Rain

Rain

The focus this week really centered around getting things done around the rain. We received over 3 1/2 inches of rain, and it is raining again as I write. We are grateful it hasn’t been more, less or worse as we have seen some really sad weather scenarios in many areas. We pray for those in these situations.

While the rain made tying tomatoes on the trellis’ very muddy, it didn’t stop the progress … only slowed it down. The bright side is that at least the weeds pull super easy, but they are really enjoying this weather.

While it may be soggy we encourage you to take time and enjoy the smell of the rain and the treasures it leaves behind.

Garden Science

A view of the peas. Read more below to learn about the history of snap peas.Delicious!

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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Enjoy some rhubarb torte. A favorite in our house and super easy.

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

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

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Red Lettuce following the morning rain. We have had over 2 1/2 inches of rain this past week.

Red Lettuce – The Red lettuce is mixed in with the green lettuce. Give them a try. A very tasty treat.

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

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Spinach with rain drops. Did you know with the varieties of spinach and lettuce we grow, we cut it and it grows back new leaves by the next week.

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

BeetsNew beets in the boxes this week. An old garden favorite of mine. Learn how to use them here. https://www.marthastewart.com/274226/beet-recipes

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

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

Broiler Chicken – The 1/4 frozen broiler (meat) chicken, raised by the boys, is a chicken that is bred and raised specifically for meat production. When these birds eat the balanced diet specifically made for them by an animal nutritionist, their energy goes to building muscle vs a layer hen’s energy focuses on producing and laying eggs. Hormones and antibiotics are not given to chickens as this is illegal to do in the United States. Learn more at Best Food Facts. Here are some tips to cut the chicken further if desired.  Check here for recipes or simply put in the crockpot frozen , cook on low for 12 hours – I add a can of 7-up, herbs and about 2 Tablespoons of butter. It will be ready for supper that evening.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves and Spirea

Recipe of the Week

We tried this on yogurt and ice cream. It was a success and a quick and easy way to use your rhubarb.

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

2-1/4 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pound cake or vanilla ice cream

Source: Taste of Home

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil. Add rhubarb; cook and stir for 5-10 minutes or until rhubarb is tender and mixture is slightly thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in lemon peel and nutmeg.
  2. Serve warm or chilled over pound cake, yogurt or ice cream. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 1-1/4 cups.
Showing Growth

Showing Growth

The crops are growing and so are the weeds this week. Here’s a quick view of what’s growing on.

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The pea plants germinating as well as many of the other crops. Look closely to see the fine hairs on the leaves. The morning dew help to make them stand out. The new plants are so fun and fascinating to look at.

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We planted two varieties of garlic this week California White and Walla Walla.

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A great team effort planting herb pots with a variety of herbs in each one. A culinary delight for the shareholders.

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The broilers went outside this weekend. They are growing quickly and will be ready for market in a few weeks.

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The rhubarb looked fantastic so we made rhubarb jam and some homemade bread to sample the jelly on. He did a great job in the kitchen!

 

In the ground

In the ground

It feels pretty good to have most of the crops planted. The few things such as garlic and sweet potatoes are not planted because they had not been shipped yet due to the growing zone we live in. We feel pretty happy with what was completed, and also that we received a nice rain on them this past week. Below are a few highlights – enjoy.

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Sam’s turn running the tiller preparing the fields for the vine crops.

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A lot of hard work was accomplished by these two this past week. They found ways to keep fun in with work.

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We installed the pea fence and cucumber fences for those crops to climb up.

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805 onions were planted by these two. A good way to practice math skills.

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An experiment … planting different varieties of potatoes in each tire garden. As the potatoes grow, a tire will be added on top and more soil added. We have estimated how many pounds of potatoes will grow from these vertical tie gardens. Thank you to our friend Owen for helping us get these started. What’s your guess?

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A double rainbow followed a quick rainstorm with 50 mph winds. A beautiful way to end the day and a good reminder that we are not in charge. Praying for a good growing season for every one.

 

 

 

Spring Field Work Begins

Spring Field Work Begins

We are so grateful for the good drying weather and beautiful days to be in the field. Below is a quick glance at last week.

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Field work started this week. Everyone enjoys the opportunity to be on the tractor.

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These boys planted 548 potatoes 4 varieties in 45 minutes to beat some rain. They are happy to have accomplished this task in record time without sacrificing quality outcomes.

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Rhubarb emerged this week and is growing like crazy. I love the crinkly leaves and the blend of colors. We were able to enjoy a small rhubarb raspberry pie this week.

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The broker chicks are growing fast. Now at 4 weeks old they are almost fully feathered.

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The 4-H pigs arrived this week. The boys enjoy this project and learn so much from this opportunity. Thank you to Country Girls Showpigs for their help on this project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April Blizzard

April Blizzard

It is hard to tell how many inches of snow Mother Nature sent our way this weekend along with the high winds creating blizzard conditions. But it is a historic weather event in Minnesota. One we hope does not repeat anytime soon.

Please pray for warmer weather providing for good planting conditions. I’d also ask that you keep all those affected by extreme weather events across our Nation in your prayers. Prayer and hope are powerful to those in need.

Snow Drifts

It is hard to believe we were in a blizzard warning and winter weather warning for most of the weekend. But all you had to do was look out the window or go outside to feel the ice pellets, different forms of snow and see the snow drifts to know that Mother Nature is in charge. We are just not real fond of her tricks at this point.

4-15-18 Broiler Chicks

Our broiler chicks came this week and are already growing like crazy. See their wing feathers already developing. These chicks are not given any hormones. It is illegal in the United States to give chickens hormones. They will be full-grown in 8 weeks.

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Our seed potatoes and seeds are ready for planting when Mother Nature decides to cooperate.

A busy off season

A busy off season

It has been a busy past few months, and the growing season is already upon us. Seeds have been ordered, and some have being started. Hard to believe that April is just around the corner.

Here is an update on a few projects that happened over the past few months. Thank you again for your interest in Harner Brothers CSA.

Faribault K thank you

We were happy to share some gourds and pumpkins with a first grade class to use in their store.

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We were able to share pumpkins with Sam’s class for their Fall party.

Project talk Keith

The boys both gave 4-H project talks at a club meeting with one focusing on the swine project.

Finish Strong

Finish Strong

IMG_5985 (2).JPGAs we harvested last night, I watched as the local college cross country team used the top of our hill and our driveway as a finish line. One after the other, teammates and coaches encouraged each one to finish strong as they headed up the hill to the finish line.

I found it an interesting sign from God during harvest season. Especially with the recent heavy rains that are making harvest more challenging across the region, and the efforts to finish the harvest race more challenging. We must never lose sight of the finish line and our short-term and long-term goals. In agriculture our goals may look something like:

  • Short-term: Finish this season strong – complete the harvest sharing with those around us the best quality products our efforts can offer.
  • Long-term: Share our inborn fondness with others with what we have in common, food and our love of our family, while constantly striving to do better than what we did before and leave the world better than what we found it.

Sometimes harvesting and life can be exhuasting. Never lose sight of the bigger picture. Always encourage each other to finish strong no matter what the task or the hill you need to climb.

Garden Science

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We weighed the larger pumpkins. What do you think they weighed? This one weighed n at 57.2 pounds. The other top two weighed in at 33.8 pounds and 29.5 pounds followed by the orange and white striped at 22.6 and a few of the pink pumpkins at 16.6 pounds.

 

Boxes of Produce

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

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – The last crop of lettuce is coming in. It should love this cold weather. 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. A new crop should be in next week.

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – Beautiful color for sandwiches and salads.

Spinach – Mix together with the above lettuces for a beautiful colored salad.

Green Beans – Let us know if you are interested in more for canning or freezing.

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi – Try these ideas from Martha Stewart.

Detroit Dark Red BeetsTry cooking them in boiling water, rub their skins off, slice them and freeze for use this winter.

Cilantro – Learn how to preserve your herbs for use later in the year from Martha Stewart.

Green Bell Peppers – Learn how to make stuffed peppers here.

Banana Pepper – I have been cutting up and freezing the peppers with the intent to use them for recipes throughout the season.

Cherry Stuffer Hybrid sweet peppers – These are the small, round red peppers.

Cucumbers – A crop of a smaller variety of cucumbers. Maybe you want to can some or are interested in refrigerator pickles. 

Carrots – See how carrots are grown in Georgia on America’s Heartland.

Radishes – It is a cool season crop which is just starting to produce. Look for more next week.

Peter Pan, Scallop Squash – This squash is a circular scalloped summer squash. Distinctive, delicious, and sweet flavor. It is not necessary to peel this squash before eating it. Cut it up like you would zucchini to grill it.

Summer Squash, Golden Egg Hybrid Are you wondering how to use this summer squash – see how to cut it up here. Golden Egg’s a picture-perfect gourmet sensation-with succulent flavor and texture.

Butternut Squash – My favorite. I am disappointed that we didn’t have the bounty of this vegetable this year but it is still a good keeper. It will last awhile before spoiling.

Viking potatoes – Great for mashed potatoes.

Kennebec potatoes – Excellent for baked potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes – Dusky red-skinned Beauregard is the most widely grown commercial cultivar. Thank you to our neighbors, the Schwakes, who shared sweet potato slips and their knowledge of raising sweet potatoes to  provide this wonderful addition to the boxes.

Pumpkins – While this crop was disappointing and challenging this year, we hope you are able to enjoy this fun fall decoration and Halloween tradition at your home.

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Flowers – Name pumpkins

Recipe of the Week

9-24-13 pizza 4

Homemade personal pan pizzas.

Homemade Pizza

This has become a family favorite. When Steve and I were first married we tried so many recipes for homemade pizza, and this is definitely our favorite. We usually make it on Friday nights. The crust recipe comes from the Minnesota 4-H Foundation’s Blue Ribbon Favorites recipe book by Jeannie Stangler of Waseca.

Pizza Parlor Crust

1 teaspoon yeast

2 Tablespoons oil

1 Tablespoons sugar

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk, scalded, cooled

In a bowl, combine yeast, oil, sugar and 1/4 cup very war water. Let the yeast become active. Scald milk (this means you warm it up so that it forms has a slight skin on the top – I heat mine up for slightly more time then I do hot chocolate in the microwave). After yeast mixture has become “active,” add flour, salt and scalded milk. Mix well. Knead slightly (I do this in the bowl. I spray my hands with cooking spray and add a little more flour on the dough when kneading so that it is not super sticky and forms a nice ball of dough. The boys love to do this as well.) Lift up your ball of dough, spray with cooking spray, place dough back into bowl, spray the top of the dough, cover with a wet towel and let rise for 15 minutes to an hour. We bake ours on a clay pan. Sprinkle the pan with corn meal (or spray the pan with cooking spray).

Bake at 375 degrees for about 5 minutes or until the crust just starts to turn a little brown. Take out and put your toppings on. Bake for about 20 minutes. Enjoy!!

Toppings:

  • Homemade tomato sauce – here are a few links Ball Canning and U of M Extension. If you want to learn how to do this and feel overwhelmed, I understand. Steve actually taught me. Let me know and we can plan a day to have you come out for a lesson:)
  • Chop up onions and peppers.
  • I freeze leftover hamburgers. Before freezing, I crumble up the hamburger. Before placing on the pizza, I thaw it out. Super easy!
  • Top with mozzarella cheese and any of your favorites.
  • Place pepperoni on top (I love crispy pepperoni).
  • Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  • Garnish with parsley.
Different perspective

Different perspective

 

You could say that this week’s tomato harvest was a bit overwhelming. When you stand at the end of the row seeing the endless amounts of ripe tomatoes, it is easy to believe that “it will never end.” Maintaining focus until the project is complete can be very difficult and exhausting.

When I asked the boys to weight the tomatoes after they were unloaded, they wondered why, and what was the purpose. But once completed, they were amazed by how many pounds they had harvested.

Sometimes stepping back and viewing a project from a different perspective provides a new sense of accomplishment. Instead of feeling, “Finally we are done!” to “Wow that was a lot of tomatoes, guess how much this box weighted? “Can you believe it was 345 pounds?”

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

Garden Math

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Last weeks harvest of 209 pounds not only provided for all of the shareholders, but also yielded 84 pints of salsa. I wonder how many quarts of tomato juice this week’s will yield?

Boxes of Produce

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

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – Some of the crops are ran under cold well water to take the field heat off of them so they last longer in your refrigerators. They are not washed – just cooled. So remember to wash your vegetables before eating. A new crop should be in next week.

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – Beautiful color.

Spinach – Mix together with the above lettuces for a beautiful colored salad.

Green and Purple Beans – Check out this recipe, and how green beans are raised in other areas of the U.S.on America’s Heartland. A few of you have some purple beans mixed in with the green beans.

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Purple Vienna Kohlrabi ready for harvest

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi – Peel it like an apple and eat it and enjoy dipping it into peanut butter.

Detroit Dark Red Beets – Some of our shareholders enjoy eating them raw in their salads.

Green Bell PeppersHere is a general background article about peppers. The most common colors of bell peppers are green, yellow, orange and red. More rarely, brown, white, lavender, and dark purple peppers can be seen, depending on the variety. Red bell peppers are simply ripened green peppers. The taste of ripe peppers can also vary with growing conditions and post-harvest storage treatment; the sweetest fruits are allowed to ripen fully on the plant in full sunshine, while fruit harvested green and after-ripened in storage is less sweet.

Banana Pepper – I have been cutting up and freezing the peppers with the intent to use them for recipes throughout the season.

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Cherry Stuffer Hybrid sweet peppers

Cherry Stuffer Hybrid sweet peppers – These are the small, round red peppers.

Onion – Wondering what to do with all of your onions? I cut mine up using my Pampered Chef chopper, place in Ziploc bags and place in the freezer. That way, my onions are always handy for recipes throughout the year.

Tomatoes – Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, Brandywine, Romas, Big Boys and Fourth of July (medium-sized) tomatoes. Enjoy the flavor. If you are considering canning quantities or wanting to freeze some for this winter, let us know.

Cucumbers – Did you know? Cucumbers are one of the earliest domesticated vegetables. It was adopted around 4 thousand years ago and was used not only for eating but also in medicine. Cucumbers are the 4th most cultivated vegetable in the world.

 

Carrots – Did you know…The carrot is usually orange in color although purple, red, white, and yellow varieties also exist. The domesticated carrot that we know today originated from the wild carrot called Daucus carota which was native to Europe and south western Asia.

Peter Pan, Scallop Squash – This squash is a circular scalloped summer squash. Distinctive, delicious, and sweet flavor. It is not necessary to peel this squash before eating it. Cut it up like you would zucchini to grill it.

Summer Squash, Golden Egg Hybrid – Are you wondering how to use this summer squash – see how to cut it up here. Golden Egg’s a picture-perfect gourmet sensation-with succulent flavor and texture.

Zucchini – Try this zucchini boat recipe from Taste of Home or these recipes from Martha Stewart.

Sweet Corn – Thank you to our neighbors, the Peterson family, for contributing the sweet corn in this week’s box. Did you know that Minnesota ranks number one in the production of sweet corn for processing. Sweet corn is different from field corn.

Kennebec – Excellent for baked potatoes.

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Flowers – Hydrangeas, Rudbeckia, Sunflowers, Zinnias and Coreopsis

 

Recipe of the Week

double chocolcate zucchini bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

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.

The Journey

The Journey

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4-H Pledge – I pledge my head to clearer thinking, My heart to greater loyalty, My hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.

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

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

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

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

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – Beautiful color.

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Giant Duke Kohlrabi

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

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi – This plant thrives in the northern regions of Europe and North America. Kohlrabi is native to Europe and is believed to be the only common vegetable native to that area.

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

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Detroit Dark Red Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets

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

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

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

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

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Carrots

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

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

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

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French Breakfast Radishes

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

Cilantro – Fresh cilantro has such a wonderful aroma. I have been freezing mine to use in canned salsa and soups later this year. The tomatoes are forthcoming if you are holding out for fresh salsa.

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Zinnias

Fresh cut arrangement – Rudbeckia, Sunflowers, Zinnias and Coreopsis

Recipe of the Week

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

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Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Applesauce
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Baking Cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 3 cups Shredded Zucchini
  1. Beat sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla together. Mix dry ingredients. Stir into mixture.
  2. Add chocolate chips and shredded zucchini.
  3. Pour batter into 4-5 mini loaf pans (or 2 large loaf pans), coated with cooking spray.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Remove from pans and cool.