Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

 

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Harvesting together a variety of beautiful produce.

As the growing season is starting to wrap up, you may be wondering why you received some produce items in your box, and why not others. Every growing season is different. While you can plan for some obstacles, some you cannot. So here is a synopsis of some of the crops. We hope this provides answers to some of your questions.

Throughout the growing season we plant different crops multiple times – planting every 2-3 weeks to ensure a continuous supply. You may have noticed that some of them have not been continuous and some have.

  • The following had different plantings that did not grow during a dry spell. In other words the seeds never germinated – they simply didn’t grow. We just kept planting until they did grow: lettuce varieties, spinach, carrots, sugar snap peas, cucumbers and beets.
  • Some were eaten by a new particular insect (Japanese Beetles) that found interest in our crops this year – both varieties of kohlrabi, radishes, rutabaga.
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    We found this little fella enjoying the tomatoes. We believe it may be a cutworm.

  • Tomatoes – The cut worms usually found in corn seemed to LOVE the tomatoes this year. Simply sad to see so many destroyed.
  • Garlic – we planted a fall crop that did not grow and planted twice this spring – no luck. We are trying a different supplier of bulbs to plant this fall.
  • Sweet Corn – We usually plant a crop and also work with our neighbors. Due to the unusual spring, this delayed the planting for our neighbors, and the raccoons found their crop very tasty. Due to Steve’s fall earlier this spring, we simply ran out of time. We are hopeful that you may still receive one bag yet this September.
  • Ornamental Corn – This may be a bit delayed, but we are hopeful that this crop will come to fruition. We had some germination and weed challenges that we believe we have under control for next year.
  • Pumpkins, squash and gourds – All I can say is oh my, do we have these crops. While germination was a challenge out of the gate, it sure didn’t seem to be at the end. A nice surprise to its beginnings. We were disappointed to not have more spaghetti and acorn squash grow.
  • Corn Stalks – Also to note, the weather on Monday did break some of the stalks – so we will know this weekend if we will have cornstalk bundles for you next week. But honestly if that is all we had from this week’s weather we are grateful. We did receive pea size hail on Tuesday night, but it did not appear to harm the pumpkins.

Garden Science

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Double pumpkin… looks like two that grew together.

What weights more – is there any relationship to its stem? From our observation, there isn’t but check out the varieties, weights and stem sizes. It is worth noticing. Thank you to everyone who has been out to help harvest. We hope you enjoy the surprises as much as we do.

Boxes of Produce

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Packing boxes can be a bonding experience. It actually builds a lot of different good skill sets.

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, Spinach and Kale – The spinach loved the weather. The Black Seeded Simpson took a beating in the hard rain on Monday, but it does seem to be thriving now after the heat and rain.

Basil If you are in need of some fresh basil or some to dry or freeze, we have some.

Green BeansSuch a delicious vegetable cooked, eaten raw or in salads. The funny thing with this crop is that it is the same planting that continues to give.

Sweet Savour Hybrid Peppers – They may be small, but they pack quite the taste. The beautiful and tasty tricolor fruit looks like hot peppers but eats like sweet peppers.

Mama Mia Giallo HybridTapered 7–9″ fruits are smooth-skinned and uniform in shape. Prized as one of the earliest sweet peppers of its size—fruit ripens just 80 days after transplanting. Excellent fresh, roasted, or grilled.

Green Bell Peppers – Sweet Carnival Mix which are all classic bell hybrids.

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Serrano Tampiqueno Pepper – excellent for drying pickling, salsas, and stews.

Pepper, Hot, Serrano Tampiqueno – Heat-lovers, here’s another Mexican favorite used in a variety of dishes, from salsas to soups.

Carrots – Esperanza carrots – enjoy these summer delights. This new crop is out of the garden versus the raised bed.

Kohlrabi So glad that the insects didn’t win this time on this crop. Peel and cut like an apple eat raw, in salads or dip the slices in peanut butter. Enjoy!

Onions –Yellow and Purple If you are feeling overloaded on onions, cut them up and spread them out and freeze on a cookie sheet or pan. Once frozen place in a container or a Ziploc bag for use throughout the year. I do this and am just coming to my end of frozen onions. This helps speed up my meal preparation. See how onions are grown in Washington.

Potatoes – Kennebec (great for baking) and Norlands (good for cooked or mashed) potatoes are in your boxes this week.

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Did you know that sweet potatoes are in the morning-glory family?

Sweet PotatoesDusky red-skinned Beauregard is the most widely grown commercial cultivar. This versatile variety lends itself to baking, boiling, mashing, or frying. Once you have harvested all your sweet potatoes, it is time to cure them. Store your sweet potatoes in a dry and cool environment (such as a garage or basement). Letting them cure for two months is said to enhance their flavor, but it can be hard to wait that amount of time especially if you love sweet potatoes.

Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash – This crop is slowly coming on with either Golden Egg Hybrid great to wash and slice to eat on a veggie tray, use on a kabob or try it sautéed in a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Peter Pan Squash – No need to peel, simply wash and cut up this squash and use like the others. Too much of this squash or not ready to use it yet? Use it as fall decoration in the meantime. Check out these recipes.

ZucchiniThis crop has been a bit slow due to our insect challenges this year. But it is coming on. So like the cauliflower and kohlrabi we are alternating it around the shareholders. Enjoy – here are some recipes from Country Living.

Tomatoes – Let us know if you would like extra to freeze, make into salsa, or can. Included this week are some of the 4th of July, Mama Mia, SunGold Cherry tomatoes and a few more varieties sprinkled in. Learn more about tomatoes on America’s Heartland. Learn how to freeze your tomatoes here.

Purple Cauliflower– love the color – check out this week’s recipe.

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Watermelon

WatermelonsSangria are smaller 8-12 pound fruit and Micky Lee some of them weigh over 20 pounds. Leftovers can be frozen and used in a fruit smoothie.

Butternut Squash– This is our family favorite of squashes. It is hourglass in shape. Here are a few recipes for Butternut Squash from Martha Stewart.

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.

Delicata – Sweet delicata squash is ideal for a quick vegetable side — it doesn’t need to be peeled and roasts in just 15 minutes. Here is a recipe. https://www.marthastewart.com/1521108/roasted-delicata-squash-garden-herbsHere is a good breakdown of the different varieties with suggestions of how to use them. https://www.thespruceeats.com/winter-squash-and-pumpkins-2217736

Sweet Dumpling – Dumpling squash is best suited for cooked applications such as roasting, sautéing, baking, and steaming and it can be used in both sweet and savory preparations. Its lumpy exterior and small size make it difficult to peel and are most often cooked with their skin on. Similar to a potato and acorn squash, the skin of the Dumpling squash is edible once cooked, though often it is just discarded. Dumpling squash can be halved, cooked, and served as an ideal size for stuffing with meats, cheeses, grains, or other vegetables and it can be roasted and served as a stand-alone side dish.

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Uchiki Kuri Winter Squash

Uchiki Kuri Winter Squash – This is a popular squash that has attractive orange-red skin. Yellow and creamy flesh is very sweet and nutty. It is a Hubbard type squash and sometimes also referred to as a baby red Hubbard type since its appearance is like that of a petite hubbard. The word “kuri” translates to mean chestnut in Japanese, the main flavor profile found in the Red Kuri squash. It is a squash is a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C as well as potassium and iron. Hard-skinned Red Kuri squash can be difficult to peel and are most easily cooked in their skin. Split squash in half, scoop out seeds, and roast cut-side down until tender. Red Kuri can also be cut into wedges or cubes and roasted. The skin of Red Kuri once cooked is tender enough to consume so need not be removed prior to eating.

Gourds – Look for more to come – a lot of harvesting to be done.

Pumpkins – We hope you enjoy this fall ornament

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Quite a few varieties of pumpkins to choose from.

Recipe of the Week

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Purple cauliflower – Purple cauliflower’s color is due to the presence of the antioxidant anthocyanin, which can also be found in red cabbage and red wine.

Cauliflower on the Grill

½ head of cauliflower

2 Tablespoons butter

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Lemon pepper (as desired)

Wash and break up cauliflower into bite-size pieces. Place on aluminum foil. Add butter and lemon pepper. Wrap up in foil. Place on medium low heat on the grill for 10 to 15 minutes (until tender) turning once. Sprinkle cheese on it and let it set for a few minutes so it melts.

Source: Willow Lake Church cookbook

 

Sharing Experiences

It has been another week filled with unique opportunities. First, we worked at the Farm Bureau building at the Minnesota State Fair. While some may shy away from the experience, we encourage you to give the Great Minnesota Get Together a try. Whether you are a consumer seeking to visit with farmers and see some animals, or you are a Farm Bureau member and are available to volunteer to connect with consumers – give it a try.

The boys enjoyed sharing their farm knowledge with fairgoers and answering questions that the consumers had about how their food is grown. Good conversations of answering questions of the food to farm journey with questions coming from honest places of just wanting to better understand how food is grown and dispelling the confusion around food labels.

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Sharing experiences together and learning from them help us all to grow.

In other news, the weather has opened up its skies and dumped nearly 5 inches at our place over the last few days. Since we knew there wasn’t going to be a break in the rain yesterday, we harvested through it last night. I didn’t capture any photos because we were to wet and would have ruined the camera.

We were thankful there was no lightning so this was possible. Nothing binds a family together like working through adverse conditions.

Each growing season is unique, please keep farmers across our nation facing these torrential rains and weather conditions in your prayers as they work hard to bring in crops to feed, fuel and clothe us.

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/Red Oak Leaf Lettuce/Spinach/Kale – These crops taste good on a sandwich or salad. New crops will be ready next week.

Basil If you are in need of some fresh basil or some to dry or freeze, we have some.

Purple and Green Beans – Such a delicious vegetable cooked, eaten raw or in salads.

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I miss labeled these as Banana Peppers. They are actually Sweet Savour Hybrid Peppers. Please provide feedback on the variety of peppers this year.

Sweet Savour Hybrid Peppers – They may be small, but they pack quite the taste. The beautiful and tasty tricolor fruit looks like hot peppers but eats like sweet peppers.

Mama Mia Giallo Hybrid – Tapered 7–9″ fruits are smooth-skinned and uniform in shape. Prized as one of the earliest sweet peppers of its size—fruit ripens just 80 days after transplanting. Excellent fresh, roasted, or grilled.

Purple and Green Bell Peppers – Sweet Carnival Mix which are all classic bell hybrids.

Pepper, Hot, Serrano Tampiqueno – Heat-lovers, here’s another Mexican favorite used in a variety of dishes, from salsas to soups. Heat scale is about 3,00-0 Scovilles.

Beets

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

Beets – An old garden favorite of mine. Learn how to use them here.

Carrots – Esperanza carrots – enjoy these summer delights. This new crop is out of the garden versus the raised bed.

Kohlrabi So glad that the insects didn’t win this time on this crop. Peel and cut like an apple eat raw, in salads or dip the slices in peanut butter. Enjoy!

Onions –If you are feeling overloaded on onions, cut them up and spread them out and freeze on a cookie sheet or pan. Once frozen place in a container or a Ziploc bag for use throughout the year. I do this and am just coming to my end of frozen onions. This helps speed up my meal preparation. See how onions are grown in Washington.

Potatoes – Yukon and Masquerade potatoes are in your boxes this week.

  • Yukon Gold Potatoes -The smooth, thin, and gold to light brown skin is relatively eye free creating a uniform texture and shape. The skin is also speckled with many small, brown spots. The flesh is yellow to gold, firm, moist, and waxy. When cooked, Yukon Gold potatoes take on a creamy and tender consistency with a rich, buttery, and earthy flavor. Yukon Gold potatoes are best suited for cooked applications such as roasting, grilling, frying, mashing, sautéing, and boiling.
9-23-14 Masquerade Potatoes

Potatoes grow under the ground and are a tuber. Sometimes when you pull up the dead plant the potatoes come out attached to the plant like you see here. These are Masquerade Potatoes.

  • Masquerade Potatoes – The bicolored, thin skin has a golden-yellow base and is covered in dominant spots of purple and violet. The flesh is pale yellow to light gold and is firm, dense, and moist. When cooked, Masquerade potatoes offer a creamy and buttery flavor. Masquerade potatoes are best suited for cooked applications such as roasting, baking, boiling, mashing, steaming, frying, or sautéing.

Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash – This crop is slowly coming on with either Golden Egg Hybrid great to wash and slice to eat on a veggie tray, use on a kabob or try it sautéed in a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Peter Pan Squash – No need to peel, simply wash and cut up this squash and use like the others. Check out these recipes.

ZucchiniThis crop has been a bit slow due to our insect challenges this year. But it is coming on. So like the cauliflower and kohlrabi we are alternating it around the shareholders. Enjoy – here are some recipes from Country Living.

Tomatoes – Let us know if you would like extra to freeze, make into salsa, or can. Included this week are some of the 4th of July, Super Sweet 100 Hybrid, SunGold Cherry tomatoes and a few more varieties sprinkled in. Learn more about tomatoes on America’s Heartland. Learn how to freeze your tomatoes here.

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Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash- This is our family favorite of squashes. It is hourglass in shape. Here are a few recipes for Butternut Squash from Martha Stewart.

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Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash – This oblong light yellow squash is a tasty substitute for spaghetti. Check out this link on how to cook spaghetti squash from Real Simple.

Uchiki Kuri Winter Squash – This is a popular squash that has attractive orange-red skin. Yellow and creamy flesh is very sweet and nutty. It is a hubbard type squash and sometimes also referred to as a baby red hubbard type since its appearance is like that of a petite hubbard. The word “kuri” translates to mean chestnut in Japanese, the main flavor profile found in the Red Kuri squash. It is a squash is a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C as well as potassium and iron. Hard-skinned Red Kuri squash can be difficult to peel and are most easily cooked in their skin. Split squash in half, scoop out seeds, and roast cut-side down until tender. Red Kuri can also be cut into wedges or cubes and roasted. The skin of Red Kuri once cooked is tender enough to consume so need not be removed prior to eating.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves, Hydrangeas, zinnias and more

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Fresh cut arrangements to brighten your day.

 

Recipe of the Week

Butternut Squash

My family loves this recipe, and the boys eat it like crazy. I also use the prepared squash in place of pumpkin in many recipes.

*Cut squash in 1/2 add enough water to cover pan (about 1/2 inch up on the side of the pan). Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 1 hour.

*Take out of oven. Scoop out seeds. The seeds can be kept and roasted.

*Using a large knife cut off skin and place in another bowl.

Add:

1 stick of butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

Using a mixer, blend together until smooth. Serve.

Blend until smooth. To save the extra, place in a cupcake tin and freeze. Place frozen portions in storage containers to be stored in your freezer. Enjoy!

 

Appreciated Beyond Words

Appreciated Beyond Words

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140 pounds of tomatoes were harvested this week. Let us know if you need some for canning or freezing.

After each week’s CSA, we gather around to eat a late supper and share what we experienced that evening. All of us enjoy visiting with you and hearing about your weeks. We also enjoy hearing how you are using your produce – what you like and what you don’t like. This helps us to improve on what we do. We always strive to do better than we did the week before. So, your feedback is greatly appreciated.

We love seeing kids enjoy pulling a carrot and eating it out of the garden to others filling their pockets with banana peppers to kids who normally hate tomatoes eating 4th of July tomatoes like apples to those who love the flowers and how they brighten their day to others who bring in their boxes to work and share with coworkers – no leftovers to be had. These actions, stories and comments brighten our days, make our souls happy and help us to feel value in the hard work that we do.

You are each appreciated beyond words and valued beyond measure. As we reflected on our appreciation, I looked to the Bible with these two readings which feel like an appropriate fit.

This captures how we feel: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

These our the wishes for you: “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” – Numbers 6:24-26

A growing update: The weather has been dry so some of the crops we planted over a month ago – such as the next crop of peas are only about 2 inches high. Likewise, crops we planted have not yet sprouted. Please bear with us as we patiently wait for Mother Nature to take action.

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These boys harvested 64.4 pounds of green beans. They were happy to donate a vegetable that the local food shelf was in need of. Way to go kids!

Garden Science

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Just an update on our potatoes we are growing in tires. They are now four tires high. The tires are filled with dirt as the potato plant continues to grow.

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/Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – Both of these crops taste good on a sandwich or salad.

Spinach/Kale – Great for salads.

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Banana Peppers – love how they grow up and don’t let gravity “bring them down.”

Banana Peppers – They may be small, but they pack quite the taste.

 

Purple Peppers – This variety is similar to a green bell pepper. The boys were in charge of packing so each of you will have a surprise of what is in the box.

Beets – An old garden favorite of mine. Learn how to use them here.

Carrots – Esperanza carrots – enjoy these summer delights. This new crop is out of the garden versus the raised bed.

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi  – Slowly maturing. Peel and cut like an apple. Eat raw or try it with some peanut butter.

Green Beans – This crop is growing like crazy. Let us know if you are interested in more for freezing or canning. Learn how to freeze them here.

Onions –If you are feeling overloaded on onions, cut them up and spread them out and freeze on a cookie sheet or pan. Once frozen place in a container or a Ziploc bag for use throughout the year. I do this and am just coming to my end of frozen onions. This helps speed up my meal preparation. See how onions are grown in Washington.

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Egg Plant

Egg Plants – We will have a few egg plants. Please let us know if you like this vegetable.

Potatoes – Blue potatoes. It is awesome how quickly freshly dug potatoes quick. I boiled potatoes to make into mashed potatoes this week, and they were ready in less than 20 minutes.

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Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash

Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash – This crop is slowly coming on with either Golden Egg Hybrid great to wash and slice to eat on a veggie tray, use on a kabob or try it sautéed in a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

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Peter Pan Squash

Peter Pan Squash – No need to peel, simply wash and cut up this squash and use like the others. Check out these recipes.

ZucchiniThis crop has been a bit slow due to our insect challenges this year. But it is coming on. So like the cauliflower and kohlrabi we are alternating it around the shareholders. Enjoy – here are some recipes from Country Living.

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Zinnia

Tomatoes – Let us know if you would like extra to freeze, make into salsa, or can. Included this week are some of the 4th of July, Super Sweet 100 Hybrid, SunGold Cherry tomatoes and a few more varieties sprinkled in. Learn more about tomatoes on America’s Heartland. Learn how to freeze your tomatoes here.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta leaves, sunflowers, zinnias and more

Recipe of the Week

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Sautéed Garden Fresh Green Beans

Sautéed Garden Fresh Green Beans

1 cup of green beans cut into 1 inch pieces

Pinch of Kosher Salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

½ Tablespoon olive oil

Sautee’ above ingredients in a skillet on medium heat for about 5 minutes until desired tenderness is reached. Add onion and garlic if desired.

 

Emerging Surprises

Emerging Surprises

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Harvesting tomatoes can be overwhelming. This week it was full of surprises in the amount of 4th of July tomatoes that we have.

This is the time of year where we start to see new surprises emerge. Such as the purple cauliflower to the bountiful tomatoes. You just never know from one day to the next what you will find. From new crops growing, to watermelon and pumpkins maturing to bountiful amounts of green beans and tomatoes.

It’s always a joy to see what the boys are seeing. From the colors of the new crops to the smell of a new cucumber plant emerging (smells like freshly cut cucumber – awesome!) to the color patterns on the 4 O’clock flowers to the odd shapes that nature sometimes creates for our vegetables, you just never know what surprises will emerge.

The bonus of all these vegetable surprises, all four of us are getting our daily recommended amount of vegetables by taste testing the crops as we check them each day.

We encourage you to take a moment where your feet are, be present, look around and take a moment to see what emerging surprises are where you stand.

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/Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – Both of these crops taste good on a sandwich or salad.

Spinach/Kale – Great for salads.

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Banana Peppers

Banana Peppers – They may be small, but they pack quite the taste.

Green Peppers – A variety of peppers are starting to grow. The boys were in charge of packing so each of you will have a surprise of what is in the box.

Beets – An old garden favorite of mine. Learn how to use them here.

Radishes – This is the end of the radish crop until the next one begins to grow.

Carrots – Esperanza carrots – enjoy these summer delights. This new crop is out of the garden versus the raised bed.

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Purple Cauliflower

Kohlrabi or Purple Cauliflower – These crops are slowly maturing. So we will be alternating our way through everyone as they mature. Look for these surprises in the boxes.

Sugar Snap Peas – This is the end of this crop. Another one has started to grow. Stand by for more in the near future.

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Jade Green Beans

Green Beans – This crop is growing like crazy. Let us know if you are interested in more for freezing or canning. Learn how to freeze them here.

Onions –If you are feeling overloaded on onions, cut them up and spread them out and freeze on a cookie sheet or pan. Once frozen place in a container or a Ziploc bag for use throughout the year. I do this and am just coming to my end of frozen onions. This helps speed up my meal preparation. See how onions are grown in Washington.

Potatoes Yukon Gold potatoes. It is awesome how quickly freshly dug potatoes quick. I boiled potatoes to make into mashed potatoes this week, and they were ready in less than 20 minutes.

Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash – This crop is slowly coming on with either Golden Egg Hybrid great to wash and slice to eat on a veggie tray, use on a kabob or try it sautéed in a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Peter Pan Squash – No need to peel, simply wash and cut up this squash and use like the others. Check out these recipes.

ZucchiniThis crop has been a bit slow due to our insect challenges this year. But it is coming on. So like the cauliflower and kohlrabi we are alternating it around the shareholders. Enjoy – here are some recipes from Country Living.

Tomatoes – Let us know if you would like extra to freeze, make into salsa, or can. Included this week are some of the 4th of July, Super Sweet 100 Hybrid, SunGold Cherry tomatoes and a few more varieties sprinkled in. Learn more about tomatoes on America’s Heartland. Learn how to freeze your tomatoes here.

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Zinnias, Hostas and Sunflowers

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves, sunflowers, zinnias and more

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A behind the scenes look at this morning’s harvest. Steve with his headlamp on because harvesting early in the morning before the heat of the day sets in does result in a better harvest. Ear phones -The Bob and Tom Show brings laughter to his morning. And yes, I married a man that can pick flowers and make them into a bouquet – I’ll take that any day.

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. I would also include a variety of other vegetables that were in your boxes.

Lazy taco

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

 

Planting Resumes

Planting Resumes

Planting is a regular cycle throughout the growing season for us. That is until we hit this time of year. Why you may ask?

You see all crops grow and produce differently. Some crops you harvest by pulling the root vegetable out of the ground like a carrot, beet or radish. Once you harvest the crop, you are done with that crop.

While crops like cucumber, beans or tomatoes flower, then the flower is pollinated which then grows into a vegetable. Vegetables will be harvested when ripe. Once the plant is done flowering. The crop is pulled and fed to our chickens.

Leaf vegetables such as spinach, lettuce and kale can be harvested by cutting the leaf. The leaf then grows back week after week. The plant will eventual start to look spent with leaves turning brown, change flavor etc. After which we again pull the crop from the ground and feed it to the chickens.

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Lettuce leaves

With all of the above scenarios going on simultaneously and repetitively throughout the growing season planting has to occur in different areas of the garden to continuously provide fresh vegetables throughout the season.

Inhibitors to a regular plant growing cycle include weather changes combined with soil type, fertilizer for proper plant nutrition and health, insects and weeds that inhibit the proper and regular growth cycle to allow for quality crops.

So believe it or not as we look ahead the growing season is quickly upon us and not knowing when a frost will occur in September, we are nearing the end of a repetitive planting season. The last one has taken place with hope that the crops will continue to grow until the end of September.

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/Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – Both of these  crops taste good on a sandwich or salad.

Spinach/Kale – Great for salads – a new crop of Kale was included this week.

Beets – An old garden favorite of mine. Learn how to use them here.

Radishes – A new crop is planted so enjoy this spicy delight.

Carrots – Esperanza carrots – enjoy these summer delights.

Cucumbers – Will make a return once the next crop is available.

Sugar Snap Peas – A new crop of peas. This is our first crop of sugar snap peas. Our favorite variety.

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Jade Green Beans

Green Beans – The first crop of Jade green beans. Delicious raw or cooked. However you prefer to eat them.

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Banana Peppers

Peppers – Banana peppers, green peppers and a few surprise peppers adorn your boxes. They may be small, but they pack quite the taste.

Onions –Enjoy on your burgers, brats or hotdogs. I cut my onions up and freeze them to use – the year. It makes cooking much easier when I have onions pre-cut, frozen and ready for a hotdish.

Potatoes – Kennebec potatoes are in your box this week. These are great baking potatoes.

Summer Squash – This crop is slowly coming on with either Golden Egg Hybrid (yellow) or Peter Pan (white). Both would be great in the summer squash soup below.

Tomatoes – This summer favorite is coming on. Included this week are some of  the 4th of July tomatoes and some SunGold cherry tomatoes.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves, sunflowers, hydrangeas, zinnias

Recipe of the Week

Summer Squash Soup

5 small yellow summer squash, seeded and cubed (I have used 2 medium or 1 large instead)

2 green onions, cut into 3-inch pieces

2 tablespoons butter

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

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

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

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

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Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash – I always wipe them down with a Chlorox wipe before I cut them up.

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Take your Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash, cut down the middle and peel the outside – I used both a knife and a peeler.

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Inside of the summer squash before removing the seeds.

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Using a spoon, I scoop out the seeds.

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Cut into cubes about 1/2 – 1 inch in size.

 

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Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

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Puree the mixture.

Cool slightly. Process in batches in a blender; return all to the pan. Stir in cream and heat through.

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Place back in your pan, add cream, salt and pepper and warm the soup up. Serve with crackers if desired. We enjoyed this soup with Townhouse Crackers.

Through his Lens

Through his Lens

Seeing life through another’s lens and seeking to understand their perspective can bring such peace and joy. Sam asked to take the camera and take photos for the blog. At first, I was excited that someone else had taken the lead on photos and excited to see what he would capture.

When he returned to show me his photos, I was in awe. He said he wanted to capture all the different colors of flowers in the gardens. Then he proceeded to explain the remainder of his perspectives and what he saw.

His perspective through the lens truly brought peace. As he explained picture by picture what he liked, and why he took a photo of each it was so insightful as to how he views the world. It also helped me to take a step back and enjoy the view through his eyes.

So enjoy the colors of what Sam captured. Truly a young man who enjoys a color palate as he looks at how God painted the picture.

Garden Science

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Japanese Beetles feed on the leaves of over 300 species of plants. Adults feed on the leaves of plants between the veins, leaving a skeleton of brown fibers where the leaves used to be. Learn more from the University of Minnesota Extension at https://extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden-insects/japanese-beetles These bugs are evidently a problem across the state of Minnesota this year as they were the featured nuisance at the county fair.

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This small insect is one of the culprits to eating our vegetables this year – including kale, kohlrabi and radishes. I believe it is possible that it is a young Japanese Beetle.

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I’m hopeful that the ladybugs have been on top of eating some of the negative insects.

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 and Oak Leaf Lettuce freshly cut each Wednesday. The cool thing about this crop is the leaves grow back so that you can harvest a planting multiple times.

Black Seeded Simpson/Red Oak Leaf Lettuce Both of these  crops taste good on a sandwich or salad.

Spinach/Kale Great for salads – a new crop of Kale was included this week.

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Banana Peppers… notice how they grow up not down.

Banana Peppers – They may be small, but they pack quite the taste.

Beets – An old garden favorite of mine. Learn how to use them here.

Radishes – The radishes have been challenged by insects this year. We finally have a few for you.

Carrots – Esperanza carrots – enjoy these summer delights.

Cucumbers – These crop of cucumbers is bountiful harvesting 75 pounds today.

Sugar Snap Peas – A new crop of peas!

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Dragon Tongue Beans

Dragon Tongue Beans – This heritage variety crop took quite awhile to come in. We hope you enjoy the variety on your plates. We enjoy this crop cut into 1/2 inch pieces sautéed in olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper. I have also used this crop in Tatar Tot Hotdish and enjoyed it there as well.

Onions –Enjoy on your burgers, brats or hotdogs. I cut my onions up and freeze them to use – the year. It makes cooking much easier when I have onions pre-cut, frozen and ready for a hotdish.

Potatoes – The first harvesting attempt of the season which reaped some small potatoes which would taste delicious boiled or variety of other ways. Check out this link for more information.

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Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash

Summer Squash – This crop is slowly coming on with either Golden Egg Hybrid or Zucchini. We are hoping the Peter Pan Squash is ready next week.

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Fourth of July tomatoes

Tomatoes – This summer favorite is coming on. Included this week are some of  the 4th of July tomatoes and some SunGold cherry tomatoes.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves and zinnias

 

Recipe of the Week

Homemade French Fries

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We cut up both Blue, Norland and Kennebec potatoes into 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick slices. Placed them in a bowl of ice water and placed in refrigerator overnight. Before placing in the deep fat fryer, take them out of the water and gently pat them dry  with a cloth.

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Then place the potato fries in the deep fat fryer for a few minutes and remove when golden brown. I was quite excited when Sam said he wanted to eat these French fries not the store bought.

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A beautiful variety of French fries to offer with your meal.

Weeding through to See Potential

Weeding through to See Potential

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Green beans that have been weeded.

We have spent much of our time this week controlling and managing pests in the crops. The weeds seem to always thrive and hinder the growth and health of the crops. But once you take away the obstacle of the pest and the weeds the crops really grow.

Have you ever wondered why, for the oddest reason, weeding seems therapeutic even though it is a dreaded process? Why do we feel so satisfied when a garden or a field has been cleaned of the weeds and pests? It reminds me of events or things in life that drag us down, that don’t let us or those we love thrive to be their best self. I feel that weeding for that moment in time allows me to be in control of something.

There are so many things that are out of our control, but if we can focus on one “weed or pest” at a time, eventually we will get to the end of the field and look back and see that for a moment in time we have conquered what ever was holding us back. Just like the crops that we want to grow, we need to rid ourselves of the weeds or pests that hold us back from achieving our true potential.

Yes, the weeds and pests will come back if we allow them to but just like in agriculture, we need to constantly troubleshoot and find better ways to show constant improvement to strive to be our best self.

So the moral of the story: don’t let weeds or pests stand in your way of seeking your sunshine to stand tall and proud to achieve your maximum potential. Face what you dread head on, and the end result will be worth your efforts.

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Crop scouting for potato bugs.

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The last planting of potatoes was hilled which means using the tiller with a special attachment to push more dirt up along the potato plant and providing the plant more room to grow potatoes.

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The tomatoes were tied up so they are not growing on in the ground. This they are cleaner and less chance for soil born plant disease.

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We were able to continue learning about other areas of agriculture on a 4-H field trip to the University of Minnesota touring a variety of their research farms.

Garden Science

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Japanese beetles feed on the leaves of over 300 species of plants. Adults feed on the leaves of plants between the veins, leaving a skeleton of brown fibers where the leaves used to be. Learn more here.

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Tomato Hornworms is a very destructive pest to tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes.

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.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – Red Oak leaf lettuce have elongated, lobed and loosely serrated leaves similar to those of oak leaves. The vibrant burgundy stained leaves form a semi-tight rosette, growing upward and outward. Red Oak Leaf lettuce has a buttery texture and an incredibly mellow, nutty and sweet flavor. It is known for its sweetness, which may be an even more memorable quality than its attractive foliage.

Spinach – Great for salads – check out last week’s recipe

Cucumbers – The cucumbers are growing like crazy. Here are a few ideas on how to use them from Martha Stewart.

Beets An old garden favorite of mine. The beetroot is the taproot portion of the beet plant. It is one of several of the cultivated varieties of grown for their edible taproots and their leaves called beet greens. Learn how to use them here.

Carrots – The carrots are finally ready! Enjoy.

Swiss Chard The green leafy vegetable has the leaf stalks and often leaf blade or stalk that can be eaten. The leaf blade can be green or reddish in color; the leaf stalks are usually white, yellow, or red.

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Sugar snap peas were first developed in 1952 by cross-breeding snow pea with a mutant shell pea plant. Researchers hoped that the cross might counteract twisting and buckling seen in varieties at the time. With this cross, they developed a new class of snow pea.[2] Snap peas, like all other peas, are pod fruits. An edible-podded pea is less fibrous, and edible when young. Pods of the edible-podded pea, including snap peas, do not have a membrane and do not open when ripe.

Sugar Snap Peas –Eat the whole edible pod. Enjoy this garden favorite.

Onions –Enjoy on your burgers, brats or hotdogs.

Summer SquashYou don’t have to peel the squash, just wash it. Here are a few ways to use it from Country Living. Shareholders either have the golden egg or a zucchini in their box.

CilantroDid you know that ¼ cup of cilantro only has 1 calorie. Here are a few ideas from Martha Stewart to use your cilantro.

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A variety of zinnias and sunflowers.

Fresh cut arrangement –zinnias, hostas, sunflowers and hydrangeas.

Recipe of the Week

Freezing Herbs

This is step by step instructions that I posted a few years ago, but it was worth reposting. From time to time, I will be setting out additional herbs in case you don’t have those herbs in your pot, or you would just like more. Help yourself, and use this method to have a taste of the garden throughout the winter.

7-19-12 wash herbs

Wondering how to preserve your herbs for making salsa or chilli? I wash them and place in a small ice cube tray and then place in a small Ziploc bag so I have them when I need them. First, wash herbs under cold water.

 

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Cut or pull herbs apart and place smaller portions in the separate compartments in an ice cube tray. This tray I found in the $1 isle at Target.

 

 

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Run water over the herbs and place in the freezer. Once frozen, take out of tray and place in labeled bag or container. These will come in handy throughout the year when a recipe calls for an herb. Just take the ice cube and place in the recipe. Fresh herbs throughout the year.

 

 

 

Perspective and Attitude drive Outcome

Perspective and Attitude drive Outcome

It has been a busy week filled with planting another round of crops and weeding. The weather made it extremely challenging to accomplish.

As you can see, Sam and I raced a storm that had us in a flash flood warning this weekend. We are appreciative that we did not receive the downpour that friends south of us received. Thankfully no lightning at our place – so Sam thought it was a blast to play in the rain immediately following planting sweet potatoes.

I greatly appreciated his willingness to work with speed and understanding of the purposeful outcome we needed to have. So many good life lessons from this including teamwork, do it right the first time so you don’t have to do it over and things can be fun in the rain, one’s perspective and attitude drive the outcome.

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Sam and I planted 50 sweet potatoes. We appreciate the help from our neighbors the Schwakes for their help with sweet potatoes.

An update on what is growing on: the radishes and kohlrabi appear to be loved by an insect this year. Now on the 4th planting, we are hopeful that we can beat the insects on this round. Also, the sugar snap peas are blooming which means edible pea pods are around the corner. In fact, we harvested a handful yesterday so we are hopeful that the bounty will be available next week.

Garden Science

We thought you would enjoy a few of our views this week.

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Looking down the top of a corn plant is always fascinating to see the swirls as the leaves and plant grow. Learn more about the corn plant growth here.

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Blue potatoes are not a GMO. It’s origin is quite interesting. Learn more here  and at the Wisconsin Potato Growers.

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.

7-20-13 rhubarb wash and cut ends off

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. Check out earlier posts on rhubarb for recipe ideas. Also, a recent rhubarb favorite was shared this evening – make rhubarb sauce and eat it with your favorite yogurt.

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.

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.

spinach

It is so fun to watch the crops that you plant sprout and grow. This is a young spinach plant. Do you know how long it takes for spinach to germinate? 7-14 days depending on growing conditions. You can cut and harvest several times. The plant will grow new leaves back every time you cut and harvest it.

Spinach – great for salads – check out this week’s recipe below.

Chives – wash then chop up chives into small pieces. I enjoy using them in potatoes on the grill. Here are a few ideas for using your chives. https://www.marthastewart.com/search/results?keys=chives

Cilantrodid you know that ¼ cup of cilantro only has 1 calorie. Here are a few ideas from Martha Stewart to use your cilantro.   https://www.marthastewart.com/search/results?keys=cilantro

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves. I was so bummed that the peonies had already finished flowering.

Recipe of the Week

strawberry spinach salad (2)

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Dressing

3 Tablespoons apple juice

2 Tablespoons strawberry spreadable fruit

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salad

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

8 cups bite-size pieces spinach

1 cup strawberries, stems removed and strawberries cut in half

1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (1 oz)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. In small bowl, mix all dressing ingredients until blended; set aside.
  2. Spray 10-inch skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in skillet 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170°F). Remove chicken to cutting board.
  3. Add dressing to skillet; stir to loosen any pan drippings.
  4. Cut chicken into slices. Among 4 plates, divide spinach. Top with chicken, strawberries and cheese. Drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle with walnuts.

Source: Taste of Home

 

Harvesting Begins

Harvesting Begins

The excitement of seeing the joys from the garden has begun. It is good to seeing our growing season is slightly in front of last year’s especially since we had a blizzard in the middle of April.

Garden Science

 

I asked Sam what our science message should be this week, and he said, “let’s show them how the Peony flower opens up.” It usually happens fairly quickly over a period of 1-3 days. They are beautiful and smell delightful. So here is Sam’s view from the camera lens on this science project.

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The beginning bloom of the Peony flower.

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The bloom beginning to open on the Peony.

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The Peony flower bloom open.

 

Pick-up and Delivery

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

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

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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How large are rhubarb leaves? This big.

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.

Spinach and beet leaves – great for salads

Herbchives – 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.

20180606_211807.jpgFresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves and peonies

Recipe of the Week

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Rhubarb Jam – Enjoy!

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.

From Winter to Summer

From Winter to Summer

It is extremely strange to think that roughly a month and a half ago was a blizzard and that over Memorial Day, we experienced record setting heat. All of these crazy weather conditions, combined with a window to plant provided an opportunity for the crops and weeds to grow like crazy. The good news is that harvest for some of these crops is just around the corner, and so are some delicious dishes to tantalize the taste buds.

4-15-18 Brothers

Roughly a month and a half ago, we had a blizzard which was followed by record-setting heat at the end of May. It is strange to think that we are ready for produce to be harvested. If you are wondering, yes the snow was that deep on April 15.

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The brown spot on the leaf is the outside shell of the seed still hanging onto the leaf. It will eventually fall off as the plant continues to grow.

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New lettuce plants… love the color of the leaves.

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4 O’Clocks peaking out of the ground. The strength a young plant has to peek out of the ground is always amazing to me. We plant 4 O’Clocks to attract good insects so they will eat the bad insects.

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The potatoes are growing and needed to be hilled already. This allows more room for the tubers (potatoes) to grow.

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Unfortunately, we still have to pull some weeds. These weeds overcame the carrots over Memorial Day weekend.

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What do we do as a family before and after a day of baseball…weed control. After 3 inches of rain and about a week of above normal and record-setting temperatures, the weeds are plentiful. Keeping them under control is essential to growing and harvesting a good crop.

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Running the tiller that was his great grandpa’s.

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Yes, we have two of great grandpa’s tillers because they had a big garden. They accomplish the task faster when we work together.

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We made a trip to South Dakota and were able to see the Corn Palace. It was fun to see the beautiful art work made from different color corn varieties. The corn is not dyed. Corn is naturally these different colors depending on the variety. 

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We recently hatched baby chicks in a classroom. We all enjoy doing agriculture in the classroom to help others better understand agriculture.