4-H Journey to the State Fair

4-H Journey to the State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair means something different for everyone. Perhaps it brings back a memory of cheese curds, giant yellow slide, seed art, Miracle of Birth Center or great family memories.

For our family, it means a journey of continual learning in 4-H project areas that culminate with the opportunity to compete and learn from 4-Hers from across our state’s 87 counties. When I was a 4-Her, we were allowed to accept and take one state fair trip. I took my pig. Because going to the fair with an animal was simply way more fun than a general project area. This year, Keith was old enough and earned state fair trips by receiving high county fair placings in both a livestock and a general project area. He also judged with the county’s general livestock judging team.

Swine Project

The livestock project journey begins with selecting 4-H pigs earlier in the year. The boys select their pigs on their own based upon what they feel will match what the judge is looking for. During the summer months, they work with them so they walk the way you want them to in the show ring, feed them a balanced nutritional ration to grow the way you would like them to and care for the pig(s) so they reach their full potential.

Livestock projects allow our kids to learn through hands-on experiences. The livestock teach life lessons that are sometimes simply difficult to put into words. The animals become a steady companion throughout the growing cycle, that listen to them, teach patience and perseverance, compassion and loss, winning and losing, contentment and friendship, dedication and follow-through. There were many mornings before and after baseball tournaments that I found the boys working with their animals.

This all culminates at the state fair. 4-Hers participate in a species-specific interview, showmanship and the animal being judged.

Vegetable Gardening

The vegetable gardening project area begins with selecting varieties to plant to preparing harvests to occur at both the county fair in July and the state fair in August. This planning begins the season before and continues through the planting season.

Preparing the project items for the vegetable garden project to be taken to the fair takes a considerable amount of time. Consider harvesting all of the following: two small vegetables: 12 pea pods and 12 green beans (12 cherry tomatoes for the state fair); three medium sized vegetables: three carrots, three beets, three cucumbers and one large vegetable. If there is more than one, they need to be as close to identical as possible. Once harvested, the tops and bottoms need to be trimmed, and vegetables cleaned appropriately to display vibrantly. It is time consuming. For the project judging they need to know planting conditions, vegetable variety selection, challenges with the growing season and how to resolve them, pest control and health benefits of the vegetables and how to utilize the vegetables.

This is just a snippet of the two project areas that Keith took to the state fair. As parents and volunteer 4-H leaders, we learn so much by being on this journey with them and are so grateful for all the mentors that support their learning and personal growth. We are blessed beyond measure with the friendships and opportunities that 4-H provides to our family.

We encourage you to contact your county Extension office or search online for your 4-H in your area. It’s easy to say you don’t have time to squeeze in one more activity for your kids. Once you see them experience a project interview with an adult judge at the fair or the learning that occurs through the project area, you will understand that 4-H is worth your time and effort. Learn more here.

Garden Science

You may wonder about the story behind your personalized pumpkins. This project starts in August with Steve and the boys carefully etching your names into a pumpkin. The scar on the skin heals over forming the beautiful art.

Pick-Up and Delivery

Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA – please note the exceptions to this which were in the email. Please follow the CDC and MDH guidelines and COVID-19 procedures.

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.

Beets – This beet crop has been fairly resilient through this crazy growing conditions. Enjoy beets by peeling and cutting into wedges. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or boil with the skin on for approximately 30 to 45 minutes or until tender. Eat with a dab of butter or in a salad. Check out the NDSU Pocket Guide to Preparing Fruits and Vegetables.

Carrots – The carrot crop in general has not liked the drought this year. Enjoy fresh or cooked. Try these brown sugar glazed carrots from Martha Stewart.

Cucumbers – The cucumbers have picked up and the second planting is doing well. If you are interested in pickling some we may have extra for you to do so. Here are a few cucumber ideas from Martha Stewart.

Peppers – A variety of peppers for you to chose from. Learn more about peppers from America’s Heartland.

Potatoes – Red Norland potatoes. Great for cooking on the grill, boiling or mashed. Learn more about how potatoes are harvested from America’s Heartland.

Onions – White Onions

Winter Squash Butternut, Kuri, Spaghetti and Carnival squash this week. Sorry to inundate you all at once. Remember that Butternut, Kuri and Carnival squash can be cooked and then frozen for use throughout the winter

Salsa

Tomatoes – A few Fourth of July, yellow, cherry Sungold tomatoes. I love the size of the Fourth of July for a quick lunch, and the Sungolds. Let us know if you are interested in canning or freezing extra quantities. Enjoy the salsa this week! Let us know if you are interested in more.

Sam selected the area that he felt would grow the best watermelon. I think he did a good job! We hope you enjoy this delight.

Watermelon – Sam took on the role of growing the watermelons this year. We are so excited with the outcomes. Enjoy!

Pumpkins, Ornamental Corn and Corn Shocks – Enjoy some Fall decorations. More to come next week.

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. Butternut

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 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.

Presents under the leaves

Presents under the leaves

It is hard to believe that the end of the growing season is just around the corner. But it is true, it is almost the middle of September, school has begun, and the smell of fall is in the air. I do love fall. There is just always part of me that is sad to see summer come to a close.

It is so exciting to se what is growing under the leaves.

On the bright side, the pumpkins are peeking through the leaves and the color in the garden is exciting to see. It sometimes feels like Christmas and the excitement of seeing presents under the tree. Only it is presents under the leaves scattered across the field.

The recent rains have given everything a little boost to finish the growing season strong. We are anxious to harvest sweet potatoes, watermelon, winter squashes, gourds, pumpkins, popcorn and ornamental corn. Be prepared for a variety of choices and colors. Don’t let the abundance overwhelm you. Focus instead on the joyful calm that the beautiful array of colors bring.

We have been patiently waiting for the right time to harvest the watermelon. Patience is a virtue.

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.

Lettuce/Spinach/Kale Mix – Unfortunately, this crop has really struggled this year. This week was a mix of spinach, kale and Red Oak Leaf lettuce.

Beets – Detroit Dark Red Beets

Fancipak Cucumbers

Cabbage or Cauliflower – Purple cabbage or purple cauliflower varieties to try this week.

Cucumbers – The cucumbers have picked up and the second planting is doing well. If you are interested in pickling some we may have extra for you to do so.

Kohlrabi – A garden favorite. I love to peel it, cut it up like an apple and dip in peanut butter.

Peppers – A variety are available. Let us know what you think about the hot peppers. Meanwhile, you have green peppers and the smaller red peppers, Sweet, Cherry Stuffer.

Potatoes – Red Norland potatoes. Great for cooking on the grill, boiling or mashed.

We love the braided stem of the onion.

Onions – White Onions

Radishes – The last of this year’s radishes. Enjoy them in a salad, on a sandwich or in a hot dish.

Summer Squash – Zucchini, Peter Pan and Sunburst varieties. These younger varieties are greatTIP: use your summer squash like your zucchini. None of these need to be peeled when using them.

Sungold Tomatoes

Tomatoes – A few Fourth of July, yellow, cherry Sungold tomatoes. I love the size of the Fourth of July for a quick lunch, and the Sungolds. The tomatoes are quickly turning. Let us know if you are interested in canning or freezing extra quantities. Let us know if you are interested in more tomato juice.

Winter Squash – Butternut, Kuri and Spaghetti squash are available this week.

Zinnias and Hydrangeas – These should brighten up your home. Put a splash of bleach in the water to help them last longer.

Recipe of the Week

Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad

Serve as a dip with your favorite chips or crackers. The zesty lime dressing offers a fun punch of summer that will have you making this salad again and again.

4 ears sweet corn
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeño seeds and ribs removed, minced
Zest and juice of 1 lime
¼ c. canola oil
2 ripe avocados halved, pitted, peeled and diced
1 c. cherry tomatoes, quartered
6 scallions thinly sliced
½ c finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

-Preheat the grill to medium heat.

-Grill corn until tender about 20 minutes. Let cool and remove kernels.

-In a large bowl, combine the garlic, jalapeño, lime zest, lime juice, and oil. Whisk to combine.

-Add the corn, avocado, tomatoes, scallions, and cilantro and toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Source: NDSU Extension

Under the Canopy

Under the Canopy

It is so much fun at this time of year to walk around and find what is growing under the canopy of leaves. We are seeing a variety of winter squashes, pumpkins, gourds, cantaloupes and watermelon. The challenging part of all of this is that while we are super excited to see them, we still have to be patient for them to reach full maturity.

It is a good reminder that being patient in life is worth the wait.

Be prepared that a lot of surprises will be harvested in the coming weeks. We encourage you to be ready to preserve the produce to enjoy this winter.

Pick-Up and Delivery

Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA – please note the exceptions to this which were in the email. Please follow the CDC and MDH guidelines and COVID-19 procedures.

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.

Boxes of Produce

Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.

Lettuce/Spinach Mix – Unfortunately, this crop has really struggled this year. This week was a mix of spinach, kale, Black Seeded Simpson and Red Oak Leaf lettuce.

Brussel Sprouts – Give this vegetable a try. I had never tried them until this year, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Cucumbers – The cucumbers have picked up and the second planting is doing well. If you are interested in pickling some we may have extra for you to do so.

Green Beans – The first of this second crop. Perhaps you are interested in pickling some. Let us know. It looks like there is a good crop coming.

Purple Kohlrabi – love the color.

Kohlrabi – A garden favorite. I love to peel it, cut it up like an apple and dip in peanut butter.

Peppers – A variety are making an appearance in the garden. There will be some super-hot ones forth coming. Meanwhile, I encourage you to try the smaller red peppers, Sweet, Cherry Stuffer.

Potatoes – Kennebec potatoes. Great for the grill or baked.

Onions – A variety of onions were harvested this week, Walla Walla and Blush Onions.

Summer Squash – Zucchini, Peter Pan and Sunburst varieties. TIP: use your summer squash like your zucchini. None of these need to be peeled when using them.

Super Sugar Snap Peas – We started the second planting of this crop. We are grateful that the peas are doing well with the timely rains.

Sungold Tomatoes – super sweet surprise. Great to eat even for breakfast!

Tomatoes – A few Fourth of July and cherry Sungold tomatoes. I love the size of the Fourth of July for a quick lunch, and the Sungolds. The tomatoes are quickly turning. Let us know if you are interested in canning or freezing extra quantities.

Sunflowers, Zinnias and Hydrangeas – These should brighten up your home. Put a splash of bleach in the water to help them last longer.

Recipe of the Week

Banana-Zucchini Bread

Banana-Zucchini Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs, room temperature

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)

2 cups sugar

1 cup applesauce

1-1/2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini

1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, whisk eggs, bananas, sugar and oil. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in zucchini and pecans.

Pour into 2 greased 9×5-in. loaf pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Source: Taste of Home

Hidden Color Unveiled

Hidden Color Unveiled

One of the interesting and unique aspects about harvesting tomatoes and working with the tomatoes is that when we wash our hands, they are so green, and boy do you smell like a tomato! This is unlike any other crop that we grow and harvest.

I always wonder about the hidden message in these lessons found in the garden. Perhaps this lesson is that sometimes what makes us so unique is hidden amongst many things. Until you “dive in” and go to work, you don’t really see the benefit of what’s in front of you or you reap what you work hard for?

For example, we have oodles of tomatoes. You need to go through the vines to find the ripe one. This takes time, patience and tenacity. This is not always fun when it is hot out. While the green color and smell are unique and different when we wash our hands, these are reminders of the hard work and perhaps God is telling us to pause and remember the lessons and treasures that were unveiled from our determination.

I encourage you to take time this week to see what lessons God is trying to teach you. I know it is hard to pause and reflect. It is in this reflection that many “ah ha” moments and lessons can be learned

Pick-Up and Delivery

Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA – please note the exceptions to this which were in the email. Please follow the CDC and MDH guidelines and COVID-19 procedures.

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.

A variety of lettuce, kale and spinach greens for you this week.

Lettuce/Spinach Mix – Unfortunately, this crop has really struggled this year. This week was a mix of spinach, kale, Black Seeded Simpson and Red Oak Leaf lettuce.

Cucumbers – The cucumbers have picked up and the second planting is doing well. If you are interested in pickling some we may have extra for you to do so.

Harvesting green beans is always better with a partner.

Green Beans – The first of this second crop. Perhaps you are interested in pickling some. Let us know. It looks like there is a good crop coming.

Kohlrabi – A garden favorite. I love to peel it, cut it up like an apple and dip in peanut butter.

Pepper, Sweet, Cherry Stuffer Hybrid

Peppers – A variety are making an appearance in the garden. There will be some super-hot ones forth coming. Meanwhile, I encourage you to try the smaller red peppers, Sweet, Cherry Stuffer.

Potatoes – Kennebec potatoes. Great for the grill or baked.

Onions – A variety of onions were harvested this week, Walla Walla and Blush Onions.

Sweet Corn – Thank you to our neighbors the Peterson family for supplying our sweet corn for your families.

Summer Squash – Zucchini, Peter Pan and Sunburst varieties. TIP: use your summer squash like your zucchini. None of these need to be peeled when using them.

Super Sugar Snap Peas – We started the second planting of this crop. We are grateful that the peas are doing well with the timely rains.

Tomatoes – A few Fourth of July and cherry Sungold tomatoes. I love the size of the Fourth of July for a quick lunch, and the Sungolds. The tomatoes are quickly turning. Let us know if you are interested in canning or freezing extra quantities.

Sunflowers, Zinnias and Hydrangeas – These should brighten up your home. Put a splash of bleach in the water to help them last longer.

Recipe of the Week

One of the interesting and unique aspects about harvesting tomatoes and working with the tomatoes is that when we wash our hands, they are so green, and boy do you smell like a tomato! This is unlike any other crop that we grow and harvest.
Banana-Zucchini Bread

Banana-Zucchini Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs, room temperature

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)

2 cups sugar

1 cup applesauce

1-1/2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini

1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, whisk eggs, bananas, sugar and oil. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in zucchini and pecans.

Pour into 2 greased 9×5-in. loaf pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Source: Taste of Home

Hope on the Horizon

Hope on the Horizon

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

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

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

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

wp-15883401196047199200386376874790.jpg

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

wp-15883401202648955960320021456756.jpg

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

wp-1588340120148.jpg

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

wp-1588340120202.jpg

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

wp-1588376260772.jpg

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

wp-15883401220812538134505794943521.jpg

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

wp-1588376299788.jpg

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

 

 

Warmer weather on the Horizon

Warmer weather on the Horizon

We are ready for some sunshine and no snow and are hopeful that the weather forecast of warmer days to come are upon us. Here is a glimpse of our activity last week.

wp-15873213047321488206553381744689.jpg

Keith and I planted some of our seeds last week such as cauliflower, tomatoes, watermelon and more.

wp-1587321260819.jpg

It is fun to see all of the different sizes and shapes of the seeds and then to see what they grow into. A miracle combined with science and Mother Nature – always fun to witness.

wp-1587321305289.jpg

We were grateful for a beautiful day. The boys all had a hard time believing me that we were in a winter storm warning for the following day.

wp-1587321305306.jpg

Sure enough, the snow came, and the boys made the most of it. Grateful that one week later the snow is gone.

wp-15873213058771711513963951826487.jpg

Keith with one of the Isa Brown hens that is quickly growing and maturing at little over 7 weeks old.

wp-15873213053211908239975066402690.jpg

After a hard days work, it was fun to see the boys sit down and just enjoy these young chickens. This is one of the male rooster Isa Browns at just over 7 weeks of age.

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling Blessed

Feeling Blessed

20190925_171732.jpg

Thank you for being along for this growing season journey.

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

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

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

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

20191002_184211.jpg

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

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

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

Garden Science

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

20190928_1655505820198402452250304.jpg

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

 

20190921_1743141938756363638065072.jpg

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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

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

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

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

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The entire plant is edible.

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi – just a few left.

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

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

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – the third crop is being harvested

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

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

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

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

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

Purple Cauliflower – a taste for you this week.

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

Flowers of the Week – Hydrangeas and Sedums

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

wordswag_1570061962599.jpg

Recipe of the Week

Salsa

20191002_1840392995869118388603794.jpg

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

 

Stark Reminders

Stark Reminders

Harner Family 9-19

This is the last official week of the CSA. Next week will be bonus boxes as we work to clean-up the harvest. Thank you to everyone for your support. We enjoy working with and for all of you.

Last night as we were harvesting gourds and pumpkins, the skies grew dark and the humidity in the air sat still. The weather service had been warning us for days to be alert and aware of the weather on Tuesday late afternoon and evening. So, when I picked up the boys and laid out our goals and schedule before nightfall and told them of the urgency of time because of the weather forecast, they thought I was crazy because the skies were clear.

So, as we all sauntered out to harvest at our own paces, I looked up after about 20 minutes outside, and the skies were black. So, we quickly shifted gears and continued working, through quite a bit of it. The storms were split around us, and the lightning shows were all around with the green to the south and the tall thunderheads to our north. To say it was eerie is an understatement. We were all glad when the wind picked up vs the heavy stillness and the green clouds to the south. We prayed the two systems would not build off each other. Our true concern of a repeat of last year was real. In the end, the storms split us, and we had some rainfall, barely enough to make the ground wet.

As we closed out our day, I said that I enjoyed being out watching the weather, and the rush of working hard together. The boys enjoyed the tasks at hand, but said that the eeriness was way to familiar and were so thankful that Mother Nature did not show us any more than she did. It was just another stark reminder of how little is in our control.

A special request from us this fall: As farmers  across our great state are starting harvest season, please do us a favor – Mother Nature has been challenging this year. I am asking you to consider how you may lift the spirits of the farmers you may know – say thank you, slow down for them on the road, think of a kind gesture you can do for them (maybe it’s bringing them coffee or a sandwich or simply waving). After all, they are just trying their best to raise food for all of us. Thank you!

Garden Science

20190922_134454.jpg

These beautiful butterflies are loving the Zinnias.

Boxes of Produce

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

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

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

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

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

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. They serve this beet soup at church, and I love it.

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi – just a few left.

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

20190821_180928.jpgSugar Snap PeasThe final crop is just coming in…so you have a taste.

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – the third crop is being harvested

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

Tomatoes – This crop is exploding…enjoy a few extra to freeze for salsa or soups later this year. Here are a few recipe ideas from America’s Heartland.

Potatoes – Yukon Golds or Kennebecs are in your box. Great for baking. I find that the potatoes right out of the garden often cook and bake faster than others. Yeah – faster meal preparation!

Green Bell Peppers – Great for freezing for meals later this year.

Banana Pepper – I cut these up and freeze extra peppers for later in the year.

20190921_1743141938756363638065072.jpg

The largest zucchini has been harvested.

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

20190924_1754338372946392187254771.jpg

A variety of egg plants this year.

Eggplants – The egg plant crop has been flourishing this year.

Butternut Winter 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 has variegated patterns of orange and green colors and is a hybrid of the sweet dumpling squash and the acorn squash. When cooked its texture is soft and melting with a fragrant aroma and its flavor; slightly nutty, buttery, and sweet with nuances of maple syrup, similar to that of butternut squash. This squash has contains potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, as well as, some calcium, magnesium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

Broccoli A taste for you this week.

Purple Cauliflower – A taste for you this week.

20190904_155811.jpg

Red Kuri Squash

Red Kuri Winter Squash I fix it just like I do Butternut Squash. Cut it in half, place cut side down in cake pan, place about an inch of water in the pan, cover with aluminum foil, place in preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for one hour. Take out of oven, peel the skin off, scoop out the seeds and enjoy. I mix with a ½ cup of butter and ¾ cup of brown sugar. Freeze extra in cupcake tins to use later on. Learn more here.

20190916_1810381480787013334266606.jpgPurple CabbageWe hope you enjoy this garden delight. Here are some ways to use this vegetable.

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

Flowers of the Week – ornamental corn and corn stalks

Recipe of the Week

Tomato and Onion Quiche

Serves 6

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Preparation Time: 10-20 minutes

Cook/Bake Time: 1 hour

 

1/2 of a 15-ounce package (1 crust) rolled, refrigerated pie crust

12 ounces assorted tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup chopped onion

4 large eggs

3/4 cup half-and-half

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup shredded Swiss, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and/or Havarti cheese (4 ounces)

Paprika

Preheat oven to 425°Fahrenheit.

-Let pie crust stand at room temperature according to package directions. Unroll pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate. Crimp edge as desired. Line un-pricked pastry with a double thickness of foil. Bake in a 425° oven for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes more or until pastry is set and dry. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375°.

-Place tomato slices on paper towels to absorb excess moisture. In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion. Cook until onion is tender, stirring occasionally.

-In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, flour, basil, salt, dry mustard and black pepper.

-To assemble quiche: Sprinkle cheese onto bottom of the hot, baked pastry shell. Spoon onion mixture over cheese. Arrange a single layer of tomato slices over cheese, overlapping slightly. Slowly pour egg mixture over tomatoes. Sprinkle some paprika over the mixture.

-Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes or until egg mixture is set in center. If necessary, cover edge of pie with foil for the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking to prevent over-browning. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Source: Minnesota Chicken and Egg

4-H Vegetable Garden Project

4-H Vegetable Garden Project

20190826_0931018060601520658858570.jpg

Above, Keith is meticulously setting up the vegetable garden project at the state fair. All the vegetables made it from home, across the fairgrounds to the 4-H state fair building with no damage.

As our family jumps into the school year, we have been reflecting back on our experiences this summer. One of which was both boys taking the 4-H vegetable garden project to the county fair, and Keith advancing to the state fair with this project. (A 4-Her needs to be a certain age and place in the state fair line-up to advance in any project area to the state fair.)

20190717_155608.jpg

Sam was happy he didn’t give up on selecting uniform vegetables to win the champion ribbon at the county fair. Sam was not old enough to advance to the state fair this year. He enjoyed his one on one interview with the judge. The recipe card in the box identifies which vegetables are in the box and the variety of that vegetable.

While both boys would say this is not their favorite general project to take, they would both tell you they learn a great deal of practical knowledge from the experience. There are countless project areas you can take in 4-H. We encourage the boys to take those that further their personal interest and ones that will provide practical knowledge and experience for their future.

Take-a-Ways

  1. Project Preparation – The requirements of the project are to bring 2 smaller varieties of vegetables (12 of each vegetable); 3 medium size varieties of vegetables (3 of each vegetable) and 1 larger variety of vegetable. Selecting them to be uniform and preparing them for display is quite the process. We are grateful we had experience showing in last year’s state fair open class show to see the variety of ways people transport their vegetables longer distances so they don’t get damaged.

    20190825_1810045891618790351874030.jpg

    It never fails that when the vegetables need to be harvested for a fair the boys come home from a long day of baseball or another 4-H event and have to persevere through vegetable selection. Let me tell you, that is not easy.

    2. Grateful for Learning Moments – When a 4-Her sits down with the judge, that is when they demonstrate their knowledge on their project. So the boys study the different varieties of vegetables they grew; why they chose that variety to plant; why they chose that vegetable in their display; planting date; days to harvest; what special growing needs that plant has; pests to that plant/crop; nutrition and uses of the vegetable once harvested. Trust me it is quite the conversation and preparation.

    3. Personal Growth – The judging at the county level is one on one. It is a great way to learn how to conduct yourself in that setting; learn how to communicate verbally and professionally. At the state fair, those that bring that project interview in a group setting with the judge. What a great opportunity to learn how an interview in this type of setting works; improve listening skills and to grow personal knowledge in that area. Keith seemed to really enjoy the conversational learning from the other 4-Her’s projects. Both experiences were extremely positive.

    20190826_1258322996915990944482431.jpg

    Keith’s state fair 4-H vegetable garden display which earned him a blue at the state fair. A job well done!

Moral of the story: Are hearts couldn’t be more proud and filled with more joy for him as we watched him grow and learn and stretch is area of knowledge. We are so very grateful for the opportunities that 4-H provides for both of our kids and many others to grow beyond what they expected.

Boxes of Produce

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

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

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

20190904_1602113074347221396397208.jpg

Arugula – peppery flavored green leaf in your box.

Arugula – Arugula is a peppery, distinctive-tasting green that originated in the Mediterranean region. It’s also known as rucola, salad rocket, and Italian cress. Arugula is a member of the Brassica, or Cruciferous, family. This classification includes mostly cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli. Arugula is delicious raw, and it can be used as a healthy add-on topping for pizza, nachos, sandwiches, and wraps. Learn more here.

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

Radishes – These Cherry Belle Radishes are loving this colder weather. Here are some radish recipe ideas from Martha Stewart.

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. They serve this beet soup at church, and I love it.

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

20190904_165054.jpgDragon Tongue Beans – This heritage variety of beans can be used like green beans. Enjoy the different color.

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – we will have cucumbers for a while. We hope you enjoy this healthy snack. Check out these refrigerator pickle recipes from Taste of Home.

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

Egg Plant – Give it a try – three different varieties. Try Martha Stewart’s recipes.

Tomatoes – This crop is just taking off. A taste of a few cherry tomatoes and Fourth of July tomatoes this week. Here are a few recipe ideas from America’s Heartland.

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

Green Bell Peppers – The peppers are just taking off.

20180918_1849558132818590327069785.jpg

Banana Peppers

Banana Pepper – I cut these up and freeze extra peppers for later in the year.

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

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

Red Kuri Winter Squash I fix it just like I do Butternut Squash. Cut it in half, place cut side down in cake pan, place about an inch of water in the pan, cover with aluminum foil, place in preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for one hour. Take out of oven, peel the skin off, scoop out the seeds and enjoy. I mix with a ½ cup of butter and ¾ cup of brown sugar. Freeze extra in cupcake tins to use later on. Learn more here.

20190805_1922504894577354671037296.jpg

Zinnias and Hostas.

Flowers of the Week – Zinnias, Hydrangeas and Teddy Bear Sunflowers

Recipe of the Week

Chocolate Red Kuri Pumpkin Pie
Makes for one deep-dish 9-inch pie

Pumpkin Pie Filling
1 3/4 cups red kuri puree
1 cup  heavy cream
2 eggs
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg(optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dark or milk Chocolate squares for garnish

Pie Crust
Cut together the following ingredients with a fork or pie cutter.
2 cups flour
1 cup Crisco
2 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Then mix together and add to the dry ingredients.
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup of milk

Check out this Martha Stewart video on making a pie crust.

Instructions
1. Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C) with the rack in the middle position.
2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until the whites and the yolks are homogenous, about 2 seconds. Add the remaining filling ingredients to the bowl and whisk well to combine. Make sure the eggs and cream are completely incorporated. Line a rimmed pie pan with the unbaked crust, then pour the filing.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F (180°C) and continue baking for 45-60 minutes, or until the filling has set. Make sure the filling doesn’t boil, so if your oven it very hot, you can reduce heat to 325°F (160°C) after only 10 minutes. 10 to 12 minutes before the end, place chocolate squares on top of the pie and allow to melt. Insert a knife or tooth pick in the middle of the pie, if comes out clean, it’s done!
4. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Then serve at room temperature or chill in the refrigerator and serve cold.
Note: if you’re not familiar with red kuri squash, its bright orange flesh is easy to cook and tastes a bit like chestnut and sweeter than a pumpkin, so you don’t need to add as much sugar to your recipes.

State Fair Reflection

State Fair Reflection

While the state fair is still in full swing, the 4-H experience for us is complete for the fair season. The journey began in January with the boys excitedly looking for pigs to show at both county and state fair. Last week, I mentioned three separate 4-H experiences that we were busy with for 4-H, livestock judging (which was completed last Wednesday), the swine project, and the one I didn’t mention which was vegetable gardening project -judged on Monday.

20190824_133635.jpg

Keith enjoyed meeting fairgoers and learning from them. This fairgoer is a meat buyer who sells to local restaurants. It was very interesting to here his perspective of agriculture.

Take-a-Ways

  1. Gratitude -The swine project filled the boy’s summer with joy. They thoroughly enjoy raising and showing pigs. Thank you to Country Girls Showpigs, the Donkers families and the Peterson families for their help and mentorship through this project area. It is through learning experiences from many that the boys are able to grow their knowledge and grow their inborn fondness for agriculture.
  2. Personal Growth – This year’s project really taught them a lot about swine nutrition and management especially with the challenges Mother Nature presented which were not ideal growing conditions since our 4-H pigs for the most part are raised outside. In addition, part of the project is livestock interviews depending on the situations written and/or in-person – so this means they were studying before the fairs.
  3. Courage – While 4-H is a great place to grow and learn. Sometimes people say hurtful things about your project. I am proud of Keith for keeping his head high and forging through difficult situations and steering his own growth and not allowing others to stand in his way.
  4. Learning – One of the most unique aspects of showing livestock is the amount of time spent working with the animal. There is no one else that goes through the experiences with you as a 4-Her other than your animal. I am grateful, I too went through these experiences so I fully understand how attached you become to them. Think about it, the animals are great listeners, never talk back, rarely have a disagreement and become close friends. In the end, you learn more deeply the cycle of life and the full respect you have for the animal as they provide meat and the same animal provides many byproducts. We honor and respect animals in agriculture like the Native Americans honored the buffalo – using everything we can not wanting to waste anything.
  5. Friendships – These shows for me are like a giant reunion of hometown, college, Farm Bureau, FFA and 4-H friends. It is wonderful to see our kids creating and strengthening friendships that will to most likely last a lifetime.
  6. Agvocating – Interacting with fairgoers was an enjoyable part of the experience for Keith. You never know who you will meet or what you will learn from others. He sincerely enjoyed meeting such a wide variety of people.
    20190824_144536.jpg
    Sharing his joy for the project with others and his love for animals just comes naturally.

Moral of the story: Are hearts couldn’t be more proud and filled with more joy as we watched the personal growth and learning; he showed courage and held his head high when situations were challenging; demonstrated courtesy, respect and appreciation for fairgoers wanting to learn more; and watched him truly soak in the experience and build friendships and networking with others who have similar passions.

Vegetable Gardening project… stay tuned for this update next week.

Boxes of Produce

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

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

Lettuce/Spinach – You have some Red Oak Lettuce and Spinach in your box. This next crop has been a real challenge to get going … this weather is not helping to spur it along.

20190828_0712586239678564004970103.jpg

Esperanza Carrots

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

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. They serve this beet soup at church, and I love it.

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi. Peel it and slice like an apple or make it into chips.

20190821_0750052105819608521349309.jpg

Dragon Tongue Beans

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

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – we will have cucumbers for a while. We hope you enjoy this healthy snack. Check out these refrigerator pickle recipes from Taste of Home.

Onion – Walla Walla onions in your boxes this week.

20190828_0701238363797204695886238.jpg

Cherry Belle Radishes

Radishes – These Cherry Belle Radishes are loving this colder weather.

Tomatoes – This crop is just taking off. A taste of a few cherry tomatoes and Fourth of July tomatoes this week. Here are a few recipe ideas from America’s Heartland.

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

Green Bell Peppers – The peppers are just taking off.

Banana Pepper – I cut these up and freeze extra peppers for later in the year.

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

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

Egg Plant – If you enjoy egg plant let us know. Quantity is limited but we want to make sure those who enjoy it are able to.

Broccoli – We had a taste this week. Let us know if you enjoy this garden delight.

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

9-24-14 eggs

Eggs from our Farm

Eggs – Straight from our hen house – enjoy.

Flowers of the Week – Zinnias, Hydrangeas and Teddy Bear Sunflowers

 

Recipe of the Week

Sweet Corn on the Grill

I used to always boil the sweet corn in the kitchen. I found a much simpler way for our family.

Sweet Corn

After peeling off the loose husk and clipping off the extra silk, I cook the corn on the grill, rotating it over about a 30 minute time frame.

  • Cut the tips/silks off and any loose leaves.
  • Place on the grill alongside meat that I am grilling.
  • Grill sweet corn for a half our turning every so often.
  • Take off of grill and peel.
  • Eat and Enjoy!
    Aah Sweet Corn
    After peeling the corn, I will run it under look warm water to wash off the extra husks and tassels that I missed.