Stand up, Stand Tall

Stand up, Stand Tall

Welcome Minnie and Daisy to the farm.

Welcome Minnie and Daisy to the farm. Barn cats play an important part of controlling field mice and other rodents around our place. As you can tell, we all love having these kittens around.

Thank you to everyone who expressed concern over how our crops fared the storms. We are happy to share (see photo below) that they have recovered as much as can be expected. They have stood back up, standing tall and looking like a crop is in their future. I shared the photos last week as an opportunity to help everyone better understand what happens to farmers’ crops when storms roll through.

One comment from our blog post sticks out – “After all my years of farming, one thing I have learned, is that we do everything we can to ensure that the crop we put in the ground will grow and reap a harvest with whatever weather conditions Mother Nature gives us. If you were thinking positively when you planted it, chances are…it will be ok.”

This comment reminded me that farming presents more learning lessons than one realizes. In fact, it reminds me a lot of life and parenting. We do all we can to ensure that we are helping our children grow up to be productive, loving and caring people who provide back to this world more than they have been given. We think positively about their future. While we are preparing them, similar to preparing to growing a crop, we do the best we can hoping that whatever storms come their way in life that they to, like the corn, will stand back up, stand tall and reap a productive lifetime.

Garden Science

This is a photo of the top of the corn plant last week.

This is a photo of the top of the corn plant last week. Take time to check out the different plants. They really are unique.

The ornamental corn leaf feels different then the...

The ornamental corn leaf feels different then the…

broom corn leaf...

broom corn leaf…

then the field corn leaf. All are unique to the type of corn variety that it is.

then the field corn leaf. All are unique to the type of corn variety that it is.

Great news. All types of corn are standing back up on their own. When I refer to types I mean: sweet corn, field corn, ornamental corn, broom corn and popcorn. Corn genetics are an amazing thing. Thanks to plant scientists these plant varieties were able to withstand that strong wind and straighten back up to keep on growing. I think it also helped that we were all praying for this to happen. God is good!

Great news. All types of corn are standing back up and standing tall on their own. When I refer to types I mean: sweet corn, field corn, ornamental corn, broom corn and popcorn. Corn genetics are an amazing thing. Thanks to the plant scientists, these plant varieties were able to withstand that strong wind and straighten back up to keep on growing. I think it also helped that we were all praying for this to happen. God is good!

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. 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. 

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – With a lot of lettuce in your boxes, check out Martha Stewart’s lettuce salad recipes or this potluck taco idea for picnics and family gatherings. 

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 and Beet Leaves – We thinned our beets and have combined them with the spinach for a healthy salad mix.

Carrots

Carrots

Carrots – Some beautiful carrots this week.

Kale – Here are some recipes for this vegetable. Two varieties Dwarf Blue Curled Vates and Ursa Kale.

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi – You either have a purple or green kohlrabi in your box.

Beet –  Dark Detroit Red Beets – Learn how to cook beets here.

 

Picking green beans can literally be exhausting.

Picking green beans can literally be exhausting.

Green Beans – Plenty are growing – let us know if you would like any to can or freeze. Here are some recipe ideas.

Watermelon Radish

Watermelon Radish

Radishes – Watermelon radishes – let us know what you think about this vegetable.

Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash –  The best-tasting squash in Burpee’s taste trials for 2 years in a row.

Quite the zucchini and summer squash harvest this week.

The zucchini and summer squash harvest this week.

Zucchini – The zucchini is growing like crazy. Learn how to save it for use during the cold winter months From the Farm Table and try some of the recipe ideas from Martha Stewart.

Onions – red onions – These onions took a beating in the storms. They had stopped growing so we harvested them this week.

Fresh Basil – some of you have basil in your herb pots and some do not. Check out these basil ideas.

Fresh cut arrangement – Zinnias

Recipe of the Week

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread

Cinnamon Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

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

1/4 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

2 cups Zucchini, shredded

Shredding zucchini is super easy and fun with this salad shooter.

Shredding zucchini is super easy and fun with this salad shooter.

Instructions

Beat together the eggs, sugars and applesauce.

Stir together all the dry ingredients and add to the egg-sugar mixture. Stir in the shredded zucchini.

Coat four mini loaf pans with cooking spray. Sprinkle sugar on the bottom. Pour batter evenly in all four pans. Sprinkle tops with sugar.

Bake at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Mother Nature’s Reminders

Mother Nature’s Reminders

Mother Nature always has a way of reminding us who is in control. It is certainly not us.

The past few days we were busy accomplishing a lot of jobs, and we were beginning to feel pretty good about how things were looking in the garden.

This weekend, we put up the electric fence around the sweetcorn to protect it from curious creatures like raccoons. The fencing is powered by a solar panel.

This weekend, we put up the electric fence around the sweetcorn to protect it from curious creatures like raccoons. The fencing is powered by a solar panel.

We irrigated the tomatoes this week to provide for more even moisture throughout the growing season as the tomatoes are starting to grow.

We irrigated the tomatoes this week to provide for more even moisture throughout the growing season as the tomatoes grow.

Rain water captured from the roof of our shop is used to

Rain water captured from the roof of our shop is used to irrigate the crops. We use gravity flow to move the water to the plants.

Last night, Mother Nature moved in with a vengeance with straight winds over 70 mph. The skies were green which usually means hail. We were fortunate to not have the hail or tornadoes at our place. Others in the area were not as fortunate. Rain came with the winds, but difficult to measure with the force in which it was upon us.

When the skies had settled and it was safe to emerge from our house and our basement. We felt blessed to only have branches scattered throughout the yard, no trees were down. We still had all of the buildings. The crops were there, while they were a mangled mess.

I was thankful that we made a mad dash to harvest a few crops that grow above ground before the storm hit. They would have likely been damaged from the winds and blowing debris.

Sweet corn standing tall tasseling this weekend. The thoughts of sweet corn in the near future.

Sweet corn standing tall tasseling this weekend. The thoughts of sweet corn in the near future.

The sweet corn was flat after last night's storm. We are not real hopeful of pollination occurring from the tassel to the silks on the ears of corn after last nights storm. In the background you will see our neighbors field corn. What this photo does not show, is that it to was affected. While the genetics on the field corn plants have been selected to withstand high winds, only time will tell what the end harvests will look like for all of these crops. We are thankful that we did not have hail or tornadoes last night.

The sweet corn was flat after last night’s storm. We are not real hopeful of pollination occurring from the tassel to the silks on the ears of corn after last nights storm.
In the background you will see our neighbors field corn. What this photo does not show, is that it to was affected. While the genetics on the field corn plants have been selected to withstand high winds, only time will tell what the end harvests will look like for all of these crops. We are thankful that we did not have hail or tornadoes last night.

The popcorn was not yet pollinating so there is still hope for a crop. We need to inspect the corn plant more closely to see if the tops of the plant are still intact.

The popcorn was not yet pollinating so there is still hope for a crop. We need to inspect the corn plant more closely to see if the tops of the plant are still intact.

Garden Science

Have you ever taken the time to notice the differences between the plant stems and leaves. It is really fascinating the shapes and textures.

Take a look at the spikes on the stem and the cucumber itself.

Take a look at the spikes on the stem and the cucumber itself.

The burble beans stems are purple. While green bean stems are green (check those out in the photo below).

The burble beans stems are purple. While green bean stems are green (check those out in the photo below).

Pumpkin stems feel hollow compared to other plants. While they are round, they are not perfectly symmetrical. They to also have little prickles on them.

Pumpkin stems feel hollow compared to other plants. While they are round, they are not perfectly symmetrical. They to also have little prickles on them.

Boxes of Produce

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

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – With a lot of lettuce in your boxes, check out Martha Stewart’s lettuce salad recipes. 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. 

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.

Kale – Here are some recipes for this vegetable.

Kohlrabi – You either have a purple or green kohlrabi in your box. Look here for more information on how to use this vegetable.

Beet –  Dark Detroit Red Beets – The University of Minnesota provides direction on how to pickle beets here.

Sugar Snap Peas – A healthy harvest for you – eat the pod and the peas. These are a shareholder favorite. Fact: Minnesota is the second largest state for growing green peas for processing (meaning the peas will be frozen or canned peas like we buy in the store).           

Green Beans growing from the flowers of the plant.

Green Beans growing from the flowers of the plant.

Green Beans – Enjoy the first of the season. Here are some recipe ideas from America’s Heartland.

Radishes – French Breakfast radishes – radish recipes.

Summer Squash and zucchini – The zucchini took off this week. Here are some recipes to try from Taste of HomeLearn more about the golden egg hybrid.

Onions – Yellow onions this week.

Fresh cut arrangement – hosta leaves, lilies and sweet peas.

Recipe of the Week

Veggies on the Grill

Many of you have mentioned that you like to put your veggies on the grill. I simply combined a variety cut into 1/4 inch slices, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled some Kosher salt and arugula on them. The beets added a beautiful color to the dish.

Many of you have mentioned that you like to put your veggies on the grill. I simply combined a variety cut into 1/4 inch slices, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled some Kosher salt and arugula on them. The beets added a beautiful color to the dish.

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

Sharing our Story

Sharing our Story

This past weekend, I had the joy and pleasure of teaching a young girl how to pick flowers. Picking flowers is a skill that I have taught my boys and my husband, and something we all take for granted. Much like the boys teaching other kids how to harvest carrots.

As I reflect on these experiences, I am reminded of why we encourage our boys to teach something each week in the garden. You see each week during our growing season, we encourage the boys to share something that is new or different that is “growing” on in the garden from insects to soil types to seeds to harvesting vegetables to eat on the way home etc. We encourage our children to continue to share the farm story wherever an opportunity is available, and they continue to amaze me.

Farm Fact: Over half of all Minnesotans have never met a farmer.

Keith working at the state fair sharing how farmers care for the animals, environment and producing food for families in our neighborhoods and around the world.

Keith working at the state fair sharing how farmers care for the animals, the environment and producing food for families in our neighborhoods and around the world.

This week, Keith joined me at the Minnesota State Fair at the Minnesota Farm Bureau booth answering consumer questions  and providing an opportunity for consumers to meet a farmer. He also worked at the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation’s Ag Cab Lab in the CHS Miracle of Birth Center helping families to better understand ethanol, and what it is like to drive a tractor. He had a great opportunity to help share what Minnesota Farm Bureau is doing at this year’s Minnesota State Fair on WCCO TV.

Sam sharing how the chicks have grown that they hatched at the Montessori, and how to tell the difference between roosters and hens.

Sam shared how the chicks that were hatched at the Montessori have grown, and taught the children how to tell the difference between roosters and hens.

This past school year, we hatched chicks in both of the boys’ classrooms. This summer, we brought the grown chickens into school to share with the children and show them how quickly poultry and animals change – a great science lesson! Sam did a great job leading this sharing time and describing the differences between roosters and hens.

While there are many different types of farms across Minnesota and the United States, we are happy to share our story with those who are interested and to help answer questions that you may have or connect you with farmers that would be able to answer them. You see the reason we enjoy sharing our story is because we like to see the joy in the faces when people connect and better understand. Much like the joy in a young girls face when she better understands how to harvest and pick a beautiful bouquet of flowers, or the smile on boys’ faces with their mouths outlined in dirt after eating freshly harvested carrots.

Science in the Garden

We spend quite a bit of time trying to identify insects. A cool one we found this week was the hummingbird moth. Learn more here.

We spend quite a bit of time trying to identify insects. A cool one we found this week was the hummingbird moth. Learn more here.

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.

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 wash your vegetables before eating.

Lettuce and Spinach – New crop looks delicious. We hope this will last us until the end of September.

Carrots – Interested to hear what you think. These carrots came out of a different soil type then the ones earlier this summer. Your feedback is appreciated.

Green Beans – A little taste – a new crop of green beans and sugar snap peas in the coming weeks to finish out the year. Check out this segment on America’s Heartland on green beans.

Broccoli

Kohlrabi is also starting to thin out.

Kohlrabi is also starting to thin out.

Kohlrabi – We may get one more week of this.

Beets – The beets will be coming to an end in a week or two.

Yellow Onions

Cucumbers are starting to come to an end, but we still filled a wagon full.

Cucumbers are starting to come to an end, but we still filled a wagon full.

Cucumbers – This crop will also be ending shortly.

Peppers on the other hand are producing. There are a few varieties to choose from.

Peppers on the other hand are producing. There are a few varieties to choose from.

Peppers – A variety – enjoy! Watch out a few of the small Habanero peppers. They are mighty.

We picked just a few tomatoes. If you would like to can or freeze extra to enjoy later. Please let us know.

We picked just a few tomatoes. If you would like to can or freeze extra to enjoy later. Please let us know.

Tomatoes – Tomato varieties included in your boxes: Yellow Girls, Honey Delights, Big Boys, Roma, Fourth of July, Big Mammas, Honey Delights, Amish Paste and cherry tomatoes.

Potatoes – Kennebec, Viking and Blue potatoes for your Labor Day holiday for Red, White and Blue potato salad.

Sweet Corn – Will return in a week or two.

Basil – A little for your potato salad.

Red or Green Cabbage – Here is a coleslaw to give a try at your weekend picnic.

Melons – Choice of watermelon or cantaloupe. Enjoy!

Fresh cut arrangement – A variety from sunflowers, Rudbeckia, straw flowers, marigolds and zinnias.

Recipe of the Week

Check out the links above for some tasty recipes. I was thinking, “What did I make from the garden this week?” I was reminded of this trusty favorite.

Tater Tot Hotdish

This is a family favorite and an easy way to use many of your fresh or frozen vegetables.

Brown:

1 pound of hamburger

1 Tablespoon onion

In a casserole dish mix in:

1 can of Cream of Mushroom/Cream of Chicken Soup

Frozen corn, peas and/or green beans

Top with tater tots (I was curious to see how some potatoes cut into French fries would work, but I have not tried that yet.)

Cook in 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 1/2 hour or until edges are bubbling. Enjoy!

Enjoy! Sometimes the boys like to eat it with ketchup on it.

Enjoy! Sometimes the boys like to eat it with ketchup on it.

Heat and Humidity

Heat and Humidity

Introducing some more farm cats - taming has commenced.

Introducing some more farm cats – taming has commenced.

This past week has been hot and humid! The plants are loving it!

On Saturday mid-morning some of the zucchini were about 2 inches long, and on Sunday evening they were about 9 inches long. It really is amazing to watch the growth.

Yes, the entire garden seemed to be growing as crazy as the zucchini, but unfortunately in the lead for growth were the weeds. Fortunately, we have been on top of the weeding so our crops are still thriving against the weed nemesis. We did get a fair amount of moisture on Sunday evening along with some wind. With this heat some more rain would be welcomed.

If Mother Nature continues to provide favorable conditions, we will be able to continue to have growing results in your boxes. Enjoy!

Garden Science

Carrot, onion, beet, purple kohlrabi ad green kohlrabi

Carrot, onion, beet, purple kohlrabi and green kohlrabi

Root or Tuber

All around the world, roots are basic sources of nutrition to people and many animals; a root’s nutrients are passed on to those who eat them. Sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips and radishes are actually plant food-storage roots. The roots of the tropical plant cassava give us the tapioca we use in desserts, and cassava is a food staple in many tropical countries and in South Florida. Poi is a nutritious native Hawaiian food made from the root of the taro, which is cooked and ground to a paste then fermented. Carrots, ginger, jicama, parsnips, radishes, beets, rutabaga or Swedish turnip, and turnips are great-tasting, nutritious root foods .

Potatoes are tubers, not roots. What’s the difference? The roots mentioned previously are naturally modified root structures, whereas bulbs and tubers are modified stem structures. Bulbs and tubers are sometimes mistaken for roots because they also grow underground.

Roots and stems have different cell arrangements as seen under a microscope. That is how scientists determined that a potato is not a root, but actually a stem structure or tuber. Tubers are swollen, fleshy, usually oblong or rounded thickenings of underground stems, bearing tiny buds called eyes from which new plant shoots arise. Examples of tubers people eat are the potato, Jerusalem artichoke (not a true artichoke, but the tuber of a sunflower) and water chestnut. Bulbs are short, modified, underground stems. Examples of bulbs we eat are onions, scallions, leeks, garlic, kohlrabi and shallots.

Source: Project Food, Land and People

Boxes of Produce

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

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

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – Beautiful red lettuce leaf.

Spinach – Remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make a wonderful meal!

Beets – A taste to start the season. We are also thinning out the rows so that the beet plants remaining can grow larger.

Just a few onions.

Just a few onions.

Onions – Learn more about onions on America’s Heartland.

Zucchini and Summer Squash

Cucumbers – These are the first of the season. We have two varieties planted.

Carrots – While we have the pleasure to pull the carrots right out of the ground…See how baby carrots end up on our grocery shelf so we have the pleasure to eat them all year-long.

Sugar Snap Peas – A garden favorite. Eat the pod and all. Enjoy this delicious vegetable! A new crop will come in next week. **Fun Fact – Did you know Minnesota is the number one producer of peas for processing in the United States.

Green Beans – This crop is bountiful. Be prepared for future weeks. We do have dill if you wish to pickle some.

Purple Beans – A taste of a new crop. Enjoy the fun color.

KohlrabiHere are some ideas of how to use Kohlrabi.

Cilantro

Cilantro

CilantroEnjoy in salsas, fajitas, eggs and more. Learn more about cilantro here.

My flower picker tonight...Zinnias.

My flower picker tonight…Zinnias.

Fresh cut arrangement – A variety from sunflowers, zinnias, bee balm, lilies and more.

Recipe of the Week

Vegetables on the Grill

On double layered aluminum foil ( I cross the pieces so the vegetables are wrapped separately in two different pieces of aluminum foil) place: *Variety of vegetables of choice ( I used pea pods, carrots cut into the shape I knew my boys would eat, green and purple beans cut into 1 inch pieces and broccoli cut into bite size pieces) *Drizzle with olive oil *Sprinkle with Romano and Parmesan cheese *Flavor with herbs of choice

On double layered aluminum foil ( I cross the pieces so the vegetables are wrapped separately in two different pieces of aluminum foil) place:
*Variety of vegetables of choice ( I used pea pods, carrots cut into the shape I knew my boys would eat, green and purple beans cut into 1 inch pieces and broccoli cut into bite size pieces)
*Drizzle with olive oil
*Sprinkle with Romano and Parmesan cheese
*Flavor with herbs of choice

Place on grill for about 8 minutes flipping aluminum packet once which is filled with above vegetable mixture, olive oil, cheese and herbs. Unwrap and enjoy.

Place on grill for about 8 minutes flipping aluminum packet once which is filled with above vegetable mixture, olive oil, cheese and herbs. Unwrap and enjoy.

Vegetables on the Grill

On double layered aluminum foil ( I cross the pieces so the vegetables are wrapped separately in two different pieces of aluminum foil) place:

*Variety of vegetables of choice ( I used pea pods, carrots cut into the shape I knew my boys would eat, green and purple beans cut into 1 inch pieces and broccoli cut into bite size pieces)

*Drizzle with olive oil

*Sprinkle with Romano and Parmesan cheese

*Flavor with herbs of choice

Place on grill for about 8 minutes flipping aluminum packet once which is filled with above vegetable mixture, olive oil, cheese and herbs. Unwrap and enjoy.

Thankful

Thankful

The boys harvested a bounty of vegetables.

The boys harvested a bounty of vegetables.

Thankful is what comes to mind this week after we returned home from a quick trip over Independence Day weekend. As we traveled the Midwest, we saw areas – particularly Indiana that have had way to much moisture.

We feel blessed to have been getting what our plants need in a timely fashion. We pray that this continues, and we also pray for the farmers who are struggling with challenging conditions.

For those that are wondering, we received about 2.5 inches of rain on Monday.

Science of the Week

The saying is - corn knee high by the Fourth of July. Well, corn is not only knee high, but it is tasseling. Our sweet corn is tasseling. Some of the field corn is nearly six feet and tasseling. The science that goes into selecting good seed provides the opportunity for the corn to be productive in a variety of weather conditions.

The saying is – corn knee-high by the Fourth of July. Well, corn is not only knee-high, but it is tasseling. Our sweet corn is tasseling. Some of the field corn is nearly six feet and tasseling. The science that goes into selecting good seed provides the opportunity for the corn to be productive in a variety of weather conditions.

Question of the Week

Why do you thin the crops?

Thinning is done when crops are planted to close together. We try to space them evenly with the proper distance between each other, but with small seeds, this is sometimes difficult to do with our planter.

Thinning is the process of pulling out the extra plants so there is proper spacing between the plants so that they can grow to their optimum performance. We thin different crops such as the beets so that the root vegetable has more room to grow into a beautiful shape. If the vegetables are to close together you start to get the unique shapes or the vegetables that are wrapped together. We appreciate our shareholders that on occasion embrace the “ugly” vegetable and enjoy the still wonderful flavor!

Boxes of Produce

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

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

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – Beautiful red lettuce leaf.

Spinach – Remember to wash before eating. A combination of these vegetables will make such a wonderful meal!

Comparing the size of the beets to the size of his head.

Comparing the size of the beets to the size of his head.

Beet Leaves – Great in your salads.

Beets – A taste to start the season.

Cherry Belle Radishes – Last ones for a while.

Zucchini and Summer Squash

Peas were bountiful this week.

Peas were bountiful this week.

Sugar Snap Peas – A garden favorite. Eat the pod and all. Enjoy this delicious vegetable!

Green Beans

Green Beans

Green Beans – This crop is becoming bountiful. Be prepared for future weeks. We do have dill if you wish to pickle some. Here are some recipes from Martha Stewart.

Purple Beans

Purple Beans

Purple Beans – A taste of a new crop. Enjoy the fun color.

Check out the size of this onion.

Check out the size of this onion.

Onions – Yellow to start the season

The boys were using a baseball as they "measured" the size of the kohlrabi for harvest.

The boys were using a baseball as they “measured” the size of the kohlrabi for harvest.

KohlrabiHere are some ideas of how to use Kohlrabi.

Kale – Let us know what you think!

Fresh cut arrangement 

Recipe of the Week

Lazy Tacos

This is a family favorite and a go to recipe in our house. Thank you to Steve’s Aunt Coleen for sharing this idea with us many years ago. This dish can take on many options depending on your family’s tastes.

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

taco meat

onions

black olives,

tomatoes

lettuce

cheddar cheese

chilli beans

salsa

cottage cheese

salad dressing

Note: with all of the fresh produce I would also try a variety of vegetables.

Science at its best

This weekend, the boys wanted to play school. So we took our magnifying glasses and headed out to the garden for science class. As you can see from the pictures this week, they really enjoyed doing this. Here they are observing the Big Max pumpkins that are starting to see some good growth.

Sam…”I spy with my little eye.”

We examined the baby boo pumpkins (above), spaghetti squash, butternut squash, gourds, watermelon and cantaloupe growing. It was a treasure hunt in the garden and a great opportunity to discuss difference in the plants.

Then we headed to the corn, looking at the ornamental corn (above), popcorn and broom corn. We have been having trouble keeping our dog out of the corn. He loves to eat it the ears of corn!  After our dog got lost a couple of year’s ago and found his way home, he eats corn. It is an interesting survival tactic that he learned while wondering across fields in the fall, but one we are willing to tolerate as we our glad he made it home!

Next we checked out the cabbage. We were trying to figure out what was eating it – a rabbit or bugs. At the time of the photo, it was the only one being eaten.

Next we looked at the lone kohlrabi. We have never grown it before and actually bought it by accident. This is the only one that survived the heavy June rains. I have tried planting it by seed, and thus far have not had any luck. But all of us involved in agriculture realize each year is trial and error. It is a continuous effort to always get better and to try and figure Mother Nature out.

For those of you that were wondering, the hail I spoke about in last week’s post did not last long. The bad news for many farmers in our area is that the winds were over 60 mph with that storm, and the bean stalks that were damaged by hail in June snapped off where the plant had been hit or damaged on the stalk during the previous storms. We were fortunate to not see any damage from the wind in our plants.

Editors Note: I need to thank Keith. Most of the blogs, if Keith isn’t in the photo that means he is behind the camera. I appreciate his willingness and interest in learning this new life long skill!

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 when preparing, always wash your produce before eating.

Salad Blend includes: Simpson Elite Lettuce, Prizehead Lettuce, Red Oak Leaf Lettuce– Wash, cut off longer stems.

Cucumbers – We are picking every couple of days. Let us know if you are interested in extra for pickling. We shared some of the cucumbers earlier this week with the students at the Northfield Montessori.

Green Beans – We are nearing the end of this patch. We had replanted at the end of June, but they did not grow because of the crazy weather. We have replanted, and as you can see, we have germination.

Sam examining the germinated beans on Sunday.

Summer Squash – zucchini recipes

Onions – We can assure you a plentiful supply of onions this year. In your boxes this week were yellow onions. I always enjoy searching the Taste of Home website for recipes. Here are some options for onion rings.

Potatoes – This week we have Norland – great for mashed or boiled potatoes and Kennebec – great for baking. A different look at potato harvest in Colorado on America’s Heartland.

Tomatoes – We are so excited to have some tomatoes in your boxes this week to include Big Boys, Roma, Yellow Girl and cherry tomatoes. 

Peppers – Green peppers.

Sweet Corn – Thank you to our neighbors FarGaze Farms – the Peterson families for this delicious vegetable! See my recipe below for Sweet Corn on the Grill.

Herbs – Peppermint, oregano, cilantro, parsley and lemon thyme Remember you can dry them or you can freeze in an ice-cube to use later.

Fresh Flowers – Zinnias or sunflowers this week. They will both keep longer if you change their water and give them a fresh-cut in two days.

Keith examining the Teddy Bear Sunflowers.

Recipe of the Week

Sweet Corn on the Grill

Once your grill is heated, I place the meat and my sweet corn on the grill at the same time. Below is how I prepare the sweet corn.

Sweet Corn

I cut off the longer leaves, loose leaves and the top of the ear of corn, called the silk. If there is still a long stalk at the end opposite the tassel, I will snap it off so the ear of corn doesn’t take up as much room on the grill. The reason I cut off all this “extra” is to prevent any fires from starting on the grill.

Once I have prepared all of the corn, taking off the extras I will lay it on the grill. And will turn it every 5-10 minutes for about 30 minutes. I love doing the sweet corn this way because my house doesn’t get so hot and steamy from the boiling water on the stove.

This is what the corn looks like on the grill when it is all done. I usually bring the garbage can outside so I can keep the mess outside. Then using paper towels on each of my hands as “gloves” I will peel the corn.

After peeling the corn, I will run it under look warm water to wash off the extra husks and tassels that I missed.

Then butter and add a little bit of salt, and you have one of my absolute favorites of summer. Looks like it is one of Keith’s favorites as well. Enjoy!

I also cooked a venison roast on the grill which I had marinated with soy sauce and liquid smoke. Then basted with some honey and topped with cilantro and thyme. This roast, which cooked for about an hour and 15 minutes, ended up almost seared on the outside which kept the inside tender and moist.
Serve with fresh fruit, slice of bread and a glass of milk, and you have a well-balanced summer meal.