Current Newsletters

Posted 11/19/2013 12:08pm by Don Kretschmann.

Nov. 19, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

  This is the last week of our regular subscription season.   It was a great year for us nearly all the way around.  All season long, as people asked in conversation how things were going, the reply was consistent--planting, care, and harvest have been unusually smooth.  Yes, there were bumps here and there, but not anywhere near like they have been for the last several seasons.  No crazy winter/early spring heat waves, nor late spring freezes, mid-season disasters, or breakdowns.  Rainfall was well distributed, and though we irrigated at times, we didn't use a quarter of the water we normally do. That made for earlier quitting times and easier sleep.  With a little less heat and the presence of blight, tomatoes were a tad off last year's record harvest, but not bad overall.  On the other side, the blight allowed us to finish tilling them in and planting to covers nearly a month early.  The crop mystery of the season was: what happened to zucchini?  Normally, they are so prolific you can't give them away--not this year.  But our apples trees provided us with one of our best and most varied pome seasons ever.

    This last week, we've been running with the ideas learned at the soil web workshop two weeks ago.  Rather than waiting until spring to spread our compost, we used light applications to inoculate several fields and the orchards.  Then we made gallons of compost tea from well matured forest floor material and sprayed this.  The weekend rain washed this teeming life into the soil where it will initiate a burst of living activity in the ground below the winter snows, connecting tree and cover crop roots with the myriad of nutrients present deep in our western PA geology. 

   During the winter, if you've got cabin fever and would like a box of the winter veggies, you can take a chance and e-mail a week prior to a delivery and we'll try to add you for that week.   You'd need to be signed on for the 2014 season.  Check our website for the delivery weeks and locations.

Hoping you've enjoyed the season with us and have a scrumptious happy Thanksgiving and Holidays beyond,  

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

P.S.  We'll still take signups for our winter season a bit longer.  Boxes begin 12/6 and continue every other week for 7 boxes, until the end of February.  (There's also a 5 box--monthly option)  We're really exited about the selection of things we've got stashed away-lots of amazing carrots, beets, potatoes, cabbage, garlic, onions, squash, golden ball turnips, ...and Goldrush apples.  We also pick fresh greenery from field and greenhouse. Sign up for the Winter Season  on the website under the Products. Password: kretschmann  We need dropoff locations which are out of the cold winter weather.  Let us know if you can host, or if you know of a good location we could use.

Comment on Food safety rules:  Unbelievable!  They extended comment period on the FSMA by one week because of website glitches.  If you haven't already commented as a consumer.  ( read more on our website...and comment!)

Veggie ID:  Herbs are rosemary, thyme, sage.  Have forgotten to say how great a little chopped rosemary tastes on french or "oven" fries.  It really cuts the oil well.  Chopped thyme and sage are great in dressing and rubbed on a holiday bird!
With the chilly weather of the last week, we've made many hot cups of this delicious drink lately...

Hot Mulled Cider:  Use bought mulled cider brewing mix or homemade combination of 2-3 cinnamon sticks, 1-2 whole cloves, and 5-6 whole allspice or amounts as desired using above brewing method.

Golden Pasta Carbonara Sauté 1 diced onion in 1 TBS oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until golden brown. Add 1 diced winter squash and 2-3 diced turnips and sauté briefly. Add 2 TBS white wine or water, turn down to medium and cover. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add more wine or water as necessary to keep from sticking. In the meantime, boil 1 package penne pasta in well-salted water. Stir together 1-2 TBS cream, 2 eggs, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, and ¼ cup feta cheese. Toss pasta with vegetables and eggs and cheese mixture in a hot skillet. Salt and pepper to taste

Don's Pumpkin Pie: Use a sturdy knife to cut up butternut, buttercup, hubbard, any similar orange fleshed squash into 1 1/2" cubes.  (Don't bother peeling)  Cover with water and cook until tender.  Pour off excess water.  Blend until smooth--2 c. pumpkin or squash with 1/2 t. salt, 1t. cinnamon, 3/4 t. allspice, 1/2 t. ginger, 1/8 t. cloves, 2 eggs, 2 tbs. flour,  and 1 1/2 c. milk.  Since all this will not fit at once in the blender, add the eggs and some pumpkin and all the dry ingredients and enough milk to facilitate the liquification of the pumpkin. Pour this in a bowl and blend more pumpkin and milk.  Mix in 3/4 c. honey or 1 c. sugar (or brown sugar) to complete the pumpkin pie mix.  Fill your favorite piecrust and bake @325 deg. 1 hr. until set.  You can make up this batter in advance and then freeze it in plastic jugs for use any time.  2qts. makes two 9" pies.

Pie crust-sift 2c. flour(any kind)+ 1/2t. baking powder+ 1t.salt. Blend 1/3c. boiling water+2/3c. oil.  Pour hot oil/water over dry ingredients and mix.  Roll out for crust immediately.  Between sheets of 6mil plastic makes it easy and clean.  Just peel back the plastic after rolling.  Half recipe for a single crust.

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.

Buttered Turnips: Cut up turnips into pieces about the diameter of a quarter—some are about that size whole, some cut in half, some cut more.  Saute in saucepan with 1-2 tbs. butter 5 min., turn heat to low and simmer about 5 min until tender.  Salt and pepper to taste and serve.  Don't cook the white Haikurei turnips too long or they get mushy.

Special Orders:  We'll have holiday wreathes made from rosemary for pickup either of the delivery dates in December.  Order extras at http://www.kretschmannfarm.com/store/csa-extras  -password:kretschmann (also the password for winter box signup) 

Posted 11/15/2013 11:24am by Don Kretschmann.

Nov. 12, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   I remember hearing a farmer's wife teasingly say she thought her husband raised beef for the composted manure.  Watching all the green manure or cover crops luxuriously taking over all our production fields at this time of the season I think gives me a similar satisfaction as the cattleman.  This season we got so many of them seeded early or right when the cash crop was harvested.  This has the whole farm looking greener than it has since the photosynthetic flush of May.  Peas seeded with oats will fix nitrogen and when tilled early in spring will make nice fields of spinach and lettuce.  Hairy vetch has made great growth and you can clearly see little nodules on the roots with a pink tinge--sure sign N is being nabbed from the air.  And our most used cover, rye, is growing well all over the farm.  Where we dropped it by hand between lettuce rows, it's filled in completely--lettuce having been cut weeks ago.  Where we've seeded mesclun, herbs, or turnips, rows of rye are interseeded between.  As winter temps kill off the vegetable crops, the rye will remain and it will look like we had drilled it there alone. In the brassicas, beets, and carrots the hand surface seeded rye is growing thick and profusely. Winter sunlight won't be wasted as it falls on the Kretschmann Farm this year.

  The week of 11/19-22 will be the last week of our regular season. B-light shares will end this week.   If you've been taking your wooden box home, you'll need to bring bags to transfer veggies the last pickup week. 

  Last chance to comment on the proposed rules for the Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2011.  The rules, as written, almost force everyone into the "other" food system--with gleaming assembly lines, wrappers, robots, and 24/7 shipping.  Please, help preserve the food system you know and love by commenting as a consumer.  ( read more on our website under News...and comment!)

  Enjoying the fall bounty, the brisk mornings, and sleeping longer, we are,

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

P.S.  If you'd like to continue the party, we're still taking signups for our winter season.  Boxes begin 12/6 and continue every other week for 7 boxes, until the end of February.  (There's also a monthly option)  We've socked away an amazing array of storable veggies, from carrots and cabbage, to apples, onions, squash, and garlic.  There's also fresh greenery from field and greenhouse. Sign up for the Winter Season  on the website under the Products. Password: kretschmann  These are biweekly or monthly veggie boxes, mostly things which store well--apples, cabbage, squash, potatoes, beets, carrots... and usually a little fresh greens from the greenhouses. We need dropoff locations which are out of the cold winter weather.  Let us know if you can host, or if you know of a good location we could use.

I.D. Apples are Golden Delicious and York from the Oylers.  Rooty bulb which looks like a hairy turnip--celariac.  Peel and slice thinly for a taste of celery in a salad.  Or dice and use in soups etc as you would celery.

There's a range of beet sizes and some are quite large.  Not to worry--those babies are edible and prime! They peel quite easily with a potato peeler.  Then you need a strong knife...

Beet Fries:  Peel large beets and slice up like French fries.  Toss with olive oil and spread on oiled cookie sheet.  Bake @ 350 deg. until tender.    Winter Root Fries Medley:   At the same time as you're baking beet fries, add potatoes, turnips, carrots, or even butternut squash (peel first), cut up and tossed in oil.  You might wait until the other things are in the oven 15 min or so to add the turnips, as they cook a little quicker.

Don's Pumpkin Pie: Use a sturdy knife to cut up butternut, buttercup, hubbard, any similar orange fleshed squash into 1 1/2" cubes.  (Don't bother peeling)  Cover with water and cook until tender.  Pour off excess water.  Blend until smooth--2 c. pumpkin or squash with 1/2 t. salt, 1t. cinnamon, 3/4 t. allspice, 1/2 t. ginger, 1/8 t. cloves, 2 eggs, 2 tbs. flour,  and 1 1/2 c. milk.  Since all this will not fit at once in the blender, add the eggs and some pumpkin and all the dry ingredients and enough milk to facilitate the liquification of the pumpkin. Pour this in a bowl and blend more pumpkin and milk.  Mix in 3/4 c. honey or 1 c. sugar (or brown sugar) to complete the pumpkin pie mix.  Fill your favorite piecrust and bake @325 deg. 1 hr. until set.  You can make up this batter in advance and then freeze it in plastic jugs for use any time.  2qts. makes two 9" pies.

Pie crust-sift 2c. flour(any kind)+ 1/2t. baking powder+ 1t.salt. Blend 1/3c. boiling water+2/3c. oil.  Pour hot oil/water over dry ingredients and mix.  Roll out for crust immediately.  Between sheets of 6mil plastic makes it easy and clean.  Just peel back the plastic after rolling.  Half recipe for a single crust.

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.  Precook 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).  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.

Special Orders: Potatoes: half bushel @$30  Butternut or Acorn Squash--$40/bushel.   Beets--$25/half bushel.  We'll have holiday wreathes made from rosemary for pickup either of the delivery dates in December.  Order extras at http://www.kretschmannfarm.com/store/csa-extras  -password:kretschmann (also the password for winter box signup)  New!  Quarter wheels of a new local sheep's milk pecorino cheese available the week before Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving Turkeys:  Many subscribers ask where they can get an organic, or other good quality Thanksgiving turkey.  Since we don't raise them, we would like to recommend getting one through Wild Purveyors in Lawrenceville.  You can go on to their website to order

Posted 11/15/2013 11:23am by Don Kretschmann.

Nov. 5, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

  Frost, schmost, that was a freeze Monday morning!  We always go into wild swings in temp like that at this time of the year with a good bit of apprehension.   A little frost is generally not devastating to the crops, but an actual freeze can damage lots of veggies so much that it ends their season.  On the other hand, nature is amazing.  Sometimes we just don't have any explanation why or how plants can survive.  But then, after having attended a three day intensive workshop with Elaine Ingram (preeminent soil microbiologist) last weekend, there are lots of things in our living world we are only on the cusp of even being aware of, much less understand.  We've always defined our organic agriculture as bringing the earth to life.   Elaine's lifelong studies and protocols lead exactly in that direction--that if we bring sufficient micro biological activity to the crust of the earth (dirt), we bring it and all the minerals it contains to life.  And with that life, there's no necessity for chemicals of any sort to produce our food.  The living system--she calls it the soil food web--is as complex, fascinating, and limitless as any distant galaxy.  Bacteria collaring atmospheric nitrogen; soil fungi transporting minerals and water from deep in the earth to trade for sugars in plant root hairs; arthropods eating nematodes eating protozoa eating bacteria.  Living organisms by the millions in each teaspoon of soil.  Billions and trillions--galaxies of life--right under our very feet! 

   The week of 11/19-22 will be the last week of our regular season. B-half shares' season will end next week.   If you've been taking your wooden box home, you'll need to bring bags to transfer veggies your last pickup week. 

  There's just a little more than a week to comment on the proposed rules for the Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2011.  This is really an unprecedented moment even though it might not at first glance seem so. This legislation is the direct result of a decades long transformation of our entire food system.  The rules have the potential to severely impact every small farm like ours which sells produce to the public.  Buying directly from the local farmer is a very old-fashioned way to obtain one's food.  You must surely know, it's not the norm any more.  The rules, as written, almost force everyone into the "other" food system--with gleaming assembly lines, wrappers, robots, and 24/7 shipping.  Please, help preserve the food system you know and love by commenting as a consumer.  ( read more on our website under News...and comment!)

  Enjoying the fall bounty, the brisk mornings, and sleeping longer, we are,

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

 

P.S.  If you'd like to continue the party, we're still taking signups for our winter season.  Boxes begin 12/6 and continue every other week for 7 boxes, until the end of February.  (There's also a monthly option)  We've socked away an amazing array of storable veggies, from carrots and cabbage, to apples, onions, squash, and garlic.  There's also fresh greenery from field and greenhouse. Sign up for the Winter Season  on the website under the Products. Password: kretschmann  These are biweekly or monthly veggie boxes, mostly things which store well--apples, cabbage, squash, potatoes, beets, carrots... and usually a little fresh greens from the greenhouses. We need dropoff locations which are out of the cold winter weather.  Let us know if you can host, or if you know of a good location we could use.

I.D. Apples are Golden Delicious and York from the Oylers.  The long beets are Cylindra or Forono--an heirloom variety which is especially red through the length and into the center.  White roots in a plastic bag are turnips.

Cabbage,Beet, and Apple Slaw--grate 1/2 cabbage, 2 apples, and 1 beet.  toss with 3 tbs. vinegar, 1 tbs honey, 1 tbsdijon mustard, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 c. olive oil.  Garnish-1/2 c. coarsely chopped parsley.

Carrot Beet Hummus: Cook several carrots and beets. Puree carrots, beets, ¼ cup water, and 2-3 cloves roasted garlic. Add 1 can chickpeas, 2 TBS lemon juice, and ½ tsp salt, pureeing until smooth. Add ½ TBS tahini, ¼ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp minced ginger, ¼ tsp paprika and blend. For a twist, add jalapeno pepper or cilantro to the mixture.

Roasted Carrots and Garbanzo Beans:  Toss carrots with olive oil, salt, and onion soup.   Roast on shallow tray @ 400 deg, turning occasionally.  When nearly tender, add drained, precooked garbanzo beans and toss. Return to oven until warmed and carrots are browned and tender. 

Himmel und Erde (German for heaven and earth):  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.)

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.  Also can top with apple slices. Fruited vinegrette?

 

Special Orders: Potatoes: half bushel @$30  Butternut or Acorn Squash--$40/bushel.   Hungarian Hot Wax peppers--$25/half bushel  Jalepenos-2#/$5.  Order extras at http://www.kretschmannfarm.com/store/csa-extras  -password:kretschmann (also the password for winter box signup)  New!  Quarter wheels of a new local sheep's milk pecorino cheese available the week before Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving Turkeys:  Many subscribers ask where they can get an organic, or other good quality Thanksgiving turkey.  Since we don't raise them, we would like to recommend getting one through Wild Purveyors in Lawrenceville.  You can go on to their website to order

Posted 11/15/2013 11:22am by Don Kretschmann.

Oct. 29, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

  Ole Jack Frost has been visiting regularly here at the farm.  Since Friday we've seen his white residue as daylight breaks each morning.  Since it's just too cold to be out in the mornings, we've taken to late starts and enjoying the more temperate afternoons to be out in the fields picking until sunset.  Makes you really feel there's a more primary mandala propelling the world, than the clock. 

   Last week we finished digging our fall carrots--great crop. It's a relief to have it in the cooler as unpredictable weather becomes more of a certainty in November.  Last season, we were still digging them in December after the ground had frozen!  What remains to harvest is actually lots of fun--beautiful white Haikurei turnips, long and delicious Forona as well as round Red Ace beets, radishes, lots of greens, and our favorite apple of them all--Goldrush.  Because these come so late and are far and away the best storage apple, we usually reserve these for our winter boxes.  They actually are only at their prime about Christmas!  This year we have the best crop of Goldrushes we've ever had and would like everyone to get a chance to at least taste and see what we rave about to all who will listen. In the apple bag, you should have at least two Goldrushes and the rest are red Jonafrees (these make an attractive rose tinted apple pie or applesauce when you cook with them). 

  The organic cider is from our friends, the Oyler's.   This old fashioned drink, which is just the juice of fresh apples, is one of the joys of the season.  We've provided it to our customers for many years every fall, from apples gathered where ever we could find them.  Sometimes, we've felt like we were just following in Johnny Appleseed's footsteps (perhaps we were--he spent winters inPittsburgh).  Delicious hot or cold, you can also easily freeze it--just pour off about half a cup and put the jug in the freezer.  The cider has been UV treated, accomplishing the same thing as pasteurization but without heat, so it's still fresh.

  There are just two more weeks to comment on the proposed rules for the Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2011.  This legislation has the potential to severely impact every small farm like ours which sells produce to the public. It's not without restraint that we ask you to help us out by commenting as a consumer.  (Important! read more on our website under News...)

  Enjoying all the colors, and the fall bounty, and even the brisk mornings, we are,

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

P.S.  Sign up for the Winter Season (Dec.-March) on the website under the Products. Password: kretschmann  These are biweekly or monthly veggie boxes, mostly things which store well--apples, cabbage, squash, potatoes, beets, carrots... and usually a little fresh greens from the greenhouses. We need dropoff locations which are out of the cold winter weather.  Let us know if you can host, or if you know of a good location we could use.

I.D. The bunched greens are turnip greens.  Cook them like spinach.  Can be easily frozen for winter use--with pastas, spanikopita...   In the spring greens bag are tender bluish pea greens.

We find this version so much easier than some we've tried. Great with some of those green or red Italia type peps.

"Red Hot" Cider: Place 1/2 c. "red hot" cinnamon candies in basket of an electric coffee maker.  Pour 1 qt. cider into coffee maker's water reservoir, and brew over cinnamon candies. 

Hot Mulled Cider:  Use bought mulled cider brewing mix or homemade combination of 2-3 cinnamon sticks, 1-2 whole cloves, and 5-6 whole allspice or amounts as desired using above brewing method.

Adapted from a spinach recipe, we've found most people can't tell if these are made from turnips or chard greens.

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.

Greens Omlette: Chop 1/4 c, onions, chop a cup of tender greens (mizuna, kale, mustard, or turnip greens are good), and dice two potatoes.  Saute the potatoes in olive oil until tender, toss in the chopped onions, stir a few times then transfer these into a bowl.  Put pan back on heat with a tiny bit of oil, toss in the greens, then spread the potatoes and onions on top, and pour three eggs beaten with milk on top and cover tightly.  Turn heat to low and simmer.  When bottom begins to “set” place pieces of your favorite cheese on top and put under the broiler until cheese melts and top is slightly golden brown.

Greens Mini-cups- Saute 1/2 c. minced onion in 2 tbs olive oil until onion softens.  Add about 10 oz. chopped greens 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.

Special Orders: Potatoes: half bushel @$30  Butternut or Acorn Squash--$40/bushel.   Hungarian Hot Wax peppers--$25/half bushel  Jalepenos-2#/$5.  Order extras at http://www.kretschmannfarm.com/store/csa-extras  -password:kretschmann (also the password for winter box signup)  New!  Quarter wheels of a new local sheep's milk pecorino cheese available the week before Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving Turkeys:  Many subscribers ask where they can get an organic, or other good quality Thanksgiving turkey.  Since we don't raise them, we would like to recommend getting one through Wild Purveyors in Lawrenceville.  You can go on to their website to order

 

Posted 11/15/2013 11:21am by Don Kretschmann.

Oct. 15, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   We're as much in awe of the natural beauty we are blessed with in Penn's Woods as the next eye. Each day, we look forward to the deepening complexity of colors.  And it's not just the maples, sassafras, gums, and hickories, but the tender kelly green of recently seeded rye and oats, the deeper green of alfalfas and parsley, and the blue/green hue of peas, dill, cabbage, broccoli, and kale; all contrasted by the earthen tone of fall tillage. The hills of New Sewickley, which a weathered veteran farmer early told me were "ones no one else wanted to farm" often give unusual views when glimpsed from a different vantage.  Autumn often paints these vantages new, when you look.

  And it's starting to be that time when we're not so busy as not to look.  Last week, after expelling the tomatoes from the large hoophouse and tilling, we put the last seeds of the 2013 season in the ground there--arugula, kale, and mustards.  We'll be so glad to have these few greens through the white winter months. 

  We're expecting weather to cool considerably later in the week and by the time you read this, we'll have row covers over the last two plantings of lettuce.  These protect it if it freezes and even in the day add a few more degrees to hasten late season growth.  We also interseed rye between the rows so after the lettuce is harvested, there will be a winter cover already in place.  We do this with nearly all our late seeded crops.  This not only prevents erosion, but also using the magic of photosynthesis plants capture all that winter sunlight energy and store it (along with carbon) in living plants.

  Many of you who have been customers for decades know that we rarely bother you with miscellaneous requests and political rants.  We're just hard working farmers who see our mission as providing you with nutritious food in an environmentally friendly way.  So it's not without restraint that we ask for your help us out by commenting on the proposed rules for the Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2011.  (read more...)

  Enjoying the trees, the vistas, and the fall bounty, we are,

Your farmers,

--Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

 

P.S.  Signup is open for the Winter Season (Dec.-March) on the website under the Products. Password: kretschmann  We're always interested in good dropoff locations which are out of the cold winter weather.  Let us know if you would be interested to host, or if you know of a good location we could use.

I.D. Early week apples this week are Liberties (purplish w/white flesh); later in the week will be Jonafrees (red w/yellow flesh).  Flat bluish greens are Tuscan kale.  In the spring greens bag are tender bluish pea greens as well as red beet leaves.

Coming Events: Lots of beautiful lettuce to come; Greens--swiss chard & kale;  Turnips & turnip greens; Cabbage--red and green;  Roots.  Italian style red speckled shell-out beans (though likely not enough for everyone)

Fresh Apple Salsa:  Dice 2 apples, toss with 4 tbs lime juice.  Mince 1 fresh jalepeno, ½ onion.  Lightly toast ½ c walnuts and coarsely chop.  Peel and finely sliver 2 tbs. fresh ginger.  Chop small bunch fresh cilantro.  Toss everything well with ¼ tsp. salt.  (dried chili powdered of choice to taste can be substituted for jalepeno)

Apple Slice Cake:  Sift 1 c. pastry flour, 1 ½ tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt, 2 tbs sugar.  Mix in 4 tbs vegetable oil until well mixed.  Beat 2 egg yolks adding ½ c. milk and stir well into dry mixture.  Pour into oiled shallow pan.  Cover with thin slices of 4 pared apples.  Sprinkle with 4 tbs sugar, ½ tsp. cinnamon, 1 tbs grated lemon rind, and dot with butter.  Bake @ 400 deg. 35 min. 

Cauliflower Curry-- Saute 1 tsp. mustard seeds in vegetable oil or ghee until they dance.  Add several chopped tomatoes and simmer for 2 min.  Add 4 c. cauliflower pieces 1 tsp fenugreek,  and 3/4 c. cooked peas (dried).  Simmer 5-10 min. longer until cauliflower is tender.  Serve with rice. Garnish w/cilantro.

Kale Kielbasa Soup: Saute 1 chopped onion, 4 cloves minced garlic. Add 1 1/2tsp fresh thyme,1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper, 12 oz.thinly sliced kielbasa, 1 ½ qt water or broth and simmer.  Add 15 oz. cooked kidney beans, 4 c. chopped greens (kale, collards, mustard, or turnip greens), and 9 oz frozen tortellini 5 min before serving.  Top with parmesan cheese when serving.

Easy Eggplant-Parmesan Rolades:  Slice eggplant crosswise 1/2" thick.  Sprinkle a thick layer of Parmesan cheese on a plate or pan. Coat flat sides of eggplant with mayonaise, then press into parmesan encouraging it to stick.  Bake @375 about 10 min.  top with a dollop of ...

Green Tomato Relish:  Dice 3 green tomatoes, 1/2 green pepper, 1/2 onion.  Simmer in saucepan with 1/2 c. vinegar, 1/2 c. brown sugar, 1/4 tsp. celery seed, 1/4 tsp. mustard, 1/8 tsp. cinnamon, and pinch of salt about 20 min. Cool and jar. 

Special Orders: Potatoes: half bushel @$30  Butternut or Acorn Squash--$40/bushel.   Jalepenos(they're turning bright red!)--$25 10# chip. Hungarian Hot Wax peppers--$25/half bushel  (We enjoy jars of these year 'round and are eagerly sought out by visiting adult children.  We've got an  archived easy recipe you'll really like for these pickled Italian hot pepper rings.  Order extras at http://www.kretschmannfarm.com/store/csa-extras  -password:kretschmann (also the password for winter box signup)

Posted 11/15/2013 11:21am by Don Kretschmann.

Oct. 29, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

  Maybe it seems like a mirage, but over the last several weeks, the whole farm has become a different place.  We've got one small chip of ripe-to-overripe San Marzano's in the garage, but unless you look closely, there's not a sign in the fields that we had ever grown them!  "...just us rye plants out here now..."  It's hard to remember that where zillions of Haikurei and Golden Ball turnips now grow, was the first tilled field, planted with bulbing onions until sometime in late August.  It seems ages ago we were picking spinach daily and then green beans in the fields downZiegler Rd.   It must be a mirage, but wasn't that knee high field of peas and oats once our potato field?  Where did all the beans go, long time passing...  And greens, yes, we've become a greens farm...color contrasting with the yellow and orange hardwood hills.

  A big glug of peppers!  It's the last hurrah of the tender frost sensitive crops, when, the week of our first really cold weather and impending frost and freeze we tear through the pepper field picking thousands of them. (and what a glug-yesterday we picked more peppers in one day than ever!) After waiting seemingly forever for the first ones in our northern climes, they are finally plentiful--just in time for their demise.  All the red and green peppers this week are sweet types.  The only exception are the jalepenos (hot!) or the yellow Tibrones (just mildly spicy).  

  It's incredible timing, but almost every year, just after figuring our when our Mexican workers will go home, and buying tickets--the weather takes a turn toward frigid.  So it was not really a surprise to look on the NOA website this morning to see the little snow icon for the first time this season.  Yup, Erasmo leaves at dawn on Saturday, I guess taking the warm sun with him!

  Many of you who have been customers for decades know that we rarely bother you with miscellaneous requests and political rants.  We're just hard working farmers who see our mission as providing you with nutritious food in an environmentally friendly way.  So it's not without restraint that we ask for your help us out by commenting on the proposed rules for the Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2011.  (Important! read more online...)

  Enjoying the trees, the vistas, and the fall bounty, we are,

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

P.S.  Signup is open for the Winter Season (Dec.-March) on the website under the Products. Password: kretschmann  These are biweekly or monthly veggie boxes, mostly things which store well--apples, cabbage, squash, potatoes, beets, carrots, and usually a little greens from the greenhouses. We need dropoff locations which are out of the cold winter weather.  Let us know if you can host, or if you know of a good location we could use.

I.D. The bunched greens are turnip greens.  Cook them like spinach.  Can be easily frozen for winter use--with pastas, spanikopita...   In the spring greens bag are tender bluish pea greens as well as red beet leaves.

We find this version so much easier than some we've tried. Great with some of those green or red Italia type peps.

Chiles con Queso:  Add boiling water to 2  c. cornmeal mixing to form a thick dough (better yet is to use maseca which is tortilla flour available in specialty stores).  Add ½ # grated cheese and 1/2 minced onion. Cut stem end off peppers and remove seeds and ribs.  Stuff peppers with the filling and place in oiled shallow pan.  Brush with oil and bake @ 350 deg. 30 min.  Serve topped with salsa (adding some minced fresh cilantro).  All pepper varieties work, but the best to use are big enough to be able to stuff the filling into them with your finger. 

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.

Adapted from a spinach recipe, we've found most people can't tell if these are made from turnips or chard greens.

Greens Mini-cups- Saute 1/2 c. minced onion in 2 tbs olive oil until onion softens.  Add about 10 oz. chopped greens 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.

This soup is ridiculously delicious and very easy to make.

Moroccan Stew--  First mix together--Berber Spice Mixture--2T. cumin seeds, 1/2 T. fennel seeds, 1 T. peppercorns, 1T. whole allspice, 3 whole cloves, 1/2 T.coriander seeds, 1 T grated fresh ginger, pinch saffron, 2 T. sweet paprika, 1/2 tsp.cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. Tumeric. Chop stew sized- 1 1/2 c. onions, 3 c. potatoes, 2 c. carrots, 1 small butternut, 1 green and one red pepper, and 3 cloves garlic.  Saute vegetables and garlic in 2 T. olive oil 3-5 min. add 4 c. veggie stock and 2 c. chopped tomatoes and simmer with Berber spice mixture until veggies are tender, 20 to 25 min.  Salt to taste and garnish with 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley. (We substitute anise for fennel and put all the Berber spice mixture in a teaball to steep in the stew.  You can also use 1 qt of canned plain tomato sauce instead of the stock & forget the tomatoes.)  This hearty stew has a wonderful flavor. Use what veggies you have on hand.

Special Orders: Potatoes: half bushel @$30  Butternut or Acorn Squash--$40/bushel.   Hungarian Hot Wax peppers--$25/half bushel  Jalepenos-2#/$5.  Order extras at http://www.kretschmannfarm.com/store/csa-extras  -password:kretschmann (also the password for winter box signup)

Posted 10/13/2013 10:57pm by Don Kretschmann.

Oct. 8, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   It's done.  For the first time in over eight months, we don't have tomatoes growing on the farm. We removed the clips holding the tall tomatoes in the high tunnel greenhouse to the string trelise, wacked them at the base, and tossed them onto a wagon for transport to a nearby field where they will be tilled in to decay over the winter.  These last sheltered ones could have been left, but they were getting so diseased that it was better to eliminate them to allow for a period without appropriate hosts for the late blight fungus.  Tomatoes don't like the cold weather and short days anyway.  In the past we've hung on to a few growing plants, only to get very few fruit while watching them slowly degrade.  Au revoir!

   We've been admiring the fall root crops growing slightly downhill from the barn since they were seeded in July.  They've been a devil to keep weeded since constant moisture is as good for weeds as it is for crops.  The hard rainfall shortly after seeding made it difficult for the tiny seedlings to break the crusted soil and caused a thinner than desired planting.  The up side is that the thinned beets are a good bit larger than normal.  These will be good to save for the winter.  We're crossing our fingers that the carrots size up quickly and it doesn't get overly wet so we can dig them up easily.  We're always racing the onset of winter to get the carrots out of the field.

  We've finished picking all the apples except for the last (and best of all) Goldrushes in early November.  We're hoping for the best crop of these late beauties we've ever had. 

  The crew has commented that as fast as we take cauliflower and broccoli out of the cooler, it fills up with more.  Hope you enjoy the bonanza. 

  Enjoying a bit more sleep as we rise later, vistas of sprouting cover crops, and the fall bounty, we are,

Your farmers,

--Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

P.S.  Signup for the Winter Season (Dec.-March) on the website under the Products. Password:kretschmann

I.D.  Apples this week are Liberties.  A little tart, crispy, white flesh.  Great in apple pies and to eat.

Cauliflower and broccoli leaves look like and taste just about like collards or kale.  They are nutritional super-foods.   Ditto for beet leaves.  If you're rushed, just steam and freeze all these greens for a winter day meal. 

Coming Events: Lots of beautiful lettuce to come; Greens--swiss chard & kale;  Turnips & turnip greens;  Tuscan kale;  Cabbage--red and green;  Roots;  Baby mesclun.    

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 1/3 c. apple cider.  Make dough and line piepan with crust.  Fill with apples, pressing them to get in as many as possible.  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. 

Pie crust-sift 2c. flour(any kind)+ 1/2t. baking powder+ 1t.salt. Blend 1/3c. boiling water+2/3c. oil.  Pour hot oil/water over dry ingredients and mix.  Roll out for crust immediately.  Between sheets of 6mil plastic makes it easy and clean.  Just peel back the plastic after rolling.

Cauliflower-Cheese Soup: Put aside 2 c. cauliflower flowerets of large head.  Cut up the remainder and boil in 1 qt.water with 1 large diced potato, 1 carrot, and 1 1/2 c. chopped onion until all veggies are very tender.  Puree in blender and transfer to large pot.  Steam reserved cauliflower until just tender.  Add to puree with 2 c. grated ceddar, 3/4 c. milk, 1 tsp. dill, salt and pepper to taste.  Heat gently and top w/ a little xtra cheese. (The puree can be frozen for later use.)

Cauliflower and Broccoli Souflettes (or Souffle):  Steam small pieces of broccoli and cauliflower until just tender.  Melt 4 tbs. butter; remove from heat and gradually add 1/2 c. whole wheat flour, then add 2 c. milk gradually stirring to keep smooth.  Return to heat and stir until sauce thickens and boils.  Allow to cool a little and add 1 egg yolk and 1/2 c. grated cheddar and nutmeg to taste.  Fold this sauce into 1 stiffly whipped egg white. Place vegetables into 6 oiled souflette dishes or souffle dish and pour sauce over the top.  Bake @375, 35-45 min. or until puffed and golden.  Serve immediately. 

Special Orders: Potatoes: half bushel @$30  Butternut or Acorn Squash--$40/bushel.   Jalepenos(they're turning bright red!)--$25 10# chip. Hungarian Hot Wax peppers--$25/half bushel  (We enjoy jars of these year 'round and are eagerly sought out by visiting adult children.  We've got an  archived easy recipe you'll really like for these pickled Italian hot pepper rings.  Order extras at http://www.kretschmannfarm.com/store/csa-extras  Password:kretschmann

Free Tour this Saturday:  We've run the farm with solar power since 2011.  We will be part of a free, self-guided tour of local homes and businesses that use solar energy and other green technologies hosted by PennFuture on Saturday, October 12th from 11a.m. to 4p.m.  There are 22 different locations in Pittsburgh and across western PA on the tour.  You can visit as few or as many as you'd like.  Stay in the city or wander the countryside to see solar powered farms and homesteads.   The tour is free, but please visit www.pghsolartour.org to register and see the tour map and guidebook.  (Here, you can see a tractor we converted to electric!)

 

Posted 10/13/2013 10:57pm by Don Kretschmann.

ALL HANDS ON DECK--YOUR FRESH FOOD SUPPLY, OUR FARM, IS IN DANGER

Many of you who have been customers for decades know that we rarely bother you with miscellaneous requests and political rants.  We're just hard working farmers who see our mission as providing you with nutritious food in an environmentally friendly way.  So it's not without restraint that we ask for your help commenting on the proposed rules for the Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2011.  There are two major regulations that will affect farm level producers, the Produce Rule, which outlines standards for produce production (growing, harvesting, packing, and holding) and the Preventative Controls Rule, which requires new safety measures for "facilities" (including typical farms) that process (manufacture, pack, or hold) food for human consumption. These regulations apply to everything from harvest, to buildings, wild animals, compost, and irrigation water. 

After decades operating a small family organic farm, we seriously think that many small produce farms like ours might be forced to close, not for any production or marketing issue whatsoever.  The prospect here is better than ever.  The FSMA has the real potential to make it impossible for small produce growers to make a living by requiring costly and we feel unnecessary alterations to the way produce is handled.  This would leave such farms as merely pretty western PA landscapes without the resources to withstand development pressure on the suburban fringes of a major metropolitan area. This issue is that serious.

Why the big push to "modernize" the food safety regulations?  There have been a steady string of food contaminations which caused sickness and deaths in the last two decades which have made national headlines --green onions from Sonora, spinach from California, melons from Colorado, peanuts from Texas, ground beef from Nebraska, juice from California...  Demand for regulatory action had resulted in legislation.  But does anyone see a pattern here in the incidents?  All these incidents were from very large companies distributing food nationwide.  The real problem is with that system.  Scattered illnesses in dozens of states need to be linked together to determine what's going on in an individual case.  By the time causation is known, it's too late.  (also, in large batch plants like those, a little contamination innoculates a very large amount of food)  Whereas, sickness caused by small scale locally produced food is quickly found out, halted, and other consumers alerted.

What's wrong with the FSMA?  Large corporations in the business of growing and shipping to a nationwide network will accommodate to it. (and in our opinion need to).  But for the small producer, there are so many shortcomings in the rules that it's hard to know where to start objecting.  We think safe food is extremely important.  But on nearly every level this act is a misguided effort with disastrous consequences when applied wholesale to small farmers and especially for sustainable and organic farmers. 

Just a few worrisome excerpts from the proposed rule:  On buildings: "... be constructed in such a manner that floor, walls, ceilings, fixtures, ducts and pipes can be adequately cleaned and kept in good repair."  This would seem to preclude use of all classic Pennsylvania bank barns like our 150 year old barn, with it's fieldstone foundation and still strong beams, hand hewn by sturdy pioneers of another century.  It's caused no known food illnesses. Yet "modern" warehouse-like structures not twenty years old shipping to nationwide markets have meanwhile caused thousands of illnesses and scores of deaths. On wild animals: "... If under the circumstances there is a reasonable probability that animal intrusion will contaminate covered produce, you would be required to monitor for evidence of animal intrusion immediately prior to harvest and, as needed, during the growing season.  If you see evidence of animal intrusion, such as significant quantities of animals..."  Do the writers seriously think we farmers ignore losses due to deer and other animals and don't try to prevent them from entering fields?  And has any of them seen the PA deer herd in action? Yes, surely none of us need be told not to harvest produce visibly containing excrement.  But a buffer zone for rain splash, runoff with rain, etc?  Documentation? Wouldn't produce farming in PA be banned entirely? I guess it's better to produce in thousand acre fields in the middle of a desert--no animals there.  Composting, the seminal organic procedure, the recycling of natural byproducts, would be in danger of being entirely eliminated by farmers because of continual extensive testing requirements: Proposed §§ 112.54 and 112.55  Organic farmers have long practiced the art of composting and have strict standards for it's production.  Yet, the FDA knows better. Yes, better to landfill that "waste" and feed the plants with chemicals.  Irrigation water (proposed § 112.41) Season long weekly testing is not only a great cost, but requiring treatment for water which almost immediately becomes re-contaminated by contact with soil, just doesn't make sense.   Numerous healthy fish, and animals live in the ponds, lakes, and streams used for irrigation in our region.  We thought that was a good sign.  Suddenly this is bad?  Surely someone should realize the East is not like the West, where water supplies change daily because of rainfall, and production fields are part and parcel of an integrated natural hydro-ecosystem as opposed to use and reuse of irrigation water from common canals.  Equipment:  " You must use equipment and tools... used to store or convey harvested covered produce (such as containers, bins, food-packing material...) to enable them to be adequately cleaned... and sanitize...[with] Instruments or controls used to measure, regulate, or record temperatures, hydrogen ion concentration (pH), sanitizer efficacy or other conditions..."  We clean or line our containers as necessary, but one could easily see where this one is going.  Throw-away or plastic containers put through a dishwasher like machine with each use.  Goodbye durable, reusable, and environmentally friendly wood!

We'd like to plan over the next few years to gradually reduce our personal workload and responsibilities and transition our highly successful and productive farm on to the another generation of farmers.  There's absolutely no business reason to think this can't  be accomplished.  But the FSMA puts a huge cloud on that horizon.  And this is just when the local, organic, and sustainable agriculture movements are transforming the food scene nationwide.  It's attracting many enthusiastic young people to a profession long characterized by average ages in the fifties and sixties.  Assuming a similar scenario plays out with other small farms in our region, it will leave the entire region at the mercy of the nationwide system of food delivery you are all too familiar with at your local supermarket. The fresh produce you have all come to know and enjoy from local farms will be gone, because those local sources will be hard pressed to continue with rules like these.  It will also leave you all at the mercy of the FSMA protocols.

If the proposed rules are enacted, it will be the end of farming as we know it.  Young people will cease to enter the field.  The local foods movement will be devastated. The quality of our dining will degrade.  TheU.S.food supply will be less secure, not more.

Brian Snyder, executive director for Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, has a very informative blog which sounds the alarm and directs you to what you can do.  It's well worth reading at:  Write to Farm.    (http://writetofarm.com/2013/09/26/moment-of-truth-for-farmers-with-food-safety-has-arrived/#)

Please help!  Swell the public outcry over this issue by commenting to the FDA.  Save our farms.  Save your food.

--Don & Becky Kretschmann

P.S. Here's the exact comment page: http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2011-N-0921-0199

P.P.S. Our suggestion: Use rules similar to those written for producers and facilities over a certain volume of production, or those with national distribution--not a dollar amount because that penalizes anyone who retails production and/or supplements with produce from a neighbor.  Then mandate for all producers under that amount that they have a permit which requires specified coursework and continuing education, similar to pesticide applicator's licenses.

 

Posted 10/13/2013 10:52pm by Don Kretschmann.

Oct. 1, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   Beginning of October and it looks like a week of grace after last Monday's surprise close brush with a frost.   You're the recipient of lots of the mid&late season lucky rolls-of-the-farmer-dice.  It's been possibly the best green beans ever because they came early and succession plantings have kept them coming for a very long season.  The nicely spaced rainfalls have kept these tender, and watered the late crucifers nearly to perfection without bringing on molds and rots associated with too much water.

   After picking the last tomatoes--mostly green and turning ones--last week we began dismantling the tomato fields.  First we quickly cut and pull out the nylon twine with which they are tied; then we pull out the stakes and bundle them up, by tying with old drip tapes; we pile them onto pallets and move them to an area we can get to in the winter when we disinfect them all so as not to spread disease from season to season.  After the drip irrigation tape is removed, the last step is to rototill and plant a rye cover crop.  The near-permanent looking tedious construction of a staked tomato field is replaced in a matter of a few days into a tranquil field of winter grain.  From the requirement of near constant attention and effort to a demanding crop, we transition to restful enjoyment watching the rye sprout, green up, and photosynthesize for near six months.  We joke to visitors about "beautiful tomato fields" looking at these growing cover crops through the off season.

   Is your frig filling up and things getting ahead of you?  Beans, broccoli, and cauliflower can all easily be frozen--just blanche in boiling water and cool in cold water, drain, put in a ziploc bag, and freeze for later use. We simply cut the top off stuffing peppers & put in a freezer bag.  In the winter we stuff them while still frozen and bake.  What could be simpler?

    Check out the bulk extras below, if you'd like to stash some things away for the winter.  Potatoes should last into late winter early spring, just stored in a cool dry place.  Acorn squash lasts until just after Christmas and butternut can go into late winter if kept dry and about 55 deg.

   We'll be posting the signup for our special season of winter boxes.  Watch for it, or look on our website for information.  

    Enjoying the first colors of autumn and hints of more glory to come, we are your grateful farmers,

                                                            --Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

 Note:  Cauliflower leaves look like and taste just about like collards or kale.  All cruciferous leaves are edible--broccoli, cabbage...even kohlrabis, and very nutritious.

 Veggie ID: The bundled herb this week is Thai basil. 

 Coming Events: Apples.  Lettuce-three more plantings; Greens--swiss chard & kale;  Winter squashes--acorn, carnival, butternut, buttercup;  roots-potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips, radishes. 

 Thai Noodles:  Cook and drain 8 oz wide rice noodles.   In 2 Tbs. vegetable oil sauté 6 cloves minced garlic, and 1/8 c. chopped hot type pepper.  In 1 min. add ½ lb. diced chicken (or shrimp), 2 tbs fish sauce, 2 tbs soy sauce and continue to sauté until chicken is cooked—about 4 min.   Add noodles, 2 Italian frying or 1 bell pepper cut into strips, 2 large chopped plum tomatoes and sauté slightly about 30 seconds.  Toss with ½ c. chopped thai basil leaves and serve.

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.

 

Assorted Stuffed Peppers:  Smaller sized peppers can be stuffed with a variety of interesting fillings.  Cook 1/2 c. cornmeal in 1/2 c. water with a little salt.  After this cools slightly, add 1 egg and 1/2 c. grated cheese.  Stuff into hot or sweet peppers and place in an oiled baking dish and brush with a little oil.  Cover slightly with tomato sauce and halve a few Roma tomatoes in the spaces between peppers.  Bake in hot (400 deg.) oven about 30 min. until tender. You can also stuff peppers with any of the grain-burger mixes available.  Italians stuff hot banana peppers with sweet sausage.  And of course there's the All American ground beef and rice stuffed pepper.  Red peppers make exceptionally tasty stuffers.

 Special Orders: save on heat this winter// Jalepenos (great for making a bottle or two of homemade Siracha sauce; or pickle them Italian style to use on nachos) 2# bag@$5.   Potatoes: half bushel @$30  Butternut or Acorn Squash--$40/bushel.  Hungarian Hot Wax peppers--$25/half bushel  (We enjoy jars of these year 'round and are eagerly sought out by visiting adult children.  We've got an  archived easy recipe you'll really like for these pickled Italian hot pepper rings.  Order extras at http://www.kretschmannfarm.com/store/csa-extras  

Posted 9/29/2013 12:54pm by Don Kretschmann.

Sept. 24, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   Starting work early Saturday morning proved to be fortunate.  We just pulled hundreds of bunches of radishes, when the downpours came. The heavy rain nearly cleaned them up entirely and they were saved from swelling up and splitting.  We spent the end of the last week filling the apple cooler to the rafters--a relief to have them safely stored in case of violent wind.  We've loaded you up with apples this week, and lots more to come.

   A quick ride on my bike out to get some kale for a Sunday morning (and autumnal equinox) frittata laid bare the final coup-de-grace for the change of seasons. There in front of me was a wonderful planting of kale--both curly and Tuscan.  Behind that were a few rows of cabbage heading up nicely.  To the left was the main fall broccoli field starting to show heads on nearly every plant.  And on the way back, to the left was the old onion field, now with turnips growing wildly, and to the right was the old scallion field now resplendent with new dill and cilantro.  We see cauliflower peeking out of tight leaf clusters as well. All this, and a chill in the air said the page had turned.

   We love the crops this time of the year as there's just about the biggest variety of the year.  There's a bit of a flywheel effect in that we've still got decent tomatoes and lots of peppers and other tender summer vegetables.  At the same time, cooler temps and abundant moisture with less stressful sunlight makes it ideal for those cooler season crops.  Cooking when it's cooler is also a little more comfortable.

   Enjoying the first cool days of fall (and the jolt of old Jack Frost jumping out of the cold morning shadows),

we are your grateful farmers,

--Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

 

Veggie ID: A cylindrical shaped dark green squash=kabocha--very rich orange flesh, a lot like a sweet potato.  Apples this week areLiberty. The jalepeno is called El Jefe (the boss); the other blocky short yellow to red pepper is Havasu-milder hot and good for chiles rellenos.

Coming Events: Apples.  Lettuce; Greens--swiss chard & kale;  Winter squashes--acorn, carnival, butternut, spaghetti;  cauliflower is beginning to show heads; beets; cider. 

Gluten free Apple crisp:  Slice or coarsely dice 2# apples (we never peel our apples), mix well with ¼ c. brown sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, dash mace& nutmeg and juice from small lemon.  Place in buttered 9 x 13 pan.  Mix in bowl, 1/2 c. quinoa (or rice) flour, 1/4 c. almond (or chestnut) flour, 3/4 c. brown sugar, 1 c. rolled oats, optional 1/2 c. nuts and mix well.  Melt 1/2 c. butter (one stick); stir until everything is mixed well and crumbly.  Drop topping onto apples and bake @ 375 deg. 45 min.

Thai Tofu-and-Winter-Squash Stew: Saute 2 c. thinly sliced celery (or chard stems) in 1 T. peanut oil 3 minutes.  Add 1 T. chopped ginger, 2 minced garlic, and 1 1/2 T. chopped chillies.  Saute one minute.  Stir in 5 T. soy sauce, 1 1/2 T. curry powder and 1 t. brown sugar.  Add 3 c. water, 2 c. cubed peeled butternut (or kabocha) squash, 1/2 t. salt, and 1 14-oz can light coconut milk.  Reduce heat. Simmer 15 minutes. Add 1 pkg. firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2 inch cubes & 1 T. fresh lime juice.  Add more salt if desired.  Serve over long-grained rice.  Sprinkle with 1/4 c. chopped dry-roasted peanuts and 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro.
Waldorf Salad: Cut up 3-4 apples into chunks.  Add several grated carrots&raisins to taste. Dress with mayonaise, or yogurt and mayo 2:1.  Or get creative...add grated pepper, celery, orange sections,nuts, a little lemon rind, orange juice...

Noodles with Diablo Sauce and Greens: Blend until smooth:  2 cups oven roasted tomatoes, 3 large garlic cloves, 3 Tbs. Minced fresh ginger, 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 2 Tbs. Honey,  4 tbs lemon or lime juice, 1/2 cup sesame oil, 1/4 tsp.  red chili pepper (more or less to taste).  Simmer sauce. Salt to taste.  Saute: ½ c chopped onion 2-3 min in 1 tbs. Olive oil, then add 6 c. chopped destemmed chard 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  –5 min.  Drain. Place noodles on plates, spoon sauce and top with greens then more sauce.
Assorted Stuffed Peppers:  Smaller sized peppers can be stuffed with a variety of interesting fillings.  Cook 1/2 c. cornmeal in 1/2 c. water with a little salt.  After this cools slightly, add 1 egg and 1/2 c. grated cheese.  Stuff into hot or sweet peppers and place in an oiled baking dish and brush with a little oil.  Cover slightly with tomato sauce and halve a few Roma tomatoes in the spaces between peppers.  Bake in hot (400 deg.) oven about 30 min. until tender. You can also stuff peppers with any of the grain-burger mixes available.  Italians stuff hot banana peppers with sweet sausage.  And of course there's the All American ground beef and rice stuffed pepper.  Red peppers make exceptionally tasty stuffers.

 

Special Orders: save on heat this winter// Jalepenos (great for making a bottle or two of homemade Siracha sauce; or pickle them Italian style to use on nachos) 2# bag@$5.   Hungarian Hot Wax peppers--$25/half bushel  (We enjoy jars of these year 'round and are eagerly sought out by visiting adult children.  We've got an  archived easy recipe you'll really like for these pickled Italian hot pepper rings.  Order extras at http://www.kretschmannfarm.com/store/csa-extras