4-H Vegetable Garden Project

4-H Vegetable Garden Project

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Above, Keith is meticulously setting up the vegetable garden project at the state fair. All the vegetables made it from home, across the fairgrounds to the 4-H state fair building with no damage.

As our family jumps into the school year, we have been reflecting back on our experiences this summer. One of which was both boys taking the 4-H vegetable garden project to the county fair, and Keith advancing to the state fair with this project. (A 4-Her needs to be a certain age and place in the state fair line-up to advance in any project area to the state fair.)

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Sam was happy he didn’t give up on selecting uniform vegetables to win the champion ribbon at the county fair. Sam was not old enough to advance to the state fair this year. He enjoyed his one on one interview with the judge. The recipe card in the box identifies which vegetables are in the box and the variety of that vegetable.

While both boys would say this is not their favorite general project to take, they would both tell you they learn a great deal of practical knowledge from the experience. There are countless project areas you can take in 4-H. We encourage the boys to take those that further their personal interest and ones that will provide practical knowledge and experience for their future.

Take-a-Ways

  1. Project Preparation – The requirements of the project are to bring 2 smaller varieties of vegetables (12 of each vegetable); 3 medium size varieties of vegetables (3 of each vegetable) and 1 larger variety of vegetable. Selecting them to be uniform and preparing them for display is quite the process. We are grateful we had experience showing in last year’s state fair open class show to see the variety of ways people transport their vegetables longer distances so they don’t get damaged.
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    It never fails that when the vegetables need to be harvested for a fair the boys come home from a long day of baseball or another 4-H event and have to persevere through vegetable selection. Let me tell you, that is not easy.

    2. Grateful for Learning Moments – When a 4-Her sits down with the judge, that is when they demonstrate their knowledge on their project. So the boys study the different varieties of vegetables they grew; why they chose that variety to plant; why they chose that vegetable in their display; planting date; days to harvest; what special growing needs that plant has; pests to that plant/crop; nutrition and uses of the vegetable once harvested. Trust me it is quite the conversation and preparation.

    3. Personal Growth – The judging at the county level is one on one. It is a great way to learn how to conduct yourself in that setting; learn how to communicate verbally and professionally. At the state fair, those that bring that project interview in a group setting with the judge. What a great opportunity to learn how an interview in this type of setting works; improve listening skills and to grow personal knowledge in that area. Keith seemed to really enjoy the conversational learning from the other 4-Her’s projects. Both experiences were extremely positive.

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    Keith’s state fair 4-H vegetable garden display which earned him a blue at the state fair. A job well done!

Moral of the story: Are hearts couldn’t be more proud and filled with more joy for him as we watched him grow and learn and stretch is area of knowledge. We are so very grateful for the opportunities that 4-H provides for both of our kids and many others to grow beyond what they expected.

Boxes of Produce

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

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

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

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Arugula – peppery flavored green leaf in your box.

Arugula – Arugula is a peppery, distinctive-tasting green that originated in the Mediterranean region. It’s also known as rucola, salad rocket, and Italian cress. Arugula is a member of the Brassica, or Cruciferous, family. This classification includes mostly cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli. Arugula is delicious raw, and it can be used as a healthy add-on topping for pizza, nachos, sandwiches, and wraps. Learn more here.

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

Radishes – These Cherry Belle Radishes are loving this colder weather. Here are some radish recipe ideas from Martha Stewart.

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

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

20190904_165054.jpgDragon Tongue Beans – This heritage variety of beans can be used like green beans. Enjoy the different color.

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

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

Egg Plant – Give it a try – three different varieties. Try Martha Stewart’s recipes.

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

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

Green Bell Peppers – The peppers are just taking off.

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Banana Peppers

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

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

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

Red Kuri Winter Squash I fix it just like I do Butternut Squash. Cut it in half, place cut side down in cake pan, place about an inch of water in the pan, cover with aluminum foil, place in preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for one hour. Take out of oven, peel the skin off, scoop out the seeds and enjoy. I mix with a ½ cup of butter and ¾ cup of brown sugar. Freeze extra in cupcake tins to use later on. Learn more here.

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Zinnias and Hostas.

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

Recipe of the Week

Chocolate Red Kuri Pumpkin Pie
Makes for one deep-dish 9-inch pie

Pumpkin Pie Filling
1 3/4 cups red kuri puree
1 cup  heavy cream
2 eggs
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg(optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dark or milk Chocolate squares for garnish

Pie Crust
Cut together the following ingredients with a fork or pie cutter.
2 cups flour
1 cup Crisco
2 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Then mix together and add to the dry ingredients.
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup of milk

Check out this Martha Stewart video on making a pie crust.

Instructions
1. Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C) with the rack in the middle position.
2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until the whites and the yolks are homogenous, about 2 seconds. Add the remaining filling ingredients to the bowl and whisk well to combine. Make sure the eggs and cream are completely incorporated. Line a rimmed pie pan with the unbaked crust, then pour the filing.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F (180°C) and continue baking for 45-60 minutes, or until the filling has set. Make sure the filling doesn’t boil, so if your oven it very hot, you can reduce heat to 325°F (160°C) after only 10 minutes. 10 to 12 minutes before the end, place chocolate squares on top of the pie and allow to melt. Insert a knife or tooth pick in the middle of the pie, if comes out clean, it’s done!
4. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Then serve at room temperature or chill in the refrigerator and serve cold.
Note: if you’re not familiar with red kuri squash, its bright orange flesh is easy to cook and tastes a bit like chestnut and sweeter than a pumpkin, so you don’t need to add as much sugar to your recipes.

Monumental Tasks

Monumental Tasks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Weeded yellow onions.

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

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

Garden Science

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

Animal Update

Boxes of Produce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Green Bell Peppers – The peppers are just taking off.

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

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

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

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Harvesting zucchini and summer squash.

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

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

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

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Teddy Bear Sunflowers

Flowers of the Week – Zinnias and Teddy Bear Sunflowers

Recipe of the Week

Freezer Salsa

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

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

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

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

Source: Taste of Home

Adventure is Out There

Adventure is Out There

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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

carrots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Super Sugar Snap Peas are growing like crazy. Enjoy!

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

FanciPak Cucumbers – great for canning into pickles. We have them growing up an angled fence so they grow down and are easier to harvest and cleaner at harvest time with less chance of a soil borne plant disease.

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FanciPak Cucumbers – great for canning into pickles. We have them growing up an angled fence so they grow down and are easier to harvest and cleaner at harvest time with less chance of a soil borne plant disease.

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

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

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

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

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

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Zinnias and Hostas.

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

Recipe of the Week

garden omelet

Garden Omelet

Garden Omelet

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Elbow Grease Needed

Elbow Grease Needed

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

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

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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

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

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

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Grand Duke Kohlrabi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The onion has such a neat braided stem.

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

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Zucchini growing on the plant. I spy two.

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

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

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

Recipe of the Week

7-29-14 cinnamon zucchini bread 2

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread/Muffins

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread

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

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

Fair Time

Fair Time

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

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

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

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Sam was ecstatic to place champion in the vegetable area.

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

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

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

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

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

What’s New?

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

Pick-up and Delivery

• Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA – please note the exceptions to this which were in the email.
• It is your responsibility to know that the pick-up or drop-off time will occur at the agreed upon time, and it is your responsibility as a shareholder to know this and be responsible for the produce at that time. If you are unable to utilize your share that week, it is still your responsibility: find someone else to pick it up or donate it to the food shelf.
• Each box is labeled for each family. The same boxes will be used for your family throughout the season. Boxes and containers should be returned the following week. Bags will only be used once.

Boxes of Produce

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

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

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

Beets

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

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

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

green beans

Green Beans

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

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

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

8-11-14 summer squash

Summer Squash

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

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

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

Recipe of the Week

brownies

These zucchini brownies are a favorite.

Zucchini Brownies

Ingredients
•2 cups all-purpose flour
•1/3 cup baking cocoa
•1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
•1 teaspoon salt
•2 cups shredded zucchini
•1-1/2 cups sugar
•3/4 cup vegetable oil (I will substitute with applesauce.)
•1/2 cup chopped walnuts
•2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Frosting
•1/4 cup butter, cubed
•1 cup sugar
•1/4 cup milk
•1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
•1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

•In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, combine the zucchini, sugar and oil; stir into dry ingredients until blended. Stir in walnuts and vanilla.•Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° F. for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

•In a large saucepan, melt butter; stir in sugar and milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook and stir 1 minute or until smooth. Remove from the heat. Stir in chips and marshmallows until melted and smooth; add vanilla. Spread over brownies. Sprinkle with walnuts if desired. Yield: 2 dozen.

Source: Taste of Home

Weeds and More

Weeds and More

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

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

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

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

Pick-up and Delivery

• Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA – please note the exceptions to this which were in the email.
• It is your responsibility to know that the pick-up or drop-off time will occur at the agreed upon time, and it is your responsibility as a shareholder to know this and be responsible for the produce at that time. If you are unable to utilize your share that week, it is still your responsibility: find someone else to pick it up or donate it to the food shelf.
• Each box is labeled for each family. The same boxes will be used for your family throughout the season. Boxes and containers should be returned the following week. Bags will only be used once.

Boxes of Produce

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

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

Asparagus – Fresh cut asparagus from the Chute’s Farm Fresh Gardens in Aitkin, Minnesota. These farmers are friends of ours who we know from Farm Bureau and also the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program. They had some extra they wanted to share with us, and the delivery time worked out well. They snap the asparagus vs. cutting so that you are getting all edible stalk and should have very minimal amount that you do not eat. Enjoy! Check out these recipes from Martha Stewart.
Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – One of my favorite garden crops. Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating.
Outrageous Red Lettuce – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad.

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

Spinach and beet leaves – great for salads


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

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

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

Recipe of the Week

4-10-12 Making rhubarb tort (21)

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

Rhubarb Torte

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

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

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

Growth in View

Growth in View

It’s been a busy few weeks. Some of the cold rainy weather has given way to heat and the plants and weeds are enjoying it. Some of the vining plants have really bolted.

Our young plants we transplanted like our cabbages, eggplants, tomatoes and more that our neighbor Blake started for us are trying to find their way through these interesting weather changes. The cabbage below is one of the young plants we transplanted over Memorial Day weekend prior to some heavy rain. Here is a quick look at our activity. Stay tuned the activity is about to pick up as we dive into June.

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Purple cabbages were planted. Check out the root system.

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Dark Detroit red beets growing.

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Super Sweet Sugar Ann Peas…a favorite!!

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Cucumbers growing… the young plants smell like a freshly cut cucumber at the this stage.

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Green beans… note that the green bean seed shell is still on the plant.

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Installing drip line irrigation under the mulch. It’s all fun and games until work needs to be done and mom get’s out the camera.

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Installing the mulch for the tomatoes.

This is exhausting work. Maybe if I lay here long enough they will think I am asleep.

We also did an agriculture in the classroom in Sam’s classroom about seeds. Here we were doing a seed sorting activity. The students had a great time examining and looking at the difference between the seeds.

Springing in to Action

Springing in to Action

We had quite a swing in weather this May. We are so grateful for some days to plant and some days in the low 80s to dry things up and help with some germination. It appears that the frost we received maybe singed some of the leaves but doesn’t appear to be hindering the plants. We are now waiting for the rain to stop, sun to shine and wind to blow to finish planting. Here’s a look at some of our activity.

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The herb pots have been planted.

 

Tornado Clean-up…

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We burned the giant brush fire from the debris we had from this fall’s tornado. Thank you to everyone who assisted with the brush clean-up. This allowed for us to open another field and plant it.

chicken pen

We have been busy cleaning up from the tornado damage from last fall. That includes rebuilding chicken pens. We finished a pen for the pullets, young female chickens.

 

In the Garden…

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More ground was worked for the vining plants like squash and pumpkins.

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Young radishes peeking out of the ground.

 

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Lettuce growing.

Green beans shooting out of the ground and breaking open the seed pod.

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Super sugar snap peas … a favorite.

 

In Other News…

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The hens like to keep it interesting this was a very wavy hard shelled egg. It could also be described as wrinkly.

 

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An interesting work trip took Kristin to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to visit with the communications team to learn how they communicate with America’s farmers. Here she is in the USDA TV studio.

5-21-19 seed sorting in 3rd grade

We led an agriculture in the classroom activity in Sam’s class about seeds. Here the students are doing a seed sorting activity. They learned many fascinating things about seeds from how different they look to how important it is to have good seed genetics so the seed and plant can grow in challenging conditions.

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As part of the activity, we planted seeds in Sam’s class garden.

Spring has Sprung

Spring has Sprung

It is hard to believe that 3 1/2 week’s ago we were in a winter storm warning, 2 week’s ago we had five inches of rain, and this week actually feels like spring. Don’t let that fool you, the winter survival kits are still in our vehicles.

We have been busy with this beautiful weather. Here’s what we’ve been up to.

Growing rhubarb is a good sign of spring.

We planted four varieties of potatoes in eight rows thus far with 74 per row. We will plant one more variety plus sweet potatoes in this area.

We plant marigolds to help bring in beneficial insects to eat bad insects. At the end if the growing season, we collect last year’s dried Marigold flower heads which are full of seeds, and that is what we plant in the spring.

We also enjoy doing agriculture in the classroom presentations in Sam’s school. The most recent one was on pigs.

 

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The seed planter that we use for some of the crops has different seed plates (the white circular piece) for different kinds of seeds. For example a carrot seed is much smaller than a green bean seed. In addition the spacing between seeds vary depending on the type of crop. The seed plate spacing them out accordingly.

The 4-H pigs arrived this weekend, and everyone is happy about this. The pigs were born in January weighing about 2-3 pounds and will be full grown in July when shown at the county fair when they will weight approximately 240-280 pounds.

Planting Walla Walla onions… hoping this year the birds won’t pluck them all out after they are planted. In total nearly 1,000 onions were planted.

The boys till the ground and drag the fields ahead of us planting in order to prepare a conducive seed bed.

Clean-up Continues

Clean-up Continues

The clean-up continues this week. The weather we have had has kept life interesting. Between rain, snow and freeze warnings, we have been able to keep pumpkins available for sale, cover up the carrots and beets that are still growing, winterize our chicken pens and keep some of the flowers I overwinter from freezing.

Here is a quick view of our week. Please keep farmers and their families and all who work in production agriculture in your prayers. This is a tough year to be farming for many reasons, one of the joys of farming is the harvest, but Mother Nature is not being kind. Thank you in advance.

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The boys have put a lot of work into their pumpkin, gourd and squash stand. In addition to selling the pumpkins individually, they have a $25 and $50 package that would look nice on your front doorstep. Thank you for your support.

 

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Yes, this did take all of Saturday afternoon to set-up. Pink pumpkins are being sold to support breast cancer research.

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The boys also had fun bringing some fall cheer around the neighborhood. We all love the different colors and shapes of the pumpkins and gourds. We hope that they bring smiles to others.

 

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This week’s freeze warning brought about some quick actions to provide the opportunity for carrots and beets to continue growing. This row cover provides frost protection, 75% light transmission. It is porous to water and self ventilating.

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When it wasn’t raining we were trying to clean it all up. Pulling up the mulch and putting away the dripline irrigation system.