This week we entered in to a new arena. One we wanted to try last year but missed the deadline…the Minnesota State Fair open class vegetable show. The class for our entries needed to be entered between 7—9 a.m. on the opening day of the state fair. So that meant early alarms were set, and we were on the road by 5:30 a.m. to beat the traffic and ensure we had a parking spot even though we were given a designated parking area. It was a good thing we left when we did because when we arrived there were only four parking spots remaining and when we left the fairgrounds at 8 a.m. the line was very long to enter the fairgrounds.
We were excited that the All Blue potatoes took 3rd in the other varieties potato class. We did not place in the largest zucchini, largest scalloped squash or the largest onion. We would all say we brought very respectable entries and learned so much. Here is some of what we learned.
- Zucchini – seems to be the most popular largest vegetable category
- Scalloped Squash – If we would have considered this as an entry earlier in the season, we think the entry would have won.
- Onion – We have simply never seen as large of an onion as we saw from another entrant. It was huge.
Take Aways – Seeing how others transported their vegetables into the fair. For example, one person had a large snake gourd that he taped down to a 2 x 4 to ensure that it did not break in transport. While another transported his potatoes individually wrapped in a Christmas bulb carrier.
There are so many category options – don’t be afraid to check it out and give it a try.
In summary, it was truly very interesting visiting with others who brought in their entries to the open class show. We learned A LOT from different varieties of vegetables to how to prepare vegetables for show. The boys have regrouped and are already strategizing on what to do differently. Most of all we enjoyed the experience as a family. Living and learning together definitely makes for a stronger family.
Boxes of Produce
This list is prepared before we harvest your share. Some guesswork is involved! We do our best to predict which crops will be ready to harvest, but sometimes crops are on the list that are not in the share, and sometimes crops will be in the share even though they’re not on the list. Remember food safety in your kitchen when preparing, always wash your hands before working with your produce and always wash your produce before eating.
Black Seeded Simpson/Red Oak Leaf Lettuce – Both of these crops taste good on a sandwich or salad.
Spinach/Kale – Great for salads.
Purple Beans – Such a delicious vegetable cooked, eaten raw or in salads.
Banana Peppers – They may be small, but they pack quite the taste.
Purple Peppers – A variety of peppers are starting to grow. The boys were in charge of packing so each of you will have a surprise of what is in the box.
Beets – An old garden favorite of mine. Learn how to use them here.
Carrots – Esperanza carrots – enjoy these summer delights. This new crop is out of the garden versus the raised bed.
Kohlrabi – So glad that the insects didn’t win this time on this crop. Peel and cut like an apple eat raw, in salads or dip the slices in peanut butter. Enjoy!
Onions –If you are feeling overloaded on onions, cut them up and spread them out and freeze on a cookie sheet or pan. Once frozen place in a container or a Ziploc bag for use throughout the year. I do this and am just coming to my end of frozen onions. This helps speed up my meal preparation. See how onions are grown in Washington.
Potatoes – It is awesome how quickly freshly dug potatoes quick. I boiled potatoes to make into mashed potatoes this week, and they were ready in less than 20 minutes.
Golden Egg Hybrid Summer Squash – This crop is slowly coming on with either Golden Egg Hybrid great to wash and slice to eat on a veggie tray, use on a kabob or try it sautéed in a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
Peter Pan Squash – No need to peel, simply wash and cut up this squash and use like the others. Check out these recipes.
Zucchini – This crop has been a bit slow due to our insect challenges this year. But it is growing. Enjoy – here are some recipes from Country Living.
Tomatoes – Let us know if you would like extra to freeze, make into salsa, or can. Included this week are some of the 4th of July, Super Sweet 100 Hybrid, SunGold Cherry tomatoes and a few more varieties sprinkled in. Learn more about tomatoes on America’s Heartland. Learn how to freeze your tomatoes here.
Fresh cut arrangement – Hosta Leaves, Hydrangeas, zinnias and more
Uchiki Kuri Winter Squash – This is a popular squash that has attractive orange-red skin. Yellow and creamy flesh is very sweet and nutty. It is a hubbard type squash and sometimes also referred to as a baby red hubbard type since its appearance is like that of a petite hubbard. The word “kuri” translates to mean chestnut in Japanese, the main flavor profile found in the Red Kuri squash. It is a squash is a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C as well as potassium and iron. Hard-skinned Red Kuri squash can be difficult to peel and are most easily cooked in their skin. Split squash in half, scoop out seeds, and roast, cut-side down until tender. Red Kuri can also be cut into wedges or cubes and roasted. The skin of Red Kuri once cooked is tender enough to consume so need not be removed prior to eating.
Recipe of the Week
State Fair Pumpkin Bread/Muffins
1 2/3 c. flour
1 ½ c. sugar
1/3 c. Butter, softened
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. each nutmeg, cloves
Pinch of salt
1/3 c. water
1 c. canned pumpkin (can substitute squash or carrots that have been cooked and blended down to a smooth consistency)
Combine flour, sugar, butter, soda, spices and salt in bowl. Add 1/3 cup of cold water eggs and pumpkin; mix well. Pour into a lightly greased muffin tin liner. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 depending on the oven. Cool on wire rack. Produces 15-18 muffins.
Note: The bread was made by Keith using the Uchiki Kuri Winter Squash. It was a blue ribbon recipe for him at the county fair.
Source: Minnesota 4-H Blue Ribbon Cookbook