An Experience to Remember

An Experience to Remember

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Open Class Vegetable Entry Day at the Minnesota State Fair

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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

Spinach/Kale – Great for salads.

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

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

purple beans

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

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

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

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

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

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

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

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

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

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Peter Pan Squash

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

ZucchiniThis crop has been a bit slow due to our insect challenges this year. But it is growing. Enjoy – here are some recipes from Country Living.

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

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

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

Recipe of the Week

State Fair Pumpkin Bread/Muffins

1 2/3 c. flour

1 ½ c. sugar

1/3 c. Butter, softened

1 tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. each nutmeg, cloves

Pinch of salt

1/3 c. water

2 eggs

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

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

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

Source: Minnesota 4-H Blue Ribbon Cookbook

Keeping Watch

Keeping Watch

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Sam captured this unique photo of one of our chickens. Very interesting detail which speaks to the idea of keeping a watchful eye on things.

Sam captured some neat photos the other night. This one spoke to our efforts – we are keeping an eye on things. Whether it is the weather, weeds and insects; maturing crops ready to harvest or caring for our livestock. Sit back and enjoy some of our views, and Sam’s photography.

Garden Science

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We found this little fella enjoying the tomatoes. We believe it may be a cutworm. Early in the season cutworms may cause stand loss by cutting off seedling or recently transplanted tomato plants at the soil line. Later in the season these pests can also injure tomatoes by eating irregular holes in the surface of fruits; tomato fruit touching the ground are generally the most seriously injured.

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A neat photo of the grasshopper near the hydrangea. Among vegetable crops certain plants are favored, such as lettuce, carrots, beans, sweet corn, and onions. Squash, peas, and tomatoes (leaves, not fruit) are among the plants that tend to be avoided. Grasshoppers less commonly feed on leaves of trees and shrubs.

Boxes of Produce

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

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

Spinach/Kale – Great for salads.

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

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

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

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

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

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Purple cauliflower and egg plant – Purple cauliflower’s color is due to the presence of the antioxidant anthocyanin, which can also be found in red cabbage and red wine. Purple cauliflower also goes by the variety names Sicilian Violet, Violet Queen and Grafitti cauliflower. Nutritional Value Cauliflower is rich in vitamin C with a half cup of florets providing nearly half of ones daily requirement for vitamin C. It also provides a fair amount of fiber, vitamin A, folate, calcium and potassium as well as selenium, which works with Vitamin C to boost the immune system.

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

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

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Potato plant flowers

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

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

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

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

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Big Mama tomatoes – Plum-shaped and enormous, Big Mama Hybrid tomatoes grow up to 5 in. (13-cm) long and 3 in. (8 cm) across. In the kitchen, this variety is easy to peel and core. One of the best paste tomatoes, Big Mama is excellent in sauces. These tomatoes need at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water per week and prefer six hours or more of direct sun each day.

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

Eggs These eggs can be used just like any of the eggs you have used previously. They are different colors because they come from breeds that lay different colored egg shells then the ones you buy at the store. Just sit back enjoy the beautiful colors and the time spent cooking up some of your favorite egg dishes.

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A beautiful look down the zinnia row.

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

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Onion – Give it a try on the grill.

Recipe of the Week

Onions on the Grill

Suggestion from one of our shareholders – keeping it simple.

Cut up your onion

Place on aluminum foil

Drizzle with olive oil

Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper about a ¼ teaspoon of each.

Grill until tender. Enjoy!

Appreciated Beyond Words

Appreciated Beyond Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garden Science

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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

Spinach/Kale – Great for salads.

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

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

 

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

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

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

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

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

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

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

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Egg Plant

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

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

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Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash

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

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Peter Pan Squash

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

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

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Zinnia

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

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

Recipe of the Week

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Sautéed Garden Fresh Green Beans

Sautéed Garden Fresh Green Beans

1 cup of green beans cut into 1 inch pieces

Pinch of Kosher Salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

½ Tablespoon olive oil

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

 

Emerging Surprises

Emerging Surprises

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

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

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

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

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

Boxes of Produce

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

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

Spinach/Kale – Great for salads.

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Banana Peppers

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

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

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

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

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

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Purple Cauliflower

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

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

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Jade Green Beans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Zinnias, Hostas and Sunflowers

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

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

Recipe of the Week

Lazy Tacos

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

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

Lazy taco

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

 

Planting Resumes

Planting Resumes

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

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

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

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

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Lettuce leaves

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

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

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

Garden Science

Boxes of Produce

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

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

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

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

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

Carrots – Esperanza carrots – enjoy these summer delights.

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

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

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Jade Green Beans

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

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Banana Peppers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recipe of the Week

Summer Squash Soup

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

2 green onions, cut into 3-inch pieces

2 tablespoons butter

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

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

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

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

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

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

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Inside of the summer squash before removing the seeds.

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Using a spoon, I scoop out the seeds.

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

 

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Bring to a boil.

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

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Puree the mixture.

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

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

Through his Lens

Through his Lens

Seeing life through another’s lens and seeking to understand their perspective can bring such peace and joy. Sam asked to take the camera and take photos for the blog. At first, I was excited that someone else had taken the lead on photos and excited to see what he would capture.

When he returned to show me his photos, I was in awe. He said he wanted to capture all the different colors of flowers in the gardens. Then he proceeded to explain the remainder of his perspectives and what he saw.

His perspective through the lens truly brought peace. As he explained picture by picture what he liked, and why he took a photo of each it was so insightful as to how he views the world. It also helped me to take a step back and enjoy the view through his eyes.

So enjoy the colors of what Sam captured. Truly a young man who enjoys a color palate as he looks at how God painted the picture.

Garden Science

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Japanese Beetles feed on the leaves of over 300 species of plants. Adults feed on the leaves of plants between the veins, leaving a skeleton of brown fibers where the leaves used to be. Learn more from the University of Minnesota Extension at https://extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden-insects/japanese-beetles These bugs are evidently a problem across the state of Minnesota this year as they were the featured nuisance at the county fair.

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This small insect is one of the culprits to eating our vegetables this year – including kale, kohlrabi and radishes. I believe it is possible that it is a young Japanese Beetle.

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I’m hopeful that the ladybugs have been on top of eating some of the negative insects.

Boxes of Produce

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

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Black Seeded Simpson and Oak Leaf Lettuce freshly cut each Wednesday. The cool thing about this crop is the leaves grow back so that you can harvest a planting multiple times.

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

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

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Banana Peppers… notice how they grow up not down.

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

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

Radishes – The radishes have been challenged by insects this year. We finally have a few for you.

Carrots – Esperanza carrots – enjoy these summer delights.

Cucumbers – These crop of cucumbers is bountiful harvesting 75 pounds today.

Sugar Snap Peas – A new crop of peas!

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Dragon Tongue Beans

Dragon Tongue Beans – This heritage variety crop took quite awhile to come in. We hope you enjoy the variety on your plates. We enjoy this crop cut into 1/2 inch pieces sautéed in olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper. I have also used this crop in Tatar Tot Hotdish and enjoyed it there as well.

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

Potatoes – The first harvesting attempt of the season which reaped some small potatoes which would taste delicious boiled or variety of other ways. Check out this link for more information.

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Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash

Summer Squash – This crop is slowly coming on with either Golden Egg Hybrid or Zucchini. We are hoping the Peter Pan Squash is ready next week.

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Fourth of July tomatoes

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

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves and zinnias

 

Recipe of the Week

Homemade French Fries

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We cut up both Blue, Norland and Kennebec potatoes into 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick slices. Placed them in a bowl of ice water and placed in refrigerator overnight. Before placing in the deep fat fryer, take them out of the water and gently pat them dry  with a cloth.

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Then place the potato fries in the deep fat fryer for a few minutes and remove when golden brown. I was quite excited when Sam said he wanted to eat these French fries not the store bought.

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A beautiful variety of French fries to offer with your meal.

Weeding through to See Potential

Weeding through to See Potential

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Green beans that have been weeded.

We have spent much of our time this week controlling and managing pests in the crops. The weeds seem to always thrive and hinder the growth and health of the crops. But once you take away the obstacle of the pest and the weeds the crops really grow.

Have you ever wondered why, for the oddest reason, weeding seems therapeutic even though it is a dreaded process? Why do we feel so satisfied when a garden or a field has been cleaned of the weeds and pests? It reminds me of events or things in life that drag us down, that don’t let us or those we love thrive to be their best self. I feel that weeding for that moment in time allows me to be in control of something.

There are so many things that are out of our control, but if we can focus on one “weed or pest” at a time, eventually we will get to the end of the field and look back and see that for a moment in time we have conquered what ever was holding us back. Just like the crops that we want to grow, we need to rid ourselves of the weeds or pests that hold us back from achieving our true potential.

Yes, the weeds and pests will come back if we allow them to but just like in agriculture, we need to constantly troubleshoot and find better ways to show constant improvement to strive to be our best self.

So the moral of the story: don’t let weeds or pests stand in your way of seeking your sunshine to stand tall and proud to achieve your maximum potential. Face what you dread head on, and the end result will be worth your efforts.

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Crop scouting for potato bugs.

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The last planting of potatoes was hilled which means using the tiller with a special attachment to push more dirt up along the potato plant and providing the plant more room to grow potatoes.

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The tomatoes were tied up so they are not growing on in the ground. This they are cleaner and less chance for soil born plant disease.

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We were able to continue learning about other areas of agriculture on a 4-H field trip to the University of Minnesota touring a variety of their research farms.

Garden Science

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Japanese beetles feed on the leaves of over 300 species of plants. Adults feed on the leaves of plants between the veins, leaving a skeleton of brown fibers where the leaves used to be. Learn more here.

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Tomato Hornworms is a very destructive pest to tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes.

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.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – Red Oak leaf lettuce have elongated, lobed and loosely serrated leaves similar to those of oak leaves. The vibrant burgundy stained leaves form a semi-tight rosette, growing upward and outward. Red Oak Leaf lettuce has a buttery texture and an incredibly mellow, nutty and sweet flavor. It is known for its sweetness, which may be an even more memorable quality than its attractive foliage.

Spinach – Great for salads – check out last week’s recipe

Cucumbers – The cucumbers are growing like crazy. Here are a few ideas on how to use them from Martha Stewart.

Beets An old garden favorite of mine. The beetroot is the taproot portion of the beet plant. It is one of several of the cultivated varieties of grown for their edible taproots and their leaves called beet greens. Learn how to use them here.

Carrots – The carrots are finally ready! Enjoy.

Swiss Chard The green leafy vegetable has the leaf stalks and often leaf blade or stalk that can be eaten. The leaf blade can be green or reddish in color; the leaf stalks are usually white, yellow, or red.

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Sugar snap peas were first developed in 1952 by cross-breeding snow pea with a mutant shell pea plant. Researchers hoped that the cross might counteract twisting and buckling seen in varieties at the time. With this cross, they developed a new class of snow pea.[2] Snap peas, like all other peas, are pod fruits. An edible-podded pea is less fibrous, and edible when young. Pods of the edible-podded pea, including snap peas, do not have a membrane and do not open when ripe.

Sugar Snap Peas –Eat the whole edible pod. Enjoy this garden favorite.

Onions –Enjoy on your burgers, brats or hotdogs.

Summer SquashYou don’t have to peel the squash, just wash it. Here are a few ways to use it from Country Living. Shareholders either have the golden egg or a zucchini in their box.

CilantroDid you know that ¼ cup of cilantro only has 1 calorie. Here are a few ideas from Martha Stewart to use your cilantro.

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A variety of zinnias and sunflowers.

Fresh cut arrangement –zinnias, hostas, sunflowers and hydrangeas.

Recipe of the Week

Freezing Herbs

This is step by step instructions that I posted a few years ago, but it was worth reposting. From time to time, I will be setting out additional herbs in case you don’t have those herbs in your pot, or you would just like more. Help yourself, and use this method to have a taste of the garden throughout the winter.

7-19-12 wash herbs

Wondering how to preserve your herbs for making salsa or chilli? I wash them and place in a small ice cube tray and then place in a small Ziploc bag so I have them when I need them. First, wash herbs under cold water.

 

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Cut or pull herbs apart and place smaller portions in the separate compartments in an ice cube tray. This tray I found in the $1 isle at Target.

 

 

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Run water over the herbs and place in the freezer. Once frozen, take out of tray and place in labeled bag or container. These will come in handy throughout the year when a recipe calls for an herb. Just take the ice cube and place in the recipe. Fresh herbs throughout the year.

 

 

 

Perspective and Attitude drive Outcome

Perspective and Attitude drive Outcome

It has been a busy week filled with planting another round of crops and weeding. The weather made it extremely challenging to accomplish.

As you can see, Sam and I raced a storm that had us in a flash flood warning this weekend. We are appreciative that we did not receive the downpour that friends south of us received. Thankfully no lightning at our place – so Sam thought it was a blast to play in the rain immediately following planting sweet potatoes.

I greatly appreciated his willingness to work with speed and understanding of the purposeful outcome we needed to have. So many good life lessons from this including teamwork, do it right the first time so you don’t have to do it over and things can be fun in the rain, one’s perspective and attitude drive the outcome.

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Sam and I planted 50 sweet potatoes. We appreciate the help from our neighbors the Schwakes for their help with sweet potatoes.

An update on what is growing on: the radishes and kohlrabi appear to be loved by an insect this year. Now on the 4th planting, we are hopeful that we can beat the insects on this round. Also, the sugar snap peas are blooming which means edible pea pods are around the corner. In fact, we harvested a handful yesterday so we are hopeful that the bounty will be available next week.

Garden Science

We thought you would enjoy a few of our views this week.

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Looking down the top of a corn plant is always fascinating to see the swirls as the leaves and plant grow. Learn more about the corn plant growth here.

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Blue potatoes are not a GMO. It’s origin is quite interesting. Learn more here  and at the Wisconsin Potato Growers.

Pick-up and Delivery

Remember that pick-up and deliveries will be on the schedule you have arranged with Harner Brothers CSA – please note the exceptions to this which were in the email.

It is your responsibility to know that the pick-up or drop-off time will occur at the agreed upon time, and it is your responsibility as a shareholder to know this and be responsible for the produce at that time. If you are unable to utilize your share that week, it is still your responsibility: find someone else to pick it up or donate it to the food shelf.

Each box is labeled for each family. The same boxes will be used for your family throughout the season. Boxes and containers should be returned the following week. Bags will only be used once.

Boxes of Produce

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

7-20-13 rhubarb wash and cut ends off

The Harner Bros are the 5th generation to raise this rhubarb originally planted on the family farm near Tracy by their great-great grandparents after immigrating from Norway and transplanted to our home near Northfield.

Rhubarb – One pound equals about 3 cups. Wash, cut the ends off, cut off any bad parts damaged by wind, chop into 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces. No need to peel. You can freeze it in a Ziploc bag (no blanching) and use for months to come. Check out earlier posts on rhubarb for recipe ideas. Also, a recent rhubarb favorite was shared this evening – make rhubarb sauce and eat it with your favorite yogurt.

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

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.

spinach

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. You can cut and harvest several times. The plant will grow new leaves back every time you cut and harvest it.

Spinach – great for salads – check out this week’s recipe below.

Chives – wash then chop up chives into small pieces. I enjoy using them in potatoes on the grill. Here are a few ideas for using your chives. https://www.marthastewart.com/search/results?keys=chives

Cilantrodid you know that ¼ cup of cilantro only has 1 calorie. Here are a few ideas from Martha Stewart to use your cilantro.   https://www.marthastewart.com/search/results?keys=cilantro

Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves. I was so bummed that the peonies had already finished flowering.

Recipe of the Week

strawberry spinach salad (2)

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Dressing

3 Tablespoons apple juice

2 Tablespoons strawberry spreadable fruit

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salad

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

8 cups bite-size pieces spinach

1 cup strawberries, stems removed and strawberries cut in half

1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (1 oz)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

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

Source: Taste of Home

 

Showing Growth

Showing Growth

The crops are growing and so are the weeds this week. Here’s a quick view of what’s growing on.

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The pea plants germinating as well as many of the other crops. Look closely to see the fine hairs on the leaves. The morning dew help to make them stand out. The new plants are so fun and fascinating to look at.

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We planted two varieties of garlic this week California White and Walla Walla.

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A great team effort planting herb pots with a variety of herbs in each one. A culinary delight for the shareholders.

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The broilers went outside this weekend. They are growing quickly and will be ready for market in a few weeks.

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The rhubarb looked fantastic so we made rhubarb jam and some homemade bread to sample the jelly on. He did a great job in the kitchen!

 

Spring Field Work Begins

Spring Field Work Begins

We are so grateful for the good drying weather and beautiful days to be in the field. Below is a quick glance at last week.

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Field work started this week. Everyone enjoys the opportunity to be on the tractor.

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These boys planted 548 potatoes 4 varieties in 45 minutes to beat some rain. They are happy to have accomplished this task in record time without sacrificing quality outcomes.

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Rhubarb emerged this week and is growing like crazy. I love the crinkly leaves and the blend of colors. We were able to enjoy a small rhubarb raspberry pie this week.

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The broker chicks are growing fast. Now at 4 weeks old they are almost fully feathered.

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The 4-H pigs arrived this week. The boys enjoy this project and learn so much from this opportunity. Thank you to Country Girls Showpigs for their help on this project.