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July 25, 2017

Posted 8/10/2017 7:26am by Don Kretschmann.

July 25, 2017

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   As we get into the second third of the season, it’s starting to feel like real summer.  With the heat and humidity wave of the last week, we’re seeing the first of the field tomatoes, though most of those in the boxes this week are from the hi tunnel (thus not really that great tasting).  Within a few weeks, we expect our tomato fields to fully take over our lives.  By the end of it, we’ll be praying for frost.  The early zucchini is waning as are the cucumbers, though for a week or two we’ll have a good supply.  After seeding the winter squashes at the end of June, we finished the fields with some zucchini, so we should have a small amount later in August.  Since deer ate all the melons we planted, we just filled in that space with cucumber for later in the season.  Both these seedings are unusual for us but will be welcomed later.

  We generally stretch a planting of green beans picking them over a two week period.  With all the heat, they are not as prime as last week, but good.  We’ve got another planting just coming into flower and should arrive in about two weeks.  More will follow in succession into the fall.

   Longtime subscribers know we have a solar array which provides nearly all the power for farm and home.  It has operated flawlessly now for 4 years, but in May we noticed the circuit breaker which connects the array to the power company line was tripped (symptom was that our irrigation pump wasn’t working because it had no power). It’s continued to trip during the day, so we had the solar contractor look into it.  Turns out the array is just producing too much power for the line.  We’ve tracked production over the years and noticed that the array has produced about 25% more power than it was supposed to!  Kind of like buying a car which gets 25% more gas mileage than the sticker says.  While the breaker was new—the first four years—it tolerated the extra heat generated.  Now we either have to replace the 200A breaker and wear it out as well, or replace the undersized line to the pole.  Kind of made us chuckle—problem: too much power produced. But for now it’s required an extra trip to the pumphouse each evening to see it’s working OK. 

   The two earliest apples are yellow Pristines and red Williams Pride.  Pristines are very juicy and make the best pies of all.  Tuesday subscribers have these.  Williams Prides are semi-sweet and can go both ways, for baking or fresh.

We got a call Monday morning from our organic blueberry grower saying he wouldn’t have any more this season.  Very sad.  He’s been devastated by the spotted wing drosophila-a fruitfly which lays eggs in the berries.  As suddenly as it started, the blueberry season is over. Peaches from the McConnell’s are coming.  They aren’t organically grown but are irresistibly juicy and delicious.  When you signed up you said .  No need to repeat, but if you want only organic peaches, just let us know.

Enjoying the cooler air behind yesterday’s front, we are sincerely,                                                                                                                                                                             Don, Becky,Maria & the Farm Crew

ID: If you’ve got a smooth purplish long curving fruit, it’s Oriental eggplant.  These tend to have less seeds and not mush like the centers of traditional eggplant.

Vacation & Notes:  Please indicate your stop location when sending messages.  This saves us having to look it up in the database and we can go straight to mark the barn lists.  If you get any of the once-a-month items, like chickens or mushrooms, indicate that so we can mark those lists too.  All but the mushrooms can be delivered the following week, but at least we have a heads up.  Let us know if you want a credit or to donate the box.   Try to avoid mixed messages when ordering extra items, eg. Peaches, apples, ... To keep track, we often create files into which messages are automatically sorted.  If you add a message about being on vacation next week to a message with “peaches” in the subject, we won’t necessarily see it unless we’re organizing the peach order.   

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: add a handful of raisins; they absorb the excess juice. Mix with about 3/4 c. sugar or honey, 2 tbs flour, cinnamon to taste.  Make dough and line piepan with crust.  Fill with apples, piled high, arranging 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 steam out.  Bake @ 350 deg. 1 hr. until inserting a sharp knife reveals the apples are cooked. My go-to piecrust which you’ve seen before.  Many folks mistakenly think pie making is a difficult art.  With this crust, it’s quick, easy, and can be made with just as easily with whole grain flour.  Start to finish, it shouldn’t take much more than half an hour, then an hour to bake. I’m determined to make a video proving it.  Depending on the flour, add a little more boiling water to make the dough easier to work with if you aren’t real quick rolling it out. Pie crust-sift 2c. flour(any kind)+ 1/2t. baking powder+ 1t.salt. Blend 1/2c. 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. Ethnic favorite.  Guests will be in for a real treat. MoussakaSlice eggplant about 1/2" thick, sprinkle with salt and pat dry after it sits for 10 min.   Oil cookie sheet (s) and lay out eggplant in a single layer and brush top with oil. Bake at 350 deg until slightly cooked (abut 20 min).  (Alternate method is to cut eggplant, freeze in plastic bags, defrost and allow to drain, then brush with oil)  Meanwhile fry 1# ground lamb (or beef), 2 finely chopped onions (green are fine too), and 2 cloves garlic.  Add 1/2 C chopped parsley, 1 c tomato sauce and 1/2 c wine.  Oil casserole dish, place one layer of eggplant, then the meat mix, then the other layer of eggplant.   Blend 2 c. milk, 2T cornstarch or flour, 1/2 t salt, and 4 eggs.  Pour over casserole.  Top with 1 c grated cheese (Kefaloteri or Parmesan) and sprinkle with 1/4 t cinnamon.  Bake at 325 deg for 45 min.-hr.  Can be made with potatoes as well, which would be sliced in 3/8” think rounds, brushed with oil and baked until firm/tender, or alternate eggplant/potato layers.  Since this recipe is for 9x13" pan, one can cut the amounts of other ingredients in half and make a 9x9 pan. 

For Extra Purchase: Seven Grain bread @$4/loaf. Peaches (McConnell Farm, non-organic): $20/10#chip.  Indicate the week or weeks and indicate in subject line the item.