Thursday, July 20, 2017

CSA Week #6

If you are looking back at recipes from previous newsletters all the shortcut links are HERE.

It seems time has started flying! I knew it was week 6, then it clicked that that's a third of our season! Crazy! Week 6 boxes were delivered - neither rain, nor snow, nor tornado warning shall keep us from delivering our produce. The downpour, torrential at times yielded about 1.7". this week were Dragon's Tongue wax beans, jalapeños and garlic!

A Full Share CSA box packed and ready to go!
 CSA Newsletter Week #6 ~ featuring: "what's in the box"; Recipes: Grilling Vegetables Part 2, Stir Grilling, Preparing Garlic and bean cooking tips; article: "Food Waste: Put Your Guilt in the Compost."

CSA Box Week #6 ~ July 19, 2017
In the Box: green onions, zucchini (half shares) or 'Ronde de Nice' heirloom summer squash (full shares), green cabbage, kale (half shares), pair of jalapenos, German Red garlic, 1.3lbs Sangre new potatoes, chives, Dragon's Tongue heirloom wax beans, carrots (full shares), 1.3lbs Lodi (tart) apples, cucumber trio.

Sangre new potatoes.

The garlic harvest is in! Fresh, or uncured, garlic went in this week's boxes.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

CSA Week #5

The weight of summer bounty is beginning to fill CSA boxes. The first summer squash/zucchini, cucumbers, beets and apples were packed into boxes this week. The delightful aroma of fresh veggies wafts from the boxes as you open them. Mmmm.

CSA Newsletter Week #5 ~ featuring: farm news, MANY recipes: Chimichurri Sauce, Baked or Roasted Beets, Sauteed Beet Greens, Grilling Greens, Grilling Vegetables part I, Beet cooking tips.

In the Box: Garlic scapes (curly-Qs), spring onions, sage (full shares), green cabbage, beets, 1# Lodi heirloom apples, pint snow OR snap peas, summer squash (round, pictured) OR zucchini (full shares), Swiss chard (half shares), kale (full shares), kohlrabi trio, cucumber trio (half shares), radishes, basil (half shares).

Lodi heirloom apples
Read more about our Lodi apples here.

Herb Booster
Herb Booster this week: Basil, thyme, spearmint.

Apples :: Lodi

Early Season • Tart

Mid-July. Lodi has a biennial tendency, so it may only bear every other year.

This medium sized apple has a green-yellow skin with juicy flesh. This is a soft-fleshed, tart and juicy apple. Okay for fresh eating, but best for cooking. Lodi cooks down fast, it makes a great sauce.

Parentage: Montgomery x Yellow Transparent.

Origin: Geneva New York, 1924. Developed by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station.

Short storage life of 1-2 weeks.

We have one Lodi tree at the Augustine orchard and a handful more planted in the young orchard. This variety is strongly biennial and produces every other year. Great crop in 2017! We make a signature tart applesauce with this variety.

Monday, July 10, 2017

CSA Week #4

Last Wednesday marked four weeks of delivery under the belt and we are just getting started! The bounty continues and grows!

CSA Newsletter Week #4 ~ News from the farm; featured veggie: peas; tips for cooking kohlrabi; recipes: sautéed radishes & sugar snap peas with dill, kohlrabi & cabbage salad with maple lemon dressing.

In the Box: Basil, Swiss chard (full shares), pint snow or snap peas, garlic scapes, radishes, green onions, All Hail! Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam (or apple butter), quart shell peas, summer crisp lettuce (half shares, kohlrabi.

Herb Boosters began this week, with parsley, rosemary and basil!

Bonus kitten photo...Loki...fuzzy little kitten ball.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

CSA Week #3

Summer is here! Week 3 hails the salad days of early summer and brings the last of our bountiful early lettuces, while welcoming in the bounty of pea season!

CSA Newsletter Week #3 ~ featuring: farm news, featured veggie: Radish, intro to garlic scapes, recipes for: 'garlic scape pesto', 'radish butter', 'braised peas with spring onions and lettuce.'

In the Box: Bunch of kale (or chard), radishes, green shallots, herb bundle--mint & parsley, quart of shelling peas, garlic scapes, red and green summer crisp lettuce, pair of kohlrabi, pint snap or snow peas.

Green harvest! Bounty of kale and first of the Swiss chard.

Radishes add lovely color and heat to our plates!

Kohlrabi aliens are a refreshing addition.

Find Alternative Roots Farm at the farmers' market every Saturday 9:00-12:00 in the Cash Wise parking lot! Don't forget your reusable bag! ;)

What's @ market: Apple butter, garlic scapes, shell peas, snap peas, snow peas, fresh greens and herbs, radishes, rhubarb and more!

Friday, June 16, 2017

CSA • Week #1 • Let's get this party started!

What a beautiful day Wednesday was! Our first round of CSA harvest completed and 28 boxes of seasonal, organic, fresh, gorgeous produce delivered to our members. It feels good to be back folks - thank you for the support, enthusiasm and humor!

Week #1 CSA Newsletter ~ featuring: farm news, freezing rhubarb, rhubarb tips, shallot vinaigrette, handy tools for the kitchen, recipe sources.

CSA Box #1 • June 14, 2017
In the Box: 'Winter Density' heirloom romaine, chives, 3/4lb rhubarb, apple butter, kale mini bunch, 'Pirat' heirloom butterhead lettuce, All Hail! Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam , green shallots, spinach, CSA newsletter, veggie storage guide, ARF produce seasonality chart.

When life gives you hail, make strawberry-rhubarb jam! With having hail 4 times so farm this spring, it's a miracle the strawberries were the only thing really affected. With the multitude of bruised berries members received some jam this week, in place of fresh berries!

We kick off the year with salad season! Whip up some vinaigrette with the fresh shallots and chow down on some greens.

Some humor shared during delivery from rockstar CSA member Pat. Thanks for the chuckle! :)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

March for Science :: Let Science Fuel Your Passion

It was a blast being a part of the March for Science New Ulm on Earth Day! There were over 100 people that gathered at Herman Heights to celebrate, participate and honor our natural resources. I loved listening to the other speakers and very much enjoyed speaking myself. Here are a few pictures and my speech from the event. #everydayisearthday

March for Science - New Ulm
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Hello! Thank you for welcoming me here today and thank you for all being here supporting and celebrating science. As an organic farmer science is very important to me, so your presence and support is encouraging.

When thinking about what to talk with you about today, how science is important to what we do at our farm, many things came to mind. Than amazing world of mycorrhizal fungi around root systems. Food as medicine. How bitter flavors aide digestion comes to mind in the spring. The art of grafting apple trees. Pest cycles. Beneficial insects. Soil organisms. Riveting, yes?! Science helps me understand all of these systems, processes and interactions, so we can do our job well - so we can produce food and nurture our farm ecosystem.

While musing on all the ways science influences our jobs at the farm my mind kept coming back to all the ways science inspires us to do what we do and to keep doing it better.

Science drives my passion to farm nutritious, healthful and organic food for people, in harmony with our amazing ecosystem. So this became my path - to bring the environment, and natural health, into people's homes through food, and to deeply care for and nurture the bit of ecosystem that is our farm.

My husband and I farm, because we have a great respect for our natural environment and we wanted to practice natural resources conservation actively, on the ground. We choose to farm organically, because this is what science tells us creates healthy soils, healthy plants, clean water and clean air. And if the soil is not healthy - vibrant and full of organic matter, teaming with beneficial bacteria, fungi, nematodes - if it is not alive and well balanced how can the food be healthy? How can we be healthy?

A single teaspoon of rich soil can hold a billion bacteria, several yards of fungal filaments, several thousand protozoa and many, many nematodes.

Recently we purchased new land, which we are transitioning from conventional agriculture to organic apple orchard and pasture for our pigs. As we were planting trees a couple weeks ago we were astonished at how dead the soil seemed. As we dug our trees out of the nursery bed the soil was beautiful - loose and crumbly, dark, full of worms and organic matter. We planted these trees into our new field, where the soil was compacted, more chunky and cloddy than crumbly, devoid of much organic matter, devoid of worms. We are excited to bring this land back to life.

Back to that fungi I mentioned, each tree was planted with mycorrhizal fungi to nurture the health of the trees and the underground soil ecosystem. The endomycorrhizal fungi live partially inside and partially outside a plants root system. This symbiotic relationship fosters a greater exchange of nutrients. The fungi helps the plant take up more water and nutrients than the plant can do on its own; then the plant pays the fungi back in carbon. Nurturing this relationship is a long-term investment, that thrives with lack of disturbance, which is why we use minimal tillage and are moving to no-till.

This fascinates me. Science helps me understand.

Parasitic wasps lay eggs in or on host insects - pests like aphids and cabbage worms - as the eggs hatch the prey is consumed.

This fascinates me.

These natural processes and interactions are amazing and science - hard core research and hands on citizen science - helps us to better understand what we can do to nurture them to better create ecosystem services into all parts of our farm and farming.

Over the last several years we have worked in partnership with the University of Minnesota on carious research projects at our farm. Early detection monitoring for new and emerging pests and diseases. A trial of native Minnesotan mycorrhizal fungi. Monitoring a bee nesting block for the Bee Lab. This year we are building a passive solar greenhouse for growing in the winter, designed by the UMN. All this research is so import and and needed!

My passion for farming is driven, in part, by the fact that there is always so much to learn - there is always something to observe and explore. Science fuels this inspiration daily. Sometimes we forget to slow down and appreciate it, but there are so many examples around us, all the time.

The topic of science keeps bringing be mack to my passion, my inspiration, and that is really what I want to get down to. Find that bit of science, that nerdy fact, or process, or system, or machine that inspires you and let that help fuel you. Let science make your life more driven - at your job, or life at home, outside your job. It can foster appreciation, build creativity and give you new energy for the things you do day to day. Life is meant for learning and the possibilities are endless.

I am a farmer, the soil is my lab, where is yours?

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