Farm Newsletter June 27, 2022
Wow what a sunny month it’s been!!!
Heat waves are challenging for a lot of things but are awesome for killing weeds! So in the last couple weeks we cultivated, hoed and hand-weeded nearly everything, some of it twice, and it’s such a pleasure to look at the weeds a couple hours later and see them withering back into the soil. Overall the last few weeks have been filled with planting, watering and weeding, and the harvests for your shares. The next couple months are a steady round of plant, water, weed, harvest (and fix stuff) — but the planting now 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 for 20 weeks (we’ve already planted 5) , 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.
How’s this for a strange marker of the progression of seasons — The winter storage carrots are already all planted, and starting to germinate! And the winter beets will get planted in a couple weeks.
With the heat, wind and lack of rain, we’ve been watering non stop for a few weeks now. Newly planted seedlings just don’t have the root systems to survive those 90 degree days, or grow well through them, so need to be watered right away and then a couple times more to stay perky while they set roots in their new home. So glad we had enough water to get them off to a good start. So far we have mostly gotten the crops the water they need — but it’s been close and we’re likely to need to dig a new, bigger well to help ensure good yields even in long dry spells, and also reduce some of the many hours it takes to switch valves and check sprinklers, 7 days a week.
Gotta run, the weeds are waiting and the sun is shining — it’s time to make wilty weeds while the sun shines!
The heat has challenged the plants a little but mostly has made them grow like they “should” be growing with such long hours of sun. We’re glad it’s cooler now, and still sunny! Once things start flowering and setting fruit — peppers, squashes, more tomatoes — hot temps for more than a couple days can really interfere with pollination and yields. We’re enjoying this week and hoping for mild temps going forward!
In the harvest though we’re still behind a little after the cold May and the bum batch of potting soil we got. Next week we should have some more variety, but this week will look pretty similar to last week. But hey – the scallions are bigger!!!
This week — mostly the same as last week — Leaf and head lettuce, scallions, radishes, salad turnips, boc choi, and more kohlrabi. Radishes did not do great, but we’ve had enough to make a showing at least. We should have some kale again and we’ll probably pick some swiss chard too! Garlic scapes this week, and probably next week too. If you haven’t before, you should make some Garlic Scape Pesto! It only takes a handful or a few to make a decent batch and it’s soooo flavorful. Click on that link for a couple recipes or see them below.
Also we’ll have a few summer squash and zucchini, since they’re starting to trickle in! The first taste of summer veggies.
Next week we should be able to pick cabbage , cucumbers , and more summer squash and zucchini. And hopefully some broccoli too!
Carrots and beets look to be 2-3 weeks away. The first tomatoes should be in mid-July — the earliest plants have fruit on them, and all the plantings of tomatoes look incredibly good.
What’s for U-Pick?
Strawberries have tasted awesome! Hopefully you had good picking of decent sized berries. We were hoping there would be some more medium size fruit before we got into the tiny ones. We had so many things in place for a good strawberry year — well weeded, well thinned, well fertilized, well watered last year… but we’re thinking we missed a watering or two in May as the rains ended, and we were distracted by siding the barn. And then the heat seemed to ripen them before they sized up — a few days extra of growth before ripening would have made a big difference. There was also some bug damage – the “bronzing” you may have seen. And the late variety – which is big and semi flavorful – has really gone downhill the last couple years. We didn’t plant it this year (for next year’s harvest), but instead planted more of the middle variety (Jewel) which has been working very well for us.
This week’s strawberry limit will be one quart, for a season total of 4 quarts for full shares, and 2 quarts for half shares.
This week it will take a lot more patience to pick. The dryness has kept fungus away, so fortunately they are holding on the plants a few days once ripe. Being small they don’t fill up a quart fast but they’re pretty easy to find on the plants , so hopefully you find it worthwhile. We’ll miss the berries though! Good thing we have a great organic fruit farm next door! Little Hill Berry Farm has summer strawberries starting soon, and blueberries of course too.
Peas likely next week! East of the barn and past the medicinal herb garden. Pick them with two hands – hold the plant with one hand and pull off the pea with the other. These will also do much better with cooler temps, and will be short-lived if 90s return. Peas often come in right after strawberries but the strawberries went fast, and the peas took awhile to gain momentum.
Cilantro and Dill are cruising along. Basil is a couple weeks away.
Beans should be ready in 2-3 weeks. We had some germination problems so they might be less abundant the first week or two, but we replanted plenty so there should be lots and lots by mid-late July.
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.
Nuts and Bolts
From LuAnn in the Medicinal Herb Garden:
Medicinal Herbs Garden
DID YOU KNOW? Your CSA membership covers your personal use of the medicinal herbs and occasional
educational sessions offered during CSA pickup times.
The garden is looking great in this, its fourth, growing season. It continues to evolve with 20 new plants
added this year, bringing the total to around 120 different cultivated varieties! Feel free to wander through
the garden and read about the plants growing there, keeping in mind the following guidelines:
• Please stay on the bark paths as there are seeds planted or small plants growing in what may
appear to be bare ground.
• Bring your children — it’s a great learning opportunity! But please accompany them and encourage
them to stay on the bark paths.
• You are welcome to harvest mint and lemon balm (located on the northern edge) anytime you are
at the farm.
• I actively manage the growth and health of the herbs, so please check with me if you are interested
in gathering other herbs from the garden.
If you are new to Open Hands Farm or unfamiliar with the Medicinal Herbs Garden, you can discover more at
the Cannon Valley Herbals website. Here you can find out What’s Ready to gather, Classes to learn about
herbalism, and a section on Recipes and More with tips for making a variety of herbal remedies and tasty,
healthy treats. The Products section has a partial list of herbal products that I make for sale, which I am
happy to bring to the farm during your CSA pickup time if prearranged.
You are invited to…
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE MEDICINAL PLANTS AND HOW TO USE THEM
Tuesday, June 28 at 2:00, 4:00, 6:00
Thursday, June 30 at 2:00, 4:00, 6:00
Bring a lawn chair if you wish, and meet me at the Medicinal Herbs Garden.
I look forward to chatting with you during CSA pickup times!
LuAnn Raadt, Medicinal Herbs Garden Manager
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 can email or text your share partner to communicate “Who gets what this time”.
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!
Where is the farm? 4151 320th Street West, Northfield.
Please Drive Carefully —Children are everywhere.
If You Send Someone Else to Pick Up Your Share — Please forward them the basic pickup videos that we sent you last week. 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! Thank you for making it such a great place to be!
Erin and Ben, with Allia, Alexandra, Alissa, Emily, Maddie
Garlic Scape Pesto
1/4 cup pine nuts
3/4 cup coarsely chopped garlic scapes*
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
A few generous grinds of black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
*Or use half scapes and half herbs such as basil, dill and chervil
In a small, dry pan set over very low heat, lightly toast the pine nuts, stirring or tossing occasionally until just beginning to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.
Combine the scapes, pine nuts, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse about 20 times, until fairly well combined. Pour in the olive oil slowly through the feed tube while the motor is running. When the oil is incorporated, transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the grated cheese. If you plan to freeze the pesto, wait to add the cheese until after you’ve defrosted it.
- 4 kohlrabi bulbs, peeled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Step 1Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
- Step 2Cut the kohlrabi into 1/4 inch thick slices, then cut each of the slices in half. Combine olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss kohlrabi slices in the olive oil mixture to coat. Spread kohlrabi in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Step 3Bake in the preheated oven until browned, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally in order to brown evenly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven to allow the Parmesan cheese to brown, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.