Attitude Determines Outcomes

Attitude Determines Outcomes

20170730_130824 (2)Our attitude often determines are outcomes. Do you ever wish you were doing a different job or task than what you have been asked to do? I think this happens to all of us.

Last night this happened when Steve and Sam both wished they were playing baseball instead of harvesting. But what happened was a pleasant surprise for all of us.

During our evening meal, we started a tradition we learned from a friend. We usually ask each other three questions: 1) What was your best part of your day? 2) Your worst part of the day? and 3) What can you improve on?

Often times, we find out more about each other during those discussions then some other conversations that we have. So, when these questions came up both Sam and Steve answered that their favorite part of the day was harvesting together that evening. They also said that it was the part that they really didn’t want to do.

They both decided to make the most of it and went to work to accomplish the task. They really enjoyed each other’s company, and the evening that was around them.

So, let your days not be crowded with cloudiness, but rather look for the opportunity and the sunshine that surrounds it.

Garden Science

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Did you know that of the 1,400 crops grown 80% depend upon pollinators? Source: USDA

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. A new crop should be in next week.

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – Beautiful color.

Spinach and Kale – Mix together with the above lettuces for a beautiful colored salad.

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Purple green beans will soon be starting to grow from these pretty purple flowers.

Green BeansCheck out this recipe, and how green beans are raised in other areas of the U.S.on America’s Heartland. A few of you have some purple beans mixed in with the green beans.

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Purple Vienna Kohlrabi ready for harvest

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi – Peel it like an apple and eat it and enjoy dipping it into peanut butter.

Detroit Dark Red Beets -Some of our shareholders enjoy eating them raw in their salads.

Green Bell Peppers Here is a general background article about peppers. The most common colors of bell peppers are green, yellow, orange and red. More rarely, brown, white, lavender, and dark purple peppers can be seen, depending on the variety. Red bell peppers are simply ripened green peppers. The taste of ripe peppers can also vary with growing conditions and post-harvest storage treatment; the sweetest fruits are allowed to ripen fully on the plant in full sunshine, while fruit harvested green and after-ripened in storage is less sweet.

Banana Pepper – I have been cutting up and freezing the peppers with the intent to use them for recipes throughout the season.

Cherry Stuffer Hybrid sweet peppers – These are the small, round red peppers.

Onion – Wondering what to do with all of your onions? I cut mine up using my Pampered Chef chopper, place in Ziploc bags and place in the freezer. That way, my onions are always handy for recipes throughout the year.

Tomatoes – Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, Brandywine, Romas, Big Boys and Fourth of July (medium-sized) tomatoes. Enjoy the flavor. If you are considering canning quantities or wanting to freeze some for this winter, let us know.

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A new cucumber forming between the stem and the flower.

Cucumbers – Did you know? Cucumbers are one of the earliest domesticated vegetables. It was adopted around 4 thousand years ago and was used not only for eating but also in medicine. Cucumbers are the 4th most cultivated vegetable in the world.

 

Carrots – Did you know…The carrot is usually orange in color although purple, red, white, and yellow varieties also exist. The domesticated carrot that we know today originated from the wild carrot called Daucus carota which was native to Europe and south western Asia.

 

Broccoli – It appears some of these had a bit to much sun. Simply run the knife gently across the top, and you should be good to go. Did you know? Broccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family whose large flowering head is eaten as a vegetable.

Peter Pan, Scallop Squash – This squash is a circular scalloped summer squash with light green 1-3″ fruits that’s meatier than most patty pans. Distinctive, delicious, and sweet flavor.  It is not necessary to peel this squash before eating it. Cut it up like you would zucchini to grill it.

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Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash growing on the plant.

Summer Squash, Golden Egg Hybrid Are you wondering how to use this summer squash – see how to cut it up here. Golden Egg’s a picture-perfect gourmet sensation-with succulent flavor and texture. As exquisite as a Faberge egg but so much tastier. Spherical, golden-yellow egg-shaped zucchini measures up to 5″ across, boasting delicious creamy flesh with hints of chartreuse. Try this variety in the soup recipe below.

Summer Squash Pic-n-Pic hybrid – Not in your box this week. But I was remiss in thanking the Pagel family for sharing this with us. Get to know the Pagels.

Zucchini – Try this zucchini boat recipe from Taste of Home or these recipes from Martha Stewart. 

Viking Red and/or Yukon Potatoes – The Viking are the red skinned potatoes and work well as boiled or mashed potatoes. Yukon (brown-skinned) are known for their versatility. I prefer them as baked potatoes or French fries.

Cilantro – Freeze and use in your salsa recipes later this year.

cropped-20170816_170258_1502927389639-2.jpgFresh cut arrangement – Hydrangeas, Rudbeckia, Sunflowers, Zinnias and Coreopsis

 

Recipe of the Week

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Summer Squash Soup – a delicious option for this vegetable. I also will place extra in muffin tins and freeze. Once frozen, I will remove from the tin and place in a labeled container to use for a quick meal.

Summer Squash Soup

5 small yellow summer squash, seeded and cubed

2 green onions, cut into 3-inch pieces

2 tablespoons butter

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1. In a large saucepan, saute squash and onions in butter until tender. Stir in the broth, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

2. Cool slightly. Process in batches in a blender; return all to the pan. Stir in cream and heat through. Yield: 6 servings.

Source: Taste of Home

 

Treasures Within

Treasures Within

At this week’s pick up one of the shareholders exclaimed, “I love this garden. It grows brownies.”

This week, each member received a sample of the recipe of the week, Zucchini Brownies. This statement had me chuckling and reflecting that while I often talk about the treasures in the field. There are also treasures in the produce boxes.

So yes, this garden is producing the zucchini as a necessary ingredient for the brownies. But it also produces a wide variety of treasures shared within your boxes that provide options for creativity in your kitchen.

Envisioning delicious outcomes while providing a variety of intentional options for our palettes to grow will provide for those hidden unknowns. So whether or not you try the recipe below. Our wish is that you to will discover that your box is filled with hidden treasures like the brownies, as well as, other delicious options for you and your family.

Note: A special thanks to Sam for his contributing photography this week.

Garden Science

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Did you know … we grow 4 o’clocks to help bring in beneficial insects to eat bad insects that eat our crops.

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.

Spinach – Mix together with the above lettuces for a beautiful colored salad.

Green Beans –  Check out this recipe, and how green beans are raised in other areas of the U.S. on America’s Heartland.

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. I peel it like an apple and eat it.

Detroit Dark Red Beets – A new crop in your box this week. I love to boil my beets in hot water; then wipe off the skin using a paper towel.

Green Bell Peppers Here is a general background article about peppers. The most common colors of bell peppers are green, yellow, orange and red. More rarely, brown, white, lavender, and dark purple peppers can be seen, depending on the variety. Red bell peppers are simply ripened green peppers. The taste of ripe peppers can also vary with growing conditions and post-harvest storage treatment; the sweetest fruits are allowed to ripen fully on the plant in full sunshine, while fruit harvested green and after-ripened in storage is less sweet.

Banana Pepper –  I have been cutting up and freezing the peppers. I hope to use them for recipes throughout the season.

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Have you ever noticed the braided stem of the onion. Pretty amazing how mother nature does that.

Onion – Have you ever noticed the neck of the onion? Notice how it looks like it is naturally braided.

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Fourth of July tomatoes – perfect fit for you to eat for lunch or on a BLT.

Tomatoes – Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, Brandywine, Romas and Fourth of July (medium-sized) tomatoes. Enjoy the flavor. If you are considering canning quantities or wanting to freeze some for this winter, let us know.

Cucumbers – Did you know? In 2012, top cucumber producing states, as reported by the United States Department of Agriculture, were Georgia and Florida with 283.5 and 280.8 million pounds, respectively

Carrots – Did you know…Carrots are primarily consumed fresh and are the 6th most consumed fresh vegetable in the U.S. Consumption of fresh carrots peaked in 1997 at 14.1 pounds per person and since then has dropped off and settled into a stable amount of approximately 8.3 pounds per person in 2015 (Vegetable and Melon Outlook, 2016). In contrast, consumption of frozen carrots averaged 1.4 pounds per person.

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Peter Pan, scalloped summer squash is delicious baked, fried, sautéed or grilled.

Peter Pan, Scallop Squash – This All-America Selections winner is a miniature patty pan squash with light green 1-3″ fruits that’s meatier than most patty pans. Distinctive, delicious, and sweet flavor. Pick over a long period. Summer squash and zucchini ripen early and are highly productive.

Summer Squash, Golden Egg Hybrid Are you wondering how to use this summer squash – see how to cut it up here. Golden Egg’s a picture-perfect gourmet sensation-with succulent flavor and texture. As exquisite as a Faberge egg but so much tastier. Spherical, golden-yellow egg-shaped zucchini measures up to 5″ across, boasting delicious creamy flesh with hints of chartreuse

Summer Squash Pic-n-Pic hybrid – This Burpee-bred squash has golden yellow fruits with smooth, tender skin. It’s extremely productive and best picked when 4-6″ long. Proven tops for performance, flavor and wide adaptability

Zucchini – Try these recipes from Martha Stewart.

Viking Red and/or Yukon Potatoes – The Viking are the red skinned potatoes and work well as boiled or mashed potatoes. Yukon (brown-skinned) are known for their versatility. I prefer them as baked potatoes or French fries.

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Through the eyes of an 8-year-old, you can see the beauty of God shining through.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hydrangeas, Rudbeckia, Sunflowers, Zinnias and Coreopsis

 

Recipe of the Week

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Chocolate Zucchini Brownies – A family favorite.

Zucchini Brownies

Ingredients

  • 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 (I will substitute with applesauce.)
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° F. for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
  • 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. Yield: 2 dozen.
  • Source: Taste of Home
Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to the Jungle

Seeing your vision through what appears to be a messy jungle can be overwhelming at times, but focusing on end outcomes, and what lies within can be very rewarding.

As we headed out to tend to the garden this past weekend, I know the list of “needs” was overwhelming to the boys.

tomatoes

Welcome to the jungle. This appeared to be one of the more overwhelming jobs. The tomatoes needed to be tied up off of the ground, and the cucumbers (to the right) needed some guidance to grow up the fence. This will help plant health, and the vegetables will be cleaner because they are not lying on the ground. Once this was completed the boys had a clearer vision of the positive results. Sam said that harvesting cucumbers and tomatoes felt almost like a jungle or forest experience.

 

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After many busy weeks of baseball, we were able to spend some time weeding and cleaning up crops that were done with their growing season. We fed this to the chickens which was a good feed source for them.

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We trimmed back the kale and thinned out the rows. The insects have found the kale to be tasty. So we are hopeful that the new regrowth that will occur will be a good crop for harvesting next week.

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Planting the last crop of sugar snap peas and installing the fence for the peas to climb on was completed.

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The tomatoes needed some additional water. So the drip line irrigation was hooked up, and the rainwater that we had collected in our water tank was used to water the tomatoes.

 

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 – This is the last of this crop for the season.

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.

Detroit Dark Red Beets – This is the end of this crop. A new crop should be ready next week or the following.

Green Bell Peppers Here is a general background article about peppers.

Banana Pepper –  I have been cutting up and freezing the peppers I haven’t had time to use so that I can use for recipes throughout the season.

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.)

Tomatoes – Sun Gold cherry tomatoes and Fourth of July tomatoes. Enjoy the flavor. Look for more to come.

Cucumbers – Are 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

Carrots – Did 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.

Summer Squash, Burpee Golden – Are you wondering how to use this summer squash – see how to cut it up here.

Zucchini – Try these recipes from Martha Stewart.

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

Viking Red Potatoes – Red potatoes are great for mashed potatoes or boiled potatoes. Check out this post on how to cut potatoes.

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Cilantro

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.

9-24-14 eggs

We have a variety of different colored egg shells because we have different breads of chickens. The brown shelled eggs are from Red Stars, green shells from Araucana and white shelled eggs from Lakenvelders.

Eggs – We thought you would enjoy some farm fresh eggs. You can cook and use them just like the ones you buy at the store.

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Zinnia

Fresh cut arrangement – Hydrangeas, Rudbeckia, Zinnias and Coreopsis

 

Recipe of the Week

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread
Cinnamon Zucchini Bread

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

3 Eggs, beaten

1 cup Sugar

1 cup Brown Sugar

1 cup applesauce

3 cups Flour (opt: substitute 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour)

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

2 cups Zucchini, shredded

Shredding zucchini is super easy and fun with this salad shooter.

Shredding zucchini is super easy and fun with this salad shooter.

Instructions

Beat together the eggs, sugars and applesauce.

Stir together all the dry ingredients and add to the egg-sugar mixture. Stir in the shredded zucchini.

Coat four mini loaf pans with cooking spray. Sprinkle sugar on the bottom. Pour batter evenly in all four pans. Sprinkle tops with sugar.

Bake at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

It’s Not About the Blue Ribbon

It’s Not About the Blue Ribbon

 

7-18-17 Keith showing poultry (2)

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.

 

Through the Lense

Through the Lense

This past week, we spent time “focusing” on photos to exhibit at the county fair. So this morning when the kids decided they wanted to take pictures because they “saw a cool photo,” I was happy to relinquish a camera.

What I saw as a result was an insightful view of what was “growing” on through the eyes of another, and their excitement as to what they saw and captured.

I hope you to find enjoyment in viewing the activities of our plants through the lense of the boys.

Garden Science

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A view of the purple cabbage growing.

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The potatoes are flowering which is a sign that the potato tubers are growing.

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The dill is flowering. Let us know if you are interested in some.

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A view of a sunflower.

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. This is the last for this season so enjoy some rhubarb delight or freeze to use later this winter.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – Great in salads or on sandwiches. 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 – Adds beautiful color to your salad.

Spinach – A new crop should be coming in soon.

Red Russian Kale – Mix it in your salads for a variety of texture and color. Learn about the nutritional value of Kale here and check out some ways to use kale.

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A close of view of the kohlrabi growing.

Grand Duke Kohlrabi – We are excited to start harvesting kohlrabi. It has taken a while for this crop to become popular in our house and now we love it peeled like an apple and eaten raw and even dipped in peanut butter. Here are some more ideas on how to use it.

Sugar Snap Peas – A small taste to get us started for the season. This crop has been a bit stubborn this year. Good thing we love the taste of this crop, so we are persistent with having positive results.

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The first taste of the season. Check out this link for ideas.

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Banana peppers ready to harvest.

Banana Pepper – The first of the peppers are in. We hope to have a variety for you this season.

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The first crop of onions for the season.

Onion – First of the season – enjoy!

Cilantro – Fresh cilantro has such a wonderful aroma. Try a cilantro dressing on your salad this week.

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Beautiful colors in tonight’s flowers.

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

 

Recipe of the Week

Let’s face it, sometimes life is busy and eating healthy does take time. So when preparing one salad, I try to prepare more than one and plan ahead for my week. Whether I’m short on time to take something with me to eat at work or I’m headed to a baseball game, it’s much easier to grab a salad and run out the door when I have them prepared ahead of time.

Some call this salad in a jar. I do not use a jar but rather stackable plastic containers that fit nicely in my salad crisper drawers in my refrigerator.

Salad on the Go

strawberry spinach salad (2)

Strawberry Spinach Salad

  • Set out several containers.
  • Wash lettuce varieties and spinach. Spin this dry in my salad spinner and place in containers.
  • Wash and cut up desired vegetables.
  • Wash fresh fruit – do not cut up, wrap in sandwich bag and place in containers.
  • Place cheese in sandwich bags so it doesn’t get soggy and place in containers.
  • Peel hard boiled egg, wrap in sandwich bag and place in containers.
  • Place croutons, nuts etc in sandwich bag and place in containers.
  • Have a travel size of favorite salad dressing ready to go.

 

 

 

 

Hope

Hope

Hope has been top of mind this week. Hope is defined as a noun as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen or a feeling of trust, or as a verb as wanting something to happen or be the case. Scripture defines hope as a strong and confident expectation.

Weather

As we have watched the spotty storms come across the state, we hoped that rain would come with no storm damage. We hoped the seeds that we had patiently waited to grow…would grow once it rained. It seems nothing is as good as rain from Mother Nature.

We have been lucky, and our hope was met this past week. We hope and pray for those that were not as fortunate.

Efforts

We hope that our efforts will be fruitful and not in vain. We hope that our children will learn life lessons and that our efforts to accomplish farm tasks before and after baseball games will teach time management, follow through, commitment, hard work and a sense of self-accomplishment.

So while we recognize that the end outcomes are truly out of our control. We hope that the weather and the efforts will result in sharing the joys of the garden with many this growing season.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11

Garden Science

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Potato beetle monitoring continues. These are potato beetle eggs on the underside of the potato plant. They will hatch into potato beetles.

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This is a young potato beetle.

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An adult potato beetle. We continue to monitor for all stages of this insect to prevent an overpopulation that can devastate the potato crop, and as we have seen before, than move to devastating the tomato crop. Learn more about the Colorado Potato Beetles from the University of Minnesota.

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. Check out earlier posts on rhubarb for recipe ideas.

Asparagus – Fresh cut asparagus from the Chute’s Farm Fresh Gardens in Aitkin, Minnesota. These farmers are friends of ours who we know from Farm Bureau and also the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program. They snap the asparagus vs. cutting so that you are getting all edible stalk and should have very minimal amount that you do not eat. Enjoy! Check out these recipes.

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Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – One of my favorite garden crops. Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating.

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – Adds beautiful color to your salad. This is a crop that has struggled this spring. We did plant another round of crops this week of all varieties including the lettuces.

Kale – Mix it in your salads for a variety of texture and color. Learn about the nutritional value of Kale here and check out the recipe ideas from Martha Stewart.

Spinach – The new crop of spinach has struggled this season. So glad to be able to harvest it this week.

Radish – Cherry Belle radishes – check out these recipes.

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

Cilantro – Fresh cilantro has such a wonderful aroma.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves

Recipe of the Week

With the onset of lettuce, kale and spinach in your boxes this week. Give this family favorite a try.

strawberry spinach salad (2)

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Spinach Salad – Super easy and delicious!

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

 

What’s Growing On

What’s Growing On

The unpredictable weather of May has created interesting growing conditions. After a rush to get everything planted, it was followed by a week of cold, rainy weather. Which caused some of our seeds not to grow. In fact some of the seeds, started to grow and simply stopped growing so replanting was necessary with a few of the crops.

This past week’s temperatures were unseasonably hot with temperatures into the 90s. The plants are starting to look parched, and a nice rain would be good for the health of the plants. We are hopeful for what next week will bring, and the produce that should be ready to harvest.

Garden Science

seed issues from cold and rainy wether

The rainy cold weather in May caused some of the seeds that had started to grow to actually stop growing. This is a seed that had germinated or began to grow (note the green seedling inside the seed), but it stopped during the wet cold weather. Some of the crops needed to be replanted due to this situation – green beans, sugar snap peas and cucumbers.

lettuce

The lettuce has been peaking out the ground. This was a photo from the end of the week. A little bit of rain would go a long way in helping them grow.

radish

The radishes are growing like crazy. I love how the first leaves, cotyledon, formed on the radish plants are shaped like a heart.

beets

I love the color of the steams of the beets.

sweet potato slips

We have planted two varieties of sweet potatoes this year and are excited about the outcomes.

cucumbers

Some of the cucumbers did grow, while the majority did not. We did install fence for trellis for when the cucumbers started growing.

tomato cages

We also have installed a few tomato cages. We are going to do a few different staking techniques to see what works best for the tomato plants and for harvesting.

 

Animal Update

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The boys’ 4-H pigs add some life to the farm. This photo was taken at the beginning of May with the Duroc (breed of pig). It has since gotten heavier. Pigs will be full grown at 5- 6 months of age weighing 260-280 pounds.

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We also hatched out chicks in the Northfield Montessori kindergarten class. It is the sixth year that we have done this project. It is always fun to see the new chicks which will be full grown at about 4-5 months of age.

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One day old kittens are so precious. This litter is from one of our farm cats. The eyes are just opening and the taming of the kittens has begun.