The Journey

The Journey

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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 club, my community, my country, and my world.

Many see 4-H as an organization only for farm kids or as an organization where the kids only go to meetings. I see it as a land of opportunity. The doors you as a member choose to open offer different experiences that offer opportunities for personal growth.

Last week, I touched on fair week. The boys chose to open a variety of doors of opportunity. Here are some highlights of the week.

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General projects teach a variety of skills that livestock projects do not. Keith took garden vegetables, potatoes, photography, baking and shop while Sam took Cloverbud projects. During the judging of the general projects, 4-H members conduct a face to face interview with a judge and answer questions on what they have learned from the project and share their knowledge about that project area.

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Both boys showed poultry gaining a better understanding of chickens, the breeds of chickens, care of the bird and understanding of all things chicken.

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Prior to the swine (pig) show they both conducted interviews with a judge to share their knowledge of swine (pigs). In addition to showing the animal, they also participated in a showmanship class where they are judged on how well they show the pig. Keith’s pig was shown by another 4-Her that did not own the pig but learned more about pigs by showing it at the fair Throughout the duration of the fair, they were in charge of caring for the animals and conducting herdmanship (keeping their animal and area around their animal clean) and visiting with fairgoers. It is in the moments of listening to them talk to consumers and interact with other 4-Hers that you realize the personal growth they are gaining.

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.

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Giant Duke Kohlrabi

Grand Duke Kohlrabi – We are nearing the end of this planting.

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.

Sugar Snap Peas – This is the last of this planting and are hopeful the next plantings start to produce soon.

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Detroit Dark Red Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets

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

Banana Pepper –  Check this recipe out. These peppers are producing like crazy. Let us know if you are interested in trying to pickle them.

Onion – Are you tired of tearing up when you cut onions. According to the National Onion Association to reduce tearing when cutting onions, first chill the onions for 30 minutes. Then, cut off the top and peel the outer layers leaving the root end intact. (The root end has the highest concentration of sulphuric compounds that make your eyes tear.)

CucumbersAre you thinking about cucumbers…We also have dill. If you are interested in canning your own pickles let us know.

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Carrots

CarrotsDid you know…Carrots contain a pigment called carotene that converts to vitamin A when you digest it. This vitamin helps us to see in reduced light and at night. Check out this segment on America’s Heartland for more information on this vegetable.

Green BeansA few green beans to eat raw or try in a stir fry.

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

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French Breakfast Radishes

French Breakfast Radishes – I love the different look of these radishes. Topped with edible, leafy greens, French Breakfast radishes are very crisp and offer a mildly spicy flavor. Grilling or oven roasting will bring out the subtly sweet and nutty flavor of the French Breakfast radish.

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.

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Zinnias

Fresh cut arrangement – Rudbeckia, Sunflowers, Zinnias and Coreopsis

Recipe of the Week

This is a family favorite. Thank you to Sarah Durenberger for the recipe.

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Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Applesauce
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Baking Cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 3 cups Shredded Zucchini
  1. Beat sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla together. Mix dry ingredients. Stir into mixture.
  2. Add chocolate chips and shredded zucchini.
  3. Pour batter into 4-5 mini loaf pans (or 2 large loaf pans), coated with cooking spray.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Remove from pans and cool.
It’s Not About the Blue Ribbon

It’s Not About the Blue Ribbon

 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Angels in the Garden

Angels in the Garden

As we returned home from our travels around the 4th of July and over the weekend, the weeds had found a new foothold and had once again felt like they were “taking over.” This is quite frustrating when you try to manage the pests appropriately so the crops can thrive.

But while I was weeding, the story of the “The Parable of the Weeds” from Mathew 13:24-43 came to mind. The story basically boils down to my comparative…the weeds are from the devil, and the crops are angels sent to earth to do good will – nourishing others. I recognize that this is an interpretation into a larger lesson. But what I can tell you, it is like seeing angels when you see the crop with no weeds in it.

The good news…we are seeing new vegetables on the verge of harvest such as green tomatoes, a variety of peppers, green beans, cucumbers and summer squash. So here’s hoping to seeing more angels in the garden.

Garden Science

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Did you know that one-third of our food production requires pollinators. A loss of beneficial insects means losing important agricultural services such as crop pollination and pest control. Look closely and see the pollinators at work in the garden. Yes, Sam spotted this and captured the photo.

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 – A taste this week of the new crop. 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.

Spinach – A new crop will be available next week.

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Red Russian Kale

Red Russian 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.

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Grand Duke Kohlrabi

Grand Duke Kohlrabi – We are excited to start harvesting kohlrabi. It has taken a while for this crop to become popular in our house and now we love it peeled like an apple and eaten raw and even dipped in peanut butter. Here are some more ideas on how to use it.

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Purple Kohlrabi

Purple Kohlrabi – This crop is just coming in. Enjoy in your salad or cut them up like an apple and dip into peanut butter.

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Sugar Snap Pea flower that will grow into a pea pod.

Sugar Snap Peas – This crop has been a bit stubborn this year. Glad that we have a taste for you this week. Good thing we love the taste of this crop, so we are persistent with having positive results.

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Dark Red Detroit Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The beets are starting to grow well. Learn how to cook these vegetables in the microwave.

Banana Pepper –  Look for more pepper varieties soon. Cut these up and 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.

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Swiss Chard

 

Swiss Chard – A new vegetable that we grew for you this year. Give it a try and let us know your thoughts. Here is some more information on swiss chard.

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

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Zinnias

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

Recipe of the Week

Swiss Chard is a new adventure for our family. Below is the recipe we tried this week. Please feel free to share your favorite recipes. We’d love to share them with others.

1 large bunch of fresh Swiss chard

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, sliced

Pinch of dried crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon of whole coriander seeds (optional)

-Prep the chard stalks and leaves: Rinse out the Swiss chard leaves thoroughly. Either tear or cut away the thick stalks from the leaves.

-Cut the stalk pieces into 1-inch pieces. Chop the leaves into inch-wide strips. Keep the stalks and leaves separate.

-Sauté garlic and crushed red pepper flakes: Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan on medium high heat. Add garlic slices, crushed red pepper, and coriander seeds (if using), and cook for about 30 seconds, or until the garlic is fragrant.

3 Add Swiss chard stalks: Add the chopped Swiss chard stalks. Lower the heat to low, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

swiss chard cooked

Swiss Chard cooked

 

 

 

Through the Lense

Through the Lense

This past week, we spent time “focusing” on photos to exhibit at the county fair. So this morning when the kids decided they wanted to take pictures because they “saw a cool photo,” I was happy to relinquish a camera.

What I saw as a result was an insightful view of what was “growing” on through the eyes of another, and their excitement as to what they saw and captured.

I hope you to find enjoyment in viewing the activities of our plants through the lense of the boys.

Garden Science

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A view of the purple cabbage growing.

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The potatoes are flowering which is a sign that the potato tubers are growing.

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The dill is flowering. Let us know if you are interested in some.

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A view of a sunflower.

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. This is the last for this season so enjoy some rhubarb delight or freeze to use later this winter.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – Great in salads or on sandwiches. 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.

Spinach – A new crop should be coming in soon.

Red Russian 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.

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A close of view of the kohlrabi growing.

Grand Duke Kohlrabi – We are excited to start harvesting kohlrabi. It has taken a while for this crop to become popular in our house and now we love it peeled like an apple and eaten raw and even dipped in peanut butter. Here are some more ideas on how to use it.

Sugar Snap Peas – A small taste to get us started for the season. This crop has been a bit stubborn this year. Good thing we love the taste of this crop, so we are persistent with having positive results.

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The first taste of the season. Check out this link for ideas.

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Banana peppers ready to harvest.

Banana Pepper – The first of the peppers are in. We hope to have a variety for you this season.

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The first crop of onions for the season.

Onion – First of the season – enjoy!

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

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Beautiful colors in tonight’s flowers.

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

 

Recipe of the Week

Let’s face it, sometimes life is busy and eating healthy does take time. So when preparing one salad, I try to prepare more than one and plan ahead for my week. Whether I’m short on time to take something with me to eat at work or I’m headed to a baseball game, it’s much easier to grab a salad and run out the door when I have them prepared ahead of time.

Some call this salad in a jar. I do not use a jar but rather stackable plastic containers that fit nicely in my salad crisper drawers in my refrigerator.

Salad on the Go

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Strawberry Spinach Salad

  • Set out several containers.
  • Wash lettuce varieties and spinach. Spin this dry in my salad spinner and place in containers.
  • Wash and cut up desired vegetables.
  • Wash fresh fruit – do not cut up, wrap in sandwich bag and place in containers.
  • Place cheese in sandwich bags so it doesn’t get soggy and place in containers.
  • Peel hard boiled egg, wrap in sandwich bag and place in containers.
  • Place croutons, nuts etc in sandwich bag and place in containers.
  • Have a travel size of favorite salad dressing ready to go.

 

 

 

 

Accepting the Unknowns

Accepting the Unknowns

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

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

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

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

Garden Science

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

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

Pick-up and Delivery

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

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

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

Boxes of Produce

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

rhubarb

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

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

Asparagus – Fresh cut asparagus from the Chute’s Farm Fresh Gardens in Aitkin, Minnesota. These farmers are friends of ours who we know from Farm Bureau and also the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program. They had some extra they wanted to share with us, and the delivery time worked out well. They snap the asparagus vs. cutting so that you are getting all edible stalk and should have very minimal amount that you do not eat.  Enjoy! See how asparagus is harvested in California. Check out these recipes.

lettuce

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

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

Radish – Cherry Belle radishes – check out these recipes.

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

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

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves and Spirea

hostas

Hostas, spirea and herbs to start out the year.

 

Recipe of the Week

Rhubarb Jam

Mix together and set aside until a juice forms

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

3 cups sugar

Next:

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

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

rhubarb jam

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

 

Planting progress

Planting progress

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

Keith tilling

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

Sam dragging

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

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

Planting potatoes

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

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

5-10-17 mulch and irrigation

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

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

hail

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

Carrots in November

Carrots in November

 

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

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

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

Garden Science

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

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

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

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

 

Recipe of the Week

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

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

Inborn Fondness

Inborn Fondness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garden Science

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating. Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peppers

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

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

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

Onions –  Walla Walla Onions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun colors of pumpkins this year!

Fun colors of pumpkins this year!

Pumpkins and Gourds

 

Recipe of the Week

Potato Bread Cinnamon Rolls

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

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

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

Pickled Beets

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

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

4 cups vinegar (5 percent)

1 ½ teaspoons canning or pickling salt

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

2 cinnamon sticks

12 whole cloves

Sliced onion (optional)

Yield: About 8 pints

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: University of Minnesota

Mad Dash

Mad Dash

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

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

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

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

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

Garden Science

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

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

Garden Math

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

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

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating. Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watermelon

Peppers

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

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

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

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

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

Onions –  Walla Walla Onions

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

Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash

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

Carnival Squash

Carnival Squash

Carnival Squash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corn Shock

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

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

Pumpkins

Gourds

Gourds – an assortment again this week.

Gourds

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

Recipe of the Week

Lazy Tacos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lazy Tacos

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

 

 

Joy Unveiled

Joy Unveiled

We are starting to harvest the “fun stuff.” As Sam said, he starts to feel like a kid in a candy store and doesn’t want to stop harvesting the pumpkins gourds, popcorn and ornamental corn once we start. It is so much fun to see the surprises in the garden. There is simply a lot of joy unveiled. We are excited to share that with all of you.

We were able to harvest some of these crops this past weekend and will plan to finish those crops this coming week. Look for a lot of Fall decorating items next week.

This week marks the official end of the contracted weeks, but we will have a few bonus boxes as we finish harvesting it all. Look for additional communication via email as we begin to wrap up the 2016 growing season. Thank you for allowing us the privilege of growing for you and with you.

Garden Science

On one of our rainy days, the boys were out etching each family name in a pumpkin so it grew as part of the pumpkin and appeared as a scar on the skin. Unfortunately not all of them worked this year - as Steve said some of you will get a pumpkin with 'invisible ink" because yours was rotting in the field. Don't worry we will have more pumpkins for you next week.

On one of our rainy days, the boys were out etching each family name in a pumpkin so it grew as part of the pumpkin and appeared as a scar on the skin. Unfortunately not all of them worked this year – as Steve said some of you will get a pumpkin with ‘invisible ink” because those pumpkins did not make it, and we are terribly sad that happened. Don’t worry we will have more pumpkins for you next week.

Sam with his name pumpkin.

Sam with his name pumpkin. The names were etched using wood carving tools had made by Steve’s great grandpa.

Boxes of Produce

This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating. Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating.  Thank you for your support of our CSA. Enjoy the produce!

Black Seeded Simpson, Prizehead and Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – The new crop is in. The ran sure went hard on it the last few days.

Kale – I use the Kale in moderation in my salads. It adds some beautiful color and more nutrients to the dish.

Green Beans – Jade green beans. Are you tired of green beans but you would like to preserve them to use this winter? Check out how to blanch them here.

These were some large beets! Larger than the boys' hands.

These were some large beets! Larger than the boys’ hands.

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

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

TomatoesA variety of 4th of July Hybrid, Sweet Tangerine Hybrid, Roma and Sun Gold Hybrid tomatoes.

Peppers A variety of peppers in our boxes today. You have sweet cherry stuffer hybrid pepper, sweet thunderbolt hybrid pepper and green peppers in your box. You also have the option of some hot dragon cayenne peppers.

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

Onions –  Walla Walla onions and Mars/Mercury red onion

Butternut Squash – My favorite squash. Check out the recipes from Martha Stewart.

Acorn Squash

Acorn Squash

Acorn Squash It was suggested that we try cooking the squash in the microwave and that worked slick. We tried this recipe from Taste of Home and liked it.

Carnival Squash

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.

Spaghetti Squash – I love using this squash instead of regular spaghetti. Better Homes and Gardens shared ways to cook and prepare this squash. This  week we are going to try either Rachel Ray’s recipe or toss with butter and Parmesan.

Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash –  Check out squash soup recipes.

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

Kennebec Potatoes – Great baking potato.

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

Pumpkin – Name pumpkins

Flower of the Week – gourds

The first round of gourds have been harvested. A lot of fun differences.

The first round of gourds have been harvested. A lot of fun differences.

Recipe of the Week

This is a family favorite – super easy and moist. If I don’t have a lot of time I will make them as muffins instead of the bread.

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

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 butternut 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