Tuesday, June 2, 2020

What's in Store: June

Farm fresh goodness is building!

Now joining asparagus and rhubarb, is fresh lettuce and radishes!! There are a few more plants starts left for this week - tomatoes, chard, kale, basil, sage.

Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00-7:00 & Saturday 9:00-12:00  *Closed June 6-13

Also in stock: applesauce, apple butter, strawberry-rhubarb jam, eggs.

EGGS: limited, call ahead to be sure. Broody hens have made numbers dip, the new flock should be laying in about 8 weeks!!!!

Monday, May 18, 2020

What's in Store: May 18

Plants + Produce + Prettiness!

It's a beautiful time to visit the store, the apples are in full bloom and everything is so lush!

All the garden plants we will have available for you this year are out and ready. Heirloom tomatoes (Black Krim, Rutger, German Johnson), kale, swiss chard, cucumbers (green and white), basil and sage. Small transplant pots are $2 each. (There are more of our organic tomato varieties at Shellee's Greenhouse, Madelia.)

Stinging Nettles tincture is back in stock! This is great for spring allergies, a wonderful, natural alternative to drugs. Other tinctures in stock are listed below.

Cool It essential oil spray is back in stock! The last bottle flew off the shelf. I love this to cool off when working outside, or on a serious cleaning tangent...I've heard it's nice for hot flashes. ;) It's simply a essential oil spray, with cooling and invigorating peppermint, eucalyptus and lavendar.

Herbal Bug Spray will be back in stock this week! (I'm working on it!) A safe alternative for the whole family. Spritz on and reapply every hour, or as needed. This blend of yarrow and catnip is great for skeeters, hand-harvested and crafted on the farm, by yours truly. 

Fall Apple Share sign up is ongoing!! SIGN UP for some goodness and get the best deal all season. 

Watch for updates on our t-shirt order!!! We only do this every couple of years and guess what, we're doing HATS! :) New design. New local printer. USA made shirts. Pre-orders only!! 

Read on for more store goodness...

What's In Store?

Asparagus $4.00/lb *limited quantities
Rhubarb $3.00/lb
Applesauce $6/qt
Applesauce Shares are always in season! A case of 12 for $65
Apple Butter $5
Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam $5
Eggs - $4/dozen *limited quantities - the new chickens will be laying by August
Herbal Tinctures - $15 each Motherwort (pms/cramps, anxiety, menopause), Holy Basil (adaptogen, stress, system restorative), Willow Bark (pain relief), Stinging Nettles (seasonal allergies).

Garden Plants!
$2 each
Tomatoes - Black Krim, German Johnson, Rutgers
Swiss Chard
Cucumbers - green & white
Herb pots $5 (three plants)
If you'd like me to set aside some plants for you just let me know!

Store Hours

Monday - Friday 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am - Noon
Sunday Closed

Monday, May 4, 2020

6 Ways to Prep for Preserving Now

Preserving season is already upon us!! What?! Wait?! you might be saying, but it is. I've harvested willow bark and stinging nettles, both for tinctures, thus far and it's time for me to harvest more stinging nettle for teas and infusions. Asparagus is already here, rhubarb is just around the corner, someone out there is likely picking radishes and it just rolls on and picks up from there!

Last week I pulled strawberries and rhubarb out of the freezer to make jam - delicious abundance. This week I'll roast the last butternut squash. You never regret taking the time to preserve.

So, how can you get ready for the coming season, or seasons, of preserving? Here are a few ways...

1. Clean out your freezer!

This is a big goal for me right now. (That I'm totally behind on...we need to eat more tomatoes!) I like to get my large chest freezer kinda tidied up and cleaned out for the beginning of the season. It's no good to stack new items on top of old items - things get lost. Sometimes that's good when you come across a surprise package of asparagus (or bacon), but when you find a bag of strawberries from 2014...

Don't have a freezer? Get one!! (We have three. Two mainly for meat.) Soooo handy. I like to can, so things are energy dependent and perishable, but there are many things that are simply easier to stick in the freezer - fruit, rhubarb, peppers, celery, greens, corn, bone broth, peas...

2. Tidy your pantry.

Whether you have a whole pantry room in your basement, a closet, or a cupboard in your kitchen, give it a look-see. Clean it up. Get familiar with what left to help you prioritize for the seasons ahead.

This helps me see what I'm not using. Haven't gone through a ton of green beans, so not a huge priority - tend to eat them mostly fresh.

2. What have you run out of?

Just to organize your brain for preserving season, and plan your shopping/gardening. Clearly you use these items the most and want to preserve more this season. Spend your time preserving what you really use - this is where it will save you money and bring more enjoyment!

For the first time in years I actually froze enough celery! Yay! I dried celery leaf as back up when I run out. We're out of jam, and salsa...more of those this year.

3. What's high priority? What do you spend the most money on?

Kinda what we talked about above. Know where you are going to source these important items (market, specific farmer, maybe this takes precedence in your garden). Again, this is what's going to save you money and bring more enjoyment.

We go through a lot of tomatoes, so this always is high on the list. Now, with a little one in tow, freezing and canning fruit (to round out our apple diet) is high on my list. What fruit we don't grow I buy in bulk from a local co-op, or other small farms.

5. Get your tools sorted.

Handy tools include a pressure canner and a water bath canner, along with canning funnels and tongs, etc., as well as a dehydrator (or two). Make sure to get your own lined up and ready, or perhaps go in on items with a friend, family member or neighbor - make it a social event!

If you don't have any of these items, perhaps pick one as a place to start. Dehydrators are great for many, many items; we primarily use them for herbs, apple rings and mushrooms, as well as extra onions in the winter sometimes. Water bath canning is for high acid items - applesauce, tomato stuff, jams, pickled items - and can be less time consuming than pressure canning. But, I think a pressure canner is essential - broth, meats, veggies.

The Living Earth Center in Mankato has all of these items to loan out as well!

6. Get your sources sorted.

As the season rolls on think about where you're going to purchase or trade for your high priority, and other, items. Thinking you are going to need a 5 gallon bucket of peas, instead of the quarts at the market tables? Talk to your farmers ahead of time about large quantities, or to find out who has your favorite tomatoes, etc. Are you growing these items? Buying them at market? Ordering through a co-op? When it comes to meat (I consider sticking a whole hog in the freezer part of my preserving plan.) you need to think ahead for bulk quantities (best bang for your buck).

Don't know where to find something? Ask your friendly local farmers! The Mankato Farmers Market has already opened and New Ulm's market begins at the end of June.

Okay, go get started!

During this rain day I'm going to put a pound or two of asparagus in the freezer and dry some nettles!

What are you excited to preserve this season?

Will this be your first year preserving? What questions do you have?

Friday, May 1, 2020

Fall Apple Share Sign Up!

Fall Apple Shares   Sign up open for 2020!

$54.00 :: 24 lbs/4 lb Bag x 6 weeks 
Beginning the first week of September with pick up at the farm, or Saturday Mankato Farmers Market.

Each week enjoy a 4 lb bag with 1-2 varieties of our organic apples. A mix of standard, lesser known and sometimes old heritage apples. We send out a short newsletter each week, as a reminder of your share. Enjoy some apple nerdery and a recipe or two, along with the latest news from the orchard.

Pick up at the farm store Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays, or Saturdays at the Mankato Farmers Market, beginning the first week in September.

Sign Up Here!

Please contact us at info@alternativerootsfarm.com or via Facebook with any questions.

Covid-19 Note: Farmers' markets, and food access like our farm store, are considered essential services. We hope by September we wont be dealing with the same restrictions we are now, but if we are, or changes need to be made, we are committed to finding solutions to getting you your Apple Share!!

Monday, April 20, 2020

What's in Store: April 20

Eggs and What's Next

We are entering our most lean season at the store, we still need folks coming to grab eggs during this time! We always have eggs, applesauce, apple butter in stock. 

Willow bark tincture will return this week, fresh from this year's harvest. Willow is a great natural pain reliever. Watch facebook for updates.

Stinging Nettles tincture is out of stock - great for spring allergies it has been popular. I have more tincture brewing and it will be back in a few weeks.

I will have some transplants available in May - basil, sage, kale, chard, tomatoes...and maybe more as time goes on! Stay tuned, watch facebook for updates or holler. Shellee's Greenhouse in Madelia carries some of our transplants as well - check out the greenhouse if you haven't before!

In a month rhubarb season will start, then we'll add in greens - spinach, lettuce, kale, chard, before raspberries kick in at the end of June/early July. 

What's In Store?

Pea Shoots - available until gone!
Applesauce Shares are always in season! A case of 12 for $65
Apple Butter
Eggs - $4/dozen
Herbal Tinctures - $15 each Motherwort (pms/cramps, anxiety, menopause), Holy Basil (adaptogen, stress, system restorative).

Expanded Hours Continue

Monday - Friday 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am - Noon
Sunday Closed

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Prepping & Planting Potatoes!

It's aaaaalmost time to set these spuds in the ground and let them work their magic. I love love love freshly dug taters for dinner! These will keep us eating good from July through to about March! 

My Potato Plans

We will be planting 40 lbs of seed potatoes, or 150' of potatoes. I have 5 lbs of Natascha (new to me, my fav is Mountain Rose, but it was out of stock), as our early variety, which we will dig and eat fresh during the summer. As our mid-season variety we have Kennebec, a standard for us, which we will dig and eat fresh during the fall; at some point digging the rest to cure for storage. Lastly we have Green Mountain, an heirloom storage variety I just love; it does well on our site (clay-loam) and stores great. We'll plant 20lbs of Green Mountain to dig and cure in the Fall, for our winter storage potatoes and for our Winter CSA customers. 

I plant the early varieties at 8" and the late variety at 10", nestled in the bottom of a 6-8" trench. After planting cover with a couple inches of soil, filling the rest of the trench in later, as the plants grow. It's nice to mulch potatoes, if you are able, as they are water hogs and love the extra moisture. While most veggies in the garden like 1" per week, potatoes like 2".

After 17 days waking up/sprouting.

Greensprouting/Chitting Potatoes

The potatoes pictured are just over halfway through the Chitting process - I chit you not this works great. ;) When our potatoes arrived just over 2 weeks ago we began to "wake them up" by bringing them into the basement (60-65°) and keeping them in complete darkness. During this time they start to put out little white sprouts (like taters that sit in your pantry too long).

After 2 weeks they were moved to the spare bedroom to sturdy up for planting. Left open, as pictured, in a space with indirect light, these shoots will begin to green up and get tougher. This get them ready for planting, sturdying up so they are less likely to break off when being handled.

Click on over to our Facebook page, check out the videos section. I have two videos from when the seed potatoes arrived from The Maine Potato Lady, and from their transition to light. I'll post another at planting time.

As you can see in the pics some sprouts are longer than others. You don't want them to get too long, but each variety may act a little different and, of course, it will depend on the temps in your house as well. If you have longer sprouts you just need to be careful when planting.

Nice sturdy little shoots.

Planting Time

After about 4 weeks in the house these guys will be itching to get in the ground (like all of us itching to get our hands in the dirt!). So, in about two weeks, when the sprouts are nice and sturdy and ground temp is around a nice 60° (no need to rush folks) we will plant them out. A good phenological sign is when the dandelions are blooming (not the ones on the South side of the house).

Do you have to greensprout them? No, certainly not, but it has worked well for me. It gives the potatoes a head start in the garden and potentially can create higher yields. I like that, as with our heavier soil, which can somewhat restrict set growth, it's nice to have an advantage.

Well that's potatoes for tonight! I'm trying to post more on facebook, and a bit here, about what we're planting, how were growing and cooking, so follow along on facebook and if there is anything you are wondering about please holler!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

What's In Store: April 14th

Last Week of Winter Greens?

The last two containers of microgreens are in the store right now - 1 Zesty, 1 Radish. Pea shoots will be stocked later this week and probably into next week, as soon as they grow a touch more (they don't like the greenhouse heat).

Eggs and What's Next

We are entering our most lean season at the store, we still need folks coming to grab eggs during this time! We always have eggs, applesauce, apple butter in stock. In a month rhubarb season will start, then we'll add in greens - spinach, lettuce, kale, chard, before raspberries kick in at the end of June/early July. It all just ramps up from there! So, calling all egg lovers to support us during the interim, from winter crops ending and summer crops starting!

What's In Store?

Microgreens - last 2 containers!
Pea Shoots - later this week
Apple Cider - $6/half gallon Just pure apple cider, from our organic apples. No preservatives or colorings. A limited number of jugs are available - in stock this week & next. Drink fresh, or freeze for later.Applesauce - $6/quart
Applesauce Shares are always in season! A case of 12 for $65
Apple Butter
Eggs - $4/dozen
Herbal Tinctures - $15 each Motherwort (pms/cramps, anxiety, menopause), Holy Basil (adaptogen, stress, system restorative), Stinging Nettles (seasonal allergies)

Expanded Hours Continue

Monday - Friday 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am - Noon
Sunday Closed