Monday, May 7, 2018

Photo Update :: May 7

It felt pretty darn good to plant the first transplants of the season! While it was 13 days later than planned, it's assured that no matter what the season begins sometime - sometimes late, sometimes early, sometimes really, really wet. This is a great start. 

Lettuce and kale went in first. Parlsey, basil, leeks and onion plants have followed. Radishes, spinach, peas and beans are waiting underground for their time to germinate.

Rhubarb looks great and asparagus is finally poking up!

Shellee's Greenhouse, in Madelia, is carrying Alternative Roots Farm organic sweet and hot peppers, heirloom tomatoes, ground cherries and tomatillos. Stock your garden with local plants, while shopping at a local greenhouse!

We have some other transplants available at the farm, check in with Brooke if you are looking for something.

The pullets are almost 6 weeks old and have most of their feathers in. While they are indoors we give them grass treats everyday - they go nuts for it! The hens are fiiiinally out on green grass!!! The yolks will start getting a deeper orange color from the natural nutrition of grass and bugs.

The home orchard was expanded again, to finish our plantings here. A new block of plums and apricots was added, along with more apples!

New apple trees!
Apricot flower buds.
Plum patch, with the field and winter greenhouse beyond.
We continue to provide microgreens to the New Ulm Community Market and Co-op for their Thursday Spring Markets - 2:00-7:00 pm on Thursdays.

Follow along here, on facebook and Instagram for the latest and greatest!

ARF T-Shirt Order!

It's a great time to get in on an order for an ARF shirt with our new logo!

You have the choice of ladies fit or mens crew t-shirts, as well as jersey, light-weight hoodies. See photos below

All orders and payments must be received by Friday, June 22.
T-shirts are only $20 and hoodies are $35.

T-shirts are USA made, heather gray, 90% ringspun cotton/10% polyester.

Jersey hoodies made with 60% organic cotton/40% recycled polyester
 They are light weight, like a long-sleeved t-shirt. The color "water" is a nice medium blue.

We suggest buying a size up, unless you like things nice and fitted.

In-Town Orders: orders can be picked up at the farm, at the Co-op or by other arrangement.

Out-of-Town Orders: by arrangement, if shipping is required please add $7.25.

All orders should be placed online - T-Shirt Order Form

Instructions for payment (cash/check only) are on the form.

Pictured: Ladies Medium
Pictured: Unisex Medium

Thursday, April 12, 2018

River Valley Reskilling Festival

John and I will both be teaching classes at the Reskilling Festival - perhaps we'll see you there! Read about our class in the Earth Day Events! post.
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Interested in becoming more self-sufficient AND more community-connected?  A wonderful day revolving around both is happening Saturday April 21 – the River Valley Reskilling Festival, to be held at First Lutheran Church, 1114 Traverse Road, St. Peter.  Classes will be taught by area volunteers on a number of subjects including: gardening, vegan cooking, ukulele and guitar lessons, wild foraging, preserving food, basic bicycle maintenance, making sauerkraut, beekeeping, stress reduction and many more interesting and fun classes.

Onsite child care will be available and there will also be classes suitable for children.  
Breakfast and lunch items will be available for purchase from Diamond Dust Bakery and The St. Peter Food Co-op. Registration is on a sliding scale, $5 to $25, but no one will be turned away for inability to pay. Coffee is available and participants are welcomed to bring and/or take books for a community book swap. 

Local, organic farmer Josh Reinitz of East Henderson Farms will deliver a keynote address at 11:30 about his trip to learn about sustainable farming systems and vital rural communities in Oaxaca, Mexico. He will share ideas on what we can do in rural MN to uplift traditional skills that are still relevant today.

TO REGISTER and for more information go to:  to share the event go to the Facebook event:

Monday, April 9, 2018

Spring CSA Shares Now Available!

2018 Spring CSA Shares Now Available!

Have a spring fling with ARF! 1 or 2 weeks of early season items. Sign up for one, or both, weeks.

Week #1  •  Wednesday, June 13*  
Week #2  •  Wednesday, June 20*     
   *With the funky spring weather these dates may shift. Confirmation will be made 1-2 weeks in advance.

What's in the Share?  •  Lettuce, spinach and other spring greens, strawberries, radishes, green shallots, garlic scapes, rhubarb. Maybe asparagus, peas, canned items. The very best of the early season!
All items are subject to change, based on availability.

Cost: $25 per week  •  paid at time of sign up, to hold your share.

Pick Up & Logistics:  Pick up at the farm between 4:00-7:00 pm on your selected Wednesday(s). Produce and items will be laid out "market style," you will need to bring your own bags to do your shopping.

Other:  Please read the Helpful Hints For All Share Members at the bottom of the 2018 Shares page. :) 

Email us directly to get on our wait list - we may add more shares nearer June.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Earth Day Events!

You may have spotted Brooke at the Ag Expo with a Twist, held by the Madelia Chamber last week, or you may have spotted John pruning at the New Ulm or Lake Crystal Orchard, or at the New Ulm Health and Home Show. We're a little more elusive in the winter. If you are waking from hibernation and eager to see your friendly farmers' faces a little bit more (and you can't quite wait until the Market opens) you have several opportunities to see us on Earth Day, Saturday, April 21!

9:00-10:00 AM • Re-Skilling Festival • St. Peter

John will be presenting Phenology: Re-learning Observation.Learn how to practice studying phenology; thinking about the timing of events in nature, observation of plant, animal, weather, seasonal changes in our region. Using phenology to make educated predictions of other events in nature; i.e. when to start tapping maple trees, when to expect to hear frogs croaking, time to start looking for mushrooms, etc...

11:30-2:30 • Earth & Family Fair • New Ulm

John will be presenting Pollinators and You, alongside many other great presentations.

See the event for full details, but beginning at 11:30 a.m., outdoor activities will include:
Educational talks about nature: Talks will be offered at four locations beginning at 11:30 a.m. and repeating every 30 minutes (last talk starts at 2 p.m.). People of all ages are encouraged to bicycle to each stop via a guided or self-guided tour (see below), although everyone is welcome to attend even if not arriving by bicycle. Featured talks will be:
Riverside Park: “Healthy Rivers” with Ron Bolduan and Scott Kudelka
New Ulm Pollinator Park: “Pollinators and You” with John Knisley
South Market Park: “Garlic Mustard Pull” with Joe Gartner (attendees will learn about this invasive plant and can take a turn pulling it)
Park & Rec Shop (6 N. Front St.): “Urban Forestry” with Shane Omersa

12:30-1:30 PM • Re-Skilling Festival • St. Peter

Brooke will be teaching Canning, Drying, Freezing 101: Making the most of the season. We'll go over basic techniques and equipment involved with preserving fresh, in-season produce to eat in season all year long.

Check out more details on the event pages:

2018 River Valley Re-Skilling Festival website
Earth & Family Fair facebook page
Earth & Family Fair flyer

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