Farm Newsletter August 4, 2020


Farm Newsletter August 4, 2020

Farm News        Crop Forecast

 U-Pick       Recipes       Nuts and Bolts

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


We went away for a few days and are just getting back late Monday.  So we were just checking around to see what’s happening, and things look great overall!  Some pollination / yield woes , probably from the heat waves, but some early and most late varieties and plantings look like they have solid yields to go around.  See below for more detail. This week we’ll harvest some of the storage onions and start curing them in the greenhouse, plus some more carrots, and keep on weeding on.

The cool start to August, after hot humid stretches in July, is reminding of us of 5 or so years (somewhere in 2006-2012), which had those two features and the next step was early fr-st in September.  Not our favorite weather pattern, and we’re hoping this isn’t a repeat!! It’s so wonderful to have some of the summer veggies stretch into September and early October … so we’re glad to see some 80s coming soon in the forecast.  The fall light — arrives like cosmic clockwork in early August — is super lovely on the lush green summer growth though!

Thanks to our great crew for keeping things moving while we were gone!  They do such a great job everyday, and keep us all laughing all the way.

See you soon!

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Crop Forecast

So nice to have more tomatoes coming in.  Should be a few more each week for the next few weeks.  We expect to have pre-ordered tomato boxes next week or the week after. We may need to fill some orders a week or so later than “Scheduled,” we’ll see.  We’ll keep you posted with email updates — first update probably this Friday late afternoon– and as soon as we have enough for new orders we’ll definitely let you know.

Garlic! Hopefully you’ve been enjoying those super tasty cloves.  It’ll be in the share for five more weeks; extras are available in the barn now and all fall for $1/head.

Melons are coming! Maybe even this week.  Red watermelons first, then cantaloupes and some orange and yellow watermelons. We aim for a 4 week melon season, and they’re looking great.

Peppers too!  Green bells and biscaynes (pointy green, not hot) for a week or three, then reds start rolling in.  Can’t wait.  Pollination and fruit set is a little low in the peppers, they have a hard time pollinating when it’s as hot as it was, but we grow several varieties and several plantings, so they are mostly at different stages of growth during a heat wave, which helps ensure a bountiful harvest well into the fall.

We’ll have a break in kale and swiss chard for a week or two here.  If we sprayed for beetles we could avoid this kale gap, but we have had such great benefit from predatory insects we don’t like setting any of them back with any pesticides; we have never applied any insecticides and we plan to keep it that way.  So we wait for kale to grow back after the beetles subside;  the chard is just in between plantings and will be back soon too.

Seems like we have good amounts of summer squash, zucchini and cucumbers, baby leeks , leaf lettuce and greens both look good.  The greens have been struggling this summer, partially with heat, partially with a weedy spot in the field, but they look good going forward.  These will be more tender and less spicy than the last few weeks, so if you didn’t like them give them a try again :))  Broccoli … managed to get sick even in dry weather….we’re trying to keep it going but we may gap.  More eggplant coming this week — a few globe eggplant too.  Plus green and red cabbage, Fennel, Beets, Carrots, sweet onions.  

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What’s for U-Pick?

Basil, Cilantro and Dill — keep on picking, they’re there for you!

Other Herbs Opening This Week –Parsley (flat and curly), thyme, oregano, anise hyssop, and nasturtium flowers.

Green Beans , let us know if they’re keeping up with you. Feel free to try several different rows, or jump ahead in a row,  if you’re not finding any nice beans … and adjust the flags accordingly. As the summer gets busier we don’t get out there to double check that the red flags are placed well.

Flowers !  

Oh, Cherry tomatoes … are a little scrawny on the gravelly ridge so the first pickings will be light…hopefully in 2-3 weeks they’ll be more abundant. This year may never see a super abundant amount though, sadly.

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

And Tomatillos — We will be setting limits of cherry tomatoes with tomatillos until amounts of both go up. It will be either/or for a while.  Pick tomatillos when they fill the husk — salsa verde is super easy with just a handful of them!

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Nuts and Bolts

Upick Time Slots are over — Come U-pick any time , daylight hours, 7 days a week! Please stick with your barn/ regular share pickup time slot — you can now U-pick during that time too, or come back another day, during your old U-pick slot or whenever. 

Please do try to stick with your Barn / Regular Share Pickup Time on Tuesdays and Thursdays — it helps keep the line short or non-existent by spreading people out, given the 5 person limit in the barn.  Thanks! It’s ok if you can’t make it at your time slot every week, but do try, it does help.

Bulk Produce for You —

Check here each newsletter for what we have available for extra purchase.

You might know that while a lot of the produce we grow goes to you, some of what we grow is sold to wholesale accounts.  Once we get going, we deliver 2-3 times a week to Just Food Co-op, St. Olaf College, Carleton College;  a little to the Northfield Public Schools and a lot to the Minneapolis Public Schools.  Plus a handful of other places — moderate amounts to distributors who sell to schools, restaurants and stores, a soup maker and a kim chi maker.  Mostly for cantaloupe, fall kale and cabbage, carrots beets and other roots all winter. We don’t do it much in the summer, but really get rocking with bigger harvests in mid-August.

We like to offer you the same produce beyond what you get in your share, at or very near our wholesale prices, to use for parties, special events, serving guests, or just filling your family’s bellies each week.

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, Cucumbers, Summer Squash, for $1 / lb, Sweet Onions for $1.50 / lb.


From LuAnn in the You-Pick Medicinal Herbs Garden:

Several people have asked how to make salves with the herbal oils they made this summer.  I’m going to demonstrate the easy process of making an herbal salve using beeswax at 5 p.m. on both Tuesday (8/4) and Thursday (8/6).  Afterward, I will meet at the medicinal herbs garden with anyone interested in learning about the basics of herbal remedies and plants in the garden that are ready to gather now.  I look forward to seeing you.

Share Pickup Hours TUESDAY and THURSDAY 1:30-6:30 pm.

Change Pick-Up Day Form — Click here.  Please 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.

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.  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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Carrot Ginger Soup 

from Gayle, a friend of Open Hands Farm

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion – coarsely chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 lbs of carrots – washed and cut into large chunks 
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup fresh ginger – peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups (or more) of veggie stock 
  • 1 or 2 cups of dry white wine (you are concentrating the flavors here so don’t use a wine you would not drink – if wine is not something you use then just a dash of vinegar or more lemon will round out the flavors)
  • 1 lemon – juiced
  • curry powder to taste (I use about 2 teaspoons of Penzeys “Hot Curry Powder”. They have a “Sweet” one if you are not so much liking the hot)
  • salt to taste – depending on the stock you use.

1. Sweat the onion in a soup pot until soft. Don’t brown or the soup looks dirty. If you add salt to the onion as it cooks it will not brown as quickly.
2. Add the carrots and ginger and cook for about 10 to 15 min until they start to get soft.
3. Add stock (covering the veggies and giving them a bit of room to move about.)
4. Simmer until carrots are fork tender (fall apart when poked.)
5. Add wine (if using.)
6. Use a submersion hand blender until smooth.
7. Add lemon.
8. Add curry to taste.

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