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June 20,2014

Posted 7/1/2014 11:01pm by Don Kretschmann.

June 20, 2014

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

We feel sorry for those in the West when we've had such ample quantities of rainfall--a little over an inch each of the last two weeks, quarter inch so far this week. And it's been similar nearly the entire spring. Agronomists say you need about an inch of water per week for ideal growing conditions--the way things look here, I'd say they are correct. It's just that sometimes one has a hard time getting the other chores done besides watching this natural irrigation miracle.

The contrary story this spring has been the spinach. Spinach is easily drowned when it get too much water in heavy soils like ours which tend to hold the moisture longer than sandy ones where most spinach is grown. We plant multiple plantings to hedge our bets. But we're down to the last planting, which looks thin.

Tomatoes are growing like gangbusters in all three fields. Zucchini is as nice and uniform a field as we've ever grown. Cucumbers--ditto. Lettuce causes one to pause to take a picture. We're on the cusp of cabbage (coming next week). Tiny new potatoes are forming nicely in a field growing wildly. We can only hope things continue on this track.

We deliberately planted lots more greens--chard, kale, and collards--than we normally have in the past. There is increasing awareness that these foods are nutritional powerhouses containing high amounts of vitamins and minerals. Because they are cooked, we tend to actually eat more of they're more condensed. (hard to eat 8 oz. of salad). This week, we've sent along either collards or Tuscan kale. Both have thick leaves which maintain a nice texture even after cooking or in the saute pan.

Hoping you enjoy the greens, berries, and the rest of nature's June bonanza, we are sincerely,

Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

For Extra Purchase: Seven Grain bread @$4/loaf. Indicate the week or weeks.

Note: If you send a message, please indicate your stop letter and the last name under which the account is listed. If the name on your check is different than the account name we have, please indicate that name on the memo line. Vacations: Send us a note with the subject line simply "vacation" telling us when you'll be gone. 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.

Was thinking of suggesting another recipe for strawberries, but you really only need this one for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Or perhaps simplify by forgetting the shortbread. :))

Our Favorite Strawberry Shortcake: Sift 2c. flour, 3 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 2 tbs. sugar. Mix in 1/2 c. oil well, until evenly distributed. Beat 1 egg and 5/8 c. milk and mix with dry ingredients. Pat out with oiled hands or use a plastic spatula to spread dough onto an oiled cookie sheet about 1/2 " thick. Bake @375 deg about 20 min. (we use all whole wheat flour with fine results) Cut into squares, top with berries and whipped cream. (I maintain this is an excellent breakfast, though Becky lectures me otherwise)

Collards are spring and fall favorites around here. They hold up much better than even kale when cooked, not getting mushy. They are also a nutritional powerhouse. Tuscan Kale (or Collards): Remove the think rib in the center and break into bite sized pieces. Boil until tender in water or with meat broths. Combine with beans or just spritz with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. Salt to taste. Can be used like kale.

Veggie ID's: Collards, Tuscan Kale, Curly Kale--all are blue green in color. Collards are very flat leaves. Tuscan kale has little wrinkles. Curly kale is very curly and fluffy. Ropey green stems are garlic scapes. Use them just like garlic. These are to garlic what scallions are to bulbing onions--more or less...

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.