Current Newsletters

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  

Posted 9/29/2013 12:53pm by Don Kretschmann.

Sept. 17, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   Newbies to the crew are for the first time experiencing what we've loved about the fall--you start straightening up from the bent over position weeding or picking vegetables, and stand to pick apples with clear skies and puffy white low clouds as a backdrop!  We've been picking bins full ofLiberty apples, and after that we'll start on the Jonafrees.  Looks like the best apple crop in quite a few years.  We'll have cider and/or apples for a  good while. 

   Looks like a very "beany" fall, with another planting coming along in a week or so, and then one last field later yet. The abundant moisture caused this week's heavy crop to topple the plants.  This coupled with lots of weed pressure made them a little hard to pick.  With most of the beans near the ground, it's hard to keep them clean as the machine picks them.  We try to pick snap beans only when they're dry in the field, and wash them only when absolutely necessary.  If they're wet, they have a tendency to develop mold.  Thus our suggestion to you is to wait until you're ready to cook them for washing.  Though there's lots of ways to make green beans, it's nearly impossible to top the flavor of simply steamed or parboiled fresh beans with a tad of salt.   Don't overcook!

   We've never had anything quite like the crop of eggplant we've had this season.  Normally, it's zucchini that we're looking for some new way to make it; this year it's eggplant.  So we ourselves have been exploring this newly abundant vegetable.  We've often noted how well tomatoes pair with eggplant; and cheese with tomatoes; and herbs with both. How those three combine in the cook's hands are vary.  One can almost use one's creative imagination and not go far wrong.  Previously, we posted a recipe for eggplant rolls with a ricotta/lemon/thyme/breadcrumb filling (Aug. 20).  

Some variations on the theme...

Eggplant tarts: Slice an eggplant thinly lengthwise, brush with oil, and roast or grill about 10 min. until firm/just tender, then line ramekins or individual custard dishes with 2-3 slices,  put in a dollop of fresh roasted tomatoes, then a few basil leaves and a dollop of ricotta or goat's milk chevre, then more basil and fold the eggplant over the top and bake 5 min. 

Eggplant Tubs: Cut the eggplant crosswise into 2" thick slices, score the ends with an "X", brush slices with oil, place on cooking sheet, bake until tender @ hi heat.   Then stuff the eggplant cavities with ricotta & top with fresh roasted tomato sauce with chopped up basil. Bon apetite!

Enjoying vistas of new greens, the new crops, and picking apples, we are, your farmers,

--Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

Coming Events: Apples.  More lettuce; Greens--swiss chard & kale;  Winter squashes--acorn, carnival, butternut, spaghetti;  2-3 weeks--cauliflower. 

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes:  Slice cherry tomatoes in half, place cut side up on a slightly oiled cookie sheet, sprenkle with crushed thyme leaves, bake for about an hour @ 200 deg.  until reduced in size by half.  Cool and jar for use in cooking, salads, or when rich tomato flavor needed. (Use the same method for any tomatoes)  Since tomatoes have been in season, we've had a partial jar of this simple "condiment" in the frig to use as desired--on pasta, eggplant parmesan, to jazz leftovers...

Cider:  If you won't be using your cider immediately, simply pour off enough from the plastic jug to allow for expansion and to put it in the freezer.  It will keep almost indefinitely and keeps longer after being thawed than it would have  kept originally.  It can also be heated to boiling and sealed in clean jars or jugs.  We've had good luck with Mason jars and with any gallon or half gallon glass jug with a metal lid and a plastic seal.  (Heat the jar by running hot tap water over it, then pour the hot cider into it and screw on the lid. You'll see the lid depress and seal as the cider cools.)  Cider is a great natural drink, cold or hot.  You can mix it with cranberry juice and make your own cranapple juice.  Kids love icy apple slush.  Freeze the cider in the jug and allow it to half thaw then shake it up vigorously and pour out the icy cold slush.  Various mixes for making hot mulled cider are sold or you can make your own.  Cinnamon stick and alspice are good. 

ID:   If you got one (short crop), the large yellowish football shaped thing is a spaghetti squash.  Some are very large, others small.  To prepare, cut in half lengthwise (a large, strong, thin, sharp knife will do the job), scoop out the seeds, and invert in a shallow baking dish or pan with a little water.  Bake in a slow oven (325deg.) until just tender (about 45 min.).  Then scoop out the flesh with a fork and spoon.  It will have a stranded texture, which is tasty with butter and salt, or any other way you like.  Don't bake too long, or it loses the texture which is so unique to this squash.  Microwaving for 15 min can speed up the baking time.  You can also throw the whole thing into a big pot of boiling water to cook, but it's a little harder to handle red hot footballs. Try tossing this "spaghetti" with a cup of roasted tomatoes, chopped basil, parmesan, and olive oil. 

Special OrdersJalepenos--$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  Also, available: Basil-$15/half bushel.  As temps cool, basil is the first to fade from producti

Posted 9/29/2013 12:52pm by Don Kretschmann.

Sept. 10, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   Since we got 2" of rain on Aug. 27, we've had less than a quarter of an inch. This has been great to get some field work done (like seeding the cover crops winter peas, vetch, and oats), transplanting another several cycles of lettuce, and to harvest without interruption.  But two weeks with no rain and our pond full of water we've begun again to irrigate crops in need.  We thought we'd get some new potatoes harvested yesterday after picking beans all morning.  Because the forecast said only 30-40% chance of rain all week, I grabbed Todd to help move some drip irrigation lines which then could be connected for the late day water.  As we were finishing, we noticed dark clouds to the northwest and Todd said, "Remember the last time we laid drips?  It rained." To which I responded, "That would be great."  Not 5 minutes later, we were all chased from the fields by a downpour!  Coincidence?  It happens so often it's hard to ignore.  My neighbor, Tom Brenckle says he thinks a mock cardboard irrigation pump dragged out to the creek would cause rain.  

   We hope you enjoyed the tomatoes the last few weeks as much as we have.  They've been welcome at nearly every meal--sliced raw, cooked, roasted; red, pink, purple, green and yellow; magically transformed by herb, dressing, or cheese; just naked. The glut is abating and they are slowing down now. 

   We had mentioned earlier that the spring beet planting was disappointing.  The additional spring planting we did later looked great at first, but then grew unevenly throughout the summer.  We hadn't picked them earlier because the tops weren't very nice looking.  These we harvested last week getting a good quantity--you've got some in the box.  The fall beets are gorgeous to behold.

   The green beans are a variety called EZ Pik.  In our opinion, they are the tastiest of all beans-so tasty, even the Mexican bean beetles know.  Thus we only plant them late in the season because earlier, they'd attract the beetles and you'd have beetles eating the beans all season long. We'll have beans for the next several weeks.

Enjoying the beautiful sunsets , herons on the full pond, and crisp fall evenings, we are, your farmers,

--Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

Coming Events: Broccoli is beginning to head (great to have the rain now, for it); Greens--swiss chard & kale;  Winter squashes--acorn, carnival, butternut, spaghetti; Apple cider--we'll cycle through the delivery days, not all will get it in one week; Green beans; Mesclun;  2-3 weeks--cauliflower. 

 

String Bean Salad:  Boil or steam 1 lb. string beans.  Combine 1/4 c. olive oil, 1/4 c. vinegar, 1 clove mince garlic, salt an pepper.  Pour over bean. Add 2 sliced tomatoes and 1 sliced onion.

Haricots Verts Lyonnaise:  Steam or boil 1# tender young green beans 5 min. then drain and immediately plunge in ice water.  Drain.  Meanwhile sauté 1 clove minced garlic in 2 tbs. butter, then add 1 thinly sliced red onion and sauté 5 min. until slightly carmelized.   Add ¼ tsp fresh thyme and the green beans.  Allow to heat and then add 2 tbs. wine vinegar.  Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Top with 1 tbs. chopped

Beets with Toasted Walnuts:  Bake 1/2 c. walnuts on a cookie sheet 300 deg. 15 min.

Either wrap 4-5 beets inALfoil and bake 1hr.@375 or boil 25 min. or until tender when pierced with knife.  Meanwhile, beat 1 c. yogurt until smooth, then add 3 tbs. chopped fresh basil, and the walnuts.  Peel beets when you can handle them, quarter, place in bowl. Spoon dressing over beets; basil garnish.

Basil-Herbed Hearty Mediterranean Salad:  Cook and cool any tiny grain or milled grain like couscous, kasha, buckwheat groats, or quinoa.  Make sufficient for 2 c.  Mix with 2 c. diced tomatoes,  1 clove minced garlic, 1 c. diced peppers, 1 c. chopped fresh basil, 1/2 c. shredded carrots (or 1 c. cucumber or zucchini), 1/2 c. shredded feta cheese.  Drizzle over top 1/2 c. olive oil, 1/4 c. lemon juice & toss well. Salt and pepper to taste

 

Billing Notes: Payments for the remainder of the season are now due.  We'd appreciate your attention to this detail.  We were up to date at the beginning of Sept. and have been entering most of the changes to that total as they occur.  We look through carefully to readjust again in Dec.  At that time you can either roll it over into a deposit for next season, or we'll send a refund check.  Chickens will be totaled at that time to accurately charge against the $20/bird estimate you have paid.  All is eventually credited so you pay only for what you get. Remember to let us know if you want to donate a canceled box and if you are a light share, whether you want to miss three weeks in a row or to swap cycles and just miss two.

 

Special OrdersHungarian Hot Wax peppers--$25/half bushel  Always our favorite for canning year in and year out as pickled Italian hot pepper ringshttp://www.kretschmannfarm.com/store/csa-extras  , Basil-$15/half bushel.  (the best of the year)

Posted 9/9/2013 8:12am by Don Kretschmann.

Sept. 3, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

    They say time flies when you're having fun.  We must be having fun, as September has dawned when it seems like it still ought to be June.  The daily reality reminder, though, is that we can barely see to work at our accustomed 6:30 AM.  But  perhaps the solar limitation makes life all the more manageable at day's end because Becky less and less needs to repeat, "Can we please eat supper earlier?"  

    The more than abundant 2" of rain last Tuesday has allowed the various cole crops (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collards) to continue toward their rendevous with our dinner plates.  Many a late August/early September I'm crying the blues for more soil moisture, but not this year.  Lots of mesclun greens seed was slipped just under the soil surface to sprout quickly; turnips as well.  You'd almost think these were weeds by how fast they pop up in the moist warm soil.  And the green beans!  Three plantings of these to come in short order until the first frost. 

   Meanwhile, the hail of tomatoes continues more intense than ever.  It appears they are little by little succombing to late blight fungus and will come to a halt soon enough.  But we've certainly enjoyed them. 

   Lettuce surprised us in the volume.  Enjoy a salad smothered with tomatoes.

   Enjoying the bounty as we cool down the temp and the fog of humid summer abates, we are, your farmers 

               --Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

Roasted Tomato Sauce:  We generally use this method for pre-cooking our tomatoes prior to canning them.  The plus is that it's no work at all, and it reduces the liquid and concentrates the flavors without risk of burning.  Set oven temp in the high 200's.  Brush a pan of your choice liberally with olive oil (cake pans or roasters work fine--our favorites are large ceramic coated oven pans on which you'd roast a turkey).  Cut up tomatoes coarsely quartering, or so, depending on the size.  Distribute no more than an inch or inch and a half in the pans.  Bake in oven until they start to darken on the top and you can see that the liquid has started to boil away.  Use for cooking, pizza, or to can.   

Becky made this last night and it was delicious.

Chicken Cattiatore: Cut chicken into pieces, dredge in flour, and saute until just browned, in about 1/4 c. olive oil.  In same pan, saute about 1 c. coarsely chopped onion about 5 min. then add 1/2 c. wine and boil until reduced by half.  Add 3 coarsely chopped fresh tomatoes or 3 c. of previously oven roasted tomatoes (above), add the chicken, a handful of oregano, and simmer about 25 min.  Meanwhile saute in 2 tbs olive oil  1 c. green or red pepper coarsley chopped, and 2 c. mushrooms about 7 min. add to the chicken and cook together another 15 min. Salt & pepper to taste.  

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 1/2 c. fresh dill and 1 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. You'll not forget this soup.

Red cabbage is so fun to work with because it's just plain beautiful to look at. It makes a very different looking cole slaw with orange carrots.  Or...

Red Cabbage Salad with Ginger Dressing:  Combine 4 c. shredded red cabbage, 1 c. shredded carrot, ½ c. minced parsley, and 2 c. finely sliced onion.  Grate or mince 1 tbs. fresh ginger and squeeze out the juice in a garlic press or similar.  Combine ginger juice with 3 tbs. vinegar, 1 tbs. lemon juice, 1 tbs. honey, 4 tbs sesame oil, salt to taste, and toss well with shredded vegetables. Toast 2 tbs. sesame seeds in dry heated skillet until they start to pop. Sprinkle these atop the salad.  Mmmm….

 

Billing Note: Payments for the remainder of the season are now due.  We've updated our database to give credit for missed boxes and to add in other adjustments which aren't already in the accounting.  We don't go though the entire list every week and enter charges.  So if you cancel a box and ask for a credit, this won't likely appear until we readjust again in Dec.  At that time you can either roll it over into a deposit for next season, or we'll send a refund check.  All is eventually credited so you pay only for what you get. Remember to let us know if you want to donate a canceled box and if you are a light share, whether you want to miss three weeks in a row or to swap cycles and just miss two.

Special OrdersHungarian Hot Wax peppers--$25/half bushel  Always our favorite for canning year in and year out as pickled Italian hot pepper ringshttp://www.kretschmannfarm.com/store/csa-extras  , Basil-$15/half bushel.  Canning tomatoes--$20/half bushel