Sunday, February 11, 2018

Orchard Update 2.10.18

Big Changes

Late last season we decided to make some big changes on the farm, what does that mean for our orchards? Well, for one thing, orchard management becomes top priority for us, as we strive for the increased quality for our delicious fruit and for our customers. We have leaned up our farm systems so we can put more focus into the orchard.

What does this mean for you?
More apples! More nutritious fruit, as we focus even more in depth on tree health.
More locations! You'll be able to find our organic, and transitional organic, apples at both the New Ulm and Mankato farmers' markets this season.
More fruit! Time after time folks request more fruit. We have over 20 varieties of apples to offer and our first apricot crop is just around the bend.

The Universe Listens

With the hard decision, a weight lifted and we could feel it was the right decision. And the universe responded, with opportunity. Did I mention "More Fruit!"? Our orchard is ever expanding. Our core orchard - that lit John's orcharding inspirations - just outside New Ulm continues to produce great organic apples; from our first crop, until now, 18 varieties thrive there. At our home orchard, over 300 young trees continue to mature, with a few of the oldest trees beginning to give us modest harvests; when these trees all mature we'll have over 50 varieties to temp your tastebuds. Lastly, the opportunity, our new orchard location, just outside of Lake Crystal, increases our diversity and gives us the ability to transition more land into organic production; having another location also make us more resilient, in case of events such as hail, wind, or frost. It's going to be an exciting year!

Right Now, In the Orchard

John has been busy the last month with pruning. There is some catch-up maintenance work to do in the new orchard. Pruning is so very important for the health and vigor of a tree, and for organic management. John will be leading a Fruit Tree Pruning Class on March 3, to share these important skills.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Friday, February 2, 2018

Behind Our Name and Logo

Deciding on our farm name and creating this logo was an exciting, and memorable, time for John and I as we began farming. I represents how, in our farming adventure, that we want to do things different (alternative), while staying connected to the Earth (the tree, the roots).
After a billion different name ideas John and I were able to agree on Alternative Roots Farm. Love A.R.F. so much still. I think John's favorite alternative, way back when, was Prairie Smoke Farm (a hail to the native prairies and our garage, which is the old Hanska fire hall).
The logo began as a family contest, us all drawing out ideas and then developing it from there. Johnny was the main artist, while I penned the name. It's been a delightful representation of our vision, but it's time to retire it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Local & Seasonal in the Winter

{My local foods morning//musings on winter seasonal eating}

Chicken broth in the canner, nettle infusion steeping, pig liver/tongue/heart in the dehydrator, farm dogs chewing on marrow bones, smoked hock prepped for dinner tonight.

Organs dehydrating, stock canning, nettle infusing.
Winter is the time when I prepare our chicken bone broth and shredded chicken for the seasons ahead. This is an important part of our “seasonal eating.” Bone broth nourishes us and the pups as food and medicine. At the same time as we make broth we get shredded chicken to can and sometimes we throw in hocks that give us an easy meal--these ended up in hock-o salad (lol, taco salad). The dogs enjoy the marrow of the bones.

Nettle is one of the native, wild herbs I forage for food and medicine. One ounce steeped in a quart of water for 4 hours, or overnight, provides nourishment and a healthy (tasty!) beverage. The high levels of vitamins and minerals and very bioavailable (easy for our bodies to use).

The organ meats get dehydrated for dog treats. Let nothing go to waste!

Winter is a great time for these projects and also a great time to learn new skills to prepare you for the seasons of bounty ahead! How are you eating seasonally this winter? What new skills are you learning/wanting to learn?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Fruit Tree Pruning Class

Learn to Properly Prune Your Fruit Trees!

This half-day workshop will cover the basic principles of pruning your fruit trees, fruit tree anatomy, timing of pruning events, pruning for consistent fruit production and different tree shaping techniques.

Pruning in the apple orchard.
Join and share the facebook event!

We will begin the workshop with classroom style instruction and then we will be going outdoors to practice pruning. You are invited to bring your own pruning tools if you have them, otherwise we will have tools available for you to try. Please be dressed appropriately for the outdoor session of this class (second half). 

***Please bring your own lunch to the workshop.

What: Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop
When: March 3, 2018
Time: 9:00am-1:00pm
Where: New Ulm Public Library, 17 North Broadway, New Ulm, MN
Cost: $25/ Participant
Other: The cost of the workshop must be paid in advance. Call 507-439-6541 or email to reserve your spot. Please send check to Alternative Roots Farm, 11197 130th St., Madelia, MN 56062. Registrations must be paid by February 23, 2018

Monday, December 18, 2017

We Are Grateful

Sending Gratitude & Holiday Cheer Your Way!
Wishing you happiness, health, laughter and peace during the holidays.

It has been a wonderful year - thank you so much for your support this year and over the last 6 years!
There are big changes on the horizon that make us very excited for the season ahead. We look forward to serving you in the new year!

Locally Yours,
Brooke, John & Emily Knisley
(farm dogs Hazel & Odin, fam cat Loki and the chickens too)

Monday, November 27, 2017

A Trio of Parsnip Ideas

Need a little inspiration for your parsnips? Stuck in a rut with just plain roasting them? There are many ways to enjoy this sweet, nutty cousin to the carrot.

We looove them roasted, or slow cooked with a pork or venison roast! Here are a few ideas I found on the interwebs, if you have a great idea please share!

Parsnips, butternut squash and leeks.

Parsnip, Mushroom and Leek Gratin     from the Kitchn

Sweet Potato Parsnip Bisque     from Sweet Potato Soul

Roasted Tumeric Parsnip Fries     from Bucket List Tummy