Current Newsletters

Posted 11/13/2012 11:26am by Don Kretschmann.

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

Last Sunday was an unusual day for mid-November but it lent itself to what we often do on a Sunday afternoon--look around the farm and see what's happening. I often think of that seventh day of Genesis. The restfulness of our seventh day is when we have the time to see "how good it is." But this Sunday there was everywhere little bittersweetnesses: The beautiful blue sky and warm air, but only rare reminders of the leaves which recently graced the trees; Crunching through the woods, hoping to spot a mushroom or two where only a month ago we were astonished at the fungal spectacle, only to see mere decaying logs. But yet, while more overt life and crop are resting in remission, surely there's something alive in the soil suddenly so springy with autumn rainfall and wildly green cover crops. And for these farmers, the fat fruit buds visible while leaves swirl downward stir a deep consciousness that life is always about change and nascence. How good this is.

As usual, we still have a few "experiments" in the field. Some are just repeats because we sense there's a rule--like golden ball turnips and kale, which seem not to be bothered by freezing weather. Others trials are new--like a late planted small field of carrots. We're hoping to be able to harvest these, "With a little help from our friends...." We've also got lettuce growing under a floating row cover--hoping to nurse it into December. Parsley, likewise. Then there's the disappearing radicchio experiment--waiting to find out if deer really do have Italian surnames.

Hoping you've enjoyed the season with us and have a scrumptious & Happy Thanksgiving,

--Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

ID: Slender white roots are daikon radishes. Herbs: Sage, rosemary, and thyme. These are great seasoning for turkey stuffing, and poultry in general.

Tips: Be sure to note the yellow Goldrush apples. Amazing taste! Our friends, the Oylers, finally came through with this latest of apples to add to our own Goldrushes. They are barely ripe even now and get tastier through the winter. (we'll have these for winter boxes) Even when partially damaged, they don't deteriorate, so be sure to pare those with spots and not just toss them. That would be such a pity. There might be aphids on some kale leaves. The experienced greens eaters (usually with heavy Southern accents) who frequented farmers' markets when we first started out advised to simply soak these greens in sink of saltwater to wash off the bugs.

Brunch with Becky&Don at Burgher's in Zelienople: Chefs Fiore Moletz & Jeremy are putting together a delicious brunch made with our autumn veggies, Sun. 12/2, 11:30-1:30. It's a quick 45 min. shot from the 'burgh and the chefs will let those creative juices flow. They are putting together the menu and we'll post it on our website under the newsletters by week's end. We'd love to meet you there. Cost will be $35 for 7 courses. Seating is limited, reserve with us or burghers@me.net

Carrot Pick? In July we thought there was a poor germination on the fall carrots and planted another small field. They have yet to be harvested and now the ground is likely not to dry out sufficiently to do it with our digger and tractor. They are generally medium sized and sweet, but will likely need to be pulled by hand. If you'd be interested in helping out on a Saturday in early December when weather looks good, let us know, and we'll make sure you go home with plenty to taste.

Haluske: Saute a shredded cabbage and several sliced onions in oil or butter. Add a pound or so of your favorite pasta. Noodles or spaghetti work well. Salt to taste.

Moroccan Stew-- First mix together--Berber Spice Mixture--2T. cumin seeds, 1/2 T. fennel seeds, 1 T. peppercorns, 1T. whole allspice, 3 whole cloves, 1/2 T.coriander seeds, 1 T grated fresh ginger, pinch saffron, 2 T. sweet paprika, 1/2 tsp.cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. Tumeric. Chop stew sized- 1 1/2 c. onions, 3 c. potatoes, 2 c. carrots, 1 small butternut, 1 green and one red pepper, and 3 cloves garlic. Saute vegetables and garlic in 2 T. olive oil 3-5 min. add 4 c. veggie stock and 2 c. chopped tomatoes and simmer with Berber spice mixture until veggies are tender, 20 to 25 min. Salt to taste and garnish with 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley. (We substitute anise for fennel and put all the Berber spice mixture in a teaball to steep in the stew. You can also use 1 qt of canned plain tomato sauce instead of the stock & forget the tomatoes.)

Carrots with Cranberries: Combine 1 grated apple, 4 c. grated carrots, 1 c. cranberries, 4 tbs brown sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 c. cider. Place in buttered cassarole dish and dot with butter. Cover, and bake in @350 deg. for 40 min., stirring once.

Winter Beef: We'll also offer 20# lots of grass fed ground beef from our neighbors, the Lewis's, as an add-on to the winter shares the week of 12/19. It is great lean beef, non organic only because it's expensive to certify. Frozen in 1.5# packages.

Posted 11/6/2012 11:34am by Don Kretschmann.

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

Hurricane Sandy made last week quite interesting.  We'd be hard put to remember the last time when we couldn't pick in the fields for nearly one entire week.  By week's end we saw the newly repaired pond fill to within two feet of the top.  5 gallon buckets we'd left outside were nearly half full.  It was about an entire month of normal rainfall in a week!  Wish it were better distributed throughout the season.  The latter part of the week we picked some quicker things, like chard, even in a little drizzle. But it was no fun with the temps hugging the freezing mark, working in gloves continually soaking through, delivering bone chill to the fingers.  We're now racing to get lots of great fall crops harvested before season's end or they are frozen.  Mesclun is one of those items which is in it's glory now that the flea beetles have subsided.   Because it's slow picking, it was low on our list last week when "quick" was the order of the drenching days.

Next week, 11/13 to 11/16, will be our last regular season box.  If you are a light share and get a box this week, please bring bags to transfer the veggies into because it will be your last box of the season (or bring the box back next week). Next week, everyone should plan on bringing bags to transfer veggies, because we'll not be back Thanksgiving week.

--Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

Extras for Winter Storage: for the last weeks of the season.  We'd like to be sure that all the special orders are there in time. Here's a summary:

1. Butternut or Acorn Squash (or mixed): $30/bu.
2. Beets or Red Potatoes: $30/half bushel
3. Bergental Kase (which we had also referred to as alpine Tomme) $35/quarter wheel (2.5#)  This was what you got a sample of last week.  Also available is an excellent Romano, but it's only available in approx. 20# wheel @$13/lb.  Both these are made from goats' milk.
4. Winter Box Signup:  Info is on our website. Boxes begin 12/5 and continue every other week for 7 boxes, until the end of February.  These work very similar to the summer, though the quantities are generally larger because nearly everything stores well.  Your stop might change. You needn't send the signup form if your address, phone, etc. haven't changed, but let us know if you want any of the winter add-ons like cheese, mushrooms, or grass fed beef.

Tip: There might be aphids on some kale leaves. Soak in sink of saltwater to wash them off.

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.

New England Clam Chowder: Saute 1 diced med. onion in butter.  Combine with  1 qt. minced clams, 6-8 diced potatoes,  and simmer in 5 c. water until potatoes are very tender.  Add 3 c. milk, ½ tsp pepper, and salt.  Heat thoroughly.  Garnish with parsley.

Hot Mulled Cider:  Use bought mulled cider brewing mix or homemade combination of 2-3 cinnamon sticks, 1-2 whole cloves, and 5-6 whole allspice or amounts as desired using above brewing method.

Buttered Turnips: Cut up turnips into pieces about the diameter of a quarter—some are about that size whole, some cut in half, some cut more.  Saute in saucepan with 1-2 tbs. butter 5 min., turn heat to low and simmer about 5 min until tender.  Salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Chard with Dill and Feta: Cook 1bunch fresh chopped swiss chard with 1/4 c. water until wilted and tender. Remove from heat, drain, and add 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese, 1 tbl lemon juice, 3 tsp chopped fresh dill and 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.

Winter Addendum: We'll also offer 20# lots of grass fed ground beef from our neighbors, the Lewis's, as an add-on to the winter shares.  It is great lean beef, non organic only because it's expensive to certify.  Frozen in 1.5# packages.

Posted 10/30/2012 11:46am by Don Kretschmann.

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

Sometimes we work like dervishes to get ahead of what we think is about to befall us--like rain, cold, or heat, only to see that what was imagined never transpires. For the last several weeks, we've been on a tear getting all those tasks out of the way which needed to happen before winter cold, heavy rain, and windy weather set in.  Repairing the overflow pipe on the pond and rehabilitating the barn roof were just completed last Monday.  Then late last week, we were racing to get winter squash cured and into it's storage location; potatoes put away in the barn basement; beets pulled for the fall and winter; turnips harvested and washed; and the fall carrots pulled, washed, and stored.  We did it, with enough time to spare that we managed to pick a cooler full of lettuce on Friday for this week!  With just a light mist on Saturday, we even got the last apples picked and broccoli too.  It was so sweet to be able to work entirely indoors Monday behind the stone basement wall of our bank barn, out of the wind and weather (and even quite warmed by the warm ground around us.

We had planned on including fresh picked Swiss chard this week, but weather made it impossible to pick.  So we'll have to wait until next week.  Meanwhile, enjoy all the roots.

There will be two more boxes of veggies.  The week of 11/13 to 11/16 will be our last regular season box.  If you are a light share and get a box next week, please bring bags to transfer the veggies into because it will be your last box.

On the agenda for the final weeks will be lots more roots (potatoes, carrots, beets, radishes), cabbage, cider, apples, kale, mesclun greens, fennel, winter squash, and herbs.

You'll notice samples of cheese in your box today. These are the goats' milk cheeses we've been bragging about from Sam and Suzie Byler, some Amish farmers to our north.  See below.      

Hunkered Down & Hatches Battened,
--Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew


No Cheese this Week, due to weather.  Some farms were evacuated! We'll have it next week.

Winter Boxes:  We've posted the info on our website for the winter boxes which will begin 12/5 and continue every other week for 7 boxes, until the end of February.  Then we'll put together spring boxes based on what we have at that time.  You can continue as desired.

Winter Addendum: We'll also offer 20# lots of grass fed ground beef from our neighbors, the Lewis's.  Great lean beef non organic only because it's expensive to certify.  Frozen in 1.5# packages.

Wheels of Cheese!:  Gourmet local cheeses, as good as those previously exclusively from Europe!  We'd highly recommend two excellent ones --AlpineTomme is approx. 10# in a wheel; Romano is approx. 20#.  Price: $13/lb.  We'll also have 1/4 wheels of Tomme the last week of our season: 2.5# @ $35.  A quarter wheel would make a wonderful & delicious cheeseboard presentation for the holidays.

Extras for Winter Storage: Butternut or Acorn Squash: $30/bu.; Red Potatoes or Beets: $30/half bu.

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.

The German translates "Heaven and Earth"--thanks, Jim
Himmel und Erde:  Cook until tender roughly equal amounts of potatoes, turnips, and apples.  Mash together and add butter, salt, and pepper to taste.  Wow, that is heaven on earth!  (The potatoes might be cooked separately as they take longer than the apples and turnips which are about the same.)

Acorn Squash with Currants:  Half squash brush cavity with melted butter and bake top side down with a little water 30 min. @400 deg. While the squash is baking, heat 3 tbs butter, 1/3 c. maple syrup, ¼ tsp allspice, ¼ c. currants, pinch salt until the butter is melted and the currants are plumped. Remove the squash from the oven, turn it cut sides up, and brush w/ maple mixture. Fill and return the squash to the oven. Brush with maple mixture occasionally and add more water as necessary to keep the bottom covered, 20-30 min until tender. Salt and pepper to taste.  (Honey and raisins work just as well.)

Free For the Asking: The dry summer followed by lots of rain caused quite a few carrots to split.  If you'd like 10# of these to juice, let us know and well send them your way.