September 6, 2022


September!!! We hope yours is going cool and clear, like all these blue skies!

It feels like a long time ago now, but we did get nice, big rain two weekends ago. A third of an inch sprinkle that Friday night, and 2.5 inches Saturday night. Some of it was hard but not for long enough to cause trouble, and nearly all of it just soaked right in to the dry thirsty ground. It’s great to have some water deep in the root zones of the crops, and to have some time freed up from irrigation so we can keep harvesting!

Harvesting, and washing, is nearly all we’re doing at this point. We keep looking for an hour or four to mow — for a few weeks now — but can’t find it. So we keep loading up the trucks and bins with a glorious abundance of dirty veggies, and share tables and pallets with clean ones!

Here we are in the colorful and tasty overlap of summer and fall vegetables!

Eat, cook and be merry!!

Crop Forecast

What a delicious melon year! Dry weather really helps them concentrate their sugars and flavors, and even the 2.8 inches of rain didn’t set the flavor back much. We should have cantaloupes this week, but with this week’s cooler weather the cantaloupe flavor probably won’t be the same. We should also still have watermelons of various colors, and soon we’ll pick some crimson sweets — the large, pink fleshed watermelons that do so well in this early fall weather. We expect some combination of melons this week and next week and that’s it –it is the latest we’ve ever had them, which is kind of fun. The plants were very delayed in the spring by several things, but the dry sunny weather, and some careful fertilizing, has helped keep them healthy and growing this late.

Tomatoes and peppers!!! So many beautiful heirloom tomatoes, which would usually burst wide open in 2.8″ of rain, but have resisted cracking incredibly well. Their pinks, yellows , purples, and stripes and all their minute flavor differences are so fun to see and eat. This is the best heirloom tomato harvest we’ve had in several years.

Spinach is off to a very, very good start. Also one of the best spinach harvests in recent memory. We’ll have a bag this week again and then probably less after that, but it looks healthy and like we’ll have some all fall. Whenever the temps dip to freezing — hopefully in October, for tomato and pepper sakes! — spinach flavor becomes milder, sweeter, and can be so so sweet after a couple hard fr-sts that it belongs on the candy shelf.

By next week we might have Delicata squash to add in — the easiest to roast, since the skin is tender and “delicate” enough to eat with the flesh, so it doesn’t need to be peeled like the hard-skinned squashes. There’s several options to easily list, plus others — slice into rounds , remove seeds and roast, grill or pan fry. Slice lengthwise , remove seeds and roast upside down. Or slice lengthwise, remove seeds and dice – and roast, grill, or fry. It’s an easy squash to use, many people’s favorite flavor, and we have more of it than ever this year.

Spaghetti squash probably next week, to go with all these tomatoes. Other winter squashes are still ripening and should start in 2-3 weeks — carnival, acorn, buttercup, butternut and ambercup.

Cauliflower starts this week!! Yippee! And shallots — for shallots we probably have 2-3 weeks’ worth.

We’ll also have : Carrots, Beets, Broccoli and Cabbage (green and red), Eggplant, Fennel, Onions, Celery, Hot Peppers. Plus Spinach, greens and lettuce, kale and swiss chard. Cucumber, summer squash and zucchini are slowing down rapidly , which is normal, so they will probably be limited from now on. What a good year it’s been for them!

Garlic update — Garlic won’t be in the share starting this week; just for sale on the spot in the barn. We have always done 6 weeks of garlic in the share, but this year have to limit it to 4 weeks. We had a new pest in our garlic crop — bulb mites infested it last year, which chew on and leave brown spots on the cloves — and only 50% sprouted this spring. (We save enough cloves every year to replant every October, mulch it to protect it from winter, then it sprouts in the spring and is harvested in July.) With half as much garlic to work with: we aren’t wholesaling any, we’re saving about 2/3 as much seed as usual, and we’re limiting the share to 4 weeks. It is for sale in the barn during share pickups, but we might not have enough to meet everyone’s requests , ie we might run out sooner than usual. We love having a super abundance of garlic around, so it’s a bummer to be short. Thanks for your patience as we rebuild our stock for a couple years! The best news is that we sent this year’s bulbs to the plant pathology lab at the U to test for mites and diseases that would make it unsuitable for planting — and fortunately it had none of those. So while we’ve lost money on it this year, we get to save the five thousand dollars it would cost to buy new seed, and we get to keep this variety with is fantastic flavor, clove size, and durability. Phew!

What’s for U-Pick?

Please BRING UPICK CONTAINERS!!! We are almost out.

Cherry tomatoes are super abundant right now!! Please walk as far as you can into the planting! They will slow down in a week or two.

Tomatillos are still looking good and hopefully continue to size up so we can raise the limit.

Herbs: Cilantro, Basil (plus Thai and Lemon Basil), Dill, and MORE :

Sage, Parsley, Thyme, Oregano, Cutting Celery, Nasturtiums and Anise Hyssop!! can all be found in a bed next to the herbs, just look for the white signs and the wide variety of plants.

The dry weather has been perfect for keeping basil diseases away, and making those plants last and last.

Beans!! So many! Edamame is in too!

And still, the Flowers!! Now there’s no limit on picking, thru September and a few into October.

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. 

Notes from Luann with the Medicinal Herb Garden:

Wow, the summer has flown by!  There are still many herbs, traditionally used to support or restore health, ready for gathering in the medicinal herbs garden.  Check out the What’s Ready section on my website for an updated list and contact me for more information as needed.  I love chatting about herbs!  You can contact me through my website or text at 612-987-3960.

A herbal tip for those of you suffering with seasonal allergies – goldenrod tea!  It is currently my tea-of-choice, with it blooming so splendidly all around us.  Just roughly chop the flowering tops, put a good amount in your tea strainer or measuring cup, pour over just boiled water, cover, steep for 5 minutes or a bit less, strain, enjoy.  You will be sipping on a lovely tea that contains 7x the antioxidants of green tea!   And it’s free!!  And growing all around us!!!  Just sayin…

Join me on Tuesday afternoon or Saturday morning to craft your own quart of fire cider, a tasty tonic to support health as well as put a little zing into your salads!  You’ll also taste and find out how to make a tasty chutney sure to improve the taste of your Thanksgiving turkey!  Check out my Classes page for more details about that class as well as others. 

If you prefer to just make fire cider at home, check out my recipe and tips in the Recipes section.

This month’s plant (meet at the garden) is happening next Tuesday, 9/13 at 6:00.  No need to register and there’s no charge.  Kids are very welcome and encouraged  to join us (with an adult).  

Nuts and Bolts

Bulk Produce for YouCheck here each newsletter for what we have available for extra purchase. To place a bulk order, simply 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, Red Beets, Cucumbers, Summer Squash, Zucchini for $1.25 / lb, Onions for $1 lb, Lettuce for $5/ lb. Peppers Green Bell $1.50 /lb, Red Peppers $2/lb, Hot Peppers $3/lb, Spinach for $4 / lb, Tomatoes $2/lb, Green Cabbage $0.75c/lb.

TOMATO BOX PREORDERS are available for pickup starting this week. You can still order via the form in the tomato email. Sometimes we have extra boxes available during share pickups, we try to but it’s hit or miss.

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 — 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!

Your farmers,
Erin and Ben, with Allia, Alexandra, Alissa, Emily, Maddie and Timur

Pear and Spinach Salad with Caramelized Onions and Blue Cheese

by Jaymi Heimbuch

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 cups baby spinach leaves
1-2 pears, cored and thinly sliced (Bartlett and Bosc are both great options)
1 ounce blue cheese, crumbled
A pinch salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet heat the olive oil until it just begins to shimmer.
Add onions and cook over a low heat stirring often until onions take on a deep golden color and begin to caramelize, which could take 20 minutes or so.
Remove from pan and set aside.
Once you have washed the spinach, just leave the water on it and add it to the skillet. Cook until just wilted which only takes a couple of minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste and a bit more olive oil if it seems too dry.
Plate the spinach and top with sliced pears, onions and cheese.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 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 jalapeño, 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 degrees F.
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.