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.

Belief

Belief

This week has been “fair recovery week” in our house. We were blessed to have our county fair in person providing the boys the opportunity to have their 4-H projects judged in person and to display their projects at the county fair.

Every year leading up to and during the county fair, there are parental peaks and valleys. It would be so much easier as a parent to decide that our family just didn’t have time for 4-H and the county fair.

As parents and 4-H volunteers, Steve and I have a strong belief in the positive outcomes we see our kids experience because of the opportunities they have through 4-H. At the end of the fair, we as a family reflect upon what experiences we were grateful for during our county fair 4-H experience.

It never ceases to amaze me how much personal growth comes from these experiences. To us it is not about the purple ribbon, it is about growing purple ribbon kids. Two key take aways from this year:

“These are some of my favorite days of the summer and favorite parts of 4-H: General project interviews and showing my animals and talking to the judges.”

“I really enjoyed getting to know the other 4-Hers and their families.”

If you have wondered if 4-H is for you…you should quite wondering and join. Participate in ways that work for your family. It is not just for farm kids. There is opportunity for everyone. It is a safe place for kids to learn and explore their interests through project experiences and learning experiences.

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.

Garden Science

The Japanese Beatles have been doing quite a bit of damage this year. Isn’t amazing to see how they eat the leaves of the plants and destroy the plants’ opportunity to survive.

Japanese Beetles are making their presence known and a detriment to a variety of crops. Learn more from the University of Wisconsin Extension.

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.

FanciPak Cucumbers – great for canning into pickles. We have them growing up an angled fence so they grow down and are easier to harvest and cleaner at harvest time with less chance of a soil borne plant disease.

Cucumbers – The cucumbers are just starting to come in. Check out Pioneer Woman’s cucumber sandwich recipe.

Onions – Fresh Walla Walla Onions

French Breakfast Radish/Cherry Belle Radish – We are at the end of the radish crops for a little while.

Super Sugar Snap Peas – This will be the end of the first crop of peas. We hope to have the second crop available next week.

Green Beans growing from the flowers of the plant.

Green Beans – I am sure glad we are seeing some green beans on these plants. Enjoy fresh or cooked.

Carrots – The drought is having an effect on the growth of a variety of crops especially carrots.

Sunburst Summer Squash

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

Sunflowers, Zinnias and Hydrangeas – These should brighten up your home.

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

Continual Learning

Continual Learning

Life is full of new surprises and trying new things. This week, the boys were station leaders as our county and a neighboring county hosted an 4-H Agricultural Adventures day camp. While the boys have lead agriculture in the classroom activities in a variety of settings, this was a new experience. They taught kids how to plant seeds, plant identification, what parts of the plant we eat and about poultry, laying hens and turkeys.

So often, we are so closely tied to what we do that we take our knowledge for granted. We don’t realize the positive impact that we can have with others if we simply share our knowledge. Shortly after the camp, one of the boys’ friend was at our place and was asking about what the different plants were in the garden. The curiosity to know where and how your food is grown is natural, and we are privileged to share what we know with others.

On the flip side, we are also continually learning. Steve grew turnips when he was growing up. I on the other hand, never experienced them. Shareholders requested turnips so we grew them. Great news, they grow well in dry conditions! The other great news…I love hearing from all of you how you plan to use them.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatama Gandhi

If you haven’t seen the kittens when you are out. Come early to snuggle with a few of these farm kittens. Interesting fact: when these kittens were meowing, Keith had them hug, and they stopped. The power of a hug!

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.

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.

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 these recipes at Martha Stewart.

Spinach and Beet Leaves– Love this in a salad by itself or in sandwiches. Wash it and enjoy. Try this salad.

Outrageous Red Lettuce and Black Seeded Simpson – So grateful this crop seems to thrive on dry weather. Lovely color for sandwiches and salads. This crop was cooled with well water to take the field heat off. It was not washed.

Detroit Dark Red Beets

Beets – Detroit Dark Red Beets – eat them raw in a salad or boil them. Learn more here from Spend with Pennies.

Carrots

Carrots – Believe it or not, I was enjoying a carrot for breakfast at about 6 a.m. Who knew they would ever be delicious at that time. Learn more about carrot harvest from America’s Heartland.

Turnips

Turnips – Learn how to use this root vegetable and its leaves here from Country Living.

French Breakfast Radish – Love the variegated look of this vegetable. The dry weather is making this crop unpredictable. Check out these recipes from Martha Stewart.

Cherry Belle Radish – Add great flavor and color to a salad. My mom loves a radish sandwich…sliced radishes between two slices of buttered bread.

Hostas with variety of Tiger Lillies and Hydrangeas – These should brighten up your home.

Recipe of the Week

A favorite memory of mine when I think of rhubarb sticky buns or rhubarb cinnamon rolls is of a friend and mentor Ruth Shepard. While I met Ruth through Farm Bureau, her skill sets of a 4-H leader/mentor and her farm upbringing rang true when you met her. She was a wonderful cook, genuine laugh and love for life and the people she met. While this is not her recipe, it is a recipe that reminds me of her. May this recipe warm your heart and soul like Ruth’s friendship did to all that new her.

Homemade Rhubarb Sticky Buns

1 package (16 ounces) hot roll mix

4 tablespoons sugar, divided

1 cup warm water (120° to 130°)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup butter, softened, divided

2 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. In a large bowl, combine the contents of roll mix and yeast packets with 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir in the water, egg and 2 tablespoons butter to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the rhubarb, brown sugar, corn syrup and remaining butter. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Pour into an ungreased 13×9-in. baking dish.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 15×10-in. rectangle. Combine cinnamon and remaining sugar; sprinkle over dough.

4. Roll-up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 slices. Place cut side down over rhubarb sauce. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.

5. Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately invert onto a serving platter. Serve warm.

Spring is in the Air

Spring is in the Air

Spring is in the air. You can feel it in the warmer temperatures, the smell of the soil and the sound of the birds. There are a few other things that have us hopeful for 2021: seed catalogs, chicks and poults. While it may be easy to feel heavy laden with the pandemic still upon us, we are looking positively forward to the growing season. Here is a glimpse of what we have been up to.

“Spring – a lovely reminder of how beautiful change can truly be.” – author unknown

Spring is in the air. The joy that seed catalogs bring as we browse for new opportunities and crops. Looking forward with optimism is a great feeling.
Vegetables, Food and 4-H

Vegetables, Food and 4-H

Much of our time this week was spent with different 4-H activities including entering projects for the Minnesota State Fair 4-H virtual show including a swine (pig) project – breeding gilt (a girl pig that has not yet had piglets) and vegetable gardening project.

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4-H Vegetable Garden project

Selecting and preparing the vegetable garden project took most of Friday . This will culminate with a zoom group interview in another few weeks. As you can see from the display, it was a beautiful selection of color and variety of types of vegetables. The box needed to include 2 small vegetables with 12 of each vegetable, 3 medium vegetables with 3 of each vegetable and one large vegetable.

Last but not least is this week’s recipes from the 4-H Grilling Club that Keith participated in this summer. It was a great excuse to try new things and for him to learn many new skills. We are so very grateful for our kids to be able to grow in new and different ways through 4-H. Especially this summer when positive activities were very much needed.  We hope you enjoy the recipes below as much as we did.

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Wishing you relaxed moments like these for your week ahead.

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.

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.

Outrageous Red Lettuce and Black Seeded Simpson – This crop took a beating with the hail earlier this week. So if you see ragged, limp leaves etc it is due to that. We tried to clean it up the best we could.

Carrots – Have you ever wondered how baby carrots are made. Check this out.

RadishesCherry Belle and French Radishes

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I encourage you to pause and enjoy the wonderful design and colors that the garden offers.

Onions Enjoy the Walla Walla onions this week. Such a beautiful color. Learn more about onions from America’s Heartland.

Garlic – While these bulbs of garlic are small, they have good flavor. Learn how to peal, mince etc your garlic from Real Simple.

Cucumbers I don’t know about you, but I love the smell of cucumbers. We had a request about canning pickles. Perhaps you want to give a can pickles or green beans this year. We have another crop of both coming around. Take a look at what it would take…learn more from the University of Minnesota Extension.

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Peppers – Enjoy a few green peppers. I cut them up and freeze them to use throughout the winter. We enjoyed this week’s bountiful harvest.

Sunburst Patty Pan Summer Squash I’ve been using this like zucchini in recipes. This is what I used in the Fudgy Zucchini Brownies this week.

Potatoes – The Kennebec is a wonderful baking potato. See how potatoes are harvested in Idaho on America’s Heartland.

Basil – An herb I enjoy using when grilling or making tomato sauce. Learn from Martha Stewart some tips and tricks.

Sweet Corn – Enjoy this variety of Elvis sweet corn.

Arrangement – A variety of flowers including Zinnias, Rudebeckia, Hostas and more.

Recipe of the Week

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4-H Grilling included kabobs and some ears of sweet corn.

Teriyaki – Chicken Kabobs

makes 6 servings

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast – cut into 1 inch cubes

2 Medium Zucchini – cut into ½ thick slices

1 Green Bell Peppers – cut into 1 inch squares

1 Small Red Onion – cut into 1 inch squares

1 cup Teriyaki Sauce – divided

½ teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoning

Steps

-Cut Chicken into cubes

-In a ziplock bag, place chicken cubes, Zucchini, peppers, onions and ¼ cup teriyaki sauce into the bag and seal. Let marinate in a cooler with ice for 30 minutes.

-Preheat grill

-Place Chicken and veggies on long metal skewers.

-Sprinkle with Lawery seasoning.

-Place skewers on hot grate for 10 – 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked throughout

-Basting kabobs with remaining teriyaki sauce however avoid basting during the last 15 minutes.

wp-1597870616234.jpgToasted Pesto Rounds

makes 12 servings¼ cup Fresh Chopped Basil or Dill

¼ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 Clove Garlic – minced

3 Tablespoons Mayonnaise

1 Loaf French Bread – cut ¼ thick

4 teaspoons Chopped Tomato

1 Green Onion – sliced

Pepper to taste

Steps

-Slice the French Bread

-Chop Basil or Dill

-Chop tomato

-Slice Onion

-In a small bowl combine chopped basil, parmesan cheese minced garlic and mayonnaise

-Lay French Bread on hot grate for about 1 to 2 minutes until lightly toasted

-Turn slices over and spread on even amount of mayo mixture over one side

-Top each slice with tomatoes and onions

-Grill for an additional minute until bread slices are lightly brown

-Season with pepper to taste.

Source of both recipes: Campfire Cooking through the Minnesota 4-H SE Grilling Club

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Last meal of 4-H grilling club for Keith. What a positive experience to grow skills and try new things…teriyaki chicken kabobs and toasted pesto rounds with the meal rounded off with sweet corn and fruit smoothies.

The Journey

The Journey

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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 club, my community, my country, and my world.

Many see 4-H as an organization only for farm kids or as an organization where the kids only go to meetings. I see it as a land of opportunity. The doors you as a member choose to open offer different experiences that offer opportunities for personal growth.

Last week, I touched on fair week. The boys chose to open a variety of doors of opportunity. Here are some highlights of the week.

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General projects teach a variety of skills that livestock projects do not. Keith took garden vegetables, potatoes, photography, baking and shop while Sam took Cloverbud projects. During the judging of the general projects, 4-H members conduct a face to face interview with a judge and answer questions on what they have learned from the project and share their knowledge about that project area.

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Both boys showed poultry gaining a better understanding of chickens, the breeds of chickens, care of the bird and understanding of all things chicken.

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Prior to the swine (pig) show they both conducted interviews with a judge to share their knowledge of swine (pigs). In addition to showing the animal, they also participated in a showmanship class where they are judged on how well they show the pig. Keith’s pig was shown by another 4-Her that did not own the pig but learned more about pigs by showing it at the fair Throughout the duration of the fair, they were in charge of caring for the animals and conducting herdmanship (keeping their animal and area around their animal clean) and visiting with fairgoers. It is in the moments of listening to them talk to consumers and interact with other 4-Hers that you realize the personal growth they are gaining.

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 – 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.

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – Beautiful color.

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Giant Duke Kohlrabi

Grand Duke Kohlrabi – We are nearing the end of this planting.

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi – This plant thrives in the northern regions of Europe and North America. Kohlrabi is native to Europe and is believed to be the only common vegetable native to that area.

Sugar Snap Peas – This is the last of this planting and are hopeful the next plantings start to produce soon.

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Detroit Dark Red Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets

Green Bell Peppers – Check America’s Heartland to see how other varieties of peppers are grown.

Banana Pepper –  Check this recipe out. These peppers are producing like crazy. Let us know if you are interested in trying to pickle them.

Onion – Are you tired of tearing up when you cut onions. According to the National Onion Association to reduce tearing when cutting onions, first chill the onions for 30 minutes. Then, cut off the top and peel the outer layers leaving the root end intact. (The root end has the highest concentration of sulphuric compounds that make your eyes tear.)

CucumbersAre you thinking about cucumbers…We also have dill. If you are interested in canning your own pickles let us know.

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Carrots

CarrotsDid you know…Carrots contain a pigment called carotene that converts to vitamin A when you digest it. This vitamin helps us to see in reduced light and at night. Check out this segment on America’s Heartland for more information on this vegetable.

Green BeansA few green beans to eat raw or try in a stir fry.

Swiss Chard – If you are like me, you are still trying to figure out how to use this. Check this site out.

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French Breakfast Radishes

French Breakfast Radishes – I love the different look of these radishes. Topped with edible, leafy greens, French Breakfast radishes are very crisp and offer a mildly spicy flavor. Grilling or oven roasting will bring out the subtly sweet and nutty flavor of the French Breakfast radish.

Cilantro – Fresh cilantro has such a wonderful aroma. I have been freezing mine to use in canned salsa and soups later this year. The tomatoes are forthcoming if you are holding out for fresh salsa.

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Zinnias

Fresh cut arrangement – Rudbeckia, Sunflowers, Zinnias and Coreopsis

Recipe of the Week

This is a family favorite. Thank you to Sarah Durenberger for the recipe.

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Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Applesauce
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Baking Cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 3 cups Shredded Zucchini
  1. Beat sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla together. Mix dry ingredients. Stir into mixture.
  2. Add chocolate chips and shredded zucchini.
  3. Pour batter into 4-5 mini loaf pans (or 2 large loaf pans), coated with cooking spray.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Remove from pans and cool.
It’s Not About the Blue Ribbon

It’s Not About the Blue Ribbon

 

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4-H poultry judging

It’s fair week and for those of you that have experienced this, you know that this means exhaustion and chaos. But in the end, the experiences gained for our children are invaluable.

The boys took both 4-H general projects and 4-H livestock projects. While we try to prepare ahead of time, it doesn’t always happen. Part of the 4-H judging experience involves an interview with a judge which is part of the ribbon placement.

General Projects

This week on our way to the general project judging, Keith was researching some information for his vegetable gardening project including what genus family the vegetables were in and learning about the vegetables’ nutrients. He learns this information to prepare for the interview with the judge about his project. As we were driving to the judging and having this discussion, I thought boy this is a unique discussion.

Sam general project judging

4-H general project judging

Livestock Projects

Next, we moved into the livestock project area. Poultry judging was Tuesday, and swine judging will be Friday. They both showed well in their respective poultry classes.

We had to miss the class they really hoped to show in to see the results of their choices in genetics and their decisions on bird selection. This was a hard decision, but one everyone is ok with.

Let me provide some background. Part of the journey of getting to the fair is selecting your birds. The boys went out to their pen of 25 hens on Monday morning and selected their two birds by working together, discussing the pros and cons of each bird, and coming to a common agreement of the final two birds that were going to be shown.

In addition, this past weekend Keith was asked to play it in a Miracle Network baseball game for kids with disabilities. We recognized that there was a possibility that it would be in conflict with the poultry judging at the county fair. But thought that given the past experiences at the fair that his class of brown layer hens would be completed before we would have to leave to participate in his Miracle Network event. So we agreed that he should try to participate.

Well the time came where we had to make a decision because the poultry show was not the same order as we had remembered so it would now be in direct conflict with the Miracle Network event. So he had to choose between showing his poultry or going to the Miracle Network event. While it was an extremely difficult decision to make, he chose to go to Miracle Network event and invest in another person versus investing in a ribbon for himself.

I told him that 4-H is not about the Blue Ribbon. It is about producing a blue ribbon kid, and I thought that he made a Blue Ribbon choice.

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.

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Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce

Black Seeded Simpson LettuceA new crop this week. 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.

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – A new crop this week. Yum! Beautiful color.

Spinach – A new crop of spinach with a few young beet tops mixed in.

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A close of view of the kohlrabi growing.

Grand Duke Kohlrabi – The vegetable judge told Keith that more older people really like this crop. In my conversations with friends, it appears to have no boundaries. We hesitated on this crop but now we love it peeled like an apple and eaten raw and even dipped in peanut butter. Here’s a little history on the crop.

Purple Vienna KohlrabiSome interesting history of kohlrabi: The plant thrives in the northern regions of Europe and North America. Kohlrabi is native to Europe and is believed to be the only common vegetable native to that area. Kohlrabi was discovered during the 1500s and by the end of the 16th century had become popular across Europe, south into the Mediterranean region and east into Russia and Asia. Kohlrabi was first cultivated on a large-scale in Ireland in the mid-1700s and then later in England. It was brought to the United States just after the turn of the 19th century. Purple Kohlrabi can be found most often in farmer’s markets and in home gardens. 

Sugar Snap Peas – Glad to finally have a hearty harvest. Enjoy!

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Dark Red Detroit Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets – Beets were so well-regarded in Ancient Rome and Greece that methods were developed for producing them during the hot summer months. The root part of the beet was cultivated for consumption in either Germany or Italy, first recorded in 1542. Read more here and also see some recipes.

Green Bell Peppers – Check America’s Heartland to see how other varieties of peppers are grown.

Banana Pepper –  Try these in your salad or in scrambled eggs.

Onion – The onions are looking great. Enjoy! Check out how onions are grown and harvested for the grocery store.

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Cucumbers

Cucumbers – This crop is flowering like crazy with many cucumbers starting to grow. We also have dill. If you are interested in canning your own pickles let us know.

Carrots – A small taste – enjoy!

Green Beans – The first crop of green beans did not grow very well. The cold weather in May appeared to inhibit seed growth. We have more beans forthcoming in the next few weeks.

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Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard – If you are like me, you are still trying to figure out how to use this. Check this site out.

French Breakfast Radishes – I love the different look of these radishes.

Potatoes – Viking potatoes, this variety is good for

Cilantro – Fresh cilantro has such a wonderful aroma. I have been freezing mine to use in canned salsa and soups later this year. The tomatoes are forthcoming if you are holding out for fresh salsa.

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Zinnia

Fresh cut arrangement – Lilly’s, Sweat Peas, Zinnias and Coreopsis

Recipe of the Week

“With grilled onions and peppers how can you go wrong?” – Steve’s thoughts on this recipe. Enjoy!

Philly Cheesesteak – check this recipe out from Pioneer Woman.