October 4, 2022

Final Share Pickups of 2022

The final Farm Share pickups are October 11 and 13. Join us again next year with a farm share! The link for signing up is in the email you received with this newsletter.

Sign up for the Storage Share (pre-set or custom order or both). The dates are Thursday and Friday, November 17-18 (the week before Thanksgiving). The link for signing up is in the email you received with this newsletter.

Winter Store dates and info are below.


Wow, it’s nearing the end of the growing season! Fortunately we have lots of storage veggies to get us through the winter, but after another luxurious warm September, it’s a surprise being on the verge of saying goodbye to freshly harvested greens or tomatoes. We’ll probably have all that for these share pickups, but there sure are some cold nights in the forecast.

The frost last Wednesday morning was thick and white, and beautiful, like winter. After a moment of enjoying it, Ben had a little adrenalin rush, thinking “we have to get everything in!” But the forecast had all these nice 70 degree days in it, so things are still growing and it’s not quite time to do the final big harvests (carrots, beets, parsnips, cabbage and more). Very very soon though!

There’s over 6 acres of crops left in the field, mostly underground, and on a 18 acre vegetable farm that’s a lot to have left as the weather changes! We’ll get it in, we have an awesome crew and good equipment. Next week we might be picking storage crops during share pickup hours — so the barn area might have yet another layer of commotion as we unload bins of veggies from wagons and forklift them into their winter sleeping spots.

We irrigated peppers and covered tomatoes to keep them alive through that cold night. Our old mercury thermometer -which could be wrong – said it was 26 degrees at sunrise! We’ve tried covering basil before but it’s so sensitive it’s never been worth it. But some leaves did survive at the bottom of those basil plants, and are still out there for picking!!

Running sprinklers for frost protection is a trick we learned for protecting strawberry blossoms from frost in the spring. It’s commonly done by strawberry growers in northern climates to avoid crop losses, but we only know a couple people who do it for other crops. It’s worked great on peppers, to help us harvest and increase yields through these late warm spells after one or two cold nights. In the morning the plants are covered in a thick layer of ice, but by noon or 2 pm they’re back to normal.

Here’s a brief explanation of how sprinkling a crop during frost helps keep it alive: As the temperature drops and ice forms on the plant, heat is released by the physical “change of state”. The heat being removed from the water molecules has to go somewhere for them to freeze, and it gets trapped under the layer of ice, forming a very thin microclimate over the surface of the leaves, flowers, fruit, etc that the farmer is trying to protect.

At some point, the cold wins anyway, but we’ll try again this week, to prolong the pepper harvest. It is crazy that coating something in ice will keep it from freezing, but it works. Science is cool!

We’ve had a great year together with a great farm crew. Some are finishing their 3rd, 4th and 5th years with us! That’s pretty uncommon on small veggie farms and we are very fortunate to have them all. As we come and go around the barn, most or all of us are probably looking familiar by now. They enjoy being here and feeding you, and we want them all to stay for a long time!

Thanks everyone for another great year!

Storage Share 2022

Sign up this week or next week please!  It’s easy!  We can take sign-ups later but it’s much easier if we know now so we can plan and prepare ahead.

The storage share is separate from the regular season share, a one-time pickup the Thursday and Friday before Thanksgiving — Nov. 17th from 10am to 6pm and the 18th from 9am-noon. With the google form, you can request the “original” or “pre-set” storage share, and/or pre-order just what you want from the wide selection of fall veggies we grow.  Prices are by the pound or by the piece.

Since it is a busy harvest time Erin might not get right back to you with storage share questions, but she will as soon as she can.

Next week is the last week of the CSA! 

You can still come U-pick after next week — we will be opening up kale, and herbs will still be available. Spinach and lettuce will probably be open for U-pick in a couple weeks, we’ll send out an email then.

Crop Forecast

Fall veggies — sweet, hearty and warm.  Add in some greens, spinach or kale — Zoom!!!  Propel you through the grey months!!!

But very occasionally we have tomatoes for the last week of the share, and it’s looking like we will. Definitely this week. Peppers and Eggplants too!

For Winter Squash, a delicious bonanza of carnival, acorn, starry night (acorn but better), butternut and buttercup. Ambercup isn’t quite ready yet and will be available next week. 2 per share this week and probably double that next week.

Leeks!  Mild and elegant onion flavor.   Leeks are great in lots of dishes, but our favorite is in quiche.

Spinach, lettuce, greens and kale – all look great!

Sweet Potatoes!  Are incredibly good right now. When we trial-roasted some this weekend, we stuffed them in our mouths as soon as they were cool enough. They have so little dirt on them this year — drought has its perks — we are going to leave them all “dirty”. A quick rinse and they’ll be good to go. That will save us several hours of washing , and they’ll keep a little better in your house.

Sweet potatoes can be frozen after being roasted or boiled, but are usually better fresh.  And warm out of the oven. OR you can try to beat one longtime shareholder’s feat — she found one in her pantry this September , from last fall’s harvest, and ate it for a delicious dinner a couple weeks ago. That’s amazing!!! We don’t have a good long term place for sweet potatoes — maybe we should grow a few thousand more pounds and store them in her pantry.

Celeriac — so good! Is a secret ingredient for great depth to soups or mashed potatoes. To peel and cut — cut in half, and with a flat side down and a good medium-large knife, slice/peel off the green outer layer. Then dice the grey-white flesh into medium-small chunks. You can put a partial or half celeriac back in the fridge, it will keep for weeks longer til you’re ready to use it again. Just cut off any outer layer that dries out or discolors too much.

Brussels sprouts and Parsnips — Next week! Broccoli and Cauliflower are done for the season.

Pumpkins or Gourds — this week.

Plus beets, carrots, onions, celeriac, celery, parsnips, watermelon radishes and purple and pink daikon radishes. Lovely fall food!!!!  All these will keep for weeks in the fridge.  The radishes are super sliced on a platter or salad or in a sandwich, or grated too.  The daikons are more mild flavored this year than the “watermelons”. The colors really shine when they’re sliced.  They shine almost as much as this sun, but not quite!

What’s for U-Pick?

Parsley, Oregano, Thyme, Sage, lemongrass (ask Erin if you are interested)

Cilantro – this planting got swallowed by weeds, but there is still cilantro in there. It’s just east of the strawberry beds that are near the basil.

Cherry tomatoes mostly didn’t survive the frost, along with tomatillos, ground cherries, and most of the flowers, but you might still find some of all those out there in good enough shape. It was great that some of you found some good beans even after the frost, that was impressive — they were picked clean! So we tilled them in to get a winter cover crop planted there. And the amount of basil that left on Monday before the frost was awesome too!

Kale and Herbs will all be open for at least a few weeks.  Kale is up by the cherry tomatoes, along with some new cilantro. We will be roping off some areas that we are still picking. We’ll try to keep these open until the ground nearly freezes, we’ll see. Lettuce and spinach we will try to open in a few weeks.

From LuAnn at the Medicinal Herbs Garden

It’s been great chatting with so many of you this past CSA season and having the honor of helping you choose some wonderful healing herbs from the garden for making some teas and other remedies.  Feel free to contact me (luannraadt@gmail.com) in the coming cooler, snowier months with any questions.  I plan to have some of my favorite herbal remedies and concoctions available for purchase next week during CSA pick-up times.  I love chatting herbs.  So even if you don’t need anything, please stop by with any questions or tips.

Nuts and Bolts

Sign Up for Storage Share and CSA 2023!! For links to the sign-up forms — See the email this newsletter came in, or the emails we sent last week.

Emily’s CORN!! The COLORS are AMAZING !!! All organically grown in her garden on the south side of 320th St.  It’s perfect to decorate with, and then once fully dried, you can shell the kernels and grind them up for flour or for corn meal! This year she has: Bunches for $5 and Teeny Tiny Ears 2 for $1. She accepts cash and Venmo (her own Venmo account will be listed at the table). 

Get Bentz LAMB!! Order online and pickup here or at Get Bentz Farm. Get Bentz Farm is happy to offer grass-fed, and vegetable fed lamb to Open Hands Farm shareholders this fall. Get Bentz Farm is located just outside of Northfield on 40 acres overlooking the Cannon River Valley, where they raise a small flock of Icelandic sheep. Icelandic lamb is known for its mild, sweet flavor. Being 100% grass-fed and finished, the meat is very lean and high in nutrients. .The sheep are also lucky enough to eat all the vegetables that are not appropriate for human consumption from Open Hands farm, throughout the year, which adds to their amazing flavor. The sheep, using sheep magic, turn the veggies into delicious meat and beautiful wool which is milled at the farm’s woolen mill and turned into a variety of products. To learn more about the farm, sheep, and order lamb check out their website http://www.getbentzfarm.com To purchase lamb meat simply select the cuts you want and select “pickup” as the option. Theresa (the shepherd) will reach out to ensure your lamb meat is waiting for you in a cooler on your share pick up day, or you could come to the farm to pick it up and meet the sheep. If you are interested in woolen products or some amazing warm wool-filled bedding, make sure to check out those products as well.

Winter Store

Second Thursdays — Dates are December 8, January 12, and February 9. Same as last year, we’ll have a google form to order veggies and we’ll bag it for you. This is open to anyone, so please tell your friends!  In December we have roots plus kale, cabbage, and maybe just maybe squash and/or sweet potatoes.  January and February probably just roots.   We send out reminders the week before.

Bulk Produce for You

This week’s selection is : Winter Squash for $1/ lb.  Carrots, Beets, $1.25 / lb. Cabbage for 75 cents /lb. Red peppers, parsnips, celeriac, radishes $2/lb, Spinach and lettuce $5/lb, Tomatoes $2/lb.  Garlic $1 / head. ALSO Tomato 10 lb boxes still!! 10 lb for $22. Order by email or ask in the barn.

Share Pickup Hours

TUESDAY and THURSDAY 1:30-6:30 pm.

Please Drive Carefully —Children are everywhere.
On the note of children, please know where yours are at all times.

Thank you for making this such a great place to be! Thank you so much for your support!!

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

Mashed Potatoes and Celeriac

From http://www.marthastewart.com

1 pound potatoes, peeled and sliced 1 1/2 inches thick
1 pound celeriac, peeled and sliced 1 1/2 inches thick
Coarse salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper

Place potatoes and celeriac in a medium saucepan, and fill with enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches.
Bring to a boil over high heat; add salt generously.
Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until vegetables are tender when pierced with a paring knife, 20 to 25 minutes.
Drain in a colander.
Pass potatoes and celeriac through a ricer or food mill into a serving bowl.
Add sour cream and butter, and stir until combined.
Stir in nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately.

Sweet Curry Winter Squash Fritters

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

These fritters are excellent party snacks. Serve with Greek-style yogurt or raita to balance the heat if you’ve used a healthy dose of cayenne. They are also delicious with homemade pickles and chutneys. They freeze well and can bee reheated in a toaster oven.

1 small winter squash (any variety)
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 egg, beaten
1 medium yellow onion, minced
6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 Tablespoons cornmeal
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon paprika (or even more to taste)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Vegetable oil for frying

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
Slice the squash lengthwise into halves and place cut side down in a roasting pan.
Fill the pan with about ¼ inch of water, cover with aluminum foil, and roast for 30-60 minutes.
Halfway through the roasting time, remove the foil, turn the squash cut side up, and drizzle with olive oil.
Roast until the flesh is completely tender and soft.
Scrape the squash flesh into a bowl and let it cool (you should have about 1 cup of cooked squash).
Mix the egg into the squash and add the onion.
In another bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and seasonings (flour through pepper) and mix well.
Adjust the seasonings until the dry mix smells the way you’d like it to taste, or a little more intense.
Mix the dry ingredients into the squash mixture and stir until everything is well incorporated.
Cover the bottom of a wok or cast-iron skillet with about ½ inch of vegetable oil and heat over medium heat.
Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of the squash mixture into the oil and fry for 1-2 minutes.
Flip the fritters after they turn golden brown around the edges, then remove after about 1 minute more.
Place them on a cooling rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain.
Add more oil to the pan as needed, allowing the oil to come up to temperature before adding more squash mixture.
Serves 4-6.