Joy of Learning

Here is a good reminder of the strange growing season and why CSA members will be receiving a bonus box. This picture was taken at the end of July. Not only was it a wet spring which delayed planting, but it was also a very strange summer, not only dry, but we also had some unusual cold spells, followed by the crazy heat at the end of August. We have been blessed with some rains that finally kicked some of the plants into growing and producing.

Here is a good reminder of the strange growing season and why CSA members will be receiving a bonus box. This picture was taken at the end of July. Not only was it a wet spring which delayed planting, but it was also a very strange summer, not only dry, but we also had some unusual cold spells, followed by the crazy heat at the end of August. We have been blessed with some rains that finally kicked some of the plants into growing and producing.

The joy of learning is contagious. It is so fun for us as parents to see our kids learning in the garden, but even more fun to watch the learning that continues with all of the CSA families.

One of our greatest joys this year has been watching all of the kids learn where and how food grows. It is so fun to see the excitement as potatoes are dug, carrots and radishes pulled out of the ground and eaten on the spot, exploring the different types of corn growing and seeing the enthusiasm and anticipation of red, white and blue popcorn. We truly hope this food journey has been fun for all of you. Providing the joys of the garden for you to enjoy is rewarding for all of us. Thank you for allowing us this privilege!

Next week, we will provide a final bonus box of produce. This odd growing season is allowing us to do so. We have a few items that love this type of growing weather so we want to make sure you are able to enjoy them. Thank you for “weathering” this crazy growing season with us. We truly do appreciate it!

Garden Science

Keith and I thinned out the North row earlier this summer. That row did have thicker stalks and fuller heads of broom corn.

Keith and I thinned out the North row earlier this summer. That row did have thicker stalks and fuller heads of broom corn.

Cutting down the broom corn was a family activity. Perhaps Sam was the best prepared for the falling stalks.

Cutting down the broom corn was a family activity. Perhaps Sam was the best prepared for the falling stalks.

The broom corn measured over 14 feet tall.

The broom corn measured over 14 feet tall. We cut it down to 8 feet to make it more manageable for everyone.

Boxes of Produce

Nothing beats the smiles on your faces when you receive your boxes. It is a great reward for us to see them.

Nothing beats the smiles on your faces when you receive your boxes. It is a great reward for us to see them.

Reminder to return any cups or plastic containers in your box each week. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your produce before eating. Look for an end of the year survey in your email this week.

Black Seeded Simpson Elite Lettuce – One of my favorite garden crops.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – reddish lettuce

Prizehead – is the spear like green leaf.

Beet leaves – Some young beets will be available next week.

Tomatoes – Fourth of July (medium size red),  Sunchoola,  Black Krim, Big Boy, Brandywine and super sweet cherry tomatoes 100. Hope you are able to freeze or can for soups or chilli later this winter.

Peppers – They are plentiful this year. We will finish the harvest off next week.

Onions – A few fresh onions to put in a recipe here or there.

Green Beans – Enjoy the Providers.

This week's box contains Yukon Gold, blue potatoes and Norlands (red potato).

This week’s box contains Yukon Gold, blue potatoes and Norlands (red potato).

Potatoes – Yukon Golds, Kennebec potatoes – great for baking; Norland potatoes – great for mashed potatoes; Blue potatoes – try French fries or mashed potatoes – lots of fun!

Butternut or Carnival Squash – Butternut is a favorite for many. Carnival is a decorative, gourd like squash with a nutty flavor. It is a hybrid of Sweet Dumpling and an Acorn squash and has a shelf-life of up to three to four months. Here’s a yummy recipe Pumpkin Donut Holes that I plan to make this weekend.

Herbs – Cilantro, parsley and lemon thyme. Don’t forget to wash and freeze these in ice-cube trays – great for soups later this winter.

Fresh cut arrangement –

  • Broom corn – Here are some ideas I found on Pinterest
  • Ornamental corn – Steve has already put a loop in the string. Simply hang it on a hook or nail. There is some additional left if you would like them for decoration. Check the extras next week.
  • Pumpkins – Enjoy carving one as a family!
We hope you have enjoyed your pumpkins. We certainly had fun growing a variety for all of you this year.

We hope you have enjoyed your pumpkins. We certainly had fun growing a variety for all of you this year.

Recipe of the Week

Homemade Pizza

This has become a family favorite. When Steve and I were first married we tried so many recipes for homemade pizza, and this is definitely our favorite. We usually make it on Friday nights. The crust recipe comes from the Minnesota 4-H Foundation’s Blue Ribbon Favorites recipe book by Jeannie Stangler of Waseca.

Pizza Parlor Crust

1 teaspoon yeast

2 Tablespoons oil

1 Tablespoons sugar

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk, scalded, cooled

In a bowl, combine yeast, oil, sugar and 1/4 cup very war water. Let the yeast become active. Scald milk (this means you warm it up so that it forms has a slight skin on the top – I heat mine up for slightly more time then I do hot chocolate in the microwave). After yeast mixture has become “active,” add flour, salt and scalded milk. Mix well. Knead slightly (I do this in the bowl. I spray my hands with cooking spray and add a little more flour on the dough when kneading so that it is not super sticky and forms a nice ball of dough. The boys love to do this as well.) Lift up your ball of dough, spray with cooking spray, place dough back into bowl, spray the top of the dough, cover with a wet towel and let rise for 15 minutes to an hour. We bake ours on a clay pan. Sprinkle the pan with corn meal (or spray the pan with cooking spray). Bake at 375 degrees for about 5 minutes or until the crust just starts to turn a little brown. Take out and put your toppings on. Bake for about 20 minutes. Enjoy!!

Toppings:

  • Homemade tomato sauce – here are a few links Ball Canning and U of M Extension. If you want to learn how to do this and feel overwhelmed, I understand. Steve actually taught me. Let me know and we can plan a day to have you come out for a lesson:)
  • Chop up onions and peppers.
  • I freeze leftover hamburgers. Before freezing, I crumble up the hamburger. Before placing on the pizza, I thaw it out. Super easy!
  • Top with mozzarella cheese and any of your favorites.
  • Place pepperoni on top (I love crispy pepperoni).
  • Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  • Garnish with parsley.
Our homemade tomato sauce begins with washing, cutting out the stems and bad parts and putting them through Steve's Grandparent's juicer. Then canning it. We can only tomato juice and then modify it to whatever we need. I then pull it off the shelf add a can of tomato paste, onions, herbs, garlic if I have some and frozen purred carrots (which have been frozen in an ice cube tray - learned this when making baby food).

Our homemade tomato sauce begins with washing, cutting out the stems and bad parts and putting them through Steve’s Grandparent’s juicer. Then canning it. We can only tomato juice and then modify it to whatever we need. I then pull it off the shelf add a can of tomato paste, onions, herbs, garlic if I have some and frozen purred carrots (which have been frozen in an ice-cube tray – learned this when making baby food).

After I have cooked the crust until it barely starts to show a golden tint, I take it out and put on the toppings.

After I have cooked the crust until it barely starts to show a golden tint, I take it out and put on the toppings.

Toppings include: homemade sauce, hamburger (I freeze extra hamburgers that do not get eaten and pull out for pizza or spaghetti), onions, peppers, mozzarella cheese, sometimes pepperoni, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and garnish with parsley. Yes, I do make one cheese only pizza as well.

Toppings include: homemade sauce, hamburger (I freeze extra hamburgers that do not get eaten and pull out for pizza or spaghetti), onions, peppers, mozzarella cheese, sometimes pepperoni, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and garnish with parsley. Yes, I do make one cheese only pizza as well.

The kids love making their own individual pizzas. I let them have a piece of dough to shape into their own. Lots of fun!

The kids enjoy making their own individual pizzas. I let them have a piece of dough to shape into their own. Lots of fun!

Bake until cheese is melted and pepperoni is cooked to liking.

Bake until cheese is melted and pepperoni is cooked to liking.

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