Accepting the Unknowns

Accepting the Unknowns

This week as we observed activities in the garden, it would have been easy to be overwhelmed by what was growing and not growing. One can be overwhelmed by the frustration of the challenges or can choose to look at the opportunity to overcome the obstacles. So we chose the opportunity.

We spent our time managing pests: weeds, potato bugs or seeds that simply didn’t grow. As I was visiting with my dad who has farmed for over 50 years, he told me that he too has seen seeds that simply didn’t grow or seeds that started to germinate and did not continue to grow.

Sometimes you just don’t understand why. Learning to accept things you cannot change and learning how to make lemonade out of lemons is an important life lesson.

Check out the state climatologists blog to learn more about June’s crazy weather.

Garden Science

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The 20 to 40 mile per hour winds along with the extreme heat of over 90 degrees on Saturday really beat on the plants. The rhubarb looked beautiful before Saturday’s weather.

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We staked the tomatoes to provide support for the plants as they grow. We are trying a few of the tomatoes in cages and the remainder with stakes only. This will be one of our science experiments this year to see which production method produces the healthiest looking plants and the most bountiful harvest in our production method.

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

The Harner Bros are the 5th generation to raise this rhubarb originally planted on our family farm and transplanted to this location. This was a photo taken in April when this crop started growing for the season.

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. Check out earlier posts on rhubarb for recipe ideas.

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.

lettuce

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – love eating this in salads and on sandwiches.

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.

Radish – Cherry Belle radishes – check out these recipes.

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

Herbs pots – includes three of one of the following: thyme, rosemary, sweet basil, parsley, sage and a few surprises. Enjoy them in your kitchen.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves and Spirea

hostas

Hostas, spirea and herbs to start out the year.

 

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.

rhubarb jam

Rhubarb jam – I make strawberry rhubarb, blueberry rhubarb, cherry rhubarb and raspberry rhubarb. Enjoy, it is a delicious treat!

 

What’s Growing On

What’s Growing On

The unpredictable weather of May has created interesting growing conditions. After a rush to get everything planted, it was followed by a week of cold, rainy weather. Which caused some of our seeds not to grow. In fact some of the seeds, started to grow and simply stopped growing so replanting was necessary with a few of the crops.

This past week’s temperatures were unseasonably hot with temperatures into the 90s. The plants are starting to look parched, and a nice rain would be good for the health of the plants. We are hopeful for what next week will bring, and the produce that should be ready to harvest.

Garden Science

seed issues from cold and rainy wether

The rainy cold weather in May caused some of the seeds that had started to grow to actually stop growing. This is a seed that had germinated or began to grow (note the green seedling inside the seed), but it stopped during the wet cold weather. Some of the crops needed to be replanted due to this situation – green beans, sugar snap peas and cucumbers.

lettuce

The lettuce has been peaking out the ground. This was a photo from the end of the week. A little bit of rain would go a long way in helping them grow.

radish

The radishes are growing like crazy. I love how the first leaves, cotyledon, formed on the radish plants are shaped like a heart.

beets

I love the color of the steams of the beets.

sweet potato slips

We have planted two varieties of sweet potatoes this year and are excited about the outcomes.

cucumbers

Some of the cucumbers did grow, while the majority did not. We did install fence for trellis for when the cucumbers started growing.

tomato cages

We also have installed a few tomato cages. We are going to do a few different staking techniques to see what works best for the tomato plants and for harvesting.

 

Animal Update

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The boys’ 4-H pigs add some life to the farm. This photo was taken at the beginning of May with the Duroc (breed of pig). It has since gotten heavier. Pigs will be full grown at 5- 6 months of age weighing 260-280 pounds.

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We also hatched out chicks in the Northfield Montessori kindergarten class. It is the sixth year that we have done this project. It is always fun to see the new chicks which will be full grown at about 4-5 months of age.

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One day old kittens are so precious. This litter is from one of our farm cats. The eyes are just opening and the taming of the kittens has begun.

 

 

Planting progress

Planting progress

It has been a busy few weeks of planting. There always seems to be a rush to beat Mother Nature knowing that unpredictable changes will come. This past week, we received several inches of rain with some hail. We are not complaining. Rather, we are thankful that we did not receive downpours of rain, tornadoes and many weather challenges others experienced.

Keith tilling

We were able to get into the field on May 4. This included a variety of field work including tilling in the cover crop to provide nutrients into the soil and preparing the seed bed for planting.

Sam dragging

After tilling, we drag the fields to make sure we have a nice seed bed to plant in.

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Before planting potatoes, Steve used an attachment on the tiller to provide trenches for the potatoes to be planted in.

Planting potatoes

Several varieties, which include over 300 potatoes, were planted. A few more varieties will be planted once the ground has dried out.

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Between May 5 and May 12, the majority of our crops were planted. It is a good thing, as several inches of rain and cold weather occurred this past week.

5-10-17 mulch and irrigation

Before planting our tomatoes, we installed drip irrigation under our mulch. The intent is to provide consistent watering and moisture at the right amount at the right time for the tomatoes to grow properly.

dirty hands (2)

We transplanted nearly 140 plants including tomatoes, peppers, cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower. While the evening got tiring, the ability to find something fun about the job at hand did not waver. The photo isn’t the best because it was taken as the sun was setting and as you can see part of the fun involved mud.

hail

Last week’s storms included hail. Some of it was larger than a nickel. We were thankful that the crop was not larger, and that the hail lasted for a short period of time with minimal wind in the storm.

A glimpse in time

A glimpse in time

It has been a busy last few months preparing for the growing season and for 4-H projects at the county fair. Spring is in full swing. Below is a glimpse of some of the activity.

 

At the beginning of March, the chicks that the boys will show at the fair arrived in the mail from the hatchery. They are now about 2 1/2 months old and at the growth stage they boys’ refer to as “high schoolers.” They will be full grown at about 5 months of age when they will be shown at the county fair.

 

Recently, the hens are laying eggs of all sizes. The chicks that Sam’s class hatched this fall are starting to lay eggs. Hens are about 4-5 months old when they are full grown and ready to naturally start laying an egg about every 24-26 hours. The small size that the young hens are laying is a pee-wee egg. The larger eggs pictured are from our older hens that are about 1 1/2 yearss old.

 

At the end of April, the boys bought 3 pigs which they plan to show at the county fair this summer when the pigs have reached their market weight. Pigs are full grown in about 5-6 months when they will weigh approximately 260-280 pounds. After the boys pigs arrived, the local veterinarian visited to check on pig health and discuss the pig’s healthcare with the boys. Farmers work hand in hand with their local veterinarians to provide the best quality care for their animals.

We collected soil samples from each of our field areas. Steve made a soil probe collector which would dig down a couple of inches into the field to collect a sample of the soil. We collected 5-6 soil samples from different areas of each field. Labeled the bag and brought the soil samples to our local farm co-op to be tested to evaluate soil health and help us to know what nutrients we should apply to the soil to help grow healthier plants.

The rhubarb is growing like crazy. Our rhubarb was transplanted from the farm my dad grew up on. The Harner Brothers 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.

Last fall, we planted rye grass as a cover crop to provide “green manure” and “feed” our soil with good nutrients. As soon as it warmed up the rye grass began to grow again – just like grass in many lawns. The cover crop has grown well. We are interested in how it will improve soil health and in turn, once tilled into the fields it is currently growing in – how it will help improve soil health which will grow healthy plants and vegetables.

During the boys’ spring break, we spent a day doing agriculture in the classroom visits with students in St. Paul. It was a great day, and we are grateful for coworkers and the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom for their help.

Carrots in November

Carrots in November

 

Harvesting carrots in November that are this beautiful is very unusual.

Harvesting carrots in November that are this beautiful is very unusual.

Carrots in November? Indeed. We have been waiting to harvest the last of the carrots and grabbing a few carrots for supper or eating with our lunches. With the impending weather forecast, we harvested the last for the season. Hard to believe in Minnesota that the Fall weather has been so pleasant, and November 17 was the final harvest date for carrots.

Garden Science

Unbelievable to see such a beautiful carrot top in mid-November in Minnesota.

Unbelievable to see such beautiful carrot tops in mid-November in Minnesota. According to the U.S. Climate Data the average highs are 41 degrees Fahrenheit and average lows are 26 degrees Fahrenheit. Check out this blog from the University of Minnesota and learn how we have had above average temperatures. When it is below freezing, carrot tops will freeze and die.

These carrots were harvested today before the ground froze and froze the carrots in the ground. The winter weather seems to be finally creeping in on us with 18 degree weather in the forcast.

These carrots were harvested today before the ground froze and the carrots froze in the ground. The winter weather seems to be finally creeping in on us with 18 degree weather in the forecast. Learn more about plant hardiness zones. I find it a fun way to discuss weather patterns and differences in growing areas in the U.S.

 

Recipe of the Week

Do you still have some butternut squash that you are trying to figure out how to use? Well, we gave this recipe a try - Butternut Bacon Soup. I froze what we didn't use in a large cupcake tin, popped the frozen soups out of the cupcake tin and stored in a Ziploc bag. Now I just need to thaw it out in the microwave on a cold winter day. Super easy to bring to work as well. http://damndelicious.net/2014/12/10/roasted-butternut-squash-bacon-soup/

Do you still have some butternut squash that you are trying to figure out how to use? Well, we gave this recipe a try – Butternut Bacon Soup. I froze what we didn’t use in a large cupcake tin, popped the frozen soups out of the cupcake tin and stored in a Ziploc bag. Now, I just need to thaw it out in the microwave on a cold winter day. Super easy to bring to work as well and a great way to enjoy garden produce.

Inborn Fondness

Inborn Fondness

Often times, we are asked about working full time and doing the CSA. Many are surprised that we choose to use some of our free time in this endeavor. For me, I find myself returning to the phrase “inborn fondness” found in the FFA Creed and to the 4-H Pledge of pledging “my hands to larger service.”

So I reflected back on the FFA Creed and the phrase “inborn fondness.” The FFA Creed’s first few paragraphs read:

I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds – achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.

I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny.     

To me inborn fondness means the love for what you do like the smell of the soil, the appreciation of nature, the wonders of miracles witness and a desire to give and do your best in given circumstances for the betterment of all. We try to instill this through action with our children.

Harner Brothers CSA donation for a local fundraiser for the boys' schools.

Harner Brothers CSA donation for a local fundraiser for the boys’ schools.

One of those particular ways of sharing our inborn fondness is helping our children learn how to give back. This past week, the boys enjoyed making the box in the above photo and helping to assemble products from our CSA as a donation to the local Montessori fundraiser. It was a great way to give back to a community that has been so supportive of all of us.

We started a chick hatching project in the boys' elementary school.

We started a chick hatching project in the boys’ elementary school. Thank you to Mrs. Sasse for this photo.

We also had a fun opportunity to start a chick hatching project at their elementary school. Helping others to learn more about agriculture and to share our inborn fondness is a privilege.

We thank all of you for giving us the opportunity to share this growing season with all of you. No growing season is the same, as much as we try to maintain many consistencies, Mother Nature reminds us that she is always in control and keeps it unpredictable. Thank you for letting us share our inborn fondness of agriculture this growing season with all of you!

Note: A quick update as we close out the year, look for some Red, White and Blue popcorn later this fall. Once the popcorn has dried to the right moisture content to actually pop into the snack we all enjoy, we will contact you for a delivery.

Garden Science

The garlic bulbs were dug from the ground at the end of June. We then braided the tops together.

The garlic bulbs were dug from the ground at the end beginning of July. We then braided the tops together.

Then hung the braided tops up in one of our sheds to dry for a few weeks.

The braided tops were hung up in one of our sheds to dry for a few weeks.

 

Garlic bulbs can keep 68 months or longer. Store in cool, stable room temperature (about 6-65 degrees Fahrenheit) with some air circulation, moderate humidity. Store in a brown paper bag or in a hanging mesh bag.

Garlic bulbs can keep 6-8 months or longer. Store in cool, stable room temperature (about 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit) with some air circulation, moderate humidity. Store in a brown paper bag or in a hanging mesh bag.

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. 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. 

Thank you for your support of our CSA. Enjoy the produce!

Lettuce mix - a new crop of spinach along with Red Oak Leaf, Black Seeded Simpson and curly leaf kale.

Lettuce mix – a new crop of spinach along with Red Oak Leaf, Spinach, Black Seeded Simpson and curly leaf kale.

Black Seeded Simpson, Spinach and Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I just love to have fresh lettuce and spinach from the garden this time of year. While I love the fall colors, this crop is a joy to bring in my lunch to work.

Kale – Brings beautiful color and more nutrients to the dish.

Beets –  Detroit Dark Red Beets in your box. Boil on your stove top for about 1/2 hour – take them out of the water, using a paper towel gently rub the paper towel over the beet and the skins will come right off, slice into pieces and serve with butter. Slice them and freeze for an easy accompaniment to a meal this winter or cut into chunks and place in Ziploc bag to use in homemade soup this winter. Or blend them up, freeze in ice cube trays and use in smoothies or spaghetti sauce etc.

Carrots – Nantes carrots – Do you cook the carrots and the family doesn’t eat them all? I will place the left overs in the blender and then freeze that mixture in ice cube trays. Once frozen, store in a bag in the freezer. I will then use one or two “cubes” of frozen carrots in my spaghetti sauce.

Peppers

Peppers – sweet cherry stuffer, sweet thunderbolt, green and hot dragon cayenne peppers.

Peppers The peppers are really starting to come in. You have sweet cherry stuffer hybrid pepper, sweet thunderbolt hybrid and green peppers in your box. You also have the option of some hot dragon cayenne peppers. Cut up the extra peppers and place in a bag then place in freezer for use throughout the year.

Garlic – Enjoy the fresh garlic. I use a hand-held garlic press to crush and peel my garlic. It is awesome and definitely the tool of the week! Here are some garlic recipes to check out.

Onions –  Walla Walla Onions

Butternut Squash – My favorite squash. Check out the recipes from Martha Stewart. Refer back to last week’s blog on my how to cook in the oven and freeze for use throughout the year.

Red Norland Potatoes – Red Norland potatoes are versatile potatoes – great for boiling, potato salad, and I have had success with them as French fries.

Blue Potatoes check this link out to learn more about different potato varieties.

Masquerade Potatoes – We love the taste of this variety. The outside color makes this a fun and beautiful variety to have in the kitchen.

Kennebec Potatoes – Great baking potato. Check out harvesting potatoes in Idaho.

Cilantro, Basil and Parsley – Plenty to share – take a snip or a plant home and freeze or dry the herb for use in stews, etc during the rest of the year. Here are some more ideas on how to preserve herbs.

Corn Shock – If you didn’t get yours last week do to the rains, please let us know.

Fun colors of pumpkins this year!

Fun colors of pumpkins this year!

Pumpkins and Gourds

 

Recipe of the Week

Potato Bread Cinnamon Rolls

Wondering what to do with your leftover mashed potatoes? I use them in this potato bread dough . and either make  buns or cinnamon rolls.

This is one of my favorite bread recipes and was discovered after a summer of trying different recipes to bring to the fair for one of my 4-H projects which eventually earned a purple ribbon several year ago:)

I  freeze the mashed potatoes in 1 cup quantities for a double batch of the recipe. I also freeze the bread as buns or cinnamon rolls. After forming the bread into buns or cinnamon rolls, I let them rise the second time and then I freeze them. When I want to bake them, I simply place the frozen rolls in the oven, turn the oven on to preheat, and once the oven is preheated allow them to cook for the alloted time. Steve has commented several times that he is so glad I figured this out.

Pickled Beets

In your boxes this week. So we decided to try these – Steve does not like beets and I do not like pickles. But this combination was ok by both of us. Please note that there are recipes for refrigerator pickled beets that do not require any canning.

7 pounds of 2 to 2 1/2 inch diameter beets

4 cups vinegar (5 percent)

1 ½ teaspoons canning or pickling salt

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

2 cinnamon sticks

12 whole cloves

Sliced onion (optional)

Yield: About 8 pints

Store jars in a cool, dark place and let set for 6-8 weeks before opening.

First wash the beets, cut the tops off leaving 1 inch of stem and root on. Boil for about a 1/2 hour or until you can stick a fork easily into the beet. Remove from boiling water and gently rub the skin off.

First wash the beets, cut the tops off leaving 1 inch of stem and root on. Boil for about a 1/2 hour or until you can stick a fork easily into the beet. Remove from boiling water and gently rub the skin off.

Slice the beets. Small beets can be pickled whole. Larger beets can be sliced in ¼ inch slices or diced.

Slice the beets. Small beets can be pickled whole. Larger beets can be sliced in ¼ inch slices or diced.

To make pickling brine, combine 4 cups vinegar, 1 1/4 teaspoons canning or pickling salt, 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a stainless steel, enamelware, or glass saucepan. Put spices (2 cinnamon sticks and 12 whole cloves) in cheesecloth bag and add to vinegar mixture. Bring to a boil, add beets (and onions if desired) and simmer for 5 minutes.

To make pickling brine, combine 4 cups vinegar,  1 1/4 teaspoons canning or pickling salt, 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a stainless steel, enamelware, or glass saucepan. Put spices (2 cinnamon sticks and 12 whole cloves) in cheesecloth bag and add to vinegar mixture. Bring to a boil, add beets (and onions if desired) and simmer for 5 minutes.

Fill jars with beets and onions, leaving ½ inch headspace. Add hot vinegar solution, covering beets, and allowing ½ inch headspace.

Fill jars with beets and onions, leaving ½ inch headspace. Add hot vinegar solution, covering beets, and allowing ½ inch headspace.

Run a thin spatula through jars to remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims with a damp paper towel. Add caps and bands. For more information on canning, go here.

Run a thin spatula through jars to remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims with a damp paper towel. Add caps and bands. For more information on canning, go here.

Place filled jars on a rack in a water bath canner. The tops of the jars should be covered with 1 inch of water. Process for 30 minutes. Begin timing as soon as the water begins to boil.

Place filled jars on a rack in a water bath canner. The tops of the jars should be covered with 1 inch of water. Process for 30 minutes. Begin timing as soon as the water begins to boil. After processing is done, place jars on a towel on your counter leaving a few inches between jars to allow them to cool.

Source: University of Minnesota

Mad Dash

Mad Dash

Last night, sure was a mad dash around the storms. At least now that we are dry and warm, we can look back and chuckle at how dripping wet we all were. In the end, the rain gauge read 4.8 inches early this morning.

The end of the year harvest has also been a mad dash, and judging by the forecast, we will continue to have a mad dash to get the crops out around the weather.

We are thankful that the vines and corn crops were harvested and those areas mulched. We still have to wait for those areas to dry out before we can complete our fall field work, but we are thankful for what has been accomplished.

We are thankful that this weekend the vines and corn crops were harvested and mulched. We still have to wait for those areas to dry out before we can complete our fall field work of tilling and planting a cover crop. But we are thankful for what has been accomplished.

Next week will be the final CSA for the year. Look for your share of red, white and blue popcorn to come later this fall after the kernels have dried down. We have to dry the kernels down so that the moisture content is not to high. If there is too much moisture in the kernels, the kernels will not pop, and they will also not store well. Look for your popcorn share to be delivered later this fall.

Garden Science

Potatoes are a tuber that grow under ground. Once harvested they do not grow back. They are an annual that produces one crop.

Potatoes are a tuber that grow under ground. Once harvested, they do not grow back. They are an annual that produces one crop.

Garden Math

Some of these pumpkins grew to be pretty heavy. Any guesses? The heaviest did weigh in at 68.7. And we did have several over 30 pounds.

Some of these pumpkins grew to be pretty heavy. Any guesses? The heaviest did weigh in at 68.7, and we did have several over 30 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. 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. 

Thank you for your support of our CSA. Enjoy the produce!

Lettuce mix - a new crop of spinach along with Red Oak Leaf, Black Seeded Simpson and curly leaf kale.

Lettuce mix – a new crop of spinach along with Red Oak Leaf, Black Seeded Simpson and curly leaf kale.

Black Seeded Simpson and Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I just love to have fresh lettuce and spinach from the garden this time of year. While I love the fall colors, this crop is a joy to bring in my lunch to work.

Kale – Brings beautiful color and more nutrients to the dish.

Green Beans – Jade green beans amaze us with their taste. I personally have never liked green beans, but I do enjoy eating this variety raw right out of the garden.

Beets –  Detroit Dark Red Beets in your box. Boil on your stove top for about 1/2 hour – take them out of the water, using a paper towel gently rub the paper towel over the beet and the skins will come right off, slice into pieces and serve with butter. Slice them and freeze for an easy accompaniment to a meal this winter or cut into chunks and place in Ziploc bag to use in homemade soup this winter. 

Carrots – Nantes carrots – Do you cook the carrots and the family doesn’t eat them all? I will place the left overs in the blender and then freeze that mixture in ice cube trays. Once frozen, store in a bag in the freezer. I will then use one or two “cubes” of frozen carrots in my spaghetti sauce.

Watermelon

Peppers

Peppers – sweet cherry stuffer, sweet thunderbolt, green and hot dragon cayenne peppers.

Peppers The peppers are really starting to come in. You have sweet cherry stuffer hybrid pepper, sweet thunderbolt hybrid and green peppers in your box. You also have the option of some hot dragon cayenne peppers. Cut up the extra peppers and place in a bag then place in freezer for use throughout the year.

Fresh garlic was pulled and then hung to dry. We hope you have enjoyed the fresh garlic this year.

Fresh garlic was pulled mid-summer and then hung to dry. We hope you have enjoyed the fresh garlic this year.

Garlic – Enjoy the fresh garlic. I use a hand-held garlic press to crush and peel my garlic. It is awesome and definitely the tool of the week! Here are some garlic recipes to check out.

Onions –  Walla Walla Onions

Acorn Squash – This small green squash can be cooked fast and easy in the microwave.

Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash – My favorite squash. Check out the recipes from Martha Stewart. Refer back to last week’s blog on my how to cook in the oven and freeze for use throughout the year.

Carnival Squash

Carnival Squash

Carnival Squash

Red Norland Potatoes – Red Norland potatoes are versatile potatoes – great for boiling, potato salad, and I have had success with them as French fries.

Blue Potatoes check this link out to learn more about different potato varieties.

Masquerade Potatoes – We love the taste of this variety. The outside color makes this a fun and beautiful variety to have in the kitchen.

Kennebec Potatoes – Great baking potato. Check out harvesting potatoes in Idaho.

Cilantro, Basil and Parsley – Plenty to share – take a snip or a plant home and freeze or dry the herb for use in stews, etc during the rest of the year. Here are some more ideas on how to preserve herbs.

We were happy to have a beautiful night on Monday to harvest the corn stalks for the corn shocks.

We were happy to have a beautiful night on Monday to harvest the corn stalks for the corn shocks.

Corn Shock

These boys worked hard all morning harvesting gourds, pumpkins and potatoes.

These boys worked hard on Saturday morning harvesting gourds, pumpkins and potatoes. They were excited to see the amount of produce they harvested.

Pumpkins

Gourds

Gourds – an assortment again this week.

Gourds

Ornamental Corn – The ornamental corn crop was a disappointment. Just not the quantity and quality that we hope to have. This was due in part to the overgrowth of trees in the tree line. We plan to trim those trees back this winter so that they don’t shade out the crops to decrease yields next year like they did this year.

Recipe of the Week

Lazy Tacos

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

taco meat, onions, black olives, tomatoes, lettuce, cheddar cheese, chilli beans, cucumbers, salsa, cottage cheese or salad dressing

Chop onion. I love my Pampered Chef chopper. Great tool for the kitchen!!

When browning my hamburger, I add a little bit of onion finely chopped so the kids don’t notice it.

While the hamburger is cooking, I wash my lettuce and place in my salad spinner. Again, the salad spinner is a must have tool. By spinning the moisture off my washed lettuce I find that it keeps longer in my refrigerator.

When slicing tomatoes, I have found that using a serrated knife works great. No more smashed tomatoes. I have a designated cutting board in my kitchen for all vegetables and fruits and a totally separate cutting board set aside for only meats. Just an extra safety precaution in our kitchen. Keeping foods separate to avoid cross contamination.

Homemade salsa from last year is a delicious addition to this meal.

Lazy Tacos

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