Dry Stretch Provides Opportunity

Dry Stretch Provides Opportunity

Last week we were able to accomplish a good deal of clean-up. The last few weeks have provided quite a variety of different weather conditions to work outside. We are grateful to have accomplished what we have.

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Yes, we did receive a few inches of snow on October 14. Way to early!

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Once the snow had melted and the fields looked dry enough, a variety of steps were taken to close out the fields. First, we harvested the seeds from the flowers that help to bring in good insects to eat the bad insects. First up were the Marigolds. The cool thing about Marigolds – I love harvesting their seeds from the dried up flower heads that are filled with a ton of long skinny seeds. Place in dry paper bag in a dry place and next year plant the seeds.

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4 O’clock plants flowers dry up and produce a seed not a group of seeds like Marigolds. But you can still harvest the small black seeds and store in a dry place until next year.

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After all the seeds were harvested, we mulched the plants with the mower.

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Tilled the gardens.

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The ground was wet from the snow and the rain over previous weeks which caused the tiller to plug with mud. So getting it unplugged employed a variety of techniques.

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Once tilling was completed, we seeded the fields with rye grass for a cover crop. Thank you to our neighbors for the use of the seeder to speed up this job! See he’s going so fast my pic is blurry:) Yes, we do work past sunset at times and have been blessed with beautiful evenings.

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We rolled the ground to get good seed to soil contact. The plants will begin to grow and will start re-growing just like your lawn in the spring.

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We also worked on the popcorn harvest.

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The boys used their Great, Great Grandpa’s corn sheller to harvest the popcorn seeds. The next step is shaking out the extra corn silks and corn “wings” to have seed that is free of natural corn “debris.”

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In addition to all the garden work, we also have to work on rebuilding chicken pens, gates etc. Building skills together one job at a time.

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.

 

End of the Season

End of the Season

The end of the season rush is upon us, but Mother Nature continues to remind us who is in charge. We have had nearly 3 inches of rain this week with more projected in the next few days.

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The sunflowers were harvested and fed to the chickens.

This weekend we were able to finish harvesting popcorn, ornamental corn, broom corn, gourds, pumpkins, potatoes, sweet potatoes and sunflowers. We were able to shred the stalks and vines in those fields, but unable to till and plant a cover crop due to rain on Monday and day length becoming shorter. So we are hopeful to accomplish this in the near future with continued storm clean-up alongside that.

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The corn stalks were blown over during the tornado.

Corn Varieties
-We plan to test the popcorn this weekend to see how the moisture level is which will determine how well it pops.
-The ornamental corn ears need to dry more. If they mature appropriately, we will drop some off for you with the popcorn later this fall
-The broom corn miraculously was the only corn with no broken stalks after the storm. While it was blown over in the tornado, it started to grow upright a few days after which allowed us to use them for your corn shocks.

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Some of these Sweet potatoes were huge. Yes, we worked past sunset a few nights in order to be able to harvest them before the rain. It makes for an adventure.

Potatoes
We were thankful for our potato digger that made the most of our limited time harvesting potatoes and sweet potatoes. While the piece of the machinery appears quite old, it works simply and functionally for us.

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There were quite a few interesting gourds this year. But harvesting was hard work, and a break now and then was needed.

Gourds and Pumpkins
The remainder of the gourds provided quite the variety of beautiful color patterns and shapes – they were very entertaining to harvest.

Each time we finish an area of harvesting and clean-up, the feeling of accomplishment lightens our load and catapults us on to finishing the remainder of the fields.

As this year’s CSA comes to a close, we want to sincerely THANK all of you for being part of this year’s growing journey. We will miss our weekly conversations around food and life but look forward to when we see you again.

Garden Science/Math

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, Spinach and Kale – While this survived the frost, a few warm days would have sent these crops to the next level.

Cilantro – We had some Cilantro reseed itself, so here you go. This can be washed and then frozen in a bag and simply pull it out of the freezer to use in a recipe this winter.

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Believe it or not the green beans survived the frost…the last of the season.

Green Beans – Well this crop is a crop that keeps on giving. The frost killed the top leaves but did not affect the green beans. You can also freeze beans to use later this winter in soup. Follow these instructions.

Sweet Savour Hybrid Peppers – They may be small, but they pack quite the taste. The beautiful and tasty tricolor fruit looks like hot peppers but eats like sweet peppers.

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Serrano Tampiqueno Pepper – excellent for drying pickling, salsas, and stews.

Pepper, Hot, Serrano Tampiqueno – Heat-lovers, here’s another Mexican favorite used in a variety of dishes, from salsas to soups. Heat scale is about 3,00-0 Scovilles.

Carrots – No carrots this week. Look for some Fall carrots when we deliver your popcorn – our hopes are high, because carrots harvested in the Fall seem to have such a sweet flavor.

Kohlrabi – So glad that we were able to get a crop here at the end of the season.

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We also harvested the remainder of the onions. I cut up onions each fall and freeze them so they are easy to use in hotdishes, soups etc throughout the year.

Onions –Yellow and Purple 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.

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Learning how to fix the potato digger with dad. Fixing machinery will always be handy to know.

Potatoes – Kennebec (brown oval with white flesh inside – baking potato), Norlands (red), Blue (versatile – great for fries or mashed), and Yukon Gold (brown more circular like a baseball with a more yellow buttery flavor – versatile good baked or cooked) are in your boxes this week. These should keep for a few months. Do not store with your onions.

Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potato enjoy this vegetable in so many ways.

Purple Cauliflower – love the color – check out this week’s recipe.

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Butternut Squash – freeze your cooked squash in cupcake tins. Once frozen take out of the tin and store in the freezer until you would like to use it.

Butternut Squash – This is our family favorite of squashes. It is hourglass in shape. Here are a few recipes for Butternut Squash from Martha Stewart.

Carnival Squash – Carnival squash has variegated patterns of orange and green colors and is a hybrid of the sweet dumpling squash and the acorn squash. When cooked its texture is soft and melting with a fragrant aroma and its flavor; slightly nutty, buttery, and sweet with nuances of maple syrup, similar to that of butternut squash. This squash has contains potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, as well as, some calcium, magnesium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

Delicata – Sweet delicata squash is ideal for a quick vegetable side — it doesn’t need to be peeled and roasts in just 15 minutes. Here is a recipe.

Here is a good breakdown of the different varieties with suggestions of how to use them.

Sweet Dumpling – Dumpling squash is best suited for cooked applications such as roasting, sautéing, baking, and steaming and it can be used in both sweet and savory preparations. Its lumpy exterior and small size make it difficult to peel and are most often cooked with their skin on. Similar to a potato and acorn squash, the skin of the Dumpling squash is edible once cooked, though often it is just discarded. Dumpling squash can be halved, cooked, and served as an ideal size for stuffing with meats, cheeses, grains, or other vegetables and it can be roasted and served as a stand-alone side dish.

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Uchiki Kuri Winter Squash

Uchiki Kuri Winter Squash – This is a popular squash that has attractive orange-red skin. Yellow and creamy flesh is very sweet and nutty. It is a Hubbard type squash and sometimes also referred to as a baby red hubbard type since its appearance is like that of a petite hubbard. The word “kuri” translates to mean chestnut in Japanese, the main flavor profile found in the Red Kuri squash. It is a squash is a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C as well as potassium and iron. Hard-skinned Red Kuri squash can be difficult to peel and are most easily cooked in their skin. Split squash in half, scoop out seeds, and roast cut-side down until tender. Red Kuri can also be cut into wedges or cubes and roasted. The skin of Red Kuri once cooked is tender enough to consume so need not be removed prior to eating.

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Moving pumpkins can get laborious, so changing it up and using it as an opportunity to practice football snaps makes it more fun.

Pumpkins – We hope you enjoy this fall ornament.

Gourds – Some fun and different shaped gourds this year.

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.

Clean-up Continues

Clean-up Continues

 

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Many trees have been cleared in this area and a new fence built. We may be tired, but we find comfort and strength that we are not alone and are so grateful for our neighbors and friends.

Well, the weather forecasters were right this week, and we are grateful that they provided us ample warning. While we recognize how absolutely fortunate we are compared to so very many, we also have an obligation to communicate with you, our shareholders, what occurred so you know what to expect as we finish out the CSA year.

 

We did see the green clouds coming from the south-west, and while we live out-of-town, we are fortunate that we can hear the tornado sirens at our place. We did lose power from Thursday night – Saturday evening and are so grateful for those who worked so hard to restore it. The boys said it felt like camping only with the amenity of the comfort of your beds.

We so greatly appreciate everyone who has helped us with cleanup from Thursday night’s storm. Please know that we are beyond thankful to each and every person that has stopped by, helped clean up, brought food and beverages, sent messages, borrowed us equipment and prayed for us.

While there is still clean-up of dangling branches, a few down trees to accomplish, it is all in a manageable state. We did have a chicken coop flip over, no chickens were lost, and some of the pens have been rebuilt.

In regards to the garden, we are absolutely amazed that all of the pumpkins sat there and did not appear to be moved. Only one pumpkin had a stick through it. The popcorn stalks are all broken over and need to be harvested ASAP before the ears get moldy because of the pelting rain into the ears of corn with the husks on them. The ornamental corn and broom corn were also blown over and may be salvageable yet for corn shocks.

No extra end of the year push on harvesting occurred this weekend due to the needed focus on storm clean-up. We will push for that this weekend and then return to clean-up after harvesting is completed.

We ask that you keep those that lost barns, grain storage, houses etc in this storm and other storms this year in your prayers. It is a tough situation to be in and our hearts go out to them.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phillippians 4:13

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, Spinach and Kale This took a bit of a beating from the rain.

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Checking for quality cauliflower. Enjoy the beautiful color.

Cauliflower A few more for the season.

Sweet Savour Hybrid Peppers – They may be small, but they pack quite the taste. The beautiful and tasty tricolor fruit looks like hot peppers but eats like sweet peppers.

Pepper, Hot, Serrano Tampiqueno – Heat-lovers, here’s another Mexican favorite used in a variety of dishes, from salsas to soups. Heat scale is about 3,00-0 Scovilles.

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

Kohlrabi – So glad that the insects didn’t win this time on this crop. Peel and cut like an apple eat raw, in salads or dip the slices in peanut butter. Enjoy!

 

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 –Norlands (red) great for mashed or cooked potatoes, and Masquerade (purple and tan) potatoes are very versatile with a light buttery flavor.

Sweet PotatoesSweet potato has a rich history and interesting origin. It is one of the oldest vegetables known to mankind. Scientists believe that sweet potato was domesticated thousands of years ago in Central America. Learn more about sweet potatoes here.

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Harvesting Detroit Dark Red Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets – It is perhaps the last beets of the season. Enjoy!

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.

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A colorful collection of summer squash and egg-plant.

Egg Plant – Please let us know if you like egg-plant. I believe this is the last of the season.

WatermelonsSangria are smaller 8-12 pound fruit and Micky Lee some of them weigh over 20 pounds. Leftovers can be frozen and used in a fruit smoothie.

 

winter squashButternut Squash– This is our family favorite of squashes. It is hourglass in shape. Here are a few recipes for Butternut Squash from Martha Stewart.

Carnival Squash – Carnival squash has variegated patterns of orange and green colors and is a hybrid of the sweet dumpling squash and the acorn squash. When cooked its texture is soft and melting with a fragrant aroma and its flavor; slightly nutty, buttery, and sweet with nuances of maple syrup, similar to that of butternut squash. This squash has contains potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, as well as, some calcium, magnesium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

Delicata – Sweet Delicata squash is ideal for a quick vegetable side — it doesn’t need to be peeled and roasts in just 15 minutes. Here is a recipe. https://www.marthastewart.com/1521108/roasted-delicata-squash-garden-herbsHere is a good breakdown of the different varieties with suggestions of how to use them. https://www.thespruceeats.com/winter-squash-and-pumpkins-2217736

Sweet Dumpling – Dumpling squash is best suited for cooked applications such as roasting, sautéing, baking, and steaming and it can be used in both sweet and savory preparations. Its lumpy exterior and small size make it difficult to peel and are most often cooked with their skin on. Similar to a potato and acorn squash, the skin of the Dumpling squash is edible once cooked, though often it is just discarded. Dumpling squash can be halved, cooked, and served as an ideal size for stuffing with meats, cheeses, grains, or other vegetables and it can be roasted and served as a stand-alone side dish.

Uchiki Kuri Winter Squash – This is a popular squash that has attractive orange-red skin. Yellow and creamy flesh is very sweet and nutty. It is a Hubbard type squash and sometimes also referred to as a baby red Hubbard type since its appearance is like that of a petite Hubbard. The word “kuri” translates to mean chestnut in Japanese, the main flavor profile found in the Red Kuri squash. It is a squash is a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C as well as potassium and iron. Hard-skinned Red Kuri squash can be difficult to peel and are most easily cooked in their skin. Split squash in half, scoop out seeds, and roast cut-side down until tender. Red Kuri can also be cut into wedges or cubes and roasted. The skin of Red Kuri once cooked is tender enough to consume so need not be removed prior to eating.

Pumpkins – We hope you enjoy this fall ornament

Gourds – Look for more to come – a lot of harvesting to be done.

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Quite a few varieties of pumpkins to choose from.

Recipe of the Week

Sweet Potato Fries

 6 whole Sweet Potatoes, Peeled And Cut Into Thin Sticks
 1 stick Salted Butter
 2 cloves Garlic, Pressed
 1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt (or Plain Salt)
 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
 2 Tablespoons Ketchup OR Sriracha (more To Taste!)
 Salt For Sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Melt the butter and skim off the foam. Add garlic, seasoned salt, chili powder, and black pepper. Stir with a fork.

In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes in the butter/seasoning mixture. Arrange on two baking sheets and bake in the oven for 15 to 17 minutes, shaking the pans halfway through, until the fries are sizzling (watch so that the edges don’t burn). Remove from the oven and allow to sit on the pan for 5 minutes. Sprinkle generously with salt!

Mix the mayonnaise with the ketchup (or Sriracha). Serve fries with the dipping sauce!

Note: Sweet potatoes will not be overly crisp, but they should be firm.

Source: Pioneer Woman

 

An Experience to Remember

An Experience to Remember

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Open Class Vegetable Entry Day at the Minnesota State Fair

This week we entered in to a new arena. One we wanted to try last year but missed the deadline…the Minnesota State Fair open class vegetable show. The class for our entries needed to be entered between 7—9 a.m. on the opening day of the state fair. So that meant early alarms were set, and we were on the road by 5:30 a.m. to beat the traffic and ensure we had a parking spot even though we were given a designated parking area. It was a good thing we left when we did because when we arrived there were only four parking spots remaining and when we left the fairgrounds at 8 a.m. the line was very long to enter the fairgrounds.

We were excited that the All Blue potatoes took 3rd in the other varieties potato class. We did not place in the largest zucchini, largest scalloped squash or the largest onion. We would all say we brought very respectable entries and learned so much. Here is some of what we learned.

  • Zucchini – seems to be the most popular largest vegetable category
  • Scalloped Squash – If we would have considered this as an entry earlier in the season, we think the entry would have won.
  • Onion – We have simply never seen as large of an onion as we saw from another entrant. It was huge.

Take Aways – Seeing how others transported their vegetables into the fair. For example, one person had a large snake gourd that he taped down to a 2 x 4 to ensure that it did not break in transport. While another transported his potatoes individually wrapped in a Christmas bulb carrier.

There are so many category options – don’t be afraid to check it out and give it a try.

In summary, it was truly very interesting visiting with others who brought in their entries to the open class show. We learned A LOT from different varieties of vegetables to how to prepare vegetables for show. The boys have regrouped and are already strategizing on what to do differently. Most of all we enjoyed the experience as a family. Living and learning together definitely makes for a stronger family.

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.

Purple BeansSuch a delicious vegetable cooked, eaten raw or in salads.

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

purple beans

The purple beans stems are purple while green bean stems are green.

Purple 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.

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

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi – So glad that the insects didn’t win this time on this crop. Peel and cut like an apple eat raw, in salads or dip the slices in peanut butter. Enjoy!

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 – 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.

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Peter Pan Squash

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 growing. 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.

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

Uchiki Kuri Winter Squash – This is a popular squash that has attractive orange-red skin. Yellow and creamy flesh is very sweet and nutty. It is a hubbard type squash and sometimes also referred to as a baby red hubbard type since its appearance is like that of a petite hubbard. The word “kuri” translates to mean chestnut in Japanese, the main flavor profile found in the Red Kuri squash. It is a squash is a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C as well as potassium and iron. Hard-skinned Red Kuri squash can be difficult to peel and are most easily cooked in their skin. Split squash in half, scoop out seeds, and roast, cut-side down until tender. Red Kuri can also be cut into wedges or cubes and roasted. The skin of Red Kuri once cooked is tender enough to consume so need not be removed prior to eating.

Recipe of the Week

State Fair Pumpkin Bread/Muffins

1 2/3 c. flour

1 ½ c. sugar

1/3 c. Butter, softened

1 tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. each nutmeg, cloves

Pinch of salt

1/3 c. water

2 eggs

1 c. canned pumpkin (can substitute squash or carrots that have been cooked and blended down to a smooth consistency)

Combine flour, sugar, butter, soda, spices and salt in bowl. Add 1/3 cup of cold water eggs and pumpkin; mix well. Pour into a lightly greased muffin tin liner. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 depending on the oven. Cool on wire rack. Produces 15-18 muffins.

Note: The bread was made by Keith using the Uchiki Kuri Winter Squash. It was a blue ribbon recipe for him at the county fair.

Source: Minnesota 4-H Blue Ribbon Cookbook

Appreciated Beyond Words

Appreciated Beyond Words

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140 pounds of tomatoes were harvested this week. Let us know if you need some for canning or freezing.

After each week’s CSA, we gather around to eat a late supper and share what we experienced that evening. All of us enjoy visiting with you and hearing about your weeks. We also enjoy hearing how you are using your produce – what you like and what you don’t like. This helps us to improve on what we do. We always strive to do better than we did the week before. So, your feedback is greatly appreciated.

We love seeing kids enjoy pulling a carrot and eating it out of the garden to others filling their pockets with banana peppers to kids who normally hate tomatoes eating 4th of July tomatoes like apples to those who love the flowers and how they brighten their day to others who bring in their boxes to work and share with coworkers – no leftovers to be had. These actions, stories and comments brighten our days, make our souls happy and help us to feel value in the hard work that we do.

You are each appreciated beyond words and valued beyond measure. As we reflected on our appreciation, I looked to the Bible with these two readings which feel like an appropriate fit.

This captures how we feel: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

These our the wishes for you: “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” – Numbers 6:24-26

A growing update: The weather has been dry so some of the crops we planted over a month ago – such as the next crop of peas are only about 2 inches high. Likewise, crops we planted have not yet sprouted. Please bear with us as we patiently wait for Mother Nature to take action.

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These boys harvested 64.4 pounds of green beans. They were happy to donate a vegetable that the local food shelf was in need of. Way to go kids!

Garden Science

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Just an update on our potatoes we are growing in tires. They are now four tires high. The tires are filled with dirt as the potato plant continues to grow.

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 – love how they grow up and don’t let gravity “bring them down.”

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

 

Purple Peppers – This variety is similar to a green bell pepper. 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.

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

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi  – Slowly maturing. Peel and cut like an apple. Eat raw or try it with some peanut butter.

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.

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Egg Plant

Egg Plants – We will have a few egg plants. Please let us know if you like this vegetable.

Potatoes – Blue 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.

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Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash

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.

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Peter Pan Squash

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.

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Zinnia

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.

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

Recipe of the Week

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Sautéed Garden Fresh Green Beans

Sautéed Garden Fresh Green Beans

1 cup of green beans cut into 1 inch pieces

Pinch of Kosher Salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

½ Tablespoon olive oil

Sautee’ above ingredients in a skillet on medium heat for about 5 minutes until desired tenderness is reached. Add onion and garlic if desired.

 

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.

Rain

Rain

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

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

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

Garden Science

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

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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

Rhubarb – One pound equals about 3 cups. Wash, cut the ends off, cut off any bad parts damaged by wind, chop into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces. No need to peel. You can freeze it in a Ziploc bag (no blanching) and use for months to come. Check out earlier posts on rhubarb for recipe ideas and the rhubarb torte recipe  pictured here.

Asparagus – Fresh cut asparagus from the Chute’s Farm Fresh Gardens in Aitkin, Minnesota. These farmers are friends of ours who we know from Farm Bureau and also the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program. They had some extra they wanted to share with us, and the delivery time worked out well. They snap the asparagus vs. cutting so that you are getting all edible stalk and should have very minimal amount that you do not eat. Enjoy! See how asparagus is harvested in California. Check out these recipes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves and Spirea

Recipe of the Week

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

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

2-1/4 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pound cake or vanilla ice cream

Source: Taste of Home

Directions

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

From Winter to Summer

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

4-15-18 Brothers

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

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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.

Spring Field Work Begins

Spring Field Work Begins

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

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

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

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

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

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