Emerging Surprises

Emerging Surprises

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Harvesting tomatoes can be overwhelming. This week it was full of surprises in the amount of 4th of July tomatoes that we have.

This is the time of year where we start to see new surprises emerge. Such as the purple cauliflower to the bountiful tomatoes. You just never know from one day to the next what you will find. From new crops growing, to watermelon and pumpkins maturing to bountiful amounts of green beans and tomatoes.

It’s always a joy to see what the boys are seeing. From the colors of the new crops to the smell of a new cucumber plant emerging (smells like freshly cut cucumber – awesome!) to the color patterns on the 4 O’clock flowers to the odd shapes that nature sometimes creates for our vegetables, you just never know what surprises will emerge.

The bonus of all these vegetable surprises, all four of us are getting our daily recommended amount of vegetables by taste testing the crops as we check them each day.

We encourage you to take a moment where your feet are, be present, look around and take a moment to see what emerging surprises are where you stand.

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/Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – Both of these crops taste good on a sandwich or salad.

Spinach/Kale – Great for salads.

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Banana Peppers

Banana Peppers – They may be small, but they pack quite the taste.

Green Peppers – A variety of peppers are starting to grow. The boys were in charge of packing so each of you will have a surprise of what is in the box.

Beets – An old garden favorite of mine. Learn how to use them here.

Radishes – This is the end of the radish crop until the next one begins to grow.

Carrots – Esperanza carrots – enjoy these summer delights. This new crop is out of the garden versus the raised bed.

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Purple Cauliflower

Kohlrabi or Purple Cauliflower – These crops are slowly maturing. So we will be alternating our way through everyone as they mature. Look for these surprises in the boxes.

Sugar Snap Peas – This is the end of this crop. Another one has started to grow. Stand by for more in the near future.

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Jade Green Beans

Green Beans – This crop is growing like crazy. Let us know if you are interested in more for freezing or canning. Learn how to freeze them here.

Onions –If you are feeling overloaded on onions, cut them up and spread them out and freeze on a cookie sheet or pan. Once frozen place in a container or a Ziploc bag for use throughout the year. I do this and am just coming to my end of frozen onions. This helps speed up my meal preparation. See how onions are grown in Washington.

Potatoes Yukon Gold potatoes. It is awesome how quickly freshly dug potatoes quick. I boiled potatoes to make into mashed potatoes this week, and they were ready in less than 20 minutes.

Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash – This crop is slowly coming on with either Golden Egg Hybrid great to wash and slice to eat on a veggie tray, use on a kabob or try it sautéed in a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Peter Pan Squash – No need to peel, simply wash and cut up this squash and use like the others. Check out these recipes.

ZucchiniThis crop has been a bit slow due to our insect challenges this year. But it is coming on. So like the cauliflower and kohlrabi we are alternating it around the shareholders. Enjoy – here are some recipes from Country Living.

Tomatoes – Let us know if you would like extra to freeze, make into salsa, or can. Included this week are some of the 4th of July, Super Sweet 100 Hybrid, SunGold Cherry tomatoes and a few more varieties sprinkled in. Learn more about tomatoes on America’s Heartland. Learn how to freeze your tomatoes here.

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Zinnias, Hostas and Sunflowers

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves, sunflowers, zinnias and more

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A behind the scenes look at this morning’s harvest. Steve with his headlamp on because harvesting early in the morning before the heat of the day sets in does result in a better harvest. Ear phones -The Bob and Tom Show brings laughter to his morning. And yes, I married a man that can pick flowers and make them into a bouquet – I’ll take that any day.

Recipe of the Week

Lazy Tacos

Crush corn chips and layer taco favorites on top such as:

taco meat, onions, black olives, tomatoes, lettuce, cheddar cheese, chilli beans, cucumbers, salsa, cottage cheese or salad dressing. I would also include a variety of other vegetables that were in your boxes.

Lazy taco

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

 

Planting Resumes

Planting Resumes

Planting is a regular cycle throughout the growing season for us. That is until we hit this time of year. Why you may ask?

You see all crops grow and produce differently. Some crops you harvest by pulling the root vegetable out of the ground like a carrot, beet or radish. Once you harvest the crop, you are done with that crop.

While crops like cucumber, beans or tomatoes flower, then the flower is pollinated which then grows into a vegetable. Vegetables will be harvested when ripe. Once the plant is done flowering. The crop is pulled and fed to our chickens.

Leaf vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and kale can be harvested by cutting the leaf. The leaf then grows back week after week. The plant will eventual start to look spent with leaves turning brown, change flavor etc. After which we again pull the crop from the ground and feed it to the chickens.

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Lettuce leaves

With all of the above scenarios going on simultaneously and repetitively throughout the growing season planting has to occur in different areas of the garden to continuously provide fresh vegetables throughout the season.

Inhibitors to a regular plant growing cycle include weather changes combined with soil type, fertilizer for proper plant nutrition and health, insects and weeds that inhibit the proper and regular growth cycle to allow for quality crops.

So believe it or not as we look ahead the growing season is quickly upon us and not knowing when a frost will occur in September, we are nearing the end of a repetitive planting season. The last one has taken place with hope that the crops will continue to grow until the end of September.

Garden Science

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/Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – Both of these  crops taste good on a sandwich or salad.

Spinach/Kale – Great for salads – a new crop of Kale was included this week.

Beets – An old garden favorite of mine. Learn how to use them here.

Radishes – A new crop is planted so enjoy this spicy delight.

Carrots – Esperanza carrots – enjoy these summer delights.

Cucumbers – Will make a return once the next crop is available.

Sugar Snap Peas – A new crop of peas. This is our first crop of sugar snap peas. Our favorite variety.

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Jade Green Beans

Green Beans – The first crop of Jade green beans. Delicious raw or cooked. However you prefer to eat them.

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Banana Peppers

Peppers – Banana peppers, green peppers and a few surprise peppers adorn your boxes. They may be small, but they pack quite the taste.

Onions –Enjoy on your burgers, brats or hotdogs. I cut my onions up and freeze them to use – the year. It makes cooking much easier when I have onions pre-cut, frozen and ready for a hotdish.

Potatoes – Kennebec potatoes are in your box this week. These are great baking potatoes.

Summer Squash – This crop is slowly coming on with either Golden Egg Hybrid (yellow) or Peter Pan (white). Both would be great in the summer squash soup below.

Tomatoes – This summer favorite is coming on. Included this week are some of  the 4th of July tomatoes and some SunGold cherry tomatoes.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves, sunflowers, hydrangeas, zinnias

Recipe of the Week

Summer Squash Soup

5 small yellow summer squash, seeded and cubed (I have used 2 medium or 1 large instead)

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.

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Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash – I always wipe them down with a Chlorox wipe before I cut them up.

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Take your Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash, cut down the middle and peel the outside – I used both a knife and a peeler.

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Inside of the summer squash before removing the seeds.

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Using a spoon, I scoop out the seeds.

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Cut into cubes about 1/2 – 1 inch in size.

 

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Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

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Puree the mixture.

Cool slightly. Process in batches in a blender; return all to the pan. Stir in cream and heat through.

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Place back in your pan, add cream, salt and pepper and warm the soup up. Serve with crackers if desired. We enjoyed this soup with Townhouse Crackers.

Weeding through to See Potential

Weeding through to See Potential

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Green beans that have been weeded.

We have spent much of our time this week controlling and managing pests in the crops. The weeds seem to always thrive and hinder the growth and health of the crops. But once you take away the obstacle of the pest and the weeds the crops really grow.

Have you ever wondered why, for the oddest reason, weeding seems therapeutic even though it is a dreaded process? Why do we feel so satisfied when a garden or a field has been cleaned of the weeds and pests? It reminds me of events or things in life that drag us down, that don’t let us or those we love thrive to be their best self. I feel that weeding for that moment in time allows me to be in control of something.

There are so many things that are out of our control, but if we can focus on one “weed or pest” at a time, eventually we will get to the end of the field and look back and see that for a moment in time we have conquered what ever was holding us back. Just like the crops that we want to grow, we need to rid ourselves of the weeds or pests that hold us back from achieving our true potential.

Yes, the weeds and pests will come back if we allow them to but just like in agriculture, we need to constantly troubleshoot and find better ways to show constant improvement to strive to be our best self.

So the moral of the story: don’t let weeds or pests stand in your way of seeking your sunshine to stand tall and proud to achieve your maximum potential. Face what you dread head on, and the end result will be worth your efforts.

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Crop scouting for potato bugs.

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The last planting of potatoes was hilled which means using the tiller with a special attachment to push more dirt up along the potato plant and providing the plant more room to grow potatoes.

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The tomatoes were tied up so they are not growing on in the ground. This they are cleaner and less chance for soil born plant disease.

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We were able to continue learning about other areas of agriculture on a 4-H field trip to the University of Minnesota touring a variety of their research farms.

Garden Science

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Japanese beetles feed on the leaves of over 300 species of plants. Adults feed on the leaves of plants between the veins, leaving a skeleton of brown fibers where the leaves used to be. Learn more here.

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Tomato Hornworms is a very destructive pest to tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes.

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.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – Red Oak leaf lettuce have elongated, lobed and loosely serrated leaves similar to those of oak leaves. The vibrant burgundy stained leaves form a semi-tight rosette, growing upward and outward. Red Oak Leaf lettuce has a buttery texture and an incredibly mellow, nutty and sweet flavor. It is known for its sweetness, which may be an even more memorable quality than its attractive foliage.

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

Cucumbers – The cucumbers are growing like crazy. Here are a few ideas on how to use them from Martha Stewart.

Beets An old garden favorite of mine. The beetroot is the taproot portion of the beet plant. It is one of several of the cultivated varieties of grown for their edible taproots and their leaves called beet greens. Learn how to use them here.

Carrots – The carrots are finally ready! Enjoy.

Swiss Chard The green leafy vegetable has the leaf stalks and often leaf blade or stalk that can be eaten. The leaf blade can be green or reddish in color; the leaf stalks are usually white, yellow, or red.

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Sugar snap peas were first developed in 1952 by cross-breeding snow pea with a mutant shell pea plant. Researchers hoped that the cross might counteract twisting and buckling seen in varieties at the time. With this cross, they developed a new class of snow pea.[2] Snap peas, like all other peas, are pod fruits. An edible-podded pea is less fibrous, and edible when young. Pods of the edible-podded pea, including snap peas, do not have a membrane and do not open when ripe.

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

Onions –Enjoy on your burgers, brats or hotdogs.

Summer SquashYou don’t have to peel the squash, just wash it. Here are a few ways to use it from Country Living. Shareholders either have the golden egg or a zucchini in their box.

CilantroDid you know that ¼ cup of cilantro only has 1 calorie. Here are a few ideas from Martha Stewart to use your cilantro.

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A variety of zinnias and sunflowers.

Fresh cut arrangement –zinnias, hostas, sunflowers and hydrangeas.

Recipe of the Week

Freezing Herbs

This is step by step instructions that I posted a few years ago, but it was worth reposting. From time to time, I will be setting out additional herbs in case you don’t have those herbs in your pot, or you would just like more. Help yourself, and use this method to have a taste of the garden throughout the winter.

7-19-12 wash herbs

Wondering how to preserve your herbs for making salsa or chilli? I wash them and place in a small ice cube tray and then place in a small Ziploc bag so I have them when I need them. First, wash herbs under cold water.

 

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Cut or pull herbs apart and place smaller portions in the separate compartments in an ice cube tray. This tray I found in the $1 isle at Target.

 

 

7-9-14 frozen herbs

Run water over the herbs and place in the freezer. Once frozen, take out of tray and place in labeled bag or container. These will come in handy throughout the year when a recipe calls for an herb. Just take the ice cube and place in the recipe. Fresh herbs throughout the year.

 

 

 

From Winter to Summer

From Winter to Summer

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

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

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

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New lettuce plants… love the color of the leaves.

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

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

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

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

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Running the tiller that was his great grandpa’s.

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

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

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

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.

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

Wrapping up the Season

Wrapping up the Season

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The pumpkins will be available next week.

It’s hard to believe with the heat we’ve had in September that some areas of the country are receiving snow. Mother Nature once again reminds us that it is time to wrap up the growing season.

Last weekend, we spent a good share of time harvesting which included using lights from tractors and flashlights to finish jobs. Farm size doesn’t matter…Mother Nature holds us all accountable. When it’s time to wrap up, you do what you can to get the job done.

As we work to wrap-up the harvest, it’s also a time of reflection on the growing season, and its ups and downs. For example, the pumpkins and squash growing seasons were tough. We replanted those crops at least three times. Even though the seeds, growing conditions and weather were cooperative, they didn’t all perform for some reason or another.

As I visited with my dad who has farmed for over 55 years, he reassured me that sometimes the seeds didn’t perform for him either for one reason or another and sometimes you just don’t know. You can’t control everything. There are a lot of unknowns in agriculture. You can rest assured that end outcomes in life are in God’s hands and not ours.

So another paralleled life lesson for our kids. You need to reflect, learn from the situations, regroup and come back to do better the next time. Always striving to do better.

Garden Science

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As we were harvesting the ornamental corn, we found this immature ear (the female flower of the plant). This shows how each silk (female tube/transport system) of an ear of corn is attached to a kernel (the ovule or potential kernels). The silk must be pollinated by the tassel (male part located at the top of the plant) of the corn, the pollen falls and attaches to the silk which carries the male genetics to fertilize and create the baby kernel on the cob. Source: Agronomy Library Channel Seed

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 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.

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Green Beans growing on the plant.

Green Beans – If you are looking for canning quantities, we have plenty. Did you know that green beans are more nutritious for you eaten raw?

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi – Try these ideas from Martha Stewart.

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Dark Red Detroit Beets

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 – This is the end of the tomatoes this season. We hope you were able to take advantage of the bounty.

Cilantro – Learn how to preserve your herbs for use later in the year from Martha Stewart.

Cucumbers – Enjoy the end of the season cucumber. We will have more next week.

Radishes – It is a cool season crop which is just starting to produce. Look for more next week.

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Rutabaga

Rutabaga – A shareholder requested we try these. Check out these different ways to prepare them from Martha Stewart.

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Carrots

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

Spaghetti Squash – The first bush spaghetti squash. Fruits may be stored for early winter use. This video shows how to cook this squash.

wp-image-563977452Red Kuri Squash – This squash commands your attention with the fruits’ color and succulent flesh. Red Kuri’s bright scarlet tear-drop-shaped fruits are packed with dense flesh that’s good roasted or in soups.

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Carnival Squash

Carnival Squash – Carnival squash is a hybrid of the sweet dumpling squash and the acorn squash. The color variance in the rind of the Carnival squash is the result of seasonal temperature variations. Warmer temperatures produce Carnival squash with slightly more pronounced green stripes. The squash’s flavor is nutty and sweet.

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. Or use the larger ones as decoration for the fall season.

Summer Squash, Golden Egg Hybrid – Wash it cut up, no need to peel, use on the grill or eat raw. This squash has truly had staying power this growing season.

Zucchini – This crop is coming to an end.

Purple potatoes – The skin and flesh of this potato is purple. Great fun for french fries, potato salads and mixed vegetable dishes. Anthocyanin is a pigment that creates the purple color in the potatoes and also acts as an antioxidant.

Kennebec potatoes – Excellent for baked potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes – Dusky red-skinned Beauregard is the most widely grown commercial cultivar. I know that my friends in North Carolina are far more experienced than I in preparing sweet potatoes. So check out this resource.

Flower of the Week – Corn shocks, ornamental corn and gourds

Recipe of the Week

9-2-14 pumpkin bread 5

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

State Fair Pumpkin Bread

1 2/3 cup flour

1 ½ cup sugar

1/3 cup butter softened

1 teaspoon soda

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon cloves

Pinch of salt

2 eggs

1/3 cup cold water

1 cup canned pumpkin (I use my prepared squash which has been mixed with butter and brown sugar.)

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

Source: Minnesota 4-H Blue Ribbon Favorites Cookbook – Pat Kuznik recipe

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Fall must be starting when the gourds and pumpkins are ready for harvest.

Fall harvest is upon us and the many fall colors are exploding from the garden. This weekend we tried out the potato digger and were able to dig out a lot of potatoes in a short time. We also stared harvesting winter squash, gourds and pumpkins.

We look forward to you enjoying the beautiful colors and joys that the fall will bring as we harvest the crops.

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.

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 BeetsSome 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.

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.

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Red Kabocha Squash

Red Kabocha Squash – This winter squash tastes similar to sweet potatoes.

 

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Carnival Squash

Carnival Squash – Carnival squash is a hybrid of the sweet dumpling squash and the acorn squash. The color variance in the rind of the Carnival squash is the result of seasonal temperature variations. Warmer temperatures produce Carnival squash with slightly more pronounced green stripes. The squash’s flavor is nutty and sweet.

 

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 – 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.

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Keith was busy harvesting potatoes this weekend. We are starting to clear some of these crops out – one of which was the potatoes.

Kennebec – Excellent for baked potatoes.

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Just love the variety of shapes and colors of the gourds.

Flowers – a variety of gourds

 

Recipe of the Week

10-7-12 tomato juice

Tomato Juice – the boys are selling tomato juice and salsa. Let us know if you are interested.

Tomato Juice

The tomato juice you received this week is a blend of all the tomatoes we are growing in the garden. I use this as my base for making pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce. Below is my recipe.
Spaghetti Sauce and Pizza Sauce

1 quart of tomato juice

1 can 32 ounces

1 small onion

1 garlic clove crushed

Herbs to taste

Place above ingredients in a pan on the stove. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Pour on pizza crust or spaghetti and enjoy.

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

Different perspective

Different perspective

 

You could say that this week’s tomato harvest was a bit overwhelming. When you stand at the end of the row seeing the endless amounts of ripe tomatoes, it is easy to believe that “it will never end.” Maintaining focus until the project is complete can be very difficult and exhausting.

When I asked the boys to weight the tomatoes after they were unloaded, they wondered why, and what was the purpose. But once completed, they were amazed by how many pounds they had harvested.

Sometimes stepping back and viewing a project from a different perspective provides a new sense of accomplishment. Instead of feeling, “Finally we are done!” to “Wow that was a lot of tomatoes, guess how much this box weighted? “Can you believe it was 345 pounds?”

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

Garden Math

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Last weeks harvest of 209 pounds not only provided for all of the shareholders, but also yielded 84 pints of salsa. I wonder how many quarts of tomato juice this week’s will yield?

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 – 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.

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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 PeppersHere 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.

peppers

Cherry Stuffer Hybrid sweet peppers

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.

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.

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

Sweet Corn – Thank you to our neighbors, the Peterson family, for contributing the sweet corn in this week’s box. Did you know that Minnesota ranks number one in the production of sweet corn for processing. Sweet corn is different from field corn.

Kennebec – Excellent for baked potatoes.

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Flowers – Hydrangeas, Rudbeckia, Sunflowers, Zinnias and Coreopsis

 

Recipe of the Week

double chocolcate zucchini bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

1 cup Sugar

1 cup Brown Sugar

1 cup Vegetable Oil (I use apple sauce instead of the oil.)

4 Eggs

2 teaspoon Vanilla

2 cups Flour

1 cup Baking Cocoa

1 teaspoon Salt

1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips

3 cups Shredded Zucchini

1. Beat sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla together. Mix dry ingredients. Stir into mixture. Add chocolate chips and shredded zucchini.

2. Pour batter into 4-5 mini loaf pans (or 2 large loaf pans), coated with cooking spray.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pans and cool.

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.

20170814_192944

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi ready for harvest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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