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Posted 10/18/2010 11:17am by Gregg Keckler.
This is the last week of the Fall session and the last week of the CSA for 2010.  This year has had some good and bad returns.  Most of our ups and downs were totally related to weather patterns.  We hope you have enjoyed the fresh fruits and vegetables this year.  We are already thinking about next year.  We are planing to plant several hundred more fruit trees particularly cherries, plums, pears, and apricots on our newly purchased farm.  We also plan to raise more beef and better chicken next year.  On our new property we will have more pasture land and more hay fields next year.  We also plan top grow more and different melons, lopes, pumpkins, and winter squash.  It is great to have plans!


I wish you would remember me (Louise) throughout the winter months.  I have been ill for about a year with an auto-immune disease called scleroderma.  I am taking antibiotics and other supplements and vitamins.  The healing process for this disease is very slow.  I am aiming to see positive changes for next spring.  Considering that I have been out of the farming and marketing loop this entire summer, Gregg, Oliver, Sarah, and Virginia did a great job with help from Lydia, Martha, and Mark occasionally.  Katie and Ryan helped by supplementing our kale, chard, and peaches with theirs when we were running low!


We are doing things differently this week.  Bring back your empty coolers or boxes. BRING YOUR OWN BAGS!  Cloth bags are best.  It is your turn to pick off the table and make your own share.  If you have a half share, you can pick $22.00.  If you have a full share you can pick $35.00 of produce, fruit, bakery, honey, jam, etc.  If you wish you can use your share money for extras - bologna, cheese, eggs, butter,   If you do plan to get extras, please email us with your order.  



Folks have been inquiring about signing up for next year.  We need a few weeks to regroup, clean up, and redo our subscription form and reveal new dates.  By the 1st of December we should have our new information up on the website.  We will accept checks after January 1, 2011.  We will be in touch with everyone as the year progresses. 
      Keep in mind that the DOT market on Tuesday will continue through November 16th, Columbia market on Thursday will continues through November 18th, and Westminster and Bethesda Cedar Lane markets will continue through November 20th.  So make sure to drop in to visit and stock up on produce for Thanksgiving!!  Gregg and Louise Keckler - Orchard Country Produce
Posted 10/18/2010 11:07am by Gregg Keckler.
This is the last week of the Fall session and the last week of the CSA for 2010.  This year has had some good and bad returns.  Most of our ups and downs were totally related to weather patterns.  We hope you have enjoyed the fresh fruits and vegetables this year.  We are already thinking about next year.  We are planing to plant several hundred more fruit trees particularly cherries, plums, pears, and apricots on our newly purchased farm.  We also plan to raise more beef and better chicken next year.  On our new property we will have more pasture land and more hay fields next year.  We also plan top grow more and different melons, lopes, pumpkins, and winter squash.  It is great to have plans!


I wish you would remember me (Louise) throughout the winter months.  I have been ill for about a year with an auto-immune disease called scleroderma.  I am taking antibiotics and other supplements and vitamins.  The healing process for this disease is very slow.  I am aiming to see positive changes for next spring.  Considering that I have been out of the farming and marketing loop this entire summer, Gregg, Oliver, Sarah, and Virginia did a great job with help from Lydia, Martha, and Mark occasionally.  Katie and Ryan helped by supplementing our kale, chard, and peaches with theirs when we were running low!

ATTENTION TUESDAY deliveries and DOT pick-up: There will be one more week, October 26th.

ATTENTION GAITHERSBURG:  Please bring a bag to transfer produce so you can leave the coolers this week.

This week's share will include apples (Fuji, Braeburn, Nittany, Broccoli, Kale (hopefully no bugs- if so, they wash off very easily!), beets, sweet potatoes, winter squash, cabbage.

Folks have been inquiring about signing up for next year.  We need a few weeks to regroup, clean up, and redo our subscription form and reveal new dates.  By the 1st of December we should have our new information up on the website.  We will accept checks after January 1, 2011.  We will be in touch with everyone as the year progresses. 
      Keep in mind that the DOT market on Tuesday will continue through November 16th, Columbia market on Thursday will continues through November 18th, and Westminster and Bethesda Cedar Lane markets will continue through November 20th.  So make sure to drop in to visit and stock up on produce for Thanksgiving!!  Gregg and Louise Keckler - Orchard Country Produce
Posted 10/11/2010 11:21am by Gregg Keckler.

Dear Friends,

     Its hard to believe this year is flying by so fast!  The fall plantings are now coming in . . . such as fall lettuces, late cucumbers, red beets, kale, string beans, & squash.  Hopefully the sugar snap peas and the snow peas will be ready before we get hit with a frost.  Its always a gamble trying to time things with the late summer plantings.  Peas for example will not germinate properly when the soil is too warm but you must have enough days left in the season for the plants to mature or you'll never reach production. Sometimes you win & then again. . . :(   

    Its now Fuji & Braeburn time with apples.  We just started picking this week.  This weeks apples in your shares will be a mixture of  Grimes Golden (Heirloom), Nittany (Sweet), & Honeycrisp.

     We also have some deals available this week if you wish to order any.  Red Beets are $3.00 a quart box.  Northern Spy apples are $3.00 a quart or $6.00 a 1/2 peck.  These are great baking apples.  We also have some processed horseradish in the same sized containers as they were several weeks ago for $2.00.  Let us know if you want any of these in addition to your usual share.

     Regarding the "mystery items",  we are not inferring that they are mysterious.  Simply that we aren't sure how many of a certain crop will be available.  For example we have cushaw pumpkins but not enough to go around so you may get another item(s) instead.  Some of the items may be a mystery to you and if so just drop us a line & we'll try to help you with what it is and how to prepare it.
 
    This weeks share should include the following:

                                                                  Roma Tomatos                                                   
                                                                  Lettuce
                                                                  Homemade Applesauce (Unsweetened)
                                                                  3 Varieties of apples
                                                                  Cucumber
                                                                  Mystery vegetable
                                                                  Unpasteurized Apple cider

Posted 10/11/2010 11:20am by Gregg Keckler.

Dear Friends,

ATTENTION : TUESDAY CSA SHAREHOLDERS - There will be NO CSA deliveries on Tuesday Oct 5.  The DOT market for that day has been cancelled after much confusion on their part.  Again, there will be no home delivery, Gangplank,  or DOT market stand drop offs on that date.  We will make up your delivery on the last Tues. in October (26th) instead.  Sorry for the inconvenience.  This was beyond our control.

We have gathered most of the winter squash and are storing them in our garage in crates.  As long as the weather is cooperative we'll be picking fall tomatoes.  There are still quite a few apples to pick.  Speaking of which, this weeks featured apple is the northern spy.  It is an heirloom apple which dates back to the Civil War.  Its naming was directly connected to espionage during the war between the states.  Most farmers will not fool with this great apple due to the long time on "their return".  Its a slow grower. It takes at least 10 years before you get any crop!  Spy is worth the wait, however, as it is a slightly tart one that is a great baking apple. 

In response to those folks who are "Kaled out", please try Kale chips!!!!!  The recipe is simple.  Tear the leaves into 2-3 inch diameter pieces into a baking dish.  Drizzle either butter or olive oil w/garlic salt over the top of the leaf pieces.  Bake @ 350 degrees for about 4-5 minutes or until crisp like a potato chip.  They are addicting!  

This weeks shares should include the following:

Northern Spy apples
Nectarines
Jelly or Jam
Kale
Summer Squash
Mystery Vegetable or herb
Red Beets
Bell Pepper 

Se you all soon!

                                             Orchard Country Produce

Posted 10/11/2010 9:14am by Gregg Keckler.
Dear Friends,

     Its hard to believe this year is flying by so fast!  The fall plantings are now coming in . . . such as fall lettuces, late cucumbers, red beets, kale, string beans, & squash.  Hopefully the sugar snap peas and the snow peas will be ready before we get hit with a frost.  Its always a gamble trying to time things with the late summer plantings.  Peas for example will not germinate properly when the soil is too warm but you must have enough days left in the season for the plants to mature or you'll never reach production. Sometimes you win & then again. . . :(   

    Its now Fuji & Braeburn time with apples.  We just started picking this week.  This weeks apples in your shares will be a mixture of  Grimes Golden (Heirloom), Nittany (Sweet), & Honeycrisp.

     We also have some deals available this week if you wish to order any.  Red Beets are $3.00 a quart box.  Northern Spy apples are $3.00 a quart or $6.00 a 1/2 peck.  These are great baking apples.  We also have some processed horseradish in the same sized containers as they were several weeks ago for $2.00.  Let us know if you want any of these in addition to your usual share.

     Regarding the "mystery items",  we are not inferring that they are mysterious.  Simply that we aren't sure how many of a certain crop will be available.  For example we have cushaw pumpkins but not enough to go around so you may get another item(s) instead.  Some of the items may be a mystery to you and if so just drop us a line & we'll try to help you with what it is and how to prepare it.
 
    This weeks share should include the following:

                                                                  Roma Tomatos                                                   
                                                                  Lettuce
                                                                  Homemade Applesauce (Unsweetened)
                                                                  3 Varieties of apples
                                                                  Cucumber
                                                                  Mystery vegetable
                                                                  Unpasteurized Apple cider
                                                                         
Posted 9/27/2010 11:32am by Gregg Keckler.

Dear Folks,
      This week you will be getting York Imperial apples - the classic baking and pie apple.  York apples are the apples of choice for all the pie fill companies. The factory farms in our neck of the woods have row upon row of York apples destined for apple pies.  So you will get a chance to try your hand at baking these old heirloom apples.
   We are doing mystery items this week because we have a little of this and a little of that - so be surprised!
  
    Attention DOT, Gang Plank Marina, and all Tuesday deliveries:  There will NOT be a market or any deliveries next Tuesday, Oct 5.  We will add on the last Tuesday in October, October 26 instead.

     Oliver has some chickens ready to go.  They are free range, veggie fed chickens.  You can order them as extras.  They are $5.99/lb and they weigh about 2- 2 1/2 lbs.  He still has about 30 more to butcher, but they are just not quite up to weight.

     This week's shares will include:  Concord grapes, Kale, York apples, Sweet onions, Asian Pears, Winter Squash, String beans and Mystery vegetable/herb.
   Gregg and Louise Keckler - Orchard Country Produce 


Extras:

Eggs $4.00/dozen
Butter $3.50 for a 1/2 lb block

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
smoked Cheddar $9.49/lb
Smoked jalapeno  $9.49/lb
Cheddar  $8.48/lb
Farmers $8.49/lb
Italian  $8.49/lb
Posted 9/20/2010 10:33am by Gregg Keckler.
Dear Folks,
 This week we are making cider for everyone.  We take our apples to a cider mill down the road.  The apples are pressed and the cider is bottled at the mill.  Our cider is natural, unpastuerized, with no sugar added and without preservatives.  What this means:  The cider will be sweet for about 2 weeks, but then it will become hard.  Hard cider has a zip to it like soda.  It is still good to drink although eventually it will go too far.  You will know by the taste.  If you want your cider to be pastuerized and stay sweet, you can boil it.  If the cider turns and you don't like the zip just boil it and it will become sweet again.  We try a mixture of apples in our cider so the taste is different every week.
     We are offering elderberries at $3.00/qt.  Elderberries are high in antioxidants and will build your immune system.  A little elderberry juice in a cup of tea will work wonderfully as an expectorant.  We are also offering raspberries at $5.00/pt
    This week's shares will include:  butternut squash, carrots, brocolli, potatoes, pears, Jonathan apples, and cider.  See you all 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

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
Smoked jalapeno  $9.49/lb
Cheddar  $8.48/lb
Farmers $8.49/lb
Baby Swiss $8.49/lb
Italian  $8.49/lb
Posted 9/6/2010 9:54am by Gregg Keckler.

Dear CSA,
     This is the first week of our Fall session.  As I have been saying all season, everything is coming in early.  So this week you will get Honey Crisp apples.  If you have never tried them-taste and see if these are ot the sweetest, crispest apples.  We are also starting winter squash this week as well.  For the first few weeks there will be a mixture of summer and fall produce.  We hope you will enjoy the cool fall weather and the vegetables.
    Please remember to return all cartons, jars, etc.
     Within the next few weeks we will be preparing horseradish.  If you would like some prepared horseradish, please email us.  No charge for it.  We just want to prepare enough for those that would use it.  Let me tell you a bit about preparing horseradish.  First we dug the roots.   Then they are scrubbed with a brush until they are white.  Then they are chopped into 1-2 in pieces.(These roots are hard so we have to use a hatchet to chop them.)  Then we use the Kitchen Aid processor with a fine shredder and shred them at least twice.  This is the worst part because the smell is so strong.  Oliver and Ryan have been seen wearing swimming googles, clothes pins on their noses, and mouth coverings.  The kitchen smells so strong of ammonia it can be unbearable.  Once it is shredded we put the horseradush in small containers and cover with distilled white vinegar.  Now you have prepared horseradish.  I wish we could give you the roots and let you prepare it yourself, but horseradish loses its strength within hours of being dug if it is not processed.  So it must be processed immediately.  If you would like some horseradish, let us know.  By the way once processed, it will keep for 3-4 weeks in the frig.
    This week's shares will include:  Asian Pears, Honey Crisp Apples, plums, summer squash, acorn squash, tomatoes, string beans, and broccoli.
    See you all this week!  Gregg and Louise Keckler - Orchard Country Produce

Posted 8/18/2010 4:34pm by Gregg Keckler.

A few more comments about egglplant and also, a review from one of Oliver's chickens. 

We usually just slice the eggplant ~ 1/8 thick slices and grill it,
brushing with olive oil and seasoning with oregano, dill, and/or Italian
seasoning.  Goes well by itself or can be dipped in spaghetti or other
tomato sauce.

As for what to do with Eggplant, we were having a similar dilemma for a while and ended up coming up with a super-easy solution.  We slice it up into quarter-inch slices, sauteed them just long enough to start getting them tender 3-5 minutes, and then tossed them on a pizza crust covered in pesto, slices of our tomatoes and bufalo mozzarella and baked it all.  Deelish

Just wanted to say thanks for the awesome array of goodies last week. Everything is great! They didn't have a cooler for me when I arrived (too new I guess), but your son took charge and made me one on the fly. He also sold me a chicken and some eggs. Haven't tried the eggs yet, but the chicken was really good. I brined it first, then butterflied it (snipped out the backbone), and grilled it. Yum, so flavorful! I'm really enjoying this. Can't wait for next week's share.


Posted 8/16/2010 10:00am by Gregg Keckler.
Dear CSA,
    This has been a busy week.  We are picking all the sugar baby watermelons this week - so some of you may get one of these.  Blackberries are dropping off fast, raspberries are on the rise - some of you will probably be enjoying them.  We are also picking alot of apples and plums.  We are nearly at the end of peaches.  Remember everything this year is at least two weeks early.
     Gregg is planting the last batch of green beans for the fall.  He is also starting lettuce ans spinach for fall.  Unfortunately the humidity and dry weather has taken its toll on alot of things.  We had to spray brocolli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts extensively so far this month.  A word about berries - we try to sort them.  We don't try to give you moldy berries.  Sometimes it happens.  Take these precautions-  As soon as you can, get the berries in refrigeration.  Take them out of their container and spread them on a paper towel on a flat surface in the frig.  Eat ASAP.
     For many years we have wanted to do it and we finally did!  We bought a second farm!  It was a private deal.  The new farm has 16 acres.  4 acres are fenced with a well.  We are planning to put our beef cattle there.  There are 10 acres of hay which we will probably plant some fruit trees on some of it.  There is a very nice older farmhouse that we will hopefully rent out.
     Other news - Oliver has 10 chickens left for this month.  He will have more in September.  You can order chicken at $5.99/lb by emailing us.  Each chicken weighs approx 3 lbs. 
     Last year we planted some native berries shrub called elderberry.  They have produced fairly well.  There are not enough for all CSA members so we are selling them for $3.00/quart.  Elderberries make great jams, sauces, and wines.
     This week's shares include:  cooking apples(summer Rambo, Smokehouse), plums, peppers, nectarines, tomatoes, mystery items.
There are alot of fruit items in this week.  The cooking apples make great sauce - smokehouse is an old variety used for either sauces or pies.  Both of these are tart apples.  You can just eat them as is, but they are tart and they will get soft quickly.  The mystery items are a true mystery.  Who knows?  See everyone 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