Farm Newsletter June 22, 2020

Tieing Tomatoes Before the StormFarm Newsletter June 22, 2020

Farm News        Crop Forecast

 U-Pick       Recipes       Nuts and Bolts


So great to have gentle rains!  It had gotten pretty dry here — those of you who got wet by irrigation know that personally….sorry about that!

Our soils dry quickly, which is very helpful on a vegetable farm, with so many steps to care for each crop throughout the season.  And in early June so many new seedlings just don’t have the root systems to survive those 90 degree days, or grow well through them, without an extra drink or two from the Jordan aquifer.  So we had been watering consistently for over a week until Thursday’s soaking of a couple inches.  The 90 and windy days were fantastic for killing weeds — so we cultivated hoed and hand-weeded nearly everything, and its such a pleasure to look at the weeds a couple hours later and see them withering back into the soil.  It’s been nice to have a break from irrigation though, and revisit some of the many small projects we dropped when planting,  weeding and transplanting times started to converge in late May.

Of course we keep doing all three of those things throughout July and August too — but the planting especially is at a much less furious pace, and the weeding is more spaced out as the crops mature and the weeds grow at different rates too, depending on when they were last weeded.  We’ll seed greens and lettuce every week, herbs and beans every other week, broccoli and cabbage every 1-2 weeks, summer squash and cucumbers every 2-3 weeks, and more.  We have 3 plantings of tomatoes and 4 of peppers, to spread those harvests out as long as we can into the fall.  Carrots and beets we seed every 2-3 weeks , with the winter storage carrots hopefully getting all planted this week, and the last beets in a couple weeks.

The winter squash is up and growing well, you should be able to watch its vines spread out and take over its field as you turn on or off hwy 3 — it’s on the north side of the road, with the big leaves on vines that seem to grow 6″ a day.

So far plants are healthy, and pest insects are minimal or non-existent.  Veggies love gentle rains and 80 -90 degree weather, this is a really nice stretch here. So many times after a heat wave we’ve had heavy rains , and several times damaging hail, so we were relieved that last week’s clash of weather systems was quite gentle on us.  The pic above is the crew tieing tomatoes — we pounded over 200 stakes in an hour or two, then wove the string around the plants in our typical trellising maneuver.  It’s no fun to come out to tomatoes laying on the ground and covered in dirt — it felt good to know we’d done what we could for them before the rains came. They weathered it perfectly and look great.  We’ll tie them almost weekly for the next 5-6 weeks as they get taller — tomatoes are one of the most labor intensive and well-loved veggies around!

Fun times, watching all this grow, and eating so well!  Glad you’re along for the ride with us this year.

And Thank you very, very much for your positive attitudes and detailed following of the new Covid practices here!! It’s a pleasure to serve such an understanding and kind group of people.

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Crop Forecast

Cabbage joins the lineup this week, and hopefully we’ll see an increase in broccoli heads and summer squash and zucchini.  Our cucumbers got beat up real bad by the first heavy rain back in late May, and are delayed by a week or so — hopefully there will be enough to go around by next week or the week after.  We still have plenty of Leaf and head lettuce, scallions, radishes, salad turnips, boc choi, and kale.  Garlic scapesthis week again, then we take a break on garlic variations until we harvest the whole bulbs in early July, then cure them for a couple weeks.  The first arugula and Asian salad greens were planted close to a woods edge and didn’t like it, now we’re in the second planting and we should have an abundance of them from now on.  Spinach is probably done — given how it looked we’re amazed we got as much out of it as we did.  We might be able to eke out a lil more this week, but it’s not likely.   We’ll probably pick some swiss chard to go with the kale this week.

Carrots and beets look to be about 2 weeks away.  The first tomatoes should be in mid-July.

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What’s for U-Pick?

Strawberries are looking great this week.  Make sure to come and pick your amounts!  These are short-lived harvests, June-bearing plantings that will start to taper off with smaller berries next week.

The flag system seems to be working well, and helping avoid having too many rotten berries. Especially when you’re looking for smaller strawberries – remember that the trick to picking strawberries in such crowded plants is to wave your hands around to find the berries, brushing the leaves aside to see the berries.

Cilantro and Dill are cruising along.  Basil and the other herbs are a couple weeks away.

Peas have been flowering abundantly, and the first round of pods is getting longer and might fill out by the end of this week. We’ll send out an email once they’re open.  We usually have 1-2 quarts per week per share, and sometimes more, for about 3 weeks.  These cool temps are great for keeping them happy.

(Please don’t eat the raspberries along the woods near the peas… that’s a personal patch; we found raspberries too expensive to grow for the CSA, especially once the new fruit fly came around a few years ago. Thanks for understanding.)

This spot in the newsletter will keep you informed, and always check the U-pick board when you’re here to see what’s available and picking amounts.  This year we’re also thinking we’ll send an email on Monday (of non-newsletter weeks) with a quick U-pick update, if there’s something new coming in etc.

When you’re picking if one or all of us are around, we might not be able to stop and talk, but you are always welcome here.

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Nuts and Bolts

LuAnn’s Medicinal Herbs Garden Update:
At a shareholder’s request, I’ll be holding another session to explain what is growing and ready in the medicinal herb garden, with a short demo about  making herbal remedies on Thursday, 6/25 at 5:30.  This is open to all interested, all ages, all interest levels.  Come and be amazed at what plants have to offer us, alongside all the tasty vegetables and fruits that the crew at Open Hands Farm grow and pick for us each week.
For more information about what herbal medicine is, feel free to watch this YouTube class I recorded for FiftyNorth earlier this year when I had to move the class online.  I also have four short YouTube recordings that I use in my classes that you could watch for some basics: 1. Making Tinctures  2. Making Herb Infused Oils  3. Making Ointments From the OIls,  4. Making Herb Infused Vinegar.
If you are not able to join us on Thursday, 6/25, and would like to have a similar class offered, please contact me, LuAnn Raadt, and I’ll set up another class around what fits your schedule.  I spend a fair amount of time working in the herb garden and am happy to offer classes or chat herbs with interested persons anytime!
New Compostable Bags —  Our friends next door at Spring Wind Farm trialed these bags and said they are ok overall, but do breathe more than plastic and leafy greens get wilty in them — so we don’t recommend storing your leafy greens in them — it is best to transfer greens and lettuce to a solid container once you’re home.  Tell us what you think, we’re curious how they go.  We’ll put them on the wall next to the barn door, and the plastic ones will be on the tables.  If you want to use the compostables, grab 2-3 off the wall when you come in the barn.
Masks and Recognizing New (Partial) Faces —  We certainly have mixed up names and faces before this whole mask thing, and always please feel free to tell us if we do.  Now that we can only see half your face, also feel free to remind us of your name, and we hope you don’t take it personally if we need to ask … maybe a few times!!

Push Pin Sign-In  When you come to pick up your share, please “sign in” with the push pin by your name, inside the barn door. This helps us know how many people came each day, so we can be sure to pick/have more than enough for everybody.

For split shares — instead of leaving notes on the sign in sheet, you will email or text your share partner to communicate “Who gets what this time”.

Share Pickup Hours TUESDAY and THURSDAY 1:30-6:30 pm.  Please note — later in June (and after) the barn may be unstaffed from 6-6:30 so we can start dinner and evening time as a family — we’ll try to leave it well-stocked and all set up for easy self-service, but if there is a vegetable we’ve run out of or if you have any other question, please text Erin at the number posted in the barn and we’ll be happy to come down and help.

Change Pick-Up Day Form — Click herePlease fill out this form instead of emailing us.  Thanks!  If you need to come during a different time slot on your same pickup day, that is ok, no need to email us or fill out the form. 

Where is the farm? 4151 320th Street West, Northfield.

Please Drive Carefully —Children are everywhere.

Be aware that farm trucks and tractors may be going up and down the driveway, near your cars and/or near the barn.  We all drive carefully but please pay attention to small children especially in those areas, and back up carefully.

If You Send Someone Else to Pick Up Your Share  — Please forward them the basic pickup and Covid Videos that we sent you a few weeks ago.  Then just tell them to introduce themselves to us in the barn just so we know.

We love having all of you come to the farm and hope it can be safe and fun for all! Thank you for making it such a great place to be! Thank you so much for your support!!

Your farmers,

Erin and Ben, with Allia, Alissa, Amelia, Emily, Erika, and Harper

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Baked Parmesan Summer Squash Rounds


It’s hard to believe that a recipe requiring just two simple ingredients could be so yummy. But it is…and it’s super easy to make, too! Just cut your yellow squash into slices that are no more than 1/4-inch thick (remembering that they’ll shrink in diameter and thickness as they bake), arrange them on a baking sheet, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper (I actually like to use garlic salt for extra flavor). Then use a small spoon to top each piece of squash with a mound of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese. Bake until the squash is soft and the cheese is melted and bubbly. You can even broil them for a minute or two at the end to get that cheese nice and golden brown, which is what I like to do (just watch them carefully so they don’t burn!).

Fried Cabbage with Bacon, Onion, and Garlic


6 slices of bacon, chopped

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large head cabbage, cored and sliced

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp paprika

Place the bacon in a large stockpot and cook over medium-high heat until crispy, about 10 minutes. Add the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion caramelizes; about 10 minutes. Immediately stir in the cabbage and continue to cook and stir another 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes more.


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