Look Beyond

Look Beyond

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Huge tomatoes

Do you ever find yourself rushing through life trying to live it to the fullest while finding a way to be present in the moment? Unfortunately, so many of us are guilty of that. Thank goodness our kids have a way of reminding us to slow down and take a look around us.

Last night as we harvested tomatoes, we were working quickly to complete this project before sunset. Sam was taking his time and having fun along the way finding unique and interesting tomato shapes. He would insist that we stop what we were doing and really look and see the interesting tomato that he had found.

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Double delicious tomatoes

Some of the tomatoes that he found were obviously unique while others did cause you to pause and to genuinely see it through his eyes. It is times like this when I am so extremely grateful for many things, but I am most thankful that God sent us sons to have us stop, pause and genuinely slow down to take a look at the unique surprises that God has in store for us.

As you rush into your week, don’t forget to pause and genuinely look beyond what you see and look for the unique finds that are right in front of you.

Garden Science

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Sam opened up a tomato and saw that it was starting to turn color on the inside first before turning red on the outside.

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 remember to wash your vegetables before eating. A new crop should be in next week.

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – Beautiful color.

Spinach and Beet Greens – Mix together with the above lettuces for a beautiful colored salad.

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Purple beans are in your box this week. They grow from these pretty purple flowers.

Green and Purple Beans – Check out this recipe, and how green beans are raised in other areas of the U.S.on America’s Heartland. A few of you have some purple beans mixed in with the green beans.

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi – Peel it like an apple and eat it and enjoy dipping it into peanut butter.

Detroit Dark Red Beets -Some of our shareholders enjoy eating them raw in their salads.

Green Bell Peppers Here is a general background article about peppers. The most common colors of bell peppers are green, yellow, orange and red. More rarely, brown, white, lavender, and dark purple peppers can be seen, depending on the variety. Red bell peppers are simply ripened green peppers. The taste of ripe peppers can also vary with growing conditions and post-harvest storage treatment; the sweetest fruits are allowed to ripen fully on the plant in full sunshine, while fruit harvested green and after-ripened in storage is less sweet.

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

peppers

Peppers

Cherry Stuffer Hybrid sweet peppers – These are the small, round red peppers.

Onion – Wondering what to do with all of your onions? I cut mine up using my Pampered Chef chopper, place in Ziploc bags and place in the freezer. That way, my onions are always handy for recipes throughout the year.

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Just a few tomatoes this week. Canning quantities are available. We picked 209 pounds of tomatoes plus the cherry tomatoes that were not included in the final tally. Math at work…approximately how much did each box of tomatoes weight?

Tomatoes – Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, Brandywine, Romas, Big Boys and Fourth of July (medium-sized) tomatoes. Enjoy the flavor. If you are considering canning quantities or wanting to freeze some for this winter, let us know.

Cucumbers – Did you know? Cucumbers are one of the earliest domesticated vegetables. It was adopted around 4 thousand years ago and was used not only for eating but also in medicine. Cucumbers are the 4th most cultivated vegetable in the world.

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Carrots

Carrots – Did you know…The carrot is usually orange in color although purple, red, white, and yellow varieties also exist. The domesticated carrot that we know today originated from the wild carrot called Daucus carota which was native to Europe and south western Asia.

Peter Pan, Scallop Squash – This squash is a circular scalloped summer squash. Distinctive, delicious, and sweet flavor.  It is not necessary to peel this squash before eating it. Cut it up like you would zucchini to grill it.

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Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash growing on the plant.

Summer Squash, Golden Egg Hybrid – Are you wondering how to use this summer squash – see how to cut it up here. Golden Egg’s a picture-perfect gourmet sensation-with succulent flavor and texture.

Zucchini – Try this zucchini boat recipe from Taste of Home or these recipes from Martha Stewart. 

Sweet Corn – Thank you to our neighbors, the Peterson family, for contributing the sweet corn in this week’s box. Did you know that Minnesota ranks number one in the production of sweet corn for processing. Sweet corn is different from field corn.

Viking RedThe Viking are the red skinned potatoes and work well as boiled or mashed potatoes.

20170816_170258_1502927389639 (2)Flowers – Hydrangeas, Rudbeckia, Sunflowers, Zinnias and Coreopsis

 

Recipe of the Week

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Basil Butter sample was part of your share this week. If you did not get yours, please let us know. You can pick it up next week.

Basil Butter

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil

Coarse salt and ground pepper

In a small bowl, combine butter and fresh basil; season generously with coarse salt and ground pepper. Stir until combined.

Transfer to an 11-by-10-inch piece of parchment or waxed paper. Roll into a cylinder, about 6 inches long and 2 inches in diameter; twist ends to seal. Refrigerate until very firm, about 2 hours. To serve, unwrap and slice crosswise.

Try this sweet-and-peppery butter on broiled or grilled white fish, on grilled steak or chicken, on corn on the cob or boiled potatoes, or with boiled green beans or peas.

Source: Martha Stewart

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.

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned

Lots of insects, worms and plants to discover in the garden.

Life is continual educational process. So many life lessons are learned during a growing season. Here is a look at this year’s top three.

1. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. Last year, was our first year with this project, we had an extremely early spring, hail and record breaking rain 11 1/2 inches in two days which flooded 1/2 the garden.

This year, presented different challenges late cold spring and a terrible infestation of potato bugs. Each challenge provides an opportunity to grow and learn. Although we may not always understand the lesson at that time, at some point in our life we will. And we are most definitely stronger and wiser because of it.

2. Working together to get the job done, makes it go faster, more enjoyable and fun. Not only is it more fun but some of these tasks while peaceful and not that stressful can just seem to last longer then you would like. But with a bit of crazy, family fun, mixed in with a delicious snack the result can be good memories that will last a lifetime.

Here is an example of keeping it fun. Really did a little bit of mud ever hurt anyone. I don't think I will ever forget, "Look mom, mud angels!"

Here is an example of keeping it fun. Really did a little bit of mud ever hurt anyone. I don’t think I will ever forget, “Look mom, mud angels!”

3. Hands on Learning provides Common Sense. It has been amazing to watch our kids learn by doing. Agriculture is full of these opportunities. Our CSA project is definitely an example of this. I think these two quotes sum up the experience:

“Don’t tell them how to do it, show them how to do it and don’t say a word. If you tell them, they’ll watch your lips move. If you show them, they’ll want to do it themselves.” –Maria Montessori

“Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.” –Chinese Proverb

Let us know how we can involve you in this journey. We love the opportunity to help your families feel part of this growing season, these educational lessons and hands on learning.

Garden Experiment

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we have a variety of trellis options in the garden. This heavy pumpkin must have one very strong vine and stem to be hanging on the upright hog panels.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we have a variety of trellis options in the garden. This heavy pumpkin must have one very strong vine and stem to be hanging on the upright hog panels.

The vines are all reaching for the sun. A pretty amazing site.

The vines are all reaching for the sun. A pretty amazing site. Pretty cool science experiment to watch how the plant desires and needs the sunlight for photosynthesis to produce the crop.

Boxes of Produce

Just some of the harvest for you.

Just some of the harvest for you.

Please remember to return any cups or plastic containers in your box each week. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your prodcue before eating.

Black Seeded Simpson Elite Lettuce – One of my favorite garden crops.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – reddish lettuce

Prizehead – is the spear like green leaf.

Broccoli

Tomatoes – Yellow Girls, Romas and cherry tomatoes.

Peppers – Learn how Chile peppers are grown on farms in Arizona.

Onions – A few fresh onions to put in a recipe here or there.

Sam looking for green beans. A newer planting is flowering and has produced a few green beans this week. More to come next week. The new set of peas have also began flowering so peas will soon follow.

Sam looking for green beans. A newer planting is flowering and has produced a few green beans this week. More to come next week. The new set of peas have also began flowering so peas will soon follow.

Green Beans – This type of green beans are Providers.

Potatoes – A few fresh Masqurade and Yukon Gold potatoes for you. The potato bugs got the best of the plants so the full maturity size was not achieved. So please enjoy the baby potatoes as well. They have their own wonderful qualities.

Nothing like eating the cucumber in the garden!

Nothing like eating the cucumber in the garden!

Cucumbers – Varieties include Fancipak, Straight Eights and Japanese. Let us know if you are interested in any for pickling.

Summer Squash Medley and Zucchini – If your kids want to measure a zucchini/summer squash and watch it grow for a week, let me know.

Sweet Corn – Thank you to our neighbors FarGaze Farms – the Peterson families for this delicious vegetable!

Vermicilli (spaghetti) squash – Our family enjoys this eaten just like spaghetti with our favorite homemade spaghetti sauce, some hamburger and topped with some parmesan cheese. Last year, we prepared our squash by boiling it. See how to prepare it here as well as additional recipes from Martha Stewart.

Basil - a wonderful herb for so many dishes. I love to use it when I am grilling meat, making tomato sauce, you name it.

Basil – a wonderful herb for so many dishes. I love to use it when I am grilling meat, making tomato sauce, you name it.

Herbs – Basil, Red Rubin Basil, parsley, pepperming and lemon thyme (bags are labeled with the first initial).

Fresh cut arrangement – A variety went out in your boxes as I had enough variety but not enough of one type for each of you. So the varieties included: Sunflowers or Zinnias.

Sam with the sunflowers he picked.

Sam with the sunflowers he picked.

I love watching kids pick flowers. The selection is random, and the beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I love watching kids pick flowers. The selection is random, and the beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Keith with sweet peas. While they are quite pretty, they only last a few short days in the house.

Keith with sweet peas. While they are quite pretty, they only last a few short days in the house.

Recipe of the Week

Chocolate Zucchini Blueberry Bread

Mix together: •2 cups sugar,1 cup applesauce 3 eggs, and3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix together: •2 cups sugar,1 cup applesauce 3 eggs, and3 teaspoons vanilla extract until well blended.

Mix together in a separate bowl: •2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour,1/2 cup baking cocoa, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon baking, der

Mix together in a separate bowl: •2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour,1/2 cup baking cocoa, 1 teaspoon salt,
1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon baking and a 1/4 teaspoon baking powder. Gradually beat into sugar mixture until well blended.

Stir in zucchini and blueberries. Transfer to two 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans coated with cooking spray. •Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Stir in zucchini and blueberries. Transfer to two 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans coated with cooking spray.
•Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

The muffin contains two fruits and a vegetable, and they eat them right up!

The muffin contains two fruits and a vegetable, and they eat them right up!

Chocolate Zucchini Blueberry Bread

•2 cups sugar

•1 cup canola oil

•3 eggs

•3 teaspoons vanilla extract

•2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

•1/2 cup baking cocoa

•1 teaspoon salt

•1 teaspoon baking soda

•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

•1/4 teaspoon baking powder

•2 cups shredded peeled zucchini

1 cup of blueberries

Directions

•In a large bowl, beat the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and baking powder; gradually beat into sugar mixture until blended. Stir in zucchini. Transfer to two 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans coated with cooking spray.

•Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Source: Recipe modified from Tasteofhome.com