September 20, 2022


It’s time to sign up for the Storage Share! And for Next Year’s Farm Share! That one really snuck up on us!

The last share pickup of 2022 is coming — Oct 11 and 13. That last week is a “double share”, more details to come.

Surely fall has caught your eye lately. Here are a few signs of fall around here:

  • Tons of colorful beautiful veggies and new flavor combos for meals
  • Harvesting winter squash, about 20,000 lbs of it – plus pumpkins too — and most of us eating a giant pink watermelon at the end of that sweaty day
  • The cooler is often filled to the door with bins of veggies, about 40,000 lb on the biggest days, waiting for us to wash and get into people’s hands
  • The smell of rotten things – tomatoes, squashes, onions etc. Not very much, cuz it’s been dry and yields of healthy lively produce have been good. But still, something somewhere is always rotting. One of our farm crew superpowers is noses for right vs rotten crops. “Emily! Erin! come here!!” is not an uncommon call.
  • The bees are dopier — and crowding on the few remaining flowers, including lots native species of bees and wasps we only see in September on fall wildflowers.
  • Every vehicle has a pile of long sleeve shirts, worn for a few hours in the morning and then peeled off wherever we are out picking.
  • Ben sheepishly says at least once a week : “and we also need to do “xxx” today….”
  • And someone reminds Ben about forgetting to put picking some crop into the daily schedule – melons, usually, cuz it’s really not melon season anymore.
  • And oh yes, the light is softer and the sun lower. Leaves are falling. Here we go, ’round again.
Crop Forecast

We’re transitioning out of some summer crops, and more fully into fall. Aka “The Changing of the GOURD.” Sorry.

Tomatoes! We’ll have them at least two more weeks, and probably into October. That’s a special gift. Fewer heirlooms now, they’ve mostly run their course. More reds, which are ripening slower now but still looking good. There will be fewer tomatoes per share starting this week.

Peppers! More reds plus some yellows and purple/orange. One of the most gorgeous treats of fall.

Squash and Melons — We’ll probably do a choice between Spaghetti squash and Watermelon. Latest we’ve ever had watermelon!!! Cantaloupes are done though, it was also the latest we’ve ever had them. Delicata squash will be in the bag size / mix and match table.

The other squash varieties don’t quite taste good enough to give out, so we’ll continue to cure them, and put them in the share next week. 2 squash per share next week– you’ll get your choice between two Carnival and acorn. As soon as they taste good we’ll add in buttercup, butternut and ambercup. Probably 2 squash per week later too.

Pumpkins for this week and next week at least! See sign for details. Be the first on your street with a pumpkin! (Cuz we plant them a little early, same time as the squash, so we don’t have to water them in separately later). There are also some pie pumpkins this week , and blue hubbards next week. Gourds in October.

We picked a few sweet potatoes — they look great and will be cured and tasting good in in two weeks. They taste terrible without curing, even worse than uncured winter squash, so as hard as it is to wait, we will.

We’ll also add in celeriac and radishes. We’ll have them til the end. Golden Beets too, for a bit.

Leeks — we think we have plenty, but they’re smaller than usual. They were set back by the bad potting soil we got this spring.

We’re done with summer squash , zucchini and cucumbers. Sad to not eat them anymore, but the plants looked even sadder and were done giving . They gave so much, it’s been great to have so much of them!

We’ll also have : Carrots, Beets, Broccoli (less) and Cabbage (green and red), Cauliflower, Eggplant plenty, Fennel, Onions, Shallots (this week only), Celery, Hot Peppers. Plus Spinach, greens and lettuce, kale.

Garlic is for sale in the barn for $1 / head.

What’s for U-Pick?

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

Cherry tomatoes continue to be abundant. They will slow down in a week or two.

Tomatillos have a weird disease, but there are still good ones out there. Watch the boards to see if the limits change.

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 on its way out.

And still, the Flowers!! Now there’s no limit on picking, until the first fr-st.

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:

I want to begin by praising Ben, Erin, and their terrific employees.  I’m sure you all will agree that the produce has been outstanding!  Since I am frequently in the medicinal herbs garden, I have the opportunity to observe the Open Hands crew, and I can assure you they work hard; they work long days; they work with a great attitude.  It’s understandable that they get weary, but I have also observed that an unexpected ice cream treat can lift the spirits.  (Hint!)

Fall is here and winter isn’t far behind.  Did you know that you can boost your immune system naturally using locally wildcrafted or cultivated herbs?  There are also several good herbal options to help you deal with the other challenges of a Minnesota winter, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or simple muscle soreness from too much snow shoveling.  I invite you to check out the details for my next class, “Winter Health with Herbs,” scheduled for Saturday, October 1.  Of course, I’m also happy to have a conversation with you during your CSA pick-up time at the farm.

Nuts and Bolts

Sign-up emails coming soon for the November Storage Share and for 2023 shares! The Storage Share is a separate, one-time pickup the week before Thanksgiving, of a big load of fall veggies.

Local Organic Grass Fed Beef from Hanappe Ranch. These cattle live just up Hwy 3, you’ve probably seen them grazing just north of 86. Pre-order and Pickup here the week of Oct 11 and 13 (the last week of our share pickups). See the flyer attached to this newsletter’s email.

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, Gold Beets $1.25 / lb, Onions $1 lb, Lettuce $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 can be placed for this week. Next week if we have any they’ll be a la carte in the barn.

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 at the beginning of the season.  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

Spaghetti Squash with Red Pepper Cream (Winter Squash)

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

Named for its long, thin strands of noodle-like flesh, spaghetti squash is a good alternative to pasta, potatoes, or rice. Plus, it’s easy to prepare and tastes great with just a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. This creamy red pepper sauce highlights the sweetness of the squash.

1 large spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Red Pepper Cream:
2 large red bell peppers, seeded and halved
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for roasting the peppers
2 tablespoons minced garlic
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
2 cups half-and-half
¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano
4 tablespoons butter
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat an oven to 400°.
Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
Place the squash halves in a baking dish, cut side up; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cover and bake until the skin is easily pierced with a fork, 30-40 minutes.
Let cool, then remove the strands of flesh with a fork.

Preheat a broiler.
Place the bell pepper halves cut side down on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet and lightly coat them with olive oil.
Grill under the broiler until the skin is blackened and the flesh has softened slightly, about 8 minutes.
Place the peppers in a paper bag, a resealable plastic bag, or ceramic bowl covered with a plate to cool for about 45 minutes (this process will help loosen the skin).
Remove the skin from the peppers and cut the peppers into small pieces.
In a skillet, cook and stir the garlic, basil, and peppers in the olive oil over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Place the mixture in a blender and puree to the desired consistency.
Return the puree to the skillet and reheat to a boil.
Reduce the heat and stir in the half-and-half and cheese; simmer, stirring, until the cheese melts.
Add the butter and stir until melted.
Season with salt and pepper.
Simmer for a few minutes more.
Serve ladled over the spaghetti squash.

Winter Squash, Leek, and Saffron Risotto

from Asparagus to Zucchini Cookbook

5-6 cups chicken stock 
½ teaspoon saffron threads, pulverized
3 tablespoons olive oil 
½-1 cup finely chopped leeks (white and pale green sections only) 
1 ½ cups arborio rice 
2/3 cup dry white wine 
2-3 cups cooked, pureed winter squash 
¾-1 cup grated Parmesan, Romano, or Asiago cheese 
Salt and pepper

Bring stock and saffron to a simmer in saucepan.
Heat olive oil in large, heavy saucepan.
Add leeks; cook over medium-low heat until softened, several minutes.
Raise heat to medium-high and stir in rice.
Keep stirring rice 1-2 minutes, then add wine.
Stir and cook until nearly all the wine has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Add two ladleful’s hot stock (enough to barely cover the rice); stir frequently until most is absorbed.
Continue to add stock a ladleful at a time and stir very frequently until nearly absorbed.
Risotto is done when rice is barely tender and mixture is creamy; this should take 25-35 minutes. (Adjust heat if rice is absorbing liquid too quickly.)
Stir in squash during last 10 minutes.
Fold in most of the grated cheese.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve immediately, with a little more cheese on top of each serving.
Serves 6-8.