Thursday, July 2, 2015

CSA Week #3

Week #3 boxes have been delivery to full share and A-week half share members. It was a very green box! Green cabbage, green peas, green garlic scapes, green onions. 


 With a dash of color in the baby beet bunches. Try Braised Baby Beets



In the Box: Bunch of baby beets with greens, green cabbage, pint snap peas, Golden Swiss chard, quart snow peas, bunch celery, green onions, bunch thyme, big bunch garlic scapes.



Fresh celery harvested, washed and bunched for boxes and farm share members.


First crop of cabbage looking great!


Snow peas are in abundance!


Garlic scapes will be around for another week - such a delight!


 Have a great Fourth of July!

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Seasonal Menu :: Grilled Baby Beets with Scallions and Lemon Herb Butter

It's grilling season, don't forget to let your vegetables shine during this time of year as well!
Top Ten Veggies for the Grill: asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, corn, eggplant, onions, peppers, root veggies, summer squash, tomatoes.


Serves 4

•12 baby beets, about 1” diameter, scrubbed & trimmed, leaving at least 2” of tops
•16 scallions (green onions), roots & tops trimmed with white & long green leaves in tact
Lemon-Herb Butter
•1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temp
•2 t fresh lemon juice
•2 T chopped fresh herbs (dill, oregano, thyme, parsley)
•2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
•fine kosher or sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Prepare a hot fire on your grill.

Bring a large pot of water to boil, par-boil beets for 10-15 minutes—until tender enough to pierce with a fork. Drain, rinse in cold water and pat dry.

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter and add the lemon juice, herbs and garlic, stirring to blend.

Place beets and scallions on a perforated grill rack. Brush with butter mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve half of the butter out to the grill. Place grill rack directly over a hot fire.

Grill the beets, basting with the melted butter and turning occasionally, until they are brown and crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, about 8-10 minutes.

Grill the scallions, turning once, until they have good grill marks, about 4 minutes.


Serve the beets drizzled with the lemon herb butter.

Beet greens.

Friday, June 26, 2015

CSA Week #2

Another week of CSA and the first week for our B Week half shares. Everybody has joined the party and the year is definitely off to a great start. We were grateful to have only minimal damage from Monday's storm, which boasted 53 mph winds in our area. Peas started up, strawberries are winding down and now's the time for enjoying garlic scapes.



In the Box: apple butter, bunch of mint/thyme, 1/2 pint snap peas, bunch of spinach, bunch of Red Russian kale, pint strawberries, bunch spring shallots, French Breakfast radishes, head Pirat butterhead lettuce, head Webb's Wonderful crisphead lettuce, garlic scapes.

Members, the green romaine was supposed to go into the boxes, but the heat got the best of it and it bolted and went bitter. Enjoy the butterhead lettuce instead!


Thursday, June 18, 2015

CSA Week #1

It sure felt great to get this started again yesterday! Being back in the delivery routine was very refreshing. It takes a lot of planning to make a CSA happen, so it just feels wonderful delivering produce to excited folks, in compliment to the planning, weeding, planting, etc.

So, Week #1 is complete! I have already had reports of members eating their fresh, organic goods from the farm with dinner last night - greens in taco salad and strawberries in white wine. I love hearing what folks use their food for!


In the Box: French Breakfast heirloom radishes, pint ARF apple butter, a bunch of spinach, 1 head each red and green heirloom romaine, bunch beet greens, pint heirloom strawberries, rhubarb, spring shallots and half shares received a couple garlic scapes. The lettuce head are FULL this year! Looking and tasting fabulous. 

Week #1 CSA Newsletter

Here are a few more photos during my day of harvest and prep for delivering the first boxes:


Radishes are harvested, bunched, sprayed off, them hydro-cooled to preserve freshness.


You can see the flowers starting at the top of the shallot leaves, cold weather early on caused them to "bolt" or go to flower, which means we must harvest them early, instead of curing them for storage. Making the most of it they become a great spring treat for members!


Lettuce is harvested, bad outer leaves removed, washed once to remove dirt, them hydro-cooled and sanitized in a second tub of water.


We are very happy with this start to the season and look forward to next week already! Peas will be starting soon and more garlic scapes are coming in. Spinach and strawberries will last just a little bit longer.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Market on the Move!

Alternative Roots Farm will returning to the Saturday Farmers' Market in New Ulm, for a third season, and we have several great announcements about Market!!

Farmers' Market Moves to Target!


We could not be more thrilled about the new market location. Not only will it provide better visibility for the market (as there was basically none before), but it provides better space for the vendors, and an improved atmosphere for the customers. 

It felt last year, to us and our customers, that it really had to be a destination for the day and folks had to know it was there. This highly visible location means greatly ability for new folks to discover the market - this jives with our farm goals of reaching out to more of our community. All around this move really benefits our community and the quality of our market.


Saturday Farmers' Market Begins July 11th


Same bat time, new bat channel...Saturday mornings from 9 am - Noon. Now how about those other exciting market announcements?! You'll have to stay tuned to hear them!

Come visit us at the market - Alternative Roots Farm is the only certified organic vendor, offering a wide diversity of vegetable, apples, herbs and many heirlooms.



A look at ARF @ market in photos...







Early market kicks of with tasty treats like snow, snap and shell peas, garlic scapes, greens, cabbage and more!

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Little Help From Our Friends (and Photo Update)

While I find myself very behind in writing on the blog, everything is in tip-top shape and moving ahead as planned in the field, pasture and orchard. Plants are growing by leaps and bounds. The field is filling with varied hues of greens, with touches of golds and purples. The pasture is alive with squawking chickens and young piglets on the move. As June rears it's head today we are on the verge of CSA and a lovely season with our farm members, what we have been planning for and patiently looking forward to for months!

Tomatoes planted and staked individually.

We are grateful for our weekend helpers!

The weekend was a flurry of people and tasks on the farm. Thank you Steve and Franny for coming down and helping with cutting up the tree, planting tomatoes, mulching and greenhouse progress! Of course it was wonderful to balance the farm work by spending time with great friends. Thank you Nate and Megan for stopping by and bringing morels for dinner!

One bed of peppers with mulch.
We continue to make progress on the greenhouse as time and help allows, and look forward to making use of it this season for curing onions and winter squash. Thank you Larry for coming out a bit on both Saturday and Sunday to help with framing! Farm dog Hazel looks like she is trying to take some credit for helping as well.

The greenhouse framing for the walls.
The beekeepers stopped by to check on their replacement queen in one of the hives. They stop by about every week to 10 days to maintain the hives.

On Sunday we had more visitors coming to check out the farm and piglets, a couple local farm fans, as well as Dustan and Sara, from Sara Beth Photography (Twin Cities) who came down to photograph piglets for a project she is working on.

From the Field

CSA begins in a couple weeks, slated for start on June 17th! We push forward with more succession plantings, weeding, trellising and other task work to get ready for our first deliveries.

Lettuce heads sizing up nicely.
 Lettuce, strawberries, tender early greens and radishes are stars at the beginning of the CSA season.

Red Russian kale - tender and sweet!
 Spinach is a member favorite!

The spinach is coming along so nice!

From the Pasture

It's a little nerve-wracking having avian flu confirmed in Brown County, but our chickens are happy and healthy as can be! They as loud and silly and productive as ever.

Two chickens in the nesting box.
The pullets are now 17 weeks of age and someone laid an egg yesterday! Typically by 18 weeks pullets can start laying at anytime.

Our Buff Orpington and Silver Laced Wyandotte pullets
(young chickens under one year of age.) 
Eggs in browns and blues.
Saving the cutest for last - the piglets have arrived!! May 22-23rd the ladies farrowed and we now have 20 piglets running around blessing us with their cuteness. We are constantly impressed by the instincts of sows and what amazing mothers they are.

Piglets at 9 days - active, alert and going everywhere with mom.
Piglets are active and alert right from day one. They are sticking close to mom and learning along side of them, digging their noses in the dirt.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Waterworks 2.0 & Planting Time

This past week marked the beginning of seeding and transplanting in the field, which also meant getting the irrigation up and going. We have changed up our irrigation system and are thrilled at the upgrade. 

We went from a 1" header line (the past few years) to a 1.5" oval hose header. The other change we made was moving from one long section of header, serving the entire field, to three sections. The result we are seeing is better and more consistently even pressure.

Oval hose header line.
Above is a photo of the oval hose header line. When filled it is perfectly round, then flattens to an oval shape when not in use. As soon as we began seeding we began watering, then we were also blessed with 0.15" of rain - happy seeds, happy farmers!

Irrigating the peas.
As always the peas were first to get planted. Snow, snap and shell peas are all in. The first successions of spinach, beets, carrots and kohlrabi were also seeded. Then the first transplants went out - lettuce!

Webb's Wonderful, heirloom lettuce transplants.
The first succession of lettuce is started inside and transplanted out. The second succession of lettuce was direct seeded into the field at the same time. The wood in the photo above is my super handy dandy measuring stick. The most basic tool, but it saves me a lot of time. On one side it has 10" increments, the other has 6" increments.

Winter Density, heirloom lettuce transplants.

The lettuce was planted with Purple Cow Organics Activated Compost, protected with a can and watered in. We use the cans for establishment, for about a week, because it's a bit windy out on the prairie. The lettuce was grown in open flats, which works pretty awesome, but I may try soil blocks in the future, as a comparison, since we will have more room with the new greenhouse.

Farm dog Hazel.
Pullets at 12 weeks.
The little kids started using the big kid feed trough this week - glad they finally discovered it and got up enough gumption to try it out!

At the end of the week John was able to take a mini farm trip down to visit Hoch Orchads and check out their orchard plantings, do a little work and get out of town for a night - thanks Harry and Jackie for the hospitality!