Wednesday, December 23, 2015: Record Breaking Warm Temperatures Likely Today! Thunderstorms Possible Late. Tomorrow we are closing for the season!!

We will be open today as usual.  Tomorrow (Christmas Eve) will be the last day we plan on being open until sometime next spring.  Tomorrow afternoon we plan on clearing out the stand and putting the produce we have left into storage.

As I mentioned earlier, it looks like this December has been the warmest in at least 100 years.  This is despite the fact that it doesn’t appear that the El Nino affect hasn’t kicked in yet.  However, it does appear that we will start to notice its effect in a week or so.  While it is unlikely that either January and February will be record setting for warmth, it appears that both months will be warmer than normal and probably drier than normal.  Of course, if a super-Typhoon does develop in the Pacific and moves northward toward Alaska, this will likely cause a colder scenario.  However, me thinks that the abnormally warm water in the equatorial Pacific (called El Nino) steers the super typhoons so they move more longitudinally than latitudley and they have less tendency to travel towards the far north Pacific.

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What we will be having today:

APPLES including Fuji, Jonagold, Northern Spy, Idared, Granny Smith, Roman Beauty, Blushing Golden, Splendor, Calville Blanc, Red Gold, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Crispin/Mutsu, Hawaii, and Kandil Sinap.

Want to know what apples keep the longest? Here is a list of our best keeping apples we still have available, starting with the best keeper (and descriptions of each):

Fuji Fuji has firm, fine-grained sweet flesh. However, the outstanding characteristic of Fuji is that it keeps so well. Unlike most apples, you can put Fuji in a fruit bowl on your table and leave it there for up to two or three weeks and it still is nice and crisp. Another interesting thing about the tree itself is that the leaves stay nice and green well into November. I remember one sunny and mild November day when I was out picking Fuji and it seemed like it was the middle of summer with the sun glistening off the shiny green leaves! On the same day the Mac trees were practically bare and the few remaining leaves on the Jonathan trees were mostly yellowish-green. Fuji was developed in Japan and originally named Tohoko #7. Its parents are Red Delicious and Ralls Janet—both American apples

Idared A great keeping, good sized apple with a strong apple flavor. Idared is a Jonathan and Wagner cross that is great for sauce and pies. We especially favor this apple in late winter and early spring since it usually is still in great shape.

Splendor A New Zealand apple that is a cross between Red Dougherty and Golden Delicious. It is very sweet with good flavor. It is a dark pink apple with crisp, breaking, white flesh. The skin is thin and it can be fairly easily bruised, so is no longer available in food markets, but it does store quite well. You may well find Splendor included in fancy gift packs.

Blushing GoldenDiscovered by R Griffith of Cobden, Illinois and introduced in 1968 by Stark Brothers Nursery. It is believed to be a Jonathan and Golden Delicious cross, Blushing Golden has firm flesh and tastes similar to a Golden Delicious. It is, however, tarter than Golden Delicious AND keeps a lot, lot better. In fact, if you bite into a Blushing Golden in January, you’d swear it was just picked!

Granny SmithGranny Smith comes to us from “Down Under.” According to tradition, this apple originated in a pile of discarded apples Mrs. Smith threw into a pile. Since the original Granny Smith takes so long to ripen, we grow an early strain of the original Granny Smith called Granspur. The primary feature of Granny Smith is that it keeps unbelievably well. Of course, one simple reason for this is that it is usually picked in November, at least in Michigan. Many recipes in magazines, on TV shows and contemporary cookbooks often call for Granny Smith apples because, I believe, they find it really difficult to find Spy apples which are actually better for baking.

I first heard about the Granny Smith apple from my sister when she was living with her husband in England in the mid 60s. It was her recommendation that led us to plant our first Granny Smith apple. She told me that was the crispest and best tasting apple she could buy there. Apparently they received most of their Granny Smith apples from Australia and no doubt that during England’s spring and summer they are the freshest apples available (remember England’s and Australia’s seasons are reversed).

Here is a link to our info sheet that includes descriptions of all our fall and winter apples!

REMEMBER you can mix and match any apples for only $4 a 2-qt box or $10 a 1/2 bushel!

WE ALSO HAVE WINTER SQUASH: Buttercup (sweet and rich and can be substituted for pumpkin puree for your pumpkin pies!), Heart of Gold (a sweet dumpling hybrid), and Celebration (an acorn hybrid that is much sweeter than your normal green acorn). KEEP IN MIND that winter squash only get sweeter the longer they sit around. Their starches continue to turn to sugar and is one of the reasons why some squash can be stored well into the winter months. They are only 50 cents each/ 5 for $2 right now or if you are looking for larger quantities they are $7 a half bushel.

Here is a great info sheet from Michigan State University on storing and preserving winter squash!

Popcorn: By Christmas our popcorn on the ear should be ready to pop! See this link HERE for an interesting article on Michigan popcorn.

Here is another article from MSU with lots of interesting facts about popcorn!

SAND-GROWN POTATOES: Red Norland potatoes (red skin with white flesh): We have them in quarts, quarter pecks, 1/2 pecks, and 1/2 bushels. The 1/2 bushels are only $10 each or $18 a bushel. Kennecbec (white skin, white flesh) are $6 a peck backet. Yukon Gold (yellow skin, gold flesh) are $6 a 1/2 peck. (See bottom of this post for potato salad recipe!)

Here is a great info sheet from Michigan State University on storing and preserving potatoes!

Stiff-neck garlic

Here is a great info sheet from Michigan State University on storing GARLIC!

Dried Gourds for crafting and birdhouses:

Check out Bernadette’s website where she shares many tips and techniques on gourd crafting, including how-to videos!

Handcrafted Christmas Gifts:

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Find unique home decor, watercolor paintings, and knitted items by Rebekah online at ArtandNeedlework.com/shop or on Etsy: artandneedlework.etsy.com

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Gourd art and ornaments by Bernadette can be found in downtown Fremont at the Arts Place as well as on Etsy: bfgourdcreations.etsy.com.

Both Rebekah and Bernadette do custom orders! Contact them through their Etsy shop or email them.

Rebekah: artandneedlework@gmail.com
Bernadette: bernadettesgourdcreations@gmail.com

Check out the ArtsPlace in downtown Fremont today! Hours today are 9AM to 5:30PM. Directions HERE.

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