Wrapping up the Season

Wrapping up the Season

wp-image-307596161

The pumpkins will be available next week.

It’s hard to believe with the heat we’ve had in September that some areas of the country are receiving snow. Mother Nature once again reminds us that it is time to wrap up the growing season.

Last weekend, we spent a good share of time harvesting which included using lights from tractors and flashlights to finish jobs. Farm size doesn’t matter…Mother Nature holds us all accountable. When it’s time to wrap up, you do what you can to get the job done.

As we work to wrap-up the harvest, it’s also a time of reflection on the growing season, and its ups and downs. For example, the pumpkins and squash growing seasons were tough. We replanted those crops at least three times. Even though the seeds, growing conditions and weather were cooperative, they didn’t all perform for some reason or another.

As I visited with my dad who has farmed for over 55 years, he reassured me that sometimes the seeds didn’t perform for him either for one reason or another and sometimes you just don’t know. You can’t control everything. There are a lot of unknowns in agriculture. You can rest assured that end outcomes in life are in God’s hands and not ours.

So another paralleled life lesson for our kids. You need to reflect, learn from the situations, regroup and come back to do better the next time. Always striving to do better.

Garden Science

wp-image-2053711086

As we were harvesting the ornamental corn, we found this immature ear (the female flower of the plant). This shows how each silk (female tube/transport system) of an ear of corn is attached to a kernel (the ovule or potential kernels). The silk must be pollinated by the tassel (male part located at the top of the plant) of the corn, the pollen falls and attaches to the silk which carries the male genetics to fertilize and create the baby kernel on the cob. Source: Agronomy Library Channel Seed

Boxes of Produce

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

20170719_094152

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – The last crop of lettuce is coming in. It should love this cold weather. Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating. A new crop should be in next week.

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – New crop – Beautiful color.

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

wp-image--63686291

Green Beans growing on the plant.

Green Beans – If you are looking for canning quantities, we have plenty. Did you know that green beans are more nutritious for you eaten raw?

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi – Try these ideas from Martha Stewart.

20170712_084101-1

Dark Red Detroit Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets – Some of our shareholders enjoy eating them raw in their salads.

Green Bell Peppers – Learn how to make stuffed peppers here.

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

Cherry Stuffer Hybrid sweet peppers – These are the small, round red peppers.

Onion – Wondering what to do with all of your onions? I cut mine up using my Pampered Chef chopper, place in Ziploc bags and place in the freezer. That way, my onions are always handy for recipes throughout the year.

Tomatoes – This is the end of the tomatoes this season. We hope you were able to take advantage of the bounty.

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

Cucumbers – Enjoy the end of the season cucumber. We will have more next week.

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

wp-image-274422652

Rutabaga

Rutabaga – A shareholder requested we try these. Check out these different ways to prepare them from Martha Stewart.

20170726_082536

Carrots

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

Spaghetti Squash – The first bush spaghetti squash. Fruits may be stored for early winter use. This video shows how to cook this squash.

wp-image-563977452Red Kuri Squash – This squash commands your attention with the fruits’ color and succulent flesh. Red Kuri’s bright scarlet tear-drop-shaped fruits are packed with dense flesh that’s good roasted or in soups.

wp-image--973470701

Carnival Squash

Carnival Squash – Carnival squash is a hybrid of the sweet dumpling squash and the acorn squash. The color variance in the rind of the Carnival squash is the result of seasonal temperature variations. Warmer temperatures produce Carnival squash with slightly more pronounced green stripes. The squash’s flavor is nutty and sweet.

Peter Pan, Scallop Squash – This squash is a circular scalloped summer squash. Distinctive, delicious, and sweet flavor. It is not necessary to peel this squash before eating it. Cut it up like you would zucchini to grill it. Or use the larger ones as decoration for the fall season.

Summer Squash, Golden Egg Hybrid – Wash it cut up, no need to peel, use on the grill or eat raw. This squash has truly had staying power this growing season.

Zucchini – This crop is coming to an end.

Purple potatoes – The skin and flesh of this potato is purple. Great fun for french fries, potato salads and mixed vegetable dishes. Anthocyanin is a pigment that creates the purple color in the potatoes and also acts as an antioxidant.

Kennebec potatoes – Excellent for baked potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes – Dusky red-skinned Beauregard is the most widely grown commercial cultivar. I know that my friends in North Carolina are far more experienced than I in preparing sweet potatoes. So check out this resource.

Flower of the Week – Corn shocks, ornamental corn and gourds

Recipe of the Week

9-2-14 pumpkin bread 5

Pumpkin Bread is a favorite. I use butternut squash that I have cooked and frozen as my “pumpkin” in this recipe. It works great!

State Fair Pumpkin Bread

1 2/3 cup flour

1 ½ cup sugar

1/3 cup butter softened

1 teaspoon soda

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon cloves

Pinch of salt

2 eggs

1/3 cup cold water

1 cup canned pumpkin (I use my prepared squash which has been mixed with butter and brown sugar.)

Combine flour, sugar, butter, soda, spices and salt in bowl. Add 1/3 cup cold water, eggs and pumpkin; mix well. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour. Cool on wire rack.

Source: Minnesota 4-H Blue Ribbon Favorites Cookbook – Pat Kuznik recipe

wp-image-1057134493

Fall must be starting when the gourds and pumpkins are ready for harvest.

Fall harvest is upon us and the many fall colors are exploding from the garden. This weekend we tried out the potato digger and were able to dig out a lot of potatoes in a short time. We also stared harvesting winter squash, gourds and pumpkins.

We look forward to you enjoying the beautiful colors and joys that the fall will bring as we harvest the crops.

Boxes of Produce

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

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – The last crop of lettuce is coming in. It should love this cold weather. Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating. A new crop should be in next week.

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – New crop – Beautiful color.

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

Purple Beans – Check out this recipe, and how green beans are raised in other areas of the U.S. on America’s Heartland. A few of you have some purple beans mixed in with the green beans.

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi – Try these ideas from Martha Stewart.

Detroit Dark Red BeetsSome of our shareholders enjoy eating them raw in their salads.

Green Bell Peppers – Learn how to make stuffed peppers here.

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

Cherry Stuffer Hybrid sweet peppers – These are the small, round red peppers.

Onion – Wondering what to do with all of your onions? I cut mine up using my Pampered Chef chopper, place in Ziploc bags and place in the freezer. That way, my onions are always handy for recipes throughout the year.

Tomatoes – If you are considering canning quantities or wanting to freeze some for this winter, let us know. For the record we harvest 245 pounds this week.

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

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

wp-image-563977452

Red Kabocha Squash

Red Kabocha Squash – This winter squash tastes similar to sweet potatoes.

 

wp-image--973470701

Carnival Squash

Carnival Squash – Carnival squash is a hybrid of the sweet dumpling squash and the acorn squash. The color variance in the rind of the Carnival squash is the result of seasonal temperature variations. Warmer temperatures produce Carnival squash with slightly more pronounced green stripes. The squash’s flavor is nutty and sweet.

 

Peter Pan, Scallop Squash – This squash is a circular scalloped summer squash. Distinctive, delicious, and sweet flavor. It is not necessary to peel this squash before eating it. Cut it up like you would zucchini to grill it.

Summer Squash, Golden Egg Hybrid – Are you wondering how to use this summer squash – see how to cut it up here. Golden Egg’s a picture-perfect gourmet sensation-with succulent flavor and texture.

Zucchini – This crop is coming to an end. Shred and mix up your favorite zucchini bread recipe – freeze the dough, and you are ready for a quick breakfast treat on a chilly Fall day.

Sweet Corn – Thank you to our neighbors, the Peterson family, for contributing the sweet corn in this week’s box. Quick Tip: If you don’t eat all the sweet corn you have cooked, cut it off the cob and freeze it in a container. Reheat your frozen corn for your vegetable at another meal or use in a hot dish or a soup.

wp-image--623172234

Keith was busy harvesting potatoes this weekend. We are starting to clear some of these crops out – one of which was the potatoes.

Kennebec – Excellent for baked potatoes.

wp-image-200776936

Just love the variety of shapes and colors of the gourds.

Flowers – a variety of gourds

 

Recipe of the Week

10-7-12 tomato juice

Tomato Juice – the boys are selling tomato juice and salsa. Let us know if you are interested.

Tomato Juice

The tomato juice you received this week is a blend of all the tomatoes we are growing in the garden. I use this as my base for making pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce. Below is my recipe.
Spaghetti Sauce and Pizza Sauce

1 quart of tomato juice

1 can 32 ounces

1 small onion

1 garlic clove crushed

Herbs to taste

Place above ingredients in a pan on the stove. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Pour on pizza crust or spaghetti and enjoy.

Meaningful Conversations

Meaningful Conversations

IMG_0940

Learning to share your farm story can take you many places including KARE 11 at the Minnesota State Fair.

Discussing the food to farm story with others is important to our family. We enjoy the meaningful conversations, and the information learned from the conversation that is insightful to us on how to improve our communication skills to effectively share agriculture’s story.

This past week, this type of opportunity took us to the Minnesota State Fair. The boys enjoy working in the Minnesota Farm Bureau booth (located behind the giant yellow slide) and visiting with fairgoers. Fairgoers take a short quiz to earn a prize. The quiz this year included asking a farmer working the booth to share, “Their favorite farm memory?”

The boys are always amazed at what they learn, the opportunities that arise and who they meet. Whether you are a farmer or you are the consumer, next time you have the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation to learn more about our food.

We encourage you to take time to seek first to understand, and you will be amazed at what you learn.

IMG_0927

Sam enjoyed working at the Farm Bureau building at the Minnesota State Fair with a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota studying agricultural economics and chemistry originally from western Minnesota where her family raises sugarbeets .

IMG_0948

Weather is important to farmers. So sharing the weather live from the fair on KARE 11 was a lot of fun.

IMG_0929

Visiting with fairgoers and hearing their questions or concerns allows us all to become better at meaningful conversations.

Boxes of Produce

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

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – The last crop of lettuce is coming in. It should love this cold weather. Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating. A new crop should be in next week.

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – New crop – Beautiful color.

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

Green and Purple Beans – Check out this recipe, and how green beans are raised in other areas of the U.S. on America’s Heartland. A few of you have some purple beans mixed in with the green beans.

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi – Try these ideas from Martha Stewart.

Detroit Dark Red Beets Some of our shareholders enjoy eating them raw in their salads.

Green Bell Peppers – Learn how to make stuffed peppers here.

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

Cherry Stuffer Hybrid sweet peppers – These are the small, round red peppers.

Onion – Wondering what to do with all of your onions? I cut mine up using my Pampered Chef chopper, place in Ziploc bags and place in the freezer. That way, my onions are always handy for recipes throughout the year.

Tomatoes – If you are considering canning quantities or wanting to freeze some for this winter, let us know. For the record we harvest 245 pounds this week.

A new cucumber growing.

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

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

Peter Pan, Scallop Squash – This squash is a circular scalloped summer squash. Distinctive, delicious, and sweet flavor. It is not necessary to peel this squash before eating it. Cut it up like you would zucchini to grill it.

Summer Squash, Golden Egg Hybrid

Summer Squash, Golden Egg Hybrid – Are you wondering how to use this summer squash – see how to cut it up here. Golden Egg’s a picture-perfect gourmet sensation-with succulent flavor and texture.

Zucchini – This crop is coming to an end. Shred and mix up your favorite zucchini bread recipe – freeze the dough, and you are ready for a quick breakfast treat on a chilly Fall day.

Sweet Corn – Thank you to our neighbors, the Peterson family, for contributing the sweet corn in this week’s box. Quick Tip: If you don’t eat all the sweet corn you have cooked, cut it off the cob and freeze it in a container. Reheat your frozen corn for your vegetable at another meal or use in a hot dish or a soup.

Kennebec – Excellent for baked potatoes.

Cilantro – Great in an omelet or fresh salsa.

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard – Learn more about swiss chard and how to prepare it.

Flowers – Hydrangeas and Hostas

Recipe of the Week

Freezer Salsa

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

Attitude Determines Outcomes

Attitude Determines Outcomes

20170730_130824 (2)Our attitude often determines are outcomes. Do you ever wish you were doing a different job or task than what you have been asked to do? I think this happens to all of us.

Last night this happened when Steve and Sam both wished they were playing baseball instead of harvesting. But what happened was a pleasant surprise for all of us.

During our evening meal, we started a tradition we learned from a friend. We usually ask each other three questions: 1) What was your best part of your day? 2) Your worst part of the day? and 3) What can you improve on?

Often times, we find out more about each other during those discussions then some other conversations that we have. So, when these questions came up both Sam and Steve answered that their favorite part of the day was harvesting together that evening. They also said that it was the part that they really didn’t want to do.

They both decided to make the most of it and went to work to accomplish the task. They really enjoyed each other’s company, and the evening that was around them.

So, let your days not be crowded with cloudiness, but rather look for the opportunity and the sunshine that surrounds it.

Garden Science

20170811_122041

Did you know that of the 1,400 crops grown 80% depend upon pollinators? Source: USDA

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 – Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating. A new crop should be in next week.

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – Beautiful color.

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

20170814_193155

Purple green beans will soon be starting to grow from these pretty purple flowers.

Green BeansCheck out this recipe, and how green beans are raised in other areas of the U.S.on America’s Heartland. A few of you have some purple beans mixed in with the green beans.

20170814_192944

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi ready for harvest

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi – Peel it like an apple and eat it and enjoy dipping it into peanut butter.

Detroit Dark Red Beets -Some of our shareholders enjoy eating them raw in their salads.

Green Bell Peppers Here is a general background article about peppers. The most common colors of bell peppers are green, yellow, orange and red. More rarely, brown, white, lavender, and dark purple peppers can be seen, depending on the variety. Red bell peppers are simply ripened green peppers. The taste of ripe peppers can also vary with growing conditions and post-harvest storage treatment; the sweetest fruits are allowed to ripen fully on the plant in full sunshine, while fruit harvested green and after-ripened in storage is less sweet.

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

Cherry Stuffer Hybrid sweet peppers – These are the small, round red peppers.

Onion – Wondering what to do with all of your onions? I cut mine up using my Pampered Chef chopper, place in Ziploc bags and place in the freezer. That way, my onions are always handy for recipes throughout the year.

Tomatoes – Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, Brandywine, Romas, Big Boys and Fourth of July (medium-sized) tomatoes. Enjoy the flavor. If you are considering canning quantities or wanting to freeze some for this winter, let us know.

20170814_192929

A new cucumber forming between the stem and the flower.

Cucumbers – Did you know? Cucumbers are one of the earliest domesticated vegetables. It was adopted around 4 thousand years ago and was used not only for eating but also in medicine. Cucumbers are the 4th most cultivated vegetable in the world.

 

Carrots – Did you know…The carrot is usually orange in color although purple, red, white, and yellow varieties also exist. The domesticated carrot that we know today originated from the wild carrot called Daucus carota which was native to Europe and south western Asia.

 

Broccoli – It appears some of these had a bit to much sun. Simply run the knife gently across the top, and you should be good to go. Did you know? Broccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family whose large flowering head is eaten as a vegetable.

Peter Pan, Scallop Squash – This squash is a circular scalloped summer squash with light green 1-3″ fruits that’s meatier than most patty pans. Distinctive, delicious, and sweet flavor.  It is not necessary to peel this squash before eating it. Cut it up like you would zucchini to grill it.

20170814_192916

Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash growing on the plant.

Summer Squash, Golden Egg Hybrid Are you wondering how to use this summer squash – see how to cut it up here. Golden Egg’s a picture-perfect gourmet sensation-with succulent flavor and texture. As exquisite as a Faberge egg but so much tastier. Spherical, golden-yellow egg-shaped zucchini measures up to 5″ across, boasting delicious creamy flesh with hints of chartreuse. Try this variety in the soup recipe below.

Summer Squash Pic-n-Pic hybrid – Not in your box this week. But I was remiss in thanking the Pagel family for sharing this with us. Get to know the Pagels.

Zucchini – Try this zucchini boat recipe from Taste of Home or these recipes from Martha Stewart. 

Viking Red and/or Yukon Potatoes – The Viking are the red skinned potatoes and work well as boiled or mashed potatoes. Yukon (brown-skinned) are known for their versatility. I prefer them as baked potatoes or French fries.

Cilantro – Freeze and use in your salsa recipes later this year.

cropped-20170816_170258_1502927389639-2.jpgFresh cut arrangement – Hydrangeas, Rudbeckia, Sunflowers, Zinnias and Coreopsis

 

Recipe of the Week

20160904_131425_1473107813781 (2)

Summer Squash Soup – a delicious option for this vegetable. I also will place extra in muffin tins and freeze. Once frozen, I will remove from the tin and place in a labeled container to use for a quick meal.

Summer Squash Soup

5 small yellow summer squash, seeded and cubed

2 green onions, cut into 3-inch pieces

2 tablespoons butter

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1. In a large saucepan, saute squash and onions in butter until tender. Stir in the broth, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

2. Cool slightly. Process in batches in a blender; return all to the pan. Stir in cream and heat through. Yield: 6 servings.

Source: Taste of Home

 

Treasures Within

Treasures Within

At this week’s pick up one of the shareholders exclaimed, “I love this garden. It grows brownies.”

This week, each member received a sample of the recipe of the week, Zucchini Brownies. This statement had me chuckling and reflecting that while I often talk about the treasures in the field. There are also treasures in the produce boxes.

So yes, this garden is producing the zucchini as a necessary ingredient for the brownies. But it also produces a wide variety of treasures shared within your boxes that provide options for creativity in your kitchen.

Envisioning delicious outcomes while providing a variety of intentional options for our palettes to grow will provide for those hidden unknowns. So whether or not you try the recipe below. Our wish is that you to will discover that your box is filled with hidden treasures like the brownies, as well as, other delicious options for you and your family.

Note: A special thanks to Sam for his contributing photography this week.

Garden Science

20170808_191844

Did you know … we grow 4 o’clocks to help bring in beneficial insects to eat bad insects that eat our crops.

Boxes of Produce

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

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – 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.

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – Beautiful color.

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

Green Beans –  Check out this recipe, and how green beans are raised in other areas of the U.S. on America’s Heartland.

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi – This plant thrives in the northern regions of Europe and North America. Kohlrabi is native to Europe and is believed to be the only common vegetable native to that area. I peel it like an apple and eat it.

Detroit Dark Red Beets – A new crop in your box this week. I love to boil my beets in hot water; then wipe off the skin using a paper towel.

Green Bell Peppers Here is a general background article about peppers. The most common colors of bell peppers are green, yellow, orange and red. More rarely, brown, white, lavender, and dark purple peppers can be seen, depending on the variety. Red bell peppers are simply ripened green peppers. The taste of ripe peppers can also vary with growing conditions and post-harvest storage treatment; the sweetest fruits are allowed to ripen fully on the plant in full sunshine, while fruit harvested green and after-ripened in storage is less sweet.

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

20170808_192011

Have you ever noticed the braided stem of the onion. Pretty amazing how mother nature does that.

Onion – Have you ever noticed the neck of the onion? Notice how it looks like it is naturally braided.

20170808_192227

Fourth of July tomatoes – perfect fit for you to eat for lunch or on a BLT.

Tomatoes – Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, Brandywine, Romas and Fourth of July (medium-sized) tomatoes. Enjoy the flavor. If you are considering canning quantities or wanting to freeze some for this winter, let us know.

Cucumbers – Did you know? In 2012, top cucumber producing states, as reported by the United States Department of Agriculture, were Georgia and Florida with 283.5 and 280.8 million pounds, respectively

Carrots – Did you know…Carrots are primarily consumed fresh and are the 6th most consumed fresh vegetable in the U.S. Consumption of fresh carrots peaked in 1997 at 14.1 pounds per person and since then has dropped off and settled into a stable amount of approximately 8.3 pounds per person in 2015 (Vegetable and Melon Outlook, 2016). In contrast, consumption of frozen carrots averaged 1.4 pounds per person.

20170808_191147

Peter Pan, scalloped summer squash is delicious baked, fried, sautéed or grilled.

Peter Pan, Scallop Squash – This All-America Selections winner is a miniature patty pan squash with light green 1-3″ fruits that’s meatier than most patty pans. Distinctive, delicious, and sweet flavor. Pick over a long period. Summer squash and zucchini ripen early and are highly productive.

Summer Squash, Golden Egg Hybrid Are you wondering how to use this summer squash – see how to cut it up here. Golden Egg’s a picture-perfect gourmet sensation-with succulent flavor and texture. As exquisite as a Faberge egg but so much tastier. Spherical, golden-yellow egg-shaped zucchini measures up to 5″ across, boasting delicious creamy flesh with hints of chartreuse

Summer Squash Pic-n-Pic hybrid – This Burpee-bred squash has golden yellow fruits with smooth, tender skin. It’s extremely productive and best picked when 4-6″ long. Proven tops for performance, flavor and wide adaptability

Zucchini – Try these recipes from Martha Stewart.

Viking Red and/or Yukon Potatoes – The Viking are the red skinned potatoes and work well as boiled or mashed potatoes. Yukon (brown-skinned) are known for their versatility. I prefer them as baked potatoes or French fries.

20170808_192812

Through the eyes of an 8-year-old, you can see the beauty of God shining through.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hydrangeas, Rudbeckia, Sunflowers, Zinnias and Coreopsis

 

Recipe of the Week

IMG_9981

Chocolate Zucchini Brownies – A family 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
It’s Not About the Blue Ribbon

It’s Not About the Blue Ribbon

 

7-18-17 Keith showing poultry (2)

4-H poultry judging

It’s fair week and for those of you that have experienced this, you know that this means exhaustion and chaos. But in the end, the experiences gained for our children are invaluable.

The boys took both 4-H general projects and 4-H livestock projects. While we try to prepare ahead of time, it doesn’t always happen. Part of the 4-H judging experience involves an interview with a judge which is part of the ribbon placement.

General Projects

This week on our way to the general project judging, Keith was researching some information for his vegetable gardening project including what genus family the vegetables were in and learning about the vegetables’ nutrients. He learns this information to prepare for the interview with the judge about his project. As we were driving to the judging and having this discussion, I thought boy this is a unique discussion.

Sam general project judging

4-H general project judging

Livestock Projects

Next, we moved into the livestock project area. Poultry judging was Tuesday, and swine judging will be Friday. They both showed well in their respective poultry classes.

We had to miss the class they really hoped to show in to see the results of their choices in genetics and their decisions on bird selection. This was a hard decision, but one everyone is ok with.

Let me provide some background. Part of the journey of getting to the fair is selecting your birds. The boys went out to their pen of 25 hens on Monday morning and selected their two birds by working together, discussing the pros and cons of each bird, and coming to a common agreement of the final two birds that were going to be shown.

In addition, this past weekend Keith was asked to play it in a Miracle Network baseball game for kids with disabilities. We recognized that there was a possibility that it would be in conflict with the poultry judging at the county fair. But thought that given the past experiences at the fair that his class of brown layer hens would be completed before we would have to leave to participate in his Miracle Network event. So we agreed that he should try to participate.

Well the time came where we had to make a decision because the poultry show was not the same order as we had remembered so it would now be in direct conflict with the Miracle Network event. So he had to choose between showing his poultry or going to the Miracle Network event. While it was an extremely difficult decision to make, he chose to go to Miracle Network event and invest in another person versus investing in a ribbon for himself.

I told him that 4-H is not about the Blue Ribbon. It is about producing a blue ribbon kid, and I thought that he made a Blue Ribbon choice.

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.

20170719_094152

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce

Black Seeded Simpson LettuceA new crop this week. 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.

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – A new crop this week. Yum! Beautiful color.

Spinach – A new crop of spinach with a few young beet tops mixed in.

20170706_093336

A close of view of the kohlrabi growing.

Grand Duke Kohlrabi – The vegetable judge told Keith that more older people really like this crop. In my conversations with friends, it appears to have no boundaries. We hesitated on this crop but now we love it peeled like an apple and eaten raw and even dipped in peanut butter. Here’s a little history on the crop.

Purple Vienna KohlrabiSome interesting history of kohlrabi: The plant thrives in the northern regions of Europe and North America. Kohlrabi is native to Europe and is believed to be the only common vegetable native to that area. Kohlrabi was discovered during the 1500s and by the end of the 16th century had become popular across Europe, south into the Mediterranean region and east into Russia and Asia. Kohlrabi was first cultivated on a large-scale in Ireland in the mid-1700s and then later in England. It was brought to the United States just after the turn of the 19th century. Purple Kohlrabi can be found most often in farmer’s markets and in home gardens. 

Sugar Snap Peas – Glad to finally have a hearty harvest. Enjoy!

20170712_084101-1

Dark Red Detroit Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets – Beets were so well-regarded in Ancient Rome and Greece that methods were developed for producing them during the hot summer months. The root part of the beet was cultivated for consumption in either Germany or Italy, first recorded in 1542. Read more here and also see some recipes.

Green Bell Peppers – Check America’s Heartland to see how other varieties of peppers are grown.

Banana Pepper –  Try these in your salad or in scrambled eggs.

Onion – The onions are looking great. Enjoy! Check out how onions are grown and harvested for the grocery store.

20170719_094109

Cucumbers

Cucumbers – This crop is flowering like crazy with many cucumbers starting to grow. We also have dill. If you are interested in canning your own pickles let us know.

Carrots – A small taste – enjoy!

Green Beans – The first crop of green beans did not grow very well. The cold weather in May appeared to inhibit seed growth. We have more beans forthcoming in the next few weeks.

20170706_093546

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard – If you are like me, you are still trying to figure out how to use this. Check this site out.

French Breakfast Radishes – I love the different look of these radishes.

Potatoes – Viking potatoes, this variety is good for

Cilantro – Fresh cilantro has such a wonderful aroma. I have been freezing mine to use in canned salsa and soups later this year. The tomatoes are forthcoming if you are holding out for fresh salsa.

20170719_124017-1

Zinnia

Fresh cut arrangement – Lilly’s, Sweat Peas, Zinnias and Coreopsis

Recipe of the Week

“With grilled onions and peppers how can you go wrong?” – Steve’s thoughts on this recipe. Enjoy!

Philly Cheesesteak – check this recipe out from Pioneer Woman.

 

Resilience

Resilience

20170628_154029

Mysterious Storm Clouds

Tonight as this storm rumbled around us, I reflected on the diversity of weather conditions presented each growing season. While we received rain this weekend and this week, I wish there were a way to share it with those affected by drought in the Dakotas.

When farmers and ranchers are faced with challenges that really push them in their patience and faith, it causes one to dig deep and try harder than you knew you were capable of trying.

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up…You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.”

Agriculture teaches us many things one is resilience which is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness or the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape. The Bible captures it in many places. Two of my favorites are in Joshua 1:9 I repeat, be strong and brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic, for I, the LORD your God, am with you in all you do; and in Philippians 4:13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

I encourage all of you when life hands you lemons chose to make lemonade out of them. Search for the window of opportunity and resilience.

20170630_082458

Kittens make the world so joyful.

Garden Science

20170628_213747

If you look close, you will see flickers of light throughout the field. The lightening bugs really come out at night to provide us with such a beautiful light show. Our kids have a blast catching them. These insects are so beautiful to watch at nightfall. Fireflies and Lightning Bugs are one and the same. Entomologists advocate that a more accurate common name for these insects would be “lightning beetles” because they are neither flies. Fireflies are beneficial insects. They don’t bite, they have no pincers, they don’t attack, they don’t carry disease, they are not poisonous, they don’t even fly very fast. The larvae of most species are specialized predators and feed on other insect larvae, snails and slugs. They also help humans. The Lightning Bug contains luciferin and luciferase, two rare chemicals used in research on cancer, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis and heart disease. Here is some information on what makes them light up.

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 – the last of the rhubarb that was affected by the wind has been harvested. I am estimating that you will have rhubarb for one or two more weeks. 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 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.

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.

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – Adds beautiful color to your salad. This is a crop that has struggled this spring. We did plant another round of crops this week of all varieties including the lettuces.

20170626_192048

Kale is growing like crazy. I hope you enjoy this sweeter variety.

Kale – Mix it in your salads for a variety of texture and color. Learn about the nutritional value of Kale here and check out some ways to use kale.

Radish – Cherry Belle radishes – This will be the last of this crop for a while. We hope the radishes weren’t to hot for your taste.

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

Cilantro – Fresh cilantro has such a wonderful aroma. Try a cilantro dressing on your salad this week.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves, Sweat Peas and Coreopsis

Recipe of the Week

A family favorite: toss together a variety of salad greens (lettuce, kale, spinach) blueberries, strawberries, favorite cheese and walnuts. Top with your favorite salad dressing and enjoy. Very festive for Fourth of July.