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July 23, 2013

Posted 8/17/2013 8:48am by Don Kretschmann.

July 23, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   The good news is that our pond is full to the brim.   By mid-July in most seasons we have been irrigating and the pond level drops several feet then yards.  Usually through midsummer there's also a building worry in the back of our minds that perhaps the water will run out.  Not in 2013!  But the bad news is that our fields need to dry out so we can plant later successions of crops.  We've been pecking away at it--Saturday a week ago we planted broccoli; last Monday, cauliflower; then Friday when it dried out, we quickly geared up and began planting kale and cabbage in the hot afternoon sunshine.  Suddenly thick clouds moved in with a third of the field to go.  As we all rushed hoping to finish, the heavens unleashed a torrent.   We hightailed back to the barn with clothes drenched--again!   Caught swimming in your clothes isn't unheard of on the farm, but rare.  Lately, it's getting to be a nuisance.

  Amidst other pressing tasks at least we put a second tie on all the tomatoes, so they are starting to shape up.  And we're praying that, with all the moisture, late blight doesn't devastate them.  It has been reported inVirginiaand theCarolinasand spreads readily in the air. We've been spraying an organic treatment to prevent this fungal disease.

   We had hoped to be able to dig more potatoes on Monday morning, but we desperately needed to plant the late crop of carrots and beets (they were already at least two weeks late), as well as pick the beans which were ready.  There's only so much one can do, so we'll dig the spuds later.  

   Thanks for your patience and open mindedness,  

               --Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

Recycling: We appreciate any blueberry containers you might return to us.  No other types/shapes, please. 

This lasagna is easy to make without a lot of bother.  The secret is: don’t cook the pasta.

Zucchini Lasagna: Preheat your favorite tomato sauce.  Slice zucchinis 1/4” thick in rounds or lengthwise.  Mix 1# ricotta cheese with 1/2c minced parsley.  Brush bottom of baking dish with olive oil. (9x13” is our favorite size)  Spread layer of tomato sauce on bottom of pan, then add first layer of uncooked lasagna.  Spread layer of zucchini, then layer of ricotta, and then a more tomato sauce.  Repeat the process until the pan is full and top with grated mozzarella.  Bake covered at 325 deg. until pasta is cooked, then remove cover and bake another 10 min. 

We've made the above recipe for many years. I was looking up an eggplant parmesan recipe and realize it's nearly the same thing as a lasagna.  One can easily make lasagna with every other layer eggplant, just like the zucchini lasagna.  Or for varied tastes--make half the pan with zucs, the other with eggplant!

Quick, Simple, Delicious Eggplant: Slice lengthewise about 1/2' thick; sprinkle both sides with salt and let set an hour.

Pat dry.  Scramble and egg or two in a large bowl.  Brush 9x13" baking pan with oil.  Dip and coat eggplant with egg and arrange tightly in baking pan.  When bottom is covered, drizzle tomato sauce in gaps, primarily.  Then sprinkle bread crumbs on the eggplant, then parmesan cheese.  Bake @ 350 until tender and serve.  If you're gluten sensitive, don't be afraid to simply use crumbled gluten free crackers, or muffins, for the crumbs.

Carmelized Fennel: Trim off tops & bottom core.  Slice thin.  Saute 1 bulb in 2 tbs. olive oil 10 min. until golden brown.  Salt, pepper, lemon juice to taste.  Don't steam it.

Couscous Cucumber Salad:  Mix together 3 c. cooked cold couscous, 1 large finely diced cucumber, 1/2 c. chopped parsley, 1/4 c. chopped basil, 1/2 c. chopped scallions, 1/3 c. lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. salt, pepper.

There are all kinds of similar variations on these cool summer soups. 

Cucumber Soup: Blend 2 large cucumbers with 2 c. yogurt or buttermilk, 2 tbs lemon juice, 1/2 c. onions, 1/2 c. herbs of your choice (dill, basil, dill..) 2 tbs. olive oil.  Blend until smooth, chill well. Salt & pepper. Garnish with onions, herbs. Drizzle with olive oil.

We don't use a lot of relish, but a small batch goes a long way to spice up potato salad, on sandwiches, etc.

Sweet Pickle Relish: Slice 3# cucumbers lengthwise and scoop out the seeds discarding.  Finely dice cucs and 1 onion.  If using food processor, don't overdo it.  In stainless bowl mix well with 1/4 c. coarse salt.  Let sit 2 hrs.  Then drain and press out all the liquid using strainer or other. Bring 1 c. brown sugar, 3 c. cider vinegar, 2 tsp. dill seed, 2tsp. celery seed, 2 tsp. mustard seed, 1/2 tsp. tumeric to boil.  Then add diced cuc mixture and boil 10 min.  This can be used fresh, refrigerated, or processed and stored with other canned goods. 

ID: We're starting to pick some heirloom tomatoes--Cherokee Purple, Arkansas Traveler, and our own "Big Pink".

ID Prize: If you can identify these, from the photo on our website, we will forward you a pint.  We don't have enough for everyone, and don't want to waste them on anyone who doesn't appreciate.

Pie apples? The earliest apples--Pristines are starting to size and ripen.  These juicy yellow apples make the best pies of any.  They are very prone to bruising and drop off the trees easily.  If you'd be interested in a box of these imperfect apples to make pies, let us know and we'll tag a box for you to give free.  You'll need to pare heavily, but the reward...

Special Orders:  We will have flats of organic  blueberries for the next several weeks, @$58/12 pts.