Return on Investment

Sam and Keith on a potato hunt with Steve.

Recently, many have asked if we will have a CSA next year. The answer is yes. Your input on your mid-year surveys, and your support of our efforts have encouraged us to make the decision to do this again. The question is how many shareholders. That is yet to be decided. It is interesting though that Keith has brought the topic up and has encouraged more shareholders.

When we started planning this year, we discussed family goals with the boys, and what we as a family wanted to achieve from this endeavor. These goals are posted in our home.  Although our Return on Investment (ROI) this year is different then what some may have expected, it is what every farm family hopes for and works to achieve. Our most evident ROI has been what we have seen in our boys: what they are teaching others about what they have learned by doing; development of their work ethic; family time working to accomplish a task we all can be proud of; and their excitement in what they are seeing grow from their efforts. Every day, we see or hear something from them that reassure us that our efforts our worth it and that ROI is in the eye of the beholder. ROI in our children is an investment that is always worth the effort.

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 when preparing, always wash your produce before eating.

Sorry no lettuce blends this week. Even with our best efforts to keep this in rotation, the weather has not cooperated. We have lost at least 3 plantings throughout the growing season making this a challenge to keep in the boxes. With that said, the change in the weather this week caused our current crops’ growth to slow. Good news, the new crop is germinating and seeing reasonable germination. Hopefully tonight’s thunderstorm’s lightning will put nitrogen in the soil to feed the plant growth, and hopefully, some moisture for the ground.

Cucumbers – We hope you are enjoying this yummy vegetable. Enjoy some recipes from Martha Stewart.

Sam searching for green beans.

Green Beans – We are nearing the end of this patch. We have another round of green beans and dragon tongue beans growing in the garden that should provide us with plenty to enjoy in September. See how Green Beans are harvested for us to buy at the grocery store.

Now this is a zucchini…when shredded it made 12 cups.

Summer Squash – Zucchini – See Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffin recipe below.

Onions – In your boxes this week were yellow onions. We hope to have a few purple and white onions, but the weather appeared to go hard on them. So you will primarily see yellow onions.

Keith showing us how potatoes grow on the root of the plant.

Potatoes – This week we have Norland – great for mashed or boiled potatoes and Kennebec – great for baking. More recipe ideas from Martha Stewart.

Tomatoes – Tomatoes in your boxes this week to include Big Boys, Roma, Yellow Girl and cherry tomatoes. I thought this was an informative piece about a Minnesota tomato company Bushel Boy.

Sweet Corn – Thank you to our neighbors FarGaze Farms – the Peterson families for this delicious vegetable! See how we freeze Sweet Corn.

How do we freeze sweet corn in our house? Well we take the husks and silks off, wash it and then cut it off the cob with an electric knife. Tip: use a bundt pan and place the cob in the center hole. I forgot this trick until after I was all done.

Using a ladle, I scooped it into Ziploc bags that were labeled with the date and the vegetable.

Keith and I placed them on a cookie sheet in the freezer so that they would freeze flat and so I could stack them neatly in the freezer when frozen.

Herbs – Peppermint, oregano, cilantro, and lemon thyme Remember you can dry them or you can freeze. See how to freeze with olive oil to use later.

Fresh Flowers – Zinnias or sunflowers this week. They will both keep longer if you change their water and give them a fresh-cut in two days. Add about a teaspoon of bleach to help the flowers last longer.

Recipes of the Week

Zucchini plant growing.

Before cutting the zucchini, I wash it off with a wet one or in the sink to make sure I have it as clean as possible.

Using a butcher knife, I cut off each end and place the ends in the compost pile. Then cut the zucchini into smaller chunks.

Then using one of my favorite kitchen tools, the salad shooter, given to us by Steve’s aunt Coleen Harner, I shred that zucchini right up! Tip: to engage boys in men in the kitchen – make sure you have cool tools!

Shredded zucchini ready for use.

I doubled the muffin recipe below. Then I froze the remainder in 2 cup portions.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Note: I doubled the recipe below and froze the extra muffin mixture in a Ziploc bag. When I want to make fresh muffins, I thaw the dough out and snip off a corner and use the bag like a pastry bag, squeezing the dough out of the corner into my muffin holders.

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup applesauce

1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup shredded zucchini

1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

 

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

Combine the egg, applesauce, milk, lemon juice and vanilla; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

 

To chop up my walnuts, I use this handy small blender. Another bridal shower gift from neighbor and friend, Joyce Robbins. I chop the walnuts quite fine so that the boys don’t notice them.

Fold in zucchini, mini-chocolate chips and walnuts.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until muffins test done. Yield: about 1 dozen.

Garnish the top with a few mini chocolate chips and bake. I love to use fun or festive muffin cups to make it more enjoyable for all of us. The kids and Steve loved them so I think the recipe is a keeper in our house. Enjoy!

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