Hidden Surprises

Hidden Surprises

More often than not we get caught up in what is going on in our lives trying to accomplish what is expected and/or needed of us. It’s important that we stop and look around whether it is a pleasant surprise or a challenging surprise – how we view it often determines our end outcomes. Take a look at our hidden surprises this week with most of the photos through the view of our youngest photographer.

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These hot humid days have lead to weeds and more weeds. While it can seem overwhelming, spending time with this character one on one in the garden with some music playing, watching the sun set and the fire flies light up the fields…well it is priceless, and I wouldn’t change those moments.

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As we returned from a weekend full of baseball, we were in the process of getting chores done so we could move on to the next activity. As I headed to the garden and looked up, I was amazed to see this magnificent beauty and reminded of how privileged we are to live in the United States. Keith and I tried our best to get as close as we could to it, but it didn’t let us get to close.

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Well these challenging foes known as potato bugs are out in full force. This is an adult potato bug, and they love to eat the leaves of the potato plant. The problem is without leaves a plant cannot conduct photosynthesis and without photosynthesis the plant cannot create food to create potatoes. Trust me…they will eat the ENTIRE plant.

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Potato bug eggs are orange and as they hatch out, the young are a deep brownish/orange with a black head. They begin eating the plants shortly after they hatch. Oh how they are a nemesis.

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While these may appear somewhat similar to a potato bug…they are a beetle that will eat all vining plants and frankly whatever looks good to them. Checking for insect issues on a regular basis helps to keep us out their weeding and the plants growing.

Garden Science

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Some of the potato plants are starting to flower. That is a good sign that the plant is maturing and starting to grow potatoes. The potatoes do not grow out of the flowers. Potatoes are a tuber that will grow under ground.

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It’s a great sign that the peas are flowering as the pea flowers will grow into our pea pods.

Pick-up and Delivery

• Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA – please note the exceptions to this which were in the email.
• It is your responsibility to know that the pick-up or drop-off time will occur at the agreed upon time, and it is your responsibility as a shareholder to know this and be responsible for the produce at that time. If you are unable to utilize your share that week, it is still your responsibility: find someone else to pick it up or donate it to the food shelf.
• Each box is labeled for each family. The same boxes will be used for your family throughout the season. Boxes and containers should be returned the following week. Bags will only be used once.

Boxes of Produce

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

7-20-13 rhubarb wash and cut ends off

Wash the rhubarb and cut off the white ends, any damaged areas and provide a fresh cut to the other side if it has become slightly dried out. Then cut your rhubarb into 1/14-1/2 inch pieces.

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.

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.

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Red Beets, Black Seeded Simpson lettuce and Outrageous red 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.

Outrageous Red Lettuce – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad.

Spinach – Love this mixed into a salad with other greens or as a stand alone by itself.
Beet Leaves – The beets are growing on their own so I thought we should check them out.

Radishes– Cherry Belle and French Breakfast radishes. We are nearing the end of this crop for a little while.

Cilantro – wash and enjoy. Freeze extra by placing in ice cube trays and running water over them and freeze. A good way to use later in soups and other dishes. Check out these ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use this herb.

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Hosta Leaves

Hosta Leaves – I put 10-15 hosta leaves in a vase and it looks so gorgeous!

Recipe of the Week

 

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Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Dressing
3 Tablespoons apple juice
2 Tablespoons strawberry spreadable fruit
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salad
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 cups bite-size pieces spinach
1 cup strawberries, stems removed and strawberries cut in half
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (1 oz)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

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

Weeds and More

Weeds and More

There is always something to do at our place. We replanted some crops and did quite a bit of weed control. We are also closely monitoring potato bugs and some other critters that are enjoying a few of the plants. We will let you know what we find out. Here’s some highlights from the week and a look at what to expect in your boxes. Enjoy and thank you!

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Sweet potatoes have been planted. They come in groups like this which are slips of plants that are alive and have a root on the bottom of each plant slip. We are grateful for our neighbors that order these from Tennessee for some good seed stock.

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The potatoes have been hilled to provide more soil for the potatoes to grow in, and it provides more soil over the potatoes as they grow so fewer newly grown potatoes have the greening of the tubers from the sun. We will probably hill them one more time this week.

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Weeding is a continuous process. Keith spent some time out with the vines this week making sure they didn’t have any competition around the plants to ensure good opportunity for pumpkins, squash and gourds. I think this plant is sure glad to not have any competition for the opportunity for good growth.

Pick-up and Delivery

• Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA – please note the exceptions to this which were in the email.
• It is your responsibility to know that the pick-up or drop-off time will occur at the agreed upon time, and it is your responsibility as a shareholder to know this and be responsible for the produce at that time. If you are unable to utilize your share that week, it is still your responsibility: find someone else to pick it up or donate it to the food shelf.
• Each box is labeled for each family. The same boxes will be used for your family throughout the season. Boxes and containers should be returned the following week. Bags will only be used once.

Boxes of Produce

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

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. Here is a little history on rhubarb.

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! Check out these recipes from Martha Stewart.
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.
Outrageous Red Lettuce – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad.

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Spinach leaves will grow back after you cut them. We can usually get a few harvests per plant.

Spinach and beet leaves – great for salads


Radishes – Cherry Belle and French Breakfast radishes. Read a little history on radishes.
Chives – wash then chop up chives into small pieces. I enjoy using them in potatoes on the grill.

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Cilantro will also grow back after you cut the stalks with the leaves. Wash and enjoy the flavorful leaves.

Cilantro – wash and enjoy. Freeze extra by placing in ice cube trays and running water over them and freeze. A good way to use later in soups and other dishes. Check out these ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use this herb.
Herb Pots – Pick your variety in a pot to bring home and keep throughout the season. Check out this resource on herbs.

Recipe of the Week

4-10-12 Making rhubarb tort (21)

Enjoy! Delicious right out of the oven with some ice cream. A great way to enjoy this spring crop and celebrate June Dairy Month.

Rhubarb Torte

Using a pie crust cutter. Mix the following.
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 cup butter
Mix then pat into a 9 x 13 cake pan.

6 cups rhubarb cut into small 1/2 inch pieces
6 oz package of strawberry or raspberry jello.
Place cut rhubarb on top of the bottom layer. Rhubarb should be cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Sprinkle jello powder over rhubarb.

Topping
2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
Mix with pie cutter or fork and spread on top of Jello. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.

Growth in View

Growth in View

It’s been a busy few weeks. Some of the cold rainy weather has given way to heat and the plants and weeds are enjoying it. Some of the vining plants have really bolted.

Our young plants we transplanted like our cabbages, eggplants, tomatoes and more that our neighbor Blake started for us are trying to find their way through these interesting weather changes. The cabbage below is one of the young plants we transplanted over Memorial Day weekend prior to some heavy rain. Here is a quick look at our activity. Stay tuned the activity is about to pick up as we dive into June.

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Purple cabbages were planted. Check out the root system.

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Dark Detroit red beets growing.

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Super Sweet Sugar Ann Peas…a favorite!!

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Cucumbers growing… the young plants smell like a freshly cut cucumber at the this stage.

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Green beans… note that the green bean seed shell is still on the plant.

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Installing drip line irrigation under the mulch. It’s all fun and games until work needs to be done and mom get’s out the camera.

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Installing the mulch for the tomatoes.

This is exhausting work. Maybe if I lay here long enough they will think I am asleep.

We also did an agriculture in the classroom in Sam’s classroom about seeds. Here we were doing a seed sorting activity. The students had a great time examining and looking at the difference between the seeds.

Springing in to Action

Springing in to Action

We had quite a swing in weather this May. We are so grateful for some days to plant and some days in the low 80s to dry things up and help with some germination. It appears that the frost we received maybe singed some of the leaves but doesn’t appear to be hindering the plants. We are now waiting for the rain to stop, sun to shine and wind to blow to finish planting. Here’s a look at some of our activity.

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The herb pots have been planted.

 

Tornado Clean-up…

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We burned the giant brush fire from the debris we had from this fall’s tornado. Thank you to everyone who assisted with the brush clean-up. This allowed for us to open another field and plant it.

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We have been busy cleaning up from the tornado damage from last fall. That includes rebuilding chicken pens. We finished a pen for the pullets, young female chickens.

 

In the Garden…

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More ground was worked for the vining plants like squash and pumpkins.

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Young radishes peeking out of the ground.

 

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Lettuce growing.

Green beans shooting out of the ground and breaking open the seed pod.

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Super sugar snap peas … a favorite.

 

In Other News…

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The hens like to keep it interesting this was a very wavy hard shelled egg. It could also be described as wrinkly.

 

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An interesting work trip took Kristin to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to visit with the communications team to learn how they communicate with America’s farmers. Here she is in the USDA TV studio.

5-21-19 seed sorting in 3rd grade

We led an agriculture in the classroom activity in Sam’s class about seeds. Here the students are doing a seed sorting activity. They learned many fascinating things about seeds from how different they look to how important it is to have good seed genetics so the seed and plant can grow in challenging conditions.

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As part of the activity, we planted seeds in Sam’s class garden.

Spring has Sprung

Spring has Sprung

It is hard to believe that 3 1/2 week’s ago we were in a winter storm warning, 2 week’s ago we had five inches of rain, and this week actually feels like spring. Don’t let that fool you, the winter survival kits are still in our vehicles.

We have been busy with this beautiful weather. Here’s what we’ve been up to.

Growing rhubarb is a good sign of spring.

We planted four varieties of potatoes in eight rows thus far with 74 per row. We will plant one more variety plus sweet potatoes in this area.

We plant marigolds to help bring in beneficial insects to eat bad insects. At the end if the growing season, we collect last year’s dried Marigold flower heads which are full of seeds, and that is what we plant in the spring.

We also enjoy doing agriculture in the classroom presentations in Sam’s school. The most recent one was on pigs.

 

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The seed planter that we use for some of the crops has different seed plates (the white circular piece) for different kinds of seeds. For example a carrot seed is much smaller than a green bean seed. In addition the spacing between seeds vary depending on the type of crop. The seed plate spacing them out accordingly.

The 4-H pigs arrived this weekend, and everyone is happy about this. The pigs were born in January weighing about 2-3 pounds and will be full grown in July when shown at the county fair when they will weight approximately 240-280 pounds.

Planting Walla Walla onions… hoping this year the birds won’t pluck them all out after they are planted. In total nearly 1,000 onions were planted.

The boys till the ground and drag the fields ahead of us planting in order to prepare a conducive seed bed.

Dry Stretch Provides Opportunity

Dry Stretch Provides Opportunity

Last week we were able to accomplish a good deal of clean-up. The last few weeks have provided quite a variety of different weather conditions to work outside. We are grateful to have accomplished what we have.

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Yes, we did receive a few inches of snow on October 14. Way to early!

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Once the snow had melted and the fields looked dry enough, a variety of steps were taken to close out the fields. First, we harvested the seeds from the flowers that help to bring in good insects to eat the bad insects. First up were the Marigolds. The cool thing about Marigolds – I love harvesting their seeds from the dried up flower heads that are filled with a ton of long skinny seeds. Place in dry paper bag in a dry place and next year plant the seeds.

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4 O’clock plants flowers dry up and produce a seed not a group of seeds like Marigolds. But you can still harvest the small black seeds and store in a dry place until next year.

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After all the seeds were harvested, we mulched the plants with the mower.

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Tilled the gardens.

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The ground was wet from the snow and the rain over previous weeks which caused the tiller to plug with mud. So getting it unplugged employed a variety of techniques.

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Once tilling was completed, we seeded the fields with rye grass for a cover crop. Thank you to our neighbors for the use of the seeder to speed up this job! See he’s going so fast my pic is blurry:) Yes, we do work past sunset at times and have been blessed with beautiful evenings.

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We rolled the ground to get good seed to soil contact. The plants will begin to grow and will start re-growing just like your lawn in the spring.

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We also worked on the popcorn harvest.

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The boys used their Great, Great Grandpa’s corn sheller to harvest the popcorn seeds. The next step is shaking out the extra corn silks and corn “wings” to have seed that is free of natural corn “debris.”

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In addition to all the garden work, we also have to work on rebuilding chicken pens, gates etc. Building skills together one job at a time.

Clean-up Continues

Clean-up Continues

The clean-up continues this week. The weather we have had has kept life interesting. Between rain, snow and freeze warnings, we have been able to keep pumpkins available for sale, cover up the carrots and beets that are still growing, winterize our chicken pens and keep some of the flowers I overwinter from freezing.

Here is a quick view of our week. Please keep farmers and their families and all who work in production agriculture in your prayers. This is a tough year to be farming for many reasons, one of the joys of farming is the harvest, but Mother Nature is not being kind. Thank you in advance.

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The boys have put a lot of work into their pumpkin, gourd and squash stand. In addition to selling the pumpkins individually, they have a $25 and $50 package that would look nice on your front doorstep. Thank you for your support.

 

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Yes, this did take all of Saturday afternoon to set-up. Pink pumpkins are being sold to support breast cancer research.

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The boys also had fun bringing some fall cheer around the neighborhood. We all love the different colors and shapes of the pumpkins and gourds. We hope that they bring smiles to others.

 

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This week’s freeze warning brought about some quick actions to provide the opportunity for carrots and beets to continue growing. This row cover provides frost protection, 75% light transmission. It is porous to water and self ventilating.

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When it wasn’t raining we were trying to clean it all up. Pulling up the mulch and putting away the dripline irrigation system.

 

Clean-up Continues

Clean-up Continues

 

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Many trees have been cleared in this area and a new fence built. We may be tired, but we find comfort and strength that we are not alone and are so grateful for our neighbors and friends.

Well, the weather forecasters were right this week, and we are grateful that they provided us ample warning. While we recognize how absolutely fortunate we are compared to so very many, we also have an obligation to communicate with you, our shareholders, what occurred so you know what to expect as we finish out the CSA year.

 

We did see the green clouds coming from the south-west, and while we live out-of-town, we are fortunate that we can hear the tornado sirens at our place. We did lose power from Thursday night – Saturday evening and are so grateful for those who worked so hard to restore it. The boys said it felt like camping only with the amenity of the comfort of your beds.

We so greatly appreciate everyone who has helped us with cleanup from Thursday night’s storm. Please know that we are beyond thankful to each and every person that has stopped by, helped clean up, brought food and beverages, sent messages, borrowed us equipment and prayed for us.

While there is still clean-up of dangling branches, a few down trees to accomplish, it is all in a manageable state. We did have a chicken coop flip over, no chickens were lost, and some of the pens have been rebuilt.

In regards to the garden, we are absolutely amazed that all of the pumpkins sat there and did not appear to be moved. Only one pumpkin had a stick through it. The popcorn stalks are all broken over and need to be harvested ASAP before the ears get moldy because of the pelting rain into the ears of corn with the husks on them. The ornamental corn and broom corn were also blown over and may be salvageable yet for corn shocks.

No extra end of the year push on harvesting occurred this weekend due to the needed focus on storm clean-up. We will push for that this weekend and then return to clean-up after harvesting is completed.

We ask that you keep those that lost barns, grain storage, houses etc in this storm and other storms this year in your prayers. It is a tough situation to be in and our hearts go out to them.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phillippians 4:13

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, Spinach and Kale This took a bit of a beating from the rain.

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Checking for quality cauliflower. Enjoy the beautiful color.

Cauliflower A few more for the season.

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

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

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

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

 

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

Potatoes –Norlands (red) great for mashed or cooked potatoes, and Masquerade (purple and tan) potatoes are very versatile with a light buttery flavor.

Sweet PotatoesSweet potato has a rich history and interesting origin. It is one of the oldest vegetables known to mankind. Scientists believe that sweet potato was domesticated thousands of years ago in Central America. Learn more about sweet potatoes here.

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Harvesting Detroit Dark Red Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets – It is perhaps the last beets of the season. Enjoy!

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.

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A colorful collection of summer squash and egg-plant.

Egg Plant – Please let us know if you like egg-plant. I believe this is the last of the season.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Pumpkins – We hope you enjoy this fall ornament

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

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Quite a few varieties of pumpkins to choose from.

Recipe of the Week

Sweet Potato Fries

 6 whole Sweet Potatoes, Peeled And Cut Into Thin Sticks
 1 stick Salted Butter
 2 cloves Garlic, Pressed
 1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt (or Plain Salt)
 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
 2 Tablespoons Ketchup OR Sriracha (more To Taste!)
 Salt For Sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Melt the butter and skim off the foam. Add garlic, seasoned salt, chili powder, and black pepper. Stir with a fork.

In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes in the butter/seasoning mixture. Arrange on two baking sheets and bake in the oven for 15 to 17 minutes, shaking the pans halfway through, until the fries are sizzling (watch so that the edges don’t burn). Remove from the oven and allow to sit on the pan for 5 minutes. Sprinkle generously with salt!

Mix the mayonnaise with the ketchup (or Sriracha). Serve fries with the dipping sauce!

Note: Sweet potatoes will not be overly crisp, but they should be firm.

Source: Pioneer Woman

 

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes

 

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Harvesting together a variety of beautiful produce.

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

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

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

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

Garden Science

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Double pumpkin… looks like two that grew together.

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Watermelon

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

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

carnival-squash

Carnival Squash

Carnival Squash Carnival squash is a hybrid of the sweet dumpling squash and the acorn squash. The color variance in the rind of the Carnival squash is the result of seasonal temperature variations. Warmer temperatures produce Carnival squash with slightly more pronounced green stripes. The squash’s flavor is nutty and sweet.

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

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

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Uchiki Kuri Winter Squash

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

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

Pumpkins – We hope you enjoy this fall ornament

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Quite a few varieties of pumpkins to choose from.

Recipe of the Week

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

Cauliflower on the Grill

½ head of cauliflower

2 Tablespoons butter

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Lemon pepper (as desired)

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

Source: Willow Lake Church cookbook

 

An Experience to Remember

An Experience to Remember

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Open Class Vegetable Entry Day at the Minnesota State Fair

This week we entered in to a new arena. One we wanted to try last year but missed the deadline…the Minnesota State Fair open class vegetable show. The class for our entries needed to be entered between 7—9 a.m. on the opening day of the state fair. So that meant early alarms were set, and we were on the road by 5:30 a.m. to beat the traffic and ensure we had a parking spot even though we were given a designated parking area. It was a good thing we left when we did because when we arrived there were only four parking spots remaining and when we left the fairgrounds at 8 a.m. the line was very long to enter the fairgrounds.

We were excited that the All Blue potatoes took 3rd in the other varieties potato class. We did not place in the largest zucchini, largest scalloped squash or the largest onion. We would all say we brought very respectable entries and learned so much. Here is some of what we learned.

  • Zucchini – seems to be the most popular largest vegetable category
  • Scalloped Squash – If we would have considered this as an entry earlier in the season, we think the entry would have won.
  • Onion – We have simply never seen as large of an onion as we saw from another entrant. It was huge.

Take Aways – Seeing how others transported their vegetables into the fair. For example, one person had a large snake gourd that he taped down to a 2 x 4 to ensure that it did not break in transport. While another transported his potatoes individually wrapped in a Christmas bulb carrier.

There are so many category options – don’t be afraid to check it out and give it a try.

In summary, it was truly very interesting visiting with others who brought in their entries to the open class show. We learned A LOT from different varieties of vegetables to how to prepare vegetables for show. The boys have regrouped and are already strategizing on what to do differently. Most of all we enjoyed the experience as a family. Living and learning together definitely makes for a stronger family.

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.

Purple BeansSuch a delicious vegetable cooked, eaten raw or in salads.

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

purple beans

The purple beans stems are purple while green bean stems are green.

Purple 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.

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

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

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

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

Potatoes – 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.

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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 growing. 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.

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

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

Recipe of the Week

State Fair Pumpkin Bread/Muffins

1 2/3 c. flour

1 ½ c. sugar

1/3 c. Butter, softened

1 tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. each nutmeg, cloves

Pinch of salt

1/3 c. water

2 eggs

1 c. canned pumpkin (can substitute squash or carrots that have been cooked and blended down to a smooth consistency)

Combine flour, sugar, butter, soda, spices and salt in bowl. Add 1/3 cup of cold water eggs and pumpkin; mix well. Pour into a lightly greased muffin tin liner. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 depending on the oven. Cool on wire rack. Produces 15-18 muffins.

Note: The bread was made by Keith using the Uchiki Kuri Winter Squash. It was a blue ribbon recipe for him at the county fair.

Source: Minnesota 4-H Blue Ribbon Cookbook