Thankful

Thankful

The boys harvested a bounty of vegetables.

The boys harvested a bounty of vegetables.

Thankful is what comes to mind this week after we returned home from a quick trip over Independence Day weekend. As we traveled the Midwest, we saw areas – particularly Indiana that have had way to much moisture.

We feel blessed to have been getting what our plants need in a timely fashion. We pray that this continues, and we also pray for the farmers who are struggling with challenging conditions.

For those that are wondering, we received about 2.5 inches of rain on Monday.

Science of the Week

The saying is - corn knee high by the Fourth of July. Well, corn is not only knee high, but it is tasseling. Our sweet corn is tasseling. Some of the field corn is nearly six feet and tasseling. The science that goes into selecting good seed provides the opportunity for the corn to be productive in a variety of weather conditions.

The saying is – corn knee-high by the Fourth of July. Well, corn is not only knee-high, but it is tasseling. Our sweet corn is tasseling. Some of the field corn is nearly six feet and tasseling. The science that goes into selecting good seed provides the opportunity for the corn to be productive in a variety of weather conditions.

Question of the Week

Why do you thin the crops?

Thinning is done when crops are planted to close together. We try to space them evenly with the proper distance between each other, but with small seeds, this is sometimes difficult to do with our planter.

Thinning is the process of pulling out the extra plants so there is proper spacing between the plants so that they can grow to their optimum performance. We thin different crops such as the beets so that the root vegetable has more room to grow into a beautiful shape. If the vegetables are to close together you start to get the unique shapes or the vegetables that are wrapped together. We appreciate our shareholders that on occasion embrace the “ugly” vegetable and enjoy the still wonderful flavor!

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 wash your vegetables before eating.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – Beautiful red lettuce leaf.

Spinach – Remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal!

Comparing the size of the beets to the size of his head.

Comparing the size of the beets to the size of his head.

Beet Leaves – Great in your salads.

Beets – A taste to start the season.

Cherry Belle Radishes – Last ones for a while.

Zucchini and Summer Squash

Peas were bountiful this week.

Peas were bountiful this week.

Sugar Snap Peas – A garden favorite. Eat the pod and all. Enjoy this delicious vegetable!

Green Beans

Green Beans

Green Beans – This crop is becoming bountiful. Be prepared for future weeks. We do have dill if you wish to pickle some. Here are some recipes from Martha Stewart.

Purple Beans

Purple Beans

Purple Beans – A taste of a new crop. Enjoy the fun color.

Check out the size of this onion.

Check out the size of this onion.

Onions – Yellow to start the season

The boys were using a baseball as they "measured" the size of the kohlrabi for harvest.

The boys were using a baseball as they “measured” the size of the kohlrabi for harvest.

KohlrabiHere are some ideas of how to use Kohlrabi.

Kale – Let us know what you think!

Fresh cut arrangement 

Recipe of the Week

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.

God’s Creation and Science

Keith and Sam on one of the Big Max pumpkins. Not sure that they will reach their “big” potential, but they are growing and other varieties are looking good. I think we need more science applied in future years to figure out how to reach the 1,000 pound level and a lot of prayer this year.

As I walked into the house this evening with the sun setting and the new moon rising, it was easy to be in awe of God’s Creation that surrounds us. Then I thought of our garden and marveled at all of the science that we have growing and what our entire family is learning from this adventure. I also thought back to growing up on our farm south of Tracy and recalled the same feeling from those experiences. I look at agriculture whether it be plant or animals from a scientific perspective. It allows me the opportunity to find reason or ways to make improvements…to make the best better and ways to achieve more with what we have in order to achieve our best while maintaining what is best for our environment, our animals and our family while producing safe, healthy food which we feed to our family and provide for your families.

I also recognize that there is much that science can’t explain or that is simply out of our hands, and this year like every year, the perfect example is the weather. We pray for rain. We pray for the right growing conditions. We pray for the severe thunderstorms not to have damaging winds, hail or tornadoes. In the end, we recognize that God gives us what he knows we can handle for the journey he has laid before us.

BOXES OF PRODUCE

Thank you to all who have returned their mid-year surveys. This provided very helpful information for us, and your feedback is greatly appreciated!!

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 when preparing, always wash your produce before eating.

Lettuce Blend – While not a significant amount this week, it is a start again that hopefully will take us through the remainder of the growing season includes Prizehead, Red Oak Leaf and Simpson Elite.

Cucumbers – We hope you are enjoying this yummy vegetable which I think only has a week or two left. Learn more about harvesting cucumbers across the U.S.

Broccoli – Also nearing the end of this garden vegetable.

Peppers – I like to cut them up to 1/4 inch pieces and freeze them for soups and other recipes this fall and winter.

Sam and Keith showing that the newly planted beans are growing. We like to hear how you are using this vegetable. It is a laborsom task so any inspiration is appreciated:)

Green Beans – We are nearing the end of this patch. We have another round of green beans and dragon tongue beans growing in the garden that should provide us with plenty to enjoy in September. See how Green Beans are harvested for us to buy at the grocery store.

Summer Squash – Zucchini – Nearing the end of this crop.

Onions – In your boxes this week were yellow onions. We hope to have a few purple and white onions, but the weather appeared to go hard on them. So you will primarily see yellow onions.

Our onions are a science wonder as we have never had onions this small before. In the past, they have been giants so we like to attribute this to the weather and guarantee that we will strive to grow large onions again next year.

Potatoes – This week we have Norland – great for mashed or boiled potatoes, Yukon Golds – great for baking or cooked and Kennebec – great for baking.

Although large and plentiful, we have been challenged with the tomatoes growing to fast and splitting on the top or odd growing patterns. Even thought the tomatoes are mulched it demonstrates the need for regular irrigation. This Brandywine variety shows an odd growth pattern on the bottom. But compared to the boys, these are huge tomatoes.

Tomatoes – Tomatoes in your boxes this week to include Big Boys, Roma, Yellow Girl and cherry tomatoes. Check out how farmers are striving for the perfect tomatoes.

Sweet Corn – Thank you to our neighbors FarGaze Farms – the Peterson families for this delicious vegetable! Here are a few more ideas for your sweet corn from Martha Stewart.

Herbs – Peppermint, oregano, cilantro, and lemon thyme Remember you can dry them or you can freeze. See how to freeze with olive oil to use later. Wondering what to do with the peppermint – try this refreshing summer tea recipe.

Fresh Flowers – Zinnias, Rudbeckia or sunflowers this week. Place a few hosta leaves in with them when placing in the vase. Also, remember to add about a teaspoon of bleach to help the flowers last longer.

Recipe of the Week

Quick and Easy to Try.

*Cherry Tomatoes quartered and eaten with Cottage Cheese.

*BLT without the bacon. I love bacon!! But I don’t always have the time to make it. So at work when I need a quick-lunch, I bring some of the garden lettuce and one of the varieties of tomatoes, and I have a refreshing quick-lunch.

Rhubarb Muffins

This weekend I thawed out some of my frozen rhubarb and enjoyed these delicious muffins. My apologies – I forgot to get the camera for a step by step. I have rhubarb thawed in 2 cups or 6 cups amounts. I doubled the muffin recipe so I could freeze half the dough in a Ziploc bag. When I thaw the batter out, I simply snip off the corner of the bag and use it like a pastry bag and squeeze into the muffin tins.

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup applesauce

1 egg

1/2 cup yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1 cup finely sliced rhubarb

Topping:

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup finely chopped nuts

Combine sugar, applesauce, egg, yogurt and vanilla in a bowl. Sift flour, soda, and salt together and stir into liquid mixture. Blend in nuts and rhubarb. Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full. Topping: Combine brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts and sprinkle over batter in muffin tins. Tip: I always spray the liners with a spritz of baking spray so the muffins don’t stick to the liners. Bake at 325 degrees  for 25-30 minutes. Makes 12 muffins. This can also be baked in a greased loaf pan for 45 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Chickens

Well in addition to the CSA, this spring we hatched chicks in Keith’s Montessori classroom. The boys talked me into keeping the White Leghorns. The chicks had outgrown their brooder house. So they were in need of a chicken coop. After many weekends of hard work by Steve, Keith and Sam, the chickens were moved into their new home this weekend. Steve designed this in his head and simply built it, which I find so amazing. The boys had an absolute blast building with their dad in fact Sam asked tonight when they could build another one.

This weekend, the boys also decided they wanted to reinvest some of their earnings from the CSA into growing their flock of birds. A friend of ours’ kids were selling some of their chickens. So on Saturday evening, we drove over and the boys reinvested their money. We now have 9 hens, 5 roosters and 7 breeds of chickens along with a few of the new hens laying.

The boys were beyond excited to get their first eggs from their new chickens. although we will not be offering these eggs in our CSA, we wanted to share with you the excitement that has been going on here. We do have another friend that has enough laying hens if you wish to purchase farm fresh eggs.