Farm Newsletter September 18, 2017

Squash Misc GreenhouseFarm Newsletter September 18, 2017

Farm News        Crop Forecast

 U-Pick       Recipes       Nuts and Bolts


Saturday, Sept 23, 2017  4:00 PM

2nd Annual Organic Farms of 320th St

Fundraiser for Harvest for the Hungry

Hello Friends!

Winter squash harvest is one of our favorite jobs of the year, and so far it is beautiful and big!  Peek in the greenhouse for the awesome colors in person.  They’re a little slow in ripening due to the cool August, but this week it will start coming in the share, with spaghetti, delicate and maybe acorn and carnival squashes.

This week we have apples available for sale, organically managed from across the street.  And a super fun party — and chance to support sharing of the great produce you get from the farm with neighbors in need — on Saturday.  And the fall equinox, with lots of that bright sunshine and spectacular angle of morning and afternoon light to make everything shine and sparkle.  What else could you want?

We know — a build-your-own storage share !!! Well, you’re in luck.  This week you’ll get a separate email from us, with more details and a link to an order form.  With this hopefully easy-to-use google form, and no need for extra passwords or anything, you can pre-order just what you want from the wide selection of fall veggies we grow.  The storage share is separate from the regular season share, a one-time pickup the Thursday before Thanksgiving, and prices are by the pound or by the piece.  Our goal in pricing is, as usual, to make it as affordable as we can while paying ourselves and our crew fairly.   Hopefully you’ll enjoy the new storage share options!

Also in the next week or two, you will receive another separate email about signing up for next year (that’s 2018!)  We start renewals in September so that by the end of the share in late October we know how many folks are coming back to join us next year — we hope you will!! — and whether we have any spots available to fill for next year.

By the way — this year’s last share pickups will be the week of October 16, and that week you’ll pick up a “double share,” ie two weeks worth of share veggies.  We used to do a pickup the last full week of October, but for our workload it is an almost identical repeat of the week before; we save ourselves many hours of labor by doing the same jobs in bigger chunks, and being “open” one less week.  You can still come U-pick after that week, for kale and herbs and/or whatever else is u-pickable.

These days we’ve mostly been out picking and in the barn washing veggies, and in here tapping keys here and there when we can.  We still have the butternut squash to clip and pick up into bins, and then sweet potatoes to wrestle from the ground.  And that’s it for the big one-time September harvests; we keep picking loads of spinach and lettuce for the colleges and other accounts, alongside the carrots and other root crops, and then in mid-October we start loading the root cellar for winter storage.  It’s not that far away; this summer has flown by faster than any other.

Ben has also been fixing the carrot harvester and a few other things that need some TLC to make it through the fall harvest.  We’ve also been planting cover crops on each field as the veggies retire for the year, planting grains (right now mostly winter wheat and clover) to protect the soil over the winter and feed all the billions of microorganisms that are the life of what we call soil.  Hopefully the whole farm is covered and green going into winter, and ready to grow more great food next year!

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Crop Forecast

Winter squash is coming!  Starting this week with spaghetti and delicate, and maybe acorn and carnival.  We may have big heads of cabbage mixed in to choose from too, if spaghetti squash doesn’t oodle your noodle, and/or in case you want to make some kraut or the like.

Tomatoes tomatoes–  It’s been a great run, but despite the awesome tomato weather it looks like we’ll be running lower than usual in the next few weeks.  Our late planting has late blight (the fungus famous for infecting potatoes in Ireland); and would require several sprays (organic approved ones can sometimes help) to keep them harvestable.  For concern for human and insect health we are not spraying, as usual.  We may put some seconds in the share if that’s what we have, but once the fruit are infected and can be impossible to tell from the outside which ones are good on the inside and which ones are rotten through and through.   Late blight is not common in MN — the spores don’t survive the winter here but migrate from the south on wind or infected plants in retail stores, sometimes landing in different locales but not others — but we appreciate your understanding that fungus happens, and your commitment to ride the ups and downs of harvest with us.

Peppers — Wowza, that is some awesome color.  And they’re huge.

Kale is back and super, tender and mild from a young planting for fall.  Lettuce and spinach are abundant.  Spinach looks on track to be good for at least two more weeks, maybe longer.  Lettuce we normally have til the end.  For greens, it’s nice to be back into healthy plantings, they too are looking good for the remainder.

Onions, plus a few shallots.  We don’t grow many shallots because they’re much lower yielding than regular onions, but we like to have some around cuz they’re so darn good.   Garlic is for sale in the barn for $1 a head (no need to pre-order). We can do it in the share for 6 weeks, but after that it’s an extra, for-sale item.

Broccoli and Cabbage will keep on keeping on, and Cauliflower ! too.  Cauliflower is among the trickiest of veggies to grow, it’s nice to see a decent crop coming in. And Kohlrabi will make an appearance again too!

Summer squash, zucchini and cucumbers are hanging on but nearing the end.

Loving the summer bounty while it lasts as long as it can into fall!!

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What’s for U-Pick?

Raspberries — Not much out there, but they do taste great.


Cherry tomatoes have been very abundant, and without rain it is much easier for folks to get them picked before they split and/or fall off the vines.  The orange variety is notorious for splitting, but is so much better than anything else that we put up with its faults.  Tomatillos and Ground Cherries are still out there.  For tomatillos, pick when the fruit has filled the husk, and pick ground cherries when they have fallen off the ground.  It’s a jungle in there, mostly because the plants are super vigorous and healthy, and a little because of weeds; think of it as a treasure hunt.

Cilantro, mint and lemon balm, and parsley, thyme and oregano –are all doing well.  Basil is growing slowly, but we will keep a watch on the weather and if there is a frost in the forecast, we will open it up unlimited, so the pesto makers can put some up before the frost.  If we opened it up unlimited right now, we are afraid the plants would get over picked and no longer produce any.  So, it has been in shorter supply this year.

Please always check the U-pick board when you’re here to see what’s available and picking amounts.

U-Pick Help:  If at any point in the season you are not physically able to  U-pick due to an injury or any other reason, please let us know.  We have a list of generous folks that are interested in volunteering to pick your U-pick crops for you.  If you’re interested in being on the volunteer list, please let us know too!

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Nuts and Bolts

This Saturday!!!

Saturday, Sept 23, 2017  4:00 PM

2nd Annual Organic Farms of 320th St

Fundraiser for Harvest for the Hungry

Harvest for the Hungry is a program run by The Food Group, a non-profit warehouse/distributor serving over 100 food shelves, pantries and soup kitchens throughout the metro area.  The program uses donations to buy local (mostly organic) produce, direct from farmers at a fair price, and gives that produce to the food shelves, pantries and soup kitchens to distribute to people in need of food.  Fresh, quality produce, not to mention organic, is in short supply in the food relief system — this program is a total win-win for people in need and for farmers.  We’ve worked with Harvest for the Hungry for about 5 years, and love that we get to share our veggies with communities who need them.  Last year we had a blast at this party and raised several thousand dollars, used to buy several thousand pounds, for our neighbors in need.  Come join the fun and the  good cause!

At the party — All ages welcome.  A Food Truck for light dinner (or bring your own picnic), Hard Cider from Keepsake Cidery in Dundas, and Local Beer.  You should have received and invitation via email, and if you haven’t please let us know.   It’s gonna be a great sunny day and we hope to see you there!

APPLES !!!  Celebrate the season’s abundance of local food with another fall favorite: apples! For the past two seasons, the orchard across from Open Hands (formerly called Northside Apples) has been collaboratively managed using organic practices by the farmers at Spring Wind, Little Hill, and Keepsake Cidery. The variety available this week is called Sweet Sixteen–sweet and complex, with hints of vanilla and spice. It’s hard to beat eating this apple fresh, but it’s considered a good “all-purpose” apple for fresh eating or cooking.  They’ll be offering 4 lb bags for $8 during your CSA pick-up; cash (exact change preferred) or checks accepted.

STORAGE SHARE Version 2 — After about 10 years of doing the storage share as a pre-set amount of each vegetable, our new online order form will make it possible for you to custom order what you want of any, all or none of the fall storage veggies.

You will also have the option to order the same standard storage share by clicking one box.  We’ll try to make it all as easy as possible; it’ll be in a similar Google format as the Change Pick-up Day Form (and no password required).

 Watch for more details and sign-up info this week!

Bulk Produce for You — Check here each newsletter for what we have available for extra purchase.

To place a bulk order, simply call or email us at least 2 days ahead of the day you’d like to pick it up.  Orders can be picked up at the farm during our regular pickup hours, but it doesn’t have to be your share pickup day.

TOMATO BOXES ARE STILL AVAILABLE!  For at least one more week.  Seconds are a 12lb box for $20.  

This week’s selection is : Carrots, Beets for $1 / lb.  Red Peppers for $2 / lb.  Lettuce Mix for $5 / lb, Spinach for $4 / lb.  Cabbage for 60 cents/lb.  Kale (new young planting) and Swiss Chard for $3 / lb.  Garlic is for sale in the barn from now on during share pickup hours, for $1 / head, no need to order ahead.  Thanks!

Share Pickup Hours Monday, Wednesday Friday 2:00-6:00pm. You can U-Pick any time (when U-pick crops are in season.)

Change Pick-Up Day Form — Click here.

Please Drive Carefully —Children are everywhere.

Thank you so much for enjoying the farm!!

Your farmers,

Erin and Ben, with Allia, Bisharo, Fatima, Jaime, Paul, Ray, Sahara and Zach


Island Pesto Burgers with Roasted Tomatoes, Arugula & Grilled Onions

(Makes 4 burgers)

From Fresh from the Farm by Susie Middleton

Ingredients needed:

-1 pound grass fed ground beef (or good quality ground chuck)

-2 tablespoons spinach, basil & toasted pine nut pesto

-kosher salt

-freshly ground black pepper

-4 quick-roasted tomatoes or slow roasted beefsteak tomatoes

-8 to 12 arugula leaves or other garden greens, washed and dried

-4 to 8 rings Simple Grilled Pinwheel Onions

-4 hamburger buns

Heat a gas grill to medium (or medium low if your grill runs very hot). Put the ground beef in a bowl and add the pesto. Gently mix together (the pesto does not have to be fully incorporated-streaks are fine!). Shape the meat into four patties no more than ¾ inch thick. Season the burgers with salt and pepper.

Use flat spatula to move the patties to the grill. (The pesto will make the burgers a tad sticky and a little bit harder to handle.) Cook for 3 to 4 minutes (you may have a few flare-ups) and carefully flip the burgers over with the spatula. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes more and transfer to a plate.

Toast the hamburger buns by putting the halves face-down on the grill grates. Cover the grill and cook for barely a minute or until nicely marked.

Assemble the burgers with the tomatoes, arugula, and onions (if using) on the toasted buns and serve right away.

Marinated Grill-Roasted Bell Peppers (Makes about 2 cups)

From Fresh from the Farm by Susie Middleton

Ingredients needed:

-1 pound red bell peppers (about 4 small)

-1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

-2 teaspoons orange juice

-¼ teaspoon freshly grated ginger (use a rasp-style grater and include any juice)

-1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced crosswise

-kosher salt

-15 to 20 small fresh basil leaves

Heat a gas grill on high. There’s no need to preheat.) Put the peppers directly on the grill grate, lower the lid, and cook, turning every 2 to 3 minutes, until the peppers are well blistered and the skin is mostly blackened, about 10 minutes. (Don’t try to get all of the skin completely blackened-there will be patches of red.) Transfer the peppers to a nonreactive bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the peppers sit for at least 15 minutes, or longer if you like (they are easiest to handle at room temperature).

Set a strainer inside of a bowl and peel and seed the peppers over it. (Remove the blackened skin, split open the peppers, and gently remove the seeds and stem with your fingers.) The bowl will collect and of the delicious juices dripping down. Do not rinse the peppers under running water-a few clinging seeds will be fine! Separate the peppers into lobes with your fingers, or cut the into long pieces.

To the bowl of juices, add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, orange juice, ginger, garlic slices, and a pinch of salt. Arrange the peppers and basil leaves in a glass or ceramic storage container (in layer if the dish is small). Pour the juice-oil-vinegar mixture over all. Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat, or use them in other recipes. They will keep this way for a week.

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