Life Lessons: Work Ethic and Storms

Life Lessons: Work Ethic and Storms

This weekend, we were yet again trying to get the weeds under control. After finishing the weeding, the boys mentioned that, “It really did look a lot better. Really it did.”

Yet another life lesson learned. There will be moments in life that will look quite challenging, overwhelming and nearly impossible (trust me – it really did look that bad). The attitude you bring into the situation will determine the outcome (an I can do attitude is a must!) At the end of the road, you will look back and realize that 1) It was achievable; 2) It wasn’t quite as bad as you thought it would be (a little water fun on a hot summer day is always a great thing.); and 3) Your efforts were worth it.

Garden Science

We did receive heavy winds on Monday that laid our corn pretty flat. After all of our hard work of weeding, to see our crops looking that way is disheartening and concerning.

But as we looked at the crops, we discussed plant genetics and that there are scientists, plant breeders, who study the plants and look for natural qualities/traits that will help the plant to survive these challenging weather conditions: heavy winds, hail, droughts and very wet conditions while producing a quality crop – that is healthy to eat and produces good yields (quantity of crop).

In the end, the boys optimistic attitude won the conversation.

“Don’t worry mom. All we need is a 70 miles per hour wind from the opposite direction, and the crop will stand right back up.” Always love a child’s perspective!

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.

Asparagus – This is the last week for fresh-cut asparagus from the Chute’s Farm Fresh Gardens in Aitkin, Minnesota. These farmers are friends of ours who we know from Farm Bureau and also the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – 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 wash your vegetables before eating.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – Beautiful red lettuce leaf. It adds such a wonderful color to your salads.

Spinach – Remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal! Check out some of Martha Stewart’s spinach recipes.

Beet Leaves – Great in your salads.

Picking peas isn't the most enjoyable job, but it sure can reap a tasty reward for a job well done.

Picking peas isn’t the most enjoyable job, but it sure can reap a tasty reward for a job well done.

Sugar Snap Peas – A garden favorite. Eat the pod and all. Enjoy this delicious vegetable!

When harvesting Kale you simply snap the leaf off from the stem.

When harvesting Kale you simply snap the leaf off from the stem.

Kale – A new vegetable to our family. Some of you requested it so we are giving it a try. Let us know what you think!

Broccoli We love to eat this fresh out of the garden in a salad.

Broccoli

Broccoli

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta leaves

Recipe of the Week

Since we had never tried Kale before, we tried Kale Chips. safe place to start everyone.

Kale Chips

I washed the kale and spun it draw in my lettuce spinner.

I washed the kale and spun it dry in my salad spinner.

Then I tore off the leaves of the kale leaving the rib of the leaf for the compost pile.

Then I tore off the leaves of the kale leaving the rib of the leaf for the compost pile.

I drizzled the olive oil and sprinkled the kosher salt on the leaves then tossed it together. Then spread it out evenly on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

I drizzled the olive oil and sprinkled the kosher salt on the leaves then tossed it together. Then spread it out evenly on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Baked at 350 for 10-12 minutes. We were impressed with how crunchy they were. We want to experiment with a few other ways to make the chips like with honey.

Baked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes. We were impressed with how crunchy they were. We want to experiment with a few other ways to make the chips like with honey.

Kale Chips

1 large bunch of kale, rinsed well, dried and torn into 2 inch pieces

1 -2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon coarse salt (I tried some with Kosher salt and seasoning salt)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Place Kale pieces in a single even layer on baking sheets; drizzle with olive oil and salt.

Bake in oven for about 12 minutes. Serve.

Weeds, Weeds, Weeds

Weeds, Weeds, Weeds

Another motivation for weeding is finding fresh carrots.

Another motivation for weeding is finding fresh carrots.

While the weather has been beautiful, it has proven to be a haven for ideal weed growth. We spent a considerable amount of time this week weeding in the garden, and we are only half done! A combination of methods are used from hand weeding to tilling to rid these pesky plants from hindering a productive crop of garden produce. I always feel this is the most challenging time for weeds as there is no natural “canopy” from the garden crops formed over the weeds to shade out their growth.

What keeps us motivated to finish the weeding? Well, the radio always helps, along with, good conversation and a few games of “would you rather” or the stop everything and play “pretend.”

But to be honest, the feeling of looking back on your work and being able to say to yourself, “job well done” and also knowing that the plants will be healthier and more productive throughout the growing season, makes it all worth it.

At the end of the day, the bond from accomplishing the job together is pretty important!

At the end of the day, the bond from accomplishing the job together is pretty important!

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.

Rhubarb – One pound equals about 3 cups. Wash, cut the ends off, cut off any bad parts damaged by wind, chop into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces. No need to peel You can freeze it in a Ziploc bag (no blanching) and use for months to come. Our family loves it in muffins, breads, jam, pie, crisp, sauce and torte.

Asparagus – Fresh cut asparagus from the Chute’s Farm Fresh Gardens in Aitkin, Minnesota. These farmers are friends of ours who we know from Farm Bureau and also the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program. They had some extra they wanted to share.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – One of my favorite garden crops. 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. See how lettuce is grown throughout the year so it is available in our grocery stores even on our cold Minnesota days.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love this beautiful red lettuce leaf. It adds such a wonderful color to your salads.

Spinach – Remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal! Check out some of Martha Stewart’s spinach recipes.

Radishes – Wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt.

Herb – Chives – wash then chop up chives into small pieces or wash and freeze in a Ziploc bag. When they are taken out of the freezer you could crush them at that time into tiny pieces to use as flavoring in dishes.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta leaves. I learned this a long time ago from Martha Stewart to cut a few hosta leaves and bring the “outside in.” I think it is a great way to brighten up your house, and they should last several weeks!

Rhubarb Torte

This is a family favorite. The recipe was given to me by a dear friend, a dairy farmer from Wisconsin. I love the recipes shared with friends and family as they always bring good memories to mind as you share the delicious dish with others.

The first step is to wash the rhubarb, cut off the ends and any scarred areas on the stock (from wind or hail) and cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces.

The first step is to wash the rhubarb, cut off the ends and any scarred areas on the stock (from wind or hail) and cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces.

Using a pie crust cutter. Mix the following: 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 Tablespoons milk, and 1/2 cup butter. Mix then pat into a 9 x 13 cake pan.

Using a pie crust cutter. Mix the following: 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 Tablespoons milk, and 1/2 cup butter.
Mix then pat into a 9 x 13 cake pan.

6 cups rhubarb cut into small 1/2 inch pieces. Place cut rhubarb on top of the bottom layer. Then sprinkle 6 oz package of Jello powder (strawberry or cherry) over rhubarb.

6 cups rhubarb cut into small 1/2 inch pieces. Place cut rhubarb on top of the bottom layer. Then sprinkle 6 oz package of Jello powder (strawberry or cherry) over rhubarb.

Mix with pie cutter. Topping: 2 cups sugar, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter. Then spread on top of Jello.

Mix with pie cutter. Topping: 2 cups sugar, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter. Then spread on top of Jello.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.

Enjoy with ice cream or whipped topping.

Enjoy with ice cream or whipped topping.

Rhubarb Torte

Using a pie crust cutter. Mix the following.

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

2 Tablespoons milk

1/2 cup butter

Mix then pat into a 9 x 13 cake pan.

6 cups rhubarb cut into small 1/2 inch pieces

6 oz package of strawberry or raspberry jello.

Place cut rhubarb on top of the bottom layer. Rhubarb should be cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Sprinkle jello powder over rhubarb.

Topping

2 cups sugar

1 cup flour

1/2 cup butter

Mix with pie cutter or fork and spread on top of Jello. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.

What a beautiful sunset, we had the other night after a hard days work. God has a way of bringing peacefulness to the day and even better when it is captured through the lens by a young boy.

What a beautiful sunset, we had the other night after a hard days work. God has a way of bringing peacefulness to the day and even better when it is captured through the lens by a young boy.

And So It Begins

And So It Begins

Welcome to all of our shareholders. We appreciate the opportunity to work with you and for you through out the growing season. We work hard to earn your trust and respect in the food that we grow for your families and ours! All of you should have received an email with more details of dates and specifics with the CSA. We are excited to see the daily changes and growth in the garden. Look for weekly blog posts for guidance throughout the season which will provide you with updates, ideas for your box of produce and recipes.

Did you know - that the young cucumber plants when they are cotyledons smell like a cucumber? We found that out as we were thinning the row. So we had a better plant population (plants properly spaced for optimal growth and production).

Did you know – that the young cucumber plants when they are cotyledons smell like a cucumber? We found that out as we were thinning the row. We thin the row so we have a plants properly spaced for optimal growth and production.

The potatoes have enjoyed the weather and were already in need of being hilled. Hilling helps the potato growth to occur under ground vs. above ground. We feel we have a more plentiful harvest when this is done. You will see the boys busy fertilizing the peas in the foreground.

The potatoes have enjoyed the weather and were already in need of being hilled. Hilling helps the potato growth to occur under ground vs. above ground (thus the greening of the potato). We feel we have a more plentiful harvest when this is done. You will see the boys busy fertilizing the peas in the foreground.

Pick-up and Delivery

Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA with harvest on Wednesday evenings – please note the exceptions to this which were in the email.

It is your responsibility to know that the pick-up or drop-off time will occur at the agreed upon time, and it is your responsibility as a shareholder to know this and be responsible for the produce at that time. If you are unable to utilize your share that week, it is still your responsibility: find someone else to pick it up or donate it to the food shelf.

Each box is labeled for each family. The same boxes will be used for your family throughout the season. Boxes and containers should be returned the following week. Bags will only be used once.  

Garden Science

Potato bugs have reappeared. So we are again spending family bonding time picking the bugs and the eggs off of the potatoes and tomato plants.

Potato bugs have reappeared. So we are again spending family bonding time picking the bugs and the eggs off of the potatoes and tomato plants.

A lot has been done in the garden this past week including weeding, insect control and planting another crop of snap peas, green beans, beets, lettuces and spinach. Our biggest challenge this week are potato bugs!

We have done a lot of research over the last few years and will keep you posted as we work through this. This year we have again planted dill and marigolds around the potatoes with the hope that these plants would draw in beneficial insects to eat the potato bugs and the potato bug larvae. In addition, we have planted some 4’oclocks and wildflowers to also help bring in beneficial insects.

To say we were disappointed that the potato bugs found their way to the new field and have started eating tomato plants in addition to the potato plants is a gross understatement. Every night, we are out there picking potato bugs and their eggs off of the potato plants. What is even more frustrating is how they eat the potato plants as they emerge from the ground, and before the potato plants emerged, the potato bugs were eating the tomato plants.

 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.

The Harner Bros are the 5th generation to raise this rhubarb originally planted on our family farm and transplanted to this location.

The Harner Bros are the 5th generation to raise this rhubarb originally planted on our family farm and transplanted to this location.

Rhubarb – One pound equals about 3 cups. Wash, cut the ends off, cut off any bad parts damaged by wind, chop into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces. No need to peel You can freeze it in a Ziploc bag (no blanching) and use for months to come. Our family loves it in muffins, breads, jam, pie, crisp, sauce and torte. Check out earlier posts on rhubarb for recipe ideas.

Asparagus – Fresh cut asparagus from the Chute’s Farm Fresh Gardens in Aitkin, Minnesota. These farmers are friends of ours who we know from Farm Bureau and also the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program. They had some extra they wanted to share with us, and the delivery time worked out well. Enjoy! See how asparagus is harvested in California.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – One of my favorite garden crops.  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. See how lettuce is grown throughout the year so it is available in our grocery stores even on our cold Minnesota days.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love this beautiful red lettuce leaf. It adds such a wonderful color to your salads.

Spinach – remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal! Check out some of Martha Stewart’s spinach recipes.

Beet/Beet Leaves – Many times I have seen in high-end restaurants beet leaves in my salads. Well here is your opportunity. These are young plants that we are thinning out of the rows – eat the whole plant. It will add color and nutrition to your salads. Learn more here.

Now that's a radish. Our French Radish and Cherry Belle radishes are plentiful. This one was as big as Sam's hand.

Now that’s a radish. Our French Radish and Cherry Belle radishes are plentiful. This one was as big as Sam’s hand.

Radishes – wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt.

Herb chives – wash then chop up chives into small pieces. I enjoy using them in

Fresh cut arrangement – herbs pots – includes three of one of the following: silver thyme, rosemary, sweet basil, parsley and/or purple basil.

Recipe of the Week

Rhubarb Juice

Rhubarb Juice

Rhubarb Juice

Thank you to my friends at Feltis Farms CSA for sharing this delicious recipe.

8 lbs. diced rhubarb
2 gallons water
2 12 oz. cans frozen orange juice concentrate
2 46 oz. cans pineapple juice
2 3 oz. boxes strawberry gelatin
4 cups sugar

In LARGE pot combine water and rhubarb. Cook down until rhubarb is soft. Drain. Discard rhubarb. Add sugar. Stir until dissolved. Add remaining ingredients.

Enjoy immediately.

Or cook in for 10 minutes at 5 lbs. pressure in canner to enjoy this winter.

Spring – season of new beginnings

Spring – season of new beginnings

Spring brings so many new beginnings, from baby chicks and kittens to beautiful new flowers and plants. Watching so many things come to life brings such joy.

The same is true for our location of our CSA garden. In an effort to thwart off insect issues from squash bugs to potato bugs to plant health issues such as powdery mildew, as well as, wanting to ensure plenty of produce for shareholders, we relocated into our field which is just to the immediate east of our old garden. The field is split into smaller fields and divided by field roads.

When we began discussing the layout and walked the area, the idea of what could be became a plan for all of us. As we were planting, the boys were envisioning what it would look like, and they thought the patterns would look pretty cool after the plants began to grow.

While the row may be crooked and the fence follows the row, you can get more plants in a crooked row then a straight one.

While the row may be crooked and the fence follows the row,  the lessons learned are more important then a straight row.

I envisioned more preciseness and straight rows, as well as, how nice our field roads would look. All of it is still rather interesting. As I look at the crooked rows of peas and sporadic grass planting in the field roads, it is a reminder to me of what the boys learned along the journey.

For example, as we began to plant – the peas were the first to go in the ground, and the larger area seemed overwhelming. But the boys were troopers. The area has been accomplished and in the end the fact that the rows are crooked vs the work ethic the boys learned seems pretty minimal. The field roads – well I remember the mad dash to beat the downpour of rain so that the grass would get the needed moisture for a good start. Sam was mad that we were planting again, but it quickly turned into a fun race and the simple laughter of being dripping wet. The grass got a good start, and they see the importance of keeping track of where you are planting. In the end, work can be fun – it’s what you make it.

We missed a few swaths seeding grass in the field row. This area was a mad dash to plant as we saw the rain coming from the west. The field row is intended to help prevent soil erosion. This area has been reseeded.

We missed a few swaths seeding grass in the field road. This area was a mad dash to plant as we saw the rain coming from the west. The field road is intended to help prevent soil erosion. This area has been re-seeded. So that grass will fill in the empty areas.

 

Some of you may be wondering what we are doing with the old garden area…well we have planted a pasture grass seed mix and turned it into a pasture rotation for our pullets (“teenager” hens – not yet laying) and the broilers (meat birds). With the hope that they will eat the potato bugs (will not effect the taste of the eggs as these are not old enough to lay eggs yet) and fertilize that area of ground.

The potato bugs are back even with the change in the garden location. To say our hearts sank and we were disappointed is an understatement. Here Sam and my mom are inspecting the plants to remove the bugs.

The potato bugs are back even with the change in the garden location. To say our hearts sank and we were disappointed is an understatement. Here Sam and my mom are inspecting the plants to remove the bugs.

My mom helped us plant another round of salad crops and sweet corn.

My mom helped us plant another round of salad crops and sweet corn. In the end, I think she was overwhelmed and impressed by what goes into their box of produce. A bit different then the garden we planted when I was a kid. The deer would hide their fawns in our garden because we were so busy in the fields we didn’t have time  to tend to garden on a regular basis. So the weeds made for good cover for the fawns.

We look forward to seeing you all next week.

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” – Margaret Atwood