 c per 2# potatoes). It's good to let this batter sit for a few minutes. As the salt draws out the moisture from the potatoes, the batter will get thinner. More flour can be added to make a good batter. Fry in oil. Grated onion may be added. You've likely had these hors doerves with spinach, but you would likely not know the difference when made with Swiss chard Chard Mini-cups- Saute 1/2 c. minced onion (can be green onions too) in 2 tbs olive oil until onion softens. Add about 10 oz. chopped chard and sauté until wilted. Reduce heat to low, cover tightly, and cook another 2 min. (add a few tbs. water if needed) Stir in 1/4 tsp salt, 4 oz. well crumbled feta cheese, 2 tbs flour and 2 scrambled eggs. Fill mini filo cups (frozen foods section) with mixture and bake @350 about 20 min or until firm.

Posted 2/22/2014 3:48pm by Don Kretschmann.

 

Feb. 19, 2014

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   This was the week to wake up, open our eyes, and enjoy the wonders of winter in Pennsylvania. With the option of extending our season in greenhouses and hi-tunnels, we can easily get caught viewing all those trillions of glistening hexagonal crystals of H2O as merely impediments to the prospects of convenient vegetable production year 'round. But glancing outside, there's an abundant crop of soft white beauty which will not be outdone by mere green plant growth! One tipping point to the attitude adjustment was one of the late evening walks before bedtime to check on the greenhouse and load the wood burner for the night. The stillness, sparkling stars overhead, full moon illuminating a white fantasy world, and the soft crunch of new fallen snow underfoot was a stroll in wonderland. Then on Sunday, deciding to go with the flow rather than resist, I located my wool socks and trusty cross country skis and ventured into the progressing blizzard. The world shrunk to a womb of just a hundred visible yards. Mitten warmth, rhythmic exertion, and soundlessly smooth glide spoke not of exposure to harsh environ but delicious harmony and grace across field and hill. Pausing on the woodsy trail, awareness dawned of trees growing peacefully amid the wintry afternoon. What else would they be doing? If life is always characterized by the change we call growth, and these trees were certainly not dead, they must be growing...somehow.   Though "dormant", leafless, wordless, they were alive, growing. And so was I--contemplating--changed in attitude.   

   Generally at about this time in the winter, we see the mesclun and other greens in the greenhouses start to re-grow. But this winter some things were just plain frozen out back when it got below zero in January, and others have survived, but not grown particularly well with the prolonged cold and snow cutting down the sunlight into the houses. Not much we can do about it, but we're still hopeful that things will recover sufficiently in the next two weeks to have some greenery for the final box in two weeks.

   We hope you are enjoying the crunchy Goldrush apples bursting with flavor. Personally, I'm getting very spoiled and snobby about apples. I find myself thinking it's hardly worth trying the mushier, blander, and mildly sweetish ones you are generally offered elsewhere.

   We've continued to add pictures at the farm in this unusually snowy year. Beautiful, though the colors can tend toward monotony. 

Hoping you are staying warm and keeping up with the white clean-up,

Your farmers,--Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

Identification: Bag of hard black orbs are black walnuts. These are native treats from the trees near the wagon shed and barn. Hulls are very hard and our suggestion is to use a vise or even vise-grips. A hammer works as a last resort. The flavor is strong and distinctive. A little goes a long way. It's one of our favorites to crack open two or three and sprinkle a few walnut meats atop vanilla ice cream. They also can hold their own with strong flavors like bleu and gorgozolla cheeses.

There are many ways to prepare these, and nearly all are quick, simple, and tasty

Stuffed Mushrooms: Trip any discolored tips of stems from about a dozen medium to large mushrooms. Then carefully cut or scoop out the stem and a portion of the gills leaving a cavity to stuff. A sharp paring knife or teaspoon works well.   Finely mince all these stems and removed mushroom parts. Add 2 tbs. finely mince onion, 1 tbs. finely mince garlic, 2 tbs. finely mince sweet red pepper, 1/4 c. bread crumbs, 1/4 c. grated cheddar cheese, 2 tsp. finely mince parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Stuffing should stick together. Add a little more cheese if not. Brush mushrooms on the outside with melted butter, then stuff, placing then in a pie pan or on cookie sheet. Bake @350 deg approx. 20 min. You can vary as you'd like, using little bits of leftovers, or spicing it up with some hot pepper. One favorite is using sausage, hot or sweet, in the mix with bread crumbs, garlic, cheese, and parsley. It's not complicated; very delicious. Keys are 1. Butter 2. Cheese to make them hold shape.

Please, don't dare use the scrumptious golden ripe Goldrushes for baking, but there are invariably a number of greener ones which can accumulate and are great for pies. Cider is a nice addition for a juicy pie. Great for a lead up to fat-Tuesday--Marti Gras.

Apple pie--Quarter, remove the core and cut up about 2# apples into chunks the size of a sugar cube. (You needn't peel them.) Option: a handful of raisins. Mix with about 1/3 c. sugar or honey, 2 tbs flour, cinnamon to taste, (and perhaps some mace or nutmeg too) and 1/3 c. apple cider. Fill with apples, pressing them to get in as many as possible. One can also forget the flour and sprinkle a little tapioca in the bottom of the shell before adding the apple mix. Make dough and line piepan with crust. Cover with the topcrust and pinch the top and bottom together with your fingers. Cut off excess with knife. Poke a few holes in the top to let the stream out. Bake @ 375 deg until inserting a sharp knife reveals the apples are cooked.

Mom or grandma might have sworn by lard, margarine, ice...and invariably they say one can't make a good crust without white processed flour. But those methods predate the invention of the blender. This hotwater pie crust has been in the Encyclopedic Cookbook published by the Culinary Arts Institute for at least 40 years! My old book says to use shortening and water. But it's ideal for using a blender to mix oil and the hot water. Also, you can work with any oil, and use any flour. Anyone can make a good pie crust quickly and easily with this method. The worst results we've had were actually with white flour, for some reason.

Hotwater Piecrust-- Sift 2 c. flour (100% wholewheat or any mix of flours), 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt. Blend 2/3 c. oil and 1/3 c. boiling water. Mix with sifted ingredients and roll out while warm. Makes 1 double crusted pie. (Roll out dough between two layers of heavy plastic for easy handling and less mess--just peel off the top layer of plastic, put the piepan upside-down on top of the rolled dough, then, putting one hand below the plastic and one above the piepan flip the crust into the piepan and peel off the other layer of plastic.)  

Posted 2/13/2014 1:24pm by Don Kretschmann.

Feb. 5, 2014

Snowy Greetings from the Kretschmanns,   

Closed down for the day, not even able to get out the driveway to meet with a group of guys from church at dawn. The phone was also on the blink, so no internet either. Great day for a long morning meditation and appreciating the pristine white beauty we've been blessed to receive overnight. Quite a contrast to the surge of activity yesterday packing up all the veggie boxes for the week in the morning and getting out after noon as the day warmed to prune in the orchard. We're making great progress and the crew have many of the trees well tamed--for now. It's always a battle. The trees responding to the sun, earth, and water with as much growth as they can; we, trying to turn as much of that growth as possible into fruit. Pruning is that necessary effort to balance the two. Each cut is a complex calculation, an art resembling wisdom.   

We hope you have enjoyed the Goldrush apples as much as we have this winter. It was a bumper year. This variety ripens the very last in the season and have the habit of not ripening all at once. So this year we were pushing right up to Thanksgiving hoping the last ones would ripen before they would be damaged from freezing. Thus, you'll see that there are some which are much more golden-yellow than others.   These are truly gems of flavor, no matter whether they are spotted from sooty blotch or not. This "disease" is only skin deep and can actually be rubbed off, if you want to spend the time. It's a great shame when I hear people see the sooty blotch on a scrumptious yellow Goldrush and say, "O, they'll make great pies." What a waste! The greener Goldrush don't have quite the flavor, but are just as crisp. They make great cooking apples. The other nice thing about these apples is that they store incredibly well and even if they have a small spot of rot, it rarely progresses to the rest of the apple. Paring this out is a simple solution and loses very little of the apple. Last year we ate the last of the 2012 Goldrush in Sept., 2013 and they were still better flavored than many of the new apples!   

This is just about the nadir of all things green for our northern clime. The particularly cold winter has even taken it's toll on what we had planted inside the greenhouses and hi tunnels. Even with sufficient warmth, the lack of sunshine in December and January keeps green growth severely limited. And this year, whatever growth occurred previously was set back by really low temperatures. Hopefully in the next few weeks, with a few sunny days and warmer temps, the mesclun and chard will have time to regrow and be again included in the boxes.

We've posted pictures from about the farm in this cold time of the year. There's certainly a beauty in the snows, the work, and the wildlife.

Hoping you are staying warm and not too bothered by the snowy weather,

Your farmers,--Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

FYI: Don't know if you saw it, but last weekend there was a prominent op-ed piece in the Post Gazette in which the author makes the case that organic produce and products are no better for us or the environment than conventionally grown. What was unusual with a controversial topic like that is that there was not opposing view.   I submitted one which has yet to be published, but have posted it on our website. There's a lot bigger picture than meets the eye. (see below)

Beets are loaded with vitamins--A, B1, B2, B6, and C--as well as calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, sodium, cobalt, and iron. They sweeten juices and color everything they touch! Large beets can sometimes be offputting when one just thinks of cooking them like you would younger beets--they will take a long, long time. We deliberately let them get very large for winter storage because they don't get "flabby" like the smaller ones would. They store well into the spring. These large roots are in many ways preferable for many uses and yield so much more beet goodness to the table.

Beet Salad: Peel one or two large beets with a regular potato peeler. Then grate it the way you would grate carrots in a box grater. Dress with your favorite, and add a few raisins and nuts for chewy and crunchy textures.

If you've never made this, you'd be surprised how much it tastes just like pineapple upside down cake.

Apple Upside-Down Cake: Melt ½ c. butter in 9x13” metal cake pan and brush sides. Add 1 c. brown sugar and spread evenly on bottom. Slice about 4 apples into ½” thick slices across the core perpendicular to the stem. Remove the seed cavity with a paring knife. Place apple slices on top of the brown sugar and cook atop stovetop at medium heat until they are slightly caramelized. Remove from heat. Sift 1 ½ c. flour (I use 50-50 whole wheat) with 1 ½ tsp. baking powder, ¼ tsp salt. Separate 3 eggs. Stiffly beat whites. Beat yolks and add 1 c. sugar beating well and then add ½ c. cider and beat until fluffy; add flour mixture. Then fold in egg whites and pour batter over apples. Bake @ 375 deg. 30 min. Allow to cool very slightly and then turn upside down on a cake plate or cookie sheet.

We've always enjoyed keeping a jar of pickled beets in the refrigerator for use in salads or just by themselves. This type of "pickle" needn't be limited to beets. There are all sorts of pickles appearing up as additions by creative chefs all over the country. Here's just a suggestion... Pickled Carrots, Celariac, and Turnips: Scrub the roots well; celariac will need to be peeled. Slice into wedges or sticks about 3/4" thick. For variety, some can be cut on a diagonal. Make about 4 c. total. Combine 1/2 c. vinegar 1 c. water, 1 tbs honey, 1 clove garlic thinly sliced, 1 tsp. fennel seeds, sprig thyme, 1 tsp. olive oil, 1 tsp tumeric, 1 tsp salt. Bring this to boil and add roots simmering about 8 min. until just tender--not too much. Allow to cool and put in a mason jar in the refrigerator. Serve cold.

We're just getting the feel for our newest vegetable--celariac--that rather large hairy root in with the turnips. It has a much subtler flavor than it's relative celery. This is a takeoff on a recipe in Deborah Madison's highly recommended cookbook-Vegetable Literacy.

Wild Rice With Celery Root--While wild rice is cooking, peel one celariac root and dice about 1/3". (you can temporarily keep it from darkening by keeping it in a bowl covered with water to which you've added a little lemon juice) Bring water to boil, add celariac and simmer for about 3 min until just tender but still chewy. Add to rice. Toss with butter and a little salt.

I'll agree, you might be tiring of rosemary. But we have it in profusion. Just saw where the somewhat woody stems could be used to good purpose as skewers to lend some subtle herb flavor to lamb, beef, or shrimp kebobs. Also making a paste of garlic, rosemary, and sage for under the skin of turkey or chicken. And it's always a great counterpoint to roasted roots like potato fries or turnips. Just a little, finely chopped.

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.

Posted 1/18/2014 11:33am by Don Kretschmann.

I was very upset that last Sunday's Pittsburgh Post Gazette carried an op-ed piece by a leading advocate of GMO's entitled "The Myth of Organic Agriculture" without an opposing viewpoint as they often do for controversial topics.  Henry Miller claims organic produce is no better for you or the environment.  I don't disagree that there are conficting claims and studies of organic vs. conventional nutrition.  But there is a much larger story that simply that.  Here was my response, submitted, but not yet published.

Dear Editor,

  In a way, I'm glad Dr. Miller threw down a gauntlet with the provocative title The Myth of Organic Agriculture because there are many reasons to bring a discussion of our food supply to public discussion.   It's more than talking about chemical analysis of foods for a limited number of substances which someone deemed to constitute the essence of "nutrition".  Organic and "sustainable" agriculture are more than some kind of a luddite conspiracy to mislead and bilk the public.

   For anyone not involved in the issues of our food supply, there's a great battle going on for control of our food supply.   On the one side are the forces which would have it all under the control of biotechnology/bioengineering firms, industrial suppliers of fertilizers/pesticides, large holders of agricultural land in monoculture, factory-like confined animal feeding operators, consolidated processors/marketers at the grocery/consumption end, and --critically-- all the university research this industrial complex can afford.  A quick look into Dr. Miller's background reveals he is clearly on this side. On the other side are traditional producers of our food, the ones everyone trusts inherently, locally focused family farmers.  

  "Organic" farming was a term made popular by J.I. Rodale in the 1940's not so much to be defined simply, as Miller would have us believe, as not using man-made fertilizers and pesticides in farm production, but rather a whole constellation of practices based on the lessons of nature.  At heart, organic farming seeks to bring the earth to life with the complex interrelated natural systems we see in the world as the model and health from nutritious food as the goal.   The interventionist strategies espoused by Miller are the opposite approach.

  Brian Snyder of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture says in a blog, "Unfortunately, we live in a time when many, if not most scientists believe that nature must be manipulated, or even defeated, in the course of addressing the really big problems our society now faces.  Such expectations quite naturally affect their findings, particularly if monetary compensation depends on it.  But an increasingly vocal minority of scientists is speaking up in support of a different kind of belief system, one that reveres, not the way things used to be, as is sometimes said, but the way things are, right in front of us, with the same insistence that others might apply to scripture."

   Led by these more respectful scientists, whole new fields of study are exploding and I feel will, over time, throw the search-and-destroy/command-and-control, chemical warfare method of agricultural production into the dustbin.  Examples abound.  In the field of soil microbiology in just a few years we've come to know there are billions of times more microorganisms than were previously thought to exist!  And there are myriads of beneficial symbiotic relationships these organisms have with other plants and animals.  Endomycorrhizal strands extend far more extensively into the soil than plant roots. These fungi bring nutrients and water into the root cells themselves, exchanging them for plant sugars.  Fungicides or acidic fertilizers obviously frustrate this natural relationship.  There's plenty of evidence that the competition between the billions of microorganisms present in a healthy soil eliminates the danger posed by some which are human pathogens.  Nature has it covered.  "Not so,", say the arrogant interventionists, "destroy them all!"  In the end, doesn't this put us all more in peril, not less, in much the same way a person whose immune system compromised by chemotherapy is prey to any pathogen which wanders his way? 

  Through DNA analysis, it's been found that within the human body there are ten times more microbes than there are actual human cells!  The purpose and interactions of all these has only begun to be understood.  It is already abundantly evident that our health and wellbeing are intimately related to this ecology.  To blandly declare war on this life system puts us in peril.  There's an epidemic of allergic, autoimmune, and digestive disease in the "developed" World.   The trail increasingly leads to this war on nature.  

   Organic agriculture seeks to bring this tapestry of life to bear on food production.  It is no myth at all.  Organicists dance with nature the way it is, not as they would like it to be.  The other agriculture of  artificially constructed organisms, with tens of thousands of mammals crowded on to a few acres to prepare them to enter the food chain, with deadly chemicals used routinely around food crops, with food barely recognizable to consumers, is the alter-universe of mythology.

 ---Don Kretschmann, organic fruit and vegetable grower for 37 years

P.S. "Backbreaking drudgery of hand weeding..." I've been farming organically for well over 30 years.  I know hundreds of other organic farmers and I don't see any great tide of "human consequences".  I'd say as a group they are healthier than their conventional counterparts.  They likely get more exercise.  My occasional trips to the chiropractor are sometimes as the result of field related stress, but more often than not comes the question from the doctor, "Have you been bent over the computer?"  So should we coin a new moniker "Backbreaking drudgery of desk work"?  I suggest it to the good doctor from Stanford.

Posted 12/26/2013 2:06pm by Don Kretschmann.

Dec. 18, 2013

Season's Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

  Certainly not all farmers see it the way we do (especially dairy farmers who milk year-round), but we kind of like this time of year when the sun sets in late afternoon and rises a good bit later than the school bus comes.  Chores are fewer, we're inside early to supper, and in evening reading time is nice. Then the real bottom line for us--more sleep.  Our crew likes the slower pace, getting home early, and days off because it's too cold or snowing.   Even the tomato stakes rest.  Of course there's a trade off.  You'd think we were getting apples from Siberia with cooler doors frozen, snow to move and ice to pick away.  A little thing like backing the truck to the lower barn door becomes several hours of snow removal, salting, picking at ice, and sand for the steep roadway.  But then, except if it's a winter box delivery day, we have the luxury of saying, "Let's chuck it today and hope for better weather tomorrow."  Tracks in the snow, come morning light, reveal life (and death) go on, even when and where we don't see.  Funny how often when there's a blazed path, everyone follows.  And then there are the lights in the evening...not a lot, but just a twinkle.

  The very cold weather and lack of daylight hours has put the mesclun greens in the greenhouse into slo mo.  In warmer weather with half a day of light, we'd pick it every week.  But now we hope to be able to repick in early January after an early December harvest. The incredible hearty kale is another story, having survived in the field in pretty good condition.  Getting it into the barn was a typical creative farm adventure last Saturday.  The ground was quite mushy and driving any kind of vehicle would be messy and ruin the paths and/or field with compaction and rutting.  But there was a good coating of snow.   So we simply took a big piece of heavy plastic and picked until we had the equivalent of nearly half a pickup truck load on it, tied it up into a giant elongated bundle, and sledded it over the snow pulling on a rope line like sled dogs from field to the barn.  It was surprisingly quick, easy, & field friendly! 

  Enjoy more giant winter beets!  Many ways to prepare.  They are great grated and made into a kind of beet slaw or salad--sweeter than carrots.  Peel them before cooking and you can cut them up with a strong knife to cut down the cooking time.  Dice them up and saute in butter.  Mmm..  Or slice them like french fries to toss with oil and roast. 

  Hoping you have a wonderful Christmas season with family and friends supping on all the treats of the season,  

Your farmers,--Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

Veggie ID:  Herbs are rosemary, sage, and oregano (from our newly enclosed "herb tunnel".  To extend their usefulness, be sure to put them somewhere they can dry, like on a paper plate on top of a cabinet.  A little oregano crunched between the palms is great in a lasagna or pizza before topping with mozzerella.  Sage and rosemary are tasty in poultry stuffing or to rub on a bird before roasting.  Or coat a pork or beef roast with a rosemary crust. Dried herbs can easily be made into any rub or powder you'd like in a coffee grinder.  Add peppercorns, salt, etc. Bon apetite.

Note on apples:  Those today are Goldrush.  Very firm, with a sweet/tangy robust flavor they continue to sweeten at least until Christmas.  A slight golden tone is heavenly.  Even if there's a small bad spot, they don't quickly rot, so you can pare it off nicely for fresh or baking.  The additional bag of baking apples are York and Golden Delicious.  You can bake to your heart's content, or make some fresh applesauce for Christmas.  Just cut them up in a large pot, add a little water in the bottom to steam the apples.  When they are soft, just mash them up or mix with a fork.  It's great even a little lumpy and the red apples give the sauce a wonderful rosy hue.  

We make this for a Christmas/New Year's party every year and get compliments every time.

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage:  Shred 2# red cabbage and saute in 3 Tbs. butter.  Add 1/4 c. brown sugar or honey and 1/4 c. vinegar and about 1/2 c. water and simmer until tender.  If desired thicken the sauce by adding a tbs of flour mixed in 1/2 c. water just before serving.  You can also steep spices in a tea ball in the water before adding or use herbed vinegar. Salt to taste.

Always something great to

Pickled beets are great to have on hand when company comes because it's festive looking...much better tasting in a salad than "cardboard" tomatoes from the grocer. —cook, then slice beets into a mason jar; heat equal parts vinegar, sugar, and water (we use the red water they were cooked in); pour the mixture over the beets and marinate overnight.  You can also add a few cloves, sliced raw onions, or hard-boiled eggs.

Holiday Cranberry Squash: First halve and bake 2 small or 1 large winter squash @ 400 deg. 30 min.  Sauté 2 c. onions and 1 c. celery in 1 tbs. oil. (I’d just add kale stems)  Add 10 oz.cranberries and 1 ½ c. diced apple and simmer until cranberries have popped. Remove from heat and add 2 tbs. grated orange peel, ½ c. orange juice, and ½ c. maple syrup.  Fill halved winter squash with mix and bake uncovered @ 325 deg.30-45 min.

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  liberally with romano or parmesan cheese to taste. 

Carrot Cake:  Sift 2c. flour (wholewheat is fine) + 2tsp. baking soda + 2 tsp. baking powder + 2 tsp. cinnamon + 1 tsp. salt + 1 c. sugar.  Add 4 beaten eggs, 1 c. vegetable oil, 2 c. grated carrots, 20 oz. can crushed pineapple slightly drained, and 1 c. raisins. Mix it all. (Option: 1/2 c. walnuts)  Bake in 9x13 pan 45 min @ 350 deg.  Ice with cream cheese + powdered sugar or honey, icing as desired.

Very easy to make a lot of veggies quickly and deliciously for any size crowd by roasting.

Roasted Root Vegetables-- Cut up any variety of root vegetables so they cook in approximately the same time.  Carrots and potatoes--about 3/8" thick, carrots in rounds or sticks about 2" long, potatoes 1 1/2".  Beets slightly thinner or shorter.  Turnips similar to beets (except Haikurei which should be larger)  Sprinkle with oil, tossing in large bowl until well coated on all sides.  Spread out in single layer on oiled cookie sheet and bake @350 deg. about 30 min. until tender.  Onions should be added separately and later because they take only about half the time.  Cut coarsely about 1/2-3/4" thick and toss them well until they begin to separate into rings.   Butternut squash can be done at the same time and similarly. 

There are lots more recipes on our website.  Many of our favorites. Feel free to look through for holiday ideas.

 Special Orders for Jan.8:  Feta (goat milk)--half #/$7, Swiss cheese--half#/$7, Whole bean coffee--#/$11, Decaf--#/$12  Organic chickens--$4.50/lb.  Send us a note via e-mail and we'll add these to your delivery.