Hope on the Horizon

Hope on the Horizon

There are so many COVID-19 challenges in everyone’s lives. I like to focus on the hope in our future. That is one of the reasons I love planting season. There so much hope in what is to come in what we put in the ground. So much hope in the warmer weather and the longer days of summer.

One of my favorite Bible verses has a message of Hope.

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you Hope and a Future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

I know for many this verse holds much confusion in the current situations, and the future is difficult to grasp now. I encourage you to focus on what this season brings – Hope. Sending you all Peace and Hope.

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The potatoes were planted last Thursday. Thus far, we have Yukon Gold, Kennebec and Dark Red Norlands planted. I love seeing the names of the families who grew the seed potatoes that we are planting. For those of you noticing where they were grown…Sabin, MN is in Clay County.

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We installed the cucumber fence so that the cucumbers will grow on top of the fence and hang down through the fence for easier harvesting and vegetables that should be cleaner.

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The different varieties of onion sets planted were Ailssa Craig, Walla Walla, Patterson and Redwing onions.

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All that could safely be planted during this time of year was planted. We take into consideration that the threat of frost is still upon us. The boys were happy to till the fields before planting to provide for a nice seed bed.

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Again, the seed differences are fascinating. It is simply amazing what they grow in to. Such a variety were planted this past weekend. With the gentle rain and weather warming up, there is hope on the horizon with all of the challenges we face.

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A few home improvements have kept the learning going including siding the shop.

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There is a lot of uncertainty as to whether there will be fairs this summer. But, we decided as a family that we would still get 4-H pigs. Because there is more to a 4-H project than just an investment. It is the day to day learning of working on the project and caring for the animal. As I look at the boys with the pigs and all the uncertainty and challenges that are facing our pig farmers, to me it is also a representation of hope in our future. We also decided to make some changes to their pig pen this year. The last two years have been SO wet and such a mud hole for the pigs. We feel it will be much healthier to have them on a cement floor. The boys look forward to walking them in the yard after they have gotten used to their surroundings.

 

 

Warmer weather on the Horizon

Warmer weather on the Horizon

We are ready for some sunshine and no snow and are hopeful that the weather forecast of warmer days to come are upon us. Here is a glimpse of our activity last week.

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Keith and I planted some of our seeds last week such as cauliflower, tomatoes, watermelon and more.

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It is fun to see all of the different sizes and shapes of the seeds and then to see what they grow into. A miracle combined with science and Mother Nature – always fun to witness.

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We were grateful for a beautiful day. The boys all had a hard time believing me that we were in a winter storm warning for the following day.

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Sure enough, the snow came, and the boys made the most of it. Grateful that one week later the snow is gone.

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Keith with one of the Isa Brown hens that is quickly growing and maturing at little over 7 weeks old.

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After a hard days work, it was fun to see the boys sit down and just enjoy these young chickens. This is one of the male rooster Isa Browns at just over 7 weeks of age.

 

 

 

 

 

Springing into April

Springing into April

We are so glad to spring into April. Longer days and more sunshine are always a good thing. It is such an interesting, unprecedented time we are living in. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. We are so grateful for everyone on the front line and for everyone that is helping to keep us fed, clothed and safe. My God be with all of you.

Below is an update on what we have been busy with.

“Protect me, for I am devoted to you. Save me, for I serve you and trust you. You are my God.” Psalm 86:2

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Seed selection always is a great way to cheer us up. It has been fun looking through these catalogs and university trial research to decide on best options for this year’s season.

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It so fun to see the variety of seeds arriving. We are anxiously waiting for the soil to warm up.

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The rhubarb is emerging. Yum!

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Yesterday, this was covered in snow. We are so thankful that it was only about an inch of snow and some other forms of precipitation.

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The Isa Brown chicks are growing fast. Look how many feathers they have at about 5 1/2 weeks of age. The red feathered is the hen, female, and the white feathered is the rooster, male, in this breed of chicken.

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Here is a view of the hens wing feathers.  What a beautiful pattern of colors.

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We have been using this time as a way to get some of our projects done such as installing new windows, soffit and facia. We are hoping to complete some more projects this upcoming week.

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It is such a joy to see tulips and daffodils emerging. I just hope that the weather doesn’t turn cold again anytime soon, and that Mother Nature is truly trying to bring us Spring and warmer weather. Here’s wishing you and your family some Spring joy this week.

 

Spring around the Corner

Spring around the Corner

It’s hard to believe that spring is around the corner. Mother Nature was trying to warm up this weekend, and it melted a lot of the snow. But it is still March, and last night, we had a beautiful snowfall with large snowflakes. Frankly, some of the largest flakes I have ever seen. Thankfully, it has all melted away by the day’s end. Here’s a brief glimpse into some of the excitement at our place.

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Seed selection has begun. It is always a brighter day when seed catalogs arrive with such beautiful photos of what’s to come.

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The kittens you helped to tame have grown into fluffy cats and appear to be doing a good job as the leaders on mice control.

 

Garden Clean-Up

Garden Clean-Up

It has been a crazy weather ride. We are grateful that we haven’t had the amount of moisture that others have had. Our thoughts and prayers are with those that have be been affected by the weather. We ask that you to include the farmers and ranchers in your prayers.

Here is a glimpse of what we have been up to the last week and a half.

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Harvesting the last few sugar snap peas and cucumbers before taking down the fence.

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We were finishing the final harvest in one of our fields and cleaning out the plants trying to beat the weather. Sam was mowing down the plants to mulch them to then be tilled back into the ground to feed the soil.

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Pulling up the tomato mulch and putting away the drip irrigation hoses was messy.

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We did have a bit more clean-up to do yesterday, but the pelleting snow didn’t stop them.

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A bit more tilling to do as well. Thankful the snow did not stick around.

Garden Science

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As part of the clean-up we collect seeds from the Marigolds to be used next year. Marigolds help to bring in beneficial insects to eat the bad insects.

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The flowers will die and dry up.

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We will harvest the dried flower heads. When you open them up – each of these long black strips with the white end are a Marigold seed that can be stored through the winter and planted next year.

Garden Joys Available

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We have some corn shocks available to decorate your front porch.

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To keep it simple for you and easy to decorate during the Fall season and in this cold weather, we have $25 groupings ready for your front door step, and we can deliver.

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This is another example of a $25 arrangement….Let us know if you need any pumpkins, gourds or squash. Happy to bring to football, church etc. Please note the different arrangements.

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butternut squash

Butternut Squash for sale.

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Sunflower heads to feed the birds are also available for sale.

Feeling Blessed

Feeling Blessed

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Thank you for being along for this growing season journey.

It is hard to believe we are at the end of our season. As you can imagine, we will not miss harvesting in the rain and the cold freezing hands that come with it. We will miss the valued conversations with all of you, and the shared ideas of how to eat and use the produce. It is indeed fun to hear how all of you use it, and what produce excites you and generates fun memories of your family.

Tonight’s conversation at confirmation around creation and our responsibilities to appreciating and taking care of what God created stimulated some good season ending thoughts.

One of the versus discussed was from Genesis 3:19, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” We see a lot of this when we work with plants and animals as these grow and produce and die and return to the soil providing nutrients to grow something anew. Now is really the time of year we see many things come full circle.

We spent this past week, cleaning up the garden and preparing for the soil for the next growing season. Recognizing that plant material will break down into soil and/or we use it as feed for the chickens which then produce manure used for fertilizing some of the crops. Areas which will grow pumpkins and corn, we incorporated manure into the soil and will plant cover crops as soon as the rain stops and allows us to do this. All of which feeds the soil to grow bountiful crops to share with all of you.

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Five of the six fields are cleaned off and ready for cover crop. We will clean out the last field this week.

Another reflective point at confirmation tonight was a reminder of our responsibility to care for all of God’s creation. From the work I do and the privilege I have with working with farmers all over the state, I do believe there is no other group of people that have such a unique bond and love for the land and all of God’s creation. They are in tune with what makes the land be the best it can be and their animals thrive. Many wonder what farmers are doing to protect our environment. Here are two recent pieces of information that you may appreciate seeing. One is from Farmers for a Sustainable Future and the other is 30 Harvests from the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.

In closing, one of the parting thoughts from confirmation was never underestimating the power of what God has in store and that one can make a positive change. We feel blessed to have been part of your lives this growing season. Please know that you made our lives brighter because you were part of it. Thank you!

Garden Science

Giant Vegetables – Take a look at these giant vegetables. The kohlrabi were as big as the boys’ heads weighing in at 3 pounds, 3.25 pounds, 3.5 pounds and 3.75 pounds.

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The beets weighted in at 1 pounds, 1.5 pounds, 1.75 and 3 pounds.

 

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The giant zucchini weighted in at 12. 5 pounds and was 24.5 inches long.

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Remember that some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So, remember to wash your vegetables before eating. It’s week 16.

Lettuce/Spinach – You have some Red Oak Lettuce and Spinach in your box. This next crop has been a real challenge to get going, but it looks like this cold weather and rain has encouraged it. Looks promising for next week.

Arugula – Arugula is a peppery, distinctive-tasting green that originated in the Mediterranean region. If you like this crop, let us know and we will put more in your box next week.

Carrots – This weather helped this root vegetable mature. Learn more about baby carrots from America’s Heartland.

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The entire plant is edible.

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi – just a few left.

Dragon Tongue Beans and Purple Beans – This heritage variety of beans can be used like green beans. Enjoy the different color.

Sugar Snap Peas – The final crop …enjoy. Check out pea harvest in Minnesota near Blooming Prairie. Did you know Minnesota generally will rank as number one in the nation for peas produced for processing (canning or freezing).

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – the third crop is being harvested

Onion – Walla Walla and yellow onions in your boxes this week. Learn more about onions and how they are grown and distributed to our grocery store from America’s Heartland.

Tomatoes – This crop is exploding…enjoy a few extra to freeze for salsa or soups later this year. Check out how tomatoes get from the farm to the grocery store at America’s Heartland.

Potatoes – Norlands are in your box. Great for cooking. Learn more about this variety here. 

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Check out it’s nutritional benefits.

Carnival/Kuri and Butternut Squash – Love the versatility of these winter squash and the potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, they offer. Interesting health information from Harvard on this vegetable.

Purple Cauliflower – a taste for you this week.

Purple Cabbage – A few small ones are left if this fits your lifestyle better.

Flowers of the Week – Hydrangeas and Sedums

Pumpkins and gourds – enjoy the variety – this crop suffered from the growing season and the area where they were growing was compacted down from all of the tornado clean-up last year. We are looking forward to a better crop next year.

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Recipe of the Week

Salsa

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Steve made hot salsa and mild salsa this week. We hope you enjoy the taste. We also hope you to have been trying different salsa recipes. Please share your favorite recipes so we can share them with the shareholders. Check out Taste of Homes top 10 salsa recipes.

 

Stark Reminders

Stark Reminders

Harner Family 9-19

This is the last official week of the CSA. Next week will be bonus boxes as we work to clean-up the harvest. Thank you to everyone for your support. We enjoy working with and for all of you.

Last night as we were harvesting gourds and pumpkins, the skies grew dark and the humidity in the air sat still. The weather service had been warning us for days to be alert and aware of the weather on Tuesday late afternoon and evening. So, when I picked up the boys and laid out our goals and schedule before nightfall and told them of the urgency of time because of the weather forecast, they thought I was crazy because the skies were clear.

So, as we all sauntered out to harvest at our own paces, I looked up after about 20 minutes outside, and the skies were black. So, we quickly shifted gears and continued working, through quite a bit of it. The storms were split around us, and the lightning shows were all around with the green to the south and the tall thunderheads to our north. To say it was eerie is an understatement. We were all glad when the wind picked up vs the heavy stillness and the green clouds to the south. We prayed the two systems would not build off each other. Our true concern of a repeat of last year was real. In the end, the storms split us, and we had some rainfall, barely enough to make the ground wet.

As we closed out our day, I said that I enjoyed being out watching the weather, and the rush of working hard together. The boys enjoyed the tasks at hand, but said that the eeriness was way to familiar and were so thankful that Mother Nature did not show us any more than she did. It was just another stark reminder of how little is in our control.

A special request from us this fall: As farmers  across our great state are starting harvest season, please do us a favor – Mother Nature has been challenging this year. I am asking you to consider how you may lift the spirits of the farmers you may know – say thank you, slow down for them on the road, think of a kind gesture you can do for them (maybe it’s bringing them coffee or a sandwich or simply waving). After all, they are just trying their best to raise food for all of us. Thank you!

Garden Science

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These beautiful butterflies are loving the Zinnias.

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Remember that some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So, remember to wash your vegetables before eating. It’s week 16.

Lettuce/Spinach – You have some Red Oak Lettuce and Spinach in your box. This next crop has been a real challenge to get going, but it looks like this cold weather and rain has encouraged it. Looks promising for next week.

ArugulaArugula is a peppery, distinctive-tasting green that originated in the Mediterranean region. If you like this crop, let us know and we will put more in your box next week.

Carrots – This weather helped this root vegetable mature. Learn more about baby carrots from America’s Heartland.

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. They serve this beet soup at church, and I love it.

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi – just a few left.

Dragon Tongue Beans and Purple Beans– This heritage variety of beans can be used like green beans. Enjoy the different color.

20190821_180928.jpgSugar Snap PeasThe final crop is just coming in…so you have a taste.

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – the third crop is being harvested

Onion – Walla Walla onions in your boxes this week. Learn more about onions from America’s Heartland.

Tomatoes – This crop is exploding…enjoy a few extra to freeze for salsa or soups later this year. Here are a few recipe ideas from America’s Heartland.

Potatoes – Yukon Golds or Kennebecs are in your box. Great for baking. I find that the potatoes right out of the garden often cook and bake faster than others. Yeah – faster meal preparation!

Green Bell Peppers – Great for freezing for meals later this year.

Banana Pepper – I cut these up and freeze extra peppers for later in the year.

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The largest zucchini has been harvested.

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Flower after flower will grow into a zucchini.

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A variety of egg plants this year.

Eggplants – The egg plant crop has been flourishing this year.

Butternut Winter Squash – This is our family favorite of squashes. It is hourglass in shape. Here are a few recipes for Butternut Squash from Martha Stewart.

carnival-squash

Carnival Squash

Carnival Squash – Carnival squash has variegated patterns of orange and green colors and is a hybrid of the sweet dumpling squash and the acorn squash. When cooked its texture is soft and melting with a fragrant aroma and its flavor; slightly nutty, buttery, and sweet with nuances of maple syrup, similar to that of butternut squash. This squash has contains potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, as well as, some calcium, magnesium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

Broccoli A taste for you this week.

Purple Cauliflower – A taste for you this week.

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Red Kuri Squash

Red Kuri Winter Squash I fix it just like I do Butternut Squash. Cut it in half, place cut side down in cake pan, place about an inch of water in the pan, cover with aluminum foil, place in preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for one hour. Take out of oven, peel the skin off, scoop out the seeds and enjoy. I mix with a ½ cup of butter and ¾ cup of brown sugar. Freeze extra in cupcake tins to use later on. Learn more here.

20190916_1810381480787013334266606.jpgPurple CabbageWe hope you enjoy this garden delight. Here are some ways to use this vegetable.

Pumpkins and gourds enjoy the variety – this crop suffered from the growing season and the area where they were growing was compacted down from all of the tornado clean-up last year. We are looking forward to a better crop next year.

Flowers of the Week – ornamental corn and corn stalks

Recipe of the Week

Tomato and Onion Quiche

Serves 6

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Preparation Time: 10-20 minutes

Cook/Bake Time: 1 hour

 

1/2 of a 15-ounce package (1 crust) rolled, refrigerated pie crust

12 ounces assorted tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup chopped onion

4 large eggs

3/4 cup half-and-half

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup shredded Swiss, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and/or Havarti cheese (4 ounces)

Paprika

Preheat oven to 425°Fahrenheit.

-Let pie crust stand at room temperature according to package directions. Unroll pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate. Crimp edge as desired. Line un-pricked pastry with a double thickness of foil. Bake in a 425° oven for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes more or until pastry is set and dry. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375°.

-Place tomato slices on paper towels to absorb excess moisture. In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion. Cook until onion is tender, stirring occasionally.

-In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, flour, basil, salt, dry mustard and black pepper.

-To assemble quiche: Sprinkle cheese onto bottom of the hot, baked pastry shell. Spoon onion mixture over cheese. Arrange a single layer of tomato slices over cheese, overlapping slightly. Slowly pour egg mixture over tomatoes. Sprinkle some paprika over the mixture.

-Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes or until egg mixture is set in center. If necessary, cover edge of pie with foil for the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking to prevent over-browning. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Source: Minnesota Chicken and Egg

Priceless Moments

Priceless Moments

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Harvesting Tomatoes

As we were harvesting and beginning to pack boxes this week, you could tell there was a sense of contentment with all of us. It was a beautiful evening with enough of a breeze that the bugs were not bad. Conversations were flowing about our days, about strange insects we were seeing in the garden, what produce was ready and what produce was seeing the end of its production.

We then divided into teams. A team to harvest sweet corn, and another team to pack produce into boxes. To be honest, I love the one on one time with each of the boys. I know which produce the boys like to pack, and honestly it is fun to watch them build a skill and see them do a nice job with it. Watching them pack produce is a lot like watching someone bag your groceries at the grocery store – it is a true skill set.

As we wrapped up, and we moved onto the next part of our evenings. I remember walking away thinking how much I valued and cherished these moments of time spent together. I realized last night when we were reflecting on our favorite parts of our days and thanking God for our three favorite things that I was not the only one. Both boys, specifically said harvesting sweet corn and packing boxes were among there favorite things.

The moral of the story: don’t ever under value what appears to be work or mundane tasks with your loved ones. These truly might be some of the most valued parts of your day and most cherished memories together because of the true sense of calm over these comfortable tasks completed together. These are the moments when valued conversations happens and bonds are strengthen.

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Remember that some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So, remember to wash your vegetables before eating.

Lettuce/Spinach – You have some Red Oak Lettuce and Spinach in your box. This next crop has been a real challenge to get going, but it looks like this cold weather and rain has encouraged it. Looks promising for next week.

ArugulaArugula is a peppery, distinctive-tasting green that originated in the Mediterranean region. If you like this crop, let us know and we will put more in your box next week.

Carrots – This weather helped this root vegetable mature. Learn more about baby carrots from America’s Heartland.

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Sorry to say, but the radish crop has come to an end.

Radishes – These Cherry Belle Radishes are loving this colder weather.

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. They serve this beet soup at church, and I love it.

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi. Peel it and slice like an apple. Here are more ideas.

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The flower of the dragon tongue bean which eventually produces the bean.

Dragon Tongue Beans – This heritage variety of beans can be used like green beans. Enjoy the different color.

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For those of you that love cucumbers, our third and final crop of cucumbers are ready.

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – we will have cucumbers for a while. We hope you enjoy this healthy snack. Check out these refrigerator pickle recipes from Taste of Home.

Onion – Walla Walla onions in your boxes this week. Learn more about onions from America’s Heartland.

Tomatoes – A taste of a few cherry tomatoes and Fourth of July tomatoes this week. Here are a few recipe ideas from America’s Heartland.

9-12-14 potatoes

Red Norland

Potatoes – The Red Norlands are great for cooking. Some of you may have some younger potatoes in your boxes (smaller). I find that the potatoes right out of the garden often cook and bake faster than others. Yeah – faster meal preparation!

Green Bell Peppers – The peppers are just taking off.

Banana Pepper – I cut these up and freeze extra peppers for later in the year.

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Flower after flower will grow into a zucchini.

Butternut Winter Squash – This is our family favorite of squashes. It is hourglass in shape. Here are a few recipes for Butternut Squash from Martha Stewart.

carnival-squash

Carnival Squash

Carnival Squash – Carnival squash has variegated patterns of orange and green colors and is a hybrid of the sweet dumpling squash and the acorn squash. When cooked its texture is soft and melting with a fragrant aroma and its flavor; slightly nutty, buttery, and sweet with nuances of maple syrup, similar to that of butternut squash. This squash has contains potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, as well as, some calcium, magnesium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

Broccoli a taste for you this week.

Purple Cauliflower – a taste for you this week.

Purple CabbageWe hope you enjoy this garden delight. Here are some ways to use this vegetable.

cropped-gourds.jpgGourds – We have just started harvesting. Enjoy the beautiful colors.

 

Recipe of the Week

Pumpkin Bread is a favorite. I use butternut squash that I have cooked and frozen as my “pumpkin” in this recipe. It works great!

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Place batter in muffin liners that have been sprayed with cooking spray. This batter makes good muffins or good bread. Bake muffins for about 12 – 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pumpkin Bread

1 2/3 cup flour

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup cold water

2 eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin (I use 1 cup cooked squash)

Combine flour, sugar, butter, soda, spices and salt in bowl. Add 1/3 cup cold water, eggs, and pumpkin (squash) mix well. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool on wire rack.

Source: Pat Kuznik – West Polk County: Blue Ribbon Favorites Minnesota 4-H Foundation

9-2-14 pumpkin bread 5

Pumpkin Bread is a favorite. I use butternut squash that I have cooked and frozen as my “pumpkin” in this recipe. It works great!

Unforeseen Outcomes

Unforeseen Outcomes

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Picking beans can be tedious. These two found adventure…seeing who could pick the longest one. Sam said he won finding a bean that was nearly one foot long.

This year’s weather continues to surprise us and keep us guessing. Not only are we below on average growing degree days which is a measure of heat accumulation used to predict plant and animal development rates such as the date that a flower will bloom, an insect will emerge from dormancy, or a crop will reach maturity   See historical data on growing conditions here and precipitation here.

These things combined have been factors in crop outcomes. We thought it was important to communicate a few of our crop disappointments.

-The garlic crop was looking and smelling amazing and after a few heavy rains in mid-July, the crop rotted in the field – literally looked great Monday and by Friday the crop was unhealthy looking and dying…nothing we could do. While some of our other crops in that area seemed to have adequate drainage, the garlic did not like that soil type and the amount of water it retained. We’re not planting garlic there again.

-Another irony in that area of the field. Right after the county fair, we planted several different crops – our last round of planting. Much to my surprise – this week so literally 7 weeks after planting I am seeing a strong stand of carrots emerging. This should have happened a month ago. It is odd.

-Pumpkins and gourds:  While we will have pumpkins and gourds to harvest, it will not be as plentiful as last year. While we will have plenty to share with all of you, it will not be what we had hoped for. Most specifically are giant pumpkins have not had enough GDU. Then in another area where we had a lot of soil compaction from tractors and gators driving over an area for tornado clean-up last September – it to under-performed. So, we are not sure if it was all around bad seed or the soil compaction or a combination of both that affected pumpkin growth.

We appreciate you bearing with us as I am sure you to are disappointed about some of these crops. We assure you that there are plenty of surprises yet to come in the last few weeks of the CSA. So, keep you eyes peeled and thank you for bearing with us in one of the craziest growing seasons on record according to many of the farmers I know.

Garden Science

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Funny things happen in nature – these cucumbers grew together and the tomato grew a nose. We like to give these unique finds for one of our shareholders to use in her classroom.

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Remember that some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So, remember to wash your vegetables before eating.

Lettuce/Spinach – You have some Red Oak Lettuce and Spinach in your box. This next crop has been a real challenge to get going, but it looks like this cold weather and rain has encouraged it. Looks promising for next week.

ArugulaArugula is a peppery, distinctive-tasting green that originated in the Mediterranean region. If you like this crop, let us know and we will put more in your box next week.

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Esperanza Carrots

Carrots growing.Carrots – This weather helped this root vegetable mature. Learn more about baby carrots from America’s Heartland.

Radishes – These Cherry Belle Radishes are loving this colder weather.

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. Check out the recipes for beets at Taste of Home.

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Dragon Tongue Beans

Dragon Tongue Beans – This heritage variety of beans can be used like green beans. Enjoy the different color.

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi. Peel it and slice like an apple. Here are more ideas.

 

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Cucumbers growing – look just below the base of the flower. 

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – we will have cucumbers for a while. We hope you enjoy this healthy snack. Check out these refrigerator pickle recipes from Taste of Home.

 

Onion – Walla Walla onions in your boxes this week. Learn more about onions from America’s Heartland.

Tomatoes – A taste of a few cherry tomatoes and Fourth of July tomatoes this week. Here are a few recipe ideas from America’s Heartland.

Potatoes – Yukon Golds are a versatile potato. – check out these ideas. Some of you may have some younger potatoes in your boxes (smaller). I find that the potatoes right out of the garden often cook and bake faster than others. Yeah – faster meal preparation!

Green Bell Peppers – The peppers are just taking off.

Banana Pepper – I cut these up and freeze extra peppers for later in the year.

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Butternut Squash

Butternut Winter SquashIt has a sweet, nutty taste. It has tan-yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp with a compartment of seeds in the bottom. When ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange, and becomes sweeter and richer. It is a good source of fibervitamin Cmagnesium, and potassium; and it is a source of vitamin A. Although technically a fruit, butternut squash is used as a vegetable that can be roasted, sautéed, toasted, puréed for soups such as squash soup, or mashed to be used in casseroles, breads, muffins, and pies.

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Flower after flower will grow into a zucchini.

Summer Squash – Make these into noodles, sauté and more. Try making this or zucchini into noodles.

8-13-13 red cabbage Sam

Purple cabbage this week. Enjoy!

Purple CabbageWe hope you enjoy this garden delight. Here are some ways to use this vegetable.

Flowers of the Week – Zinnias, Hydrangeas and Sedum

Recipe of the Week

Butternut Squash

  • Cut it in half, place cut side down in cake pan.
  • Place about an inch of water in the pan.
  • Cover with aluminum foil.
  • Place in preheated 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for one hour. If it is a larger squash, I will leave it in the oven if there is enough water still in the pan for an additional 30 minute.
  • Take out of oven.
  • Peel the skin off.
  • Scoop out the seeds and enjoy.
    9-12-12 butternut squash

    I have doubled the recipe in this picture: Add: 1 stick of butter 3/4 cup brown sugar Using a mixer, blend together until smooth. Serve.

    Using hand mixer – blend in a ½ cup of butter and ¾ cup of brown sugar.

  • Freeze extra in cupcake tins to use at another time.

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    Blend until smooth. Freeze extra in cupcake tins. Once frozen pop out of tin and place in Ziploc bag perfect for a single portion later on. Store in freezer.

 

4-H Vegetable Garden Project

4-H Vegetable Garden Project

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Above, Keith is meticulously setting up the vegetable garden project at the state fair. All the vegetables made it from home, across the fairgrounds to the 4-H state fair building with no damage.

As our family jumps into the school year, we have been reflecting back on our experiences this summer. One of which was both boys taking the 4-H vegetable garden project to the county fair, and Keith advancing to the state fair with this project. (A 4-Her needs to be a certain age and place in the state fair line-up to advance in any project area to the state fair.)

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Sam was happy he didn’t give up on selecting uniform vegetables to win the champion ribbon at the county fair. Sam was not old enough to advance to the state fair this year. He enjoyed his one on one interview with the judge. The recipe card in the box identifies which vegetables are in the box and the variety of that vegetable.

While both boys would say this is not their favorite general project to take, they would both tell you they learn a great deal of practical knowledge from the experience. There are countless project areas you can take in 4-H. We encourage the boys to take those that further their personal interest and ones that will provide practical knowledge and experience for their future.

Take-a-Ways

  1. Project Preparation – The requirements of the project are to bring 2 smaller varieties of vegetables (12 of each vegetable); 3 medium size varieties of vegetables (3 of each vegetable) and 1 larger variety of vegetable. Selecting them to be uniform and preparing them for display is quite the process. We are grateful we had experience showing in last year’s state fair open class show to see the variety of ways people transport their vegetables longer distances so they don’t get damaged.
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    It never fails that when the vegetables need to be harvested for a fair the boys come home from a long day of baseball or another 4-H event and have to persevere through vegetable selection. Let me tell you, that is not easy.

    2. Grateful for Learning Moments – When a 4-Her sits down with the judge, that is when they demonstrate their knowledge on their project. So the boys study the different varieties of vegetables they grew; why they chose that variety to plant; why they chose that vegetable in their display; planting date; days to harvest; what special growing needs that plant has; pests to that plant/crop; nutrition and uses of the vegetable once harvested. Trust me it is quite the conversation and preparation.

    3. Personal Growth – The judging at the county level is one on one. It is a great way to learn how to conduct yourself in that setting; learn how to communicate verbally and professionally. At the state fair, those that bring that project interview in a group setting with the judge. What a great opportunity to learn how an interview in this type of setting works; improve listening skills and to grow personal knowledge in that area. Keith seemed to really enjoy the conversational learning from the other 4-Her’s projects. Both experiences were extremely positive.

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    Keith’s state fair 4-H vegetable garden display which earned him a blue at the state fair. A job well done!

Moral of the story: Are hearts couldn’t be more proud and filled with more joy for him as we watched him grow and learn and stretch is area of knowledge. We are so very grateful for the opportunities that 4-H provides for both of our kids and many others to grow beyond what they expected.

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Remember that some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating.

Lettuce/Spinach – You have some Red Oak Lettuce and Spinach in your box. This next crop has been a real challenge to get going.

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Arugula – peppery flavored green leaf in your box.

Arugula – Arugula is a peppery, distinctive-tasting green that originated in the Mediterranean region. It’s also known as rucola, salad rocket, and Italian cress. Arugula is a member of the Brassica, or Cruciferous, family. This classification includes mostly cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli. Arugula is delicious raw, and it can be used as a healthy add-on topping for pizza, nachos, sandwiches, and wraps. Learn more here.

Carrots – This weather helped this root vegetable mature. Learn more about baby carrots from America’s Heartland.

Radishes – These Cherry Belle Radishes are loving this colder weather. Here are some radish recipe ideas from Martha Stewart.

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. They serve this beet soup at church, and I love it.

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi. Peel it and slice like an apple. Here are more ideas.

20190904_165054.jpgDragon Tongue Beans – This heritage variety of beans can be used like green beans. Enjoy the different color.

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – we will have cucumbers for a while. We hope you enjoy this healthy snack. Check out these refrigerator pickle recipes from Taste of Home.

Onion – Walla Walla onions in your boxes this week. Learn more about onions from America’s Heartland.

Egg Plant – Give it a try – three different varieties. Try Martha Stewart’s recipes.

Tomatoes – This crop is just taking off. A taste of a few cherry tomatoes and Fourth of July tomatoes this week. Here are a few recipe ideas from America’s Heartland.

Potatoes – The red Norlands are great for cooking. Some of you may have some younger potatoes in your boxes (smaller). I find that the potatoes right out of the garden often times cook and bake faster than others. Yeah – faster meal preparation!

Green Bell Peppers – The peppers are just taking off.

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Banana Peppers

Banana Pepper – I cut these up and freeze extra peppers for later in the year.

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Flower after flower will grow into a zucchini.

Summer Squash – Make these into noodles, sauté and more. Try making this or zucchini into noodles.

Red Kuri Winter Squash I fix it just like I do Butternut Squash. Cut it in half, place cut side down in cake pan, place about an inch of water in the pan, cover with aluminum foil, place in preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for one hour. Take out of oven, peel the skin off, scoop out the seeds and enjoy. I mix with a ½ cup of butter and ¾ cup of brown sugar. Freeze extra in cupcake tins to use later on. Learn more here.

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Zinnias and Hostas.

Flowers of the Week – Zinnias, Hydrangeas and Teddy Bear Sunflowers

Recipe of the Week

Chocolate Red Kuri Pumpkin Pie
Makes for one deep-dish 9-inch pie

Pumpkin Pie Filling
1 3/4 cups red kuri puree
1 cup  heavy cream
2 eggs
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg(optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dark or milk Chocolate squares for garnish

Pie Crust
Cut together the following ingredients with a fork or pie cutter.
2 cups flour
1 cup Crisco
2 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Then mix together and add to the dry ingredients.
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup of milk

Check out this Martha Stewart video on making a pie crust.

Instructions
1. Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C) with the rack in the middle position.
2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until the whites and the yolks are homogenous, about 2 seconds. Add the remaining filling ingredients to the bowl and whisk well to combine. Make sure the eggs and cream are completely incorporated. Line a rimmed pie pan with the unbaked crust, then pour the filing.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F (180°C) and continue baking for 45-60 minutes, or until the filling has set. Make sure the filling doesn’t boil, so if your oven it very hot, you can reduce heat to 325°F (160°C) after only 10 minutes. 10 to 12 minutes before the end, place chocolate squares on top of the pie and allow to melt. Insert a knife or tooth pick in the middle of the pie, if comes out clean, it’s done!
4. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Then serve at room temperature or chill in the refrigerator and serve cold.
Note: if you’re not familiar with red kuri squash, its bright orange flesh is easy to cook and tastes a bit like chestnut and sweeter than a pumpkin, so you don’t need to add as much sugar to your recipes.