Through the Lense

Through the Lense

This past week, we spent time “focusing” on photos to exhibit at the county fair. So this morning when the kids decided they wanted to take pictures because they “saw a cool photo,” I was happy to relinquish a camera.

What I saw as a result was an insightful view of what was “growing” on through the eyes of another, and their excitement as to what they saw and captured.

I hope you to find enjoyment in viewing the activities of our plants through the lense of the boys.

Garden Science

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A view of the purple cabbage growing.

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The potatoes are flowering which is a sign that the potato tubers are growing.

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The dill is flowering. Let us know if you are interested in some.

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A view of a sunflower.

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. This is the last for this season so enjoy some rhubarb delight or freeze to use later this winter.

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

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – Adds beautiful color to your salad.

Spinach – A new crop should be coming in soon.

Red Russian Kale – Mix it in your salads for a variety of texture and color. Learn about the nutritional value of Kale here and check out some ways to use kale.

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A close of view of the kohlrabi growing.

Grand Duke Kohlrabi – We are excited to start harvesting kohlrabi. It has taken a while for this crop to become popular in our house and now we love it peeled like an apple and eaten raw and even dipped in peanut butter. Here are some more ideas on how to use it.

Sugar Snap Peas – A small taste to get us started for the season. This crop has been a bit stubborn this year. Good thing we love the taste of this crop, so we are persistent with having positive results.

Detroit Dark Red Beets – The first taste of the season. Check out this link for ideas.

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Banana peppers ready to harvest.

Banana Pepper – The first of the peppers are in. We hope to have a variety for you this season.

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The first crop of onions for the season.

Onion – First of the season – enjoy!

Cilantro – Fresh cilantro has such a wonderful aroma. Try a cilantro dressing on your salad this week.

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Beautiful colors in tonight’s flowers.

Fresh cut arrangement – Lilly’s, Sweat Peas, Zinnias and Coreopsis

 

Recipe of the Week

Let’s face it, sometimes life is busy and eating healthy does take time. So when preparing one salad, I try to prepare more than one and plan ahead for my week. Whether I’m short on time to take something with me to eat at work or I’m headed to a baseball game, it’s much easier to grab a salad and run out the door when I have them prepared ahead of time.

Some call this salad in a jar. I do not use a jar but rather stackable plastic containers that fit nicely in my salad crisper drawers in my refrigerator.

Salad on the Go

strawberry spinach salad (2)

Strawberry Spinach Salad

  • Set out several containers.
  • Wash lettuce varieties and spinach. Spin this dry in my salad spinner and place in containers.
  • Wash and cut up desired vegetables.
  • Wash fresh fruit – do not cut up, wrap in sandwich bag and place in containers.
  • Place cheese in sandwich bags so it doesn’t get soggy and place in containers.
  • Peel hard boiled egg, wrap in sandwich bag and place in containers.
  • Place croutons, nuts etc in sandwich bag and place in containers.
  • Have a travel size of favorite salad dressing ready to go.

 

 

 

 

Resilience

Resilience

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Mysterious Storm Clouds

Tonight as this storm rumbled around us, I reflected on the diversity of weather conditions presented each growing season. While we received rain this weekend and this week, I wish there were a way to share it with those affected by drought in the Dakotas.

When farmers and ranchers are faced with challenges that really push them in their patience and faith, it causes one to dig deep and try harder than you knew you were capable of trying.

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up…You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.”

Agriculture teaches us many things one is resilience which is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness or the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape. The Bible captures it in many places. Two of my favorites are in Joshua 1:9 I repeat, be strong and brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic, for I, the LORD your God, am with you in all you do; and in Philippians 4:13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.

I encourage all of you when life hands you lemons chose to make lemonade out of them. Search for the window of opportunity and resilience.

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Kittens make the world so joyful.

Garden Science

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If you look close, you will see flickers of light throughout the field. The lightening bugs really come out at night to provide us with such a beautiful light show. Our kids have a blast catching them. These insects are so beautiful to watch at nightfall. Fireflies and Lightning Bugs are one and the same. Entomologists advocate that a more accurate common name for these insects would be “lightning beetles” because they are neither flies. Fireflies are beneficial insects. They don’t bite, they have no pincers, they don’t attack, they don’t carry disease, they are not poisonous, they don’t even fly very fast. The larvae of most species are specialized predators and feed on other insect larvae, snails and slugs. They also help humans. The Lightning Bug contains luciferin and luciferase, two rare chemicals used in research on cancer, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis and heart disease. Here is some information on what makes them light up.

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 – the last of the rhubarb that was affected by the wind has been harvested. I am estimating that you will have rhubarb for one or two more weeks. Chop into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces. No need to peel. You can freeze it in a Ziploc bag (no blanching) and use for months to come. Our family loves it in muffins, breads, jam, pie, crisp, sauce and torte. Check out earlier posts on rhubarb for recipe ideas.

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

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

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

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Kale is growing like crazy. I hope you enjoy this sweeter variety.

Kale – Mix it in your salads for a variety of texture and color. Learn about the nutritional value of Kale here and check out some ways to use kale.

Radish – Cherry Belle radishes – This will be the last of this crop for a while. We hope the radishes weren’t to hot for your taste.

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

Cilantro – Fresh cilantro has such a wonderful aroma. Try a cilantro dressing on your salad this week.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves, Sweat Peas and Coreopsis

Recipe of the Week

A family favorite: toss together a variety of salad greens (lettuce, kale, spinach) blueberries, strawberries, favorite cheese and walnuts. Top with your favorite salad dressing and enjoy. Very festive for Fourth of July.

 

 

 

 

Digging in to Share Science in Agriculture

Digging in to Share Science in Agriculture

 

Weeding is continuous. Not one of our favorite jobs, but it is a necessary one.

Weeding is continuous. Not one of our favorite jobs, but it is a necessary one. Weeds inhibit the crops to reach their full growing and production potential.

As the boys wrap-up their school year, we also wrapped up some of the agriculture in the classroom projects in their classrooms. They suggested that we share our Kindergarten potato experiment results. The experiments were pretty interesting. Agriculture in the classroom activities provide a great opportunity to share science in the classroom.

Don’t let the learning stop just because summer is here. Check out the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom , My American Farm and the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture websites for resources.

We did an experiment in Sam's kindergarten growing potatoes inside during the colder months in Minnesota to find out where the plant put it's energy and why. This plant put it's energy into growing more leaves above ground and less energy producing potatoes below ground. The plant was 8 foot 3 inches tall and produced 78 pebble sized potatoes.

We did an experiment in Sam’s kindergarten growing potatoes inside during the colder months in Minnesota to find out where the plant put it’s energy and why. This plant put it’s energy into growing more leaves above ground and less energy producing potatoes below ground. The plant was 8 foot 3 inches tall and produced 78 pebble sized potatoes.

Sam next to the potatoes in our garden that have been hilled twice this season. These potatoes will be about 2 feet high by end of season and will produce potatoes the size you find in the grocery store. Potato plants outside during the growing season in Minnesota put their energy into making potatoes below ground versus trying or reach for as much sunlight and warmth as possible like we saw in the kindergarten experiment.

Sam is next to the potatoes in our garden that have been hilled twice this season. These potatoes will be about 2 feet high by end of season and will produce potatoes the size you find in the grocery store. Potato plants outside during the growing season in Minnesota put their energy into making potatoes below ground versus trying to reach for as much sunlight and warmth as possible like we saw in the kindergarten experiment.

Boxes of Produce

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

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

Asparagus from Chute's Farm - delicious!

Asparagus from Chute’s Farm Fresh Gardens – delicious!

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! Learn the history of asparagus on America’s Heartland.

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

Prizeleaf Lettuce

Prizeleaf Lettuce

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

 

Spinach

Spinach

Spinach – remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal! Check out some Cooking Light’s spinach recipes.

Beet/Beet Leaves – These are young plants that we are thinning out of the rows – eat the whole plant in a salad – delicious. It will add color and nutrition to your salads. Learn more here.

Radishes – French Breakfast radishes this week – a taste for your salads. There should be more next week, but with the projected heat for the weekend, I knew these would grow and split if not harvested for today’s boxes.

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

Fresh cut arrangement – peonies and hosta leaves

Recipe of the Week

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Spinach Salad – Super easy and delicious!

Strawberry Dressing

3 Tablespoons apple juice

2 Tablespoons strawberry spreadable fruit

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salad

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

8 cups bite-size pieces spinach

1 cup strawberries, stems removed and strawberries cut in half

1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (1 oz)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

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

Source: Taste of Home

The Season Begins

The Season Begins

I was reminded this morning why we do what we do. The boys were both up early as the sun was rising with smiles on their faces, eager to help and knowing what to do. We hope that the values learned with the CSA of teamwork, hard work, seeing ones hard work come to fruition and working together to get a job done will be characteristics that will last a lifetime.

Welcome

Welcome to all of our shareholders. We appreciate the opportunity to work with you and for you throughout the growing season. We work hard to earn your trust and respect in the food that we grow for your families and ours!

All of you should have received an email with more details of dates and specifics with the CSA. We are excited to see the daily changes and growth in the garden. Look for weekly blog posts for guidance throughout the season which will provide you with updates, ideas for your box of produce and recipes.

A lot has been done in the garden this past week including weeding, pest control and planting another crop of sugar snap peas, green beans, beets, carrots, radishes, lettuces and spinach. Sometimes a little stress relief is needed after all of this activity.

A lot has been done in the garden this past week including weeding, pest control and planting another crop of sugar snap peas, green beans, beets, carrots, radishes, lettuces and spinach. Sometimes a little stress relief is needed after all of this activity.

Steve was busy hilling the potatoes this weekend. The potatoes have enjoyed the weather and were already in need of being hilled. Hilling helps the potato growth to occur under ground vs. above ground (thus the greening of the potato). We feel we have a more plentiful harvest when this is done.

Steve hilled the potatoes this weekend. The potatoes have enjoyed the weather and were already in need of being hilled. Hilling helps the potato growth to occur under ground vs. above ground (thus the greening of the potato). We feel we have a more plentiful harvest when this is done.

Garden Science

Did you know that cucumber plants when they emerge from the ground smell just like fresh cut cumbers!

Did you know that cucumber plants when they emerge from the ground smell just like fresh cut cucumbers!

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.

The Harner Bros are the 5th generation to raise this rhubarb originally planted on our family farm and transplanted to this location.

The Harner Bros are the 5th generation to raise this rhubarb originally planted on our family farm and transplanted to this location.

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

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

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce - love eating this in salads and on sandwiches.

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – love eating this in salads and on sandwiches.

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

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

Spinach – remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal! Check out some of Martha Stewart’s spinach recipes.

Beet leaves -good in your salad greens. Beets will be forthcoming later in June.

Beet leaves – good in your salad greens. Beets will be forthcoming later in June.

Beet/Beet Leaves – These are young plants that we are thinning out of the rows – eat the whole plant in a salad – delicious. It will add color and nutrition to your salads. Learn more here.

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

Herbs, Peonies and Iris

Herbs, Peonies and Iris

Herbs pots – includes three of one of the following: thyme, rosemary, sweet basil, parsley, cilantro, arugula or sage.

Fresh cut arrangement – peonies and iris’

 

Recipe of the Week

Rhubarb Jam

Mix together and set aside until a juice forms

6 cups rhubarb sliced into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces

3 cups sugar

Next:

Add one can of pie filling (cherry, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry)

Cook these ingredients for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 package of 3 oz jello (use Jello that is of the same flavor as the pie filling). Mix well. Pour into containers. Refrigerate or freeze.

Rhubarb jam - I make strawberry rhubarb, blueberry rhubarb, cherry rhubarb and raspberry rhubarb. Enjoy, it is a delicious treat!

Rhubarb jam – I make strawberry rhubarb, blueberry rhubarb, cherry rhubarb and raspberry rhubarb. Enjoy, it is a delicious treat!

Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring

We have been busy planting, weeding, mulching and staking. Great news – there is a lot is growing, and we were blessed with rain last night. We anticipate that you should start enjoying garden produce very soon.

It is so fun to watch the crops that you plant sprout and grow. This is a young spinach plant. Do you know how long it takes for spinach to germinate? 7-14 days depending on growing conditions.

It is so fun to watch the crops that you plant sprout and grow. This is a young spinach plant. Do you know how long it takes for spinach to germinate? 7-14 days depending on growing conditions.

 

Mulch and irrigation line was laid at the beginning of May for our tomatoes to provide regular moisture to the plants to provide more event growth opportunity for the tomatoes.

Mulch and irrigation line was laid at the beginning of May for our tomatoes to provide regular moisture to the plants to provide more even growth opportunity for the tomatoes. Note: We usually work with our shoes on for safety purposes. This job gets so much dirt in your shoes it’s difficult to work with them on.

Learning to fence is part of living at our place. We will use trellis fro our sugar snap peas and cucumbers.

Learning to fence is part of living at our place. We will use trellis’ for our sugar snap peas and cucumbers.

Planting of pumpkins and squash also occurred earlier in May and they are poking out of the ground.

Planting of pumpkins and squash also occurred earlier in May, and they are peeking out of the ground.

We utilize fence repurposed from my parents farm to use for our trellis for our peas. We are ready for these little plants to take off climbing.

We utilize fence repurposed from my parents farm to use for our trellis for our peas. We are ready for these little plants to take off climbing.

Garden Science

We did have frost in mid-May. Notice the black parts on the leaves of the potatoes which were caused by the cold weather.

We did have frost in mid-May. Notice the black parts on the leaves of the potatoes which were caused by the cold weather. Good news is that it didn’t damage the plant significantly, and it is growing out of the stress of the cold weather.

Agriculture in the Classroom

We were privileged to be part of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture's Book of the Year project and were featured in their Ag Mag - great for students in 3rd -5th grade available in both English and Spanish. The Book of the Year is First Peas to the Table which tells a story of President Thomas Jefferson and his farm.

We were privileged to be part of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s Book of the Year project and were featured in their Ag Mag – great for students in 3rd -5th grade. The Book of the Year is First Peas to the Table which tells a story of President Thomas Jefferson and his farm.

We had a fun day with Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell. She is a farm girl from Georgia. As part of my job with the Minnesota Farm Bureau, we were able to share Minnesota agriculture with her through a farm visit at FarGaze Farms and Wolf Creek Dairy. She also stopped by to see the national contest that she partnered with the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture on called First Peas to the Table Contest. The students have learned so much through this opportunity.

We had a fun day with Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell. She is a farm girl from Georgia. As part of my job with the Minnesota Farm Bureau, we were able to share Minnesota agriculture with her starting at Little Oscars and farm visits at FarGaze Farms and Wolf Creek Dairy. She also stopped by to see the national contest in action that she partnered with the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture on called First Peas to the Table Contest. The students have learned so much through this opportunity. Thank you to Betty for being such a great spokesperson for agriculture!

 

Spring has Sprung

Spring has Sprung

Spring always brings smiles, from seeing the first Robins appear to the first flowers blooming to the smell of soil and the smell of spring rains. Spring is simply exciting. This week we were in the field and were able to accomplish quite a bit because of the cooperative weather. The soil temps are warming up. The rain, while welcome, is just enough to settle the dust.

Thank you to our neighbor, the Quinnels, for loaning us the tractor and tiller to try out. It sure was efficient and welcome pieces of equipment.

Thank you to our neighbor, Keith Quinnell, for loaning us the tractor and tiller to try out. It sure was efficient and welcome pieces of equipment.

We drug out the ends to even out the soil for a nice seed bed and seeded some of our grass field roads and pasture that needed to be replanted.

We drug out the ends to even out the soil for a nice seed bed and seeded some of our grass field roads and pasture that needed to be replanted.

We decided last year that the raised bed garden will be our carrot sampling garden for our shareholders.

We decided last year that the raised bed garden will be our carrot sampling garden for our shareholders.

We planted many crops this weekend: lettuces, spinach, kale, sugar snap peas, carrots, radishes, beets, onions, potatoes, kohlrabi, cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower.

We planted many crops this weekend: lettuces, spinach, kale, sugar snap peas, carrots, radishes, beets, onions, potatoes, kohlrabi, cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower.

Math Corner

We planted five varieties of potatoes: Yukon Gold, Kennebec, Dark Red Norland, Masquerade and Blue potatoes. We planted 20 rows with 60 per row, how many potato plants were planted? Yes, we planted 1,200 potato plants.

We planted five varieties of potatoes: Yukon Gold, Kennebec, Dark Red Norland, Masquerade and Blue potatoes. We planted 20 rows with 60 per row, how many potato plants were planted? Yes, we planted 1,200 potato plants.

Garden Science

We also were rock picking this week. We had a great question - do you have to rock pick every year? The answer is yes. Our Minnesota weather with the freezing and thawing seem to push up rocks out of the ground on a regular basis. Not all the rocks are the same. There are many different types of rocks found in Minnesota. So while picking rock can get monotonous, the types of rocks do help to make the job more like a treasure hunt.

We also were rock picking this week. We had a great question – do you have to rock pick every year? The answer is yes. Our Minnesota weather with the freezing and thawing seem to push up rocks out of the ground on a regular basis. Not all the rocks are the same. There are many different types of rocks found in Minnesota. So while picking rock can get monotonous, the types of rocks do help to make the job more like a treasure hunt.

 

 

 

 

 

Weeds, Weeds, Weeds

Weeds, Weeds, Weeds

Another motivation for weeding is finding fresh carrots.

Another motivation for weeding is finding fresh carrots.

While the weather has been beautiful, it has proven to be a haven for ideal weed growth. We spent a considerable amount of time this week weeding in the garden, and we are only half done! A combination of methods are used from hand weeding to tilling to rid these pesky plants from hindering a productive crop of garden produce. I always feel this is the most challenging time for weeds as there is no natural “canopy” from the garden crops formed over the weeds to shade out their growth.

What keeps us motivated to finish the weeding? Well, the radio always helps, along with, good conversation and a few games of “would you rather” or the stop everything and play “pretend.”

But to be honest, the feeling of looking back on your work and being able to say to yourself, “job well done” and also knowing that the plants will be healthier and more productive throughout the growing season, makes it all worth it.

At the end of the day, the bond from accomplishing the job together is pretty important!

At the end of the day, the bond from accomplishing the job together is pretty important!

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.

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.

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

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I love this beautiful red lettuce leaf. It adds such a wonderful color to your salads.

Spinach – Remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal! Check out some of Martha Stewart’s spinach recipes.

Radishes – Wash, cut off the tops and also the bottoms, slice and enjoy in salads. Some enjoy dipping in salt.

Herb – Chives – wash then chop up chives into small pieces or wash and freeze in a Ziploc bag. When they are taken out of the freezer you could crush them at that time into tiny pieces to use as flavoring in dishes.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta leaves. I learned this a long time ago from Martha Stewart to cut a few hosta leaves and bring the “outside in.” I think it is a great way to brighten up your house, and they should last several weeks!

Rhubarb Torte

This is a family favorite. The recipe was given to me by a dear friend, a dairy farmer from Wisconsin. I love the recipes shared with friends and family as they always bring good memories to mind as you share the delicious dish with others.

The first step is to wash the rhubarb, cut off the ends and any scarred areas on the stock (from wind or hail) and cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces.

The first step is to wash the rhubarb, cut off the ends and any scarred areas on the stock (from wind or hail) and cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces.

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

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

6 cups rhubarb cut into small 1/2 inch pieces. Place cut rhubarb on top of the bottom layer. Then sprinkle 6 oz package of Jello powder (strawberry or cherry) over rhubarb.

6 cups rhubarb cut into small 1/2 inch pieces. Place cut rhubarb on top of the bottom layer. Then sprinkle 6 oz package of Jello powder (strawberry or cherry) over rhubarb.

Mix with pie cutter. Topping: 2 cups sugar, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter. Then spread on top of Jello.

Mix with pie cutter. Topping: 2 cups sugar, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter. Then spread on top of Jello.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.

Enjoy with ice cream or whipped topping.

Enjoy with ice cream or whipped topping.

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.

What a beautiful sunset, we had the other night after a hard days work. God has a way of bringing peacefulness to the day and even better when it is captured through the lens by a young boy.

What a beautiful sunset, we had the other night after a hard days work. God has a way of bringing peacefulness to the day and even better when it is captured through the lens by a young boy.