Priceless Moments

Priceless Moments

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Harvesting Tomatoes

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

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

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

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

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Remember that some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So, remember to wash your vegetables before eating.

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

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

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

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

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

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. They serve this beet soup at church, and I love it.

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

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

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

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

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – we will have cucumbers for a while. We hope you enjoy this healthy snack. Check out these refrigerator pickle recipes from Taste of Home.

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

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

9-12-14 potatoes

Red Norland

Potatoes – The Red Norlands are great for cooking. Some of you may have some younger potatoes in your boxes (smaller). I find that the potatoes right out of the garden often cook and bake faster than others. Yeah – faster meal preparation!

Green Bell Peppers – The peppers are just taking off.

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

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

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

carnival-squash

Carnival Squash

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

Broccoli a taste for you this week.

Purple Cauliflower – a taste for you this week.

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

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

 

Recipe of the Week

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

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

Pumpkin Bread

1 2/3 cup flour

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup cold water

2 eggs

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

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

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

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

Fair Week Again

Fair Week Again

Yes, it is fair week again. This time it is the Minnesota State Fair. We hear a lot about the food at the state fair. While there, I encourage you to take time to get to know the people, the farmers, that grow and raise the food we enjoy. Did you know that over 60% of all Minnesotans have never met a farmer.

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I encourage you to stop by the Minnesota Farm Bureau building located on Underwood Street, behind the big yellow slide and across from the food court. Take a short quiz and as part of the quiz one of the stops is to meet one of the farmers in the building. Trust me the quiz is short and the conversation will be valued. Plus you can earn a prize and enter some drawings. Also, stop by the Miracle of Birth Center, Moo Booth, Baa Booth, Oink Booth, Horse Booth, Little Farmhands and the Agriculture Horticulture Building – don’t forget to stop by and see the butterheads being carved. All are great learning experiences.

 

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As a parent, the learning begins before, during and after the fair for our 4-Her. He has spent a lot of time in the three areas he is participating in this week. General Livestock Judging was held Wednesday. This contest includes judging a pen of four animals in the species area of pigs, beef cattle, sheep and goats, answering questions on the class following judging the class without looking at the animals and giving reasons to a judge as to why you placed a class a certain way. He and his team have been practicing regularly with the guidance of their coaches. This contest not only develops youth to feel more confident in their speaking and decision making, it also helps to develop confidence in selecting their own animals. Yes, at the state contest they also need to learn to dress up. The boys all had ties on during the contest that was an all day contest. The intermediate team placed 9th and the senior team placed 3rd. Proud of the kids and coaches and thankful for the families that allowed them to judge on their farms.

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Then there is the swine (pig) project. Keith has spent countless hours walking, brushing and feeding/watering his market gilt (female pig that has not given birth) to prepare her for the show on Friday. As part of this project, youth conduct livestock interviews, participate in learning how to share their knowledge of agriculture with consumers and have an option to participate in a BBQ contest. Keith’s knowledge for this project and understanding of the animals he works with has grown immensely. The 4-H animals will be at the fair the first 4 days.

For many, seeing the animals is such a fun and exciting opportunity. Realizing there is so much to learn, it is hard to know what question to start a conversation with. I would encourage you the next time you are at your state fair or county fair to great the 4-Hers, FFA members or farmers with, “Hi, can you tell me about your project or animals?”
Open the door to the opportunity for a valuable conversation. I had a great conversation with a 4-Her about his pigeon project this week and learned so much.

I to am always amazed when I ask others about their projects and their farms. It is so fun to learn more from them. Seek to understand more about your food through valuable conversations in these venues.

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Remember that some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating.

Lettuce/Spinach – You have some Red Oak Lettuce and Spinach in your box. This next crop has been a real challenge to get going.

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

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. They serve this beet soup at church, and I love it.

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

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Dragon Tongue Beans

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

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – we will have cucumbers for a while. We hope you enjoy this healthy snack. Check out these refrigerator pickle recipes from Taste of Home.

Onion – You have one Yellow onion in your boxes this week. Learn more about onions from America’s Heartland.

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Super Sugar Snap peas – see the pods…

Super Sugar Snap Peas – This is the last harvest from the second crop. The third and final crop is growing well.

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

Potatoes – Kennebec potatoes great for baked potatoes. The red Norlands are great for cooking. Some of you may have some younger potatoes in your boxes (smaller). I find that the potatoes right out of the garden often times cook and bake faster than others. Yeah – faster meal preparation!

Green Bell Peppers – The peppers are just taking off.

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Banana Pepper – I find this plant so funny. It defies gravity and the peppers grow up.

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

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

Summer Squash – Make these into noodles, sauté and more. Try making this or zucchini into noodles.

Sweet Corn – Thank you to our neighbors, the Peterson family, for contributing the sweet corn in this week’s box. Quick Tip: If you don’t eat all the sweet corn you have cooked, cut it off the cob and freeze it in a container. Reheat your frozen corn for your vegetable at another meal or use in a hot dish, salsa or a soup.

 

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Yes, they all know how to make a flower bouquet and identify types of flowers.

Flowers of the Week – Zinnias, Hydrangeas and Teddy Bear Sunflowers

 

 

 

Monumental Tasks

Monumental Tasks

This week we had some larger tasks to accomplish. Quite frankly, when you stepped back to look at them, it was quite easy to feel like these were monumental tasks that would take way to long. With the right attitude, encouragement and grit, they were accomplished with smiles and satisfaction in the end.

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Yes our selfie wasn’t that great, but we still had smiles after harvesting 200 pounds of cucumbers. Great for canning if anyone is interested.

On Friday, we harvested over 200 pounds of cucumbers. Some of which were used at my work’s 100th Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation picnic. It felt good for us to give back to the farmers I have the privilege to work for and with.

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I work for the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation which is a membership organization which mission is to be an advocate for agriculture driven by the beliefs and policies of its members. Sam and I were happy to share some of our cucumbers with our members during the organizations Centennial Picnic this weekend.

The next day when Sam and I walked down to tie up the tomatoes so that they would continue to grow on the fence and not in the mud, we noticed that the previous day’s weather had encouraged quite the weed growth. First, we accomplished the tomato project – we smelled like tomatoes and our hands and arms were green.

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Weeding is not a fun task. Weed control is necessary for a healthy crop.

We knew that the tomatoes would be healthier and cleaner from this task. Sorry – no picture evidence of this – hands were to dirty to touch a camera. Second, we accomplished some weeding so the crops were not choking from all of the extra “friends” growing next to them.

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Weeded yellow onions.

The last monumental appearing task was weeding the yellow onions. I will admit, this got out of hand about a month ago, and no one had the time to dive into it. Well, Keith took on this task yesterday, and boy was he covered in mud and tired from this activity. His grin said it all. It looked awesome.

Lesson learned: While tasks may seem overwhelming and may feel they cannot be accomplished, set your mind to it, don’t give up and keep plugging away. When you are done and look back, what you have accomplished will feel so great. Your hard work will pay off.

Garden Science

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Funny things happen in nature – these cucumbers grew together and the tomato grew a nose.

Animal Update

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Remember that some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating.

Lettuce/Spinach – You have some Red Oak Lettuce and Spinach in your box. This next crop has been a real challenge to get going.

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

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. Here are some ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use your beets.

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

Green Beans – This is the second round of green beans. If you want to pickle any, please let us know as we have dill that you can use.

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This is a unique flower on the peas. They are usually white. Once and a while, Mother Nature gives you something different. So we wanted to share it with you.

Super Sugar Snap Peas – We may get one more harvest from this crop. We do have a third crop growing.

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Believe it or not, cucumbers are a prickly crop to harvest. Yes, the stems and fresh cucumbers have little spikes on them that poke you.

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – we will have cucumbers for a while. We hope you enjoy this healthy snack.

Onion – You have one Walla Walla and one Yellow onion in your boxes this week. Learn more about onions from America’s Heartland.

Green Bell Peppers – The peppers are just taking off.

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

Tomatoes – This crop is just taking off. A taste of a few cherry tomatoes and Fourth of July tomatoes this week.

Potatoes – Kennebec potatoes great for baked potatoes. Some of you may have some younger potatoes in your boxes (smaller). I find that the potatoes right out of the garden often times cook and bake faster than others. Yeah – faster meal preparation!

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Harvesting zucchini and summer squash.

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

Summer Squash – Make these into noodles, sauté and more. Try making this or zucchini into noodles.

Sweet Corn – Thank you to our neighbors, the Peterson family, for contributing the sweet corn in this week’s box. Quick Tip: If you don’t eat all the sweet corn you have cooked, cut it off the cob and freeze it in a container. Reheat your frozen corn for your vegetable at another meal or use in a hot dish, salsa or a soup.

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Teddy Bear Sunflowers

Flowers of the Week – Zinnias and Teddy Bear Sunflowers

Recipe of the Week

Freezer Salsa

8 cups diced seeded peeled tomatoes (about 10 large)
2 medium green peppers, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
3/4 cup tomato paste
2/3 cup condensed tomato soup, undiluted
1/2 cup white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons salt
4-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder (or try a couple cloves of fresh garlic – season to taste)
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper Directions

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring often.

Pour into small freezer containers. Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Stir before serving. Yield: 10 cups.

Editor’s Note: Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.

Source: Taste of Home

Adventure is Out There

Adventure is Out There

As our week passed by, I stopped to realize there was much I was experiencing that many would not understand. Because it is just life in the country, and the adventure of raising both boys and livestock. I captured a few of those moments here.

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The most adorable litter of kittens. The boys have been busy taming them. It is hard to argue with them to come in for supper when they are outside with them. We hope they will grow up to be good mousers to keep the mouse population under control at our place.

Another adventure is clipping the feathers off of the wings of our birds so they cannot fly out of their pen only to be captured and eaten by a predator such as a racoon or fox. I would describe clipping wings like a combination of clipping nails and cutting hair. It doesn’t hurt them. It is hygiene maintainance to keep them safe. It is quite an act of teamwork to get this done efficiently and calmly.

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Then we have the 4-H pig that Keith is working with … yes she is taken out for walks. Miss Piggy decided to go on an escapade when Keith turned his back for a moment at dusk earlier this week. We were all a bit concerned. Thankfully she surfaced before nightfall and had not entered the corn field that surrounds us. She was perfectly fine – acted like a toddler that scared the death out of their parents.

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We also had a helicopter over our place on Saturday morning. Not something I expected to see, but it was very entertaining to watch on my morning walk.

Last but not least, as we were harvesting some of the crops yesterday evening, we raced to beat the storm cells. But we were not so fortunate. As we were working, we could hear the thunder in the distance and watched cautiously as the clouds raced over us. We watched the entire storm while we worked in the rain. Finally, I could see the wind was about to pick up so we went in to dry off and wait for it to pass.

As we reflected on our day, the rainstorm was brought up, with the comments of, “It wasn’t that bad. It was actually an adventure.” So, I challenge you this week to pause and reflect, you never know where the adventure will be – charge on – it may be right in front of you!

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Remember that some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating.

carrots

Carrots are a root vegetable. They are growing like crazy. We love them fresh from the garden.

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

Lettuce/Spinach update – we have a new crop of spinach growing. The lettuce we planted each week the last few weeks is not emerging after these hard rains. We will keep trying as we to would love some for BLTs when the tomatoes turn from green to red.

Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. Here are some ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use your beets.

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

Green Beans – This is the second round of green beans. If you want to pickle any, please let us know as we have dill that you can use.

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Super Sugar Snap Peas are growing like crazy. Enjoy!

Super Sugar Snap Peas – The second crop is ready. Yum! Another crop is planted and is emerging.

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.

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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 – FanciPak cucumbers – we will have cucumbers for a while. We hope you enjoy this healthy snack. Check out the history behind Minnesota’s pickle company Gedney Pickles.

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

Potatoes – Red Pontiac potatoes great for mashed or cooked potatoes. Since they are a crop that is still growing – the potatoes will get more plentiful and larger

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Flower after flower will grow into a zucchini. Check out this week’s recipe for a family favorite.

Summer Squash – Make these into noodles, sauté and more. Try making this or zucchini into noodles.

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Zinnias and Hostas.

Flowers of the Week – Hostas, Zinnias, Hydrangeas, Rudebekia and Sunflowers

Recipe of the Week

garden omelet

Garden Omelet

Garden Omelet

With a fork, beat:
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of Pepper

Add herbs of your choice that have been washed and torn into smaller pieces.
Heat skillet. Butter pan with butter. Place egg mixture in skillet and cook slowly.

Run spatula around edge, lifting to allow uncooked portion to flow underneath.

Place choice of filling inside. I included vegetables, a couple of our favorite cheeses (mozzarella and sharp cheddar).

Turn off heat or place on low. Place pan cover over the mixture for about a minute allowing cheese to melt.

Fold sides over as you flip it onto a plate. Garnish with parsley and cheese.

 

Elbow Grease at Work

Elbow Grease at Work

Elbow Grease went to work out in the garden this weekend pulling over 10 tractor bucket loads of weed. The plants are happy. The animals are happy, and we are exhausted. In the process, we found some neat things growing, from watermelon and sweet potato plants, to small pumpkins and squash. There is a lot to look forward to as these crops mature.

Thank you to Keith for being our photographer for most of the photos this week.

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Weeding is not a favorite family bonding activity. The bonus is the opportunity to visit, physically seeing positive process at the end of the job, and animals that were very excited about eating the weeds and the insects.

Garden Science

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Green beans are a legume plant. See the little balls fixated to the root – this is a root nodule. Root nodules are found on the roots of plants, primarily legumes, that form a symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.[1] Under nitrogen-limiting conditions, capable plants form a symbiotic relationship with a host-specific strain of bacteria known as rhizobia.[2] This process has evolved multiple times within the legumes, as well as in other species found within the Rosid clade.[3] Legume crops include beans, peas, and soybeans.

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Remember that some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating.

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

Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. Here are some ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use your beets.

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Giant Duke Kohlrabi

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

Green Beans – The first round of green beans have been harvested. If you want to pickle any, please let us know as we have dill that you can use.

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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 – FanciPak cucumbers – we will have cucumbers for a while. We hope you enjoy this healthy snack. Check out the history behind Minnesota’s pickle company Gedney Pickles.

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

Potatoes – Red Pontiac potatoes great for mashed or cooked potatoes. Since they are a crop that is still growing – the potatoes will get more plentiful and larger

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Flower after flower will grow into a zucchini. Check out this week’s recipe for a family favorite.

Summer Squash – Make these into noodles, sauté and more. Try making this or zucchini into noodles.

20190731_192158.jpgFlowers of the Week – Hostas, Zinnias, Hydrangeas, Rudebekia, sunflowers and Tiger Lillies

Recipe of the Week

A favorite in our house. Thank you to Sarah Durenberger for this recipe.

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Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

1 cup Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Vegetable Oil (I use apple sauce instead of the oil.)
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. Add chocolate chips and shredded zucchini.
2. Pour batter into 4-5 mini loaf pans (or 2 large loaf pans), coated with cooking spray.
3. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pans and cool.

 

Elbow Grease Needed

Elbow Grease Needed

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We need to share some interesting news that we neglected to share from a few weeks ago. Do you see what we saw? A bald eagle sitting by the peppers in our garden. What a site to see!

Hear ye, Hear ye – Due Notice with all of the high humidity, rain and highest heat index we have seen in years, your CSA shares may be filled with weeds instead of vegetables next week. Don’t worry with enough elbow grease, we will keep digging and find the plants still growing.

In all seriousness, with last week’s weather and the crazy schedules between county fair, baseball and work, the weeds did go crazy. But the good news is the plants are still growing, and we are slowly regaining weed management.

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Remember that some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating.

Outrageous Red Lettuce/Spinach/Beet Leaf/Kale Mix – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad. Between the weather and the insects the salad varieties are a bit thin this week. The rain actually has delayed emergence in some of the varieties, while the weather has encouraged rapid weed growth choking out some of the crops, and the insects are loving the kale. I was thankful to see some of these crops emerging when we weeded last night.

Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. Here are some ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use your beets.

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Grand Duke Kohlrabi

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

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Green Beans can drive us a bit crazy when we are harvesting them.

Green Beans – The first round of green beans have been harvested. If you want to pickle any, please let us know as we have dill that you can use.

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – we will have cucumbers for a while. We hope you enjoy this healthy snack.

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Carrots are a root vegetable. They are growing well at this point.

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

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The onion has such a neat braided stem.

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

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Zucchini growing on the plant. I spy two.

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Flower after flower will grow into a zucchini. Check out this week’s recipe for a family favorite.

Summer Squash – Make these into noodles, sauté and more. Try making this or zucchini into noodles.

Flowers of the Week – Hostas, Zinnias, Hydrangeas and Tiger Lillies

Recipe of the Week

7-29-14 cinnamon zucchini bread 2

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread/Muffins

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread

We love this bread. Give it a try. I made a few modifications as I prefer to replace oil in my recipes with applesauce to decrease calories and to help my mommy guilt. Applesauce helps me to feel like the muffins are just a little healthier. Also, simply because of our crazy schedule it is easier and faster for us to bake muffins versus bread early in the morning.

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
¼ tsp Baking Powder
¼ tsp Cinnamon
2 cups Zucchini, shredded
1.Beat together the eggs, sugars and applesauce.
2. Stir together all the dry ingredients and add to the egg-sugar mixture. Stir in the shredded zucchini.
3. Coat loaf pans or muffin liners with cooking spray. Sprinkle sugar/cinnamon mixture on the bottom. (I used a cinnamon/sugar mix to decrease on the sugar). Pour batter evenly in all four pans. Sprinkle tops with sugar/cinnamon mixture.
4. Bake bread at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-50 minutes (muffins – 12 minutes), or until toothpick comes out clean.
Source: Sarah Durenberger

Fair Time

Fair Time

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The boys showed their poultry on Tuesday. They placed 5th and 6th in the state fair line-up with their brown egg layer hens. This is the largest class of poultry so this was good news.

Well it is fair time at our house. Many friends observe the craziness, and wonder why we do this? It is complete chaos with full exhaustion at the end. It seems no matter how much you prepare, this is the pattern. We would do this all over again because we see the life changing opportunities that 4-H offers our children.

The boys averaged 10 general project areas and both brought two hens and two pigs. We encourage them to take basic life skill type projects: baking, electricity, shop (welding and woodworking), food preservation, safety, livestock projects and more. Through this process, they work with different adult mentors in their lives from their grandparents, parents, neighbors and friends. It is an amazing process to step back and observe as both the 4-Her and mentor discuss details about a given project area, and the amount of high level discussion and learning that occurs.

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Sam was ecstatic to place champion in the vegetable area.

The kids spend spare time throughout the year working on projects and developing life changing skills.

When I asked the boys why they like being in 4-H, they said they like taking pigs and working with so many types of animal species, getting to go to fun places, meeting more people, making new friends and it’s fun.

For us as parents we see that it teaches them leadership, responsibility, follow-through, time management, where their food comes from, how to take care of the food that we feed other people, record keeping, writing, organization, conversational and interview skills and more.

So as you take a look at your boxes this week. We want to share that Sam won grand champion vegetables and Keith earned a state fair trip and plans to show the vegetables at the Minnesota State Fair. We thank you for the opportunity for us to learn and grow with you along this journey.

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Keith’s vegetable’s earned a trip to the state fair. Looking forward to the additional learning opportunities.

What’s New?

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Look what else is going on. Kittens with their eyes opening up. Great time to start taming these farm cats so they will be good hunters.

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.
• 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.

Remember that some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating.

Outrageous Red Lettuce/Kale Mix – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad. Between the weather and the insects the salad varieties are a bit thin this week. The rain actually has delayed emergence in some of the varieties, while the weather has encouraged rapid weed growth choking out some of the crops, and the insects are loving the kale. I was thankful to see some spinach emerging this morning and am hopeful for where it will be next week.

Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets Cooked beets: -Cut the top and the bottom off -Place in boiling water -Boil until you can stick a fork through it -Take out of boiling water -Using a paper towel, gently rub the skin off -Slice and enjoy with a dab of butter.

Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. Here are some ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use your beets.

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi. Peel it and slice like an apple. Here are more ideas.
Super Sugar Snap Peas – Eat the pods and peas all together. Great snack. This is the end of the first crop. Look for a second crop soon.

green beans

Green Beans

Green Beans – The first round of green beans have been harvested. If you want to pickle any, please let us know as we have dill that you can use.

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

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Flower after flower will grow into a zucchini. Check out this week’s recipe for a family favorite.

8-11-14 summer squash

Summer Squash

Summer Squash – Make these into noodles, sauté and more. Try summer squash soup.

Cilantro – wash and enjoy. Freeze extra by placing in ice cube trays and running water over them and freeze. A good way to use later in soups and other dishes. Here’s a resource on Cilantro from Real Simple.

Flowers of the Week – Hostas, Zinnias, Hydrangeas and Tiger Lillies

Recipe of the Week

brownies

These zucchini brownies are a 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

Project Driven

Project Driven

It was a busy 4th of July at our house. Yes, we worked outside. It was a project driven day that ended in a cookout and fireworks. There doesn’t seem to be many days where we can focus on accomplishing a lot around home, but that day we did. From weed control to harvesting the cover crop to addressing the white mold on some of our vines to installing a fence for the second round of peas, there was much to be done.

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Since we are out of our repurposed fencing, we found another way to make a pea fence. It is so much easier to harvest peas when they are growing upright.

Here’s a glimpse of what is growing on this week. Thanks again to Sam who took the majority of the photos in the blog.

Garden Science

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The first harvest of green beans. Notice all the white flowers. A green bean will grow from those flowers.

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.
• 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.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – We have a new crop planted. This is the case for many of the salad type crops. In fact, we planted it about a month ago. It emerged even though the ground was pretty hard for the young plant to push through but it did have a poor stand. We have replanted again. Just not sure how quickly it will mature to harvest stage. Remember that some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating.

Outrageous Red Lettuce – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad.

Spinach/Kale mix – A little purple kale is mixed in with the spinach this week. There is an insect that is loving the kale this year. We are trying to trouble shoot control of this insect.

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Beets

Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. Here are some ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use your beets.

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

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Super Sugar Snap Peas are growing like crazy. Enjoy!

Super Sugar Snap Peas – Rat the pods and peas all together. Great snack.

Green Beans – The first round of green beans have been harvested. If you want to pickle any, please let us know as we have dill that you can use.

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Onion growing.

Onion – Walla Walla onions are in your boxes this week.

Zucchini/Summer Squash – make these into noodles, sauté and more. Check out this link for recipe ideas.

Cilantro – wash and enjoy. Freeze extra by placing in ice cube trays and running water over them and freeze. A good way to use later in soups and other dishes. Here’s a resource on Cilantro from Real Simple.

Flowers of the Week – Hostas, Zinnias, Hydrangeas and Tiger Lillys

Recipe of the Week

1 pound snap peas, trimmed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add snap peas and cook until tender but still vibrant green and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and toss with butter; season with salt.

Source: Martha Stewart

Weeds and What!

Weeds and What!

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Sam’s photo of the pullets, young hens, speaks volumes. The chickens are thinking “Weeds and What! We are taking a look at the outlook of this growing season. We have a few things to tell you from our perspective. The weeds grow like crazy with this heat and humidity, and insects…lots of insects. We love to eat all of it.”

When I saw this photo, it cracked me up. We are all so serious about the outlook including evidently the chickens.

There are several concerns right now: 1. weeds – growing like crazy; 2. insects – between potato bugs and a number of plant eating nuisances – there are a few areas to get under control; 3. replanting another round of crops – don’t like to mud the seeds into the ground, but Mother Nature isn’t giving us many options.

This sums up the week. The crops are growing and will have more of a chance once we get the competing factors under control: weeds and insects.

The majority of the photos in the blog were taken by Sam.

Garden Science

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Keith’s photo of the weather last Thursday speaks volumes with the stop sign saying it all. This weather has been a bit crazy for all of us. From what we can tell, the weeds and the bad insects are loving it. Frankly we need these extremes to stop.

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.

• 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.

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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 – Last Week of this one. 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.

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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.

 

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Outrageous Red Lettuce – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad.

 

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

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Beets – The entire plant is edible.

 

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Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi. Peel it and slice like an apple.

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The first harvest of Super Sugar Snap Peas.

Super Sugar Snap Peas – Rat the pods and peas all together. Great snack.

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Young Walla Walla Onion – notice the root system and also notice on the stalk how it appears to be braided.

Onion – Young Walla Walla onions are in your boxes this week.

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Cilantro will also grow back after you cut the stalks with the leaves. Wash and enjoy the flavorful leaves.

Cilantro – wash and enjoy. Freeze extra by placing in ice cube trays and running water over them and freeze. A good way to use later in soups and other dishes. Check out these ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use this herb.

Recipe of the Week

Lazy taco

Lazy taco…add a side of fruit and a glass of milk, and you have a well balanced, colorful and fun meal for the family.

Lazy Tacos

This is a family favorite and a go to recipe in our house. Thank you to Steve’s Aunt Coleen for sharing this idea with us many years ago. This dish can take on many options depending on your family’s tastes.
Crush corn chips and layer taco favorites on top such as:
taco meat
onions
black olives,
tomatoes
lettuce
cheddar cheese
chilli beans
salsa
cottage cheese
salad dressing
Note: with all of the fresh produce I would also try a variety of vegetables.

 

Weeds and More

Weeds and More

There is always something to do at our place. We replanted some crops and did quite a bit of weed control. We are also closely monitoring potato bugs and some other critters that are enjoying a few of the plants. We will let you know what we find out. Here’s some highlights from the week and a look at what to expect in your boxes. Enjoy and thank you!

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Sweet potatoes have been planted. They come in groups like this which are slips of plants that are alive and have a root on the bottom of each plant slip. We are grateful for our neighbors that order these from Tennessee for some good seed stock.

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The potatoes have been hilled to provide more soil for the potatoes to grow in, and it provides more soil over the potatoes as they grow so fewer newly grown potatoes have the greening of the tubers from the sun. We will probably hill them one more time this week.

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Weeding is a continuous process. Keith spent some time out with the vines this week making sure they didn’t have any competition around the plants to ensure good opportunity for pumpkins, squash and gourds. I think this plant is sure glad to not have any competition for the opportunity for good growth.

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.
• It is your responsibility to know that the pick-up or drop-off time will occur at the agreed upon time, and it is your responsibility as a shareholder to know this and be responsible for the produce at that time. If you are unable to utilize your share that week, it is still your responsibility: find someone else to pick it up or donate it to the food shelf.
• Each box is labeled for each family. The same boxes will be used for your family throughout the season. Boxes and containers should be returned the following week. Bags will only be used once.

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

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

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 had some extra they wanted to share with us, and the delivery time worked out well. 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 from Martha Stewart.
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.
Outrageous Red Lettuce – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad.

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Spinach leaves will grow back after you cut them. We can usually get a few harvests per plant.

Spinach and beet leaves – great for salads


Radishes – Cherry Belle and French Breakfast radishes. Read a little history on radishes.
Chives – wash then chop up chives into small pieces. I enjoy using them in potatoes on the grill.

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Cilantro will also grow back after you cut the stalks with the leaves. Wash and enjoy the flavorful leaves.

Cilantro – wash and enjoy. Freeze extra by placing in ice cube trays and running water over them and freeze. A good way to use later in soups and other dishes. Check out these ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use this herb.
Herb Pots – Pick your variety in a pot to bring home and keep throughout the season. Check out this resource on herbs.

Recipe of the Week

4-10-12 Making rhubarb tort (21)

Enjoy! Delicious right out of the oven with some ice cream. A great way to enjoy this spring crop and celebrate June Dairy Month.

Rhubarb Torte

Using a pie crust cutter. Mix the following.
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 cup butter
Mix then pat into a 9 x 13 cake pan.

6 cups rhubarb cut into small 1/2 inch pieces
6 oz package of strawberry or raspberry jello.
Place cut rhubarb on top of the bottom layer. Rhubarb should be cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Sprinkle jello powder over rhubarb.

Topping
2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
Mix with pie cutter or fork and spread on top of Jello. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.