Why 4-H?

Why 4-H?

This week is fair week. If you have never shown at the fair or had family members that have shown, let me paint a picture for you. The house and laundry are chaos. Meals are served in the barn. Tension is very high, and sleep deprivation is present. Families learn to navigate and operate together under high stress situations. Many wonder, why do you do this?

Fair week is where 4-H projects outcomes become a realization. We watch children grow and achieve personal growth that they didn’t know was possible. 4-Hers learn, fail, succeed, face challenges and grow in a safe environment.

Our boys bring both general projects and livestock projects to the fair. On Monday, they bring in general projects from shop to foods to photography to gardening to safety to so much more! 4-H isn’t just for farm kids, it is for everyone.

I ask the boys to do general projects because general projects are life skills in action, developing new skillsets, exploring new areas and visiting with an adult judge explaining all they have learned. While the judging might appear nerve racking, the boys both enjoy visiting with the judge about their projects and sharing their knowledge.

Livestock projects develop different skill sets including growing their knowledge of agriculture and developing an understanding and passion for feeding people. Thinking of others, putting people first while being compassionate caretakers for animals. Not to many people can say that they enjoy working with a nearly 300 pound animal…their pig.

Why are 4-H projects judged? To Make the Best Better. Each 4-H project allows youth to reflect on new goals they can set, new ways to challenge themselves and to foster a growth mindset towards a positive perspective.

4-H provides an opportunity to network and learn from others, cultivate communication and leadership skills, and provides unique situations to develop lifelong skill sets.

The 4-H Pledge

I PLEDGE my HEAD to clearer thinking,
my HEART to greater loyalty,
my HANDS to larger service,
and my HEALTH to better living,
for my family, my club, my community, my country and my world.

I encourage you to support our youth and encourage them to be involved in 4-H. 4-H helps us to grow and develop our future leaders for our communities. We all know we need good leaders. Our youth our worth our time and investment.

Why do we stretch ourselves thin on fair week and with our involvement in 4-H? Our kids are our why. Our kids our worth our time and investment. The future of our communities and all areas that need leadership are worth it. Learn more at your county Extension office or search 4-H in your state.

Garden Science

Learn more at University of Minnesota Extension.

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.

Super Sugar Snap Peas – This garden favorite is producing like crazy. It is hard to keep up. The second crop of peas was planted mid-June. Due to the dry weather, it has been slower growing. While I love to just eat these peas fresh. Here are a few ideas from Taste of Home for additional ways to use them.

Green Beans – Learn more about green bean production from America’s Heartland here.

Radishes – Wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt. Some radish recipes from Taste of Home.

Dark Red Beets – Some of our shareholders like to cut these up and eat these raw in their salads. This is an interesting resource from NDSU Extension.

Carrots – First round of carrots. More to come!

Cucumbers – The first cucumbers of the season. Here is a simple cucumber salad recipe from Martha Stewart.

Potatoes – Kennebec potatoes good for baked potatoes. Learn more here.

Zucchini – The first of the season. So many wonderful ways to use Zucchini. I have posted

Fresh cut arrangement – Hydrangeas, Sunflowers and Zinnia.

Recipe of the Week

Fudgy Zucchini Brownies

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup baking cocoa

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups shredded zucchini

1-1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Frosting

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup miniature marshmallows

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, combine the zucchini, sugar and oil; stir into dry ingredients until blended. Stir in walnuts and vanilla.

2. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

3. In a large saucepan, melt butter; stir in sugar and milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook and stir 1 minute or until smooth. Remove from the heat. Stir in chips and marshmallows until melted and smooth; add vanilla. Spread over brownies. Sprinkle with walnuts if desired.

Source: Taste of Home

Positively impacting the world

Positively impacting the world

This week, I have had the opportunity to listen to many researchers share their knowledge with farmers and ranchers at some of NDSU Research Extension Center’s field days. These field days are open to the public to learn more and to see how they can apply what they learn to improve their farm or ranch.

It is absolutely fascinating to hear what the researchers are working on, and their passion and desire to improve our food supply chain exudes them. It is so fun to watch people do what they love and know that what they do will positively impact the world.

I’ve had the great opportunity to work with researchers and Extension personnel in four states: Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and North Dakota. I can say without a doubt that I wish the general public new how much work goes into each and every step of the food supply chain. The true passion and desire to make the best better and to feed the world is real and grounded at the very beginning of each of our food supply processes.

Garden Science

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.

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. With all the lettuce, I thought you’d appreciate these resources with recipes from NDSU Extension.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love this beautiful red lettuce leaf. It adds such a wonderful color to your salads.

Did you know that when we harvest cucumbers that they have small spikes on them? Cucumbers may have become spiny for the same reason that some animals are camouflaged or have horns…to protect themselves from predators.

Cucumbers – The first cucumbers of the season.

Super Sugar Snap Peas – This garden favorite is producing like crazy. It is hard to keep up The second crop of peas was planted mid-June. Due to the dry weather, it has been slower growing. While I love to just eat these peas fresh. Here are a few ideas from Taste of Home for additional ways to use them.

Radishes – Wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt. Some radish recipes from Taste of Home.

Dark Red Beets – Some of our shareholders like to cut these up and eat these raw in their salads. This is an interesting resource from NDSU Extension.

Zucchini – The first of the season.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hydrangeas, Sunflowers and Zinnia.

Recipe of the Week

Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame Seeds

1 pound sugar snap peas

Dark sesame oil

Sesame seeds

Kosher salt

Toss sugar snap peas in a bowl with sesame oil, sesame seeds, and kosher salt, to taste. Serve.

What’s Growing On?

What’s Growing On?

There is a lot growing on in the garden. The much-needed shot of rain last week did help give the crops a boost. Last night’s rain did not amount to much. While that was good for the boys’ baseball games it was not so good for the plants. Here’s a glimpse of a few of the crops.

Garden Science

The heart-shaped leaves are soft and velvety. Velvetleaf is usually considered to be an annual. It can grow up to 8 feet tall in a single season but is usually 2-4 feet tall. It has been grown in China since around 2000 B.C. for its strong, jute-like fiber in the erect stem for making cords, nets, woven bags, rugs and other coarse textiles. The Chinese also used the plant for medicinal purposes to treat fever, dysentery, stomach aches and other problems. Source: University of Wisconsin Extension

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 – This is the last week of 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. One or two more weeks of rhubarb. Make the most of it! Make the most of your rhubarb. Make it into jam and freeze it for your year ahead. Check out the recipe below.

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. With all the lettuce, I thought you’d appreciate these resources with recipes from NDSU Extension.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love this beautiful red lettuce leaf. It adds such a wonderful color to your salads.

Spinach – Remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal! Check out Taste of Home’s spinach recipes

.Super Sugar Snap Peas – This garden favorite is on the verge of a lot of production. Enjoy! The second crop of peas was planted three weeks ago, but just started to emerge. It is quite a bit behind due to the hot conditions and lack of moisture from Mother Nature. No amount of watering seems to be able to replace what Mother Nature provides.

Radishes – Wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt.

Dark Red Beets – Some of our shareholders like to cut these up and eat these raw in their salads. This is an interesting resource from NDSU Extension.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta leaves, Hydrangeas, Spirea and Zinnia.

Recipe of the Week

Rhubarb Jam

Mix together and set aside until a juice forms:

6 cups rhubarb sliced into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces

3 cups granulated sugar

Next:

Add one can of pie filling (cherry, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry)

Cook these ingredients for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 package of 3 oz Jello (use Jello that is of the same flavor as the pie filling). Mix well. Pour into containers. Refrigerate or freeze.

Proactive Solutions

Proactive Solutions

It is so easy to look at the problems that lie in front of us and feel so overwhelmed that it is paralyzing. So, paralyzing that you can’t think of proactive solutions to address it. For me, I literally need to talk myself into how great I know I will feel after addressing a solution in this case weeding. Yet, I don’t even want to start weeding. Because once you start weeding, part of it looks wonderful, and the un-weeded looks like a bad hair day…pretty obviously AWFUL. At least when it is all weedy, it looks consistent. You hope that anyone that drives by just doesn’t notice it.

Weeds in our flower and vegetable gardens can feel so overwhelming. I’d much rather stay in bed than face those weeds. Yet, I forced myself on the only free Saturday in June to roll over so that I literally had no choice but to fall out of bed and land on my feet.

While I despise the weeds, I truly admire them. Let’s face it, we all need to be more like weeds and grow and flourish no matter what the weather conditions. Stand tall and proud wherever the seed lands.

I encourage you to find proactive solutions to attack today’s challenges.

After I got over the paralyzing feeling and started in with my proactive solutions, I just started weeding, I took it by sections so that I was able to proudly reflect back on the accomplishments.

By the end of the weekend, the gardens were no longer looking like a bad hair day, rather they appeared to have just come from seeing the hair dresser. The good plants were standing tall and proud and ready to grow in such a manner to shade out the weeds and negativity that hold them back from being productive.

I encourage you to push yourself to find the proactive solutions to what is holding you back. You too will stand tall and proud once you have achieved the dreaded task and implemented proactive solutions.

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” – President Theodore Roosevelt

It is so easy to look at the problems that lie in front of us and feel so overwhelmed that it is paralyzing. So, paralyzing that you can’t think of proactive solutions to address it. For me, I literally need to talk myself into how great I know I will feel after addressing a solution in this case weeding.
In addition to weeding, we tied up the tomato plants so as they grow they climb up the fence. This will help the tomatoes to stay clean.

Garden Science

Striped Cucumber Beetle

The Striped Cucumber Beetle feeds primarily on cucumbers, squash, melons, and pumpkins. Active from May through August. May kill or retard growth of seedlings, if numbers are severe. Vector of bacterial wilt in curcurbits and of cucumber mosaic virus. Source: University of Minnesota Extension

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.

The rhubarb stalks are so long this year. You harvest rhubarb by pulling the stalk out of the ground. This process does not include pulling the root out of the ground. Then you cut the leaf off of the top of the stalk and cut off the part of the stalk that was attached to the base of the plant.

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. One or two more weeks of rhubarb. Make the most of it! Check out this recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Cream Cheese Bars.

Black Seeded Simpson can be harvested for several weeks.

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. Learn more about lettuce from America’s Heartland.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love this beautiful red lettuce leaf. It adds such a wonderful color to your salads.

Spinach with Beet Greens – Remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal! Check out Taste of Home’s spinach recipes.

Radishes – Wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt.

Herb Pots – We have a variety of herbs in a pots for you to put on your deck, patio or kitchen. Basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary and oregano. Shareholders will receive a mix of three of these in a pot. Enjoy!

Hosta

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta leaves, peonies, irises and asparagus ferns.

This week’s CSA share.

Recipe of the Week

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

Learn by Doing

Learn by Doing

This past weekend, we had the privilege of being one of the stops on our 4-H club’s summer tour. These opportunities are another example of 4-H’s slogan “Learn by Doing” in action.

It was a hot, windy day. Yet, it was still fun to watch Keith lead the 4-Hers around our place and share about what we do, why we do it, and how it works as a 4-H project.

Big Giants 4-H Club Tour

Even when I was a Shetek Royal Harvester 4-Her, these summer tours were a favorite. It is fun to learn from each other, share ideas, and then take what you learn and see how those ideas can be applied to our own lives.

Keith shared about vegetable, potatoes and pumpkin gardens (vegetable project); broiler chickens and laying hens (poultry project); welding project (shop project) and the pigs (swine project). Throughout the tour, the 4-Hers and the parents asked questions. It was nothing short of a joy to watch Keith share his knowledge with others while growing his leadership skills.

Many will say they don’t have time for 4-H. We can’t possibly squeeze one more thing in. Trust me, we know. We have these conversations at our house. Yet, thankfully our entire family knows that when we show up for 4-H activities, like this one, we all come away fulfilled and rejuvenated.

Why be part of 4-H when you have a full plate?

  1. Sharing 4-H projects with others, both youth and adults, help youth to feel valued.
  2. 4-Hers find meaning and purpose in their life by developing skills that last a lifetime.
  3. Making connections outside of normal circles helps with personal growth.

I encourage you to learn more about 4-H projects here and join 4-H to Learn by Doing.

Enjoying the 4-H Summer Tour

Garden Science

The extremely hot, dry and windy weather is drying the ground out. Let’s pray for some rain to get some of these crops to the next stage, and we’ll have an abundance of produce.

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.

The Harner Bros are the 5th generation to raise this rhubarb originally planted on the family farm near Tracy by their great-great grandparents after immigrating from Norway and transplanted to our home near Northfield.

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. Check out this week’s recipe.

Black Seeded Simpson lettuce continues to produce for a few harvests. Cut the leaves and they will grow back for a few harvests. We do plant a few plantings of this throughout the summer.

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. See how lettuce is grown throughout the year so it is available in our grocery stores even on our cold Minnesota days.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love this beautiful red lettuce leaf. It adds such a wonderful color to your salads.

Spinach – Remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal! Check out some of Martha Stewart’s spinach recipes.

Cherry Belle Radish

Radishes – Wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt or a radish sandwich. I also cut them up and use like carrots or green beans in a hot dish.

Herbchives – wash then chop up chives into small pieces or freeze them to use later.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta leaves, Spirea, asparagus ferns.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta leaves, Spirea, asparagus ferns.

Raspberry-Rhubarb Slab Pie

Recipe of the Week

Raspberry-Rhubarb Slab Pie

3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

3/4 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons 2% milk

1 large egg yolk, room temperature

2 cups sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

5 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed and drained

3 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb, thawed and drained

Icing

1-1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

5 to 6 teaspoons 2% milk

Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. Whisk 3/4 cup milk and egg yolk; gradually add to flour mixture, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball. Add additional milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary.

2. Divide dough in 2 portions so that 1 is slightly larger than the other; cover each and refrigerate 1 hour or until easy to handle.

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3. Preheat oven to 375°. Roll out larger portion of dough between 2 large sheets of lightly floured waxed paper into an 18×13-in. rectangle. Transfer to an ungreased 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Press onto the bottom and up sides of pan; trim crust to edges of pan.

4. In a large bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add raspberries and rhubarb; toss to coat. Spoon into crust.

5. Roll out remaining dough; place over filling. Fold bottom crust over edge of top crust; seal with a fork. Prick top with a fork.

6. Bake until golden brown, 45-55 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

7. For icing, combine confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve a drizzling consistency; drizzle over pie. Cut pie into squares.

Source: Taste of Home

It’s All About Weeds

It’s All About Weeds

Weeds, weeds, weeds that’s what it’s all about, we don’t love each other, lambsquarters, nightshade, quack grass, pigweed, that’s what it’s all about. It’s about weeds, weeds, weeds. It’ about weeds, weeds, weeds. This is my weed version spin-off of the song “It’s all about Love.”

Yes, weeds are top of mind with the heat, and this time of year. Controlling the weed competition to provide the optimal growing conditions for a plant to be healthy is important for productive plant growth outcomes. I always feel this is the most challenging time for weeds as there is no natural “canopy” from the garden crops formed over the weeds to shade out their growth.

What keeps us motivated to finish the weeding? Well, the radio always helps, along with, good conversation and a few games of “would you rather.” But to be honest, the feeling of looking back on your work and being able to say to yourself, “job well done” and also knowing that the plants will be healthier and more productive throughout the growing season, makes it all worth it.

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.

The Harner Bros are the 5th generation to raise this rhubarb originally planted on the family farm near Tracy by their great-great-grandparents after immigrating from Norway and transplanted to our home near Northfield.

Rhubarb – One pound equals about 3 cups. Wash, cut the ends off, cut off any bad parts damaged by wind, and chop into 1/4 – 1/2-inch pieces. No need to peel You can freeze it in a Ziploc bag (no blanching) and use it for months to come. Our family loves it in muffins, bread, jam, pie, crisp, sauce and torte.

Black Seeded Simpson can be harvested for several weeks.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – One of my favorite garden crops. Some of the crops are run 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. See how lettuce is grown throughout the year so it is available in our grocery stores even on our cold Minnesota days.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love this beautiful red lettuce leaf. It adds such a wonderful color to your salads.

The spinach has been growing like crazy.

Spinach with Beet Greens – Remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal! Check out some of Martha Stewart’s spinach recipes.

Cherry Belle Radish

Radishes – Wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt.

Chives – wash then chop up chives into small pieces. I enjoy using them in

You all received a small pot with cilantro. If you don’t use it for a while, give it a trim, and it should stay productive for you.

Cilantro – Keep this plant all year long. Put it on your window sill and keep cutting it back.

Peonies, Irises, Asparagus Ferns and Hostas

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta leaves, peonies, irises and asparagus ferns.

Recipe of the Week

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars

Source: Sally’s Baking Addiction

3 cups all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

1 large egg

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup old-fashioned whole rolled oats

Filling

2 and 1/2 cups chopped strawberries

2 and 1/2 cups sliced rhubarb (1/2 inch pieces)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon orange zest

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished bars out (makes cutting easier!). Set aside.

Make the crumble mixture for the crust and topping: Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and using a pastry cutter, two forks, or a food processor, cut in the butter until all the flour is coated and resembles pea-sized crumbles. This takes at least 5 minutes of cutting in with a pastry cutter.

Whisk the egg, milk, and vanilla together in a small bowl. Pour over the flour/butter mixture and gently mix together until the mixture resembles moist crumbly sand. Use your hands if needed– the mixture comes together easier with your hands than with a spoon.

You will have about 6 cups of the crust/crumble mixture. Set 2 cups aside. Pour the remaining into the prepared pan and flatten down with your hands or a flat spatula to form an even crust. It will be a little crumbly– that’s ok. Set aside. (Oats will be used in the topping in the next step.)

Strawberry Rhubarb Filling: Gently mix all of the filling ingredients together. Spread over the crust. Sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture all over the filling. Sprinkle the oats on over top. With the back of a large spoon or flat spatula, lightly press the topping down so it’s a bit snug on the strawberry rhubarb layer.

Bake for about 42-50 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out *mostly* clean (with a few jam strawberry/rhubarb specks!). Remove from the oven and allow the bars to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.

Lift the cooled bars out using the parchment paper overhang on the sides. Cut into squares. Cover and store leftover strawberry rhubarb bars at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Freezes well.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars
In a blink of an eye

In a blink of an eye

When I was young, adults around me would comment on how quickly time passed. I, on the other hand, thought that the days seemed enormously long, especially the long days out in the field rock picking and bean walking. Now days, it seems that everything can change in a blink of an eye.

In April, our shop burned down due to an undetermined source. While the process of navigating this challenge is time-consuming, we remain eternally grateful for the angels that were present that night providing protection and walking with us as we take one step at a time to rebuild the shop.

Meanwhile, the time I used to think moved slowly has been moving quickly. I feel that I must have blinked and missed May.

Thankfully, we did not lose all of our field and gardening equipment in the fire. Planting did occur at the beginning of May and has continued as the weather cooperated. Crops are peaking out of the ground, and of course, the rhubarb is flourishing.

The first CSA should be right around the corner. Our shareholders should see an email with more information in the foreseeable future, but not this week. I’m sure all of us have plenty on our plate with the end of the school year upon us. Plus, the crops could use just a little bit more time.

Meanwhile, take time to soak in the time spent with your family and friends. In a blink of an eye, it will be but a memory.

Tilling the ground to prepare for planting.
When the weather finally cooperated in May, it made for a long day of planting.
Installing the fence for cucumbers
Some things never change…the work can be exhausting and a nap is warranted.
This past weekend, we were busy with weed control and insect monitoring. The potatoes have really grown!
Tomatoes, cabbage, eggplant and peppers were planted on Memorial Day on a very windy afternoon. Sure enough, as soon as we were done the strong wind subsided.
End of the Season

End of the Season

It is hard to believe it is the end of September. The amount of produce in this week’s box felt overwhelming and wonderful all at the same time. Look below for some ideas and ways to preserve your produce for the upcoming winter. We hope that your freezer and shelves are full of produce to use throughout the winter.As we were working on the final harvest, we were all pleasantly surprised be the amount of produce that decided to “show up” after the last few weeks of weather. It is amazing what rain does for all of us. This was definitely needed after our dry growing season.

Perhaps this is a good lesson to reflect on. Rain is a lot like love, care, kindness, patience and grace all wrapped together. When we shower others with this, they too grow into more than they ever thought was possible. As we all scramble to find the new balance in this year’s school year, this is worth reflecting on.

In closing, we wish you rain that fills your box up with enough abundance to share with others and plenty to nourish your well-being. Thank you for another great year!

Thank you for a great season!

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.

Arugula – Also known as “rocket” or “roquette,” arugula is a fast-growing, cool-season leafy green that adds a tangy, mustard-like flavor to salads.

Beets – Enjoy beets by peeling and cutting into wedges. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or boil with the skin on for approximately 30 to 45 minutes or until tender. Eat with a dab of butter or in a salad. Check out the NDSU Pocket Guide to Preparing Fruits and Vegetables.

Brussel Sprouts – This was our first year growing brussel sprouts. It was fun to see who liked them.

CabbageThis looks like a yummy way to use up your cabbage.

Carrots are a wonderful root vegetable. Place in your refrigerator and eat raw or cooked.

Carrots – The carrot crop in general did not liked the drought this year. We were so happy for the end harvest! Enjoy fresh or cooked. Try these brown sugar glazed carrots from Martha Stewart. Cut off the tops, rinse and air-dry them for storage in an air-tight plastic bag in the refrigerator to maintain proper humidity. Carrots will maintain their freshness longer at or around 32 degrees F.

Cauliflower – Here are a few ideas of how to use this vegetable from Taste of Home.

Cucumbers – Here are a few cucumber ideas from Martha Stewart.

Peppers – Learn more about peppers from America’s Heartland. I like to cut my peppers up and freeze them to pull out to use later.

Potatoes – Red Norland, Yukon Gold and Kennebec potatoes. Great for baking, cooking on the grill, boiling or mashed. Learn more about how potatoes are harvested from America’s Heartland.

Pumpkins and Gourds – Enjoy some Fall decorations. Check out this information on gourds.

Onions – White Onions – cut and freeze for easy use in your recipes.

Salsa – Are you trying to figure out how to store and use your tomatoes. Check out this resource from NDSU.

Summer Squash – The last of the zucchini and summer squash. I’m making mine into bread and brownies. Shred this and freeze in two cup quantities for quick use in your recipes.

Tomatoes – A few Fourth of July, yellow, cherry Sungold tomatoes. I love the size of the Fourth of July for a quick lunch, and the Sungolds. Let us know if you are interested in canning or freezing extra quantities. We do still have plenty. Let us know if you are interested in more.

Watermelon – Check out these options and consider freezing your watermelon so you don’t loose out on the goodness.

Winter Squash Butternut, Kuri, Spaghetti and Carnival squash this week. Sorry to inundate you all at once. Remember that Butternut, Kuri and Carnival squash can be cooked and then frozen for use throughout the winter.

Yes, we harvested by the light of the full moon. What beautiful fall evenings we have been blessed with!

Recipe of the Week

Borscht (Beet and Vegetable Soup)

2-3 large beets, peeled and diced
1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, diced
6 c. water or vegetable broth
2 large potatoes, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
½ medium cabbage, cut into strips 
1 bay leaf 
¼ c. lemon juice
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1 tsp. dill
½ c. fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
Sour cream or Greek yogurt (optional)  

Add vegetable oil to a large heavy-bottomed pot and heat on medium. Add onions and sauté until soft, then add garlic and sauté briefly. Add broth and/or water and heat until simmering. Add carrots, beets, potatoes, cabbage and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add bay leaf, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Simmer until all vegetables are tender (20 to 30 minutes). 

Add chopped herbs and adjust seasonings if needed. Top with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt if desired. 

Makes eight servings. Each serving has 130 calories, 0 g fat, 4 g protein, 30 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber and 160 mg sodium.

Source: Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., is a North Dakota State University Extension food and nutrition specialist and professor in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences.

4-H Journey to the State Fair

4-H Journey to the State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair means something different for everyone. Perhaps it brings back a memory of cheese curds, giant yellow slide, seed art, Miracle of Birth Center or great family memories.

For our family, it means a journey of continual learning in 4-H project areas that culminate with the opportunity to compete and learn from 4-Hers from across our state’s 87 counties. When I was a 4-Her, we were allowed to accept and take one state fair trip. I took my pig. Because going to the fair with an animal was simply way more fun than a general project area. This year, Keith was old enough and earned state fair trips by receiving high county fair placings in both a livestock and a general project area. He also judged with the county’s general livestock judging team.

Swine Project

The livestock project journey begins with selecting 4-H pigs earlier in the year. The boys select their pigs on their own based upon what they feel will match what the judge is looking for. During the summer months, they work with them so they walk the way you want them to in the show ring, feed them a balanced nutritional ration to grow the way you would like them to and care for the pig(s) so they reach their full potential.

Livestock projects allow our kids to learn through hands-on experiences. The livestock teach life lessons that are sometimes simply difficult to put into words. The animals become a steady companion throughout the growing cycle, that listen to them, teach patience and perseverance, compassion and loss, winning and losing, contentment and friendship, dedication and follow-through. There were many mornings before and after baseball tournaments that I found the boys working with their animals.

This all culminates at the state fair. 4-Hers participate in a species-specific interview, showmanship and the animal being judged.

Vegetable Gardening

The vegetable gardening project area begins with selecting varieties to plant to preparing harvests to occur at both the county fair in July and the state fair in August. This planning begins the season before and continues through the planting season.

Preparing the project items for the vegetable garden project to be taken to the fair takes a considerable amount of time. Consider harvesting all of the following: two small vegetables: 12 pea pods and 12 green beans (12 cherry tomatoes for the state fair); three medium sized vegetables: three carrots, three beets, three cucumbers and one large vegetable. If there is more than one, they need to be as close to identical as possible. Once harvested, the tops and bottoms need to be trimmed, and vegetables cleaned appropriately to display vibrantly. It is time consuming. For the project judging they need to know planting conditions, vegetable variety selection, challenges with the growing season and how to resolve them, pest control and health benefits of the vegetables and how to utilize the vegetables.

This is just a snippet of the two project areas that Keith took to the state fair. As parents and volunteer 4-H leaders, we learn so much by being on this journey with them and are so grateful for all the mentors that support their learning and personal growth. We are blessed beyond measure with the friendships and opportunities that 4-H provides to our family.

We encourage you to contact your county Extension office or search online for your 4-H in your area. It’s easy to say you don’t have time to squeeze in one more activity for your kids. Once you see them experience a project interview with an adult judge at the fair or the learning that occurs through the project area, you will understand that 4-H is worth your time and effort. Learn more here.

Garden Science

You may wonder about the story behind your personalized pumpkins. This project starts in August with Steve and the boys carefully etching your names into a pumpkin. The scar on the skin heals over forming the beautiful art.

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.

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.

Beets – This beet crop has been fairly resilient through this crazy growing conditions. Enjoy beets by peeling and cutting into wedges. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or boil with the skin on for approximately 30 to 45 minutes or until tender. Eat with a dab of butter or in a salad. Check out the NDSU Pocket Guide to Preparing Fruits and Vegetables.

Carrots – The carrot crop in general has not liked the drought this year. Enjoy fresh or cooked. Try these brown sugar glazed carrots from Martha Stewart.

Cucumbers – The cucumbers have picked up and the second planting is doing well. If you are interested in pickling some we may have extra for you to do so. Here are a few cucumber ideas from Martha Stewart.

Peppers – A variety of peppers for you to chose from. Learn more about peppers from America’s Heartland.

Potatoes – Red Norland potatoes. Great for cooking on the grill, boiling or mashed. Learn more about how potatoes are harvested from America’s Heartland.

Onions – White Onions

Winter Squash Butternut, Kuri, Spaghetti and Carnival squash this week. Sorry to inundate you all at once. Remember that Butternut, Kuri and Carnival squash can be cooked and then frozen for use throughout the winter

Salsa

Tomatoes – A few Fourth of July, yellow, cherry Sungold tomatoes. I love the size of the Fourth of July for a quick lunch, and the Sungolds. Let us know if you are interested in canning or freezing extra quantities. Enjoy the salsa this week! Let us know if you are interested in more.

Sam selected the area that he felt would grow the best watermelon. I think he did a good job! We hope you enjoy this delight.

Watermelon – Sam took on the role of growing the watermelons this year. We are so excited with the outcomes. Enjoy!

Pumpkins, Ornamental Corn and Corn Shocks – Enjoy some Fall decorations. More to come next week.

Recipe of the Week

Butternut Squash

My family loves this recipe, and the boys eat it like crazy. I also use the prepared squash in place of pumpkin in many recipes. Butternut

Cut squash in 1/2 add enough water to cover pan (about 1/2 inch up on the side of the pan).

Bake at 375 degrees for about 1 hour.

Take out of oven. Scoop out seeds. The seeds can be kept and roasted.*Using a large knife cut off skin and place in another bowl.

Presents under the leaves

Presents under the leaves

It is hard to believe that the end of the growing season is just around the corner. But it is true, it is almost the middle of September, school has begun, and the smell of fall is in the air. I do love fall. There is just always part of me that is sad to see summer come to a close.

It is so exciting to se what is growing under the leaves.

On the bright side, the pumpkins are peeking through the leaves and the color in the garden is exciting to see. It sometimes feels like Christmas and the excitement of seeing presents under the tree. Only it is presents under the leaves scattered across the field.

The recent rains have given everything a little boost to finish the growing season strong. We are anxious to harvest sweet potatoes, watermelon, winter squashes, gourds, pumpkins, popcorn and ornamental corn. Be prepared for a variety of choices and colors. Don’t let the abundance overwhelm you. Focus instead on the joyful calm that the beautiful array of colors bring.

We have been patiently waiting for the right time to harvest the watermelon. Patience is a virtue.

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.

Lettuce/Spinach/Kale Mix – Unfortunately, this crop has really struggled this year. This week was a mix of spinach, kale and Red Oak Leaf lettuce.

Beets – Detroit Dark Red Beets

Fancipak Cucumbers

Cabbage or Cauliflower – Purple cabbage or purple cauliflower varieties to try this week.

Cucumbers – The cucumbers have picked up and the second planting is doing well. If you are interested in pickling some we may have extra for you to do so.

Kohlrabi – A garden favorite. I love to peel it, cut it up like an apple and dip in peanut butter.

Peppers – A variety are available. Let us know what you think about the hot peppers. Meanwhile, you have green peppers and the smaller red peppers, Sweet, Cherry Stuffer.

Potatoes – Red Norland potatoes. Great for cooking on the grill, boiling or mashed.

We love the braided stem of the onion.

Onions – White Onions

Radishes – The last of this year’s radishes. Enjoy them in a salad, on a sandwich or in a hot dish.

Summer Squash – Zucchini, Peter Pan and Sunburst varieties. These younger varieties are greatTIP: use your summer squash like your zucchini. None of these need to be peeled when using them.

Sungold Tomatoes

Tomatoes – A few Fourth of July, yellow, cherry Sungold tomatoes. I love the size of the Fourth of July for a quick lunch, and the Sungolds. The tomatoes are quickly turning. Let us know if you are interested in canning or freezing extra quantities. Let us know if you are interested in more tomato juice.

Winter Squash – Butternut, Kuri and Spaghetti squash are available this week.

Zinnias and Hydrangeas – These should brighten up your home. Put a splash of bleach in the water to help them last longer.

Recipe of the Week

Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad

Serve as a dip with your favorite chips or crackers. The zesty lime dressing offers a fun punch of summer that will have you making this salad again and again.

4 ears sweet corn
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeño seeds and ribs removed, minced
Zest and juice of 1 lime
¼ c. canola oil
2 ripe avocados halved, pitted, peeled and diced
1 c. cherry tomatoes, quartered
6 scallions thinly sliced
½ c finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

-Preheat the grill to medium heat.

-Grill corn until tender about 20 minutes. Let cool and remove kernels.

-In a large bowl, combine the garlic, jalapeño, lime zest, lime juice, and oil. Whisk to combine.

-Add the corn, avocado, tomatoes, scallions, and cilantro and toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Source: NDSU Extension