Hidden Surprises

More often than not we get caught up in what is going on in our lives trying to accomplish what is expected and/or needed of us. It’s important that we stop and look around whether it is a pleasant surprise or a challenging surprise – how we view it often determines our end outcomes. Take a look at our hidden surprises this week with most of the photos through the view of our youngest photographer.


These hot humid days have lead to weeds and more weeds. While it can seem overwhelming, spending time with this character one on one in the garden with some music playing, watching the sun set and the fire flies light up the fields…well it is priceless, and I wouldn’t change those moments.


As we returned from a weekend full of baseball, we were in the process of getting chores done so we could move on to the next activity. As I headed to the garden and looked up, I was amazed to see this magnificent beauty and reminded of how privileged we are to live in the United States. Keith and I tried our best to get as close as we could to it, but it didn’t let us get to close.


Well these challenging foes known as potato bugs are out in full force. This is an adult potato bug, and they love to eat the leaves of the potato plant. The problem is without leaves a plant cannot conduct photosynthesis and without photosynthesis the plant cannot create food to create potatoes. Trust me…they will eat the ENTIRE plant.


Potato bug eggs are orange and as they hatch out, the young are a deep brownish/orange with a black head. They begin eating the plants shortly after they hatch. Oh how they are a nemesis.


While these may appear somewhat similar to a potato bug…they are a beetle that will eat all vining plants and frankly whatever looks good to them. Checking for insect issues on a regular basis helps to keep us out their weeding and the plants growing.

Garden Science


Some of the potato plants are starting to flower. That is a good sign that the plant is maturing and starting to grow potatoes. The potatoes do not grow out of the flowers. Potatoes are a tuber that will grow under ground.


It’s a great sign that the peas are flowering as the pea flowers will grow into our pea pods.

Pick-up and Delivery

• Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA – 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.

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.

7-20-13 rhubarb wash and cut ends off

Wash the rhubarb and cut off the white ends, any damaged areas and provide a fresh cut to the other side if it has become slightly dried out. Then cut your rhubarb into 1/14-1/2 inch pieces.

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 with us, and the delivery time worked out well. They snap the asparagus vs. cutting so that you are getting all edible stalk and should have very minimal amount that you do not eat.


Red Beets, Black Seeded Simpson lettuce and Outrageous red lettuce

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.

Outrageous Red Lettuce – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad.

Spinach – Love this mixed into a salad with other greens or as a stand alone by itself.
Beet Leaves – The beets are growing on their own so I thought we should check them out.

Radishes– Cherry Belle and French Breakfast radishes. We are nearing the end of this crop for a little while.

Cilantro – wash and enjoy. Freeze extra by placing in ice cube trays and running water over them and freeze. A good way to use later in soups and other dishes. Check out these ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use this herb.


Hosta Leaves

Hosta Leaves – I put 10-15 hosta leaves in a vase and it looks so gorgeous!

Recipe of the Week



Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Dressing
3 Tablespoons apple juice
2 Tablespoons strawberry spreadable fruit
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 cups bite-size pieces spinach
1 cup strawberries, stems removed and strawberries cut in half
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (1 oz)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. In small bowl, mix all dressing ingredients until blended; set aside.
2. Spray 10-inch skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in skillet 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170°F). Remove chicken to cutting board.
3. Add dressing to skillet; stir to loosen any pan drippings.
4. Cut chicken into slices. Among 4 plates, divide spinach. Top with chicken, strawberries and cheese. Drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle with walnuts.
Source: Taste of Home

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