Preserving your Produce

Preserving your Produce

The boys were busy teaching friends how to dig potatoes. A skill both boys take for granted.

The boys were busy teaching friends how to dig potatoes. A skill both boys take for granted.

We are “digging” into the harvest literally. Many potatoes, pumpkins and more will come out this weekend. We love the colors and seeing the fruits of our labor. Throughout the season, we want to provide you our shareholders with the opportunity to learn something more. As noted above, the boys have been teaching others how to harvest vegetables this season. A skill that we take for granted.

Also, I know it takes an effort to figure out how to preserve the vegetables that we are giving you. We are sharing a few ideas below. Don’t be afraid to email or text if you have a question when you are in the kitchen or trying to figure out how to prepare one of the vegetables. I enjoy visiting with all of you as each of you share different ways you are utilizing the produce. I take the experience and knowledge you share with me so that I can then reshare help the other shareholders.

Many thanks for the opportunity to grow for you. We all enjoy seeing youGood luck with preserving the produce to use in your kitchen throughout the year.

Garden Science

4 O'clocks were planted in our garden to help draw in beneficial insects to eat the bad insects. The great thing about these flowers is they self seed. Look closely by the flower and you will see the black dot which is the seed that forms after the flower dies. The seeds will fall out onto the ground and many end up lodged in the soil and then begin to grow next spring.

4 o’clock were planted in our garden to help draw in beneficial insects to eat the bad insects. The great thing about these flowers is that they self seed. Look closely by the pink flower, and you will see the black dot which is the seed that forms after the flower dies. The seeds will fall out onto the ground and many end up lodged in the soil, and then begin to grow next spring.

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.  Thank you for your support of our CSA. Enjoy the produce!

Black Seeded Simpson, Prizehead and Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – The new crop is in. The ran sure went hard on it the last few days.

Kale – I use the Kale in moderation in my salads. It adds some beautiful color and more nutrients to the dish.

Green Beans – Jade green beans. Are you tired of green beans but you would like to preserve them to use this winter? Check out how to blanch them here.

Beets –  Detroit Dark Red Beets in your box. Boil on your stove top for about 1/2 hour – take them out of the water, using a paper towel gently rub the paper towel over the beet and the skins will come right off, slice into pieces and serve with butter. Slice them and freeze for an easy accompaniment to a meal this winter or cut into chunks and place in Ziploc bag to use in homemade soup this winter. 

Carrots – Nantes carrots – Do you cook the carrots and the family doesn’t eat them all? I will place the left overs in the blender and then freeze that mixture in ice cube trays. Once frozen, store in a bag in the freezer. I will then use one or two “cubes” of frozen carrots in my spaghetti sauce or in

TomatoesA variety of 4th of July Hybrid, Sweet Tangerine Hybrid and Sun Gold Hybrid tomatoes.

Hot Dragon Cayenne Peppers

Hot Dragon Cayenne Peppers on the verge of turning red.

Peppers The peppers are really starting to come in. You have sweet cherry stuffer hybrid pepper and green peppers in your box. You also have the option of some hot dragon cayenne peppers.

Garlic – Enjoy the fresh garlic. I use a hand-held garlic press to crush and peel my garlic. It is awesome and definitely the tool of the week! Here are some garlic recipes to check out.

Onions –  yellow candy onions – last of the first crop – look for the second crop next week.

Butternut Squash – My favorite squash. Check out the recipes from Martha Stewart.

Spaghetti Squash – I love using this squash instead of regular spaghetti. Better Homes and Gardens shared ways to cook and prepare this squash. This  week we are going to try either Rachel Ray’s recipe or toss with butter and Parmesan.

Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash –  Check out some squash soup recipes.

Zucchini – The zucchini is at the end of its season. Uff da what a season that was!

Red Norland Potatoes – Red Norland potatoes are versatile potatoes – great for boiling, potato salad, and I have had success with them as French fries.

Kennebec Potatoes – Great baking potato.

Cilantro, Basil and Parsley – Plenty to share – take a snip or a plant home and freeze or dry the herb for use in stews, etc during the rest of the year. Here are some more ideas on how to preserve herbs.

Hydrangeas and Sedums are tonight's arrangement.

Hydrangeas and Sedums are tonight’s arrangement.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hydrangeas and Sedums

Recipe of the Week

Summer Squash Soup

5 small yellow summer squash, seeded and cubed

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.

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

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

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

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

Inside of the summer squash before removing the seeds.

Inside of the summer squash before removing the seeds.

Using a spoon, I then removed the seeds.

Using a spoon, I then removed the seeds by scooping them out.

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

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

Place in pan with chicken broth, butter, onion and garlic.

In a large saucepan, saute squash and onions in butter until tender. Stir in the broth, salt and pepper; bring to a boil.

 

Bring to a boil.

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

Puree the mixture.

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

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.

Serve with crackers if desired. We enjoyed this soup with Townhouse Crackers.

 

Butternut Squash

My family loves this recipe, and the boys eat it like crazy. I also use the prepared squash in place of pumpkin in many recipes. Butternut squash is in your boxes this week.

Butternut Squash - Before cooking I take a Chlorox wipe and wipe off the outside. I then cut the squash lengthwise down the center and place the cut side down in the pan. I do NOT peel nor remove the seeds.

Butternut Squash – Before cooking I take a Clorox wipe and wipe off the outside. I then cut the squash lengthwise down the center and place the cut side down in the pan. I do NOT peel nor remove the seeds.

*Cut squash in 1/2 (do NOT remove skin or seeds). Place cut side down in cake pan.

Note: I will do several squash at one time so I only have this mess once, and I have squash to last the rest of the year.

*Add about 1 inch depth of water.

*Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 1 hour. I will often times leave my squash in the oven for 2 hours.

*Take out of oven.

*Take a knife and gently peel back the skin.

* Flip the squash over and scoop out seeds. The seeds can be kept and roasted.

*Place squash in another bowl.

I have doubled the recipe in this picture:
Add:
1 stick of butter
3/4 cup brown sugar

 

Using a mixer, blend together until smooth. Serve or freeze.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the squash into cupcake tins. Freeze squash in cupcake pans.

Once frozen. Pop out of your cupcake pan and place in Ziploc bags. I use this squash as my “pumpkin” in pumpkin recipes such as pumpkin breads etc.

Nature’s Challenges

Nature’s Challenges

Finding the treasures in the garden like the largest white pumpkin that we have found yet. It's so fun to see what is hiding under the large pumpkin leaves.

Checking out the garden and finding the largest white pumpkin – bonus – a fun way to end the day. It’s always a treasure hunt to see what is hiding under the large pumpkin leaves.

Often times in agriculture, we don’t always talk about the challenges that occur with the crops. Simply because we like to be upbeat and look at the positive. Speaking of positive, you should check out all of the pumpkins, squash and gourds growing – that harvest is just around the corner and the sizes of the pumpkins etc and the colors are fun to look at.

Garden Science

There are always challenges every crop year, and each year is unique unto itself.

  • Sugar Snap Peas - Some of you may be anxiously awaiting more sugar snap peas. And to be honest so are we. It has been a frustrating year with these. I have replanted the intended 3rd crop no less then four times. The previous three, I believe, may have had a germination issue with the seed. We have corrected it for this planting. We planted the seed in the ground this week with the hope that we will have at least one more crop before season's end. Especially since it is a favorite for all of us. With the heat and humidity, the second crop matured so rapidly that unfortunately much was lost because it literally would mature before we had time to harvest it:(

    Sugar Snap Peas – Some of you may be anxiously awaiting more sugar snap peas. And to be honest so are we. It has been a frustrating year with these. I have replanted the intended 3rd crop no less then four times (pictured is one of the meek outcomes of one of those plantings). The previous three, I believe, may have had a germination issue with the seed. We have corrected it for this planting. We planted the seed in the ground this week with the hope that we will have at least one more crop before season’s end. Especially since it is a favorite for all of us. With the heat and humidity, the second crop matured so rapidly that unfortunately much was lost because it literally would mature before we had time to harvest it:(

    Lettuce and Spinach - This crop as well has had actually 6 plantings. We have received 3 crops. The intent was have at least 2 more quality outcomes in new plantings but that was not what God intended. We are really happy to see two different varieties growing quite well and are hopeful for a new crop in a week or two.

    Lettuce and Spinach – This crop has had actually 6 plantings. We have received 3 crops. The intent was have at least 2 more quality outcomes in new plantings but that was not what God intended. We are really happy to see two different varieties growing quite well, pictured, and are hopeful for a new crop in a week or two.

     

    The potato bugs are again a challenge this year even though we plant flowers to bring in good insects to eat them and attempt to control them with other methods. They are eating potato plants, tomato plants and more. Learn more http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/colorado-potato-beetles/

    The potato bugs are again a challenge this year even though we plant flowers to bring in good insects who like to eat potato bugs and attempt to control them with other methods. They are eating potato plants, tomato plants and more. Learn more here.

  • Squash bugs are appearing in great numbers. We will be monitoring them and whether we will need to an insecticide to control them from damaging the pumpkins and squash. Learn morehttp://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/squash-bugs/

    Squash bugs are appearing in great numbers. We will be monitoring them and whether we will need to an insecticide to control them from damaging the pumpkins and squash. Learn more here.

    Splitting of the carrot root s also occurring due in part to the excessive amounts of rain we have been receiving at one time over the last few weeks.

    Splitting of the carrot root is also occurring due in part to the excessive amounts of rain we have been receiving at one time over the last few weeks. The carrot simply receives a lot of moisture at once, grows fast, and splits.

    We are also having these black spots on some varieties of the tomatoes. Check out more information here.

    We are also having these black spots on some varieties of the tomatoes. Check out more information 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 remember to wash your vegetables before eating.  Thank you for your support of our CSA. Enjoy the produce!

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I think God is trying to give you a break on lettuce. I have replanted this crop no less than 5 times. I see a variety is peeking through the ground.

Kale – I use the Kale in moderation in my salads. It adds some beautiful color and more nutrients to the dish.

Kohlrabi – Green kohlrabi in your box. Peel it and eat it like an apple.

Beets –  Detroit Dark Red Beets in your box. Boil on your stove top for about 1/2 hour – take them out of the water, using a paper towel gently rub the paper towel over the beet and the skins will come right off, slice into pieces and serve with butter.

Cherry Belle RadishesLast of this crop.

Carrots

Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash –  Check out some squash soup recipes.

Zucchini – The zucchini is still producing. So since we had extra, we made you some zucchini brownies – enjoy.

TomatoesA variety abound. Enjoy some BLTs.

Peppers Green Bell Peppers

Garlic – Enjoy the fresh garlic. I use a hand held garlic press crush and peel my garlic. It is awesome and definitely the tool of the week! Here are some garlic recipes to check out.

Onions –  yellow onions.

Spaghetti Squash – I love using this squash instead of regular spaghetti. Learn how to cook this squash from Martha Stewart.

Red Norland Potatoes – Red Norland potatoes are versatile potatoes – great for boiling, potato salad and I have had success with them as French fries.

Kennebec Potatoes – Great baking potato.

Sweet Corn – Thank you to FarGaze Farms for sharing some extra sweet corn. Our sweet corn is between crops. Preserve the corn for winter eating simply by cooking it, cut it off the cob, place in Ziploc bag and place it in the freezer. 

Cilantro, Basil and Parsley – Plenty to share – take a snip or a plant home and freeze or dry the herb for use in stews, etc during the rest of the year.

Fresh cut arrangement – Zinnias and sunflowers

Recipe of the Week

Cooking Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash was in you box last week. Still wondering how to cook it? I have the best luck putting it in a large bowl of water and bowling it for about 1 hour or until I can easily stick a fork into it.

Spaghetti squash was in you box last week. Still wondering how to cook it? I have the best luck putting it in a large bowl of water and bowling it for about 1 hour or until I can easily stick a fork into it.

Take it out of the bowling water and cut open lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds.

Take it out of the bowling water and cut open lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds.

Take a fork and scrape it out so you get the noodle effect that is naturally occurring.

Take a fork and scrape it out so you get the noodle effect that is naturally occurring.

Serve it up like a regular meal of spaghetti.

Serve it up like a regular meal of spaghetti.

Finding Commonalities

Finding Commonalities

Enjoying the evening sunset together as we harvested sweet corn. In the end, we all just want more quality time with our loved ones. No technology, just Mother Nature and good conversation.

Enjoying the evening sunset together as we harvested sweet corn. In the end, we all just want more quality time with our loved ones. No technology, just Mother Nature and good conversation.

Whether at a baseball game or at the dentist office, we end up discussing summer activities with our kids, challenges as working moms balancing summer schedules, and concern for our kids as they enter into a new school year. We share a lot of the same concerns even though, what we have most in common is being parents, and the love we have for our children.

These conversation also end up including our CSA or questions they have about farming. Questions range from how our CSA is doing with the weather to what’s working and what’s not working compared to what they are experiencing or seeing in their area. These conversations are often times with friends that grew up in town and/or currently reside in town. We also discussed how the food is grown and technologies in agriculture. We, meaning all four of us, enjoy the conversations and the opportunity to help others gain a better understanding for how food is grown.

We are happy to answer questions that others have about what we do. What matters, is that in life we are always learning. After all, it is simply fun and interesting to learn how food is grown and raised to feed our families.

 

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.  Thank you for your support of our CSA. Enjoy the produce!

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – I think God is trying to give you a break on lettuce. I have replanted this crop no less than 5 times. I see a variety is peeking through the ground.

Spinach  – The spinach is in the lettuce salad mix this week. It doesn’t like the heat we have been receiving.

Kale – I use the Kale in moderation in my salads. It adds some beautiful color and more nutrients to the dish.

Kohlrabi – You either have a purple or green kohlrabi in your box. Peel it and eat it like an apple.

Purple Beans – Just a taste this week.

These were some overgrown beets.

These were some overgrown beets.

Beets –  Detroit Dark Red Beets in your box. Check out how to cook them here.

Cherry Belle RadishesThey may be small but their taste is mighty. Enjoy in a salad or a radish sandwich – on buttered bread.

Carrots

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

Zucchini – The zucchini is still producing. Wondering when it will slow down.

Cucumbers – This crop is dwindling. You will get a break from cucumbers shortly until a new variety of this crop comes in.

Plenty of tomatoes to harvest.

Plenty of tomatoes to harvest.

TomatoesA variety abounds for you this week.

Peppers Green Bell Peppers

Garlic – Enjoy the fresh garlic. I use a hand held garlic press crush and peel my garlic. It is awesome and definitely the tool of the week! Here are some garlic recipes to check out.

Onions –  Snow White hybrid and Giant Red Hamburger onions.

sweet corn

Sam’s neatly stacked sweet corn.

Sweet Corn – One of summer’s favorites.

Spaghetti Squash – I love using this squash instead of regular spaghetti. Learn how to cook this squash from Martha Stewart.

Red Norland Potatoes – Red Norland potatoes are versatile potatoes – great for boiling, potato salad and I have had success with them as French fries.

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Yukon Gold Potatoes – A beautiful golden variety of potato.  Learn some fun facts about potatoes grown in Minnesota and the Northern Plains here.

Cilantro, Basil and Parsley – Plenty to share – take a snip or a plant home and freeze or dry the herb for use in stews, etc during the rest of the year.

Fresh cut arrangement – Zinnias and sunflowers

Recipe of the Week

These zucchini brownies are a favorite.

These zucchini brownies are a favorite.

Zucchini Brownies

Ingredients

•2 cups all-purpose flour

•1/3 cup baking cocoa

•1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

•1 teaspoon salt

•2 cups shredded zucchini

•1-1/2 cups sugar

•3/4 cup vegetable oil (I will substitute with applesauce.)

•1/2 cup chopped walnuts

•2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Frosting

•1/4 cup butter, cubed

•1 cup sugar

•1/4 cup milk

•1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

•1/2 cup miniature marshmallows

•1 teaspoon vanilla extract

•1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

 

•In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, combine the zucchini, sugar and oil; stir into dry ingredients until blended. Stir in walnuts and vanilla.

•Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° F. for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

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

Source: Taste of Home

Lessons from Weeds

Lessons from Weeds

 

The weeds are loving this weather. Check out this giant ragweed that they pulled out of the sweet corn field.

The weeds are loving this weather. Check out this giant weed that they pulled out of the sweet corn field.

This weekend the boys found this giant weed reaching towards the sky amidst the sweet corn. Even thought the sweet corn was trying to crowd it out, this weed just kept on stretching and growing. We had been keeping an eye on the weeds, but obviously this one snuck past us.

Weeds provide an interesting life lesson. Even when the growing conditions are challenging, keep reaching and striving to grow tall and strong. It is during these times that people are surprised by the personal growth.

Weeds also seem to take advantage of great growing conditions and thrive during these times. Again, a great lesson of when the conditions are right make the most of it.

Lesson from the Weeds – Life is worth living. Maximizing the opportunities that are presented will determine your outcomes for personal growth.

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.  Thank you for your support of our CSA. Enjoy the produce!

Black Seeded Simpson, Prizeleaf and Red Oak Leaf Lettuce Mix – Are you having challenges storing your lettuce? This is what I do. Wash it, place in a salad spinner, drain the water off the salad spinner, spin again and then place in a plastic bag in my vegetable crisper. It lasts me the full week or more.

Spinach  – The spinach is in the lettuce salad mix this week. It doesn’t like the heat we have been receiving.

Purple Beans – Love the color and fun to cook with!

Kale – I use the Kale in moderation in my salads. It adds some beautiful color and more nutrients to the dish.

Kohlrabi – You either have a purple or green kohlrabi in your box. Peel it and eat it like an apple.

Love the color of the Bulls Blood Beets.

Love the color of the Bulls Blood Beets.

Beets –  Bulls Blood Beets and Detroit Dark Red Beets in your box. I place the beets in a pan, cover the beets with about an inch of water. Bring to a boil and boil until a fork can be inserted easily into the beet. Remove from the heat and drain the water. Using paper towels I gently rub the skin of the beet off, slice them and enjoy!

Cherry Belle Radishes in your boxes this week. Love the color!

Cherry Belle Radishes in your boxes this week. Love the color!

Cherry Belle RadishesThey may be small but their taste is mighty. Enjoy in a salad or a radish sandwich – on buttered bread.

Watermelon Radishes –  This is the last of this crop. Interested to hear your thoughts.

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

Zucchini – The zucchini is still producing. Wondering when it will slow down.

Onions –  Yellow Candy – These onions are beautiful. Enjoy!

Cucumbers – This crop is dwindling. You will get a break from cucumbers until a new crop comes in of a different variety.

The tomatoes are ready for harvest.

The tomatoes are ready for harvest.

TomatoesJust starting to come in.

Peppers Sweet, Thunderbolt Pepper

Sweet Corn – One of summer’s favorites.

Potatoes – Red Norland potatoes are versatile potatoes – great for boiling, potato salad and I have had success with them as French fries.

Parsley and Basil are available for you to take home. Freeze or dry it to use in your cooking throughout the year.

Parsley and Basil are available for you to take home. Freeze or dry it to use in your cooking throughout the year.

Basil and Parsley – Plenty to share – take a snip or a plant home and freeze or dry the herb for use in stews, etc during the rest of the year.

Garlic – Enjoy the fresh garlic. I use a hand held garlic press crush and peel my garlic. It is awesome and definitely the tool of the week! Here are some garlic recipes to check out.

Fresh cut arrangement – Zinnias and sunflowers

 

Recipe of the Week

Freezing Corn

I keep it simple because I don’t have time for more when it comes to freezing my vegetables to feed the family throughout the year.

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

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

After the husks are browned around the entire cub, I peel the husks off, and it is ready to eat.

After the husks are browned around the entire cub, I peel the husks off, and it is ready to eat.

What we don't eat, we simply cut off the extra sweet corn. A bundt pan works great to catch all of the corn. We then place it in a Ziploc bag that has been labeled and dated and place in the freezer to use this winter.

What we don’t eat, we simply cut off the extra sweet corn. A bundt pan works great to catch-all of the corn. We then place it in a Ziploc bag that has been labeled and dated and place in the freezer to use this winter.

 

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.

Priceless Moments

Priceless Moments

The corn has gotten so tall. The boys are standing by the blue popcorn.

The corn has gotten so tall. The boys are standing by the blue popcorn.

After our CSA pick-up, we enjoy sharing about our evening and the conversations we had with all of you. We learn a lot from the time spent with each of you and appreciate the conversations and time more than you will ever know.

In fact, during each season we ask the boys what they enjoy most about the CSA. Their number one response is when you and your kids come out, and they have the opportunity to show you what is “growing on” and to teach and show what they have been seeing and learning that week. I know at times some of you may wonder if it is an intrusion of our time – I am telling you that it is not an imposition but rather a great opportunity for all of us to learn together.

Priceless moment examples – there are too many to list:

  • Last week seeing a few of the boys pull and eat carrots with our kids and to see their mouths covered with dirt.
  • One of our youngest shareholders, wandering through the garden and teaching her the vegetable, the color, the different way they all felt and teaching her how to harvest them…and then to watch her eat all of them like they were an apple – including a pepper! Then the look on the boys’ faces when I told her how this nearly 2 1/2-year-old had enjoyed eating everything including the pepper – simply priceless.
  • The joy of assisting a shareholder to harvest additional zucchini – one of her favorites.
  • The excitement on some of the kids faces when they dig potatoes or pick a vegetable for the first time.
  • Or learning from all of you the favorite ways you enjoy the produce.

These priceless moments provide us with renewed energy and excitement. Sometimes the growing season can be challenging whether it is weather challenges, insects or weeds. But remembering some of these priceless moments brings smiles to our faces and renews our enthusiasm for the project at hand. Thank you!

Garden Science

It has been dry and we have been irrigating and watering the different crops. The boys have been watering our Big Moon pumpkins and we also measured them this week. We are watching how much they grow in one week. We'll keep you posted.

It has been dry, and we have been irrigating and watering the different crops. The boys have been watering our Big Moon pumpkins, and we also measured them this week. We are watching how much they grow in one week. Stay tuned.

 

The broom corn is also growing tall. Notice that the different varieties of corn have differences in their stalks, tassels etc.

The broom corn is also growing tall. Notice that the different varieties of corn have differences in their stalks, tassels etc.

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. 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 – Wash your vegetables before eating – I love to use my salad spinner after washing the lettuces.

Prizeleaf Lettuce – A beautiful colored lettuce to add to the salads. Try adding some fresh berries or dried fruit to your salads.

Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – Wonderful color to your salads.

Spinach – Remember to wash before eating.

Beets – One of my very favorite vegetables. The whole plant is edible.

Sugar Snap Peas – This crop matured quickly this week with the heat. Some of them may be quite large – you may want to peel the pod off and just eat the peas inside on the larger ones.

Green Beans – Try freezing or canning some of your extras or simply eat them raw. Learn more about this crop and a few recipes at America’s Heartland. Let us know if you would like any to can or to pickle. We donated 20# of green beans this week to the food shelf.

We were curious as to how much the cucumbers would weight. The cucumbers weighed 95 pounds.

We were curious as to how much the cucumbers would weight. All of the cucumbers weighed 95 pounds.

Cucumbers – If you would like to can any pickles let us know. We also have dill for you to use as part of your share.

Peppers

Picking the first tomatoes of the season.

Picking the first tomatoes of the season.

Tomatoes A taste of tomatoes this week cherry and Fourth of July tomatoes. Looking forward to this crop maturing.

Summer Squash/Zucchini – Here is a recipe for you to try.

Onions – Yellow, white and purple onions.

Kohlrabi – In addition to eating the bulb – similar to a cabbage. The leaves are similar to kale. Here is more information from Martha Stewart.

Cilantro Here are a few ways to use this herb.

Fresh Arrangement – Hosta leaves and a Rudbeckia, Zinnia or Sunflowers.

Lemon Queen Sunflower

Lemon Queen Sunflower

Recipe of the Week

 Garden Omelet

I chose a variety of vegetables and herbs from the garden.

I chose a variety of vegetables and herbs from the garden to use in the omelet: green beans, cilantro, yellow and purple onions and tomatoes. You could also use squash and additional herbs.

Next I washed and chopped all of the vegetables up.

Next, I washed and chopped all of the vegetables. Before any cooking begins for this meal, everything is mixed, prepared and the table set because it all moves very quickly.

One omelet: mix 3 eggs, 1 Tablespoon milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt, Dash of Pepper, and herbs of your choice that have been washed and torn into smaller pieces.

One omelet: mix 3 eggs, 1 Tablespoon milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt, dash of pepper, and herbs of your choice that have been washed and torn into smaller pieces.

Place about a Tablespoon of butter in your pan. Melt the butter and coat the inside of your fry pan with the butter. Next place your egg mixture into the fry pan at med low heat. Gently push the sides of the egg mixture up as it cooks allowing the uncooked egg to run into the area you just pushed towards the middle of the pan. Proceed to do this all the way around. Once most of it is cooked, place your ingredients onto the egg mixture and cover. Turn to low. Cook until egg is firm and cheese is melted.

Place about a Tablespoon of butter in your pan. Melt the butter and coat the inside of your fry pan with the butter. Next place your egg mixture into the fry pan at medium low heat. Gently push the sides of the egg mixture up as it cooks allowing the uncooked egg to run into the area you just pushed towards the middle of the pan. Continue to do this all the way around. Once most of it is cooked, place your ingredients onto the egg mixture and place cover over it. Turn to low. Cook until egg is firm and cheese is melted – about one minute.

Then gently roll out of pan onto your plate. Garnish with your parsley from your herb pots and a little cheese.  I learned in 4-H foods project that a garnished dish will always taste better to the person consuming it, simply because of the way it is presented.

Then gently roll omelet out of pan onto your plate. Garnish with your parsley from your herb pots and a little cheese. I learned in 4-H foods project that a garnished dish will always taste better to the person consuming it, simply because of the way it is presented.

Garden Omelet

With a fork, beat:

3 eggs

1 Tablespoon water

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dash of Pepper

Add herbs of your choice that have been washed and torn into smaller pieces.

Heat skillet. Butter pan with butter. Place egg mixture in skillet and cook slowly. Run spatula around edge, lifting to allow uncooked portion to flow underneath. Place choice of filling inside. I included vegetables, a couple of our favorite cheeses (mozzarella and sharp cheddar). Turn off heat or place on low. Place pan cover over the mixture for about a minute allowing cheese to melt. Fold sides over as you flip it onto a plate. Garnish with parsley and cheese.

Science or Miracle

Science or Miracle

More garden treasurers are starting to appear. The pumpkin Grandma Norma is holding came off a bit early, but it was ready. Always a great surprise to see what is found in the sea of vines.

More garden treasurers are starting to appear. The pumpkin Grandma Norma is holding came off a bit early, but it was ready. Always a great surprise to see what is found in the sea of vines.

Each week presents different situations. This week was the extreme heat which has put a lot of stress on the plants. We need rain! Because of the heat, we had to be observant of the temperatures throughout the day to consider the best time of day to harvest. We did some harvesting on Sunday because tomatoes and cucumbers were ready to be harvested, and it was truly amazing how hot they were coming out of the field. So you would have laughed to see us out late at night and early morning with head lamps on harvesting! But the vegetables were definitely cooler during those times of the day.

One of my favorite parts about the CSA is packing the boxes. Why do I love packing the boxes? Because I love doing things for others, and because I love to see what is growing, how it is growing and what is doing well in the garden.

I believe that all farmers no matter how many acres they farm, love to see their plants growing and look on with amazement to see the science and the miracles at work in their fields. It is so interesting to watch how the different varieties of crops perform in different growing conditions. Absolutely fascinating!

We were given some good advice when we started this adventure, “Select and use good seed.” Plant scientist study and observe how different seeds grow and select and use the seeds that perform the best in a variety of growing conditions, yield well and taste delicious. Understanding and knowing how the plants will grow their best is the science.

Understanding that the end result is out of your control, because it relies on the weather that God provides us is the miracle that we rely on. It is truly amazing that with all of the farmers that I work with…their strong faith in God is truly a common trait. Consider this year’s growing season and last year’s drought, that might help you to understand why they have such a strong faith.

Believing in what is yet to come and knowing that the end result was worth it … seems to be a commonality between farming and faith.

Garden Science

The heat and wind are taking a toll on the plants. They are droopy and shriveling up. Although we have irrigation and do some additional watering, nothing provides plant relief quite like Mother Nature.

The heat and wind are taking a toll on the plants. They are droopy and shriveling up. Although we have irrigation and do some additional watering, nothing provides plant relief quite like Mother Nature. Pray for some relief.

Boxes of Produce

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 produce 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.

Beet leaves

Broccoli

Tomatoes – Fourth of July (medium size red), Yellow Girls, Romas (long, narrow), Black Krim (smaller, blackish/red tint) and cherry tomatoes.

Peppers – Green and Yellow

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

Sam found the peas are ready.

Sam found the peas are starting to show pods.

Green Beans – This type of green beans are Providers.

Sam is displaying the cherry tomatoes, potatoes and a kohlrabi that was ready.

Sam is displaying the cherry tomatoes, potatoes and a kohlrabi that was ready.

Kohlrabi

Potatoes – Kennebec potatoes – great for baking. 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.

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!

Herbs – Basil, Golden Oregano, parsley and lemon thyme

Fresh cut arrangement – A variety of sunflowers for you.

Recipe of the Week

Vegetable and Beef Kabobs

Cut vegetables and meat into small pieces and thread alternately unto skewers. We used about cherry tomatoes, onions, peppers, summer squash and beef.

Cut vegetables and meat into small pieces and thread alternately unto skewers. We used about cherry tomatoes, onions, peppers, summer squash and beef.

In a small bowl, mash garlic with salt to form a paste: 1 garlic clove, peeled, 1 teaspoon salt. Next  stir in 1/3 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

In a small bowl, mash garlic with salt to form a paste: 1 garlic clove, peeled, 1 teaspoon salt. Next stir in 1/3 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

In a small bowl, mash garlic with salt to form a paste: 1 garlic clove, peeled, 1 teaspoon salt. Next  stir in 1/3 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour garlic mixture over kabobs; let stand for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, mash garlic with salt to form a paste: 1 garlic clove, peeled, 1 teaspoon salt. Next stir in 1/3 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Pour garlic mixture over kabobs; let stand for 15 minutes.

Grill kabobs, covered, over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or just until vegetables are tender, turning frequently.

Grill kabobs, covered, over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or just until vegetables are tender, turning frequently.

Carefully unwrap foil and serve.

Carefully unwrap foil and serve.

Vegetable and Beef Kabobs

1 garlic clove, peeled

•1 teaspoon salt

•1/3 cup olive oil

•3 tablespoons lemon juice

•1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

•1/4 teaspoon pepper

•8 medium fresh mushrooms

•2 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch slices

•2 small onions, cut into six wedges

•8 cherry tomatoes

Directions

•In a small bowl, mash garlic with salt to form a paste. Stir in the oil, lemon juice, Italian seasoning and pepper.

•Thread vegetables alternately onto metal or soaked wooden skewers; place in a shallow pan. Pour garlic mixture over kabobs; let stand for 15 minutes.

•Grill kabobs, covered, over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or just until vegetables are tender, turning frequently. Uncover and serve.

Source: tasteofhome.com

The boys each tried the kabobs. Some of the vegetables they liked and some they didn't. But they both tried new vegetables that they hadn't tried before. I call that an achievement.

The boys each tried the kabobs. Some of the vegetables they liked and some they didn’t. But they both tried new vegetables that they hadn’t tried before. I call that an achievement.