The Effort is Worth It

The Effort is Worth It

The Minnesota State Fair is a wrap. It’s the pinnacle for people who participate. For our family, showing 4-H projects at the state fair is the culmination of work over the past year.

Minnesota is one of the few states, if not the only at least for the larger livestock states where 4-Hers need to qualify by their placement at the county fair in order to show at the state fair. For the boys to show swine and vegetables, they had to place in the state fair line-up for their pigs (livestock) and for their vegetables (general project) in order to advance to show at the state fair. 4-Hers can bring one livestock and one general project to the state fair.

The experience at the county fair is unique to the county, and the experience at the state fair is unique to the state. Both boys exhibited a pig (swine) at the state fair receiving blues. Both also chose to take their 4-H vegetable general project to the state fair. With the vegetables, we do several plantings throughout the summer which provides for vegetables to be ready for harvest at the right time for the county fair in July and the state fair in August.

Sam brought the largest vegetable. So, he was investigating, fostering (fertilizing and pruning) and observing a variety of vegetables until he decided on a zucchini that was 12 pounds and two feet long. Keith brought a vegetable, fruit and herb box which includes two small, three medium and one large vegetable. His box included: sugar-snap peas, cherry tomatoes, kohlrabi, carrots, beets and watermelon. Both left the conference style judging with blues, and Keith found out later that the judged improved his placing to a purple.

What is our why for participating in the state fair? It isn’t the ribbons. It is the experiences, the people that you meet, and the relationships and community that you build. Last but not least, the skill that our kids learn and gain from these experiences are unique and foundational. So when we are exhausted and weary from the experience, we all know it is worth it. 4-H is worth it. We encourage you to give 4-H a try whether a youth member or an adult volunteer. It’s easy to say you don’t have enough time. Make the time, you won’t regret it. The effort is worth it!

Garden Science

Boxes of Produce

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

Spinach/Black Seeded Simpson/Red Oak Leaf Mix – You will notice that there has been insect pressure on the spinach eating small holes in some of the leaves. The last crop of these plants are ready to be harvested.

Carrots –You may notice a few carrots where the potato fork may have broken them off in digging. Here are some ways to use your carrots from Martha Stewart.

Cucumbers – Let us know if you would like to make pickles and would like dill. Here are cucumber recipes from Martha Stewart.

Dark Red Beets – Learn more about the health benefits of eating beats from the Mayo Clinic. This is an interesting resource from NDSU Extension.

Super Sugar Snap Peas – The last week of peas.

Dragon Tongue Beans – We may have one more week of beans. Think about ways to preserve them so your family can enjoy them this winter. Perhaps you don’t have time to can … maybe make them in a soup and freeze the soup for a quick meal.

Potatoes – Red Norlands are great for mashed potatoes. Check out this week’s recipe below for potato bread.

Onion – Cut up and freeze your onion to add quickly to a meal that you are making. I think the dry weather affected their size this year.

Tomatoes – Fourth of July and Sun Gold Hybrid cherry tomatoes this week. Let us know if you would like some for canning.

Peppers – A variety from sweet to mild to hot! The variety of peppers this week primarily are yummy pepper, carnival blend and jungle pepper. The hot ones are marked as such and are only in a few boxes for those that have indicated that they like hot peppers.

Kohlrabi – This vegetable can be peeled and cut finely and added to hot dishes or cut like an apple and eaten raw plain or with peanut butter.

Eggplant – Learn how to use this vegetable here.

Purple Cabbage

Zucchini – So many wonderful ways to use Zucchini. Check out these interesting facts about this vegetable on LiveStrong. Try this pasta primavera recipe from Martha Stewart.

Summer Squash – Check out these recipes from Farm Flavor.

Recipe of the Week

Chicken/Turkey Pot Pie

4 Tbsp. butter

1/2 c. finely diced onion

1/2 c. finely diced carrot

1/2 c. finely diced celery

3 c. shredded cooked chicken or turkey

1/4 c flour

3 c. low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed

Splash of white wine (optional)

1/4 tsp. turmeric

Salt and pepper, to taste

Chopped fresh thyme to taste

1/4 c. half-and-half or cream

1 whole unbaked pie crust

1 whole egg

2 Tbsp. water

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat, then add the onion, carrots, and celery. Stir them around until the onions start to turn translucent, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chicken or turkey and then sprinkle the flour over the top and stir it until it’s all combined with the turkey and vegetables. Cook for 1 minute, then pour in the chicken broth (and wine if using) and stir it around and let it cook and thicken.
  4. Once it starts to thicken add the turmeric, salt, pepper, and thyme.
  5. Add the half-and-half or cream, then stir the mixture and let it bubble up and thicken, about 3 minutes. If it seems overly thick, splash in a little more broth. Turn off the heat.
  6. Pour the filling into a 2-quart baking dish. Roll out the pie crust on a floured surface and lay it over the top of the dish. Press the dough so that the edges stick to the outside of the pan. Use a knife to cut little vents here and there in the surface of the dough.
  7. Mix together the egg with 2 tablespoons water and brush it all over the surface of the crust. (You will have some egg wash left over.)
  8. Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust is deep golden brown and the filling is bubbly. To prevent the crust from getting too brown, you might want to cover it lightly with foil for the first 15 minutes of baking time.

Source: Pioneer Woman

Soak up the Moments

Soak up the Moments

Life passes us by so quickly. So many times in the rush of life, we forget to sit back and tell ourselves to soak it all in. Remember this moment. There are so many times this summer where I have stepped back and did exactly that. Primarily, it has been after Sam has begged me to go fishing for yet another day.

There have been other moments like watching the boys play baseball to watching them have the fair in person and showing their pigs to watching the sunset. Even the moments working outside together like our 20 min power break weeding sessions with timer and music in hand or simply good conversation.

I encourage you to take time, soak in those precious moments with those around you, be present and take those snapshots in your mind to hold close to your heart.

“Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34

Garden Science

Learn more about squash bugs from the University of Minnesota Extension.

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.

Spinach/Black Seeded Simpson Mix – The rain really helped with both the insect pressure and overall growth.

Green Beans – The first crop of green beans are nearing the end. I’d encourage you to consider freezing or canning some for this fall. Let us know if you need some dill to make green bean pickles.

Dragon Tongue Beans – The Dragon Tongue bean can be utilized at multiple stages of maturity. When harvested young the entire bean, shell and seeds are edible. When cooked, the bean will lose its variegated colors. If allowed to mature fully the stripes on the bean will turn to a deep red color and the internal seeds of the bean pod can be shelled and used as is or left in their pods to dry then used as a dried bean.

Carrots – The carrot crop is plentiful. It is so interesting to see how the root vegetables have been adapting to grow deeper to reach moisture. Learn how we get baby carrots in the grocery store on America’s Heartland.

Eggplant – Boy is this a bountiful crop this year. Let us know if you like eggplant!

Dark Red Beets – Some of our shareholders like to cut these up and eat these raw in their salads. I peeled off the skin before cooking them this week and that worked well. Learn more about their nutrition here.

Cucumbers – The cucumbers have kicked production into high gear. Let us know if you would like to make pickles. We do have dill that you could use. Here’s an interesting link on their nutritional value.

Potatoes Red Norland potatoes are good as boiled or mashed potatoes.

Tomatoes – Fourth of July and the cherry tomatoes are Napa grape and Sun Gold Hybrid.

Zucchini –So many wonderful ways to use Zucchini. Try this zucchini mock apple pie square recipe.

Summer Squash – I had completely forgot about Summer Squash soup…another great way to use this vegetable. Check out the recipe below.

Fresh cut arrangement – Sunflowers and Zinnia.

Recipe of the Week

Yellow Summer Squash Soup

2 large sweet onions, chopped

1 medium leek (white portion only), chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 garlic cloves, minced

6 medium yellow summer squash, seeded and cubed (about 6 cups)

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

4 fresh thyme sprigs

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and leek; cook and stir until crisp-tender, 5 minutes. Add squash; cook and stir 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute longer. Stir in broth, thyme and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until squash is tender, 15-20 minutes.

2. Discard thyme sprigs. Cool slightly. In a blender, process soup in batches until smooth. Return all to the pan. Stir in lemon juice and hot pepper sauce; heat through. Sprinkle each serving with cheese and lemon zest.

Source: Taste of Home

Another Zucchini?

Another Zucchini?

I was tossing and turning last night dreaming of digging myself out of a pile of zucchini and patty pan summer squash. You too may have very well found yourself in a similar situation or looked in your box and sighed at the sight of another zucchini and summer squash.

Maybe you were even thinking, hmmm, how can I use this to keep my teenagers in line? I’m here to tell you they work well to keep a teenager in line/throw them off guard. Hence, why the boys may hear me yell, “Hut, hut!” or “Go long.” “Heads up!” Yes, zucchini and summer squash can provide some good entertainment.

At this time of year, it gets to the point where some may feel like you can’t even give zucchini away! Perhaps you have thought about gifting the zucchini to a neighbor at night. It kind of reminds me of fruit cake at Christmas. I’m here to say, reconsider the zucchini.

One night, the subject of “What is the big deal about zucchini?” came up at the supper table. So we Googled it and found a few resources that speak to the nutritional value of zucchini including WebMD and LiveStrong. I particularly liked how this vegetable has a lot of vitamins, helps to protect my eyes, my skin, weight, heart, possible cancer reducing properties, aids in digestion and more.

So, I figured I needed to find more ways to use this. I feel like they could make some comedy video on my discussions with people about how they use zucchini and summer squash. I do like what I have found on the Taste of Home, Martha Stewart and more.

This week we tried a hotdish that was a success and dessert with zucchini fudge brownies. Yes, the hotdish recipe was a discussion I had while watching one of the boy’s baseball games.

So give it another try. Provide some additional healthy options for your family. Next time I see you, just be prepared if I yell, “go long” just because moms can have fun too.

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.

Spinach/Red Oak Lettuce/Black Seeded Simpson Mix – The dry weather has put pressure on the crops that were planted in mid-June and early July. We are grateful for the rain we received this week. You will notice that there has been insect pressure on the spinach eating small holes in some of the leaves.

Green Beans – The green beans are plentiful. I’d encourage you to consider freezing or canning some for this fall. Here are a few recipes from Martha Stewart.

Dragon Tongue Beans – The Dragon Tongue bean can be utilized at multiple stages of maturity. When harvested young the entire bean, shell and seeds are edible. When cooked, the bean will lose its variegated colors. If allowed to mature fully the stripes on the bean will turn to a deep red color and the internal seeds of the bean pod can be shelled and used as is or left in their pods to dry then used as a dried bean.

Carrots – The carrot crop is progressing. It is so interesting to see how the root vegetables have been adapting to grow deeper to reach moisture. Learn how we get baby carrots in the grocery store on America’s Heartland.

Radishes – This crop has been long-lasting this year. Wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads or put in hot dishes. Some enjoy dipping in salt. Some radish recipes from Martha Stewart.

Dark Red Beets – Some of our shareholders like to cut these up and eat these raw in their salads. I peeled off the skin before cooking them this week and that worked well. This is an interesting resource from NDSU Extension.

Cucumbers – The cucumbers have kicked production into high gear. Let us know if you would like to make pickles. We do have dill that you could use.

Potatoes Red Norland potatoes are good as boiled or mashed potatoes. The brown-skinned potatoes are Kennebecs. Learn more about how potatoes are grown here.

Tomatoes – Fourth of July and Sun Gold Hybrid cherry tomatoes this week.

Sunburst Hybrid Summer Squash – butter yellow scallop-type squash.

Zucchini –So many wonderful ways to use Zucchini. Try this pasta primavera recipe from Martha Stewart.

Fresh cut arrangement – Sunflowers and Zinnia.

Recipe of the Week

Spanish Style Squash Hotdish

Source: Farm Journal and from the kitchen of Mary Jo Patzer mother of one of our shareholders Laura Eschen. Thank you for sharing!

1 pound ground beef

1/3 cup chopped onion

5 cups Zucchini sliced (I used summer squash and used the slicing/chipping option in my salad shooter)

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon garlic salt

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1/16 teaspoon pepper

8-ounce tomato sauce

12 oz mexi-corn or corn and peppers diced

Top with mozzarella cheese

Saute ground beef and onion. Add squash and seasonings. Cook over medium heat 3-5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and corn. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover. Simmer 10 minutes or until squash is tender. Top with cheese. Serve after the cheese has melted. Serves six.

Harvest Contests

Harvest Contests

I always enjoy harvesting vegetables because it feels like a treasure hunt. Who doesn’t enjoy a good treasure hunt full of surprises and unexpected rewards? Yet, harvesting vegetables when you have a few other projects to complete, or you simply want to rest can be a challenging chore.

Sam and Steve have found a fun way to accomplish this task by having different types of contests. This week, it was seeing who could find the longest green bean. I believe this heated contest ended in a tie with both harvesting eight-inch-long green beans. We also find ourselves making a game out of harvesting zucchini and cucumbers…resembling catch and quick hands.

Finding Joy in the small, simple items in life can bring peace to the craziness that life presents.

See the world through the eyes of your inner child. The eyes that sparkle in awe and amazement as they see love, magic and mystery in the most ordinary things. – Henna Sohail

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.

Spinach/Red Oak Lettuce/Black Seeded Simpson Mix – The dry weather has put pressure on the crops that were planted mid-June. We are grateful for the rain we received last night. You will notice that there has been insect pressure on the spinach eating small holes in some of the leaves.

Green Beans – The green beans are plentiful. I’d encourage you to consider freezing or canning some for this fall. Learn more about green bean production from America’s Heartland here.

Carrots – The carrot crop is progressing. It is so interesting to see how the root vegetables have been adapting to grow deeper to reach moisture. Learn how we get baby carrots in the grocery store on America’s Heartland.

Radishes – This crop has been long lasting this year. Wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads or put in hot dishes. Some enjoy dipping in salt. Some radish recipes from Taste of Home.

Dark Red Beets – Some of our shareholders like to cut these up and eat these raw in their salads. I enjoy cooking them, peeling off the skin and putting a little bit of butter on them. This is an interesting resource from NDSU Extension.

Cucumbers – The cucumbers have kicked production into high gear. Let us know if you would like to make pickles. We do have dill that you could use.

Potatoes Red Norland potatoes are good as boiled or mashed potatoes. Learn more about how potatoes are grown here.

Tomatoes – Fourth of July and Sun Gold Hybrid cherry tomatoes this week.

Onions – yellow onions

Zucchini –So many wonderful ways to use Zucchini. Try this pasta primavera recipe from Martha Stewart.

Fresh cut arrangement – Sunflowers and Zinnia.

Recipe of the Week

Zucchini Cobbler

8 cups chopped seeded peeled zucchini (about 3 pounds untrimmed)

2/3 cup lemon juice

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

CRUST:

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1-1/2 cups cold butter, cubed

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, cook and stir zucchini and lemon juice until zucchini is tender, 15-20 minutes. Stir in sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; cook 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir 1/2 cup into zucchini mixture. Press half the remaining crust mixture into a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Spread zucchini mixture over top; crumble remaining crust mixture over zucchini. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

3. Bake until golden and bubbly, 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

Source: Taste of Home

Why 4-H?

Why 4-H?

This week is fair week. If you have never shown at the fair or had family members that have shown, let me paint a picture for you. The house and laundry are chaos. Meals are served in the barn. Tension is very high, and sleep deprivation is present. Families learn to navigate and operate together under high stress situations. Many wonder, why do you do this?

Fair week is where 4-H projects outcomes become a realization. We watch children grow and achieve personal growth that they didn’t know was possible. 4-Hers learn, fail, succeed, face challenges and grow in a safe environment.

Our boys bring both general projects and livestock projects to the fair. On Monday, they bring in general projects from shop to foods to photography to gardening to safety to so much more! 4-H isn’t just for farm kids, it is for everyone.

I ask the boys to do general projects because general projects are life skills in action, developing new skillsets, exploring new areas and visiting with an adult judge explaining all they have learned. While the judging might appear nerve racking, the boys both enjoy visiting with the judge about their projects and sharing their knowledge.

Livestock projects develop different skill sets including growing their knowledge of agriculture and developing an understanding and passion for feeding people. Thinking of others, putting people first while being compassionate caretakers for animals. Not to many people can say that they enjoy working with a nearly 300 pound animal…their pig.

Why are 4-H projects judged? To Make the Best Better. Each 4-H project allows youth to reflect on new goals they can set, new ways to challenge themselves and to foster a growth mindset towards a positive perspective.

4-H provides an opportunity to network and learn from others, cultivate communication and leadership skills, and provides unique situations to develop lifelong skill sets.

The 4-H Pledge

I PLEDGE my HEAD to clearer thinking,
my HEART to greater loyalty,
my HANDS to larger service,
and my HEALTH to better living,
for my family, my club, my community, my country and my world.

I encourage you to support our youth and encourage them to be involved in 4-H. 4-H helps us to grow and develop our future leaders for our communities. We all know we need good leaders. Our youth our worth our time and investment.

Why do we stretch ourselves thin on fair week and with our involvement in 4-H? Our kids are our why. Our kids our worth our time and investment. The future of our communities and all areas that need leadership are worth it. Learn more at your county Extension office or search 4-H in your state.

Garden Science

Learn more at University of Minnesota Extension.

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.

Super Sugar Snap Peas – This garden favorite is producing like crazy. It is hard to keep up. The second crop of peas was planted mid-June. Due to the dry weather, it has been slower growing. While I love to just eat these peas fresh. Here are a few ideas from Taste of Home for additional ways to use them.

Green Beans – Learn more about green bean production from America’s Heartland here.

Radishes – Wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt. Some radish recipes from Taste of Home.

Dark Red Beets – Some of our shareholders like to cut these up and eat these raw in their salads. This is an interesting resource from NDSU Extension.

Carrots – First round of carrots. More to come!

Cucumbers – The first cucumbers of the season. Here is a simple cucumber salad recipe from Martha Stewart.

Potatoes – Kennebec potatoes good for baked potatoes. Learn more here.

Zucchini – The first of the season. So many wonderful ways to use Zucchini. I have posted

Fresh cut arrangement – Hydrangeas, Sunflowers and Zinnia.

Recipe of the Week

Fudgy Zucchini Brownies

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

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

1. 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.

2. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

3. 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.

Source: Taste of Home

Positively impacting the world

Positively impacting the world

This week, I have had the opportunity to listen to many researchers share their knowledge with farmers and ranchers at some of NDSU Research Extension Center’s field days. These field days are open to the public to learn more and to see how they can apply what they learn to improve their farm or ranch.

It is absolutely fascinating to hear what the researchers are working on, and their passion and desire to improve our food supply chain exudes them. It is so fun to watch people do what they love and know that what they do will positively impact the world.

I’ve had the great opportunity to work with researchers and Extension personnel in four states: Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and North Dakota. I can say without a doubt that I wish the general public new how much work goes into each and every step of the food supply chain. The true passion and desire to make the best better and to feed the world is real and grounded at the very beginning of each of our food supply processes.

Garden Science

Boxes of Produce

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

Black Seeded Simpson 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. With all the lettuce, I thought you’d appreciate these resources with recipes from NDSU Extension.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love this beautiful red lettuce leaf. It adds such a wonderful color to your salads.

Did you know that when we harvest cucumbers that they have small spikes on them? Cucumbers may have become spiny for the same reason that some animals are camouflaged or have horns…to protect themselves from predators.

Cucumbers – The first cucumbers of the season.

Super Sugar Snap Peas – This garden favorite is producing like crazy. It is hard to keep up The second crop of peas was planted mid-June. Due to the dry weather, it has been slower growing. While I love to just eat these peas fresh. Here are a few ideas from Taste of Home for additional ways to use them.

Radishes – Wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt. Some radish recipes from Taste of Home.

Dark Red Beets – Some of our shareholders like to cut these up and eat these raw in their salads. This is an interesting resource from NDSU Extension.

Zucchini – The first of the season.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hydrangeas, Sunflowers and Zinnia.

Recipe of the Week

Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame Seeds

1 pound sugar snap peas

Dark sesame oil

Sesame seeds

Kosher salt

Toss sugar snap peas in a bowl with sesame oil, sesame seeds, and kosher salt, to taste. Serve.

What’s Growing On?

What’s Growing On?

There is a lot growing on in the garden. The much-needed shot of rain last week did help give the crops a boost. Last night’s rain did not amount to much. While that was good for the boys’ baseball games it was not so good for the plants. Here’s a glimpse of a few of the crops.

Garden Science

The heart-shaped leaves are soft and velvety. Velvetleaf is usually considered to be an annual. It can grow up to 8 feet tall in a single season but is usually 2-4 feet tall. It has been grown in China since around 2000 B.C. for its strong, jute-like fiber in the erect stem for making cords, nets, woven bags, rugs and other coarse textiles. The Chinese also used the plant for medicinal purposes to treat fever, dysentery, stomach aches and other problems. Source: University of Wisconsin Extension

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 – This is the last week of 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. One or two more weeks of rhubarb. Make the most of it! Make the most of your rhubarb. Make it into jam and freeze it for your year ahead. Check out the recipe below.

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. With all the lettuce, I thought you’d appreciate these resources with recipes from NDSU Extension.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love this beautiful red lettuce leaf. It adds such a wonderful color to your salads.

Spinach – Remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal! Check out Taste of Home’s spinach recipes

.Super Sugar Snap Peas – This garden favorite is on the verge of a lot of production. Enjoy! The second crop of peas was planted three weeks ago, but just started to emerge. It is quite a bit behind due to the hot conditions and lack of moisture from Mother Nature. No amount of watering seems to be able to replace what Mother Nature provides.

Radishes – Wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt.

Dark Red Beets – Some of our shareholders like to cut these up and eat these raw in their salads. This is an interesting resource from NDSU Extension.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta leaves, Hydrangeas, Spirea and Zinnia.

Recipe of the Week

Rhubarb Jam

Mix together and set aside until a juice forms:

6 cups rhubarb sliced into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces

3 cups granulated sugar

Next:

Add one can of pie filling (cherry, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry)

Cook these ingredients for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 package of 3 oz Jello (use Jello that is of the same flavor as the pie filling). Mix well. Pour into containers. Refrigerate or freeze.

Learn by Doing

Learn by Doing

This past weekend, we had the privilege of being one of the stops on our 4-H club’s summer tour. These opportunities are another example of 4-H’s slogan “Learn by Doing” in action.

It was a hot, windy day. Yet, it was still fun to watch Keith lead the 4-Hers around our place and share about what we do, why we do it, and how it works as a 4-H project.

Big Giants 4-H Club Tour

Even when I was a Shetek Royal Harvester 4-Her, these summer tours were a favorite. It is fun to learn from each other, share ideas, and then take what you learn and see how those ideas can be applied to our own lives.

Keith shared about vegetable, potatoes and pumpkin gardens (vegetable project); broiler chickens and laying hens (poultry project); welding project (shop project) and the pigs (swine project). Throughout the tour, the 4-Hers and the parents asked questions. It was nothing short of a joy to watch Keith share his knowledge with others while growing his leadership skills.

Many will say they don’t have time for 4-H. We can’t possibly squeeze one more thing in. Trust me, we know. We have these conversations at our house. Yet, thankfully our entire family knows that when we show up for 4-H activities, like this one, we all come away fulfilled and rejuvenated.

Why be part of 4-H when you have a full plate?

  1. Sharing 4-H projects with others, both youth and adults, help youth to feel valued.
  2. 4-Hers find meaning and purpose in their life by developing skills that last a lifetime.
  3. Making connections outside of normal circles helps with personal growth.

I encourage you to learn more about 4-H projects here and join 4-H to Learn by Doing.

Enjoying the 4-H Summer Tour

Garden Science

The extremely hot, dry and windy weather is drying the ground out. Let’s pray for some rain to get some of these crops to the next stage, and we’ll have an abundance of produce.

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.

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

Black Seeded Simpson lettuce continues to produce for a few harvests. Cut the leaves and they will grow back for a few harvests. We do plant a few plantings of this throughout the summer.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – One of my favorite garden crops. Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating. See how lettuce is grown throughout the year so it is available in our grocery stores even on our cold Minnesota days.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love this beautiful red lettuce leaf. It adds such a wonderful color to your salads.

Spinach – Remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal! Check out some of Martha Stewart’s spinach recipes.

Cherry Belle Radish

Radishes – Wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt or a radish sandwich. I also cut them up and use like carrots or green beans in a hot dish.

Herbchives – wash then chop up chives into small pieces or freeze them to use later.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta leaves, Spirea, asparagus ferns.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta leaves, Spirea, asparagus ferns.

Raspberry-Rhubarb Slab Pie

Recipe of the Week

Raspberry-Rhubarb Slab Pie

3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

3/4 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons 2% milk

1 large egg yolk, room temperature

2 cups sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

5 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed and drained

3 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb, thawed and drained

Icing

1-1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

5 to 6 teaspoons 2% milk

Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. Whisk 3/4 cup milk and egg yolk; gradually add to flour mixture, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball. Add additional milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary.

2. Divide dough in 2 portions so that 1 is slightly larger than the other; cover each and refrigerate 1 hour or until easy to handle.

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3. Preheat oven to 375°. Roll out larger portion of dough between 2 large sheets of lightly floured waxed paper into an 18×13-in. rectangle. Transfer to an ungreased 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Press onto the bottom and up sides of pan; trim crust to edges of pan.

4. In a large bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add raspberries and rhubarb; toss to coat. Spoon into crust.

5. Roll out remaining dough; place over filling. Fold bottom crust over edge of top crust; seal with a fork. Prick top with a fork.

6. Bake until golden brown, 45-55 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

7. For icing, combine confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve a drizzling consistency; drizzle over pie. Cut pie into squares.

Source: Taste of Home

It’s All About Weeds

It’s All About Weeds

Weeds, weeds, weeds that’s what it’s all about, we don’t love each other, lambsquarters, nightshade, quack grass, pigweed, that’s what it’s all about. It’s about weeds, weeds, weeds. It’ about weeds, weeds, weeds. This is my weed version spin-off of the song “It’s all about Love.”

Yes, weeds are top of mind with the heat, and this time of year. Controlling the weed competition to provide the optimal growing conditions for a plant to be healthy is important for productive plant growth outcomes. I always feel this is the most challenging time for weeds as there is no natural “canopy” from the garden crops formed over the weeds to shade out their growth.

What keeps us motivated to finish the weeding? Well, the radio always helps, along with, good conversation and a few games of “would you rather.” But to be honest, the feeling of looking back on your work and being able to say to yourself, “job well done” and also knowing that the plants will be healthier and more productive throughout the growing season, makes it all worth it.

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.

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

Black Seeded Simpson can be harvested for several weeks.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – One of my favorite garden crops. Some of the crops are run under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating. See how lettuce is grown throughout the year so it is available in our grocery stores even on our cold Minnesota days.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love this beautiful red lettuce leaf. It adds such a wonderful color to your salads.

The spinach has been growing like crazy.

Spinach with Beet Greens – Remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal! Check out some of Martha Stewart’s spinach recipes.

Cherry Belle Radish

Radishes – Wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt.

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

You all received a small pot with cilantro. If you don’t use it for a while, give it a trim, and it should stay productive for you.

Cilantro – Keep this plant all year long. Put it on your window sill and keep cutting it back.

Peonies, Irises, Asparagus Ferns and Hostas

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta leaves, peonies, irises and asparagus ferns.

Recipe of the Week

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars

Source: Sally’s Baking Addiction

3 cups all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

1 large egg

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup old-fashioned whole rolled oats

Filling

2 and 1/2 cups chopped strawberries

2 and 1/2 cups sliced rhubarb (1/2 inch pieces)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon orange zest

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished bars out (makes cutting easier!). Set aside.

Make the crumble mixture for the crust and topping: Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and using a pastry cutter, two forks, or a food processor, cut in the butter until all the flour is coated and resembles pea-sized crumbles. This takes at least 5 minutes of cutting in with a pastry cutter.

Whisk the egg, milk, and vanilla together in a small bowl. Pour over the flour/butter mixture and gently mix together until the mixture resembles moist crumbly sand. Use your hands if needed– the mixture comes together easier with your hands than with a spoon.

You will have about 6 cups of the crust/crumble mixture. Set 2 cups aside. Pour the remaining into the prepared pan and flatten down with your hands or a flat spatula to form an even crust. It will be a little crumbly– that’s ok. Set aside. (Oats will be used in the topping in the next step.)

Strawberry Rhubarb Filling: Gently mix all of the filling ingredients together. Spread over the crust. Sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture all over the filling. Sprinkle the oats on over top. With the back of a large spoon or flat spatula, lightly press the topping down so it’s a bit snug on the strawberry rhubarb layer.

Bake for about 42-50 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out *mostly* clean (with a few jam strawberry/rhubarb specks!). Remove from the oven and allow the bars to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.

Lift the cooled bars out using the parchment paper overhang on the sides. Cut into squares. Cover and store leftover strawberry rhubarb bars at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Freezes well.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars
In a blink of an eye

In a blink of an eye

When I was young, adults around me would comment on how quickly time passed. I, on the other hand, thought that the days seemed enormously long, especially the long days out in the field rock picking and bean walking. Now days, it seems that everything can change in a blink of an eye.

In April, our shop burned down due to an undetermined source. While the process of navigating this challenge is time-consuming, we remain eternally grateful for the angels that were present that night providing protection and walking with us as we take one step at a time to rebuild the shop.

Meanwhile, the time I used to think moved slowly has been moving quickly. I feel that I must have blinked and missed May.

Thankfully, we did not lose all of our field and gardening equipment in the fire. Planting did occur at the beginning of May and has continued as the weather cooperated. Crops are peaking out of the ground, and of course, the rhubarb is flourishing.

The first CSA should be right around the corner. Our shareholders should see an email with more information in the foreseeable future, but not this week. I’m sure all of us have plenty on our plate with the end of the school year upon us. Plus, the crops could use just a little bit more time.

Meanwhile, take time to soak in the time spent with your family and friends. In a blink of an eye, it will be but a memory.

Tilling the ground to prepare for planting.
When the weather finally cooperated in May, it made for a long day of planting.
Installing the fence for cucumbers
Some things never change…the work can be exhausting and a nap is warranted.
This past weekend, we were busy with weed control and insect monitoring. The potatoes have really grown!
Tomatoes, cabbage, eggplant and peppers were planted on Memorial Day on a very windy afternoon. Sure enough, as soon as we were done the strong wind subsided.