Glimmer of Hope

Glimmer of Hope

In the upheaval of today’s world, some things are constant: weeds will show up even when you least expect them; unpredictable weather is out of our control; and unpredictable days are full of surprises. It is interesting to look at our world through things we see each day while #StillFarming. There are lessons that can be applied to every day life. We can focus a positive attitude on the surprises some will be good and some will be challenging; manage the weeds/challenges to the best of our ability and recognize that overall God is in control hand over our worries.

“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts.” – Romans 5:3–5

It’s been a busy week trying to stay in front of weed growth, planting another round of crops and prepping for the first CSA. Distance learning has included a variety of hands on lessons in the field and with equipment.

Here is a glimpse into the past few weeks and a look at what is in your boxes.

The mulch has been installed for the tomatoes, and the tomatoes are planted.
We also were busy tilling this weekend both for weed control and another round of planting.
Dragging Between rows to keep the weeds under control.
Dragging between rows to keep the weeds under control.

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.Please follow the CDC and MDH guidelines and COVID-19 procedures in 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.

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 Lorence’s Berry Farm near Northfield.

Spinach – Love this mixed into a salad with other greens or as a stand alone by itself.

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 Taste of Home on how to use this herb.

Chives – Cut them up and use as you would onions. Add good flavor to a variety of dishes. Try the Pioneer Woman’s Cheddar Chive Biscuits.

Recipe of the Week

Strawberry Spinach Salad
Strawberry Spinach Salad

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

Salad
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

Directions
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

Hope on the Horizon

Hope on the Horizon

There are so many COVID-19 challenges in everyone’s lives. I like to focus on the hope in our future. That is one of the reasons I love planting season. There so much hope in what is to come in what we put in the ground. So much hope in the warmer weather and the longer days of summer.

One of my favorite Bible verses has a message of Hope.

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you Hope and a Future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

I know for many this verse holds much confusion in the current situations, and the future is difficult to grasp now. I encourage you to focus on what this season brings – Hope. Sending you all Peace and Hope.

wp-15883401196047199200386376874790.jpg

The potatoes were planted last Thursday. Thus far, we have Yukon Gold, Kennebec and Dark Red Norlands planted. I love seeing the names of the families who grew the seed potatoes that we are planting. For those of you noticing where they were grown…Sabin, MN is in Clay County.

wp-15883401202648955960320021456756.jpg

We installed the cucumber fence so that the cucumbers will grow on top of the fence and hang down through the fence for easier harvesting and vegetables that should be cleaner.

wp-1588340120148.jpg

The different varieties of onion sets planted were Ailssa Craig, Walla Walla, Patterson and Redwing onions.

wp-1588340120202.jpg

All that could safely be planted during this time of year was planted. We take into consideration that the threat of frost is still upon us. The boys were happy to till the fields before planting to provide for a nice seed bed.

wp-1588376260772.jpg

Again, the seed differences are fascinating. It is simply amazing what they grow in to. Such a variety were planted this past weekend. With the gentle rain and weather warming up, there is hope on the horizon with all of the challenges we face.

wp-15883401220812538134505794943521.jpg

A few home improvements have kept the learning going including siding the shop.

wp-1588376299788.jpg

There is a lot of uncertainty as to whether there will be fairs this summer. But, we decided as a family that we would still get 4-H pigs. Because there is more to a 4-H project than just an investment. It is the day to day learning of working on the project and caring for the animal. As I look at the boys with the pigs and all the uncertainty and challenges that are facing our pig farmers, to me it is also a representation of hope in our future. We also decided to make some changes to their pig pen this year. The last two years have been SO wet and such a mud hole for the pigs. We feel it will be much healthier to have them on a cement floor. The boys look forward to walking them in the yard after they have gotten used to their surroundings.

 

 

Warmer weather on the Horizon

Warmer weather on the Horizon

We are ready for some sunshine and no snow and are hopeful that the weather forecast of warmer days to come are upon us. Here is a glimpse of our activity last week.

wp-15873213047321488206553381744689.jpg

Keith and I planted some of our seeds last week such as cauliflower, tomatoes, watermelon and more.

wp-1587321260819.jpg

It is fun to see all of the different sizes and shapes of the seeds and then to see what they grow into. A miracle combined with science and Mother Nature – always fun to witness.

wp-1587321305289.jpg

We were grateful for a beautiful day. The boys all had a hard time believing me that we were in a winter storm warning for the following day.

wp-1587321305306.jpg

Sure enough, the snow came, and the boys made the most of it. Grateful that one week later the snow is gone.

wp-15873213058771711513963951826487.jpg

Keith with one of the Isa Brown hens that is quickly growing and maturing at little over 7 weeks old.

wp-15873213053211908239975066402690.jpg

After a hard days work, it was fun to see the boys sit down and just enjoy these young chickens. This is one of the male rooster Isa Browns at just over 7 weeks of age.

 

 

 

 

 

Springing into April

Springing into April

We are so glad to spring into April. Longer days and more sunshine are always a good thing. It is such an interesting, unprecedented time we are living in. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. We are so grateful for everyone on the front line and for everyone that is helping to keep us fed, clothed and safe. My God be with all of you.

Below is an update on what we have been busy with.

“Protect me, for I am devoted to you. Save me, for I serve you and trust you. You are my God.” Psalm 86:2

wp-1586124992709.jpg

Seed selection always is a great way to cheer us up. It has been fun looking through these catalogs and university trial research to decide on best options for this year’s season.

wp-15861249927361628644867706136223.jpg

It so fun to see the variety of seeds arriving. We are anxiously waiting for the soil to warm up.

wp-15861249921588610445019605760170.jpg

The rhubarb is emerging. Yum!

wp-1586124993261.jpg

Yesterday, this was covered in snow. We are so thankful that it was only about an inch of snow and some other forms of precipitation.

wp-1586124993955.jpg

The Isa Brown chicks are growing fast. Look how many feathers they have at about 5 1/2 weeks of age. The red feathered is the hen, female, and the white feathered is the rooster, male, in this breed of chicken.

wp-1586124994023.jpg

Here is a view of the hens wing feathers.  What a beautiful pattern of colors.

wp-1586124994454.jpg

We have been using this time as a way to get some of our projects done such as installing new windows, soffit and facia. We are hoping to complete some more projects this upcoming week.

wp-1586124994078.jpg

It is such a joy to see tulips and daffodils emerging. I just hope that the weather doesn’t turn cold again anytime soon, and that Mother Nature is truly trying to bring us Spring and warmer weather. Here’s wishing you and your family some Spring joy this week.

 

Spring around the Corner

Spring around the Corner

It’s hard to believe that spring is around the corner. Mother Nature was trying to warm up this weekend, and it melted a lot of the snow. But it is still March, and last night, we had a beautiful snowfall with large snowflakes. Frankly, some of the largest flakes I have ever seen. Thankfully, it has all melted away by the day’s end. Here’s a brief glimpse into some of the excitement at our place.

wp-15839755613577478658801218567508.jpg

Seed selection has begun. It is always a brighter day when seed catalogs arrive with such beautiful photos of what’s to come.

wp-15839754817264420380927534044578.jpg

The kittens you helped to tame have grown into fluffy cats and appear to be doing a good job as the leaders on mice control.

 

Garden Clean-Up

Garden Clean-Up

It has been a crazy weather ride. We are grateful that we haven’t had the amount of moisture that others have had. Our thoughts and prayers are with those that have be been affected by the weather. We ask that you to include the farmers and ranchers in your prayers.

Here is a glimpse of what we have been up to the last week and a half.

20191009_1817014409863399153147735.jpg

Harvesting the last few sugar snap peas and cucumbers before taking down the fence.

20191007_1905452509235404078628279.jpg

We were finishing the final harvest in one of our fields and cleaning out the plants trying to beat the weather. Sam was mowing down the plants to mulch them to then be tilled back into the ground to feed the soil.

mulch

Pulling up the tomato mulch and putting away the drip irrigation hoses was messy.

20191012_092051.jpg

We did have a bit more clean-up to do yesterday, but the pelleting snow didn’t stop them.

20191012_100323.jpg

A bit more tilling to do as well. Thankful the snow did not stick around.

Garden Science

20190927_1752424994544162841861409.jpg

As part of the clean-up we collect seeds from the Marigolds to be used next year. Marigolds help to bring in beneficial insects to eat the bad insects.

20190927_1752382381909968075195688.jpg

The flowers will die and dry up.

20190927_1752519001456331564578030.jpg

We will harvest the dried flower heads. When you open them up – each of these long black strips with the white end are a Marigold seed that can be stored through the winter and planted next year.

Garden Joys Available

20190925_1718533513374366684000506.jpg

We have some corn shocks available to decorate your front porch.

20190930_173431.jpg

To keep it simple for you and easy to decorate during the Fall season and in this cold weather, we have $25 groupings ready for your front door step, and we can deliver.

20190930_195712.jpg

This is another example of a $25 arrangement….Let us know if you need any pumpkins, gourds or squash. Happy to bring to football, church etc. Please note the different arrangements.

20190930_174524761539748269274876.jpg

butternut squash

Butternut Squash for sale.

20190928_1554165868072387535631982.jpg

Sunflower heads to feed the birds are also available for sale.

Feeling Blessed

Feeling Blessed

20190925_171732.jpg

Thank you for being along for this growing season journey.

It is hard to believe we are at the end of our season. As you can imagine, we will not miss harvesting in the rain and the cold freezing hands that come with it. We will miss the valued conversations with all of you, and the shared ideas of how to eat and use the produce. It is indeed fun to hear how all of you use it, and what produce excites you and generates fun memories of your family.

Tonight’s conversation at confirmation around creation and our responsibilities to appreciating and taking care of what God created stimulated some good season ending thoughts.

One of the versus discussed was from Genesis 3:19, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” We see a lot of this when we work with plants and animals as these grow and produce and die and return to the soil providing nutrients to grow something anew. Now is really the time of year we see many things come full circle.

We spent this past week, cleaning up the garden and preparing for the soil for the next growing season. Recognizing that plant material will break down into soil and/or we use it as feed for the chickens which then produce manure used for fertilizing some of the crops. Areas which will grow pumpkins and corn, we incorporated manure into the soil and will plant cover crops as soon as the rain stops and allows us to do this. All of which feeds the soil to grow bountiful crops to share with all of you.

20191002_184211.jpg

Five of the six fields are cleaned off and ready for cover crop. We will clean out the last field this week.

Another reflective point at confirmation tonight was a reminder of our responsibility to care for all of God’s creation. From the work I do and the privilege I have with working with farmers all over the state, I do believe there is no other group of people that have such a unique bond and love for the land and all of God’s creation. They are in tune with what makes the land be the best it can be and their animals thrive. Many wonder what farmers are doing to protect our environment. Here are two recent pieces of information that you may appreciate seeing. One is from Farmers for a Sustainable Future and the other is 30 Harvests from the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.

In closing, one of the parting thoughts from confirmation was never underestimating the power of what God has in store and that one can make a positive change. We feel blessed to have been part of your lives this growing season. Please know that you made our lives brighter because you were part of it. Thank you!

Garden Science

Giant Vegetables – Take a look at these giant vegetables. The kohlrabi were as big as the boys’ heads weighing in at 3 pounds, 3.25 pounds, 3.5 pounds and 3.75 pounds.

20190928_1655505820198402452250304.jpg

The beets weighted in at 1 pounds, 1.5 pounds, 1.75 and 3 pounds.

 

20190921_1743141938756363638065072.jpg

The giant zucchini weighted in at 12. 5 pounds and was 24.5 inches long.

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 them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So, remember to wash your vegetables before eating. It’s week 16.

Lettuce/Spinach – You have some Red Oak Lettuce and Spinach in your box. This next crop has been a real challenge to get going, but it looks like this cold weather and rain has encouraged it. Looks promising for next week.

Arugula – Arugula is a peppery, distinctive-tasting green that originated in the Mediterranean region. If you like this crop, let us know and we will put more in your box next week.

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.

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi – just a few left.

Dragon Tongue Beans and Purple Beans – This heritage variety of beans can be used like green beans. Enjoy the different color.

Sugar Snap Peas – The final crop …enjoy. Check out pea harvest in Minnesota near Blooming Prairie. Did you know Minnesota generally will rank as number one in the nation for peas produced for processing (canning or freezing).

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – the third crop is being harvested

Onion – Walla Walla and yellow onions in your boxes this week. Learn more about onions and how they are grown and distributed to our grocery store from America’s Heartland.

Tomatoes – This crop is exploding…enjoy a few extra to freeze for salsa or soups later this year. Check out how tomatoes get from the farm to the grocery store at America’s Heartland.

Potatoes – Norlands are in your box. Great for cooking. Learn more about this variety here. 

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Check out it’s nutritional benefits.

Carnival/Kuri and Butternut Squash – Love the versatility of these winter squash and the potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, they offer. Interesting health information from Harvard on this vegetable.

Purple Cauliflower – a taste for you this week.

Purple Cabbage – A few small ones are left if this fits your lifestyle better.

Flowers of the Week – Hydrangeas and Sedums

Pumpkins and gourds – enjoy the variety – this crop suffered from the growing season and the area where they were growing was compacted down from all of the tornado clean-up last year. We are looking forward to a better crop next year.

wordswag_1570061962599.jpg

Recipe of the Week

Salsa

20191002_1840392995869118388603794.jpg

Steve made hot salsa and mild salsa this week. We hope you enjoy the taste. We also hope you to have been trying different salsa recipes. Please share your favorite recipes so we can share them with the shareholders. Check out Taste of Homes top 10 salsa recipes.

 

Stark Reminders

Stark Reminders

Harner Family 9-19

This is the last official week of the CSA. Next week will be bonus boxes as we work to clean-up the harvest. Thank you to everyone for your support. We enjoy working with and for all of you.

Last night as we were harvesting gourds and pumpkins, the skies grew dark and the humidity in the air sat still. The weather service had been warning us for days to be alert and aware of the weather on Tuesday late afternoon and evening. So, when I picked up the boys and laid out our goals and schedule before nightfall and told them of the urgency of time because of the weather forecast, they thought I was crazy because the skies were clear.

So, as we all sauntered out to harvest at our own paces, I looked up after about 20 minutes outside, and the skies were black. So, we quickly shifted gears and continued working, through quite a bit of it. The storms were split around us, and the lightning shows were all around with the green to the south and the tall thunderheads to our north. To say it was eerie is an understatement. We were all glad when the wind picked up vs the heavy stillness and the green clouds to the south. We prayed the two systems would not build off each other. Our true concern of a repeat of last year was real. In the end, the storms split us, and we had some rainfall, barely enough to make the ground wet.

As we closed out our day, I said that I enjoyed being out watching the weather, and the rush of working hard together. The boys enjoyed the tasks at hand, but said that the eeriness was way to familiar and were so thankful that Mother Nature did not show us any more than she did. It was just another stark reminder of how little is in our control.

A special request from us this fall: As farmers  across our great state are starting harvest season, please do us a favor – Mother Nature has been challenging this year. I am asking you to consider how you may lift the spirits of the farmers you may know – say thank you, slow down for them on the road, think of a kind gesture you can do for them (maybe it’s bringing them coffee or a sandwich or simply waving). After all, they are just trying their best to raise food for all of us. Thank you!

Garden Science

20190922_134454.jpg

These beautiful butterflies are loving the Zinnias.

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 them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So, remember to wash your vegetables before eating. It’s week 16.

Lettuce/Spinach – You have some Red Oak Lettuce and Spinach in your box. This next crop has been a real challenge to get going, but it looks like this cold weather and rain has encouraged it. Looks promising for next week.

ArugulaArugula is a peppery, distinctive-tasting green that originated in the Mediterranean region. If you like this crop, let us know and we will put more in your box next week.

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 – just a few left.

Dragon Tongue Beans and Purple Beans– This heritage variety of beans can be used like green beans. Enjoy the different color.

20190821_180928.jpgSugar Snap PeasThe final crop is just coming in…so you have a taste.

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – the third crop is being harvested

Onion – Walla Walla onions in your boxes this week. Learn more about onions from America’s Heartland.

Tomatoes – This crop is exploding…enjoy a few extra to freeze for salsa or soups later this year. Here are a few recipe ideas from America’s Heartland.

Potatoes – Yukon Golds or Kennebecs are in your box. Great for baking. I find that the potatoes right out of the garden often cook and bake faster than others. Yeah – faster meal preparation!

Green Bell Peppers – Great for freezing for meals later this year.

Banana Pepper – I cut these up and freeze extra peppers for later in the year.

20190921_1743141938756363638065072.jpg

The largest zucchini has been harvested.

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Flower after flower will grow into a zucchini.

20190924_1754338372946392187254771.jpg

A variety of egg plants this year.

Eggplants – The egg plant crop has been flourishing this year.

Butternut Winter Squash – This is our family favorite of squashes. It is hourglass in shape. Here are a few recipes for Butternut Squash from Martha Stewart.

carnival-squash

Carnival Squash

Carnival Squash – Carnival squash has variegated patterns of orange and green colors and is a hybrid of the sweet dumpling squash and the acorn squash. When cooked its texture is soft and melting with a fragrant aroma and its flavor; slightly nutty, buttery, and sweet with nuances of maple syrup, similar to that of butternut squash. This squash has contains potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, as well as, some calcium, magnesium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

Broccoli A taste for you this week.

Purple Cauliflower – A taste for you this week.

20190904_155811.jpg

Red Kuri Squash

Red Kuri Winter Squash I fix it just like I do Butternut Squash. Cut it in half, place cut side down in cake pan, place about an inch of water in the pan, cover with aluminum foil, place in preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for one hour. Take out of oven, peel the skin off, scoop out the seeds and enjoy. I mix with a ½ cup of butter and ¾ cup of brown sugar. Freeze extra in cupcake tins to use later on. Learn more here.

20190916_1810381480787013334266606.jpgPurple CabbageWe hope you enjoy this garden delight. Here are some ways to use this vegetable.

Pumpkins and gourds enjoy the variety – this crop suffered from the growing season and the area where they were growing was compacted down from all of the tornado clean-up last year. We are looking forward to a better crop next year.

Flowers of the Week – ornamental corn and corn stalks

Recipe of the Week

Tomato and Onion Quiche

Serves 6

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Preparation Time: 10-20 minutes

Cook/Bake Time: 1 hour

 

1/2 of a 15-ounce package (1 crust) rolled, refrigerated pie crust

12 ounces assorted tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup chopped onion

4 large eggs

3/4 cup half-and-half

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup shredded Swiss, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and/or Havarti cheese (4 ounces)

Paprika

Preheat oven to 425°Fahrenheit.

-Let pie crust stand at room temperature according to package directions. Unroll pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate. Crimp edge as desired. Line un-pricked pastry with a double thickness of foil. Bake in a 425° oven for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes more or until pastry is set and dry. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375°.

-Place tomato slices on paper towels to absorb excess moisture. In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion. Cook until onion is tender, stirring occasionally.

-In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, flour, basil, salt, dry mustard and black pepper.

-To assemble quiche: Sprinkle cheese onto bottom of the hot, baked pastry shell. Spoon onion mixture over cheese. Arrange a single layer of tomato slices over cheese, overlapping slightly. Slowly pour egg mixture over tomatoes. Sprinkle some paprika over the mixture.

-Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes or until egg mixture is set in center. If necessary, cover edge of pie with foil for the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking to prevent over-browning. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Source: Minnesota Chicken and Egg

Priceless Moments

Priceless Moments

20190916_181023.jpg

Harvesting Tomatoes

As we were harvesting and beginning to pack boxes this week, you could tell there was a sense of contentment with all of us. It was a beautiful evening with enough of a breeze that the bugs were not bad. Conversations were flowing about our days, about strange insects we were seeing in the garden, what produce was ready and what produce was seeing the end of its production.

We then divided into teams. A team to harvest sweet corn, and another team to pack produce into boxes. To be honest, I love the one on one time with each of the boys. I know which produce the boys like to pack, and honestly it is fun to watch them build a skill and see them do a nice job with it. Watching them pack produce is a lot like watching someone bag your groceries at the grocery store – it is a true skill set.

As we wrapped up, and we moved onto the next part of our evenings. I remember walking away thinking how much I valued and cherished these moments of time spent together. I realized last night when we were reflecting on our favorite parts of our days and thanking God for our three favorite things that I was not the only one. Both boys, specifically said harvesting sweet corn and packing boxes were among there favorite things.

The moral of the story: don’t ever under value what appears to be work or mundane tasks with your loved ones. These truly might be some of the most valued parts of your day and most cherished memories together because of the true sense of calm over these comfortable tasks completed together. These are the moments when valued conversations happens and bonds are strengthen.

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 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, but it looks like this cold weather and rain has encouraged it. Looks promising for next week.

ArugulaArugula is a peppery, distinctive-tasting green that originated in the Mediterranean region. If you like this crop, let us know and we will put more in your box next week.

Carrots – This weather helped this root vegetable mature. Learn more about baby carrots from America’s Heartland.

20190828_0701238363797204695886238.jpg

Sorry to say, but the radish crop has come to an end.

Radishes – These Cherry Belle Radishes are loving this colder weather.

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. Here are more ideas.

20190916_181050.jpg

The flower of the dragon tongue bean which eventually produces the bean.

Dragon Tongue Beans – This heritage variety of beans can be used like green beans. Enjoy the different color.

20190910_065355.jpg

For those of you that love cucumbers, our third and final crop of cucumbers are ready.

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. Learn more about onions from America’s Heartland.

Tomatoes – A taste of a few cherry tomatoes and Fourth of July tomatoes this week. Here are a few recipe ideas from America’s Heartland.

9-12-14 potatoes

Red Norland

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 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.

Butternut Winter Squash – This is our family favorite of squashes. It is hourglass in shape. Here are a few recipes for Butternut Squash from Martha Stewart.

carnival-squash

Carnival Squash

Carnival Squash – Carnival squash has variegated patterns of orange and green colors and is a hybrid of the sweet dumpling squash and the acorn squash. When cooked its texture is soft and melting with a fragrant aroma and its flavor; slightly nutty, buttery, and sweet with nuances of maple syrup, similar to that of butternut squash. This squash has contains potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, as well as, some calcium, magnesium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

Broccoli a taste for you this week.

Purple Cauliflower – a taste for you this week.

Purple CabbageWe hope you enjoy this garden delight. Here are some ways to use this vegetable.

cropped-gourds.jpgGourds – We have just started harvesting. Enjoy the beautiful colors.

 

Recipe of the Week

Pumpkin Bread is a favorite. I use butternut squash that I have cooked and frozen as my “pumpkin” in this recipe. It works great!

9-2-14 pumpkin bread4

Place batter in muffin liners that have been sprayed with cooking spray. This batter makes good muffins or good bread. Bake muffins for about 12 – 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pumpkin Bread

1 2/3 cup flour

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup cold water

2 eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin (I use 1 cup cooked squash)

Combine flour, sugar, butter, soda, spices and salt in bowl. Add 1/3 cup cold water, eggs, and pumpkin (squash) mix well. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool on wire rack.

Source: Pat Kuznik – West Polk County: Blue Ribbon Favorites Minnesota 4-H Foundation

9-2-14 pumpkin bread 5

Pumpkin Bread is a favorite. I use butternut squash that I have cooked and frozen as my “pumpkin” in this recipe. It works great!

Unforeseen Outcomes

Unforeseen Outcomes

20190910_065432.jpg

Picking beans can be tedious. These two found adventure…seeing who could pick the longest one. Sam said he won finding a bean that was nearly one foot long.

This year’s weather continues to surprise us and keep us guessing. Not only are we below on average growing degree days which is a measure of heat accumulation used to predict plant and animal development rates such as the date that a flower will bloom, an insect will emerge from dormancy, or a crop will reach maturity   See historical data on growing conditions here and precipitation here.

These things combined have been factors in crop outcomes. We thought it was important to communicate a few of our crop disappointments.

-The garlic crop was looking and smelling amazing and after a few heavy rains in mid-July, the crop rotted in the field – literally looked great Monday and by Friday the crop was unhealthy looking and dying…nothing we could do. While some of our other crops in that area seemed to have adequate drainage, the garlic did not like that soil type and the amount of water it retained. We’re not planting garlic there again.

-Another irony in that area of the field. Right after the county fair, we planted several different crops – our last round of planting. Much to my surprise – this week so literally 7 weeks after planting I am seeing a strong stand of carrots emerging. This should have happened a month ago. It is odd.

-Pumpkins and gourds:  While we will have pumpkins and gourds to harvest, it will not be as plentiful as last year. While we will have plenty to share with all of you, it will not be what we had hoped for. Most specifically are giant pumpkins have not had enough GDU. Then in another area where we had a lot of soil compaction from tractors and gators driving over an area for tornado clean-up last September – it to under-performed. So, we are not sure if it was all around bad seed or the soil compaction or a combination of both that affected pumpkin growth.

We appreciate you bearing with us as I am sure you to are disappointed about some of these crops. We assure you that there are plenty of surprises yet to come in the last few weeks of the CSA. So, keep you eyes peeled and thank you for bearing with us in one of the craziest growing seasons on record according to many of the farmers I know.

Garden Science

20190812_2027527394097779956582064.jpg

Funny things happen in nature – these cucumbers grew together and the tomato grew a nose. We like to give these unique finds for one of our shareholders to use in her classroom.

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 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, but it looks like this cold weather and rain has encouraged it. Looks promising for next week.

ArugulaArugula is a peppery, distinctive-tasting green that originated in the Mediterranean region. If you like this crop, let us know and we will put more in your box next week.

20190828_0712586239678564004970103.jpg

Esperanza Carrots

Carrots growing.Carrots – This weather helped this root vegetable mature. Learn more about baby carrots from America’s Heartland.

Radishes – These Cherry Belle Radishes are loving this colder weather.

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. Check out the recipes for beets at Taste of Home.

20190821_0750052105819608521349309.jpg

Dragon Tongue Beans

Dragon Tongue Beans – This heritage variety of beans can be used like green beans. Enjoy the different color.

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi. Peel it and slice like an apple. Here are more ideas.

 

20190910_065355.jpg

Cucumbers growing – look just below the base of the flower. 

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. Learn more about onions from America’s Heartland.

Tomatoes – 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 – Yukon Golds are a versatile potato. – check out these ideas. Some of you may have some younger potatoes in your boxes (smaller). I find that the potatoes right out of the garden often 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.

20180909_1839222505913818132336532.jpg

Butternut Squash

Butternut Winter SquashIt has a sweet, nutty taste. It has tan-yellow skin and orange fleshy pulp with a compartment of seeds in the bottom. When ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange, and becomes sweeter and richer. It is a good source of fibervitamin Cmagnesium, and potassium; and it is a source of vitamin A. Although technically a fruit, butternut squash is used as a vegetable that can be roasted, sautéed, toasted, puréed for soups such as squash soup, or mashed to be used in casseroles, breads, muffins, and pies.

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.

8-13-13 red cabbage Sam

Purple cabbage this week. Enjoy!

Purple CabbageWe hope you enjoy this garden delight. Here are some ways to use this vegetable.

Flowers of the Week – Zinnias, Hydrangeas and Sedum

Recipe of the Week

Butternut Squash

  • Cut it in half, place cut side down in cake pan.
  • Place about an inch of water in the pan.
  • Cover with aluminum foil.
  • Place in preheated 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for one hour. If it is a larger squash, I will leave it in the oven if there is enough water still in the pan for an additional 30 minute.
  • Take out of oven.
  • Peel the skin off.
  • Scoop out the seeds and enjoy.

    9-12-12 butternut squash

    I have doubled the recipe in this picture: Add: 1 stick of butter 3/4 cup brown sugar Using a mixer, blend together until smooth. Serve.

    Using hand mixer – blend in a ½ cup of butter and ¾ cup of brown sugar.

  • Freeze extra in cupcake tins to use at another time.

    9-12-12 butternut squash2

    Blend until smooth. Freeze extra in cupcake tins. Once frozen pop out of tin and place in Ziploc bag perfect for a single portion later on. Store in freezer.