Hope

Hope

Hope has been top of mind this week. Hope is defined as a noun as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen or a feeling of trust, or as a verb as wanting something to happen or be the case. Scripture defines hope as a strong and confident expectation.

Weather

As we have watched the spotty storms come across the state, we hoped that rain would come with no storm damage. We hoped the seeds that we had patiently waited to grow…would grow once it rained. It seems nothing is as good as rain from Mother Nature.

We have been lucky, and our hope was met this past week. We hope and pray for those that were not as fortunate.

Efforts

We hope that our efforts will be fruitful and not in vain. We hope that our children will learn life lessons and that our efforts to accomplish farm tasks before and after baseball games will teach time management, follow through, commitment, hard work and a sense of self-accomplishment.

So while we recognize that the end outcomes are truly out of our control. We hope that the weather and the efforts will result in sharing the joys of the garden with many this growing season.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11

Garden Science

20170621_204836

Potato beetle monitoring continues. These are potato beetle eggs on the underside of the potato plant. They will hatch into potato beetles.

20170621_204844

This is a young potato beetle.

20170621_204904

An adult potato beetle. We continue to monitor for all stages of this insect to prevent an overpopulation that can devastate the potato crop, and as we have seen before, than move to devastating the tomato crop. Learn more about the Colorado Potato Beetles from the University of Minnesota.

Boxes of Produce

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

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

Asparagus – Fresh cut asparagus from the Chute’s Farm Fresh Gardens in Aitkin, Minnesota. These farmers are friends of ours who we know from Farm Bureau and also the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program. They snap the asparagus vs. cutting so that you are getting all edible stalk and should have very minimal amount that you do not eat. Enjoy! Check out these recipes.

20170621_160402

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – One of my favorite garden crops. Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating.

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

Kale – Mix it in your salads for a variety of texture and color. Learn about the nutritional value of Kale here and check out the recipe ideas from Martha Stewart.

Spinach – The new crop of spinach has struggled this season. So glad to be able to harvest it this week.

Radish – Cherry Belle radishes – check out these recipes.

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

Cilantro – Fresh cilantro has such a wonderful aroma.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves

Recipe of the Week

With the onset of lettuce, kale and spinach in your boxes this week. Give this family favorite a try.

strawberry spinach salad (2)

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Spinach Salad – Super easy and delicious!

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

 

What’s Growing On

What’s Growing On

The unpredictable weather of May has created interesting growing conditions. After a rush to get everything planted, it was followed by a week of cold, rainy weather. Which caused some of our seeds not to grow. In fact some of the seeds, started to grow and simply stopped growing so replanting was necessary with a few of the crops.

This past week’s temperatures were unseasonably hot with temperatures into the 90s. The plants are starting to look parched, and a nice rain would be good for the health of the plants. We are hopeful for what next week will bring, and the produce that should be ready to harvest.

Garden Science

seed issues from cold and rainy wether

The rainy cold weather in May caused some of the seeds that had started to grow to actually stop growing. This is a seed that had germinated or began to grow (note the green seedling inside the seed), but it stopped during the wet cold weather. Some of the crops needed to be replanted due to this situation – green beans, sugar snap peas and cucumbers.

lettuce

The lettuce has been peaking out the ground. This was a photo from the end of the week. A little bit of rain would go a long way in helping them grow.

radish

The radishes are growing like crazy. I love how the first leaves, cotyledon, formed on the radish plants are shaped like a heart.

beets

I love the color of the steams of the beets.

sweet potato slips

We have planted two varieties of sweet potatoes this year and are excited about the outcomes.

cucumbers

Some of the cucumbers did grow, while the majority did not. We did install fence for trellis for when the cucumbers started growing.

tomato cages

We also have installed a few tomato cages. We are going to do a few different staking techniques to see what works best for the tomato plants and for harvesting.

 

Animal Update

IMG_20170604_215531

The boys’ 4-H pigs add some life to the farm. This photo was taken at the beginning of May with the Duroc (breed of pig). It has since gotten heavier. Pigs will be full grown at 5- 6 months of age weighing 260-280 pounds.

20170523_061800

We also hatched out chicks in the Northfield Montessori kindergarten class. It is the sixth year that we have done this project. It is always fun to see the new chicks which will be full grown at about 4-5 months of age.

20170521_191721

One day old kittens are so precious. This litter is from one of our farm cats. The eyes are just opening and the taming of the kittens has begun.

 

 

Preparing for Fall

Preparing for Fall

It's that time of year to be starting to clean-up the fields. Sam started that for us this week by collecting stakes and row markers.

It’s that time of year to be starting to clean-up the fields. Sam started that for us this week by collecting stakes and row markers.

The end of the season is in sight, and Fall is near. You can see it in the plants and also in the cool nights. We have started the process of cleaning up and preparing for the end of the season. Watch your boxes as you’ll notice the winter squashes and other larger produce items weighting down the box. It will be a fun few weeks of surprises. We can’t wait to harvest the pumpkins and gourds.

Sam worked at the Minnesota Farm Bureau booth at the Minnesota State Fair this week answering farm questions from fair goers.

Sam and Keith worked at the Minnesota Farm Bureau booth at the Minnesota State Fair this week answering farm questions from fair goers.

Keith also worked at the Minnesota Farm Bureau booth at the Minnesota State Fair answering fairgoers questions about Minnesota agriculture.

Boxes of Produce

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

Black Seeded Simpson, Prizehead and Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – The new crop of lettuce is coming in and is in your box this week.

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

Green Beans – The new crop of Jade green beans.

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

The last crop of carrots will be coming out of the ground for the remaining weeks of the CSA.

The last crop of carrots will be coming out of the ground for the remaining weeks of the CSA.

Carrots – Nantes carrots

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

peppers

Pepper, Sweet Cherry Stuffer Hybrid

 

Peppers The peppers are really starting to come in. You have sweet cherry stuffer hybrid pepper in your box. You also have the option of some hot dragon cayenne peppers.

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

Onions –  yellow candy onions

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

Spaghetti Squash – I love using this squash instead of regular spaghetti. Learn how to cook this squash from Martha Stewart.

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

Zucchini – The zucchini is still producing. So since we had extra, we made you some Cinnamon Zucchini Bread. See recipe below.

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

Kennebec Potatoes – Great baking potato.

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

Fresh cut arrangement – Zinnias, hosta leaves and sunflowers

Recipe of the Week

Garlic Bread

Sam helped me make garlic butter for our garlic bread this week. We love my OXO garlic press.

Sam helped me make garlic butter for our garlic bread this week. We love my OXO garlic press.

Garlic Bread

1/2 cup butter, melted

3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced

1 loaf (1 pound) French bread, halved lengthwise

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Directions

1. In a small bowl, combine butter and garlic. Brush over cut sides of bread; sprinkle with parsley. Place, cut side up, on a baking sheet.

2. Bake at 350° Fahrenheit for 8 minutes. Broil 4-6 in. from the heat for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into 2-in. slices. Serve warm. Yield: 8 servings.

Source: Taste of Home

 

 

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread – In your boxes this week. Thank you to Sarah Durenberger at From the Farm Table for sharing this recipe. I used applesauce instead of oil.

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread

3 Eggs, beaten

1 cup Sugar

1 cup Brown Sugar

1 cup Vegetable Oil (I use apple sauce as an equal replacement)

3 cups Flour (opt: substitute 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour)

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

2 cups Zucchini, shredded

  1. Beat together the eggs, sugars and oil.
  2. Stir together all the dry ingredients and add to the egg-sugar mixture. Stir in the shredded zucchini.
  3. Coat four mini loaf pans with cooking spray. Sprinkle sugar on the bottom. Pour batter evenly in all four pans. Sprinkle tops with sugar.
  4. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

 

Every Season is Unique

Every Season is Unique

Potato Harvest is in full swing.

Potato harvest is in full swing. Good team work was needed to dig these up. It’s always fun to find the giant potatoes in the group.

It’s amazing how every growing season is unique, and each year different things go better than others, whether it is planting, pest management, plant health, time management, soil health etc. Every year, we are learning something new and trying to apply what was learned previously to build upon doing better during that given year. Each year’s weather pattern is different with Mother Nature always being predictably unpredictable.

At this point in the growing season, we are excited as we examine the squash, pumpkins and popcorn. We are frustrated as we look at the negative insects and their effects on the broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and potatoes and exhausted with the number of plantings that we have done for sugar snap peas, lettuce and carrots.

But we are hopeful and excited as we see that the harvest year end is quickly going to be upon us. The reason we are so excited – because we love harvesting the pumpkins, squash, gourds, popcorn and ornamental corn. It truly is like Christmas in the garden. Take time to check out what is growing on before the craziness of school starts. It really is starting to change with September just around the corner. There is a lot to absorb and see.

Garden Science

Farmers and ranchers across the United States provide a great deal of wildlife habit. As we were working in the garden, we discovered this small nest of newly hatched birds. The boys were so excited to simply watch these young lives.

Farmers and ranchers across the United States provide a great deal of wildlife habit. As we were working in the garden, we discovered this small nest of newly hatched birds. The boys were so excited to simply watch these young lives.

Boxes of Produce

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

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I have replanted this crop no less than 5 times, and we are starting to see a few varieties peek through the ground.

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

Green Beans – A new crop of Jade green beans.

Kohlrabi – Green kohlrabi in your box. Peel it and eat it like an apple.

Beets –  Detroit Dark Red Beets in your box. Boil on your stove top for about 1/2 hour – take them out of the water, using a paper towel gently rub the paper towel over the beet and the skins will come right off, slice into pieces and serve with butter.

Carrots – Purple Dragon and Nantes carrots that were planted at different times and in different soil types – your feedback is appreciated.

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

Peppers Cherry Stuffer Hybrid Sweet Pepper

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

Onions –  yellow candy onions

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

Spaghetti Squash – I love using this squash instead of regular spaghetti. Learn how to cook this squash from Martha Stewart.

Spaghetti Squash on the left and Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash on the right.

Spaghetti Squash on the left and Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash on the right.

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

Zucchini – The zucchini is still producing. So since we had extra, we made you some Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread. See recipe below.

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

Kennebec Potatoes – Great baking potato.

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

Fresh cut arrangement – Zinnias, Hydrangeas, and sunflowers

Recipe of the Week

A favorite in our house. Find this recipe and more ideas on my friend’s blog at From the Farm Table.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

1 cup Sugar

1 cup Brown Sugar

1 cup Vegetable Oil (I use apple sauce instead of the oil.)

4 Eggs

2 teaspoon Vanilla

2 cups Flour

1 cup Baking Cocoa

1 teaspoon Salt

1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips

3 cups Shredded Zucchini

1. Beat sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla together. Mix dry ingredients. Stir into mixture. Add chocolate chips and shredded zucchini.

2. Pour batter into 4-5 mini loaf pans (or 2 large loaf pans), coated with cooking spray.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pans and cool.

 

Finding Commonalities

Finding Commonalities

Enjoying the evening sunset together as we harvested sweet corn. In the end, we all just want more quality time with our loved ones. No technology, just Mother Nature and good conversation.

Enjoying the evening sunset together as we harvested sweet corn. In the end, we all just want more quality time with our loved ones. No technology, just Mother Nature and good conversation.

Whether at a baseball game or at the dentist office, we end up discussing summer activities with our kids, challenges as working moms balancing summer schedules, and concern for our kids as they enter into a new school year. We share a lot of the same concerns even though, what we have most in common is being parents, and the love we have for our children.

These conversation also end up including our CSA or questions they have about farming. Questions range from how our CSA is doing with the weather to what’s working and what’s not working compared to what they are experiencing or seeing in their area. These conversations are often times with friends that grew up in town and/or currently reside in town. We also discussed how the food is grown and technologies in agriculture. We, meaning all four of us, enjoy the conversations and the opportunity to help others gain a better understanding for how food is grown.

We are happy to answer questions that others have about what we do. What matters, is that in life we are always learning. After all, it is simply fun and interesting to learn how food is grown and raised to feed our families.

 

Boxes of Produce

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

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I think God is trying to give you a break on lettuce. I have replanted this crop no less than 5 times. I see a variety is peeking through the ground.

Spinach  – The spinach is in the lettuce salad mix this week. It doesn’t like the heat we have been receiving.

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

Kohlrabi – You either have a purple or green kohlrabi in your box. Peel it and eat it like an apple.

Purple Beans – Just a taste this week.

These were some overgrown beets.

These were some overgrown beets.

Beets –  Detroit Dark Red Beets in your box. Check out how to cook them here.

Cherry Belle RadishesThey may be small but their taste is mighty. Enjoy in a salad or a radish sandwich – on buttered bread.

Carrots

Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash –  The best-tasting squash in Burpee’s taste trials for 2 years in a row.

Zucchini – The zucchini is still producing. Wondering when it will slow down.

Cucumbers – This crop is dwindling. You will get a break from cucumbers shortly until a new variety of this crop comes in.

Plenty of tomatoes to harvest.

Plenty of tomatoes to harvest.

TomatoesA variety abounds for you this week.

Peppers Green Bell Peppers

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

Onions –  Snow White hybrid and Giant Red Hamburger onions.

sweet corn

Sam’s neatly stacked sweet corn.

Sweet Corn – One of summer’s favorites.

Spaghetti Squash – I love using this squash instead of regular spaghetti. Learn how to cook this squash from Martha Stewart.

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

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Yukon Gold Potatoes – A beautiful golden variety of potato.  Learn some fun facts about potatoes grown in Minnesota and the Northern Plains here.

Cilantro, Basil and Parsley – Plenty to share – take a snip or a plant home and freeze or dry the herb for use in stews, etc during the rest of the year.

Fresh cut arrangement – Zinnias and sunflowers

Recipe of the Week

These zucchini brownies are a favorite.

These zucchini brownies are a favorite.

Zucchini Brownies

Ingredients

•2 cups all-purpose flour

•1/3 cup baking cocoa

•1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

•1 teaspoon salt

•2 cups shredded zucchini

•1-1/2 cups sugar

•3/4 cup vegetable oil (I will substitute with applesauce.)

•1/2 cup chopped walnuts

•2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Frosting

•1/4 cup butter, cubed

•1 cup sugar

•1/4 cup milk

•1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

•1/2 cup miniature marshmallows

•1 teaspoon vanilla extract

•1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

 

•In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, combine the zucchini, sugar and oil; stir into dry ingredients until blended. Stir in walnuts and vanilla.

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

•In a large saucepan, melt butter; stir in sugar and milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook and stir 1 minute or until smooth. Remove from the heat. Stir in chips and marshmallows until melted and smooth; add vanilla. Spread over brownies. Sprinkle with walnuts if desired. Yield: 2 dozen.

Source: Taste of Home

Lessons from Weeds

Lessons from Weeds

 

The weeds are loving this weather. Check out this giant ragweed that they pulled out of the sweet corn field.

The weeds are loving this weather. Check out this giant weed that they pulled out of the sweet corn field.

This weekend the boys found this giant weed reaching towards the sky amidst the sweet corn. Even thought the sweet corn was trying to crowd it out, this weed just kept on stretching and growing. We had been keeping an eye on the weeds, but obviously this one snuck past us.

Weeds provide an interesting life lesson. Even when the growing conditions are challenging, keep reaching and striving to grow tall and strong. It is during these times that people are surprised by the personal growth.

Weeds also seem to take advantage of great growing conditions and thrive during these times. Again, a great lesson of when the conditions are right make the most of it.

Lesson from the Weeds – Life is worth living. Maximizing the opportunities that are presented will determine your outcomes for personal growth.

Boxes of Produce

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

Black Seeded Simpson, Prizeleaf and Red Oak Leaf Lettuce Mix – Are you having challenges storing your lettuce? This is what I do. Wash it, place in a salad spinner, drain the water off the salad spinner, spin again and then place in a plastic bag in my vegetable crisper. It lasts me the full week or more.

Spinach  – The spinach is in the lettuce salad mix this week. It doesn’t like the heat we have been receiving.

Purple Beans – Love the color and fun to cook with!

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

Kohlrabi – You either have a purple or green kohlrabi in your box. Peel it and eat it like an apple.

Love the color of the Bulls Blood Beets.

Love the color of the Bulls Blood Beets.

Beets –  Bulls Blood Beets and Detroit Dark Red Beets in your box. I place the beets in a pan, cover the beets with about an inch of water. Bring to a boil and boil until a fork can be inserted easily into the beet. Remove from the heat and drain the water. Using paper towels I gently rub the skin of the beet off, slice them and enjoy!

Cherry Belle Radishes in your boxes this week. Love the color!

Cherry Belle Radishes in your boxes this week. Love the color!

Cherry Belle RadishesThey may be small but their taste is mighty. Enjoy in a salad or a radish sandwich – on buttered bread.

Watermelon Radishes –  This is the last of this crop. Interested to hear your thoughts.

Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash –  The best-tasting squash in Burpee’s taste trials for 2 years in a row.

Zucchini – The zucchini is still producing. Wondering when it will slow down.

Onions –  Yellow Candy – These onions are beautiful. Enjoy!

Cucumbers – This crop is dwindling. You will get a break from cucumbers until a new crop comes in of a different variety.

The tomatoes are ready for harvest.

The tomatoes are ready for harvest.

TomatoesJust starting to come in.

Peppers Sweet, Thunderbolt Pepper

Sweet Corn – One of summer’s favorites.

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

Parsley and Basil are available for you to take home. Freeze or dry it to use in your cooking throughout the year.

Parsley and Basil are available for you to take home. Freeze or dry it to use in your cooking throughout the year.

Basil and Parsley – Plenty to share – take a snip or a plant home and freeze or dry the herb for use in stews, etc during the rest of the year.

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

Fresh cut arrangement – Zinnias and sunflowers

 

Recipe of the Week

Freezing Corn

I keep it simple because I don’t have time for more when it comes to freezing my vegetables to feed the family throughout the year.

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.

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.

After the husks are browned around the entire cub, I peel the husks off, and it is ready to eat.

After the husks are browned around the entire cub, I peel the husks off, and it is ready to eat.

What we don't eat, we simply cut off the extra sweet corn. A bundt pan works great to catch all of the corn. We then place it in a Ziploc bag that has been labeled and dated and place in the freezer to use this winter.

What we don’t eat, we simply cut off the extra sweet corn. A bundt pan works great to catch-all of the corn. We then place it in a Ziploc bag that has been labeled and dated and place in the freezer to use this winter.

 

Learning by Doing

Learning by Doing

This week is fair week in our house. Those that have been involved in county fairs realize this means chaos and exhaustion by everyone in the household. Some may wonder why we put ourselves through this. The short answer is we participate because our kids are in 4-H. The longer answer is: our kids are members of 4-H because we know it builds lifelong friendships, provides unique personal growth opportunities and the kids learn by doing.

The boys brought general projects and are showing animals. Some of their general projects like photography and shop projects could be done ahead of time. Projects like livestock are conducted over several months, over the period of the lifetime of the animal, and some general projects need to be done as close to project judging time as possible such as foods and vegetable gardening.

Sam sharing his Cloverbud general projects with a judge.

Sam sharing his Cloverbud general projects with a judge.

Sam's photo off of our deck following one of the recent storms. He framed the photo and said he like the different colors in the picture and if you look closely that you can see that the roads form different letters. Appreciate how he made me step back and look at his photo through a different lense - a good life lesson.

Sam’s photo that he was sharing with the judge was taken from our deck following one of the recent storms. He framed the photo and said he liked the different colors in the picture and if you look closely that you can see that the roads form different letters. I appreciate how he made me step back and look at his photo through a different lense – a good life lesson.

One of Keith's one hundred photos that sparked his idea for a theme of 4 on roads. The judge said she appreciated his perspective and understanding that you don't always have to take a photo standing up and that he chose a different perspective in how to look at his surroundings.

One of Keith’s one hundred photos that sparked his idea for a theme of four photos on roads. The judge said she appreciated his perspective and understanding that you don’t always have to take a photo standing up and that he chose a different perspective in how to look at his surroundings.

Allowing the kids to complete projects with minimal guidance does take patience for both parties involved, but it allows the kids to grow. For example, learning that sometimes you need to take over 100 photos to get four really good ones that you are happy with or being persistent to find the proper way to display an item such as vegetables.

Through this journey, they are learning the value of mentorship and seeking out others that are experts or have experiences in project areas helps them to understand the value in building a community of support. Thank you to all who have been willing to help. As parents, we see the personal growth, and the humbleness they demonstrate in learning from others.

As project judging time arrived, the kids said they were nervous about the judging. Through the judging process, they learned to shake hands before and after their interviews, remove their hats when conducting their interviews and say thank you at the end of their judging. Once completed, they said it was really fun, and they were so appreciative of how helpful the judges were in teaching them more about their projects and truly seeing what they had learned by doing.

Preparing for the vegetable project was a challenge as we didn't quite know how to properly display the vegetables for a blue ribbon display. After looking at the vegetable and potato displays last year, Keith said he wanted to bring them. He was very nervous for this judging, but as you can see he enjoyed his discussion with the judge who was very helpful in helping us both understand the vegetable project and potato project. Keith was ecstatic to receive Reserve Champion in his potato project and Honorable Mention with his Vegetable Project.

Preparing for the vegetable project was a challenge as we didn’t quite know how to properly display the vegetables for a blue ribbon display. After looking at the vegetable and potato displays last year, Keith said he wanted to bring them. He was very nervous for this judging, but as you can see he enjoyed his discussion with the judge who was very helpful in helping him to understand the vegetable project and potato project. Keith was ecstatic to receive Reserve Champion in his potato project and Honorable Mention with his Vegetable Project.

As a parent living in the chaos of fair week and in my exhaustion, I question whether it is worth it. But I am reminded by take away comments and gestures throughout each day of the fair.

As Keith was selecting his pen of two laying hens and was contemplating the final decision, he said, “Mom today isn’t about winning. It is about learning.”

I asked Sam how it went in the show arena, and how did it go answering the judges questions. He responded with a big grin, “I got the best ribbon I could get – a green.” As a 4-H Cloverbud, they all receive green participation ribbons as an opportunity to learn by doing, to gain confidence in learning that participating, learning and having fun – is the most important thing.

Yesterday, the boys washed their 4-H chickens and pig – together, no fights simply building self-confidence and experiencing new things together. As the day came to a close, I complimented them on how well they worked together. They looked at each other and said, “Yes we did, and it was fun.” The working together carried over to the fair in their pride in caring for their animals and showing them to the fairgoers.”

So from this exhausted parent to other exhausted parents, 4-H and participating in the county fair is definitely worth the investment of time and effort. Watching your kids Learn by Doing is priceless. After all, in the end it is not about the blue ribbon it is about raising a blue ribbon kid.

Garden Science

Did you know that we are still planting seeds in the a garden? These will be some of the last crops planted this year. The plan is for these to reach maturity the last few weeks of the growing season and hoping to have a later frost.

Tilling up another area to replant with the final round of lettuce, spinach, kohlrabi and cucumbers.

Tilling up another area to replant with the final round of lettuce, spinach, kohlrabi and cucumbers.

This weekend we replanted peas and reinstalled the pea fence that had been twisted a bit in some earlier storm winds.

This weekend we replanted peas and reinstalled the pea fence that had been twisted a bit in some earlier storm winds.

Boxes of Produce

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

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – Are you having challenges storing your lettuce? This is what I do. Wash it, place in a salad spinner, drain the water off the salad spinner, spin again and then place in a plastic bag in my vegetable crisper. It lasts me the full week or more.

Prizeleaf and Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love these beautiful lettuces – Prizeleaf is green with reddish tips and Red Oak Leaf is a red lettuce leaf. They add such a wonderful color to salads and sandwiches.

Spinach  – The spinach is in the lettuce salad mix this week. It doesn’t like the heat we have been receiving.

Green Beans

Green Beans

Green Beans – Plenty are growing – let us know if you would like any to can or freeze. Here are some recipe ideas.

Carrots – Some beautiful purple carrots this week.

Sugar Snap Peas – A new crop is in.

Kale – Here are some recipes for this vegetable. Two varieties Dwarf Blue Curled Vates and Ursa Kale.

Kohlrabi – You either have a purple or green kohlrabi in your box. Peel it and eat it like an apple.

Beets –  Dark Detroit Red Beets – Learn how to cook beets here.

Watermelon Radish

Watermelon Radish

Radishes – Watermelon radishes – let us know what you think about this vegetable.

Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash –  The best-tasting squash in Burpee’s taste trials for 2 years in a row.

Zucchini – The zucchini is growing like crazy. Learn how to save it for use during the cold winter months From the Farm Table and try some of the recipe ideas from Martha Stewart.

Onions – Yellow Candy – These onions are beautiful. Enjoy!

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

Cucumbers – Enjoy these in your box. Let us know if you are interested in canning quantities and dill for pickles.

Fresh Basil – some of you have basil in your herb pots and some do not. Check out these basil ideas.

Fresh Dill

Fresh cut arrangement – Zinnias and sunflowers

Recipe of the Week

Chocolate Zucchini Bread Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups sugar

1 cup applesauce

3 large eggs

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup baking cocoa

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups shredded peeled zucchini

1/4 miniature chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, applesauce, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and baking powder; gradually beat into sugar mixture until blended. Stir in zucchini. Transfer to two 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans coated with cooking spray.
  2. Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 2 loaves (12 slices each)