Current Newsletters

Posted 9/29/2013 12:54pm by Don Kretschmann.

Sept. 24, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   Starting work early Saturday morning proved to be fortunate.  We just pulled hundreds of bunches of radishes, when the downpours came. The heavy rain nearly cleaned them up entirely and they were saved from swelling up and splitting.  We spent the end of the last week filling the apple cooler to the rafters--a relief to have them safely stored in case of violent wind.  We've loaded you up with apples this week, and lots more to come.

   A quick ride on my bike out to get some kale for a Sunday morning (and autumnal equinox) frittata laid bare the final coup-de-grace for the change of seasons. There in front of me was a wonderful planting of kale--both curly and Tuscan.  Behind that were a few rows of cabbage heading up nicely.  To the left was the main fall broccoli field starting to show heads on nearly every plant.  And on the way back, to the left was the old onion field, now with turnips growing wildly, and to the right was the old scallion field now resplendent with new dill and cilantro.  We see cauliflower peeking out of tight leaf clusters as well. All this, and a chill in the air said the page had turned.

   We love the crops this time of the year as there's just about the biggest variety of the year.  There's a bit of a flywheel effect in that we've still got decent tomatoes and lots of peppers and other tender summer vegetables.  At the same time, cooler temps and abundant moisture with less stressful sunlight makes it ideal for those cooler season crops.  Cooking when it's cooler is also a little more comfortable.

   Enjoying the first cool days of fall (and the jolt of old Jack Frost jumping out of the cold morning shadows),

we are your grateful farmers,

--Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

 

Veggie ID: A cylindrical shaped dark green squash=kabocha--very rich orange flesh, a lot like a sweet potato.  Apples this week areLiberty. The jalepeno is called El Jefe (the boss); the other blocky short yellow to red pepper is Havasu-milder hot and good for chiles rellenos.

Coming Events: Apples.  Lettuce; Greens--swiss chard & kale;  Winter squashes--acorn, carnival, butternut, spaghetti;  cauliflower is beginning to show heads; beets; cider. 

Gluten free Apple crisp:  Slice or coarsely dice 2# apples (we never peel our apples), mix well with ¼ c. brown sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, dash mace& nutmeg and juice from small lemon.  Place in buttered 9 x 13 pan.  Mix in bowl, 1/2 c. quinoa (or rice) flour, 1/4 c. almond (or chestnut) flour, 3/4 c. brown sugar, 1 c. rolled oats, optional 1/2 c. nuts and mix well.  Melt 1/2 c. butter (one stick); stir until everything is mixed well and crumbly.  Drop topping onto apples and bake @ 375 deg. 45 min.

Thai Tofu-and-Winter-Squash Stew: Saute 2 c. thinly sliced celery (or chard stems) in 1 T. peanut oil 3 minutes.  Add 1 T. chopped ginger, 2 minced garlic, and 1 1/2 T. chopped chillies.  Saute one minute.  Stir in 5 T. soy sauce, 1 1/2 T. curry powder and 1 t. brown sugar.  Add 3 c. water, 2 c. cubed peeled butternut (or kabocha) squash, 1/2 t. salt, and 1 14-oz can light coconut milk.  Reduce heat. Simmer 15 minutes. Add 1 pkg. firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2 inch cubes & 1 T. fresh lime juice.  Add more salt if desired.  Serve over long-grained rice.  Sprinkle with 1/4 c. chopped dry-roasted peanuts and 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro.
Waldorf Salad: Cut up 3-4 apples into chunks.  Add several grated carrots&raisins to taste. Dress with mayonaise, or yogurt and mayo 2:1.  Or get creative...add grated pepper, celery, orange sections,nuts, a little lemon rind, orange juice...

Noodles with Diablo Sauce and Greens: Blend until smooth:  2 cups oven roasted tomatoes, 3 large garlic cloves, 3 Tbs. Minced fresh ginger, 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 2 Tbs. Honey,  4 tbs lemon or lime juice, 1/2 cup sesame oil, 1/4 tsp.  red chili pepper (more or less to taste).  Simmer sauce. Salt to taste.  Saute: ½ c chopped onion 2-3 min in 1 tbs. Olive oil, then add 6 c. chopped destemmed chard greens and cook another 5 min until tender. Meanwhile, to a large pot of boiling water, add 12 ounces soba noodles and a tiny bit of oil.  Cook until al dente  –5 min.  Drain. Place noodles on plates, spoon sauce and top with greens then more sauce.
Assorted Stuffed Peppers:  Smaller sized peppers can be stuffed with a variety of interesting fillings.  Cook 1/2 c. cornmeal in 1/2 c. water with a little salt.  After this cools slightly, add 1 egg and 1/2 c. grated cheese.  Stuff into hot or sweet peppers and place in an oiled baking dish and brush with a little oil.  Cover slightly with tomato sauce and halve a few Roma tomatoes in the spaces between peppers.  Bake in hot (400 deg.) oven about 30 min. until tender. You can also stuff peppers with any of the grain-burger mixes available.  Italians stuff hot banana peppers with sweet sausage.  And of course there's the All American ground beef and rice stuffed pepper.  Red peppers make exceptionally tasty stuffers.

 

Special Orders: save on heat this winter// Jalepenos (great for making a bottle or two of homemade Siracha sauce; or pickle them Italian style to use on nachos) 2# bag@$5.   Hungarian Hot Wax peppers--$25/half bushel  (We enjoy jars of these year 'round and are eagerly sought out by visiting adult children.  We've got an  archived easy recipe you'll really like for these pickled Italian hot pepper rings.  Order extras at http://www.kretschmannfarm.com/store/csa-extras  

Posted 9/29/2013 12:53pm by Don Kretschmann.

Sept. 17, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   Newbies to the crew are for the first time experiencing what we've loved about the fall--you start straightening up from the bent over position weeding or picking vegetables, and stand to pick apples with clear skies and puffy white low clouds as a backdrop!  We've been picking bins full ofLiberty apples, and after that we'll start on the Jonafrees.  Looks like the best apple crop in quite a few years.  We'll have cider and/or apples for a  good while. 

   Looks like a very "beany" fall, with another planting coming along in a week or so, and then one last field later yet. The abundant moisture caused this week's heavy crop to topple the plants.  This coupled with lots of weed pressure made them a little hard to pick.  With most of the beans near the ground, it's hard to keep them clean as the machine picks them.  We try to pick snap beans only when they're dry in the field, and wash them only when absolutely necessary.  If they're wet, they have a tendency to develop mold.  Thus our suggestion to you is to wait until you're ready to cook them for washing.  Though there's lots of ways to make green beans, it's nearly impossible to top the flavor of simply steamed or parboiled fresh beans with a tad of salt.   Don't overcook!

   We've never had anything quite like the crop of eggplant we've had this season.  Normally, it's zucchini that we're looking for some new way to make it; this year it's eggplant.  So we ourselves have been exploring this newly abundant vegetable.  We've often noted how well tomatoes pair with eggplant; and cheese with tomatoes; and herbs with both. How those three combine in the cook's hands are vary.  One can almost use one's creative imagination and not go far wrong.  Previously, we posted a recipe for eggplant rolls with a ricotta/lemon/thyme/breadcrumb filling (Aug. 20).  

Some variations on the theme...

Eggplant tarts: Slice an eggplant thinly lengthwise, brush with oil, and roast or grill about 10 min. until firm/just tender, then line ramekins or individual custard dishes with 2-3 slices,  put in a dollop of fresh roasted tomatoes, then a few basil leaves and a dollop of ricotta or goat's milk chevre, then more basil and fold the eggplant over the top and bake 5 min. 

Eggplant Tubs: Cut the eggplant crosswise into 2" thick slices, score the ends with an "X", brush slices with oil, place on cooking sheet, bake until tender @ hi heat.   Then stuff the eggplant cavities with ricotta & top with fresh roasted tomato sauce with chopped up basil. Bon apetite!

Enjoying vistas of new greens, the new crops, and picking apples, we are, your farmers,

--Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

Coming Events: Apples.  More lettuce; Greens--swiss chard & kale;  Winter squashes--acorn, carnival, butternut, spaghetti;  2-3 weeks--cauliflower. 

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes:  Slice cherry tomatoes in half, place cut side up on a slightly oiled cookie sheet, sprenkle with crushed thyme leaves, bake for about an hour @ 200 deg.  until reduced in size by half.  Cool and jar for use in cooking, salads, or when rich tomato flavor needed. (Use the same method for any tomatoes)  Since tomatoes have been in season, we've had a partial jar of this simple "condiment" in the frig to use as desired--on pasta, eggplant parmesan, to jazz leftovers...

Cider:  If you won't be using your cider immediately, simply pour off enough from the plastic jug to allow for expansion and to put it in the freezer.  It will keep almost indefinitely and keeps longer after being thawed than it would have  kept originally.  It can also be heated to boiling and sealed in clean jars or jugs.  We've had good luck with Mason jars and with any gallon or half gallon glass jug with a metal lid and a plastic seal.  (Heat the jar by running hot tap water over it, then pour the hot cider into it and screw on the lid. You'll see the lid depress and seal as the cider cools.)  Cider is a great natural drink, cold or hot.  You can mix it with cranberry juice and make your own cranapple juice.  Kids love icy apple slush.  Freeze the cider in the jug and allow it to half thaw then shake it up vigorously and pour out the icy cold slush.  Various mixes for making hot mulled cider are sold or you can make your own.  Cinnamon stick and alspice are good. 

ID:   If you got one (short crop), the large yellowish football shaped thing is a spaghetti squash.  Some are very large, others small.  To prepare, cut in half lengthwise (a large, strong, thin, sharp knife will do the job), scoop out the seeds, and invert in a shallow baking dish or pan with a little water.  Bake in a slow oven (325deg.) until just tender (about 45 min.).  Then scoop out the flesh with a fork and spoon.  It will have a stranded texture, which is tasty with butter and salt, or any other way you like.  Don't bake too long, or it loses the texture which is so unique to this squash.  Microwaving for 15 min can speed up the baking time.  You can also throw the whole thing into a big pot of boiling water to cook, but it's a little harder to handle red hot footballs. Try tossing this "spaghetti" with a cup of roasted tomatoes, chopped basil, parmesan, and olive oil. 

Special OrdersJalepenos--$25 10# chip. Hungarian Hot Wax peppers--$25/half bushel  (We enjoy jars of these year 'round and are eagerly sought out by visiting adult children.  We've got an  archived easy recipe you'll really like for these pickled Italian hot pepper rings.  Order extras at http://www.kretschmannfarm.com/store/csa-extras  Also, available: Basil-$15/half bushel.  As temps cool, basil is the first to fade from producti

Posted 9/29/2013 12:52pm by Don Kretschmann.

Sept. 10, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   Since we got 2" of rain on Aug. 27, we've had less than a quarter of an inch. This has been great to get some field work done (like seeding the cover crops winter peas, vetch, and oats), transplanting another several cycles of lettuce, and to harvest without interruption.  But two weeks with no rain and our pond full of water we've begun again to irrigate crops in need.  We thought we'd get some new potatoes harvested yesterday after picking beans all morning.  Because the forecast said only 30-40% chance of rain all week, I grabbed Todd to help move some drip irrigation lines which then could be connected for the late day water.  As we were finishing, we noticed dark clouds to the northwest and Todd said, "Remember the last time we laid drips?  It rained." To which I responded, "That would be great."  Not 5 minutes later, we were all chased from the fields by a downpour!  Coincidence?  It happens so often it's hard to ignore.  My neighbor, Tom Brenckle says he thinks a mock cardboard irrigation pump dragged out to the creek would cause rain.  

   We hope you enjoyed the tomatoes the last few weeks as much as we have.  They've been welcome at nearly every meal--sliced raw, cooked, roasted; red, pink, purple, green and yellow; magically transformed by herb, dressing, or cheese; just naked. The glut is abating and they are slowing down now. 

   We had mentioned earlier that the spring beet planting was disappointing.  The additional spring planting we did later looked great at first, but then grew unevenly throughout the summer.  We hadn't picked them earlier because the tops weren't very nice looking.  These we harvested last week getting a good quantity--you've got some in the box.  The fall beets are gorgeous to behold.

   The green beans are a variety called EZ Pik.  In our opinion, they are the tastiest of all beans-so tasty, even the Mexican bean beetles know.  Thus we only plant them late in the season because earlier, they'd attract the beetles and you'd have beetles eating the beans all season long. We'll have beans for the next several weeks.

Enjoying the beautiful sunsets , herons on the full pond, and crisp fall evenings, we are, your farmers,

--Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

Coming Events: Broccoli is beginning to head (great to have the rain now, for it); Greens--swiss chard & kale;  Winter squashes--acorn, carnival, butternut, spaghetti; Apple cider--we'll cycle through the delivery days, not all will get it in one week; Green beans; Mesclun;  2-3 weeks--cauliflower. 

 

String Bean Salad:  Boil or steam 1 lb. string beans.  Combine 1/4 c. olive oil, 1/4 c. vinegar, 1 clove mince garlic, salt an pepper.  Pour over bean. Add 2 sliced tomatoes and 1 sliced onion.

Haricots Verts Lyonnaise:  Steam or boil 1# tender young green beans 5 min. then drain and immediately plunge in ice water.  Drain.  Meanwhile sauté 1 clove minced garlic in 2 tbs. butter, then add 1 thinly sliced red onion and sauté 5 min. until slightly carmelized.   Add ¼ tsp fresh thyme and the green beans.  Allow to heat and then add 2 tbs. wine vinegar.  Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Top with 1 tbs. chopped

Beets with Toasted Walnuts:  Bake 1/2 c. walnuts on a cookie sheet 300 deg. 15 min.

Either wrap 4-5 beets inALfoil and bake 1hr.@375 or boil 25 min. or until tender when pierced with knife.  Meanwhile, beat 1 c. yogurt until smooth, then add 3 tbs. chopped fresh basil, and the walnuts.  Peel beets when you can handle them, quarter, place in bowl. Spoon dressing over beets; basil garnish.

Basil-Herbed Hearty Mediterranean Salad:  Cook and cool any tiny grain or milled grain like couscous, kasha, buckwheat groats, or quinoa.  Make sufficient for 2 c.  Mix with 2 c. diced tomatoes,  1 clove minced garlic, 1 c. diced peppers, 1 c. chopped fresh basil, 1/2 c. shredded carrots (or 1 c. cucumber or zucchini), 1/2 c. shredded feta cheese.  Drizzle over top 1/2 c. olive oil, 1/4 c. lemon juice & toss well. Salt and pepper to taste

 

Billing Notes: Payments for the remainder of the season are now due.  We'd appreciate your attention to this detail.  We were up to date at the beginning of Sept. and have been entering most of the changes to that total as they occur.  We look through carefully to readjust again in Dec.  At that time you can either roll it over into a deposit for next season, or we'll send a refund check.  Chickens will be totaled at that time to accurately charge against the $20/bird estimate you have paid.  All is eventually credited so you pay only for what you get. Remember to let us know if you want to donate a canceled box and if you are a light share, whether you want to miss three weeks in a row or to swap cycles and just miss two.

 

Special OrdersHungarian Hot Wax peppers--$25/half bushel  Always our favorite for canning year in and year out as pickled Italian hot pepper ringshttp://www.kretschmannfarm.com/store/csa-extras  , Basil-$15/half bushel.  (the best of the year)

Posted 9/9/2013 8:12am by Don Kretschmann.

Sept. 3, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

    They say time flies when you're having fun.  We must be having fun, as September has dawned when it seems like it still ought to be June.  The daily reality reminder, though, is that we can barely see to work at our accustomed 6:30 AM.  But  perhaps the solar limitation makes life all the more manageable at day's end because Becky less and less needs to repeat, "Can we please eat supper earlier?"  

    The more than abundant 2" of rain last Tuesday has allowed the various cole crops (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collards) to continue toward their rendevous with our dinner plates.  Many a late August/early September I'm crying the blues for more soil moisture, but not this year.  Lots of mesclun greens seed was slipped just under the soil surface to sprout quickly; turnips as well.  You'd almost think these were weeds by how fast they pop up in the moist warm soil.  And the green beans!  Three plantings of these to come in short order until the first frost. 

   Meanwhile, the hail of tomatoes continues more intense than ever.  It appears they are little by little succombing to late blight fungus and will come to a halt soon enough.  But we've certainly enjoyed them. 

   Lettuce surprised us in the volume.  Enjoy a salad smothered with tomatoes.

   Enjoying the bounty as we cool down the temp and the fog of humid summer abates, we are, your farmers 

               --Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

Roasted Tomato Sauce:  We generally use this method for pre-cooking our tomatoes prior to canning them.  The plus is that it's no work at all, and it reduces the liquid and concentrates the flavors without risk of burning.  Set oven temp in the high 200's.  Brush a pan of your choice liberally with olive oil (cake pans or roasters work fine--our favorites are large ceramic coated oven pans on which you'd roast a turkey).  Cut up tomatoes coarsely quartering, or so, depending on the size.  Distribute no more than an inch or inch and a half in the pans.  Bake in oven until they start to darken on the top and you can see that the liquid has started to boil away.  Use for cooking, pizza, or to can.   

Becky made this last night and it was delicious.

Chicken Cattiatore: Cut chicken into pieces, dredge in flour, and saute until just browned, in about 1/4 c. olive oil.  In same pan, saute about 1 c. coarsely chopped onion about 5 min. then add 1/2 c. wine and boil until reduced by half.  Add 3 coarsely chopped fresh tomatoes or 3 c. of previously oven roasted tomatoes (above), add the chicken, a handful of oregano, and simmer about 25 min.  Meanwhile saute in 2 tbs olive oil  1 c. green or red pepper coarsley chopped, and 2 c. mushrooms about 7 min. add to the chicken and cook together another 15 min. Salt & pepper to taste.  

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 1/2 c. fresh dill and 1 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. You'll not forget this soup.

Red cabbage is so fun to work with because it's just plain beautiful to look at. It makes a very different looking cole slaw with orange carrots.  Or...

Red Cabbage Salad with Ginger Dressing:  Combine 4 c. shredded red cabbage, 1 c. shredded carrot, ½ c. minced parsley, and 2 c. finely sliced onion.  Grate or mince 1 tbs. fresh ginger and squeeze out the juice in a garlic press or similar.  Combine ginger juice with 3 tbs. vinegar, 1 tbs. lemon juice, 1 tbs. honey, 4 tbs sesame oil, salt to taste, and toss well with shredded vegetables. Toast 2 tbs. sesame seeds in dry heated skillet until they start to pop. Sprinkle these atop the salad.  Mmmm….

 

Billing Note: Payments for the remainder of the season are now due.  We've updated our database to give credit for missed boxes and to add in other adjustments which aren't already in the accounting.  We don't go though the entire list every week and enter charges.  So if you cancel a box and ask for a credit, this won't likely appear until we readjust again in Dec.  At that time you can either roll it over into a deposit for next season, or we'll send a refund check.  All is eventually credited so you pay only for what you get. Remember to let us know if you want to donate a canceled box and if you are a light share, whether you want to miss three weeks in a row or to swap cycles and just miss two.

Special OrdersHungarian Hot Wax peppers--$25/half bushel  Always our favorite for canning year in and year out as pickled Italian hot pepper ringshttp://www.kretschmannfarm.com/store/csa-extras  , Basil-$15/half bushel.  Canning tomatoes--$20/half bushel 

Posted 9/9/2013 8:11am by Don Kretschmann.

Aug. 28, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   Late summer, tomatoes are king and almost too good to be true.  How could this little veggie/fruit be our longing all winter yet so plentiful in season?  We hope you are enjoying the variety.  This year we have Juliette (cherry type), Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, Italian Gold (plum), Arkansas Traveler, Sunkist, San Marzano, Plum Regal, Granadero (plum), Speckled Roman, and our own "Big Pink" (you'll know why the name when you see one) randomly distributed. In addition, there are seven varieties of slicing tomatoes.

   We're right at the halfway point in the season--12 more weeks after this.  Likely, you're wondering, "Where's the sweet corn?"  We get corn from our neighbors, the Brenkles, who grow about the best corn you can get.  They have nearly all "bottom ground", much of it where Brush Creek curves around in a big oxbow.  With all the rain in the spring, it was impossible to work the fields early.  Tom says they will have corn at some point, probably two weeks.  It will likely be a very short corn season because that low ground is the first to suffer a frost as well.  We likely could have gotten corn elsewhere, but think best to stand by our neighbor and friend.

   Last week we finished digging the early potatoes and pulled up the plastic mulch into which we had planted early zucchini and cucumbers.  Then the first of the winter cover crops were seeded.  We also seeded radishes, turnips, and mesclun greens for the fall.  After this August crescendo of plantings, we begin to faintly sense how it will gradually tame down, as one field at a time is put to rest for the winter .  Two weeks ago we seeded new alfalfa in fields going out of rotation for a few years.  This deep rooted perennial legume fixes lots of nitrogen from the air with the help of bacteria in the root zone.  It's virtually free, doesn't require large amounts of energy like commercial nitrogen fertilizer production, and there's free shipping delivered right to where it's needed.

  In comings and goings to fields afar, the late summer moisture seems to have brought out the wild field flowers in particular abundance.  Last week I just had to halt mowing a fallow field to pick an armload of Queen Anne's lace for Becky to use as filler for boquets of the tall gladiolus she loves to vase up this time of the year.  Pictures hardly do justice to the deep purple blooms of giant Ironweed against the deep green backdrop of Penn's woods (and the deer within!).  Goldenrod is just beginning--always a big honey flow for the bees to stock up for the winter.

   Enjoy the abundance of lettuce.  We won't have any for a few weeks as there was a mid-summer gap in the seedings.

   Co-feasters at the August tomato extravaganza, we are, your farmers 

               --Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash—Halve acorn squash and scoop out seeds.  Saute ½ onion diced in 3 tbs butter until tender then stir in ½ tsp. curry.  Add 1 c. diced apples, ¼ c. raisins, and 1/3 c. cider; continue to cook until cider is nearly evaporated.  In oiled baking dish arrange  squash and brush with melted butter, salt and pepper.  Place filling in squash and bake covered @350 about 40 min. or until tender.  (Or slice squash in 1” thick rings and stuff these)

Roasted Tomato Pizza:  Brush a cookie sheet with oil.  Lay tomatoes sliced 3/8-1/2" thick on the cookie sheet.  Brush with olive oil and dust with garlic powder and bake about 1/2 hr at 350 deg. until they start to dry out a little.  When the pizza crusts are ready, carefully move the tomato slices with a pancake flipper and arrange to nearly cover the pizza.  Sprinkle a small amount of grated mozzarella on top and then top with vegetables sauted slightly in olive oil with garlic  (suggestions: peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, and onions).

Tomato Bruschetta  (“Italian salsa”): Dice up tomatoes, peppers, and onions.  Mix with shredded basil. Salt and pepper to taste. Toast your favorite bread or ideally, French baguette, rub with garlic and top with mix. 

Caprese Salad: There are few more delicious and easier salads than this.  Simply slice some fresh tomatoes and fresh mozarella cheese, combine with fresh basil leaves either arranging attractively on a plate or tossing.  Dress with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.  It's nice too with some thinly sliced onion.

Pasta a la Georgina:  Saute 2 lg. cloves chopped garlic and about an equal amount of finely diced fresh ginger in 2 T oil.  Add about 1# fresh ripe tomatoes, cut in chunks, and simmer.  (15 min+-)  Cook pasta, drain.  Add 1 c. chopped fresh basil to tomatoes just before serving.  Sprinkle pasta servings with grated mozzarella cheese and top with sauce.  A great 20 minute meal!

 

Billing Note: Payments for the remainder of the season are now due.  We've updated our database to give credit for missed boxes and to add in other adjustments which aren't already in the accounting.  We don't go though the entire list every week and enter charges.  So if you cancel a box and ask for a credit, this won't likely appear until we readjust again in Dec.  At that time you can either roll it over into a deposit for next season, or we'll send a refund check.  All is eventually credited so you pay only for what you get. Remember to let us know if you want to donate a canceled box and if you are a light share, whether you want to miss three weeks in a row or to swap cycles and just miss two.

ID: Apples are Primas--very similar to the old Summer Rambo.  Juicy, a little tart, good for table or baking.  The trees are loaded and picking on a tall ladder is one of the most enjoyable views on the farm. (I see what Adam and Eve were getting at...)

Special OrdersHungarian Hot Wax peppers--$25/half bushel  Always our favorite for canning year in and year out as pickled Italian hot pepper ringshttp://www.kretschmannfarm.com/store/csa-extras

Posted 9/9/2013 8:08am by Don Kretschmann.

Aug. 20, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   Nearly a week of sunshine has allowed us to catch up with tasks we've had to put off in the rainy preceding weeks.  The carrots and beets seeded for the fall got a good cultivation and hand weeding.  This is essential for these crops because the tiny seedlings are easy prey to the much quicker growing and taller weeds like pigweed, lambs quarters, and galansoga.  The fall coles-broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage got the same treatment, though it was less critical.

   Hope you're enjoying the green beans.  It's been a fantastic summer run.  We've got two more plantings, the first of which should be in early September.

   Potatoes are developing a tougher skin and we'll begin digging up the summer planting en masse.  We mowed the tops two weeks ago thinking we'd only lose if they got infected with the dreaded late blight fungus.  Since there was already a great crop, it seemed that we'd risk a loss if we were to hold out for just a little more.  Fall planting to come.

   Let us know how you like our first celery--ever.  We're excited to have it.  The weather conspired to give as good of conditions for it as we could have ever expected--lots of water.

   We're also harvesting our nicest eggplant crop.  This is an amazingly versatile fruit. and well worth exploring new recipes. 

           Partners in the local foodshed, we are, your farmers 

               --Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

Note: This week we left a box with cilantro, dill, and parsley. Take one bunch of your choice.

Eggplant rolls (Involtini):  Remove stem and cut eggplant lengthwise into 1/4" thick slices.  Sprinkle slices with salt, layer, and let sit one hour.  Pat dry.  Preheat oven 350 deg. Brush with eggplant olive oil, and arrange on oiled cookie sheet, bake until just starting to color (about 5 min.)  Remove & cool.  Mix 1 c. ricotta, 1/2 c. breadcrumbs, zest of a lemon, tsp. fresh thyme, 2 tbs. lemon juice, dash salt.  Put small amount of tomato sauce in bottom of 9x9 baking dish or other pan.  Place big dollop of mix on end of each eggplant slice, roll up, then place in pan seam side down.  Place 1 tbs cream on each roll, bake @425 20min. or until sauce pretty much thickens away.  Sprinkle with grated parmesan.

Eggplant Rolades:  Slice eggplant crosswise 1/2" thick.  Sprinkle a thick layer of Parmesan cheese on a plate or pan. Coat flat sides of eggplant with mayonaise, then press into parmesan encouraging it to stick.  Bake @375 about 10 min. 

Life couldn't be better: Peaches and Whipped Cream ...seriously, we love the healthy breakfast food--wholewheat shortcake or pancakes/waffles, sliced peaches, a drizzle of honey, milk or whipped cream

Wholewheat waffles/pancakes: Sift 2 c. wholewheat flour, tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt.  Mix with 1 beaten egg, and enough milk to make nice batter.  After the first cakes, the batter might thicken and you need to add a little more milk.  We put unused batter in a mason jar in the frig for later use, rather than saving stale premade pancakes.

Caprese Salad: There are few more delicious and easier salads than this.  Simply slice some fresh tomatoes and fresh mozarella cheese, combine with fresh basil leaves either arranging attractively on a plate or tossing.  Dress with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.  It's nice too with some thinly sliced onion.

Any veggies are great for a quiche--peppers, chard, kale, onions, carrots..  Secret is to have the veggies evenly cooked.  Carrots, potatoes.. would be good to pre-cook well. More tender greens, onions, or zucchini, etc. just barely cooked.

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.  Simmer 2 min., pour over green beans and mix well.  Add 1 tbs vegetable oil if desired.  Serve hot or chilled.

Basque Potatoes:  Chop finely 4 tbs. rosemary and thyme.  Mix well with 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 c. olive oil.   Slice 1# red potatoes about 1/2" thick. Toss potatoes well in herb mixture and arrange on oiled cookie sheet.  Bake @ 350 deg. about 20 min.

 

Billing Note: Payments for the remainder of the season are now due.  We've updated our database shortly to give credit for missed boxes and to add in other adjustments which aren't already in the accounting.  We don't go though the entire list every week and enter charges.  We readjust again in Dec. and if there are any credits remaining, send refunds  All is eventually credited so you pay only for what you get. Remember to let us know if you want credit for a canceled box, or to donate it.

ID: Yes that is celery!  Enjoy.    Bunch of herbs with tiny leaves-thyme.

Special OrdersBasil--$15/half bushel  Great to stash away some pesto for winter.  Hungarian Hot Wax peppers--$25/half bushel  Always our favorite for canning year in and year out as pickled Italian hot pepper rings

Posted 8/17/2013 8:53am by Don Kretschmann.

Aug. 13, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

    After getting everything planned for the week, task lists put together, and packing up boxes last Tuesday, we drove with our youngest daughter, Grace, to the Navajo reservation in the Four Cornersarea of AZ/NM.  She teaches at a special education school there.  It was part adventure, part meditation, and a lot of observing the land with farmer eyes.  Becky drove out last summer and was very depressed seeing dried up corn and soybean fields from Ohioto Colorado.  The year before she saw crops in Oklahomawhich were so dead and dry it looked like winter, though the temp was 105.  But this year as we drove, everywhere had ample rain--and then some.  Green corn, hayfields, and rangeland.  Even the deserts of New Mexicoand Arizonawere full of puddles, green grass sprouting between the sagebrush/chaparral, and wild flowers in multicolor bloom.  In that swath of America, there's extreme variety in the natural landscape.  Equally varied, we saw many examples of the dreams, struggles, successes, and failures of many farmers. A special experience was driving after dark on the reservation with nearly no lights visible from horizon to horizon--just the star lit sky and a darting meteor or two.  In this sense group/tribal ownership would keep one in contact with a larger universe.

  We're refreshed by a change of perspective.  We smiled and glowed with pleasure when readying for bed, to hear, instead of the annoying whine of a hotel air conditioner, almost as loud, but oh so much more relaxing--the PA summer grasshopper and insect chorus.   They're part of our larger universe.  

   Bulb onions are generally harvested partially green and then dried in the sun until the tops completely dry and a nice dry "paper" layer develops on the outside.  Because of danger of rain in our region (many onions are grown in desert areas), we generally put them on a wagon bed to dry so we can move them inside, or even in the haymow upstairs in the barn.   We had such high hopes for our onion crop this year and it looked absolutely beautiful growing these many months.  But as it neared maturity, we noticed the green tops strangely falling over. This usually happens at maturity and when they are drought stressed, but something looked odd.  We've been culling through them, getting those we feel cannot store out the door quickly.  We'd recommend you use these onions quickly and even refrigerate.  Sorry for the quality problems.  We are puzzled and need to investigate why.

            Partners in the local foodshed, we are, your farmers 

               --Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

Caprese Salad: There are few more delicious and easier salads than this.  Simply slice some fresh tomatoes and fresh mozarella cheese, combine with fresh basil leaves either arranging attractively on a plate or tossing.  Dress with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.  It's nice too with some thinly sliced onion.

Any veggies are great for a quiche--peppers, chard, kale, onions, carrots..  Secret is to have the veggies evenly cooked.  Carrots, potatoes.. would be good to pre-cook well. More tender greens, onions, or zucchini, etc. just barely cooked. 

Kale Quiche:  Remove tough stems from kale, and cut into pieces---4 cups.  Cook in boiling water for 3 minutes till bright green.  Drain and cool.  Chop medium onion and mince 2 cloves garlic; saute in 2 tablespoons olive oil for 6 minutes.  Cool.  Beat two eggs in the bottom of a large bowl.  Add kale, onion/garlic mixture, 1 cup crumbled feta, 1/2 cup half & half, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Mix well.  Pour into pie shell, bake for 35-40 min. till golden brown and set.

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.  Halve recipe for single crust. 

Rice Crust--Beat 1 large egg until frothy.  Add 2c. cooked brown rice 2/3 c. grated cheese.  Press into buttered pie pan.  Great for quiches!

As tomatoes pile up, we begin to use them for cooking. There's nothing quite like a local ripe tomato in a simple fresh sauce. This is one of our hands-down favorite fresh tomato recipe introduced to us by Becky's sister.

Pasta a la Georgina:  Saute 2 lg. cloves chopped garlic and about an equal amount of finely diced fresh ginger in 2 T oil.  Add about 1# fresh ripe tomatoes, cut in chunks, and simmer.  (15 min+-)  Cook pasta, drain.  Add 1 c. chopped fresh basil to tomatoes just before serving.  Sprinkle pasta with grated mozzarella cheese; top with sauce.  A great 20 minute meal! 

Billing Note: We'll be updating our database shortly to give credit for missed boxes and to add in other adjustments which aren't already in the accounting.  If you are sending payment and know what that adjustment should be, just subtract it.  We don't go though the entire list every week and enter charges.  We readjust again in Dec. and if there are any credits remaining, send refunds  All is eventually credited so you pay only for what you get. Remember to let us know if you want credit for a canceled box, or to donate it.

ID: Redfree are the next apples.  We cycle through the varieties as they come in, and then evenly distribute what we have.  After Redfree--Primas.   

Special Orders:  Please use the website to order--under Products>CSA extras or Blueberries. Flats of organic  blueberries  @$58/12 pts.   Please order by Sunday!     Basil--$15/half bushel  There's been a few leaf hoppers and Jap beetles, but we think that wouldn't harm the pesto making at all.   Great to stash away some of this treat for winter.  Hungarian Hot Wax peppers--$25/half bushel  Always our favorite for putting away as pickled Italian hot pepper rings. 


 

Posted 8/17/2013 8:52am by Don Kretschmann.

Aug. 6, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   Last Friday we hosted one of our quarterly get togethers at the farm concerning organic orcharding.  A century ago nearly every farm had a small orchard.  Many homeowners also had a pome or two in the yard or even a dozen trees.  We benefited from many of these old standard sized trees in the waning years of their production.  Many a gallon of our cider was made from these unknown varieties.   We've noticed most farms no longer have an orchard and homeowners just plant grass and ornamentals.   At our workshop were many people with a small number of trees or young people interested in planting some apples.  This is an encouraging sign of change.  Greg Krawczyk, the entomologist at thePennStatefruit lab and research station inAdamsCountywas there as well.  He's been to our farm a number of times and said we had some of the best organic fruit he's seen in the state.  He also said they have some very old pictures of apples on the walls at the lab, depicting apples which by today's supermarket standards would be considered downright ugly.  Greg pointed out that what we have come to routinely expect in a piece of fruit was not at all necessary in days past.   We thank all of you, our customers, for your incredible openness to buck the trend for perfection and tolerate less than cosmetically perfect produce.  It allows us to utilize a vastly greater proportion of nature's largesse and forego chemical warfare to achieve perfection. 

   A few years ago I volunteered to go to West Africawith a program called Farmserve Africa to share what I could with the farmers there.  It was a real eye-opener in many ways.  I was astounded to see that nearly the only green cultivated widely eaten was what we call pigweed.  There were plots of these "weeds" deliberately seeded, "weeded", watered, bunched and washed for market. And we, here, consider this red rooted amaranth a terrible nuisance.  There's just no room for waste in undernourished regions with limited resources.  It was very difficult to travel to remote villages and sit in front of malnourished children eating big portions of a bag lunch.  Mother said, "Clean your plate, there are starving children inAfrica."  Waste can indeed be invisible. 

   We hope you enjoy the eggplant--the best crop we've ever had; no end in sight. It goes well in cassarole dishes where it functions as a replacement for pasta. See website for a favorite: Moussaka. (use potatoes or eggplant)

    Very sorry to report that there won't be any peaches this year!  The two late frosts did a real number on the McConnell's  peaches and they will only have enough for their home market customers.  Waaaa!

    Thankful for your open mindedness and adventurous tastes, we are, your farmers 

               --Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

Recycling: We appreciate any blueberry containers you might return to us.  No other types, please. 

Billing Note: We don't go though the entire list every week and enter charges.  We enter an amount at the beginning of the season, assuming full participation.  Then we readjust that in late Aug. and finally in Dec.  All is eventually credited so you pay only for what you get. Bottom line--you won't immediately see an adjustment when you cancel a box. Also, remember to let us know if you want credit for a canceled box, or to donate it.

Pico de Gallo or 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.

Stir Fried Spicy Carrots with Peanuts: Preheat the oven to 350 deg. Put ¼ c peanuts in a shallow pan, and bake for 10 minutes . Cool and chop coarsely. Coarsely grate 1 pound medium carrots and stir fry in 2 tbs butter or peanut oil about 5 min.  Stir in peanuts, ¼ tsp hot pepper flakes or diced Jalapeno to taste.  Season with salt pepper and a dash of lime juice.  Serve hot.

Cucumber Salsa: In a medium bowl, combine 2 cucumbers (peeled, seeded, and chopped), 1 c sour cream, 1 c plain yogurt, 1/2 c chopped cilantro, 1 tsp ground cumin and ½ tsp salt.  Mix well.  Refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

Eggplant pizza:  Slice eggplant 1/2 " thick, sprinkle salt on both sides and let set about an hour.  Pat dry.  Saute several minced cloves of garlic in 1/4 c. olive oil until tender.  Brush eggplant with garlicy oil setting the garlic chunks aside. Grill or roast eggplant on a cookie sheet.  Cut up eggplant into 1" pieces.  Combine with about a dozen chopped olives, Tbs. oregano (or spice of your choice) and top partially baked pizza crust with mixture and strips of provolone or mozzarella.  Bake 15 min until cheese is melted.

Easy Baked Fries: Wash and dry potatoes (don’t bother peeling them).  Slice them a little less than ½” thick then the same the other way to make “fries”.  Toss with a little olive or vegetable oil in a bowl until well coated.  Spread out on an oiled cookie sheet and bake until they are done @ 350 deg. Get creative by tossing w/ dry onion soup, onion powder, chilli powder, paprika, Cajun spice, chopped herbs (rosemary is good), or what suits you. 

ID: Tomatoes--Cherokee Purple, Arkansas Traveler, and our own "Big Pink". Bunched green--cilantro.

Redfree are the next apples.  Sorry, some folks didn't get Pristines last week--limited quantities.  We cycle through the varieties as they come in, and then evenly distribute what we have.  After Redfree--Primas.   

Special Orders:  Please use the website to order--under Products>CSA extras or Blueberries. Flats of organic  blueberries  @$58/12 pts.   Please order berries by Sunday!     Basil--$15/half bushel  There's been a few leaf hoppers and Jap beetles, but we think that wouldn't harm the pesto making at all.   Great to stash away some of this treat for winter. 

Posted 8/17/2013 8:51am by Don Kretschmann.

July 30, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

    Many years ago Peter Escher, was visiting our farm.  He was a little Swiss man, one of the original founders of biodynamic farming in the U.S.  I was complaining that when we went to farmers' markets people seemed more than willing to spend any amount of money on bedding plants and flowers, but very little on "actual" food.  Peter said, in his normal understated way, that those flowers were satisfying a different hunger.  Anyone who has ever visited our farm, is nearly always struck by the multitude of flower gardens around the house, barn, outbuildings, and near fields which Becky orchestrates.  From the first crocuses and Lenton roses, there's a cascading sequence of blooms.  There are themes of colors in each season; stars of the show for April, May, June...; colors, shapes, and scents galore.  I've always felt a real transformation when returning from sometimes overbearing work in the fields, when entering this magic zone of refreshment and beauty as I approach the yard and house.  Becky keeps us well fed with this soul food. 

   The first of our apples, Pristines, have sized up incredibly fast--the early apples always do.  That's why they are early.   Most remarkably, they are one of the later varieties to bloom as well.  These are very juicy and make the best pies and baked goods of any apples as a result.  The down side to all that juicyness is that they bruise incredibly easily.  We were amazed picking them on Saturday, that though we had been extremely careful not to bruise them, as we unloaded them we could see all these little bruise marks from just touching them to tug them off the tree!   Apples seem to be on the "like" list for about every variety of bug, moth larvae, and critter out there.  We routinely use them with great success as the preferred bait in our Havahart traps.   It's no wonder the apple was the great temptation in the Garden of Eden story. Michael Pollan, in The Botany of Desire,  uses the apple as symbolizing that which satisfies the human desire for sweetness.  And what is an apple but the seeds of an apple tree surrounded by lots of sweetness and moisture.  Nature's purpose?   Perhaps to ferment, decay, and somehow prime, nurture the new seed.  But...as you might notice, without the use of harsh chemical insecticides, we sometimes incur a good bit of damage on our apples.  Our standard in selection is that the apple should be usable when attacked with a paring knife.  Without cutting it, sometimes that's hard to tell what's inside.  We do our best.

   Remember that the potatoes this week are "new"--meaning that they really don't have any skins yet and must be refrigerated or they begin to darken much like as if you had peeled them.  Carrots are a bit of a disappointment this year as they germinated a bit thinly and then we had a short dry spell in June followed by lots and lots of rain.  Anyway, this caused a fair number of them to split.  

  Thanks for your patience and open mindedness,  

               --Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

Recycling: We appreciate any blueberry containers you might return to us.  No other types/shapes, please. 

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.)

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.

We enjoy blueberry shortcake as well as strawberry.   Also, you can make shortcake batter as a kind of pastry crust too.  Put it in the bottom of a 9x9 or 9x13 baking dish then top with cut up apples (as you'd prepare for apple pie) and bake.  We call it "Apples on Shortcake" or with ice cream, just "Mmm..."

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)

ID: We're starting to pick some heirloom tomatoes--Cherokee Purple, Arkansas Traveler, and our own "Big Pink".

Special Orders:  We will have flats of organic  blueberries for the next several weeks, @$58/12 pts.  Please use the website to order because sometimes we miss the e-mails or they slip down in the in-box and aren't revisited in time.  Order berries by Sunday, or we won't be able to get them next week!

Posted 8/17/2013 8:48am by Don Kretschmann.

July 23, 2013

Greetings from the Kretschmanns,

   The good news is that our pond is full to the brim.   By mid-July in most seasons we have been irrigating and the pond level drops several feet then yards.  Usually through midsummer there's also a building worry in the back of our minds that perhaps the water will run out.  Not in 2013!  But the bad news is that our fields need to dry out so we can plant later successions of crops.  We've been pecking away at it--Saturday a week ago we planted broccoli; last Monday, cauliflower; then Friday when it dried out, we quickly geared up and began planting kale and cabbage in the hot afternoon sunshine.  Suddenly thick clouds moved in with a third of the field to go.  As we all rushed hoping to finish, the heavens unleashed a torrent.   We hightailed back to the barn with clothes drenched--again!   Caught swimming in your clothes isn't unheard of on the farm, but rare.  Lately, it's getting to be a nuisance.

  Amidst other pressing tasks at least we put a second tie on all the tomatoes, so they are starting to shape up.  And we're praying that, with all the moisture, late blight doesn't devastate them.  It has been reported inVirginiaand theCarolinasand spreads readily in the air. We've been spraying an organic treatment to prevent this fungal disease.

   We had hoped to be able to dig more potatoes on Monday morning, but we desperately needed to plant the late crop of carrots and beets (they were already at least two weeks late), as well as pick the beans which were ready.  There's only so much one can do, so we'll dig the spuds later.  

   Thanks for your patience and open mindedness,  

               --Don, Becky & the Farm Crew

Recycling: We appreciate any blueberry containers you might return to us.  No other types/shapes, please. 

This lasagna is 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. 

We've made the above recipe for many years. I was looking up an eggplant parmesan recipe and realize it's nearly the same thing as a lasagna.  One can easily make lasagna with every other layer eggplant, just like the zucchini lasagna.  Or for varied tastes--make half the pan with zucs, the other with eggplant!

Quick, Simple, Delicious Eggplant: Slice lengthewise about 1/2' thick; sprinkle both sides with salt and let set an hour.

Pat dry.  Scramble and egg or two in a large bowl.  Brush 9x13" baking pan with oil.  Dip and coat eggplant with egg and arrange tightly in baking pan.  When bottom is covered, drizzle tomato sauce in gaps, primarily.  Then sprinkle bread crumbs on the eggplant, then parmesan cheese.  Bake @ 350 until tender and serve.  If you're gluten sensitive, don't be afraid to simply use crumbled gluten free crackers, or muffins, for the crumbs.

Carmelized Fennel: Trim off tops & bottom core.  Slice thin.  Saute 1 bulb in 2 tbs. olive oil 10 min. until golden brown.  Salt, pepper, lemon juice to taste.  Don't steam it.

Couscous Cucumber Salad:  Mix together 3 c. cooked cold couscous, 1 large finely diced cucumber, 1/2 c. chopped parsley, 1/4 c. chopped basil, 1/2 c. chopped scallions, 1/3 c. lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. salt, pepper.

There are all kinds of similar variations on these cool summer soups. 

Cucumber Soup: Blend 2 large cucumbers with 2 c. yogurt or buttermilk, 2 tbs lemon juice, 1/2 c. onions, 1/2 c. herbs of your choice (dill, basil, dill..) 2 tbs. olive oil.  Blend until smooth, chill well. Salt & pepper. Garnish with onions, herbs. Drizzle with olive oil.

We don't use a lot of relish, but a small batch goes a long way to spice up potato salad, on sandwiches, etc.

Sweet Pickle Relish: Slice 3# cucumbers lengthwise and scoop out the seeds discarding.  Finely dice cucs and 1 onion.  If using food processor, don't overdo it.  In stainless bowl mix well with 1/4 c. coarse salt.  Let sit 2 hrs.  Then drain and press out all the liquid using strainer or other. Bring 1 c. brown sugar, 3 c. cider vinegar, 2 tsp. dill seed, 2tsp. celery seed, 2 tsp. mustard seed, 1/2 tsp. tumeric to boil.  Then add diced cuc mixture and boil 10 min.  This can be used fresh, refrigerated, or processed and stored with other canned goods. 

ID: We're starting to pick some heirloom tomatoes--Cherokee Purple, Arkansas Traveler, and our own "Big Pink".

ID Prize: If you can identify these, from the photo on our website, we will forward you a pint.  We don't have enough for everyone, and don't want to waste them on anyone who doesn't appreciate.

Pie apples? The earliest apples--Pristines are starting to size and ripen.  These juicy yellow apples make the best pies of any.  They are very prone to bruising and drop off the trees easily.  If you'd be interested in a box of these imperfect apples to make pies, let us know and we'll tag a box for you to give free.  You'll need to pare heavily, but the reward...

Special Orders:  We will have flats of organic  blueberries for the next several weeks, @$58/12 pts.