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

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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.

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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 .

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

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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

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – Beautiful color.

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

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

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

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Purple Vienna Kohlrabi ready for harvest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A new cucumber forming between the stem and the flower.

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

 

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

 

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

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

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Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash growing on the plant.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Recipe of the Week

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

Summer Squash Soup

5 small yellow summer squash, seeded and cubed

2 green onions, cut into 3-inch pieces

2 tablespoons butter

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

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

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

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

Source: Taste of Home

 

Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to the Jungle

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

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

tomatoes

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Boxes of Produce

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

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

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – Beautiful color.

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Giant Duke Kohlrabi

Grand Duke Kohlrabi – This is the last of this crop for the season.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Carrots

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

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

Zucchini – Try these recipes from Martha Stewart.

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

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

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Cilantro

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

9-24-14 eggs

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

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

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Zinnia

Fresh cut arrangement – Hydrangeas, Rudbeckia, Zinnias and Coreopsis

 

Recipe of the Week

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread
Cinnamon Zucchini Bread

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

3 Eggs, beaten

1 cup Sugar

1 cup Brown Sugar

1 cup applesauce

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

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

2 cups Zucchini, shredded

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

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

Instructions

Beat together the eggs, sugars and applesauce.

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

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

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

The Journey

The Journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – Beautiful color.

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.

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Detroit Dark Red Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets

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

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

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

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

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Carrots

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

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

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

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French Breakfast Radishes

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

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

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Zinnias

Fresh cut arrangement – Rudbeckia, Sunflowers, Zinnias and Coreopsis

Recipe of the Week

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

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Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

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

It’s Not About the Blue Ribbon

 

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4-H poultry judging

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

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

General Projects

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

Sam general project judging

4-H general project judging

Livestock Projects

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce

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

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

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

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A close of view of the kohlrabi growing.

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

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

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

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Dark Red Detroit Beets

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

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

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

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

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Cucumbers

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

Carrots – A small taste – enjoy!

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

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Swiss Chard

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

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

Potatoes – Viking potatoes, this variety is good for

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

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Zinnia

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

Recipe of the Week

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

Philly Cheesesteak – check this recipe out from Pioneer Woman.

 

This week, we finished the last of the harvest before the freeze warning. We then donated 17 chickens, 60 pounds of cabbage and a huge basket of Habenero peppers to the food shelf.

This past week, we finished the last of the harvest before the freeze warning. We then donated 17 chickens, 60 pounds of cabbage and a huge basket of Habenero peppers to the food shelf.

While the CSA deliveries may have ended our preparation for the colder weather hasn’t. The last of the crops have been harvested and what remained was brought into the food shelf. It was fitting that the night before the Bible story the boys selected was The Good Samaritan. While we talk about the importance of helping others, I don’t know if they fully comprehend the importance of what they are sharing. We are grateful that we have the opportunity to give back.

This past week, as I watched our neighbors and our family harvesting, I was reminded of how many people don't realize that they too farm to feed the hungry and was reminded of a conversation with my Dad where he said that he has farmed for over 50 years to make sure people weren't die from hunger. Yet with a growing world population this is a constant topic amongst all of us in agriculture - how to feed a growing world population sustainably.

As I watch our neighbors and our family harvesting, I am reminded of how many people don’t realize that the farmers I know also farm to feed the hungry to prevent an estimated 25,000 from dying from hunger every day. I was reminded of a conversation with my Dad when we discussed this where he said, with great sadness in his voice, that he has farmed for over 50 years to make sure people weren’t dying from hunger. Yet with a growing world population this is a constant topic discussed in agriculture – how to feed a growing world population sustainably.

Our community outreach and sharing our story doesn't end when the growing season is done. We had a great opportunity to share our story with students of the Minnesota State School of the Deaf. We brought in herbs and vegetables that we grow to use in pizza sauce.

Harner Brothers CSA community outreach and sharing our story doesn’t end when the growing season is done. We had a great opportunity to share our story with students of the Minnesota State School of the Deaf. We brought in herbs and vegetables that we grow to use in pizza sauce. We were also able to share some carrots and tomatoes with the students.

Garden Science

The popcorn has been harvested and is drying down.

While the popcorn has been harvested, we are waiting for it to dry down so that is will actually pop.

People have been fascinated by popcorn for centuries. Some Native Americans believed that a spirit lived inside each kernel of popcorn. When heated, the spirit grew angry and would eventually burst out of its home and into the air as a disgruntled puff of steam. A less charming but more scientific explanation exists for why popcorn pops.

Popcorn is scientifically known as Zea mays everta. It’s a type of maize, or corn, and is a member of the grass family.  Popcorn is a whole grain and is made up of three components: the germ, endosperm, and pericarp (or hull). Of the 4 most common types of corn—sweet, dent (also known as field), flint (also known as Indian corn) and popcorn—only popcorn pops!  Popcorn differs from other types of corn in that its hull has just the right thickness to allow it to burst open.

Each kernel of popcorn contains a small drop of water stored inside a circle of soft starch. Popcorn needs between 13.5-14% moisture to pop. The soft starch is surrounded by the kernel’s hard outer surface.

As the kernel heats up, the water begins to expand. Around 212 degrees the water turns into steam and changes the starch inside each kernel into a superhot gelatinous goop. The kernel continues to heat to about 347 degrees. The pressure inside the grain will reach 135 pounds per square inch before finally bursting the hull open.

As it explodes, steam inside the kernel is released. The soft starch inside the popcorn becomes inflated and spills out, cooling immediately and forming into the odd shape we know and love. A kernel will swell 40-50 times its original size!

Source: The Popcorn Board

Recipe of the Week

Thanks to one of our shareholders for sharing her freezer coleslaw recipe. Hope this helps some of you that may still have that cabbage hanging around in the refrigerator.

Freezer Cole Slaw

From: Fern Vesledahl

1 quart chopped cabbage

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 cup chopped red pepper (optional)

Combine above 3 ingredients. Add 2 cups water, 2 Tablespoons salt. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Drain, rinse and add 3 cups celery and syrup.

Syrup – makes 1 1/2 cups

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup vinegar

1/2 cup water

1 Tablespoon mustard seed

Combine ingredients for syrup, boil and cool. (This syrup keeps indefinitely in the refrigerator.)

Note: Add green pepper and celery according to what is on hand. A small can of chopped pimento maybe used if no fresh is on hand.

Make a double recipe it keeps a long time and stays crisp and freezes well. Thaw before using. Freeze in large mouth pint jars.

 
Sharing our Story

Sharing our Story

This past weekend, I had the joy and pleasure of teaching a young girl how to pick flowers. Picking flowers is a skill that I have taught my boys and my husband, and something we all take for granted. Much like the boys teaching other kids how to harvest carrots.

As I reflect on these experiences, I am reminded of why we encourage our boys to teach something each week in the garden. You see each week during our growing season, we encourage the boys to share something that is new or different that is “growing” on in the garden from insects to soil types to seeds to harvesting vegetables to eat on the way home etc. We encourage our children to continue to share the farm story wherever an opportunity is available, and they continue to amaze me.

Farm Fact: Over half of all Minnesotans have never met a farmer.

Keith working at the state fair sharing how farmers care for the animals, environment and producing food for families in our neighborhoods and around the world.

Keith working at the state fair sharing how farmers care for the animals, the environment and producing food for families in our neighborhoods and around the world.

This week, Keith joined me at the Minnesota State Fair at the Minnesota Farm Bureau booth answering consumer questions  and providing an opportunity for consumers to meet a farmer. He also worked at the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation’s Ag Cab Lab in the CHS Miracle of Birth Center helping families to better understand ethanol, and what it is like to drive a tractor. He had a great opportunity to help share what Minnesota Farm Bureau is doing at this year’s Minnesota State Fair on WCCO TV.

Sam sharing how the chicks have grown that they hatched at the Montessori, and how to tell the difference between roosters and hens.

Sam shared how the chicks that were hatched at the Montessori have grown, and taught the children how to tell the difference between roosters and hens.

This past school year, we hatched chicks in both of the boys’ classrooms. This summer, we brought the grown chickens into school to share with the children and show them how quickly poultry and animals change – a great science lesson! Sam did a great job leading this sharing time and describing the differences between roosters and hens.

While there are many different types of farms across Minnesota and the United States, we are happy to share our story with those who are interested and to help answer questions that you may have or connect you with farmers that would be able to answer them. You see the reason we enjoy sharing our story is because we like to see the joy in the faces when people connect and better understand. Much like the joy in a young girls face when she better understands how to harvest and pick a beautiful bouquet of flowers, or the smile on boys’ faces with their mouths outlined in dirt after eating freshly harvested carrots.

Science in the Garden

We spend quite a bit of time trying to identify insects. A cool one we found this week was the hummingbird moth. Learn more here.

We spend quite a bit of time trying to identify insects. A cool one we found this week was the hummingbird moth. Learn more here.

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.

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.

Lettuce and Spinach – New crop looks delicious. We hope this will last us until the end of September.

Carrots – Interested to hear what you think. These carrots came out of a different soil type then the ones earlier this summer. Your feedback is appreciated.

Green Beans – A little taste – a new crop of green beans and sugar snap peas in the coming weeks to finish out the year. Check out this segment on America’s Heartland on green beans.

Broccoli

Kohlrabi is also starting to thin out.

Kohlrabi is also starting to thin out.

Kohlrabi – We may get one more week of this.

Beets – The beets will be coming to an end in a week or two.

Yellow Onions

Cucumbers are starting to come to an end, but we still filled a wagon full.

Cucumbers are starting to come to an end, but we still filled a wagon full.

Cucumbers – This crop will also be ending shortly.

Peppers on the other hand are producing. There are a few varieties to choose from.

Peppers on the other hand are producing. There are a few varieties to choose from.

Peppers – A variety – enjoy! Watch out a few of the small Habanero peppers. They are mighty.

We picked just a few tomatoes. If you would like to can or freeze extra to enjoy later. Please let us know.

We picked just a few tomatoes. If you would like to can or freeze extra to enjoy later. Please let us know.

Tomatoes – Tomato varieties included in your boxes: Yellow Girls, Honey Delights, Big Boys, Roma, Fourth of July, Big Mammas, Honey Delights, Amish Paste and cherry tomatoes.

Potatoes – Kennebec, Viking and Blue potatoes for your Labor Day holiday for Red, White and Blue potato salad.

Sweet Corn – Will return in a week or two.

Basil – A little for your potato salad.

Red or Green Cabbage – Here is a coleslaw to give a try at your weekend picnic.

Melons – Choice of watermelon or cantaloupe. Enjoy!

Fresh cut arrangement – A variety from sunflowers, Rudbeckia, straw flowers, marigolds and zinnias.

Recipe of the Week

Check out the links above for some tasty recipes. I was thinking, “What did I make from the garden this week?” I was reminded of this trusty favorite.

Tater Tot Hotdish

This is a family favorite and an easy way to use many of your fresh or frozen vegetables.

Brown:

1 pound of hamburger

1 Tablespoon onion

In a casserole dish mix in:

1 can of Cream of Mushroom/Cream of Chicken Soup

Frozen corn, peas and/or green beans

Top with tater tots (I was curious to see how some potatoes cut into French fries would work, but I have not tried that yet.)

Cook in 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 1/2 hour or until edges are bubbling. Enjoy!

Enjoy! Sometimes the boys like to eat it with ketchup on it.

Enjoy! Sometimes the boys like to eat it with ketchup on it.

Heat and Humidity

Heat and Humidity

Introducing some more farm cats - taming has commenced.

Introducing some more farm cats – taming has commenced.

This past week has been hot and humid! The plants are loving it!

On Saturday mid-morning some of the zucchini were about 2 inches long, and on Sunday evening they were about 9 inches long. It really is amazing to watch the growth.

Yes, the entire garden seemed to be growing as crazy as the zucchini, but unfortunately in the lead for growth were the weeds. Fortunately, we have been on top of the weeding so our crops are still thriving against the weed nemesis. We did get a fair amount of moisture on Sunday evening along with some wind. With this heat some more rain would be welcomed.

If Mother Nature continues to provide favorable conditions, we will be able to continue to have growing results in your boxes. Enjoy!

Garden Science

Carrot, onion, beet, purple kohlrabi ad green kohlrabi

Carrot, onion, beet, purple kohlrabi and green kohlrabi

Root or Tuber

All around the world, roots are basic sources of nutrition to people and many animals; a root’s nutrients are passed on to those who eat them. Sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips and radishes are actually plant food-storage roots. The roots of the tropical plant cassava give us the tapioca we use in desserts, and cassava is a food staple in many tropical countries and in South Florida. Poi is a nutritious native Hawaiian food made from the root of the taro, which is cooked and ground to a paste then fermented. Carrots, ginger, jicama, parsnips, radishes, beets, rutabaga or Swedish turnip, and turnips are great-tasting, nutritious root foods .

Potatoes are tubers, not roots. What’s the difference? The roots mentioned previously are naturally modified root structures, whereas bulbs and tubers are modified stem structures. Bulbs and tubers are sometimes mistaken for roots because they also grow underground.

Roots and stems have different cell arrangements as seen under a microscope. That is how scientists determined that a potato is not a root, but actually a stem structure or tuber. Tubers are swollen, fleshy, usually oblong or rounded thickenings of underground stems, bearing tiny buds called eyes from which new plant shoots arise. Examples of tubers people eat are the potato, Jerusalem artichoke (not a true artichoke, but the tuber of a sunflower) and water chestnut. Bulbs are short, modified, underground stems. Examples of bulbs we eat are onions, scallions, leeks, garlic, kohlrabi and shallots.

Source: Project Food, Land and People

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 a wonderful meal!

Beets – A taste to start the season. We are also thinning out the rows so that the beet plants remaining can grow larger.

Just a few onions.

Just a few onions.

Onions – Learn more about onions on America’s Heartland.

Zucchini and Summer Squash

Cucumbers – These are the first of the season. We have two varieties planted.

Carrots – While we have the pleasure to pull the carrots right out of the ground…See how baby carrots end up on our grocery shelf so we have the pleasure to eat them all year-long.

Sugar Snap Peas – A garden favorite. Eat the pod and all. Enjoy this delicious vegetable! A new crop will come in next week. **Fun Fact – Did you know Minnesota is the number one producer of peas for processing in the United States.

Green Beans – This crop is bountiful. Be prepared for future weeks. We do have dill if you wish to pickle some.

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

KohlrabiHere are some ideas of how to use Kohlrabi.

Cilantro

Cilantro

CilantroEnjoy in salsas, fajitas, eggs and more. Learn more about cilantro here.

My flower picker tonight...Zinnias.

My flower picker tonight…Zinnias.

Fresh cut arrangement – A variety from sunflowers, zinnias, bee balm, lilies and more.

Recipe of the Week

Vegetables on the Grill

On double layered aluminum foil ( I cross the pieces so the vegetables are wrapped separately in two different pieces of aluminum foil) place: *Variety of vegetables of choice ( I used pea pods, carrots cut into the shape I knew my boys would eat, green and purple beans cut into 1 inch pieces and broccoli cut into bite size pieces) *Drizzle with olive oil *Sprinkle with Romano and Parmesan cheese *Flavor with herbs of choice

On double layered aluminum foil ( I cross the pieces so the vegetables are wrapped separately in two different pieces of aluminum foil) place:
*Variety of vegetables of choice ( I used pea pods, carrots cut into the shape I knew my boys would eat, green and purple beans cut into 1 inch pieces and broccoli cut into bite size pieces)
*Drizzle with olive oil
*Sprinkle with Romano and Parmesan cheese
*Flavor with herbs of choice

Place on grill for about 8 minutes flipping aluminum packet once which is filled with above vegetable mixture, olive oil, cheese and herbs. Unwrap and enjoy.

Place on grill for about 8 minutes flipping aluminum packet once which is filled with above vegetable mixture, olive oil, cheese and herbs. Unwrap and enjoy.

Vegetables on the Grill

On double layered aluminum foil ( I cross the pieces so the vegetables are wrapped separately in two different pieces of aluminum foil) place:

*Variety of vegetables of choice ( I used pea pods, carrots cut into the shape I knew my boys would eat, green and purple beans cut into 1 inch pieces and broccoli cut into bite size pieces)

*Drizzle with olive oil

*Sprinkle with Romano and Parmesan cheese

*Flavor with herbs of choice

Place on grill for about 8 minutes flipping aluminum packet once which is filled with above vegetable mixture, olive oil, cheese and herbs. Unwrap and enjoy.

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.