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July 1, 2014

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

July 1, 2014

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the 4th,

sincerely, Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

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

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

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