Wrapping up the Season

Wrapping up the Season

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The pumpkins will be available next week.

It’s hard to believe with the heat we’ve had in September that some areas of the country are receiving snow. Mother Nature once again reminds us that it is time to wrap up the growing season.

Last weekend, we spent a good share of time harvesting which included using lights from tractors and flashlights to finish jobs. Farm size doesn’t matter…Mother Nature holds us all accountable. When it’s time to wrap up, you do what you can to get the job done.

As we work to wrap-up the harvest, it’s also a time of reflection on the growing season, and its ups and downs. For example, the pumpkins and squash growing seasons were tough. We replanted those crops at least three times. Even though the seeds, growing conditions and weather were cooperative, they didn’t all perform for some reason or another.

As I visited with my dad who has farmed for over 55 years, he reassured me that sometimes the seeds didn’t perform for him either for one reason or another and sometimes you just don’t know. You can’t control everything. There are a lot of unknowns in agriculture. You can rest assured that end outcomes in life are in God’s hands and not ours.

So another paralleled life lesson for our kids. You need to reflect, learn from the situations, regroup and come back to do better the next time. Always striving to do better.

Garden Science

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As we were harvesting the ornamental corn, we found this immature ear (the female flower of the plant). This shows how each silk (female tube/transport system) of an ear of corn is attached to a kernel (the ovule or potential kernels). The silk must be pollinated by the tassel (male part located at the top of the plant) of the corn, the pollen falls and attaches to the silk which carries the male genetics to fertilize and create the baby kernel on the cob. Source: Agronomy Library Channel Seed

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 Lettuce

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce – The last crop of lettuce is coming in. It should love this cold weather. 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 – New crop – Beautiful color.

Spinach – New crop – Mix together with the above lettuces for a beautiful colored salad.

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Green Beans growing on the plant.

Green Beans – If you are looking for canning quantities, we have plenty. Did you know that green beans are more nutritious for you eaten raw?

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi – Try these ideas from Martha Stewart.

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Dark Red Detroit Beets

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

Green Bell Peppers – Learn how to make stuffed peppers here.

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

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.

Tomatoes – This is the end of the tomatoes this season. We hope you were able to take advantage of the bounty.

Cilantro – Learn how to preserve your herbs for use later in the year from Martha Stewart.

Cucumbers – Enjoy the end of the season cucumber. We will have more next week.

Radishes – It is a cool season crop which is just starting to produce. Look for more next week.

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Rutabaga

Rutabaga – A shareholder requested we try these. Check out these different ways to prepare them from Martha Stewart.

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Carrots

Carrots – See how carrots are grown in Georgia on America’s Heartland.

Spaghetti Squash – The first bush spaghetti squash. Fruits may be stored for early winter use. This video shows how to cook this squash.

wp-image-563977452Red Kuri Squash – This squash commands your attention with the fruits’ color and succulent flesh. Red Kuri’s bright scarlet tear-drop-shaped fruits are packed with dense flesh that’s good roasted or in soups.

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Carnival Squash

Carnival Squash – Carnival squash is a hybrid of the sweet dumpling squash and the acorn squash. The color variance in the rind of the Carnival squash is the result of seasonal temperature variations. Warmer temperatures produce Carnival squash with slightly more pronounced green stripes. The squash’s flavor is nutty and sweet.

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. Or use the larger ones as decoration for the fall season.

Summer Squash, Golden Egg Hybrid – Wash it cut up, no need to peel, use on the grill or eat raw. This squash has truly had staying power this growing season.

Zucchini – This crop is coming to an end.

Purple potatoes – The skin and flesh of this potato is purple. Great fun for french fries, potato salads and mixed vegetable dishes. Anthocyanin is a pigment that creates the purple color in the potatoes and also acts as an antioxidant.

Kennebec potatoes – Excellent for baked potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes – Dusky red-skinned Beauregard is the most widely grown commercial cultivar. I know that my friends in North Carolina are far more experienced than I in preparing sweet potatoes. So check out this resource.

Flower of the Week – Corn shocks, ornamental corn and gourds

Recipe of the Week

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Pumpkin Bread is a favorite. I use butternut squash that I have cooked and frozen as my “pumpkin” in this recipe. It works great!

State Fair Pumpkin Bread

1 2/3 cup flour

1 ½ cup sugar

1/3 cup butter softened

1 teaspoon soda

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon cloves

Pinch of salt

2 eggs

1/3 cup cold water

1 cup canned pumpkin (I use my prepared squash which has been mixed with butter and brown sugar.)

Combine flour, sugar, butter, soda, spices and salt in bowl. Add 1/3 cup cold water, eggs and pumpkin; mix well. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour. Cool on wire rack.

Source: Minnesota 4-H Blue Ribbon Favorites Cookbook – Pat Kuznik recipe

Meaningful Conversations

Meaningful Conversations

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Learning to share your farm story can take you many places including KARE 11 at the Minnesota State Fair.

Discussing the food to farm story with others is important to our family. We enjoy the meaningful conversations, and the information learned from the conversation that is insightful to us on how to improve our communication skills to effectively share agriculture’s story.

This past week, this type of opportunity took us to the Minnesota State Fair. The boys enjoy working in the Minnesota Farm Bureau booth (located behind the giant yellow slide) and visiting with fairgoers. Fairgoers take a short quiz to earn a prize. The quiz this year included asking a farmer working the booth to share, “Their favorite farm memory?”

The boys are always amazed at what they learn, the opportunities that arise and who they meet. Whether you are a farmer or you are the consumer, next time you have the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation to learn more about our food.

We encourage you to take time to seek first to understand, and you will be amazed at what you learn.

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Sam enjoyed working at the Farm Bureau building at the Minnesota State Fair with a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota studying agricultural economics and chemistry originally from western Minnesota where her family raises sugarbeets .

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Weather is important to farmers. So sharing the weather live from the fair on KARE 11 was a lot of fun.

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Visiting with fairgoers and hearing their questions or concerns allows us all to become better at meaningful conversations.

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 – The last crop of lettuce is coming in. It should love this cold weather. 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 – New crop – Beautiful color.

Spinach – New crop – Mix together with the above lettuces for a beautiful colored salad.

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 – Try these ideas from Martha Stewart.

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

Green Bell Peppers – Learn how to make stuffed peppers here.

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

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.

Tomatoes – If you are considering canning quantities or wanting to freeze some for this winter, let us know. For the record we harvest 245 pounds this week.

A new cucumber growing.

Cucumbers – A new crop of a smaller variety of cucumbers is coming in. Maybe you want to can some or are interested in refrigerator pickles. 

Carrots – See how carrots are grown in Georgia on America’s Heartland.

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.

Summer Squash, Golden Egg Hybrid

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 – This crop is coming to an end. Shred and mix up your favorite zucchini bread recipe – freeze the dough, and you are ready for a quick breakfast treat on a chilly Fall day.

Sweet Corn – Thank you to our neighbors, the Peterson family, for contributing the sweet corn in this week’s box. Quick Tip: If you don’t eat all the sweet corn you have cooked, cut it off the cob and freeze it in a container. Reheat your frozen corn for your vegetable at another meal or use in a hot dish or a soup.

Kennebec – Excellent for baked potatoes.

Cilantro – Great in an omelet or fresh salsa.

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard – Learn more about swiss chard and how to prepare it.

Flowers – Hydrangeas and Hostas

Recipe of the Week

Freezer Salsa

Freezer Salsa

8 cups diced seeded peeled tomatoes (about 10 large)

2 medium green peppers, chopped

2 large onions, chopped

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped

3/4 cup tomato paste

2/3 cup condensed tomato soup, undiluted

1/2 cup white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons salt

4-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder (or try a couple cloves of fresh garlic – season to taste)

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper Directions

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring often.

Pour into small freezer containers. Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Stir before serving. Yield: 10 cups.

Editor’s Note: Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.

Source: Taste of Home

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.

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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

Attitude Determines Outcomes

Attitude Determines Outcomes

20170730_130824 (2)Our attitude often determines are outcomes. Do you ever wish you were doing a different job or task than what you have been asked to do? I think this happens to all of us.

Last night this happened when Steve and Sam both wished they were playing baseball instead of harvesting. But what happened was a pleasant surprise for all of us.

During our evening meal, we started a tradition we learned from a friend. We usually ask each other three questions: 1) What was your best part of your day? 2) Your worst part of the day? and 3) What can you improve on?

Often times, we find out more about each other during those discussions then some other conversations that we have. So, when these questions came up both Sam and Steve answered that their favorite part of the day was harvesting together that evening. They also said that it was the part that they really didn’t want to do.

They both decided to make the most of it and went to work to accomplish the task. They really enjoyed each other’s company, and the evening that was around them.

So, let your days not be crowded with cloudiness, but rather look for the opportunity and the sunshine that surrounds it.

Garden Science

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Did you know that of the 1,400 crops grown 80% depend upon pollinators? Source: USDA

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 Kale – Mix together with the above lettuces for a beautiful colored salad.

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Purple green beans will soon be starting to grow from these pretty purple flowers.

Green BeansCheck 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.

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Purple Vienna Kohlrabi ready for harvest

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.

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.

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.

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A new cucumber forming between the stem and the flower.

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.

 

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.

 

Broccoli – It appears some of these had a bit to much sun. Simply run the knife gently across the top, and you should be good to go. Did you know? Broccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family whose large flowering head is eaten as a vegetable.

Peter Pan, Scallop Squash – This squash is a circular scalloped summer squash with light green 1-3″ fruits that’s meatier than most patty pans. 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. As exquisite as a Faberge egg but so much tastier. Spherical, golden-yellow egg-shaped zucchini measures up to 5″ across, boasting delicious creamy flesh with hints of chartreuse. Try this variety in the soup recipe below.

Summer Squash Pic-n-Pic hybrid – Not in your box this week. But I was remiss in thanking the Pagel family for sharing this with us. Get to know the Pagels.

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

Viking Red and/or Yukon Potatoes – The Viking are the red skinned potatoes and work well as boiled or mashed potatoes. Yukon (brown-skinned) are known for their versatility. I prefer them as baked potatoes or French fries.

Cilantro – Freeze and use in your salsa recipes later this year.

cropped-20170816_170258_1502927389639-2.jpgFresh cut arrangement – Hydrangeas, Rudbeckia, Sunflowers, Zinnias and Coreopsis

 

Recipe of the Week

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Summer Squash Soup – a delicious option for this vegetable. I also will place extra in muffin tins and freeze. Once frozen, I will remove from the tin and place in a labeled container to use for a quick meal.

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. Yield: 6 servings.

Source: Taste of Home

 

Treasures Within

Treasures Within

At this week’s pick up one of the shareholders exclaimed, “I love this garden. It grows brownies.”

This week, each member received a sample of the recipe of the week, Zucchini Brownies. This statement had me chuckling and reflecting that while I often talk about the treasures in the field. There are also treasures in the produce boxes.

So yes, this garden is producing the zucchini as a necessary ingredient for the brownies. But it also produces a wide variety of treasures shared within your boxes that provide options for creativity in your kitchen.

Envisioning delicious outcomes while providing a variety of intentional options for our palettes to grow will provide for those hidden unknowns. So whether or not you try the recipe below. Our wish is that you to will discover that your box is filled with hidden treasures like the brownies, as well as, other delicious options for you and your family.

Note: A special thanks to Sam for his contributing photography this week.

Garden Science

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Did you know … we grow 4 o’clocks to help bring in beneficial insects to eat bad insects that eat our crops.

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.

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – Beautiful color.

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

Green Beans –  Check out this recipe, and how green beans are raised in other areas of the U.S. on America’s Heartland.

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi – This plant thrives in the northern regions of Europe and North America. Kohlrabi is native to Europe and is believed to be the only common vegetable native to that area. I peel it like an apple and eat it.

Detroit Dark Red Beets – A new crop in your box this week. I love to boil my beets in hot water; then wipe off the skin using a paper towel.

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. I hope to use them for recipes throughout the season.

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Have you ever noticed the braided stem of the onion. Pretty amazing how mother nature does that.

Onion – Have you ever noticed the neck of the onion? Notice how it looks like it is naturally braided.

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Fourth of July tomatoes – perfect fit for you to eat for lunch or on a BLT.

Tomatoes – Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, Brandywine, Romas 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? In 2012, top cucumber producing states, as reported by the United States Department of Agriculture, were Georgia and Florida with 283.5 and 280.8 million pounds, respectively

Carrots – Did you know…Carrots are primarily consumed fresh and are the 6th most consumed fresh vegetable in the U.S. Consumption of fresh carrots peaked in 1997 at 14.1 pounds per person and since then has dropped off and settled into a stable amount of approximately 8.3 pounds per person in 2015 (Vegetable and Melon Outlook, 2016). In contrast, consumption of frozen carrots averaged 1.4 pounds per person.

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Peter Pan, scalloped summer squash is delicious baked, fried, sautéed or grilled.

Peter Pan, Scallop Squash – This All-America Selections winner is a miniature patty pan squash with light green 1-3″ fruits that’s meatier than most patty pans. Distinctive, delicious, and sweet flavor. Pick over a long period. Summer squash and zucchini ripen early and are highly productive.

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. As exquisite as a Faberge egg but so much tastier. Spherical, golden-yellow egg-shaped zucchini measures up to 5″ across, boasting delicious creamy flesh with hints of chartreuse

Summer Squash Pic-n-Pic hybrid – This Burpee-bred squash has golden yellow fruits with smooth, tender skin. It’s extremely productive and best picked when 4-6″ long. Proven tops for performance, flavor and wide adaptability

Zucchini – Try these recipes from Martha Stewart.

Viking Red and/or Yukon Potatoes – The Viking are the red skinned potatoes and work well as boiled or mashed potatoes. Yukon (brown-skinned) are known for their versatility. I prefer them as baked potatoes or French fries.

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Through the eyes of an 8-year-old, you can see the beauty of God shining through.

Fresh cut arrangement – Hydrangeas, Rudbeckia, Sunflowers, Zinnias and Coreopsis

 

Recipe of the Week

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Chocolate Zucchini Brownies – A family 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
The Journey

The Journey

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4-H Pledge – I pledge my head to clearer thinking, My heart to greater loyalty, My hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.

Many see 4-H as an organization only for farm kids or as an organization where the kids only go to meetings. I see it as a land of opportunity. The doors you as a member choose to open offer different experiences that offer opportunities for personal growth.

Last week, I touched on fair week. The boys chose to open a variety of doors of opportunity. Here are some highlights of the week.

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General projects teach a variety of skills that livestock projects do not. Keith took garden vegetables, potatoes, photography, baking and shop while Sam took Cloverbud projects. During the judging of the general projects, 4-H members conduct a face to face interview with a judge and answer questions on what they have learned from the project and share their knowledge about that project area.

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Both boys showed poultry gaining a better understanding of chickens, the breeds of chickens, care of the bird and understanding of all things chicken.

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Prior to the swine (pig) show they both conducted interviews with a judge to share their knowledge of swine (pigs). In addition to showing the animal, they also participated in a showmanship class where they are judged on how well they show the pig. Keith’s pig was shown by another 4-Her that did not own the pig but learned more about pigs by showing it at the fair Throughout the duration of the fair, they were in charge of caring for the animals and conducting herdmanship (keeping their animal and area around their animal clean) and visiting with fairgoers. It is in the moments of listening to them talk to consumers and interact with other 4-Hers that you realize the personal growth they are gaining.

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.

Red Salad Bowl Lettuce – Beautiful color.

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Giant Duke Kohlrabi

Grand Duke Kohlrabi – We are nearing the end of this planting.

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi – This plant thrives in the northern regions of Europe and North America. Kohlrabi is native to Europe and is believed to be the only common vegetable native to that area.

Sugar Snap Peas – This is the last of this planting and are hopeful the next plantings start to produce soon.

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Detroit Dark Red Beets

Detroit Dark Red Beets

Green Bell Peppers – Check America’s Heartland to see how other varieties of peppers are grown.

Banana Pepper –  Check this recipe out. These peppers are producing like crazy. Let us know if you are interested in trying to pickle them.

Onion – Are you tired of tearing up when you cut onions. According to the National Onion Association to reduce tearing when cutting onions, first chill the onions for 30 minutes. Then, cut off the top and peel the outer layers leaving the root end intact. (The root end has the highest concentration of sulphuric compounds that make your eyes tear.)

CucumbersAre you thinking about cucumbers…We also have dill. If you are interested in canning your own pickles let us know.

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Carrots

CarrotsDid you know…Carrots contain a pigment called carotene that converts to vitamin A when you digest it. This vitamin helps us to see in reduced light and at night. Check out this segment on America’s Heartland for more information on this vegetable.

Green BeansA few green beans to eat raw or try in a stir fry.

Swiss Chard – If you are like me, you are still trying to figure out how to use this. Check this site out.

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French Breakfast Radishes

French Breakfast Radishes – I love the different look of these radishes. Topped with edible, leafy greens, French Breakfast radishes are very crisp and offer a mildly spicy flavor. Grilling or oven roasting will bring out the subtly sweet and nutty flavor of the French Breakfast radish.

Cilantro – Fresh cilantro has such a wonderful aroma. I have been freezing mine to use in canned salsa and soups later this year. The tomatoes are forthcoming if you are holding out for fresh salsa.

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Zinnias

Fresh cut arrangement – Rudbeckia, Sunflowers, Zinnias and Coreopsis

Recipe of the Week

This is a family favorite. Thank you to Sarah Durenberger for the recipe.

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Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Applesauce
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Baking Cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 3 cups Shredded Zucchini
  1. Beat sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla together. Mix dry ingredients. Stir into mixture.
  2. Add chocolate chips and shredded zucchini.
  3. Pour batter into 4-5 mini loaf pans (or 2 large loaf pans), coated with cooking spray.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Remove from pans and cool.
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.