Glimmer of Hope

Glimmer of Hope

In the upheaval of today’s world, some things are constant: weeds will show up even when you least expect them; unpredictable weather is out of our control; and unpredictable days are full of surprises. It is interesting to look at our world through things we see each day while #StillFarming. There are lessons that can be applied to every day life. We can focus a positive attitude on the surprises some will be good and some will be challenging; manage the weeds/challenges to the best of our ability and recognize that overall God is in control hand over our worries.

“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts.” – Romans 5:3–5

It’s been a busy week trying to stay in front of weed growth, planting another round of crops and prepping for the first CSA. Distance learning has included a variety of hands on lessons in the field and with equipment.

Here is a glimpse into the past few weeks and a look at what is in your boxes.

The mulch has been installed for the tomatoes, and the tomatoes are planted.
We also were busy tilling this weekend both for weed control and another round of planting.
Dragging Between rows to keep the weeds under control.
Dragging between rows to keep the weeds under control.

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.Please follow the CDC and MDH guidelines and COVID-19 procedures in 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.

Asparagus – Fresh cut asparagus from Lorence’s Berry Farm near Northfield.

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

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 Taste of Home on how to use this herb.

Chives – Cut them up and use as you would onions. Add good flavor to a variety of dishes. Try the Pioneer Woman’s Cheddar Chive Biscuits.

Recipe of the Week

Strawberry Spinach Salad
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

Hope on the Horizon

Hope on the Horizon

There are so many COVID-19 challenges in everyone’s lives. I like to focus on the hope in our future. That is one of the reasons I love planting season. There so much hope in what is to come in what we put in the ground. So much hope in the warmer weather and the longer days of summer.

One of my favorite Bible verses has a message of Hope.

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you Hope and a Future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

I know for many this verse holds much confusion in the current situations, and the future is difficult to grasp now. I encourage you to focus on what this season brings – Hope. Sending you all Peace and Hope.

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The potatoes were planted last Thursday. Thus far, we have Yukon Gold, Kennebec and Dark Red Norlands planted. I love seeing the names of the families who grew the seed potatoes that we are planting. For those of you noticing where they were grown…Sabin, MN is in Clay County.

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We installed the cucumber fence so that the cucumbers will grow on top of the fence and hang down through the fence for easier harvesting and vegetables that should be cleaner.

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The different varieties of onion sets planted were Ailssa Craig, Walla Walla, Patterson and Redwing onions.

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All that could safely be planted during this time of year was planted. We take into consideration that the threat of frost is still upon us. The boys were happy to till the fields before planting to provide for a nice seed bed.

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Again, the seed differences are fascinating. It is simply amazing what they grow in to. Such a variety were planted this past weekend. With the gentle rain and weather warming up, there is hope on the horizon with all of the challenges we face.

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A few home improvements have kept the learning going including siding the shop.

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There is a lot of uncertainty as to whether there will be fairs this summer. But, we decided as a family that we would still get 4-H pigs. Because there is more to a 4-H project than just an investment. It is the day to day learning of working on the project and caring for the animal. As I look at the boys with the pigs and all the uncertainty and challenges that are facing our pig farmers, to me it is also a representation of hope in our future. We also decided to make some changes to their pig pen this year. The last two years have been SO wet and such a mud hole for the pigs. We feel it will be much healthier to have them on a cement floor. The boys look forward to walking them in the yard after they have gotten used to their surroundings.

 

 

Springing into April

Springing into April

We are so glad to spring into April. Longer days and more sunshine are always a good thing. It is such an interesting, unprecedented time we are living in. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. We are so grateful for everyone on the front line and for everyone that is helping to keep us fed, clothed and safe. My God be with all of you.

Below is an update on what we have been busy with.

“Protect me, for I am devoted to you. Save me, for I serve you and trust you. You are my God.” Psalm 86:2

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Seed selection always is a great way to cheer us up. It has been fun looking through these catalogs and university trial research to decide on best options for this year’s season.

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It so fun to see the variety of seeds arriving. We are anxiously waiting for the soil to warm up.

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The rhubarb is emerging. Yum!

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Yesterday, this was covered in snow. We are so thankful that it was only about an inch of snow and some other forms of precipitation.

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The Isa Brown chicks are growing fast. Look how many feathers they have at about 5 1/2 weeks of age. The red feathered is the hen, female, and the white feathered is the rooster, male, in this breed of chicken.

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Here is a view of the hens wing feathers.  What a beautiful pattern of colors.

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We have been using this time as a way to get some of our projects done such as installing new windows, soffit and facia. We are hoping to complete some more projects this upcoming week.

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It is such a joy to see tulips and daffodils emerging. I just hope that the weather doesn’t turn cold again anytime soon, and that Mother Nature is truly trying to bring us Spring and warmer weather. Here’s wishing you and your family some Spring joy this week.

 

Feeling Blessed

Feeling Blessed

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Thank you for being along for this growing season journey.

It is hard to believe we are at the end of our season. As you can imagine, we will not miss harvesting in the rain and the cold freezing hands that come with it. We will miss the valued conversations with all of you, and the shared ideas of how to eat and use the produce. It is indeed fun to hear how all of you use it, and what produce excites you and generates fun memories of your family.

Tonight’s conversation at confirmation around creation and our responsibilities to appreciating and taking care of what God created stimulated some good season ending thoughts.

One of the versus discussed was from Genesis 3:19, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” We see a lot of this when we work with plants and animals as these grow and produce and die and return to the soil providing nutrients to grow something anew. Now is really the time of year we see many things come full circle.

We spent this past week, cleaning up the garden and preparing for the soil for the next growing season. Recognizing that plant material will break down into soil and/or we use it as feed for the chickens which then produce manure used for fertilizing some of the crops. Areas which will grow pumpkins and corn, we incorporated manure into the soil and will plant cover crops as soon as the rain stops and allows us to do this. All of which feeds the soil to grow bountiful crops to share with all of you.

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Five of the six fields are cleaned off and ready for cover crop. We will clean out the last field this week.

Another reflective point at confirmation tonight was a reminder of our responsibility to care for all of God’s creation. From the work I do and the privilege I have with working with farmers all over the state, I do believe there is no other group of people that have such a unique bond and love for the land and all of God’s creation. They are in tune with what makes the land be the best it can be and their animals thrive. Many wonder what farmers are doing to protect our environment. Here are two recent pieces of information that you may appreciate seeing. One is from Farmers for a Sustainable Future and the other is 30 Harvests from the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.

In closing, one of the parting thoughts from confirmation was never underestimating the power of what God has in store and that one can make a positive change. We feel blessed to have been part of your lives this growing season. Please know that you made our lives brighter because you were part of it. Thank you!

Garden Science

Giant Vegetables – Take a look at these giant vegetables. The kohlrabi were as big as the boys’ heads weighing in at 3 pounds, 3.25 pounds, 3.5 pounds and 3.75 pounds.

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The beets weighted in at 1 pounds, 1.5 pounds, 1.75 and 3 pounds.

 

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The giant zucchini weighted in at 12. 5 pounds and was 24.5 inches long.

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.

Remember that some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So, remember to wash your vegetables before eating. It’s week 16.

Lettuce/Spinach – You have some Red Oak Lettuce and Spinach in your box. This next crop has been a real challenge to get going, but it looks like this cold weather and rain has encouraged it. Looks promising for next week.

Arugula – Arugula is a peppery, distinctive-tasting green that originated in the Mediterranean region. If you like this crop, let us know and we will put more in your box next week.

Carrots – This weather helped this root vegetable mature. Learn more about baby carrots from America’s Heartland.

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The entire plant is edible.

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi – just a few left.

Dragon Tongue Beans and Purple Beans – This heritage variety of beans can be used like green beans. Enjoy the different color.

Sugar Snap Peas – The final crop …enjoy. Check out pea harvest in Minnesota near Blooming Prairie. Did you know Minnesota generally will rank as number one in the nation for peas produced for processing (canning or freezing).

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – the third crop is being harvested

Onion – Walla Walla and yellow onions in your boxes this week. Learn more about onions and how they are grown and distributed to our grocery store from America’s Heartland.

Tomatoes – This crop is exploding…enjoy a few extra to freeze for salsa or soups later this year. Check out how tomatoes get from the farm to the grocery store at America’s Heartland.

Potatoes – Norlands are in your box. Great for cooking. Learn more about this variety here. 

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Check out it’s nutritional benefits.

Carnival/Kuri and Butternut Squash – Love the versatility of these winter squash and the potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, they offer. Interesting health information from Harvard on this vegetable.

Purple Cauliflower – a taste for you this week.

Purple Cabbage – A few small ones are left if this fits your lifestyle better.

Flowers of the Week – Hydrangeas and Sedums

Pumpkins and gourds – enjoy the variety – this crop suffered from the growing season and the area where they were growing was compacted down from all of the tornado clean-up last year. We are looking forward to a better crop next year.

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Recipe of the Week

Salsa

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Steve made hot salsa and mild salsa this week. We hope you enjoy the taste. We also hope you to have been trying different salsa recipes. Please share your favorite recipes so we can share them with the shareholders. Check out Taste of Homes top 10 salsa recipes.

 

Monumental Tasks

Monumental Tasks

This week we had some larger tasks to accomplish. Quite frankly, when you stepped back to look at them, it was quite easy to feel like these were monumental tasks that would take way to long. With the right attitude, encouragement and grit, they were accomplished with smiles and satisfaction in the end.

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Yes our selfie wasn’t that great, but we still had smiles after harvesting 200 pounds of cucumbers. Great for canning if anyone is interested.

On Friday, we harvested over 200 pounds of cucumbers. Some of which were used at my work’s 100th Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation picnic. It felt good for us to give back to the farmers I have the privilege to work for and with.

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I work for the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation which is a membership organization which mission is to be an advocate for agriculture driven by the beliefs and policies of its members. Sam and I were happy to share some of our cucumbers with our members during the organizations Centennial Picnic this weekend.

The next day when Sam and I walked down to tie up the tomatoes so that they would continue to grow on the fence and not in the mud, we noticed that the previous day’s weather had encouraged quite the weed growth. First, we accomplished the tomato project – we smelled like tomatoes and our hands and arms were green.

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Weeding is not a fun task. Weed control is necessary for a healthy crop.

We knew that the tomatoes would be healthier and cleaner from this task. Sorry – no picture evidence of this – hands were to dirty to touch a camera. Second, we accomplished some weeding so the crops were not choking from all of the extra “friends” growing next to them.

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Weeded yellow onions.

The last monumental appearing task was weeding the yellow onions. I will admit, this got out of hand about a month ago, and no one had the time to dive into it. Well, Keith took on this task yesterday, and boy was he covered in mud and tired from this activity. His grin said it all. It looked awesome.

Lesson learned: While tasks may seem overwhelming and may feel they cannot be accomplished, set your mind to it, don’t give up and keep plugging away. When you are done and look back, what you have accomplished will feel so great. Your hard work will pay off.

Garden Science

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Funny things happen in nature – these cucumbers grew together and the tomato grew a nose.

Animal Update

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.

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.

Lettuce/Spinach – You have some Red Oak Lettuce and Spinach in your box. This next crop has been a real challenge to get going.

Carrots – This weather helped this root vegetable mature. Learn more about baby carrots from America’s Heartland.

Detroit Dark Red 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.

Green Beans – This is the second round of green beans. If you want to pickle any, please let us know as we have dill that you can use.

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This is a unique flower on the peas. They are usually white. Once and a while, Mother Nature gives you something different. So we wanted to share it with you.

Super Sugar Snap Peas – We may get one more harvest from this crop. We do have a third crop growing.

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Believe it or not, cucumbers are a prickly crop to harvest. Yes, the stems and fresh cucumbers have little spikes on them that poke you.

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – we will have cucumbers for a while. We hope you enjoy this healthy snack.

Onion – You have one Walla Walla and one Yellow onion in your boxes this week. Learn more about onions from America’s Heartland.

Green Bell Peppers – The peppers are just taking off.

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

Tomatoes – This crop is just taking off. A taste of a few cherry tomatoes and Fourth of July tomatoes this week.

Potatoes – Kennebec potatoes great for baked potatoes. Some of you may have some younger potatoes in your boxes (smaller). I find that the potatoes right out of the garden often times cook and bake faster than others. Yeah – faster meal preparation!

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Harvesting zucchini and summer squash.

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Flower after flower will grow into a zucchini.

Summer Squash – Make these into noodles, sauté and more. Try making this or zucchini into noodles.

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, salsa or a soup.

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Teddy Bear Sunflowers

Flowers of the Week – Zinnias and Teddy Bear Sunflowers

Recipe of the Week

Freezer Salsa

8 cups diced seeded peeled tomatoes (about 10 large)
2 medium green peppers, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
3/4 cup tomato paste
2/3 cup condensed tomato soup, undiluted
1/2 cup white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons salt
4-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder (or try a couple cloves of fresh garlic – season to taste)
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper Directions

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring often.

Pour into small freezer containers. Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Stir before serving. Yield: 10 cups.

Editor’s Note: Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.

Source: Taste of Home

Adventure is Out There

Adventure is Out There

As our week passed by, I stopped to realize there was much I was experiencing that many would not understand. Because it is just life in the country, and the adventure of raising both boys and livestock. I captured a few of those moments here.

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The most adorable litter of kittens. The boys have been busy taming them. It is hard to argue with them to come in for supper when they are outside with them. We hope they will grow up to be good mousers to keep the mouse population under control at our place.

Another adventure is clipping the feathers off of the wings of our birds so they cannot fly out of their pen only to be captured and eaten by a predator such as a racoon or fox. I would describe clipping wings like a combination of clipping nails and cutting hair. It doesn’t hurt them. It is hygiene maintainance to keep them safe. It is quite an act of teamwork to get this done efficiently and calmly.

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Then we have the 4-H pig that Keith is working with … yes she is taken out for walks. Miss Piggy decided to go on an escapade when Keith turned his back for a moment at dusk earlier this week. We were all a bit concerned. Thankfully she surfaced before nightfall and had not entered the corn field that surrounds us. She was perfectly fine – acted like a toddler that scared the death out of their parents.

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We also had a helicopter over our place on Saturday morning. Not something I expected to see, but it was very entertaining to watch on my morning walk.

Last but not least, as we were harvesting some of the crops yesterday evening, we raced to beat the storm cells. But we were not so fortunate. As we were working, we could hear the thunder in the distance and watched cautiously as the clouds raced over us. We watched the entire storm while we worked in the rain. Finally, I could see the wind was about to pick up so we went in to dry off and wait for it to pass.

As we reflected on our day, the rainstorm was brought up, with the comments of, “It wasn’t that bad. It was actually an adventure.” So, I challenge you this week to pause and reflect, you never know where the adventure will be – charge on – it may be right in front of you!

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.

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.

carrots

Carrots are a root vegetable. They are growing like crazy. We love them fresh from the garden.

Carrots – This weather helped this root vegetable mature. Learn more about baby carrots from America’s Heartland.

Lettuce/Spinach update – we have a new crop of spinach growing. The lettuce we planted each week the last few weeks is not emerging after these hard rains. We will keep trying as we to would love some for BLTs when the tomatoes turn from green to red.

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.

Green Beans – This is the second round of green beans. If you want to pickle any, please let us know as we have dill that you can use.

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Super Sugar Snap Peas are growing like crazy. Enjoy!

Super Sugar Snap Peas – The second crop is ready. Yum! Another crop is planted and is emerging.

FanciPak Cucumbers – great for canning into pickles. We have them growing up an angled fence so they grow down and are easier to harvest and cleaner at harvest time with less chance of a soil borne plant disease.

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FanciPak Cucumbers – great for canning into pickles. We have them growing up an angled fence so they grow down and are easier to harvest and cleaner at harvest time with less chance of a soil borne plant disease.

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – we will have cucumbers for a while. We hope you enjoy this healthy snack. Check out the history behind Minnesota’s pickle company Gedney Pickles.

Onion – Yellow onions are in your boxes this week. Learn more about onions from America’s Heartland.

Potatoes – Red Pontiac potatoes great for mashed or cooked potatoes. Since they are a crop that is still growing – the potatoes will get more plentiful and larger

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Flower after flower will grow into a zucchini. Check out this week’s recipe for a family favorite.

Summer Squash – Make these into noodles, sauté and more. Try making this or zucchini into noodles.

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Zinnias and Hostas.

Flowers of the Week – Hostas, Zinnias, Hydrangeas, Rudebekia and Sunflowers

Recipe of the Week

garden omelet

Garden Omelet

Garden Omelet

With a fork, beat:
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of Pepper

Add herbs of your choice that have been washed and torn into smaller pieces.
Heat skillet. Butter pan with butter. Place egg mixture in skillet and cook slowly.

Run spatula around edge, lifting to allow uncooked portion to flow underneath.

Place choice of filling inside. I included vegetables, a couple of our favorite cheeses (mozzarella and sharp cheddar).

Turn off heat or place on low. Place pan cover over the mixture for about a minute allowing cheese to melt.

Fold sides over as you flip it onto a plate. Garnish with parsley and cheese.

 

Elbow Grease Needed

Elbow Grease Needed

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We need to share some interesting news that we neglected to share from a few weeks ago. Do you see what we saw? A bald eagle sitting by the peppers in our garden. What a site to see!

Hear ye, Hear ye – Due Notice with all of the high humidity, rain and highest heat index we have seen in years, your CSA shares may be filled with weeds instead of vegetables next week. Don’t worry with enough elbow grease, we will keep digging and find the plants still growing.

In all seriousness, with last week’s weather and the crazy schedules between county fair, baseball and work, the weeds did go crazy. But the good news is the plants are still growing, and we are slowly regaining weed management.

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.

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/Spinach/Beet Leaf/Kale Mix – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad. Between the weather and the insects the salad varieties are a bit thin this week. The rain actually has delayed emergence in some of the varieties, while the weather has encouraged rapid weed growth choking out some of the crops, and the insects are loving the kale. I was thankful to see some of these crops emerging when we weeded last night.

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

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Grand Duke Kohlrabi

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

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Green Beans can drive us a bit crazy when we are harvesting them.

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.

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – we will have cucumbers for a while. We hope you enjoy this healthy snack.

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Carrots are a root vegetable. They are growing well at this point.

Carrots – This weather helped this root vegetable mature. Learn more about carrots from America’s Heartland.

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The onion has such a neat braided stem.

Onion – Yellow onions are in your boxes this week. Learn more about onions from America’s Heartland.

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Zucchini growing on the plant. I spy two.

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Flower after flower will grow into a zucchini. Check out this week’s recipe for a family favorite.

Summer Squash – Make these into noodles, sauté and more. Try making this or zucchini into noodles.

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

Recipe of the Week

7-29-14 cinnamon zucchini bread 2

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread/Muffins

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread

We love this bread. Give it a try. I made a few modifications as I prefer to replace oil in my recipes with applesauce to decrease calories and to help my mommy guilt. Applesauce helps me to feel like the muffins are just a little healthier. Also, simply because of our crazy schedule it is easier and faster for us to bake muffins versus bread early in the morning.

3 Eggs, beaten
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Applesauce
3 cups Flour (opt: substitute 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
¼ tsp Baking Powder
¼ tsp Cinnamon
2 cups Zucchini, shredded
1.Beat together the eggs, sugars and applesauce.
2. Stir together all the dry ingredients and add to the egg-sugar mixture. Stir in the shredded zucchini.
3. Coat loaf pans or muffin liners with cooking spray. Sprinkle sugar/cinnamon mixture on the bottom. (I used a cinnamon/sugar mix to decrease on the sugar). Pour batter evenly in all four pans. Sprinkle tops with sugar/cinnamon mixture.
4. Bake bread at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-50 minutes (muffins – 12 minutes), or until toothpick comes out clean.
Source: Sarah Durenberger

Fair Time

Fair Time

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The boys showed their poultry on Tuesday. They placed 5th and 6th in the state fair line-up with their brown egg layer hens. This is the largest class of poultry so this was good news.

Well it is fair time at our house. Many friends observe the craziness, and wonder why we do this? It is complete chaos with full exhaustion at the end. It seems no matter how much you prepare, this is the pattern. We would do this all over again because we see the life changing opportunities that 4-H offers our children.

The boys averaged 10 general project areas and both brought two hens and two pigs. We encourage them to take basic life skill type projects: baking, electricity, shop (welding and woodworking), food preservation, safety, livestock projects and more. Through this process, they work with different adult mentors in their lives from their grandparents, parents, neighbors and friends. It is an amazing process to step back and observe as both the 4-Her and mentor discuss details about a given project area, and the amount of high level discussion and learning that occurs.

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Sam was ecstatic to place champion in the vegetable area.

The kids spend spare time throughout the year working on projects and developing life changing skills.

When I asked the boys why they like being in 4-H, they said they like taking pigs and working with so many types of animal species, getting to go to fun places, meeting more people, making new friends and it’s fun.

For us as parents we see that it teaches them leadership, responsibility, follow-through, time management, where their food comes from, how to take care of the food that we feed other people, record keeping, writing, organization, conversational and interview skills and more.

So as you take a look at your boxes this week. We want to share that Sam won grand champion vegetables and Keith earned a state fair trip and plans to show the vegetables at the Minnesota State Fair. We thank you for the opportunity for us to learn and grow with you along this journey.

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Keith’s vegetable’s earned a trip to the state fair. Looking forward to the additional learning opportunities.

What’s New?

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Look what else is going on. Kittens with their eyes opening up. Great time to start taming these farm cats so they will be good hunters.

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.

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/Kale Mix – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad. Between the weather and the insects the salad varieties are a bit thin this week. The rain actually has delayed emergence in some of the varieties, while the weather has encouraged rapid weed growth choking out some of the crops, and the insects are loving the kale. I was thankful to see some spinach emerging this morning and am hopeful for where it will be next week.

Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets Cooked beets: -Cut the top and the bottom off -Place in boiling water -Boil until you can stick a fork through it -Take out of boiling water -Using a paper towel, gently rub the skin off -Slice and enjoy with a dab of butter.

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.
Super Sugar Snap Peas – Eat the pods and peas all together. Great snack. This is the end of the first crop. Look for a second crop soon.

green beans

Green Beans

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.

Onion – Walla Walla onions are in your boxes this week. Learn more about onions from America’s Heartland.

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Flower after flower will grow into a zucchini. Check out this week’s recipe for a family favorite.

8-11-14 summer squash

Summer Squash

Summer Squash – Make these into noodles, sauté and more. Try summer squash soup.

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 Lillies

Recipe of the Week

brownies

These zucchini brownies are a favorite.

Zucchini Brownies

Ingredients
•2 cups all-purpose flour
•1/3 cup baking cocoa
•1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
•1 teaspoon salt
•2 cups shredded zucchini
•1-1/2 cups sugar
•3/4 cup vegetable oil (I will substitute with applesauce.)
•1/2 cup chopped walnuts
•2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Frosting
•1/4 cup butter, cubed
•1 cup sugar
•1/4 cup milk
•1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
•1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

•In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, combine the zucchini, sugar and oil; stir into dry ingredients until blended. Stir in walnuts and vanilla.•Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° F. for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

•In a large saucepan, melt butter; stir in sugar and milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook and stir 1 minute or until smooth. Remove from the heat. Stir in chips and marshmallows until melted and smooth; add vanilla. Spread over brownies. Sprinkle with walnuts if desired. Yield: 2 dozen.

Source: Taste of Home

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.