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Sept. 22, 2015

Posted 10/2/2015 3:35pm by Don Kretschmann.

Sept. 22, 2015

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,   

We’ve been picking apples like there’s no tomorrow (maybe for this fruit, that’s true). One more Jonafree tree remains to pick (actually, somebody just missed it) and about half the Liberties. Since we’ve got more of these planted than any other variety, our new apple cooler is becoming stuffed to the ceiling. We just replaced our tiny old unit (panels salvaged from CMU labs when they were tossing them) with one nearly three times the size. It wasn’t a minute too soon. The guy who said, “You can never have too much cooler space,” was a genius.   

It was a very pleasant surprise to come home from a high school reunion Saturday night to .7” of rain in the gauge. That was just what we needed. The fall broccoli planting is loving it! Tiny heads are starting to form. The vista of blue green cole crop fields contrasted with bright clouds, blue sky, and the pale green winter rye cover crop filling in the old onion field is autumn eye candy.   

Red Pepper Story: Nearly everyone prefers peppers when they are red and so sweet. So why would anyone ever pick them earlier when they’re still green? Because you lose about 2/3 of them before they turn red! When it’s wet—like it was in June and early July, they rot. When it’s dry, sunny, and hot, they can get sunburned on one side or develop a small black spot. Sometimes they just dry out and get soft (actually these are the very sweetest of all!). If they sit on the ground, the tip can compost. The bottom line is that many red peppers we pick have defects. But this doesn’t mean most of those peppers aren’t edible. Because red peppers are so prized, we tend to be lenient with defects and look over each one with an eye not toward whether there’s a spot or such, but what one would get out of it in the kitchen. Often we’ll give a good red pepper and then put in one or two imperfects. (when we had really just planned on one red pepper total). Admittedly, sometimes we err, but we do our best. And if it’s any consolation, we have bushels of them which we can’t bear to toss, pare them up, and use them for breakfast fritattas at our church. All that said, we hope you understand and can thus allow our local production to be utilized and not become part of that 40% of food which is routinely wasted in the rest of the food industry.   

Enjoying mornings with hot coffee and jackets, days filling sacksful of juicy apples, crisp evening sunsets, we are sincerely,                                           

Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

FYI Friday: We were running out of room in our apple cooler and decided to make cider from some of the apples. This was not part of the plan for this week but rather for next week. So if next week’s box looks a little thin, understand that this week’s was heavy. Also, light shares aren’t getting cider this week because they got half a gallon last time. Lights should have gotten less than other sizes, but it’s proportionately much more expensive to do smaller bottles. So we’re skipping this time.

Veggie ID: The deep green squash is a kabocha. The orange flesh is rich and sweet like a yam. Carrot Soup with Dill Pesto: Saute 4 large carrots, 1 onion and and 1 tsp dill seeds in 2 tbs butter until tender, about 10 minutes. Add 4 cups broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 35 minutes. Transfer soup to blender in batches and puree. Thin with more broth if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Combine 1 c. fresh dill and 2 tbs pine nuts or sunflower seeds in processor and chop finely using on/off turns. Then slowly add 2 tbs olive oil and process until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.. Ladle into bowls. Swirl pesto into soupbowls. If you aren’t in the mood to fool with pie dough, try using shortbread for a crust. Press it with a rubber spatula or your oiled fingers into shape in the pan.

Apples on Shortcake: Cut up apples as you would for apple pie, adding honey or sugar and raisins if desired, plus a little cider if apples aren't too juicy. Shortbread: Sift 2c. flour, 3 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 2 tbs. sugar. Mix in 1/2 c. oil well, until evenly absorbed. Then mix in 5/8 c. milk and one beaten egg. Spread this shortcake dough into the bottom of a 9x13" baking pan. Spread layer of apples on top and bake @ 350 deg. about 45 min. or until apples are cooked. For a special treat, try using butter for half the oil. If using a smaller pan, adjust the amounts. We’ve had such a great run of outstanding cilantro, we’ve given it again this week with likely the last big load of tomatoes. Mix the colors, add a pepper and onion, pile it on chips…

Pico de Gallo or Fresh Salsa: 4 tomatoes, 2 peppers, 1 bunch cilantro, about 1 green onion (or half a medium sized dry onion or a small bunch of chives)--chop all these very finely. Add salt, 4T lemon or lime juice, dash of garlic powder and if you like, about 1 tsp. of finely chopped hot pepper—go easy because they are hotter fresh. Mix and enjoy with chips or other Mexican fare.

Spiced Kabocha: Half remove seeds and peel 1 med. Kabocha squash. Cut into chunks. Clean out your coffee grinder and process 1 tsp. cumin seeds, ¼ tsp. paprika, 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp. salt, and 2 tsp. brown sugar. Toss squash with 1 tbs. oil then toss with spice mix. Bake on oiled cookie sheet until squash is tender.