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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finish Strong

Finish Strong

IMG_5985 (2).JPGAs we harvested last night, I watched as the local college cross country team used the top of our hill and our driveway as a finish line. One after the other, teammates and coaches encouraged each one to finish strong as they headed up the hill to the finish line.

I found it an interesting sign from God during harvest season. Especially with the recent heavy rains that are making harvest more challenging across the region, and the efforts to finish the harvest race more challenging. We must never lose sight of the finish line and our short-term and long-term goals. In agriculture our goals may look something like:

  • Short-term: Finish this season strong – complete the harvest sharing with those around us the best quality products our efforts can offer.
  • Long-term: Share our inborn fondness with others with what we have in common, food and our love of our family, while constantly striving to do better than what we did before and leave the world better than what we found it.

Sometimes harvesting and life can be exhuasting. Never lose sight of the bigger picture. Always encourage each other to finish strong no matter what the task or the hill you need to climb.

Garden Science

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We weighed the larger pumpkins. What do you think they weighed? This one weighed n at 57.2 pounds. The other top two weighed in at 33.8 pounds and 29.5 pounds followed by the orange and white striped at 22.6 and a few of the pink pumpkins at 16.6 pounds.

 

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 – Beautiful color for sandwiches and salads.

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

Green Beans – Let us know if you are interested in more for canning or freezing.

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi – Try these ideas from Martha Stewart.

Detroit Dark Red BeetsTry cooking them in boiling water, rub their skins off, slice them and freeze for use this winter.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

Butternut Squash – My favorite. I am disappointed that we didn’t have the bounty of this vegetable this year but it is still a good keeper. It will last awhile before spoiling.

Viking potatoes – Great for mashed potatoes.

Kennebec potatoes – Excellent for baked potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes – Dusky red-skinned Beauregard is the most widely grown commercial cultivar. Thank you to our neighbors, the Schwakes, who shared sweet potato slips and their knowledge of raising sweet potatoes to  provide this wonderful addition to the boxes.

Pumpkins – While this crop was disappointing and challenging this year, we hope you are able to enjoy this fun fall decoration and Halloween tradition at your home.

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Flowers – Name pumpkins

Recipe of the Week

9-24-13 pizza 4

Homemade personal pan pizzas.

Homemade Pizza

This has become a family favorite. When Steve and I were first married we tried so many recipes for homemade pizza, and this is definitely our favorite. We usually make it on Friday nights. The crust recipe comes from the Minnesota 4-H Foundation’s Blue Ribbon Favorites recipe book by Jeannie Stangler of Waseca.

Pizza Parlor Crust

1 teaspoon yeast

2 Tablespoons oil

1 Tablespoons sugar

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk, scalded, cooled

In a bowl, combine yeast, oil, sugar and 1/4 cup very war water. Let the yeast become active. Scald milk (this means you warm it up so that it forms has a slight skin on the top – I heat mine up for slightly more time then I do hot chocolate in the microwave). After yeast mixture has become “active,” add flour, salt and scalded milk. Mix well. Knead slightly (I do this in the bowl. I spray my hands with cooking spray and add a little more flour on the dough when kneading so that it is not super sticky and forms a nice ball of dough. The boys love to do this as well.) Lift up your ball of dough, spray with cooking spray, place dough back into bowl, spray the top of the dough, cover with a wet towel and let rise for 15 minutes to an hour. We bake ours on a clay pan. Sprinkle the pan with corn meal (or spray the pan with cooking spray).

Bake at 375 degrees for about 5 minutes or until the crust just starts to turn a little brown. Take out and put your toppings on. Bake for about 20 minutes. Enjoy!!

Toppings:

  • Homemade tomato sauce – here are a few links Ball Canning and U of M Extension. If you want to learn how to do this and feel overwhelmed, I understand. Steve actually taught me. Let me know and we can plan a day to have you come out for a lesson:)
  • Chop up onions and peppers.
  • I freeze leftover hamburgers. Before freezing, I crumble up the hamburger. Before placing on the pizza, I thaw it out. Super easy!
  • Top with mozzarella cheese and any of your favorites.
  • Place pepperoni on top (I love crispy pepperoni).
  • Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  • Garnish with parsley.
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.