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Sept. 15, 2015

Posted 10/2/2015 3:18pm by Don Kretschmann.

Sept. 15, 2015

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

What a difference a week has made! Sunday, a week ago, we went on our annual trek to the Canfield Fair and could barely tolerate the sun and heat sitting in the grandstand watching 4-H kids barrel race on their horses. The arena was so dry they didn’t even attempt to wet it down to cut the dust. Thursday it rained .6”. Last Sunday was cool enough that warmer socks were in order; we dumped an inch and a quarter of rain out of the gauge, then half an inch more rain later in the day. The fall broccoli planting loves it! We’d been nursing it through the heat with drip irrigation, but a good rain is really what was needed. Thursday’s skyfall was sufficient to provide a nice moist seedbed for our late seedings of turnips, radishes, and mesclun. Late carrots and beets look great. We’re off to the races… You’ve seen and been the recipient of a bonanza of tomatoes. But those are only half the story. There have been so many that after offering them to all who wanted them to preserve, we took two loads of them to a cannery in Punxsutawney to have sauce, salsa, and juice made. Winter boxes will be interesting…   

The next weeks are the heart of apple season. We make lots of cider with the seconds at Sally’s Cider Press north of Zelienople. It’s one of the last remaining custom presses around. This is nothing but our apples ground up, squeezed, then the juice is then UV pasteurized, and we bottle it up. This week there’s a mix of apples in the bags. We’ve been picking lots of the Jonafrees because the drought has cause them to start dropping off. There’s also the last of the Primas and Priscillas which are extremely firm and sweet. Ever so slowly the tomatoes are receding…   

Enjoying more sleep each day, less time irrigating, and crisp evenings, we are sincerely,                                           Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

FYI: End of the green bean story—We lost the gamble. The four remaining rows of unpicked beans developed big seeds. The younger beans shriveled and didn’t really develop at all. The field just wasn’t worth picking. Good thing we picked most of them a week ago. We’ve got a new planting coming on in about two weeks.   Butternut Squash and Apples: Cut squash in half lengthwise and clear cavity of seeds. Peel. Chop squash flesh into cubes. Steam or microwave until almost tender. Mix squash and apple chunks with 1 tsp cinnamon and ¼ tsp nutmeg, ¼ c. brown sugar or cinnamon, pinch of salt and 2 tbs butter. Bake in cassarole dish until squash and apples are tender. 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: a handful of raisins. Mix with about 1/3 c. sugar or honey, 2 tbs flour, cinnamon to taste, and 1/3 c. apple cider. Make dough and line piepan with crust. Fill with apples, pressing 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 stream out. Bake @ 375 deg until inserting a sharp knife reveals the apples are cooked. Pie crust-sift 2c. flour(any kind)+ 1/2t. baking powder+ 1t.salt. Blend 1/3c. 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.   Roasted Pepper & Tomato Pasta with Shrimp: Make one cookie sheet of roasted tomatoes (about 5) and roasted peppers (about 2). Boil and peel 1/2# shrimp. Dice and saute about 5 cloves of garlic and 1/2 c onions sliced in rings. Add the shrimp to the garlic & onions, then add about 12 oz bowtie pasta cooked & drained, the peppers and tomatoes.