Appreciated Beyond Words

Appreciated Beyond Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garden Science

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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

Spinach/Kale – Great for salads.

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

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

 

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

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

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

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

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

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

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

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Egg Plant

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

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

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Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash

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

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Peter Pan Squash

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

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

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Zinnia

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

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

Recipe of the Week

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Sautéed Garden Fresh Green Beans

Sautéed Garden Fresh Green Beans

1 cup of green beans cut into 1 inch pieces

Pinch of Kosher Salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

½ Tablespoon olive oil

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

 

Emerging Surprises

Emerging Surprises

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

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

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

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

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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

Spinach/Kale – Great for salads.

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Banana Peppers

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

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

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

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

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

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Purple Cauliflower

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

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

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Jade Green Beans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Zinnias, Hostas and Sunflowers

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

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

Recipe of the Week

Lazy Tacos

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

taco meat, onions, black olives, tomatoes, lettuce, cheddar cheese, chilli beans, cucumbers, salsa, cottage cheese or salad dressing. I would also include a variety of other vegetables that were in your boxes.

Lazy taco

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

 

Planting Resumes

Planting Resumes

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

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

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

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

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Lettuce leaves

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

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

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

Garden Science

Boxes of Produce

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

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

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

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

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

Carrots – Esperanza carrots – enjoy these summer delights.

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

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

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Jade Green Beans

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

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Banana Peppers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recipe of the Week

Summer Squash Soup

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

2 green onions, cut into 3-inch pieces

2 tablespoons butter

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

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

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

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

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

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

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Inside of the summer squash before removing the seeds.

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Using a spoon, I scoop out the seeds.

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

 

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Bring to a boil.

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

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Puree the mixture.

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

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

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.

4-15-18 seed potatoes

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.

Sam with Ms Baker

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.