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.

2 thoughts on “Rain makes for Muddy Harvest

  1. I need to remember pumpkins a little bigger than pie size for my dogs—they love them-and since they are mastiffs they can almost eat the entire thing-Moose even plays with it like a ball first…

    Wendy Apitz
    Dakota Electric Association
    A/R
    p-651-463-6219
    f-651-460-7530

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