Project Driven

Project Driven

It was a busy 4th of July at our house. Yes, we worked outside. It was a project driven day that ended in a cookout and fireworks. There doesn’t seem to be many days where we can focus on accomplishing a lot around home, but that day we did. From weed control to harvesting the cover crop to addressing the white mold on some of our vines to installing a fence for the second round of peas, there was much to be done.

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Since we are out of our repurposed fencing, we found another way to make a pea fence. It is so much easier to harvest peas when they are growing upright.

Here’s a glimpse of what is growing on this week. Thanks again to Sam who took the majority of the photos in the blog.

Garden Science

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The first harvest of green beans. Notice all the white flowers. A green bean will grow from those flowers.

Pick-up and Delivery

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

Boxes of Produce

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

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – We have a new crop planted. This is the case for many of the salad type crops. In fact, we planted it about a month ago. It emerged even though the ground was pretty hard for the young plant to push through but it did have a poor stand. We have replanted again. Just not sure how quickly it will mature to harvest stage. Remember that some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating.

Outrageous Red Lettuce – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad.

Spinach/Kale mix – A little purple kale is mixed in with the spinach this week. There is an insect that is loving the kale this year. We are trying to trouble shoot control of this insect.

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Beets

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

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

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Super Sugar Snap Peas are growing like crazy. Enjoy!

Super Sugar Snap Peas – Rat the pods and peas all together. Great snack.

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

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Onion growing.

Onion – Walla Walla onions are in your boxes this week.

Zucchini/Summer Squash – make these into noodles, sauté and more. Check out this link for recipe ideas.

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

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

Recipe of the Week

1 pound snap peas, trimmed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add snap peas and cook until tender but still vibrant green and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and toss with butter; season with salt.

Source: Martha Stewart

Weeds and What!

Weeds and What!

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Sam’s photo of the pullets, young hens, speaks volumes. The chickens are thinking “Weeds and What! We are taking a look at the outlook of this growing season. We have a few things to tell you from our perspective. The weeds grow like crazy with this heat and humidity, and insects…lots of insects. We love to eat all of it.”

When I saw this photo, it cracked me up. We are all so serious about the outlook including evidently the chickens.

There are several concerns right now: 1. weeds – growing like crazy; 2. insects – between potato bugs and a number of plant eating nuisances – there are a few areas to get under control; 3. replanting another round of crops – don’t like to mud the seeds into the ground, but Mother Nature isn’t giving us many options.

This sums up the week. The crops are growing and will have more of a chance once we get the competing factors under control: weeds and insects.

The majority of the photos in the blog were taken by Sam.

Garden Science

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Keith’s photo of the weather last Thursday speaks volumes with the stop sign saying it all. This weather has been a bit crazy for all of us. From what we can tell, the weeds and the bad insects are loving it. Frankly we need these extremes to stop.

Pick-up and Delivery

• Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA – please note the exceptions to this which were in the email.

• It is your responsibility to know that the pick-up or drop-off time will occur at the agreed upon time, and it is your responsibility as a shareholder to know this and be responsible for the produce at that time. If you are unable to utilize your share that week, it is still your responsibility: find someone else to pick it up or donate it to the food shelf.

• Each box is labeled for each family. The same boxes will be used for your family throughout the season. Boxes and containers should be returned the following week. Bags will only be used once.

Boxes of Produce

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

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The Harner Bros are the 5th generation to raise this rhubarb originally planted on the family farm near Tracy by their great-great grandparents after immigrating from Norway and transplanted to our home near Northfield.

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

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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.

 

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Outrageous Red Lettuce – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad.

 

Spinach – Love this mixed in a salad with other greens or as a stand alone by itself.

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Beets – The entire plant is edible.

 

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Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi. Peel it and slice like an apple.

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The first harvest of Super Sugar Snap Peas.

Super Sugar Snap Peas – Rat the pods and peas all together. Great snack.

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Young Walla Walla Onion – notice the root system and also notice on the stalk how it appears to be braided.

Onion – Young Walla Walla onions are in your boxes this week.

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

Cilantro – wash and enjoy. Freeze extra by placing in ice cube trays and running water over them and freeze. A good way to use later in soups and other dishes. Check out these ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use this herb.

Recipe of the Week

Lazy taco

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

Lazy Tacos

This is a family favorite and a go to recipe in our house. Thank you to Steve’s Aunt Coleen for sharing this idea with us many years ago. This dish can take on many options depending on your family’s tastes.
Crush corn chips and layer taco favorites on top such as:
taco meat
onions
black olives,
tomatoes
lettuce
cheddar cheese
chilli beans
salsa
cottage cheese
salad dressing
Note: with all of the fresh produce I would also try a variety of vegetables.

 

Hidden Surprises

Hidden Surprises

More often than not we get caught up in what is going on in our lives trying to accomplish what is expected and/or needed of us. It’s important that we stop and look around whether it is a pleasant surprise or a challenging surprise – how we view it often determines our end outcomes. Take a look at our hidden surprises this week with most of the photos through the view of our youngest photographer.

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These hot humid days have lead to weeds and more weeds. While it can seem overwhelming, spending time with this character one on one in the garden with some music playing, watching the sun set and the fire flies light up the fields…well it is priceless, and I wouldn’t change those moments.

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As we returned from a weekend full of baseball, we were in the process of getting chores done so we could move on to the next activity. As I headed to the garden and looked up, I was amazed to see this magnificent beauty and reminded of how privileged we are to live in the United States. Keith and I tried our best to get as close as we could to it, but it didn’t let us get to close.

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Well these challenging foes known as potato bugs are out in full force. This is an adult potato bug, and they love to eat the leaves of the potato plant. The problem is without leaves a plant cannot conduct photosynthesis and without photosynthesis the plant cannot create food to create potatoes. Trust me…they will eat the ENTIRE plant.

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Potato bug eggs are orange and as they hatch out, the young are a deep brownish/orange with a black head. They begin eating the plants shortly after they hatch. Oh how they are a nemesis.

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While these may appear somewhat similar to a potato bug…they are a beetle that will eat all vining plants and frankly whatever looks good to them. Checking for insect issues on a regular basis helps to keep us out their weeding and the plants growing.

Garden Science

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Some of the potato plants are starting to flower. That is a good sign that the plant is maturing and starting to grow potatoes. The potatoes do not grow out of the flowers. Potatoes are a tuber that will grow under ground.

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It’s a great sign that the peas are flowering as the pea flowers will grow into our pea pods.

Pick-up and Delivery

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

Boxes of Produce

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

7-20-13 rhubarb wash and cut ends off

Wash the rhubarb and cut off the white ends, any damaged areas and provide a fresh cut to the other side if it has become slightly dried out. Then cut your rhubarb into 1/14-1/2 inch pieces.

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

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.

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Red Beets, Black Seeded Simpson lettuce and Outrageous red lettuce

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

Outrageous Red Lettuce – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad.

Spinach – Love this mixed into a salad with other greens or as a stand alone by itself.
Beet Leaves – The beets are growing on their own so I thought we should check them out.

Radishes– Cherry Belle and French Breakfast radishes. We are nearing the end of this crop for a little while.

Cilantro – wash and enjoy. Freeze extra by placing in ice cube trays and running water over them and freeze. A good way to use later in soups and other dishes. Check out these ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use this herb.

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Hosta Leaves

Hosta Leaves – I put 10-15 hosta leaves in a vase and it looks so gorgeous!

Recipe of the Week

 

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Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Dressing
3 Tablespoons apple juice
2 Tablespoons strawberry spreadable fruit
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salad
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 cups bite-size pieces spinach
1 cup strawberries, stems removed and strawberries cut in half
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (1 oz)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions
1. In small bowl, mix all dressing ingredients until blended; set aside.
2. Spray 10-inch skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in skillet 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170°F). Remove chicken to cutting board.
3. Add dressing to skillet; stir to loosen any pan drippings.
4. Cut chicken into slices. Among 4 plates, divide spinach. Top with chicken, strawberries and cheese. Drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle with walnuts.
Source: Taste of Home

Weeds and More

Weeds and More

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

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

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

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

Pick-up and Delivery

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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

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

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

Spinach and beet leaves – great for salads


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

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

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

Recipe of the Week

4-10-12 Making rhubarb tort (21)

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

Rhubarb Torte

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

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

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

Harvesting Begins

Harvesting Begins

If you haven’t heard, according to the NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information it has been the wettest 12 months in U.S. history, and May 2019 was the second wettest month of all time. We are grateful for good soil drainage and that we were able to work between the storms to plant.

Our next challenge is pest control weeds and insects. Look for more information on that to come. We are excited to see growth and the joys from the garden that are forthcoming. Read below to see what we have been up to and details on what is in your boxes. A shout out to Sam for taking the majority of photos!

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Another round of crops were planted this week to help keep the vegetables growing throughout the season.

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These are pea seeds ready to plant. As you can see the planter has a white circle plate wheel that rotates around picking up one pea seed in each opening which is then dropped below into a furrow that the planter has created which the seed is dropped into and then covered. The seeds have a pink seed inoculant on them. Inoculation is the process of introducing commercially prepared rhizobia bacteria into the soil by placing this on the seed which encourages the seed and newly formed plant to format higher amount of nitrogen nodules on plant roots for richer soil nutrients resulting in bigger plants and better yields so hopefully more pea pods.

Garden Science

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Weed identification is an important part of this job. Hot, humid weather really made the weeds grow like crazy. Lambsquarters are the primary challenge in this area.

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Weed control is so important in keeping plants healthy and growing. These are the cucumbers after the weeds were pulled. This minimizes competition for soil nutrients, moisture and sunlight which helps tremendously in growing a healthy crop.

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Here we are towards the end of weeding. As you can tell there is a lot of enthusiasm for this task.

Pick-up and Delivery

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

Boxes of Produce

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

20190611_205145.jpg
Rhubarb – One pound equals about 3 cups. Wash, cut the ends off, cut off any bad parts damaged by wind, chop into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces. No need to peel. You can freeze it in a Ziploc bag (no blanching) and use for months to come. Our family loves it in muffins, breads, jam, pie, crisp, sauce and torte.

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 from Martha Stewart.

20190608_2041053082568277775850666.jpgBlack 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.

20190611_204438.jpgOutrageous Red Lettuce – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad.

20190609_1055231317742016271566901.jpgSpinach and beet leaves – great for salads

20190611_205455.jpgHerbChives – wash then chop up chives into small pieces. I enjoy using them in potatoes on the grill.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves and peonies

 

5-6-12 Rhubarb jam (17)

Rhubarb Jam

Recipe of the Week

Rhubarb Jam

Mix together and set aside until a juice forms:
6 cups rhubarb sliced into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
3 cups sugar

Next:
Add one can of pie filling (cherry, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry)
Cook these ingredients for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 package of 3 oz jello (use Jello that is of the same flavor as the pie filling).

Mix well. Pour into containers. Refrigerate or freeze.

Springing in to Action

Springing in to Action

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

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The herb pots have been planted.

 

Tornado Clean-up…

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

chicken pen

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

 

In the Garden…

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

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Young radishes peeking out of the ground.

 

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Lettuce growing.

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

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Super sugar snap peas … a favorite.

 

In Other News…

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

 

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

5-21-19 seed sorting in 3rd grade

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

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

Spring has Sprung

Spring has Sprung

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

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

Growing rhubarb is a good sign of spring.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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.