Feeling Blessed

Feeling Blessed

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Thank you for being along for this growing season journey.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garden Science

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

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

 

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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

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

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

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

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The entire plant is edible.

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi – just a few left.

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

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

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – the third crop is being harvested

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

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

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

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

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

Purple Cauliflower – a taste for you this week.

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

Flowers of the Week – Hydrangeas and Sedums

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

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Recipe of the Week

Salsa

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

 

Stark Reminders

Stark Reminders

Harner Family 9-19

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

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

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

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

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

Garden Science

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These beautiful butterflies are loving the Zinnias.

Boxes of Produce

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi – just a few left.

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

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

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – the third crop is being harvested

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

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

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

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

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

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The largest zucchini has been harvested.

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

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A variety of egg plants this year.

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

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

carnival-squash

Carnival Squash

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

Broccoli A taste for you this week.

Purple Cauliflower – A taste for you this week.

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Red Kuri Squash

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

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

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

Flowers of the Week – ornamental corn and corn stalks

Recipe of the Week

Tomato and Onion Quiche

Serves 6

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Preparation Time: 10-20 minutes

Cook/Bake Time: 1 hour

 

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

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

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup chopped onion

4 large eggs

3/4 cup half-and-half

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

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

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

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

Paprika

Preheat oven to 425°Fahrenheit.

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Minnesota Chicken and Egg

Priceless Moments

Priceless Moments

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Harvesting Tomatoes

As we were harvesting and beginning to pack boxes this week, you could tell there was a sense of contentment with all of us. It was a beautiful evening with enough of a breeze that the bugs were not bad. Conversations were flowing about our days, about strange insects we were seeing in the garden, what produce was ready and what produce was seeing the end of its production.

We then divided into teams. A team to harvest sweet corn, and another team to pack produce into boxes. To be honest, I love the one on one time with each of the boys. I know which produce the boys like to pack, and honestly it is fun to watch them build a skill and see them do a nice job with it. Watching them pack produce is a lot like watching someone bag your groceries at the grocery store – it is a true skill set.

As we wrapped up, and we moved onto the next part of our evenings. I remember walking away thinking how much I valued and cherished these moments of time spent together. I realized last night when we were reflecting on our favorite parts of our days and thanking God for our three favorite things that I was not the only one. Both boys, specifically said harvesting sweet corn and packing boxes were among there favorite things.

The moral of the story: don’t ever under value what appears to be work or mundane tasks with your loved ones. These truly might be some of the most valued parts of your day and most cherished memories together because of the true sense of calm over these comfortable tasks completed together. These are the moments when valued conversations happens and bonds are strengthen.

Boxes of Produce

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

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

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

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

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

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Sorry to say, but the radish crop has come to an end.

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

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

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

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The flower of the dragon tongue bean which eventually produces the bean.

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

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For those of you that love cucumbers, our third and final crop of cucumbers are ready.

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

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

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

9-12-14 potatoes

Red Norland

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

Green Bell Peppers – The peppers are just taking off.

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

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

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

carnival-squash

Carnival Squash

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

Broccoli a taste for you this week.

Purple Cauliflower – a taste for you this week.

Purple CabbageWe hope you enjoy this garden delight. Here are some ways to use this vegetable.

cropped-gourds.jpgGourds – We have just started harvesting. Enjoy the beautiful colors.

 

Recipe of the Week

Pumpkin Bread is a favorite. I use butternut squash that I have cooked and frozen as my “pumpkin” in this recipe. It works great!

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Place batter in muffin liners that have been sprayed with cooking spray. This batter makes good muffins or good bread. Bake muffins for about 12 – 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pumpkin Bread

1 2/3 cup flour

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup cold water

2 eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin (I use 1 cup cooked squash)

Combine flour, sugar, butter, soda, spices and salt in bowl. Add 1/3 cup cold water, eggs, and pumpkin (squash) mix well. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool on wire rack.

Source: Pat Kuznik – West Polk County: Blue Ribbon Favorites Minnesota 4-H Foundation

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Pumpkin Bread is a favorite. I use butternut squash that I have cooked and frozen as my “pumpkin” in this recipe. It works great!

4-H Vegetable Garden Project

4-H Vegetable Garden Project

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

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

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

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

Take-a-Ways

  1. Project Preparation – The requirements of the project are to bring 2 smaller varieties of vegetables (12 of each vegetable); 3 medium size varieties of vegetables (3 of each vegetable) and 1 larger variety of vegetable. Selecting them to be uniform and preparing them for display is quite the process. We are grateful we had experience showing in last year’s state fair open class show to see the variety of ways people transport their vegetables longer distances so they don’t get damaged.
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    It never fails that when the vegetables need to be harvested for a fair the boys come home from a long day of baseball or another 4-H event and have to persevere through vegetable selection. Let me tell you, that is not easy.

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

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

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

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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

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

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Arugula – peppery flavored green leaf in your box.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Green Bell Peppers – The peppers are just taking off.

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Banana Peppers

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

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

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

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

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Zinnias and Hostas.

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

Recipe of the Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

State Fair Reflection

State Fair Reflection

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

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

Take-a-Ways

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

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

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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

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

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Esperanza Carrots

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

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

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

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Dragon Tongue Beans

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

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

Onion – Walla Walla onions in your boxes this week.

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Cherry Belle Radishes

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

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

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

Green Bell Peppers – The peppers are just taking off.

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

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

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

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

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

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

9-24-14 eggs

Eggs from our Farm

Eggs – Straight from our hen house – enjoy.

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

 

Recipe of the Week

Sweet Corn on the Grill

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

Sweet Corn

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

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

Monumental Tasks

This week we had some larger tasks to accomplish. Quite frankly, when you stepped back to look at them, it was quite easy to feel like these were monumental tasks that would take way to long. With the right attitude, encouragement and grit, they were accomplished with smiles and satisfaction in the end.

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Yes our selfie wasn’t that great, but we still had smiles after harvesting 200 pounds of cucumbers. Great for canning if anyone is interested.

On Friday, we harvested over 200 pounds of cucumbers. Some of which were used at my work’s 100th Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation picnic. It felt good for us to give back to the farmers I have the privilege to work for and with.

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I work for the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation which is a membership organization which mission is to be an advocate for agriculture driven by the beliefs and policies of its members. Sam and I were happy to share some of our cucumbers with our members during the organizations Centennial Picnic this weekend.

The next day when Sam and I walked down to tie up the tomatoes so that they would continue to grow on the fence and not in the mud, we noticed that the previous day’s weather had encouraged quite the weed growth. First, we accomplished the tomato project – we smelled like tomatoes and our hands and arms were green.

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Weeding is not a fun task. Weed control is necessary for a healthy crop.

We knew that the tomatoes would be healthier and cleaner from this task. Sorry – no picture evidence of this – hands were to dirty to touch a camera. Second, we accomplished some weeding so the crops were not choking from all of the extra “friends” growing next to them.

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Weeded yellow onions.

The last monumental appearing task was weeding the yellow onions. I will admit, this got out of hand about a month ago, and no one had the time to dive into it. Well, Keith took on this task yesterday, and boy was he covered in mud and tired from this activity. His grin said it all. It looked awesome.

Lesson learned: While tasks may seem overwhelming and may feel they cannot be accomplished, set your mind to it, don’t give up and keep plugging away. When you are done and look back, what you have accomplished will feel so great. Your hard work will pay off.

Garden Science

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Funny things happen in nature – these cucumbers grew together and the tomato grew a nose.

Animal Update

Boxes of Produce

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

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

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

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

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. Here are some ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use your beets.

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

Green Beans – This is the second round of green beans. If you want to pickle any, please let us know as we have dill that you can use.

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This is a unique flower on the peas. They are usually white. Once and a while, Mother Nature gives you something different. So we wanted to share it with you.

Super Sugar Snap Peas – We may get one more harvest from this crop. We do have a third crop growing.

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Believe it or not, cucumbers are a prickly crop to harvest. Yes, the stems and fresh cucumbers have little spikes on them that poke you.

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – we will have cucumbers for a while. We hope you enjoy this healthy snack.

Onion – You have one Walla Walla and one Yellow onion in your boxes this week. Learn more about onions from America’s Heartland.

Green Bell Peppers – The peppers are just taking off.

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

Tomatoes – This crop is just taking off. A taste of a few cherry tomatoes and Fourth of July tomatoes this week.

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

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Harvesting zucchini and summer squash.

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

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

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

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Teddy Bear Sunflowers

Flowers of the Week – Zinnias and Teddy Bear Sunflowers

Recipe of the Week

Freezer Salsa

8 cups diced seeded peeled tomatoes (about 10 large)
2 medium green peppers, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
3/4 cup tomato paste
2/3 cup condensed tomato soup, undiluted
1/2 cup white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons salt
4-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder (or try a couple cloves of fresh garlic – season to taste)
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper Directions

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring often.

Pour into small freezer containers. Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Stir before serving. Yield: 10 cups.

Editor’s Note: Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.

Source: Taste of Home

Adventure is Out There

Adventure is Out There

As our week passed by, I stopped to realize there was much I was experiencing that many would not understand. Because it is just life in the country, and the adventure of raising both boys and livestock. I captured a few of those moments here.

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The most adorable litter of kittens. The boys have been busy taming them. It is hard to argue with them to come in for supper when they are outside with them. We hope they will grow up to be good mousers to keep the mouse population under control at our place.

Another adventure is clipping the feathers off of the wings of our birds so they cannot fly out of their pen only to be captured and eaten by a predator such as a racoon or fox. I would describe clipping wings like a combination of clipping nails and cutting hair. It doesn’t hurt them. It is hygiene maintainance to keep them safe. It is quite an act of teamwork to get this done efficiently and calmly.

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Then we have the 4-H pig that Keith is working with … yes she is taken out for walks. Miss Piggy decided to go on an escapade when Keith turned his back for a moment at dusk earlier this week. We were all a bit concerned. Thankfully she surfaced before nightfall and had not entered the corn field that surrounds us. She was perfectly fine – acted like a toddler that scared the death out of their parents.

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We also had a helicopter over our place on Saturday morning. Not something I expected to see, but it was very entertaining to watch on my morning walk.

Last but not least, as we were harvesting some of the crops yesterday evening, we raced to beat the storm cells. But we were not so fortunate. As we were working, we could hear the thunder in the distance and watched cautiously as the clouds raced over us. We watched the entire storm while we worked in the rain. Finally, I could see the wind was about to pick up so we went in to dry off and wait for it to pass.

As we reflected on our day, the rainstorm was brought up, with the comments of, “It wasn’t that bad. It was actually an adventure.” So, I challenge you this week to pause and reflect, you never know where the adventure will be – charge on – it may be right in front of you!

Boxes of Produce

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

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

carrots

Carrots are a root vegetable. They are growing like crazy. We love them fresh from the garden.

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

Lettuce/Spinach update – we have a new crop of spinach growing. The lettuce we planted each week the last few weeks is not emerging after these hard rains. We will keep trying as we to would love some for BLTs when the tomatoes turn from green to red.

Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. Here are some ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use your beets.

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

Green Beans – This is the second round of green beans. If you want to pickle any, please let us know as we have dill that you can use.

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Super Sugar Snap Peas are growing like crazy. Enjoy!

Super Sugar Snap Peas – The second crop is ready. Yum! Another crop is planted and is emerging.

FanciPak Cucumbers – great for canning into pickles. We have them growing up an angled fence so they grow down and are easier to harvest and cleaner at harvest time with less chance of a soil borne plant disease.

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FanciPak Cucumbers – great for canning into pickles. We have them growing up an angled fence so they grow down and are easier to harvest and cleaner at harvest time with less chance of a soil borne plant disease.

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – we will have cucumbers for a while. We hope you enjoy this healthy snack. Check out the history behind Minnesota’s pickle company Gedney Pickles.

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

Potatoes – Red Pontiac potatoes great for mashed or cooked potatoes. Since they are a crop that is still growing – the potatoes will get more plentiful and larger

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Flower after flower will grow into a zucchini. Check out this week’s recipe for a family favorite.

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

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Zinnias and Hostas.

Flowers of the Week – Hostas, Zinnias, Hydrangeas, Rudebekia and Sunflowers

Recipe of the Week

garden omelet

Garden Omelet

Garden Omelet

With a fork, beat:
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of Pepper

Add herbs of your choice that have been washed and torn into smaller pieces.
Heat skillet. Butter pan with butter. Place egg mixture in skillet and cook slowly.

Run spatula around edge, lifting to allow uncooked portion to flow underneath.

Place choice of filling inside. I included vegetables, a couple of our favorite cheeses (mozzarella and sharp cheddar).

Turn off heat or place on low. Place pan cover over the mixture for about a minute allowing cheese to melt.

Fold sides over as you flip it onto a plate. Garnish with parsley and cheese.

 

Elbow Grease at Work

Elbow Grease at Work

Elbow Grease went to work out in the garden this weekend pulling over 10 tractor bucket loads of weed. The plants are happy. The animals are happy, and we are exhausted. In the process, we found some neat things growing, from watermelon and sweet potato plants, to small pumpkins and squash. There is a lot to look forward to as these crops mature.

Thank you to Keith for being our photographer for most of the photos this week.

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Weeding is not a favorite family bonding activity. The bonus is the opportunity to visit, physically seeing positive process at the end of the job, and animals that were very excited about eating the weeds and the insects.

Garden Science

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Green beans are a legume plant. See the little balls fixated to the root – this is a root nodule. Root nodules are found on the roots of plants, primarily legumes, that form a symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.[1] Under nitrogen-limiting conditions, capable plants form a symbiotic relationship with a host-specific strain of bacteria known as rhizobia.[2] This process has evolved multiple times within the legumes, as well as in other species found within the Rosid clade.[3] Legume crops include beans, peas, and soybeans.

Boxes of Produce

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

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

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

Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. Here are some ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use your beets.

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Giant Duke Kohlrabi

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

Green Beans – The first round of green beans have been harvested. If you want to pickle any, please let us know as we have dill that you can use.

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FanciPak Cucumbers – great for canning into pickles. We have them growing up an angled fence so they grow down and are easier to harvest and cleaner at harvest time with less chance of a soil borne plant disease.

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – we will have cucumbers for a while. We hope you enjoy this healthy snack. Check out the history behind Minnesota’s pickle company Gedney Pickles.

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

Potatoes – Red Pontiac potatoes great for mashed or cooked potatoes. Since they are a crop that is still growing – the potatoes will get more plentiful and larger

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Flower after flower will grow into a zucchini. Check out this week’s recipe for a family favorite.

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

20190731_192158.jpgFlowers of the Week – Hostas, Zinnias, Hydrangeas, Rudebekia, sunflowers and Tiger Lillies

Recipe of the Week

A favorite in our house. Thank you to Sarah Durenberger for this recipe.

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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 Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pans and cool.

 

Elbow Grease Needed

Elbow Grease Needed

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We need to share some interesting news that we neglected to share from a few weeks ago. Do you see what we saw? A bald eagle sitting by the peppers in our garden. What a site to see!

Hear ye, Hear ye – Due Notice with all of the high humidity, rain and highest heat index we have seen in years, your CSA shares may be filled with weeds instead of vegetables next week. Don’t worry with enough elbow grease, we will keep digging and find the plants still growing.

In all seriousness, with last week’s weather and the crazy schedules between county fair, baseball and work, the weeds did go crazy. But the good news is the plants are still growing, and we are slowly regaining weed management.

Boxes of Produce

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

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

Outrageous Red Lettuce/Spinach/Beet Leaf/Kale Mix – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad. Between the weather and the insects the salad varieties are a bit thin this week. The rain actually has delayed emergence in some of the varieties, while the weather has encouraged rapid weed growth choking out some of the crops, and the insects are loving the kale. I was thankful to see some of these crops emerging when we weeded last night.

Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. Here are some ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use your beets.

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Grand Duke Kohlrabi

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

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Green Beans can drive us a bit crazy when we are harvesting them.

Green Beans – The first round of green beans have been harvested. If you want to pickle any, please let us know as we have dill that you can use.

Cucumbers – FanciPak cucumbers – we will have cucumbers for a while. We hope you enjoy this healthy snack.

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Carrots are a root vegetable. They are growing well at this point.

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

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The onion has such a neat braided stem.

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

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Zucchini growing on the plant. I spy two.

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Flower after flower will grow into a zucchini. Check out this week’s recipe for a family favorite.

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

Flowers of the Week – Hostas, Zinnias, Hydrangeas and Tiger Lillies

Recipe of the Week

7-29-14 cinnamon zucchini bread 2

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread/Muffins

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread

We love this bread. Give it a try. I made a few modifications as I prefer to replace oil in my recipes with applesauce to decrease calories and to help my mommy guilt. Applesauce helps me to feel like the muffins are just a little healthier. Also, simply because of our crazy schedule it is easier and faster for us to bake muffins versus bread early in the morning.

3 Eggs, beaten
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Applesauce
3 cups Flour (opt: substitute 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
¼ tsp Baking Powder
¼ tsp Cinnamon
2 cups Zucchini, shredded
1.Beat together the eggs, sugars and applesauce.
2. Stir together all the dry ingredients and add to the egg-sugar mixture. Stir in the shredded zucchini.
3. Coat loaf pans or muffin liners with cooking spray. Sprinkle sugar/cinnamon mixture on the bottom. (I used a cinnamon/sugar mix to decrease on the sugar). Pour batter evenly in all four pans. Sprinkle tops with sugar/cinnamon mixture.
4. Bake bread at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-50 minutes (muffins – 12 minutes), or until toothpick comes out clean.
Source: Sarah Durenberger

Fair Time

Fair Time

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The boys showed their poultry on Tuesday. They placed 5th and 6th in the state fair line-up with their brown egg layer hens. This is the largest class of poultry so this was good news.

Well it is fair time at our house. Many friends observe the craziness, and wonder why we do this? It is complete chaos with full exhaustion at the end. It seems no matter how much you prepare, this is the pattern. We would do this all over again because we see the life changing opportunities that 4-H offers our children.

The boys averaged 10 general project areas and both brought two hens and two pigs. We encourage them to take basic life skill type projects: baking, electricity, shop (welding and woodworking), food preservation, safety, livestock projects and more. Through this process, they work with different adult mentors in their lives from their grandparents, parents, neighbors and friends. It is an amazing process to step back and observe as both the 4-Her and mentor discuss details about a given project area, and the amount of high level discussion and learning that occurs.

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Sam was ecstatic to place champion in the vegetable area.

The kids spend spare time throughout the year working on projects and developing life changing skills.

When I asked the boys why they like being in 4-H, they said they like taking pigs and working with so many types of animal species, getting to go to fun places, meeting more people, making new friends and it’s fun.

For us as parents we see that it teaches them leadership, responsibility, follow-through, time management, where their food comes from, how to take care of the food that we feed other people, record keeping, writing, organization, conversational and interview skills and more.

So as you take a look at your boxes this week. We want to share that Sam won grand champion vegetables and Keith earned a state fair trip and plans to show the vegetables at the Minnesota State Fair. We thank you for the opportunity for us to learn and grow with you along this journey.

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Keith’s vegetable’s earned a trip to the state fair. Looking forward to the additional learning opportunities.

What’s New?

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Look what else is going on. Kittens with their eyes opening up. Great time to start taming these farm cats so they will be good hunters.

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.

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

Outrageous Red Lettuce/Kale Mix – This variety adds beautiful color to any sandwich or salad. Between the weather and the insects the salad varieties are a bit thin this week. The rain actually has delayed emergence in some of the varieties, while the weather has encouraged rapid weed growth choking out some of the crops, and the insects are loving the kale. I was thankful to see some spinach emerging this morning and am hopeful for where it will be next week.

Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets Cooked beets: -Cut the top and the bottom off -Place in boiling water -Boil until you can stick a fork through it -Take out of boiling water -Using a paper towel, gently rub the skin off -Slice and enjoy with a dab of butter.

Beets – The entire plant is edible – that includes the leaves. Here are some ideas from Martha Stewart on how to use your beets.

Kohlrabi – Giant Duke kohlrabi. Peel it and slice like an apple. Here are more ideas.
Super Sugar Snap Peas – Eat the pods and peas all together. Great snack. This is the end of the first crop. Look for a second crop soon.

green beans

Green Beans

Green Beans – The first round of green beans have been harvested. If you want to pickle any, please let us know as we have dill that you can use.

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

Zucchini – The crop that keeps on giving. Flower after flower will grow into a zucchini. Check out this week’s recipe for a family favorite.

8-11-14 summer squash

Summer Squash

Summer Squash – Make these into noodles, sauté and more. Try summer squash soup.

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. Here’s a resource on Cilantro from Real Simple.

Flowers of the Week – Hostas, Zinnias, Hydrangeas and Tiger Lillies

Recipe of the Week

brownies

These zucchini brownies are a favorite.

Zucchini Brownies

Ingredients
•2 cups all-purpose flour
•1/3 cup baking cocoa
•1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
•1 teaspoon salt
•2 cups shredded zucchini
•1-1/2 cups sugar
•3/4 cup vegetable oil (I will substitute with applesauce.)
•1/2 cup chopped walnuts
•2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Frosting
•1/4 cup butter, cubed
•1 cup sugar
•1/4 cup milk
•1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
•1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

•In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, combine the zucchini, sugar and oil; stir into dry ingredients until blended. Stir in walnuts and vanilla.•Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° F. for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

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

Source: Taste of Home