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Posted 6/28/2010 8:30am by Gregg Keckler.
Dear Friends,

    The red and yellow raspberries and blueberries are coming is strong right now.  The black raspberries are almost over.  We let the chard rest for a week so this week we will do chard again.  Hopefully there will be enough for bigger bunches.  We did get some rain yesterday so that should help.  This week we are staking up tomoatoes, picking currants, blueberries, red beets, raspberries, apricots, squash and cucumbers.  The apple have been thinned.

     We want to apologize to those of you who were disappointed with the sweet cherries.  We aren't stupid.  We know they weren't very good this year.  We made the choice to give them in the shares anyway.  That was possibly a bad choice, since many of you were annoyed by the quality.  What can I say - we tried!  Between splits that molded and brown rot which ruins the sweetness and tecture.  They were impossible to keep after this year.  If it is any consolation,no one else had any good ones around here.  That is one aspect of farming that goes unnoticed.  Last winter we took the time to prune those cherres.  We sprayed those trees throughout the spring which took time and money.  Then we took time to pick the cherries.  and then what/?  Bad cherries.  So all that work, effort and money that went into them is a loss for this year.  The gamble of farming.

    This marks the 5th week of this session.  If any of you want to sign up for the second session in spite of the bad cherries - now is the time.  We will take folks through July 10.  You can send a check ( you do not need to send a subscription form) or you can give it to us at one of the markets.

    The shares this week will include: Swiss chard, kale, red beets, squash/zucchini, sour cherries, apricots, and blueberries.

Keep looking up - peaches and tomatoes are coming!     Gregg and Louise Keckler - Orchard Country Produce


Extras:

Eggs $4.00/dozen
Butter $3.50 for a 1/2 lb block
Ground Beef $3.50/lb   sold in 1 lb packs

Following items sold in packs of 2  weight varies
Filet Mignon $13.99/lb
del Monaco  $9.99/lb
New York Strip $9.99/lb
Sirloin tip $9.99/lb
Sirloin   $9.99/lb
London Broil $9.99/lb


Honey Butcher Bologna $7.99/lb Sold in 1/2 and 1/4 lb packs
Sweet Butcher Bologna  $7.49/lb sold in 1/2 and 1/4 lb packs

Following items sold in packs approx wieght 4-8 oz each weight varies
Goat Goulda    $12.49/lb
smoked Cheddar $9.49/lb
sharp cheddar  $9.49/lb
Smoked jalapeno  $9.49/lb
Cheddar  $8.48/lb
Farmers $8.49/lb
Baby Swiss $8.49/lb
Italian  $8.49/lb
Posted 6/14/2010 7:58am by Gregg Keckler.
Dear Folks,
   We are picking lots of peas.  Enjoy the peas now since they have such a short season compared to summer squash or tomatoes.  We are beginning to pick raspberries and zucchini and summer squash.  Oliver picked about a dozen blueberries yesterday.  So it won't be long.
   This year weather patterns are a bit different then the past few years.  We had 90 degree weather in April which forced fruit trees to bud early. so we have sweet cherries already and the earliest apricots are in.   Unfortunately there don't seem to be as many sweet cherries as other years so enjoy them this week.
    Do not forget your coolers or boxes.  Please bring them back every week!  We are coming up short.  Also remember to return all containers and jelly jars when you are finished with them.  We can reuse these.
    If you have a good recipe for any items, please send it to us or post it on the blog.  Swiss chard is excellent sauted with onion or garlic.  The leaves are great raw in cold salads or sauted like spinach.  Give it a try.
    This week: strawberries, sweet cherries, Swiss Chard, lettuce, spring onions, snow peas, sugar snap peas.  the snow peas and sugar snap peas are edible pods.
       See you this week!  Gregg and Louise Keckler - Orchard Country Produce


Extras:

Eggs $4.00/dozen
Butter $3.50 for a 1/2 lb block
Ground Beef $3.50/lb   sold in 1 lb packs

Following items sold in packs of 2  weight varies
Filet Mignon $13.99/lb
del Monaco  $9.99/lb
New York Strip $9.99/lb
Sirloin tip $9.99/lb
Sirloin   $9.99/lb
London Broil $9.99/lb


Honey Butcher Bologna $7.99/lb Sold in 1/2 and 1/4 lb packs
Sweet Butcher Bologna  $7.49/lb sold in 1/2 and 1/4 lb packs

Following items sold in packs approx wieght 4-8 oz each weight varies
Goat Goulda    $12.49/lb
smoked Cheddar $9.49/lb
sharp cheddar  $9.49/lb
Smoked jalapeno  $9.49/lb
Cheddar  $8.48/lb
Farmers $8.49/lb
Baby Swiss $8.49/lb
Italian  $8.49/lb

Posted 6/7/2010 8:10am by Gregg Keckler.
This week we are beginning to pick raspberries and sweet cherries.  We are picking tons of peas as well. 
Asparagus is waning.  We are weeding constantly.  If anyone wants to come to the farm and do some weeding for therapy, give us call.

    English shell peas must be hulled - eat only the peas.  Snow peas are edible pod.  Swiss chard leaves can be used for cold salad or the stalks and leaves can be steamed or stir-fried with a little oil or butter and garlic.  Delicious!

  Last week went pretty well, but this week will go even better!  Sorry, we will not have any steaks until after Wednesday.  See you this week!

   This week's shares will include: Strawberries, lettuce, Swiss chard, shell peas, snow peas, red beets, and jam.  Gregg and Louise Keckler - Orchard Country Produce

Extras:

Eggs $4.00/dozen
Butter $3.50 for a 1/2 lb block
Ground Beef $3.50/lb   sold in 1 lb packs

Following items sold in packs of 2  weight varies
Filet Mignon $13.99/lb
del Monaco  $9.99/lb
New York Strip $9.99/lb
Sirloin tip $9.99/lb
Sirloin   $9.99/lb
London Broil $9.99/lb


Honey Butcher Bologna $7.99/lb Sold in 1/2 and 1/4 lb packs
Sweet Butcher Bologna  $7.49/lb sold in 1/2 and 1/4 lb packs

Following items sold in packs approx wieght 4-8 oz each weight varies
Goat Goulda    $12.49/lb
smoked Cheddar $9.49/lb
sharp cheddar  $9.49/lb
Smoked jalapeno  $9.49/lb
Cheddar  $8.48/lb
Farmers $8.49/lb
Baby Swiss $8.49/lb
Italian  $8.49/lb
Posted 6/1/2010 1:43pm by Gregg Keckler.
Dear Friends of the farm,
    We are picking strawberries, peas, spring onions, radishes, and cutting salad greens.  We are planting the last of the tomatoes, okra, peppers, and next week we will plant lima beans.  The red beets, beans , raspberries and blueberries look great!
   Some of you will be joining us in July and some of you will be joining in Swptember.  We are looking forward to seeing you.  Others may not be interested in the CSA, but come visit us at one of our markets.  check website for locations.  See you soon!  Gregg and Louise Keckler - Orchard Country Produce
Posted 5/31/2010 3:41pm by Gregg Keckler.

An email from a satisfied customer:

 

Dear Keckler Family,

Thank you for your emails.  I stopped by your farm stand on Saturday at the Cedar Lane UU Church.  It was nice to meet you.  I picked up some pink lady apples, asparagus, salad greens, baby radishes, and some pumpkin bread.  Everything was delicious and very flavorful.  My kids enjoyed the apples the most and I enjoyed the asparagus, but everything has already been gobbled up.

 I’m really looking forward to the start of the CSA sessions and hope to visit you at your stand again this Saturday.

Thank you again for making this opportunity possible.

N. M.

Posted 5/31/2010 8:03am by Gregg Keckler.
Dear Shareholders,

   We have planted out almost everything from the greenhouse.  Things look great this year!  This certain red lettuce actually looks so good that the rabbits will not let it alone.  The peas have flowers, so next week hopefully we will have snow peas.  We have a few sugar snap peas already.

   If you have never cooked with rhubarb, here is a simple way to prepare it.  Chop the stalk into 1 in. chunks.  Cook in a pot wil a little bit of water until the rhubarb is soft.  You can add strwberries if you want a bit of color and sweetness.  After it is stewed, you can add sugar or honey to taste.  I love to eat it just like this.  Some folks eat it with a biscuit, use over ice cream, or crumble oatmeal, brown sugar, flour and butter for crumbs. and sprinkle over stewed rhubarb.
    Don't forget that you can eat the bulbs and the stalks of spring onions. (Geat in salads, soups, with pasta or potatoes)  Let me know if you have trouble figuring out what to do with anything.

       This week's share will include:  strwberries, apples, radishes, spring onions, lettuce heads/salad mix, rhubarb, asparagus.

     We had a steer butchered on May 20, but it isn't quite frozen yet, so if you ordered any steaks, you may not get them until week 2.  We have ground beef in one and half pound packs.  If you order ground beef you will get these packs.  Ed Breckenbill is out of smoked sharp cheddar right now, but we will get some the next time we order.
   Please return all berry cartons, egg cartons, jars, etc (even rubber bands are helpful).  You can wait until you empty the containers and then return them.

    Rmember th drop offs:  Gangplank Marina - Tuesday very early
                                       DOT - Tueaday 7:30am-2:00pm
                                       Columbia - Thursday 2-6 pm East Columbia Library, Cradlerock Way
                                       Westminster - Saturday 8-12noon downtown Westminster
                                       Gaithersburg - Saturday 7:30am-1:00pm 128 Goucher Terrace
                                       Bethesda - Saturday 9-1pm Cedar La U U Church

  Wednesday drop offs:  NGS- drop off 12:15pm
                                   NLC - drop off 12:45pm
                                   826 25th St NW - 1:10pm
                                   Calvert Foundation - 1:40pm
                                   NIH 5635 Fisher Lane - 2:15pm
This is our hopeful time schedule.  After the first week we will see how things go and make changes if needed. 

Looking forward to see everyone this week! 
Gregg and Louise Keckler - Orchard Country produce
Posted 5/17/2010 10:32am by Gregg Keckler.
Dear Folks,
  Welcome to the 2010 CSA season.  If you are getting this email, you should be expecting to pick up a share on June1, June 2, June 3, or June 5 for the first week of the season.  If you don't think you should be picking up this week, let me know.  For some this is a new experience, for others it is a continuation of fresh fruits and vegetables. 
   Gregg, Oliver, Mark, Lydia, and Virginia have been busy planting out hundreds of tomatoes, pepper, squash, and cucumber plants last week.  The fruit looks good.  There might not be as many sweet cherries or apricots as last year, but the plums look better.  It is hard to predict why these fluctuations happen each year.  If the spring is too cold, the trees don't flwoer, if it is too chilly and overcast the bees don't pollinate the flowers, and there are some years that a tree just decides to take the year off and not produce any fruit.  who know!
   We want you to get the most out of the fruit and produce that you get.  We have some simple preparation tips on the website.  Remeber that you do not need to create a dish based on a vegetable ( for example: asparagus)  Asparagus is delicious raw, lightly steamed, or grilled - no other ingredients necessary except a little butter or loive oil and salt.  Preparing simply will give you the best flavor and nutritional value - and it is simpler.
   
   Logistics:  All folks getting their shares on Tuesday at DOT or Gangplank Marina, Thursday at East Columbia Library, Saturday at Cedar Lane UUChurch in Bethesda, Saturday at 128 Goucher Lane, Gaithersburg, or Saturday at the Westminster Farmers Market will pick up coolers each week.  You will bring back an empty cooler and pcik up a full one.  If you choose you can put youritems in your own bags and just leave the cooler with us. 
      Folks getting shares on Wednesday at NGS, NLC, Clavert Foundation, NIH - Fisher Lane, or Kennedy Center(25th st NW) your produce will come in a box with your name on it.  You can take the produce and leave the box in the designated drop off spot or you can take the box with you.  Please return the bos before the next Wednesday pick up.  I will be in touch with each of you regarding the actual drop off spot.  NGS will be the same as last year.


    Extras:  you can order extras weekly by sending us an email AT LEAST one day before delivery day.  You can pay for the extras at the market with csah, check, or credit card(If over $15.00)  If you pick up on Wednesdays orat the Gangplank Marina, or Gaithersburg you can order items, we will put them in your share and at the end of each 7 week session we will send you a bill by email and you can send us a check by mail.


   We will have our own fresh, free range eggs all year.  Our chickens are young and laying prolificly.  We will have our own hormone-free grass fed beef available.  We are having another steer butchered this week so we should be stocked with all cuts of steaks for a while.  We will also have our own sweet butcher bologna.  We put a whole steer in bologna so the bolonga is Lean and delicious.  Butcher bolonga is stored in 4 in round cloth bags.  we sliced it thinly and put it in 1/2 and 1/4 lb pakcs to sell.
     We also sell butter from Apple Valley Creamery  www.applevalleycreamery.com The butter is from hormone-free pasture fed dairy cows.  We will again be offering Ed Brekenbill's cheese.  Ed has a hormone-free pastured dairy in Chambersburg, PA  He makes all of his cheese at his farm.  He adds no additivies, only raw cow's milk, vegetable enzymes, and sea salt.

Let us know if you have any questions.  See you in two weeks!  Gregg and Louise Keckler - Orchard Country Produce


Extras:

Eggs $4.00/dozen
Butter $3.50 for a 1/2 lb block
Ground Beef $3.50/lb   sold in 1 lb packs

Following items sold in packs of 2  weight varies
Filet Mignon $13.99/lb
del Monaco  $9.99/lb
New York Strip $9.99/lb
Sirloin tip $9.99/lb
Sirloin   $9.99/lb
London Broil $9.99/lb


Honey Butcher Bologna $7.99/lb Sold in 1/2 and 1/4 lb packs
Sweet Butcher Bologna  $7.49/lb sold in 1/2 and 1/4 lb packs

Following items sold in packs approx wieght 4-8 oz each weight varies
Goat Goulda    $12.49/lb
smoked Cheddar $9.49/lb
sharp cheddar  $9.49/lb
Smoked jalapeno  $9.49/lb
Cheddar  $8.48/lb
Farmers $8.49/lb
Baby Swiss $8.49/lb
Italian  $8.49/lb
Posted 5/4/2010 2:07pm by Gregg Keckler.
Dear Shareholers and Friends,
 The countdown is on!  By May 15 we will be planting all our tomatoes, peppers, egg plant, summer squash, and zucchini.  We are cutting tons of asparagus and lettuce, Our spinach is coming on slowly.  The shell peas, sugar snap peas, and snow peas are looking good.  This year the shallots look great (compared to last year).  We are picking spring onions and radishes.  The rhubarb is very thick.  Last week we had a single stalk that weighed over 1/2 lb.  We should be picking red beets in a couple weeks.  Our chickens are laying heavy, so we have plenty of eggs.  We are actually selling some at market because there are so many.  All the fruit looks great.  Strawberries have lots of flowers.  Our berries are later then Maryland or Virginia because we are further north.  But hopefully we will have berries by the first week of June.
     Gregg has planted some unusual winter squash, watermelon, muskmelons canteloupe and of course prickly pear seeds in the greenhouse.
    If you could not find our website for a couple of weeks, we are back up and running again.  Please have all subscription forms and payments in by May 15 for the first session which starts May 31.  It will take us awhile to organize the names and locations.  We will send an email May 17 to discuss pickups, coolers, extras, and other things.  Let us know if you have any questions.  Gregg and Louise Keckler - Orchard Country Produce
Posted 4/29/2010 4:00pm by Gregg Keckler.
Dear Folks,
    Even though the CSA does not start until June 5, we will be selling fresh produce and fruit at the Cedar La Universalist Unitarian Church every Saturday from 9-1 beginning this week.  So if you would like to meet us and you would like to buy some fresh asparagus, lettuce mix, rhubarb, hopefully radishes.  We will also have our apples (Fugi, Pink Lady, Braeburn, Cameo).  We will also have our Eva potatoes.  Eva is the white potato variety that we grow. It is a Pennsylvania exclusive potato.  We will have red beets next week and spinach as well.  Things will begin to really take off in the next three weeks.  So check back each week for new items.
   Drop in this week and say Hi.  We will also have many varieties of jams (made from our own fruit), honey, hormone-free pasture- raised beef, hormone-free cheeses from the Cheese Haus in Chambersburg, PA.  Ed Breckenbill is the owner of Whispering brook Farm.  He makes all his cheese right there in Chambersburg.  The list of ingredients are refreshing: non-pasteurized milk, vegetable enzymes, and sea salt.  We will also have our own strawberry-rhubarb pies, strawberry pies, banana bread, pumpkin bread, and zuchini bread.
   We look forward to seeing you there.  Gregg and Louise Keckler -- Orchard Country Produce
Posted 4/29/2010 3:45pm by Gregg Keckler.
Our website is back up and running.  We meant to TRANSFER our domain name to a new host and instead we deleted it!  It  took them awhile to forgive us for this transgression.  I have promised to pay for damages and they have finally relented.  So you can go to www.orchcountry.com  and check us out and download subscription forms, etc.  We hope to have all forms and payments in by May 15, especially if you would like  to sign up for the first session.  I will send a more extensive email in early May about what's happening and by May 20 if you are signed up for the first session you will get email about drop offs, extras, coolers, and other stuff.  See you then!  Let me know if you have any questions.  Gregg and Louise Keckler -Orchard Country Produce