Farm Newsletter August 20, 2019

Farm Newsletter August 20, 2019

Farm News        Crop Forecast

U-Pick       Recipes       Nuts and Bolts



Change Pick-Up Day Form — Click here.  Please use this to notify us of changes in your pick-up schedule.  Thanks!

Bulk Produce Now Available! See Nuts and Bolts for more info. 


Harvest time is picking up, despite the September weather.  Cantaloupe is the crop that has been slowed down the farthest by the cool June and cool August — this time last year we were almost done picking this planting, and they’ve just barely begun ripening now.   Tomatoes are coming in slow too.  But things are staying alive, and not cracking beyond acceptable little cracks.  Often with big rains fruiting crops will burst right open , but while these rains have been frequent and strong, right on us we’ve been getting just .5- 1 inch at a time, instead of 2-3″ like earlier in the year, or other parts of the state last week.

We picked all the yellow onions (which matured a full 3 weeks later than 2018) , and a few shallots to mix in, and also a new cabbage planting.  It is so heartwarming to see such big healthy cabbage plants, after several years of various diseases runting and rotting them.  Please wave and admire the cabbage patch as you turn onto 320th St from Hwy 3!


Watermelon bins came in steadily the last couple weeks, and hopefully now we’ll add in bins of cantaloupe.  The first red watermelons are mostly done, but there are some orange and yellows left, and soon the bigger pink watermelons will be ready.  We’re getting into our bigger plantings of carrots and beets, and peppers and soon cantaloupes, for wholesale.  With schools starting soon, we start picking and packing pallets of veggies to deliver to the colleges in town, the Minneapolis Public Schools, The U of MN, and The Good Acre, a small non-profit distributor serving more smaller school districts than we can deliver to — including their budding relationship with Northfiled ISD 659.

Summer has flown by… with the temps it feels like it’s May and we should still be planting more!!    But it’s the other side of the cycle.  The lush,abundant side, the Earth giving so so much to feed all of us.  This week is actually our last planting of the year (except garlic in October) — the last of 20 seedings of  lettuce and salad greens.  Spinach is up and growing for September, the late kale is almost ready.  Even winter squash harvest is on the horizon.  Here we go … we pick and pick and keep on picking!!

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Crop Forecast

Canteloupe and Watermelon!!! Canteloupes should be picking up steam, while the watermelons keep rolling in. We aim to give out 5 to 7 melons per full share over the course of 4-5 weeks. Last week, we had an abundant harvest for Tuesday, so everyone got 2 melons, but Thursday had a smaller harvest due to the rain, so they only got 1 melon. We plan to switch that up next week (assuming the cantloupes ripen) with 2 melons on next Thursday — for split share people who come every other week and haven’t had 2 melons yet. This week, 1 per share.

Tomatoes!!  We will have a lot again this week.  Boxes of seconds are still for sale for $20 for this week and next week, and maybe continuing after that. We will keep you posted. There will likely be boxes of seconds at the share this week for buying on the spot, if you haven’t had a chance to order ahead.

Onions–Check out the greenhouse and oogle at all the beautiful storage onions that were harvested last week! It is a super bountiful crop this year. We do have a little mystery going on in there though, so please keep refrigerating your onions for the next few weeks. We normally tell you that when the storage onions come in, you can start leaving them in a ventilated place in your house and they should store for months. But as we were harvesting, we noticed some unusually large onions with super floppy tops mixed in with the regular storage onions. We originally thought that there was an accidental flat of sweet onions that got mixed in, but after tasting one we aren’t so sure because it tasted like a storage onion. Our onion flats get started at a different farm, so we can take a spring break trip, so it is likely that a seed packet got mixed up there—but that leaves us with no idea what we got. We don’t recognize the shape, color or flavor of the mystery variety.  Anyway, the best route that we see is to eat it like a storage onion but store it like a sweet onion. Clear as mud, right?!

Garlic–We have a good crop this year, with mixed sizes but healthy and mostly big cloves.  We give out 1 head of garlic per week for 6 weeks, starting last week. If you would like more than that, they are $1 per head. For split shares, that means that you get 3 heads total. We don’t mind which weeks you take your heads, just keep track so you know when you have taken 3 heads.

Summer squash and zucchini, cucumbers, peppers,broccoli, eggplant, carrots, beets, cabbage and/or napa cabbage, celery are all looking good. There might be intermittent gaps in broccoli and eggplant. The peppers should start turning red soon!

Kale, chard, and lettuce are all on summer vacation for a few weeks.  The kale does not like August, but we still have a few small plants out there, that we have opened up for u-pick, so you are welcome to grab some, if you would like. We have a fabulous looking Fall Kale planting that we will begin picking in the next few weeks, so kale will be abundant again soon. This fall kale planting is always so delicious—-tender yummy leaves kissed with cool fall temperatures–it can’t be beat! The chard was slowing down and looking stressed, so we decided to weed whack it all down to see if the new growth would come back strong. We will keep you updated on that. As you may have seen in your fridge, the lettuce mix has been diseased for some time. We decided we needed to mow all the mature lettuce to try to break the cycle of disease, so we can hopefully have a good harvest into the fall. So, that means that we also need to take a break on the lettuce until the next planting comes in. We will still have arugula and other greens, but the limit will likely be small because we didn’t plant enough to fill this unforeseen gap. Sorry to have such a shortage on leafy green things all at once, but at least it is the height of summer, so there are plenty of other things to be excited about!

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What’s for U-Pick?

We Still Need U-Pick Containers!!!  If you have any hanging around, please bring them in.

Cheery Tomatoes! — Are unlimited now. Hopefully this drier weather this week will help with the problem of them cracking. They crack so easily when it rains so much.

Beans — are finally unlimited! All rows should have beans now. The first planting is even putting out beans again.

Basil–It’s Pesto Time!!!  Get it while you can! The basil disease has started again with this cool weather, so it is only a matter of time until it is gone…

All Herbs are Unlimited, and looking beautiful.  For info about the You-Pick Medicinal Herb Garden, see below.

Flowers! — Wow!! The more you pick the more flowers they make.  They look happy.

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

Please bring your own scissors for herbs and flowers.  Many shareholders just leave a pair in their car so they always have them.  If you happen to forget, we have a few “kid” scissors that we are happy to lend out.   

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Nuts and Bolts

New Medicinal Herbal Garden —

When you’ve come to pick beans recently, you perhaps noticed a green canopy and wondered what it was all about.  The medicinal herb garden plot is a new addition to our farm, and local herbalist LuAnn Raadt has set up an informational “campsite” there during CSA pick up times.

Many of you have stopped to chat with LuAnn about medicinal herbs and to learn about the you-pick garden, but some of you may have been confused by the sign in the garden that suggests a donation for gathering herbs.  There is no expectation of a donation from CSA members – your CSA share includes gathering in the medicinal herb garden.

Feel free to help yourself to the mint, lemon balm, chamomile, or anise hyssop anytime.  If you are interested in gathering any of the other herbs, please contact LuAnn in advance (phone or text 612-987-3960).  While most of the medicinal herbs are very safe, some require special precaution to avoid any ill effects.  Also, this is the first year of the garden and several of the plants need extra care and time to become established, so it’s important to be somewhat restrictive in the gathering.

LuAnn will be back at the medicinal herb garden again this week during both CSA pick up times.  If you make your own herbal preparations, bring along your supplies, check in with LuAnn, and gather what you need.  If you are a newcomer to making herbal remedies, LuAnn will be happy to show you how to make your own tincture or oil (bring a small jar, either ¼ pint or ½ pint size).  For instance, calendula makes a nice oil for skin care, and a tincture or vinegar of spilanthes is a favorite herb for winter health.  Check out her website here to see what plants are currently available.

Remember your reusable bags and also to sign in when you pick up your share. 

Share Pickup Hours Tuesday and Thursday 1:30 – 6:30pm. You can U-Pick any time (when U-pick crops are in season.)

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.

This week’s selection is : Carrots, Beets, Onions for $1 / lb. Cabbage for $60 cents/lb, Green Peppers for $2/lb.  Garlic for $1/ head.  Cantaloupes next week for 75 cents/lb.  Tomato seconds boxes, 12 lb for $20, or b the pound for $2 / lb.

Change Pick-Up Day Form — Click here.

Please Drive Carefully —Children are everywhere.

On the note of children, please know where yours are at all times.

Thank you for making this such a great place to be! Thank you so much for your support!!

Your farmers,

Erin and Ben, with Allia, Alissa, Amelia, Danny, Ed, Emily and Sahara


Creamy Celery Soup

Creamed soups are great comfort food, and they make a perfect course for whetting your appetite. For extra richness, substitute heavy cream for the milk. For a nice presentation and great texture, serve with homemade garlic croutons.
Angelic Organics Kitchen (adapted from Joy of Cooking).

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped celery with leaves (about 3 ribs)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced leek (about 1 small-medium leek, white and green parts)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth (optional)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • chopped fresh parsley

1. Melt the butter in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the celery, leek, and garlic; sauté for 2 minutes. Add the stock and vermouth; simmer until the celery is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Place a mesh strainer over a large bowl or pan. Strain the soup through the strainer. Return the soup to the pan and bring to a boil. Add the milk and reduce the heat so the mixture barely simmers; simmer for 5 minutes. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley.
Serves 2 to 4.

Summer’s Bounty Enchilada Casserole (Bell Pepper)

From Fair Share Coalition’s Farm-Fresh and Fast cookbook

1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 jalepeño, seeded and finely diced
1 banana pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 medium tomato, diced
2 cups enchilada sauce, divided
½ cup minced fresh cilantro
2/3 cup crumbled feta
Salt and ground pepper black pepper to taste
18 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack
Sour cream and salsa

Preheat an oven to 450°. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, and banana pepper and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes more. Stir in the black beans, rice, and tomato and cook until warm.

Transfer the pepper-zucchini mixture to a large mixing bowl. Mix in ½ cup of the enchilada sauce, the cilantro, and the feta. Season with salt and pepper.

To make the casserole, spread ½ cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Lay 6 tortillas over the sauce and trim to fit as needed (you may have to cut some of them in half, depending on the shape of your dish). Spread half of the filling over the tortillas. Repeat with another layer of 6 tortillas and rest of the filling. Add one more layer of tortillas on top. Spread the remaining cup of enchilada sauce over the casserole. Sprinkle the cheese on top.

Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese begins to brown. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with sour cream and salsa. Serves 8-10.

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