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Dec. 16, 2015

Posted 12/17/2015 8:29pm by Don Kretschmann.

Dec. 16, 2015

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

The warm weather has been a blessing for us, allowing easy and comfortable harvest of crops remaining in the fields. Incredibly, all the greens this week were not from greenhouses at all, but directly from the fields. If we had had the time and regular summer crew, we could likely have harvested enough for weekly produce boxes. But we hear the cold reaper is on the way…

Right after the delivering the last veggie boxes, we quickly changed hats, and launched into a long-awaited construction job. We had built a larger apple cooler last summer. This needed a roof and the small packing shed off the main barn was getting a little cramped (as well, the rafters were rotting on the ends). With greenhouse panels above, this had been our first tiny greenhouse many decades ago. We decided to span the whole pad with 40’ trusses and create a spacious new packing shed. We could not conceive of a way to get the trusses up, even with a crane. Nightmares were playing daily, when I called a neighbor with some experience who came up with a simple, but classic old time method of raising the trusses. We attached a pulley from a beam below the highest window in the old bank barn and pulled three preassembled braced trusses at a time with a very long rope hitched to a tractor. Then, slid them in place using a little soap. One could have done it with horses in the old days. Metal roofing and skylights go on this week. Hopefully we’ll test the roof with the coming snow.

Hoping you are blessed with a wonderful Christmas season, family and friends supping on all the treats from farm and kitchen,                                            

Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

Winter Box Schedule: Both Standard and Light shares get a box in three weeks, Jan. 6-7. After that, light shares will be only once a month. Standards will be biweekly.

Veggie ID: Bunched stalks are leeks. In the onion family, they are great in soups and stews. Long red roots in plastic bag are a favorite heirloom beet—Cylindra. They cook a little quicker than round beets and after slipping off the skins they cut up into deep red slices—very sweet and uniform.

Holiday Tip: Julienne radishes for a holiday salad. Slice both ways for delicacy.

Lactofermentation: We’ve been watching Todd fermenting every manner of veggies all summer long. Here are some tips from our resident expert.

Crockpot Apples: Remove cores from enough apples to fill crockpot. Mix equal amounts of raisins and sugar (1/4 c.) Fill apples with tbs of mix. Dot with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon, put in 1/2 c. water, and cook in crockpot for 6 hrs. Italians have “rucola” salad all winter long made in various ways…

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. Another great salad is mesclun greens topped with apple slices and candied walnuts.

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.