Tractor Time

Tractor Time

What did we find amongst all of our tillage and rock picking? Just a huge rock that we needed a skid loader to lift. Thank you Peterson family for the needed

What did we find amongst all of our tillage and rock picking? Just a huge rock that we needed a skid loader to lift. Thank you Peterson family for the needed “lift.”

What a busy weekend of harvesting and preparing for the end of the season. With last night’s frost and freeze warnings across the state, our efforts were right on schedule and truly a relief for us to have the crop harvested.

Funny story…as I was preparing this blog, I asked the boys, “what should the title be to this chapter in the CSA blog? They asked me what I was writing about, and what pictures I had used. They said the title should be “Tractor Time” because we used so many tractors and implements this week to get the job done. Read below to see what they meant.

We are thankful for good neighbors. Loren Fossum for tilling the CSA using his dad's Ford tractor. Read more about their family history. Truly amazing agriculture history in our area - it's like an onion we keep peeling back interesting history all the time!

We are thankful for good neighbors…Loren Fossum for tilling the CSA using his dad’s Ford tractor. Read more about their family history. Truly amazing agriculture history in our area – it’s like an onion we keep peeling back interesting history all the time!

Rye and Rapeseed were used for our cover crop.

Rye and rapeseed were used for our cover crop. We planted the cover crops with the hope that they will provide “green” manure to the soil and improve the amount of nutrients that will be available to the crops next year.

Thank you to FarGaze Farms/Peterson Family for the gator and seed spreader. It made it much quicker and uniform to spread the cover crop seed. Thanks to Jeff Beckman for your help with the cover crop!

Thank you to FarGaze Farms/Peterson Family for the gator and seed spreader. It made it much quicker and uniform to spread the cover crop seed. Thanks to Jeff Beckman for your help with the cover crop decisions!

After seeding the cover crop, we used a drag to cover the seed.

After seeding the cover crop, we used a drag to cover the seed.

One last crop to get to you…the red, white and blue popcorn. We tried popping some, and the moisture content is to high in the kernels so the kernels will not pop. So we are drying the corn down, and once the moisture content is low enough, we will shell the kernels from the cob and package it up for you. Look for it later this fall/early winter.

As the season comes to a close, we want to thank you for allowing our family to grow food for your family and sharing the joys of the garden produce. Just a reminder to send us your year-end survey because we truly appreciate the feed back. We have enjoyed working with all of you, and hope all of you have a fantastic fall!

Garden Science

We collected seed from a variety of our flowers to save and use next year to help generate beneficial insects in the garden next year. Pictured here is dried up Marigold seeds. Open up the bunches, and they are full of seeds.

We collected seed from a variety of our flowers to save and use next year to help generate beneficial insects in the garden. Pictured here is dried up Marigold seeds. Open up the bunches, and they are full of seeds.

Garden Math

Last week, many of you guessed how many popcorn seeds were in the jar. The boys counted and the answer is 457. The closest guess went to Kenny Vesledahl! Congrats...they went home with another pick from the pumpkins tonight!

Last week, many of you guessed how many popcorn seeds were in the jar. The boys counted and the answer is 457. The closest guess went to Kenny Vesledahl! Congrats…they went home with another pick from the pumpkins tonight!

So these were a few kohlrabi that got out of control and when we found them were to large. So the boys wanted to see how big they would get. They were measured tonight with the largest at 16 inches. It was interested to see a few of them getting "baby" kohlrabi growing on them as well.

So these were a few kohlrabi that got out of control and when we found them were to large. So the boys wanted to see how big they would get. They were measured tonight with the largest at 16 inches. It was interested to see a few of them getting “baby” kohlrabi growing on them as well.

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.

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.

Lettuce and Spinach – Enjoy this mix on some BLTs or salads.

Carrots – Enjoy – they are plentiful. May be enough for some carrot soup.

Green Beans – A new crop of green beans.

Green Cabbage – Soak the cabbage in salt water so hopefully you should not have any insects in these heads.

Yellow Onions

Habeneros anyone?

Habeneros anyone?

Peppers – Habanero peppers.

Tomatoes – Tomato varieties included in your boxes: Yellow Girls, Honey Delights, Big Boys, Roma, Fourth of July, Big Mammas, Honey Delights, Amish Paste and cherry tomatoes. The tomato crop is quickly slowing down.

Potatoes – All of the varieties are in your boxes today: Yukon Golds, Blue, Masquerade, Red Viking, Kennebec, Midnight Moons and blues in your box this week.

Choice of Butternut or Carnival Squash Carnival squash is a hybrid of the sweet dumpling squash and the acorn squash. The color variance in the rind of the Carnival squash is the result of seasonal temperature variations. Warmer temperatures produce Carnival squash with slightly more pronounced green stripes. The squash’s flavor is nutty and sweet. Try this yummy bread using your cooked squash vs pumpkin.

Harvesting the broom corn.

Harvesting the broom corn.

How long was that broom corn? The length of these three.

How long was that broom corn? The length of these three.

Corn Stalk Bundle – .Decorating for the fall. Choice of a bundle of blue corn stalks or broom corn.

The last of the Zinnias and Strawflowers were picked before the ground was worked. I think we are wrapping everything up at the right time with frost and freeze warnings out this week.

The last of the Zinnias and Strawflowers were picked before the ground was worked. I think we are wrapping everything up at the right time with frost and freeze warnings out this week.

Recipe of the Week

Potato Bread

This is one of my favorite bread recipes and was discovered after a summer of trying different recipes to bring to the fair for one of my 4-H projects which eventually earned a purple ribbon several year ago:)

I discovered that I could freeze the mashed potatoes in 1 cup quantities for a double batch. I also freeze the bread prior to baking as buns or cinnamon rolls. After forming the bread into buns or cinnamon rolls, I let them rise the second time and then I freeze them. When I want to bake them, I simply place the frozen rolls in the oven, turn the oven on to preheat, and once the oven is preheated allow them to cook for the alloted time. Steve and the boys have commented several times that he is so glad I figured this out.

Potato Bread

1 package of active dry yeast

1/4 cup of war water

***

1/2 cup mashed potatoes

1/4 cup shortening

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 cup milk, scalded (link to how to scald milk)

1 egg

4 – 4 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Soften yeast in warm water (to speed up the yeast add about 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and stir in). Allow the yeast to begin to rise (fun science experiment with the kids). In a separate bowl combine hot potatoes, shortening, sugar, salt, and scalded milk. Cool to luke warm.

Add softened yeast and egg. Stir. Stir in 2 cups of flour. Stir in remaining flour or enough to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic (about 6 minutes). Here are two links one to show you how to knead by hand and the other with your stand mixer and dough hook.

Place in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease both sides of your bread. Cover with Saran Wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Let rise until double. About 1 hour. Punch the bread down. Shape in ball, Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape into rolls, place on greased baking sheet. Let rise until double (about 1 hour). Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Makes 2 dozen.

In a bowl combine hot potatoes, shortening, sugar, salt, and scalded milk. Cool to luke warm.

Add softened yeast and egg. Stir.

Stir. Stir in 2 cups of flour. Stir in remaining flour or enough to make a soft dough.

Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic (about 6 minutes).

Knead until you have a nice ball of dough.

Place in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease both sides of your bread. Cover with Saran Wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Let rise until double. About 1 hour. After an hour of rising, punch the rising bread down. Shape in ball. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Shape into rolls, place on greased baking sheet. Let rise until double (about 1 hour).

This is what they look like when they are rising.

Divide dough in half and roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Roll up. Cut into 12 pieces and place cut side down in greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes. Homemade cinnamon rolls! The boys have always helped me cut the dough. It is a great way to teach fractions.

Cinnamon Roll Frosting

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup butter softened

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 Tablespoons milk

Mix powdered sugar and butter. Stir in vanilla and milk. Beat until smooth and of spreading consistency.

Rain makes for Muddy Harvest

Rain makes for Muddy Harvest

We harvested the pumpkins last Friday and it was quite muddy out there. But the boys didn't seem to mind at all.

We harvested the pumpkins last Friday, and it was quite muddy out there. But the boys didn’t seem to mind at all.

Another growing season is quickly coming to an end. We are happy that a nice weekend is predicted so that we can get a lot of clean-up done in the field. We have received a couple of inches of rain the last few weeks which makes for some muddy harvesting conditions. The boys don’t mind as long as hot chocolate follows.

***

Many of you asked how my trip to Washington D.C. went. Every trip is different and full of meaningful conversations of farmers sharing with our elected officials and leaders in D.C. how legislation and regulations are personally affecting them on their farms. These conversations do have meaning and do matter. Just think about it…what affects a farmer in southern Minnesota will be different from northern Minnesota and will be different from farmers in South Carolina and Oregon. That is why it is so important to share our stories. That is also why our children have also shared comments when regulations will affect their opportunity to farm when they grow up.

This is all quite funny when I look back upon my childhood conversations about politics. They were the dreaded holiday conversations between my two grandpas – one Democrat and the other Republican. Most of the time during these heated political discussions, I sat more amused that the conversation didn’t come to blows, but rather ended with them departing in a congenial manner. Even thought I know they walked out the door thinking that the other one was absolutely wrong!

So the thought that politics has become a regular part of my job, part of our family discussions and part of something we need to monitor for our CSA is interesting. In fact, it is essential that farmers are actively involved so in the future, farmers have the ability to provide food, fiber and renewable fuel for consumers. If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.

As I reflect on the past week, there are three things that stick out which I think the picture below captures: God, Country, Farmer. Farmers are for the most part optimists with their reliance on God to be with them. Farmers are very proud to be an American and proud to raise food, fiber and renewable fuel for consumers. The pride in our country and the pride in our duty as farmers is an inborn fondness that runs deep in many cases – many generations deep on farms across America with a priority to be sustainable in order for future generations to continue the traditions.

The boys learned flag etiquette from their Grandpa - a farmer and past member of the National Guard while raising the flag at our country church. God, Country, Farmer

The boys learned flag etiquette from their Grandpa – a farmer and past member of the National Guard while raising the flag at our country church. God, Country, Farmer

Garden Science

We weighted the milk fed pumpkin and it was one of the heaviest if not the heaviest weighting in at 58#. The other big ones were 30-40#. We want to tweak this experiment next year and see where we end up.

We weighted the milk-fed pumpkin, and it was one of the heaviest if not the heaviest weighting in at 58#. The other big ones were 30-40#. We want to tweak this experiment next year and see where we end up.

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.

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.

Lettuce and Spinach – Enjoy this mix on some BLTs or salads.

Carrots – We are having a healthy crop. Hope you are enjoying them.

Beets – This is the last of the beets for the year.

Look closely and you will see young green beans growing where the flower once was. The flower is still wrapped around the young green bean which is attached to the stem.

Look closely and you will see young green beans growing where the flower once was. The flower is still wrapped around the young green bean which is attached to the stem.

Green Beans – A new crop of green beans.

Broccoli – Last of the broccoli

Kohlrabi – Last of the kohlrabi

Given this cabbage a try in the field. The boys said it was mighty tasty. The heads are smaller due to the insect pressure which caused the plant not to produce a head earlier. But it's a good size to make a family portion for a meal.

Giving this cabbage a try in the field. The boys said it was mighty tasty. The heads are smaller due to the insect pressure which caused the plant not to produce a head earlier. But it’s a good size the refrigerator and a meal.

Purple Cabbage – I soaked the cabbage in salt water so hopefully you should not have any insects in these heads. They are a nice size for a meal. Here are some ideas from Taste of Home.

Yellow Onions

Garlic – We planted garlic last fall and harvested it mid summer and let it dry for a while. We are planning to plant some more this fall with the hopes that the harvest is more bountiful in 2016.

Peppers – A few green peppers with the small Habanero peppers. Choose a few tonight. Fun facts about peppers.

Tomatoes – Tomato varieties included in your boxes: Yellow Girls, Honey Delights, Big Boys, Roma, Fourth of July, Big Mammas, Honey Delights, Amish Paste and cherry tomatoes. The tomato crop is quickly slowing down.

Do you ever wonder if we stab any potatoes when digging? We sure do. We take them in the house and wash them up to be used ASAP in a variety of our favorite potato dishes.

Do you ever wonder if we stab any potatoes when digging? We sure do. We take them in the house and wash them up to be used ASAP in a variety of our favorite potato dishes.

Potatoes – Reds are Viking and Pontiac, brown-skinned  – Kennebec and blues in your box this week. Since the potatoes are plentiful here are some recipe ideas.

Carnival Squash Carnival squash is a hybrid of the sweet dumpling squash and the acorn squash. The color variance in the rind of the Carnival squash is the result of seasonal temperature variations. Warmer temperatures produce Carnival squash with slightly more pronounced green stripes. The squash’s flavor is nutty and sweet.

Pumpkins put a smile on everyone's face.

Pumpkins put a smile on everyone’s face.

Pumpkins – One large pumpkin and smaller ones for the kids. Happy carving later this fall!

Gourds – A few more for you this week.

Hydrangeas, Sedums and Zinnias this week.

Hydrangeas, Sedums and Zinnias this week.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hydrangeas, Zinnias and Sedum tonight. The Hydrangeas and Sedum will make dry arrangements and last through the fall. Next week you will receive shocks of corn for your fall decorating so be prepared.

Recipe of the Week

Cleaning and Using Fresh Tomatoes

This weekend we donated our extra tomatoes to my sister-in-laws’ Food and Consumer Sciences (FACS) classroom. We knew she was planning to teach the high schoolers how to make salsa. Garden fresh tomatoes will provide a number of good learning experiences for these students: always remember to wash your produce – even when you buy it at the grocery store, even thought a tomato may not be perfect it can still be used by simply cutting the blemish away (if it is moldy it should be thrown in your compost pile), and how do you even slice the tomato without squishing it (use a serrated knife, a bread knife, it works slick!). I thought some of you may also appreciate a few of these tips, which I have outlined below.

Tomatoes are not always perfect. But did you know that even those with cracks like this or brown blemishes can be used?

Tomatoes are not always perfect. But did you know that even those with cracks like this or brown blemishes can be used?

First, wash the tomato.

First, wash the tomato.

Using a serrated knife, cut off the bad part.

Using a serrated knife, cut off the bad part.

Use what is remaining. It's still delicious and perfectly healthy for you. If the tomato has ruptured, is moldy or smushy - throw it out or throw it in your compost pile. But this one, I am enjoying at my next meal.

Use what is remaining. It’s still delicious and perfectly healthy for you. If the tomato has ruptured, is moldy or smushy – throw it out or throw it in your compost pile. But this one, I am enjoying at my next meal.

Dance like no one’s watching

Dance like no one’s watching

Pumpkins etched with Care for your Families. Thank you for being a member of our CSA!

Pumpkins etched with Care for your Families. Thank you for being a member of our CSA!

The other night when we were working, I had the Happy station playing on Pandora. The songs were those that made you want to sing and dance. So the boys and I were singing and dancing like no one was watching. Their smiles and laughter were contagious, and the stress and our exhaustion from our days seemed to be pushed away.

It reminded of me of picking rock when I was growing up. Those were some long days in the field. Rock picking can be long, hot, boring work, but when we blared the radio on the tractor, the singing and the dancing ensued and laughter followed.

As we push for our fall cleanup to be completed, it’s these moments that I want to freeze in time. Time to be crazy, time to accomplish, time to learn and explore and time to have fun, all as a family.

Remember in the end, your kids simply want to laugh and play with you and dance like no one is watching.

Garden clean-up has begun. The boys used a shredder to break down the plants so that we can incorporate them into the soil.

Garden clean-up has begun. The boys used a shredder to break down the plants so that we can incorporate them into the soil.

Garden Science

So are you wondering how the names are created on your pumpkins? It begins at the end of July/beginning of August.

The boys carefully select pumpkins that they think go with the amount of letters in your last name and a pumpkin that will grow to be a nice size for your front porch.

The boys carefully select pumpkins that they think go with the amount of letters in your last name, and a pumpkin that will grow to be a nice size for your front porch.

Then using their great-great grandpa's wood working tools that were hand carved, they carefully etch out your last names in the pumpkin. This will then appear as a

Then using their great-great grandpa’s wood working tools that were hand carved, they carefully etch out your last names in the pumpkin. This will then appear as a “scar” on the skin of the pumpkin. A great way for the boys to work on their spelling, their letter writing and how to work gently with a young plant.

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.

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.

Lettuce and Spinach – Enjoy this mix on some BLTs or salads.

Carrots – We are having a healthy crop. Hope you are enjoying them.

Green Beans – A little taste – We were surprised that the new crop of green beans and sugar snap peas were not quite ready. Both are blooming and those blooms will grow into the vegetables. Hoping next week.

Broccoli – Broccoli for your salads.

Kohlrabi – Maybe one more week??

Beets – Enjoy the beets before they are all harvested.

Yellow Onions

Cucumbers – Enjoy the “ugly” cucumbers:) The tail end of the cucumbers.

Peppers – A few green peppers with the small Habanero peppers. Choose a few tonight. Fun facts about peppers.

Tomato varieties abound.

Tomato varieties abound.

Tomatoes – Tomato varieties included in your boxes: Yellow Girls, Honey Delights, Big Boys, Roma, Fourth of July, Big Mammas, Honey Delights, Amish Paste and cherry tomatoes. The tomato crop is quickly slowing down. Let us know if you would like any to freeze or can.

Potatoes – Midnight Moon and Masquerade in your box this week. Additional varieties will reappear next week. Learn more about potatoes here.

We broke of the bad parts of the corn that had ear worm. Then boiled the good sweet corn for about 8-10 minutes and cut off the corn to freeze and enjoy throughout the year.

We broke of the bad parts of the corn that had ear worm. Then boiled the good sweet corn for about 8-10 minutes and cut off the corn to freeze and enjoy throughout the year.

Sweet Corn – After finding the earworm in way to many ears, this crop was shredded and will be incorporated into the soil to build soil health. We are looking into our options to prevent this pest next year while providing more sweet corn for your families to enjoy. We did salvage the good part of our ears, boiled them for 8-10 minutes in boiling water, cut the corn off the ears and froze the corn for us to enjoy the rest of the year.

Basil – Pull a plant, replant in your garden or use it fresh.

Melons – Choice of watermelon or cantaloupe. This is the end of the crop. Enjoy!

The boys had a great time harvesting your name pumpkins.

The boys had a great time harvesting your name pumpkins.

Pumpkins – The boys enjoyed etching your names into the young pumpkins a few weeks ago. So while they may not look exactly perfect, please know they were done with much joy for each of your families by the boys to show gratitude for your families to enjoy this fall.

What a variety of gourds we have this year. These two resembled snakes. We hope you enjoy your share. Look for more next week.

What a variety of gourds we have this year. These two resembled snakes. We hope you enjoy your share. Look for more next week.

Gourds – A variety of them abound from Baby Boos to egg gourds to Jack-Be-Littles and more. Enjoy your share this week and look for more next week.

The ornamental corn colors are beautiful.

The ornamental corn colors are beautiful.

Fresh cut arrangement – Ornamental corn – one bunch for each of you. This crop was beat up by winds and a few storms this year. We plan to increase the amount of plants planted next year.

Recipe of the Week

Butternut Squash

A family favorite! I freeze and use throughout the year in recipes that call for pumpkin.

1. Using a butcher knife, split the squash in half lengthwise. Place in a cake pan, put about 1/4 - 1/2 inch of water. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for at least an hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 2. Remove from oven. peel off the skin using a knife or turn it over and scoop out cooked squash. Scoop out and remove the seeds - discard (seeds could be cooked using a pumpkin seed recipe). 3. Place cooked squash in bowl with 1/2 cup of stick butter and 3/4 cup of brown sugar. Mix and enjoy.

1. Using a butcher knife, split the squash in half lengthwise. Place in a cake pan, put about 1/4 – 1/2 inch of water. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for at least an hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Remove from oven. peel off the skin using a knife or turn it over and scoop out cooked squash. Scoop out and remove the seeds – discard (seeds could be cooked using a pumpkin seed recipe).
3. Place cooked squash in bowl with 1/2 cup of stick butter and 3/4 cup of brown sugar. Mix and enjoy.

Squash mixed up and ready to be eaten or frozen. I freeze mine in cupcake tins, after they are frozen I put them in a Ziploc bag and pull them out as needed for meals or when a recipe calls for pumpkin.

Squash mixed up and ready to be eaten or frozen. I freeze mine in cupcake tins, after they are frozen I put them in a Ziploc bag and pull them out as needed for meals or when a recipe calls for pumpkin.

Butternut Squash

1 squash

1/2 cup of stick butter

3/4 cup of brown sugar

1. Using a butcher knife, split the squash in half lengthwise. Place in a cake pan, put about 1/4 – 1/2 inch of water. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for at least an hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Remove from oven. peel off the skin using a knife or turn it over and scoop out cooked squash. Scoop out and remove the seeds – discard. Or seeds could be cooked using a pumpkin seed recipe.
3. Place cooked squash in bowl with 1/2 cup of stick butter and 3/4 cup of brown sugar. Mix and enjoy.

4. Once squash is mixed up and ready to be eaten or freeze in cupcake tin. After they are frozen I put them in a Ziploc bag and pull them out as needed for meals or when a recipe calls for pumpkin.

Pests, Challenges and Opportunities

Pests, Challenges and Opportunities

Many treasurers are being unveiled underneath the vines. Including some very beautiful gourds, squashes and pumpkins.

Many treasurers are being unveiled underneath the vines. Including some very beautiful gourds, squashes and pumpkins.

It’s hard to believe it is nearly mid-September, and the growing season is coming to an end. A few thoughts on this growing season.

Pests

The insects have been challenging on several crops this year including cabbage, cauliflower, summer squash, zucchini, and  the vine crops. We were thankful that the insecticide which was labeled as organic worked effectively on the potato bugs. White mold was a challenge on the vines. These pests put pressures on the plants which decrease the amount and quantity and/or quality of the vegetables that are harvested.

We will continue to research solutions for good plant genetics to withstand the variability of weather situations that plant growth faces, build soil health, control insects and plant disease challenges while sustainably growing stronger plants which produce healthy delicious produce.

Other Challenges

Due to the blessing of regular rains which cause the plant grow more rapidly, we missed the window of opportunity for staking our tomatoes this year. We will work not to miss that again. Staking the tomatoes makes them easier to harvest and cleaner at harvest. Thankfully we were able to stake the peas and cucumbers.

Peppers were interesting again this year. Many varieties did not grow or simply didn’t produce the quantity we had hoped for. The exception have been the Habaneros.

Squash varieties either died off early due to insects or a plant disease. So unfortunately, we did not get the quantity of summer squash, butternut squash (you will receive this soon), spaghetti squash (none survived the pests that we have found) or even zucchini. More are planned for next year.

The melons we planted from seed did not grow so we ended up buying plants. I am looking forward to next year, and the possibilities of some even more flavorful varieties.

What does this mean?

All of the above may sound a bit overwhelming, but in reality its exciting possibilities of new opportunities and challenges to learn more about Mother Nature. All while teaching the basics to our children and bringing to reality, lessons on reading, science and math through the study and exploration of agriculture.

Fun Fact

According to the Southern Research & Outreach Center in Waseca, this growing season has seen abundant rainfall. As of earlier today, the research station accumulated over 30 inches of rainfall during the growing season (May through September.). This is only the fifth time since 1915 this has occurred. All five of these 30-plus inches of rainfall growing seasons have taken place since 1991.

Science in the Garden

Corn Earworms - what a disappointing site to find in the corn. We did not use any insecticide on the corn, and since this is a later harvest for sweet corn, the probability for this pest increased. Breaking the affected part of the ear off and boiling the good part of the ear of corn is a solution to salvaging the good area. Unfortunately, if much of the ear has been affected disgarding it is recommended.

Corn Earworms – what a disappointing site to find in the corn. We did not use any insecticide on the corn, and since this is a later harvest for sweet corn, the probability for this pest increased. Breaking the affected part of the ear off and boiling the good part of the ear of corn is a solution to salvaging the good area. Unfortunately, if much of the ear has been affected disgarding it is recommended. Learn more about this pest here.

A lot of insects were found today. We believe this one to be a bald white faced hornet. Look closely and you will see it enjoying a spoiled cantaloupe.

A lot of insects were found today. We believe this one to be a bald white faced hornet. Look closely, and you will see it enjoying a spoiled cantaloupe.

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.

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.

Lettuce and Spinach – New crop looks delicious. We hope this will last us until the end of September.

Carrots

Carrots

Carrots – Interested to hear what you think. These carrots came out of a different soil type then the ones earlier this summer. Your feedback is appreciated.

Green Beans – A little taste – a new crop of green beans and sugar snap peas next week.

Broccoli – Legacy Broccoli, hybrid. This is a broccoli that is good for growing during the warmer part of the summer. What is a hybrid? Learn more here.

Kohlrabi – We may get one more week of this.

Detroit Dark Red Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets

Beets – The beets will be coming to an end in a week or two.

Yellow Onions

Cucumbers – This is the end of the crop. Hope you enjoy the “ugly” cucumbers:)

Peppers – Watch out a few of the small Habanero peppers. They are mighty. Here’s a Habanero Salsa recipe.

The tomatoes were a little dirty at harvest this week due to the recent rain. We had 8/10ths of an inch early Tuesday.

The tomatoes were a little dirty at harvest this week due to the recent rain. We had 8/10ths of an inch early Tuesday.

Tomatoes – Tomato varieties included in your boxes: Yellow Girls, Honey Delights, Big Boys, Roma, Fourth of July, Big Mammas, Honey Delights, Amish Paste and cherry tomatoes. The tomato crop is quickly slowing down. Let us know if you would like any to freeze or can. Learn more about tomato research.

Potatoes – Midnight Moon and Masquerade in your box this week. I enjoy using these varieties however I enjoy potatoes!

Math is used frequently in the CSA. Including reinforcing adding and multiplication when bagging sweet corn.

Math is used frequently in the CSA. Including reinforcing adding and multiplication when bagging sweet corn.

Sweet Corn – We will be checking for corn earworms to determine if we will have another round next week. These little pests made an appearance in today’s harvest. We did not use any insecticide or other methods to control this pest. Learn more from the University of Minnesota.

Cilantro – For some fresh salsa with your tomatoes.

The boys were busy harvesting the remaining melons for this year.

The boys were busy harvesting this year’s remaining melons.

Melons – Choice of watermelon or cantaloupe. Enjoy!

The butterflies and bees abound on the flowers.

The butterflies and bees abound on the flowers.

Fresh cut arrangement – A variety from sunflowers, straw flowers, and zinnias.

Recipe of the Week

We love using our extra watermelon up in smoothies. We will freeze the extra watermelon to use it later when the meal simply “calls” for smoothies. Follow the link to Martha Stewarts’ site for pickled watermelon rinds. Several of you have mentioned the idea of doing this. In the mean time, sit back and try a smoothie.

Watermelon Blaster

3 cups cubed, seeded watermelon

1 1/2 cups strawberries

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 cup ice cubes

Sugar, to taste

Put watermelon, strawberries, lime juice, ice and sugar if desired into the pitcher of a blender, and blend for 15 seconds on high speed. (Always put the top on the container before processing.) Stop machine, and stir ingredients with a long wooden spoon. Blend for 15 seconds more on high speed.

Source: MarthaStewart.com

Sharing our Story

Sharing our Story

This past weekend, I had the joy and pleasure of teaching a young girl how to pick flowers. Picking flowers is a skill that I have taught my boys and my husband, and something we all take for granted. Much like the boys teaching other kids how to harvest carrots.

As I reflect on these experiences, I am reminded of why we encourage our boys to teach something each week in the garden. You see each week during our growing season, we encourage the boys to share something that is new or different that is “growing” on in the garden from insects to soil types to seeds to harvesting vegetables to eat on the way home etc. We encourage our children to continue to share the farm story wherever an opportunity is available, and they continue to amaze me.

Farm Fact: Over half of all Minnesotans have never met a farmer.

Keith working at the state fair sharing how farmers care for the animals, environment and producing food for families in our neighborhoods and around the world.

Keith working at the state fair sharing how farmers care for the animals, the environment and producing food for families in our neighborhoods and around the world.

This week, Keith joined me at the Minnesota State Fair at the Minnesota Farm Bureau booth answering consumer questions  and providing an opportunity for consumers to meet a farmer. He also worked at the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation’s Ag Cab Lab in the CHS Miracle of Birth Center helping families to better understand ethanol, and what it is like to drive a tractor. He had a great opportunity to help share what Minnesota Farm Bureau is doing at this year’s Minnesota State Fair on WCCO TV.

Sam sharing how the chicks have grown that they hatched at the Montessori, and how to tell the difference between roosters and hens.

Sam shared how the chicks that were hatched at the Montessori have grown, and taught the children how to tell the difference between roosters and hens.

This past school year, we hatched chicks in both of the boys’ classrooms. This summer, we brought the grown chickens into school to share with the children and show them how quickly poultry and animals change – a great science lesson! Sam did a great job leading this sharing time and describing the differences between roosters and hens.

While there are many different types of farms across Minnesota and the United States, we are happy to share our story with those who are interested and to help answer questions that you may have or connect you with farmers that would be able to answer them. You see the reason we enjoy sharing our story is because we like to see the joy in the faces when people connect and better understand. Much like the joy in a young girls face when she better understands how to harvest and pick a beautiful bouquet of flowers, or the smile on boys’ faces with their mouths outlined in dirt after eating freshly harvested carrots.

Science in the Garden

We spend quite a bit of time trying to identify insects. A cool one we found this week was the hummingbird moth. Learn more here.

We spend quite a bit of time trying to identify insects. A cool one we found this week was the hummingbird moth. Learn more here.

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.

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.

Lettuce and Spinach – New crop looks delicious. We hope this will last us until the end of September.

Carrots – Interested to hear what you think. These carrots came out of a different soil type then the ones earlier this summer. Your feedback is appreciated.

Green Beans – A little taste – a new crop of green beans and sugar snap peas in the coming weeks to finish out the year. Check out this segment on America’s Heartland on green beans.

Broccoli

Kohlrabi is also starting to thin out.

Kohlrabi is also starting to thin out.

Kohlrabi – We may get one more week of this.

Beets – The beets will be coming to an end in a week or two.

Yellow Onions

Cucumbers are starting to come to an end, but we still filled a wagon full.

Cucumbers are starting to come to an end, but we still filled a wagon full.

Cucumbers – This crop will also be ending shortly.

Peppers on the other hand are producing. There are a few varieties to choose from.

Peppers on the other hand are producing. There are a few varieties to choose from.

Peppers – A variety – enjoy! Watch out a few of the small Habanero peppers. They are mighty.

We picked just a few tomatoes. If you would like to can or freeze extra to enjoy later. Please let us know.

We picked just a few tomatoes. If you would like to can or freeze extra to enjoy later. Please let us know.

Tomatoes – Tomato varieties included in your boxes: Yellow Girls, Honey Delights, Big Boys, Roma, Fourth of July, Big Mammas, Honey Delights, Amish Paste and cherry tomatoes.

Potatoes – Kennebec, Viking and Blue potatoes for your Labor Day holiday for Red, White and Blue potato salad.

Sweet Corn – Will return in a week or two.

Basil – A little for your potato salad.

Red or Green Cabbage – Here is a coleslaw to give a try at your weekend picnic.

Melons – Choice of watermelon or cantaloupe. Enjoy!

Fresh cut arrangement – A variety from sunflowers, Rudbeckia, straw flowers, marigolds and zinnias.

Recipe of the Week

Check out the links above for some tasty recipes. I was thinking, “What did I make from the garden this week?” I was reminded of this trusty favorite.

Tater Tot Hotdish

This is a family favorite and an easy way to use many of your fresh or frozen vegetables.

Brown:

1 pound of hamburger

1 Tablespoon onion

In a casserole dish mix in:

1 can of Cream of Mushroom/Cream of Chicken Soup

Frozen corn, peas and/or green beans

Top with tater tots (I was curious to see how some potatoes cut into French fries would work, but I have not tried that yet.)

Cook in 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 1/2 hour or until edges are bubbling. Enjoy!

Enjoy! Sometimes the boys like to eat it with ketchup on it.

Enjoy! Sometimes the boys like to eat it with ketchup on it.