While the state fair is still in full swing, the 4-H experience for us is complete for the fair season. The journey began in January with the boys excitedly looking for pigs to show at both county and state fair. Last week, I mentioned three separate 4-H experiences that we were busy with for 4-H, livestock judging (which was completed last Wednesday), the swine project, and the one I didn’t mention which was vegetable gardening project -judged on Monday.
- Gratitude -The swine project filled the boy’s summer with joy. They thoroughly enjoy raising and showing pigs. Thank you to Country Girls Showpigs, the Donkers families and the Peterson families for their help and mentorship through this project area. It is through learning experiences from many that the boys are able to grow their knowledge and grow their inborn fondness for agriculture.
- Personal Growth – This year’s project really taught them a lot about swine nutrition and management especially with the challenges Mother Nature presented which were not ideal growing conditions since our 4-H pigs for the most part are raised outside. In addition, part of the project is livestock interviews depending on the situations written and/or in-person – so this means they were studying before the fairs.
- Courage – While 4-H is a great place to grow and learn. Sometimes people say hurtful things about your project. I am proud of Keith for keeping his head high and forging through difficult situations and steering his own growth and not allowing others to stand in his way.
- Learning – One of the most unique aspects of showing livestock is the amount of time spent working with the animal. There is no one else that goes through the experiences with you as a 4-Her other than your animal. I am grateful, I too went through these experiences so I fully understand how attached you become to them. Think about it, the animals are great listeners, never talk back, rarely have a disagreement and become close friends. In the end, you learn more deeply the cycle of life and the full respect you have for the animal as they provide meat and the same animal provides many byproducts. We honor and respect animals in agriculture like the Native Americans honored the buffalo – using everything we can not wanting to waste anything.
- Friendships – These shows for me are like a giant reunion of hometown, college, Farm Bureau, FFA and 4-H friends. It is wonderful to see our kids creating and strengthening friendships that will to most likely last a lifetime.
- Agvocating – Interacting with fairgoers was an enjoyable part of the experience for Keith. You never know who you will meet or what you will learn from others. He sincerely enjoyed meeting such a wide variety of people.
Moral of the story: Are hearts couldn’t be more proud and filled with more joy as we watched the personal growth and learning; he showed courage and held his head high when situations were challenging; demonstrated courtesy, respect and appreciation for fairgoers wanting to learn more; and watched him truly soak in the experience and build friendships and networking with others who have similar passions.
Vegetable Gardening project… stay tuned for this update next week.
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.
Remember that 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.
Lettuce/Spinach – You have some Red Oak Lettuce and Spinach in your box. This next crop has been a real challenge to get going … this weather is not helping to spur it along.
Carrots – This weather helped this root vegetable mature. Learn more about baby carrots from America’s Heartland.
Detroit Dark Red Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. They serve this beet soup at church, and I love it.
Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi. Peel it and slice like an apple or make it into chips.
Dragon Tongue Beans and Green Beans– This heritage variety of beans can be used like green beans. Enjoy the different color.
Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – we will have cucumbers for a while. We hope you enjoy this healthy snack. Check out these refrigerator pickle recipes from Taste of Home.
Onion – Walla Walla onions in your boxes this week.
Radishes – These Cherry Belle Radishes are loving this colder weather.
Tomatoes – This crop is just taking off. A taste of a few cherry tomatoes and Fourth of July tomatoes this week. Here are a few recipe ideas from America’s Heartland.
Potatoes – The red Norlands are great for cooking. Some of you may have some younger potatoes in your boxes (smaller). I find that the potatoes right out of the garden often times cook and bake faster than others. Yeah – faster meal preparation!
Green Bell Peppers – The peppers are just taking off.
Banana Pepper – I cut these up and freeze extra peppers for later in the year.
Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Flower after flower will grow into a zucchini.
Summer Squash – Make these into noodles, sauté and more. Try making this or zucchini into noodles.
Egg Plant – If you enjoy egg plant let us know. Quantity is limited but we want to make sure those who enjoy it are able to.
Broccoli – We had a taste this week. Let us know if you enjoy this garden delight.
Sweet Corn – Thank you to our neighbors, the Peterson family, for contributing the sweet corn in this week’s box. Quick Tip: If you don’t eat all the sweet corn you have cooked, cut it off the cob and freeze it in a container. Reheat your frozen corn for your vegetable at another meal or use in a hot dish, salsa or a soup.
Eggs – Straight from our hen house – enjoy.
Flowers of the Week – Zinnias, Hydrangeas and Teddy Bear Sunflowers
Recipe of the Week
Sweet Corn on the Grill
I used to always boil the sweet corn in the kitchen. I found a much simpler way for our family.
- Cut the tips/silks off and any loose leaves.
- Place on the grill alongside meat that I am grilling.
- Grill sweet corn for a half our turning every so often.
- Take off of grill and peel.
- Eat and Enjoy!