<< Back to main

Dec. 19, 2013

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

Dec. 18, 2013

Season's Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Always something great to

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

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

Portugese Kale Soup:  Soak overnight 1/4 c. chickpeas and simmer until tender.  (or use 1 can precooked )  Cut up 1/2 # potatoes into 3/4 " cubes and simmer 1/2 hr in 2 qt. chicken stock with 1/4 tsp pepper, a dash ground cloves,  a dash ground alspice, 1 clove minced garlic.  While this is cooking, fry 1/4 # hot sausage and cut into 1/3" pieces. (loose sausage can be fried as bitty meatballs)  Break or cut kale into bite size pieces (4-5 cups or as desired).  You can break it into pieces, leaving the larger ribs.  These then can be cut up and cooked a little longer.  After the 1/2 hour of simmering the potatoes, add the kale, chick peas, and sausage and simmer for 1 more hour.  Add 2 c.(dry) precooked tubular pasta just before serving.  Garnish  liberally with romano or parmesan cheese to taste. 

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

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

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

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

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