Current Newsletters

Posted 10/2/2015 2:25pm by Don Kretschmann.

July 28, 2015

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   In a “normal” year, about this time we’re taking the measure of our pond as we realize we’ve been irrigating to beat the band.  The level might be down a yard or so, which one quickly realizes is a large proportion of the available water.  But this season we only began last week to irrigate regularly.  We haven’t even finished laying the drip lines in all the valuable tomato fields, much less laid the temporary lines in our lettuce successions.  Incredibly, we never even watered the early cucs and zucs—and they’re nearly done!  Knock on wood, but western PA is faring far better than the big produce areas of the country in the West and Northwest. 

  The potatoes have greatly benefited from all the rain.  We can’t easily irrigate these and usually we figure they need one good rain after they bloom to size up the tubers.  Since we’ve gotten many rains after bloom, there’s a good chance this will be a banner harvest when all is said and done.   

   Your box this week is a little overloaded because we are replacing one of our coolers.  We figured we could send off some of the produce and not need to store it while this is happening.

   It appears we’ll have quite a number of the various early apples, starting with Pristines, then Williams Pride, then Redfree, then Primas, then Priscilla. We’ve got smaller numbers of all of these so generally you won’t get some of each except for the Primas.

Coming Soon: Lots of field tomatoes, more new potatoes; eggplant; early apples, green peppers.

Enjoying the sunshine (even the heat as it lights a fire under our tomatoes), we are sincerely,

                                            Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

Notes: We’ll gladly take clean pints returned from the blueberries (sorry, no other sizes or types)  Early potatoes have thin or no skins.  They blacken easily and should be refrigerated until you use them. 

Note to Light Shares: You might see others sizes have blueberries, which you don’t have.  This is because if we were to give you a pint each week, the box would cost considerably more.  So we gave lights a pint last week and none this week. 

Special Orders: Basil: half bushel/$17; Seven grain bread @$4/loaf; various cheeses; ground and whole bean coffee. Easy to freeze for the winter: Collards, kale, Swiss chard—12 bunch box $20. Blueberries: 12 pt. flat $58


Fresh Salsa:  4 tomatoes, 1 bunch cilantro, about 1 green onion (or 1 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.  You can also add chopped cucumber, bell pepper, or corn. 

New Potatoes Baked on a Cookie Sheet:  Make sure all potatoes are about the same size—usually about the size of the smaller ones.  Cut larger ones in half.  Drizzle about 2 tbs. oil on a quart of potatoes.  Salt.  Sprinkle with your choice of paprika, thyme and rosemary, onion soup powder, cayenne pepper, or all of the above.  Toss until coated well and place on oiled cookie sheet.  Bake @ 350 deg. About 20 min. until tender.

If you still have a little fresh dill in the fridg…

Dilly Beans: Cook or steam trimmed beans 3-5 min.  Drain when beans are still bright green and just tender.  Stir 2 Tbs. fresh chopped dill into warm beans.  Combine 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/3 c. cider vinegar, 2 lg. cloves pressed garlic, and  1/2 tsp honey in saucepan and bring quickly to boil.  Pour over green beans and mix well.  Add 1 tbs oil if desired.  Serve hot or chilled.

Greek Cabbage Salad: Cut 1 cabbage into "slaw" style strips.  Dice 1 small onion to desired consistency. (you can also sliver scallions as well)  Mix with 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese, ¼ c. raisins, ½ c. toasted walnuts, 1/8 c. sesame oil, and 2 tbs. lemon juice and salt to taste.  Add a little chopped parsley for a nice addition too!

Posted 10/2/2015 2:23pm by Don Kretschmann.

July 21, 2015

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,   

Last week we finally we put together a few days without rain and made a good start at catching up with plantings for the fall. Usually, just after July 4th we start these plantings. With totally saturated soil, it took an unusually long time to dry sufficiently so as not to till and create little lumps of mud and ruin the tilth for multiple seasons. Patience is key. Even waiting, on Friday when the carrot/beet field finally seemed dry enough to till, turning the tractor on Zeigler Road left a muddy residue as is generally only seen in early April or May! With rain predicted again, timing was critical. I was reminded of an elderly farmer in our neighborhood, Gene Graham, who was notorious for reading the vapors well and never missing those weather windows to allow him to have the earliest plantings in the spring. This would always stand him in good stead to reap a great crop.  

Saturday we planted fall broccoli and cauliflower. Cabbage is yet to go, then the cold frame logjam should be over.   

We’re harvesting the best bulb onion crop we’ve ever had. The first to go in your box will be mild white onions and those which don’t have a lot of “paper” (onion skin) on the outside. We know that many of these won’t store very well so they must be used sooner. Later will be Candy and the red ones.   

By now, you might be seeing how the garden grows. Despite our attempts to even out the stream of produce, there are lean times and fat times. Right now we’re pretty long on quite a variety of produce. We’re in a jam even to get it all in our coolers. In times like these we up the ante in the boxes. When this happens, please understand that we’d rather you have it--to eat, preserve, give away, or toss. So, one shouldn’t necessarily judge by what’s in your box right now that the box will always be thus full. That’s part of the beauty of eating locally—we glut on what’s here in prime season, and then pine for that taste when it’s gone.    It appears we’ll have quite a number of the various early apples, starting with Pristines, then Williams Pride, then Redfree, then Primas, then Priscilla. We’ve got smaller numbers of all of these so generally you won’t get some of each except for the Primas. C

oming Soon: Field tomatoes, New potatoes; eggplant; early apples, more green beans. Enjoying the sunshine (even the heat as it lights a fire under our tomatoes), we are sincerely,                                             Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

Notes: We’ll gladly take clean pints returned from the blueberries (sorry, no other sizes or types)

Special Orders: Seven grain bread @$4/loaf; various cheeses; ground and whole bean coffee. Easy to freeze for the winter: Collards, kale, Swiss chard—12 bunch box $20. Blueberries!!!: 12 pt. flat $58

Zucchini Asiago Waffles: Heat up and oil the waffle iron. Shred 1# zucchini, then toss with 1/2 c. flour. Shred 1 c. Asiago cheese. Wisk 2 eggs, 1 ½ c. buttermilk, ½ c. oil. Sift 1 ¼ c. flour, 2 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. baking soda, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp salt. Mix wet ingredients into the dry until well blended, then mix in cheese and zucchini. Cook on waffle iron until crisp and browned. Serve with eggs, lightly buttered, pepper/salt.Thanks Kathy &Tara

Greek Cucumber-Dill-Yogurt Dip: Seed and grate 2 cucumbers mix with 1 tsp salt, cover and chill 3 hrs. or also overnight. Drain cucumber well. Mix 2 c yogurt, ½ c. sour cream, 2 tbs. lemon juice, 2 tbs. minced fresh dill, 1 clove minced garlic. Mix cucumber into yogurt. Chill and dip with pita bread wedges brushed with olive oil and baked until crisp.

Zuccanoes: Scoop out several large zucchinis leaving about 1/4" shell. Finely mince the insides. Saute one onion minced onion and two cloves garlic per zuc in olive oil 5 min., add minced zucchini, and 1/4# mushrooms and saute another 8 min. Mix 1 c. rice with the sauted veggies, add 1 tbs lemon juice, salt, pepper, and herbs to taste (parsley, thyme, basil..). One can also add 1/2 minced almonds, sunflower seeds, or other nuts if you like a little crunchy texture. Top with grated swiss cheese. Bake @350 deg. 40 min Collards are one of the healthiest foods there is. Packed with Vitamin K, A, C, calcium and many hearth healthy, cancer fighting properties.

Collards: Slice up leaves into ½ “ ribbons. Cut stems to ¼” Boil or steam 5 minutes. Salt and balsamic vinegar to taste. Or toss these with garlicy cheesy pasta. Traditional “southern” style collards are cooked with smoked meats or beans and perhaps a dash of hot pepper. They tend to soak up the flavor of the meats.

Posted 10/2/2015 2:21pm by Don Kretschmann.

July 14, 2015

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,   

Was just getting the newsletter in order when farming interfered—the air/reserve tank for the springhouse pump sprung a big leak. So donned my “plumbers hat”, grabbed a few pipe wrenches, pulled the old rusted tank out, and put a shiny new one in. My dad used to fear that as a farmer I would be a jack of all trades, but master of none. But master or not the water is running.

We were amazed at the quantity of beans in a very weedy bean patch. The abundant rain more than made up for the competition. But all that moisture made it a little challenging picking them on the steep south sloping field. Little in the way of a recipe is an improvement over simply steaming or boiling fresh green beans until just tender and a tad of salt to taste.

Coming Soon: New potatoes; blueberries; eggplant.

Keeping a step ahead of the rain, we are sincerely,                                             Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

Special Orders: Seven grain bread @$4/loaf; various cheeses; ground and whole bean coffee. Easy to freeze for the winter! Collards, kale, Swiss chard—12 bunch box $20. Blueberries!!!: 12 pt. flat $58 These berries clearly stand out because Rich Hunter waits until they are sweet! Fresh Dill Pickle Spears: Slice 1 or 2 cucumbers into spears and place in a glass quart jar with a few sprigs of fresh dill.   Then heat 1/8 c salt, 1/4 c vinegar, and 2 c water to boiling with a cut-up clove of garlic. Pour this over the cukes and when it cools, refrigerate. (To avoid breaking the jar with the boiling water, run hot tap water on the outside of the jar just before pouring the boiling liquid in.)

Old Fashioned Summer Cucumbers Cut 3-4 cucumbers, a medium onion, 1 tsp finely chopped dill into a large bowl. In a sauce pan place 1 vinegar, 1 cup of sugar, ½ cup of water, 2 tsp. of salt.  Heat until the mixture comes to a boil stirring often.  Pour over cucumbers and onions.  When cooled I place in a large 1 ½ quart jar and place in the frig.  Will keep for about 2 weeks. After you finish the first batch you can still use the liquid for another time.

Zucchini with Sour Cream and Dill—Stir until well combined: ¾ c. sour cream, ½ c. thinly sliced onion, 1 tbs fresh dill leaves, 1 tsp sugar. Cut up 2 medium zucchinis into bite-sized1/8 inch thick slices and toss with marinade and salt to taste. Chill 1 to 8 hrs. Easy to make without a lot of bother. The secret is: don’t cook the pasta.

Zucchini Lasagna: Preheat your favorite tomato sauce. Slice zucchinis 1/4” thick in rounds or lengthwise. Mix 1# ricotta cheese with 1/2c minced parsley. Brush bottom of baking dish with olive oil. (9x13” is our favorite size) Spread layer of tomato sauce on bottom of pan, then add first layer of uncooked lasagna. Spread layer of zucchini, then layer of ricotta, and then a more tomato sauce. Repeat the process until the pan is full and top with grated mozzarella. Bake covered at 325 deg. until pasta is cooked, then remove cover and bake another 10 min.

Kale Sri Lankan: Wash, remove stems, and chop 1 bunch kale. Slice one med. onion into rings. Saute onion in 2 tbs olive oil until softened, add kale and ½ tsp tumeric and sauté a few minutes longer. Cover tightly, turn down heat and continue to cook 10 min longer until kale is softened. Remove from heat and mix in 2 tbs. dessicated or flaked unsweetened coconut. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Posted 10/2/2015 2:15pm by Don Kretschmann.

July 7, 2015 Greetings from the Kretschmanns,   

Just returned (Becky to follow at week’s end) from a weeklong trip to the tiny village in Central /Eastern Slovakia where Becky’s grandparents came from. There were so many old themes—lack of opportunity and flight of youth to the cities. In the 100 odd years since they emigrated, Becky had visited in 1969 and her sister and mother in 1982, but after mom died no one could communicate and thus contact had been lost. Welcomed warmly by the mayor and committee, it quickly became a hunt through old photos for all to reconnect with the American “descendents”.   

We stayed in a simple rural “Pension” and were thrilled to find our meals were home cooked at least partially with veggies grown in the owner’s son’s organic home garden. Bonding was immediate when I walked out at dusk to help put the sheep and goats inside for the night (to ensure wolves wouldn’t eat them!) and to check up on apparently escaped cows on the far hillside. We were inspired to see the sophistication of the local environmental awareness, and were treated to a surprise concert by a troupe of young musicians (in the middle of a national park with the ranger leading!) For more, see “farmers’ observations…”   

We might be overloading on the herbs, but with all the rain, they seem to be growing better than normally and we always like to get everything to you in its prime. Broccoli leaves and stems are prime and very edible.    

Coming Soon: green beans, sweet bulb onions, new potatoes. Next week is chicken week.

Glad to be back to our own bit of Eden, we are sincerely,                                             Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

P.S. Rainfall tally:13.4” in the last month!!! Triple the normal average!

ID: The herbs are Italian parsley, basil, and spearmint   T

abouleh:to 1c. cooked bulgur (cracked) wheat, add 1/2 c olive oil, 1/2 c lemon juice, 1 bunch finely chopped scallions, lg bunch finely chopped parsley. Salt to taste. (Cucumbers, tomatoes, and celery can also be finely chopped and added.) In this case, one can put all ingredients in a ceramic or glass crock (wheat uncooked) with the tomatoes and cucumbers on top and refrigerate for at least 1 day, and up to two weeks. Another refreshing addition is a little finely chopped fresh mint.

Coleslaw:   At home as a child, we used to make coleslaw by putting cabbage, carrots, and a little onion through a meat/nut grinder. The dressing was mayonaise, vinegar, sugar and salt. Now we just slice with a knife or grater, about as thick as a nickel. If you add the salt when slicing the cabbage, one draws out the natural juice of the cabbage. This then mixes with the other dressing ingredients to marinate the slaw. Low-cal dressing is simple--just vinegar, salt, and honey. (Or if you're out of mayo) Approximate proportions for a dressing are 1/2 c. mayonaise, 2 tbs. vinegar or lemon juice, 2 tbs. honey, and 1/2 tsp salt. Or make an Asian type dressing: 1T soy sauce, 1 T vinegar, 2 T sesame oil, 2 t. minced ginger, ½ c creamy peanut butter, 1 t. honey, dash hot pepper. Add a little chopped parsley, and green onion rings. Mix it up, taste, and adjust as you like.

Beet Green Omlette: Cut up about 2 c leafy portion of beet greens into small pieces. Separately dice about 1/2c. redish thick parts of the stems. Slice about ½ c chives or green onions into little rings. Shred ½ c. cheddar, or cheese of your choice. Saute beet stems in olive oil 3 min. then add beet greens and continue to sauté until they begin to wilt and cook. Remove greens from pan, add a little more oil and heat pan. Pour in 6 beaten eggs, turn down heat and cover tightly, When edges just begin to cook, add beet greens then cheese and cover tightly again and cook until egg firms up Serve topped with a few chives or green onion rings. 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. We had a tasty variation on this in Slovakia—dressing the whole dish with sour cream!

Posted 10/2/2015 2:12pm by Don Kretschmann.

June 30, 2015

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,   

Hope you enjoy your holiday weekend. We were relieved that this year we don’t have to work around July 4th being on one of our delivery days. It bunches up the deliveries and makes for full trucks the day before and the day after.   

We’re seeing that forest of tomato stakes appearing as July dawns. This year, we’ve rotated the tomatoes to the barn side of the pond and all three tomato fields are contiguous. We’ll not have to walk far for a nice tasty red orb. With the basil close at hand too, it should be a very Mediterranean culinary summer.   

Surely this must have been one of the wettest Junes on record. It started out on the dry side. We had begun irrigating and the pond was down a foot. We’d just finally decided it wasn’t going to rain and so laid out drip lines to all the carrots, joking that whenever we set up for irrigation it always seems to rain. Later that night it rained, and it hasn’t quit since. Who knew?   

On deck: raddichio, cucs, green beans and new potatoes . We’ll be rotating between them in the boxes over the next several weeks. Next week is cheese week.   

Hoping you enjoy the succession of veggies, we are sincerely,                                             Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew Notes of Note:

ID: Flat blue-green bunched leaves are Tuscan kale.

Great for a holiday picnic.  

Kaleslaw with Beets: De-top and either roast or boil beets until tender. Slip off the skins and slice when cool to handle. Remove ribs from kale and cut up with sharp knife into very thin ribbons. Sliver onion or scallion into thin slices or rings. Combine everything and toss with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, fresh ground pepper and salt. One can add a few cranraisins and toasted sunflower seeds for variety of texture. Some recipes have cut up orange sections too.

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

June 23, 2015

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,   

All the rain for the last two weeks has really challenged our ability to keep up with what are normal tasks at this point in the season--cultivating & hoeing weeds, uncovering the early zucs and cucs, mulching & staking tomatoes... Luckily we had gotten a very good head start in the weeks prior when we were desperate for rainfall.  Generally around this time of the summer solstice, the long hours of sunshine evaporate the most ground water of the entire year, and with the added photosynthesis, the plants use more water in this time as well. With over 6” of skymoisture in the last week, it is amazing how deeply soggy the ground is. We are very likely to miss one planting of lettuce while waiting for it to dry out. But then, water really makes things grow! Juggling, adjusting, jumping on opportunity, enjoying variable weather, watching water, sun, soil and nature producing all we need to nurture us…farming.   

For many years we sold at tailgate farmers’ markets and greens were somewhat of a specialty of ours. We noticed the preferences of people of different heritage. Italians were fond of rapini, kale, dandelion, and the chards. People of Southern heritage and African-Americans favored collards, kale, mustard and turnip greens. Greens are one of the most nutritious of all foods—very high in vitamins and minerals. They are great compliments to breads, starches and meats. Try using the more tender greens (turnips, mustard, chard) in recipes wherever you’d use spinach. Collards and kale are in the cabbage family and can be used similarly—rolls (as in cabbage rolls) or soups. Collard greens are wonderful because they hold up when reheated. They are also great with beans.   

On deck: zucchini, cabbage, fennel, raddichio. We’ll be rotating between them in the boxes over the next several weeks. Next week are mushrooms and coffee.   

Hoping you enjoy the succession of veggies, we are sincerely,                                             Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

Notes of Note: Broccoli stems and leaves are perfectly edible. Stems can be peeled and eaten like carrot or celery sticks. There’s no essential difference between collards, kale, and broccoli leaves.

FYI: Normally, credit for missed boxes is not entered on our database until late August. We don’t necessarily post dwolla payments immediately.

ID: Flat blue-green bunched leaves are collards. Tips on herbs: use the basil quickly. Pesto is a great way to enjoy the unique and special flavor of fresh basil. Pesto is the premier use. It goes well with cheeses. Oregano can be easily dried for use throughout the year, but don’t leave it in the plastic bag. Spread it out on a piece of paper or wicker basket to let it dry. Then crumble it on a big sheet of newspaper picking out the stems and funnel it into a jar. You’ll love adding this onto pizzas or pastas in the winter knowing you can be generous and enjoy the robust flavor.

Open Face Broccoli Sandwiches: Cut up broccoli into bite sized pieces and steam until just tender. Lay slices of your favorite hearty whole wheat bread on cookie sheet. Spread a dollop of sour cream or creamy ricotta on each slice of bread. Arrange the broccoli on each slice and press into the sour cream. Top with a little of your favorite grated cheese and a few sunflower seeds for crunch. Place in hot oven (400 deg) or broil until bread is toasted & cheese is melted. Pesto: 2 c. fresh basil leaves, pinch salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1-2 tsp finely chopped garlic, 2-4 T pine nuts (or walnuts), 1/2 c. olive oil, 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese. Combine in blender or food processor until texture is slightly grainy.   Mix well with your favorite pasta. Pesto can be frozen in ice cube trays then removed to a plastic bag for storage, or spread on a slightly oiled pie pan and cut into cubes when frozen. Frozen pesto makes for a gourmet quick-meal year round. It’s hard to have too much frozen pesto stashed away.

Posted 10/2/2015 2:03pm by Don Kretschmann.

June 16, 2015

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,   

It’s always amazing how quickly the season progresses for us. General greening of spring and the first plantings culminate in the bonanza of salad as our veggie boxes begin. With a few days of hot weather in early June the strawberries overwhelm everything else as they ripen literally overnight and urgently cry for consumption.

Though we have yet to start picking the first of the early broccoli and cabbage planting, last week we seeded nearly double that amount for the fall! We’ve been anxiously watching our first cherries in about 5 years. Birds can clean you out in a minute. We only have a few trees, generally just for ourselves, but they ripen so quickly—and then they are done for another year. (just saw this morning, the sweet ones have succumbed to soft rot, with all the rainL.

Farmers love rain—free, quenching thirst with crop. But…Friday- .25”, Sat. .25”, Sunday 3.25”, then Monday 2.5” A month and a half of rainfall in four days!   

We just took the row covers off our zucchini and we see the first little zucchies. Likewise, broccoli shows the tiny start of the flower head which becomes our crop. Cabbage to follow. The cooked greens-chard, kale, and collards-- are all growing like gangbusters. We’ll be rotating between them in the boxes over the next several weeks. They are the most nutrition packed of all vegetables.

Just heard from niece, Rachel, that a little lemon or lime juice with these greens enhances the availability of mineral nutrients.    Next week will likely be the last of strawberries for the season. (the red imposters in the stores aren’t really strawberries!)   

Hoping you enjoy the succession of greens, we are sincerely,                                             Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

Notes of Note: Light shares get a box every week—this is a change from prior seasons. P.S. We try to send out reminders for picking up veggies, but don’t depend on it.

ID: Curly cue ropey looking things are garlic scapes. Scapes:scallions::galic:bulb onions. You can chop them up and use as you might use garlic.  

Caesar SaladDressing: Blend ½ c. lemon juice, 2 tsp. Cider vinegar, tsp. honey, 2/3 c. olive oil, ½ c. romano/parmesan cheese, ¼ tsp. thyme leaves, 2 oz. Salted anchovies. P. Newman has no monopoly on salad dressings!

Homemade Garlic Croutons: Remove any woody lower portions of garlic scapes. Cut up about 1/4c. scapes and press in garlic press. (you can remove and use the smashed part too) combine with 3 tbs olive oil, pinch of salt, and 2 c. diced whole grain bread mixing until evenly coated. Spread on cookie sheet and bake @350deg. about 10 min.

Simple Swiss Chard: Cut up chard stems and ribs into 2” pieces and leaves into 1” wide strips. Saute stems and ribs in olive oil with 2 cloves diced garlic (or 1/2c. diced garlic scapes) and 1 diced medium onion (or 1c. chopped scallions) Stir constantly and after 10 min. add greens a little at a time until they are wilted and tender—about 5 min. For different textures you can add a handful of raisins and/or some toasted almonds.   Or add precooked chickpeas.

Posted 10/2/2015 1:56pm by Don Kretschmann.

June 9, 2015

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

  We’d like to introduce you to our crew.  Quite interesting bunch, each and every one.  There are two family groups.  This summer our daughter, Maria, as well as niece Rachel are helping.  Then there’s our Mexican contingent—the Trejos.  Erasmo has worked here for 26 years and is here with two sons, Angel and Daniel.  We remember visiting them in Queretaro and meeting them in 1996 when Angel was a child and Daniel just a baby.  Darla helps pack up the CSA boxes.  A neighbor, she worked for us in high school, had children of her own, returned, and has been one of the packing crew for a decade.  Tim, Todd, Tim, and Dave are young men, seasoned on the farm for 3,4, and 5 years respectively.  Tim has a degree in horticulture and pomology from Penn State.  Todd has great experience in restaurants, and Dave is involved with ministry.  Mike just joined us last week.  We’ll do a series of posting this week about the crew on our facebook page.

  Herbs this week are basil, oregano, thyme.  Remove thyme & oregano from bag to air-dry. Oregano will start to turn dark if it’s left confined.  Basil is most delicate and best to use soon.

  Incoming: With the recent rains, we might start seeing the first broccoli next week, but more likely the following week.   We have flats of berries available next week, to gorge on real strawberries. E-mail and we’ll put them on with your regular delivery.

  Hoping you enjoy the local strawberries, we are sincerely,

                                            Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

Notes of Note:  . No chickens next week.  They just aren’t big enough yet, so we’ll be skipping the June bunch.  So there will only be 5 batches of chickens this season.

P.S.  We try to send out reminders for picking up veggies, but please don’t depend on it.  We’ll have the box for you every week on the same day, same time.


Spanakopita- Greek spinach pie: If using frozen filo dough defrost two hours ahead until it is at room temperature. (leave wrapped) In 1 tbs. olive oil sauté 1/2 c. minced onion, 5 cloves minced garlic until onion softens and add 1# chopped spinach and sauté until spinach wilts. Stir in 1 tbs flour and 1/4 tsp salt and cook 2 more min.  Add 1# crumbled feta cheese (or 1# cottage cheese+1/2 tsp salt or blend the two cheeses), 1 tsp oregano and black pepper to taste.  2-6 beaten eggs can be mixed in here or omitted, Greeks say yes, Californians-no (adjust for no eggs by adding a little more flour though). Unwrap and straighten filo dough, then cover so it doesn't dry out. Brush cake pan with olive oil then lay first several sheets of filo letting excess lap over edges. Brush with oil, then add another layer, brush, etc. until 1/2 filo is used.  Spread all the spinach mixture evenly over the filo, including the corners.  Cover with remaining filo, oiling every few sheets as before. Roll and tuck the filo around the inside edges of the pan. Bake @ 350deg. 45 min. Have you discovered those little filo shells?  Just make the spinach mixture as above and spoon into the shells and bake. These can be frozen easily and pulled out at a moment’s notice for a real added treat to any meal or for company. 

Our Favorite 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)

Posted 10/2/2015 1:51pm by Don Kretschmann.

  June 2, 2015

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,   

No matter how many seasons we have under our belts, as we approach the starting line the first of June, we wonder to ourselves—is this ship gonna fly? Picture a heavily laden plane lumbering down the runway. Hasn’t flown in months with any load. Will it reach takeoff speed? Have we clicked all the proper switches? Do a walk-around, are the trucks inspected? Fueled? Help. Who’s driving?   Did we plant enough spinach? Squash? What about later in the journey? Where are these veggies landing? Do we need new or extra locations? Did we tell all the subscribers what to do? Ticketing. Are the lists in order? Labels? Last minute course corrections programmed? In case of emergency? Eternal changes, last minute tweaks…full throttle…no turning back now. Then, once airborne, we look back and know—we’ve done it!   

It’s salad season bigtime! We’ve got lots of beautiful lettuce right now and for the foreseeable future. The first planting of spinach looks extremely good, the second one is a little weedy and thin, and the last one is unusually well germinated. Generally, the first planting is thin because it’s too wet, and the last one is thin because it’s too warm to germinate well. So we’ve got 2 for 3—not bad at all!  

Incoming: With the recent rains, the cooking greens—kale and collards will be coming right along. Chard is a bit behind. Bunching onions are nearly ready and strawberries too. These we don’t grow ourselves and get from a nearby conventional grower. If you don’t want non-organic berries, we’ll avoid them for you and substitute other veggies. We’ll also likely have flats of berries available in the next few weeks, for those who just want to gorge on real strawberries.          We'll have lots more greens--lettuce, kale, collards--and then on to cabbage, onions, and      broccoli. The bulbing onions look like the best ever.

Hoping you enjoy the start of the season with all the greens, we are sincerely,                                           Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew

Housekeeping: Nest the empty crates together and set them out of the way of others Notes of Note: .

If for some reason your box is missing, 1. Let the stop host know because often someone took the wrong box and there'll be one left over late in the evening for you. 2. At certain stops (ones where we deliver chickens) we can easily bring you a box when we pick up the empties the following day--if you let us know in time. The newsletters go out to all subscribers each week whether you are getting a box or not.

If you send message during the season, 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. You can access information--like schedule for chickens, recipes, etc. on our website. We don’t list phone numbers or precise addresses on the public website. But you can click on the blue link with the newsletters, indicating your pickup site location and you will be directed to that information   It’s rhubarb season! At our house, we invariably start out with Becky's Rhubarb crisp for a few rounds, then on to other decadances...     

Rhubarb Oat Bars: Dice 1 ½ c. rhubarb. Cook rhubarb ½ c. brown sugar, 3 tbs. water until rhubarb is tender.      Mix 4 tbs.  cornstarch with 1 tbs water making a smooth paste. Combine this with rhubarb, cooking over low      heat until thickened. Combine until well mixed-1 c. rolled oats, ¾ c. flour, ½ c. coconut, ½ c. brown sugar,      ½ tsp. salt. Stir in 1/3 c. melted butter until crumbly. Spread half of mixture into greased 8” square baking dish,    press down, then add rhubarb mixture, then the rest of crumbs. Press down slightly. Bake @ 350 25 min. or      until golden brown. Cool & cut into squares.   

Rhubarb Custards: Butter 6 shallow ceramic dishes. Toss ¾# diced rhubarb with ¼ c. sugar & divide among    the dishes. Bake @ 350 deg. Until rhubarb is just beginning to soften. Meanwhile puree 1 c. milk, ½ c. cream,    1/3 c. flour, 3 large eggs, ½ c. sugar, and ½ tsp salt until smooth. Divide mixture in dishes pouring over rhubarb.    Bake @ 350 deg. Until set, approx. 25 min. Cool and serve.    It takes nary 15 min. to put together this sauce which is heavenly over vanilla ice cream. It's also great over    pancakes, waffles, cheesecake, poundcake, or puddings.   

Rhubarb Sauce: Chop 2 c. rhubarb finely. Cook w/ ½ c. sugar over med. heat 15-20 min. stirring    Frequently until rhubarb is soft and sauce is thick.     

Garbanzo Bean and Parsley Dip Blend until smooth-2 c. cooked garbanzo beans, 1 clove garlic, 3 tbs. lemon juice, 1/3 c. tahini, 2 tbs finely chopped onion, 1/2 tsp. ground cumin, 1/4 tsp soy sauce, and 1/2 c. chopped parsley.    If needed add extra bean liquid. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne     

Buttermilk Dressing: Whisk or blend 1/2c. buttermilk, 2 tbs white wine vinegar, and ¼ c. mayonnaise.   

Spinach Salad Dressing: 1 med. onion (or chives) minced, 1/4 c. honey or 1/3 c. sugar, 1 tsp. celery seed, 3 Tbs.    mustard, 1/2 c. cider vinegar, 1/2 c. oil. Blend. We leave out the onions and keep a jar of this in the fridge during    spinach season     

Washing of the greens: We usually wash our greens to knock the bulk of rain-splashed soil off the produce.  We don’t claim to have them “table ready”. Rewash to your pleasure.  

Posted 11/15/2014 10:56am by Don Kretschmann.

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   Sunday, we got a call from one of our neighbors, who farm very low lying land, saying they were covering their green beans and pepper because they expected a frost in the morning. Yikes! How had we been lulled into complacency, trusting the long range forecast Saturday night predicting lows in the 40's? But we always have a little "frost grace" up on our hilltop. The growing season here is easily 2-3 weeks longer here than two miles away, down in the Brush Creek valley. But it was a wakeup call nonetheless, to get mature tender crops picked now lest there be a big rush the last minute before a frost, or worse, that they are frozen. We remember picking tomatoes once in mid-September in a snow squall; also picking them in November. The range can be quite substantial, but generally averages early October. So it's off to nab more San Marzanos before ole Jack (Frost) does it for us...

   Many subscribers have asked what is the status of the compressor station proposed to be located about half a mile from us. Last Friday, we formally appealed the approval by the township Board of Supervisors to the Court of Common Pleas. We feel siting in an actively farmed and agriculturally zoned area is inappropriate. A further statement of our thoughts was published a week ago in the Post-Gazette. We will keep you posted. Curiously in the legal wranglings , you who eat from this piece of PA farmland, have no standing before the court, yet anyone who simply owns property on the road does. We would like to convince otherwise. If environmental rights mean anything at all, they mean a right to the environment of one's food.

   We hope the beans worked out well last week for you. It was touch and go all week bagging them up because there was quite a bit of mold in some of their plants and a good bit of dirt and leaf trash or stems to pick around. The final planting of the season looks wonderful right now and we should have them for you the next week and the following.    As fields have become available after harvesting earlier crops, we've replanted with frost hearty things for the late fall: Turnips, mesclun greens, lettuce, and radishes are all germinating well. We've got great looking greens as well.

   We'll gladly reuse any of the plastic pints from the blueberries and the boxes from the canning tomatoes. No other types please.

Enjoying the cooler temps and more manageable work hours, we are                                          ---Don, Becky, & the Farm Crew  

For Extra Purchase: Green tomatoes: $10/peck basket--about 10# (subject: tomatoes) Potatoes: half bushel @$30 Butternut or Acorn Squash--$40/bushel.  Rhubarb: 5#-$15 Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers: $25/half bushel Always our favorite for canning year in and year out as pickled Italian hot pepper rings.

Suzie's Chunky Salsa (small batch): Oil baking pans and spread 2# tomatoes cut into small pieces. Roast @350 deg. until they are cooked well and start to dry on the top and brown slightly. Place in tomatoes in pot and mash until they look saucy. Add 1 chopped tomato, 1/2c. diced onions, 1 diced pepper, maybe 1/4 finely diced jalapeno, 1clove minced garlic, dash black pepper, 1/4 tsp paprika, teaspoon sugar, 1/4 tsp chili powder, tsp. vinegar, dash salt, and 1 tbs. tomato paste. Mix and bring to boil. Simmer until onions and peppers are cooked, then put in pint jars or just allow to cool and refrigerate. You should have salsa for a while...

Tomato, Carrot & Rice Soup: Saute 1 chopped onion & 2 cloves diced garlic until soft. Then add 2 c. diced carrots, 1# chopped tomatoes, 1 tsp honey, 4 c. vegetable stock or water 1 bay leaf and simmer about 1 hr. Discard bay leaf and blend until smooth. Return to pot, add 1 c. cooked brown rice, 2 tbs chopped dill, salt and pepper to taste. Warm over med. heat 5 min. or until hot. Mix in 1/4 c. sour cream. If you haven't tried it, another heavenly carrot soup is with dill pesto. Click here.