Rain

Rain

The focus this week really centered around getting things done around the rain. We received over 3 1/2 inches of rain, and it is raining again as I write. We are grateful it hasn’t been more, less or worse as we have seen some really sad weather scenarios in many areas. We pray for those in these situations.

While the rain made tying tomatoes on the trellis’ very muddy, it didn’t stop the progress … only slowed it down. The bright side is that at least the weeds pull super easy, but they are really enjoying this weather.

While it may be soggy we encourage you to take time and enjoy the smell of the rain and the treasures it leaves behind.

Garden Science

A view of the peas. Read more below to learn about the history of snap peas.Delicious!

20180620_225454.jpg

Sugar snap peas were first developed in 1952 by cross-breeding a snow pea with a mutant shell pea plant. Researchers hoped that the cross might counteract twisting and buckling seen in varieties at the time. With this cross, they developed a new class of snow pea. Snap peas, like all other peas, are pod fruits. An edible-podded pea is less fibrous, and edible when young. Pods of the edible-podded pea, including snap peas, do not have a membrane and do not open when ripe.

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.

20180621_064905.jpg

Enjoy some rhubarb torte. A favorite in our house and super easy.

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. Check out earlier posts on rhubarb for recipe ideas and the rhubarb torte recipe  pictured here.

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! See how asparagus is harvested in California. Check out these recipes.

20180620_06531038762702059193500.jpg

Red Lettuce following the morning rain. We have had over 2 1/2 inches of rain this past week.

Red Lettuce – The Red lettuce is mixed in with the green lettuce. Give them a try. A very tasty treat.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – One of my favorite garden crops. Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating. See how lettuce is grown throughout the year so it is available in our grocery stores even on our cold Minnesota days.

20180620_0652502650915694871769471.jpg

Spinach with rain drops. Did you know with the varieties of spinach and lettuce we grow, we cut it and it grows back new leaves by the next week.

Spinach – Great for salads – check out last week’s recipe

BeetsNew beets in the boxes this week. An old garden favorite of mine. Learn how to use them here. https://www.marthastewart.com/274226/beet-recipes

Sugar Snap Peas – So delicious. Eat the the whole edible pod. Enjoy this garden favorite.

CilantroDid you know that ¼ cup of cilantro only has 1 calorie. Here are a few ideas from Martha Stewart to use your cilantro. https://www.marthastewart.com/search/results?keys=cilantro

Broiler Chicken – The 1/4 frozen broiler (meat) chicken, raised by the boys, is a chicken that is bred and raised specifically for meat production. When these birds eat the balanced diet specifically made for them by an animal nutritionist, their energy goes to building muscle vs a layer hen’s energy focuses on producing and laying eggs. Hormones and antibiotics are not given to chickens as this is illegal to do in the United States. Learn more at Best Food Facts. Here are some tips to cut the chicken further if desired.  Check here for recipes or simply put in the crockpot frozen , cook on low for 12 hours – I add a can of 7-up, herbs and about 2 Tablespoons of butter. It will be ready for supper that evening.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves and Spirea

Recipe of the Week

We tried this on yogurt and ice cream. It was a success and a quick and easy way to use your rhubarb.

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

2-1/4 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pound cake or vanilla ice cream

Source: Taste of Home

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil. Add rhubarb; cook and stir for 5-10 minutes or until rhubarb is tender and mixture is slightly thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in lemon peel and nutmeg.
  2. Serve warm or chilled over pound cake, yogurt or ice cream. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 1-1/4 cups.
From Winter to Summer

From Winter to Summer

It is extremely strange to think that roughly a month and a half ago was a blizzard and that over Memorial Day, we experienced record setting heat. All of these crazy weather conditions, combined with a window to plant provided an opportunity for the crops and weeds to grow like crazy. The good news is that harvest for some of these crops is just around the corner, and so are some delicious dishes to tantalize the taste buds.

4-15-18 Brothers

Roughly a month and a half ago, we had a blizzard which was followed by record-setting heat at the end of May. It is strange to think that we are ready for produce to be harvested. If you are wondering, yes the snow was that deep on April 15.

20180523_0548407542530341092395649.jpg

The brown spot on the leaf is the outside shell of the seed still hanging onto the leaf. It will eventually fall off as the plant continues to grow.

20180523_0549235055847841776258184.jpg

New lettuce plants… love the color of the leaves.

20180603_1024307535811077487945721.jpg

4 O’Clocks peaking out of the ground. The strength a young plant has to peek out of the ground is always amazing to me. We plant 4 O’Clocks to attract good insects so they will eat the bad insects.

20180531_1756384460324376254526789.jpg

The potatoes are growing and needed to be hilled already. This allows more room for the tubers (potatoes) to grow.

20180531_182110475723389374451778.jpg

Unfortunately, we still have to pull some weeds. These weeds overcame the carrots over Memorial Day weekend.

20180603_101556.jpg

What do we do as a family before and after a day of baseball…weed control. After 3 inches of rain and about a week of above normal and record-setting temperatures, the weeds are plentiful. Keeping them under control is essential to growing and harvesting a good crop.

20180603_100743.jpg

Running the tiller that was his great grandpa’s.

20180603_105605.jpg

Yes, we have two of great grandpa’s tillers because they had a big garden. They accomplish the task faster when we work together.

20180526_092042.jpg

We made a trip to South Dakota and were able to see the Corn Palace. It was fun to see the beautiful art work made from different color corn varieties. The corn is not dyed. Corn is naturally these different colors depending on the variety. 

20180531_1726214345944417738443136.jpg

We recently hatched baby chicks in a classroom. We all enjoy doing agriculture in the classroom to help others better understand agriculture.

Showing Growth

Showing Growth

The crops are growing and so are the weeds this week. Here’s a quick view of what’s growing on.

20180514_060705-14664874010644455039.jpg

The pea plants germinating as well as many of the other crops. Look closely to see the fine hairs on the leaves. The morning dew help to make them stand out. The new plants are so fun and fascinating to look at.

20180512_204403-15712086169947599709.jpg

We planted two varieties of garlic this week California White and Walla Walla.

20180513_145720(0)3480104303016366593.jpg

A great team effort planting herb pots with a variety of herbs in each one. A culinary delight for the shareholders.

20180513_164237.jpg

The broilers went outside this weekend. They are growing quickly and will be ready for market in a few weeks.

20180515_150622.jpg

The rhubarb looked fantastic so we made rhubarb jam and some homemade bread to sample the jelly on. He did a great job in the kitchen!

 

Spring Field Work Begins

Spring Field Work Begins

We are so grateful for the good drying weather and beautiful days to be in the field. Below is a quick glance at last week.

20180501_184037.jpg

Field work started this week. Everyone enjoys the opportunity to be on the tractor.

20180503_184432(0)3402101932801778377.jpg

These boys planted 548 potatoes 4 varieties in 45 minutes to beat some rain. They are happy to have accomplished this task in record time without sacrificing quality outcomes.

20180428_0949594664912521637511886.jpg

Rhubarb emerged this week and is growing like crazy. I love the crinkly leaves and the blend of colors. We were able to enjoy a small rhubarb raspberry pie this week.

20180501_202154.jpg

The broker chicks are growing fast. Now at 4 weeks old they are almost fully feathered.

IMG_20180505_113331.jpg

The 4-H pigs arrived this week. The boys enjoy this project and learn so much from this opportunity. Thank you to Country Girls Showpigs for their help on this project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April Blizzard

April Blizzard

It is hard to tell how many inches of snow Mother Nature sent our way this weekend along with the high winds creating blizzard conditions. But it is a historic weather event in Minnesota. One we hope does not repeat anytime soon.

Please pray for warmer weather providing for good planting conditions. I’d also ask that you keep all those affected by extreme weather events across our Nation in your prayers. Prayer and hope are powerful to those in need.

Snow Drifts

It is hard to believe we were in a blizzard warning and winter weather warning for most of the weekend. But all you had to do was look out the window or go outside to feel the ice pellets, different forms of snow and see the snow drifts to know that Mother Nature is in charge. We are just not real fond of her tricks at this point.

4-15-18 Broiler Chicks

Our broiler chicks came this week and are already growing like crazy. See their wing feathers already developing. These chicks are not given any hormones. It is illegal in the United States to give chickens hormones. They will be full-grown in 8 weeks.

4-15-18 seed potatoes

Our seed potatoes and seeds are ready for planting when Mother Nature decides to cooperate.

Meaningful Conversations

Meaningful Conversations

IMG_0940

Learning to share your farm story can take you many places including KARE 11 at the Minnesota State Fair.

Discussing the food to farm story with others is important to our family. We enjoy the meaningful conversations, and the information learned from the conversation that is insightful to us on how to improve our communication skills to effectively share agriculture’s story.

This past week, this type of opportunity took us to the Minnesota State Fair. The boys enjoy working in the Minnesota Farm Bureau booth (located behind the giant yellow slide) and visiting with fairgoers. Fairgoers take a short quiz to earn a prize. The quiz this year included asking a farmer working the booth to share, “Their favorite farm memory?”

The boys are always amazed at what they learn, the opportunities that arise and who they meet. Whether you are a farmer or you are the consumer, next time you have the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation to learn more about our food.

We encourage you to take time to seek first to understand, and you will be amazed at what you learn.

IMG_0927

Sam enjoyed working at the Farm Bureau building at the Minnesota State Fair with a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota studying agricultural economics and chemistry originally from western Minnesota where her family raises sugarbeets .

IMG_0948

Weather is important to farmers. So sharing the weather live from the fair on KARE 11 was a lot of fun.

IMG_0929

Visiting with fairgoers and hearing their questions or concerns allows us all to become better at meaningful conversations.

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 – The last crop of lettuce is coming in. It should love this cold weather. 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 – New crop – Beautiful color.

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

Green and Purple Beans – Check 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.

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi – Try these ideas from Martha Stewart.

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

Green Bell Peppers – Learn how to make stuffed peppers here.

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 – If you are considering canning quantities or wanting to freeze some for this winter, let us know. For the record we harvest 245 pounds this week.

A new cucumber growing.

Cucumbers – A new crop of a smaller variety of cucumbers is coming in. Maybe you want to can some or are interested in refrigerator pickles. 

Carrots – See how carrots are grown in Georgia on America’s Heartland.

Peter Pan, Scallop Squash – This squash is a circular scalloped summer squash. 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.

Summer Squash, Golden Egg Hybrid

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.

Zucchini – This crop is coming to an end. Shred and mix up your favorite zucchini bread recipe – freeze the dough, and you are ready for a quick breakfast treat on a chilly Fall day.

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 or a soup.

Kennebec – Excellent for baked potatoes.

Cilantro – Great in an omelet or fresh salsa.

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard – Learn more about swiss chard and how to prepare it.

Flowers – Hydrangeas and Hostas

Recipe of the Week

Freezer Salsa

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

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

20170811_122041

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.

20170814_193155

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.

20170814_192944

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.

20170814_192929

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.

20170814_192916

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

20160904_131425_1473107813781 (2)

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

 

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.

 

20170729_204248

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.

20170729_204257

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.

20170730_130824

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

20170730_161940

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.

20170712_084108

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.

20170726_082536

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.

IMG_2869

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.

20170719_124017-1

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.

The Journey

The Journey

20170722_084017

4-H Pledge – I pledge my head to clearer thinking, My heart to greater loyalty, My hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.

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

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

20170723_181035

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

IMG_5826 (2)

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

IMG_5844

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – Beautiful color.

20170712_084108

Giant Duke Kohlrabi

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

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

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

20170712_084101-1

Detroit Dark Red Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets

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

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

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

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

20170726_082536

Carrots

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

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

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

20170726_082603

French Breakfast Radishes

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

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

20170712_080109

Zinnias

Fresh cut arrangement – Rudbeckia, Sunflowers, Zinnias and Coreopsis

Recipe of the Week

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

20170726_172343

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

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

It’s Not About the Blue Ribbon

 

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.

20170719_094152

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.

20170706_093336

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!

20170712_084101-1

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.

20170719_094109

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.

20170706_093546

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.

20170719_124017-1

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.