Thursday, July 30, 2015

CSA Week #7

These days in July can be long and hot, taxing for a farmer feeling the full swing of harvest, a never ending list of things to do, but CSA day is always rejuvenating.

Some deliveries I drop off and don't see folks, but most members I get to interact with each week and this is a lift I look forward to and need when July gets long. It's wonderful to see folks energy, to get excited at the weight of a heavy box and feel the appreciation for the long days of work we put in to make fresh, organic food happen. Community Supported Agriculture in action.

 It was a full and heavy box!

In the Box: mixed cucumbers, 'Ronde de Nice' (round) summer squash, 3lbs Mountain Rose new potatoes, yellow spring onions, fresh garlic bulb, carrots, 1+ lb zucchini, Swiss chard, quart heirloom wax or snap beans, Lodi apples, parsley, mixed heirloom tomatoes, jalapeƱos and beets (not pictured). Paper copies of the newsletter are packed in all boxes as well.

CSA Newsletter Week #7
Recipes: Basic Roasted Veggies

Swiss chard bunches.
Fresh garlic.
 What it looks like when you open the box - colors and aromas greet the eater!

See you next week!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

CSA Week #6

Week 6 means we are one-third of the way into our delivery season. This week the very first early tomatoes were picked, so it won't be long until they are filling boxes. For now the taste of summer keeps coming with summer squash, green beans, cucumbers and the delightful aroma of basil as you open your CSA box.

In the Box: quart Dragon's Tongue wax beans, bunch red & yellow spring onions, 1 lb carrots, 1/2 lb leeks, big bunch celery, basil, head of broccoli (half shares only), pint snow peas, 4 mixed cucumbers - green and white, heirloom Ronde de Nice summer squash (1 or 2, half & full shares), zucchini, Lodi apples (nice and tart!), 1 lb heirloom snap beans and a small head of green cabbage (not pictured).

 A couple photos from harvest.

Leeks, as they sit in the ground. The white portion is "blanched by the soil.
Our first load of Lodi apples.
A bountiful basket of basil.
A view of the piglets on pasture, with the native prairie, alfalfa strip and veggie field beyond.
Rogue sunflowers add great color to the field!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

CSA Week #5

Here is Week #5, in photos. The boxes were brimming, I could barely get them closed ;) 

In the Box: 1+ lb zucchini, 1 head of broccoli, red & yellow spring onions, baby leeks, garlic scapes, Ronde de Nice heirloom summer squash, Swiss chard or kale, 3/4lb Dragon's Tongue wax beans, 1 lb English shelling peas, 1 pint Mammoth Melting snow peas, 2 lbs Mountain Rose new potatoes (half shares only), 4 cucumbers and a bunch of parsley...and a newsletter, of course.

CSA Newsletter Week #5 - Featured Veggie: Broccoli

An abundant harvest of big bodacious heads of beautiful broccoli starred in this box.

The whole cucumber trio went into each members box! Double Yield (light green) and Holland White heirlooms, and Marketmore 76 (dark green). Which one is your favorite?

 Herb Booster Members received: two doses of basil, mint and lovage.

See you at farmers' market on Saturday! We'll have some of that bodacious broccoli there ;)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Girl Gone Wild & Other Short Farm Stories

It has been eventful around here, as it always is, really. The pigs like to keep it real. Crops are rotating, animals are rotating. Market has begun and we're ready for upcoming transitions.
Photo by Emily

Girl Gone Wild

When raising piglets we aim to wean them at the age of 6-8 weeks. At six weeks everyone was looking good and the time was opportune. We want to do this so the mom's can recover, as it gets harder on them as the piglets grow, as well as to get piglets ready for sale. Suzy and Elsa had already begun to self-wean, as they were nursing less. So, grab the new trailer, mom's hopped in and we were good to go! They moved across the farm for observation for a few days, before moving to the orchard. That evenings air was full of squeals on either end of the farm - babes looking for milk and mom's missing their babies - it wrenches at the heartstrings a bit for 2-3 days.

Morning came around, time for chores and what did John find?! Vera, our elder sow and amazing mother, had magically appeared back with the youth. Begin weaning attempt number two! Plan A was to load her in the trailer, as we had the day prior. (We also had a plan B & C.) Set up the trailer, open the doors, all the piglets piled in while Vera watched, so we proceeded to plan D - walk Vera back to the other pasture. John led with the feed bucket and I trailed to encourage movement. In the end we reunited Vera with the other ladies, but it was a very lazy, zigzag sort of walk over there. Vera found some grass and alfalfa to snack on along the way, she did not like the smell of my mint. A video of the event would have been pretty funny.

Crops Rotating

It's a time of transition as we dig in to harvesting summer crops, as well as planting fall crops. The peas are beginning to wane, as they are lovers of springs cool and struggle with summer's heat. Garlic scapes will be gone this week - we will look forward to seeing them, along with strawberries, again next spring. Summer squash and cucumbers begin coming into abundance, the first tomato is showing an early blush and green peppers are bulking on their plants. Green beans will begin this week. Fall beets and carrots are seeded. Fall broccoli and cabbage will go in the ground this week. Winter squash, stars of fall bounty, are blooming heavily with promise of a good crop. Garlic and shallots are drying down and harvest will begin soon. Early potatoes are being dug.

Elsa dining on fallen apples.

Animals Rotating

The past weekend was a rotation weekend, with each of our three groups of pigs moving to fresh grass. The sows have moved out to the orchard, for a couple weeks, to take a well-deserved vacation. They are napping in the shade of apple trees, cleaning up the dropped apples, which serves as organic pest management for us. 

Girls at the orchard.
Cleaning up dropped apples is important for
breaking the pest cycle and reducing pests in the orchard system.
The piglets transitioned to their next pasture, which also offers them greater shade for this time of year. Sir Renfred shifted to his next block of pasture, soon we will see about trialing integrating him with the young feeder pigs to have some company. Renfred hit the electric fence the morning we moved him - poor buddy, I heard him yelp and a few minutes later went to check on him. He had gone through the fence (their natural instinct is to run forward, we train them to go backwards) and wandered around the house, then over to the pig barn. I grabbed a corn cob, stuck it in front of his nose, talked to him and walked him back home. We are grateful that we have such a wonderful pig!

Sir Renfred in the tall forage of his new pasture.

More Weekend Shenanigans

Farmers' Market started up for us on Saturday. Peas, cabbage, carrots, beets, garlic scapes, greens, wax beans, herbs, summer squash and celery filled our tables. The new location at Target is very nice, we are thrilled about the 'upgrade'. We will have much of that same produce again this Saturday. 
The jeep is always a bit like a clown car when we head to market -
we sure can fit a lot in there! (Not taken while driving Mom.
Market rolled right into a lunch and farm tour back at the homestead. Alternative Roots was one stop along the way for a field day on Prairies, Pollinators and Production, hosted by the Minnesota Master Naturalist program, UMN Extension and the MN DNR. Local chef at Lola - An American Bistro, and CSA member, Lacey Leuth put together a wonderful lunch featuring locally sourced foods, some from our farm. John, a Master Naturalist himself, led the tour of our farm, talking about how bees are important for us and how we work to create habitat for native bees.

Locally sourced picnic lunch on the farm.
Spring onions for the lunch.
Box o' beets for the lunch.


We begin saying farewell to piglets, as they move off to their new farms. A handful will remain with us to grow out for pork. We are coming up on an exciting (slightly scary !?! lol) human transition - the farm teen is getting ready for her drivers test!! Eek! Speaking of the farm teen, she took charge of the camera the other day and here are some of the results below, as well as the piglet photo above...

Tall pasture grasses and Brooke wheel hoeing in the vegetable field.
John weeding the 100 young apple trees in the nursery bed. Pasture on the right,
vegetable field to the left, native prairie behind.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

CSA Week #4

Week #4 brings a big shift into summer produce with the first summer squash, carrots, cucumbers and beans. Tastes of spring items remain with garlic scapes and peas. Take a gander at the photos to check out what's in the box and don't forget to read your CSA News, to get updates on the farm happenings, as well as recipes and storage tips!

CSA Box Week #4 ~ July 8, 2015
In the Box: Garlic scapes, pint snap peas, white/green cucumbers, bunch of green onions, small bunch carrots, broccoli (full shares only), quart of Dragon's Tongue heirloom wax beans, quart of Mammoth Melting snow peas, 1.5 lbs Mountain Rose new potatoes, summer squash (pictured) or zucchini (half shares only), bunch of baby beets, papalo (herb) and one head of cabbage (not pictured). Herb Boosters members also received their first delivery (of six): dill, sage, parsley and thyme.
Herb Booster Week #1
Cocozelle zucchini and Ronde de Nice heirloom summer squash.

The Sesame Snow Peas recipe, from the newsletter, is farmer-tested and farmer-approved!

Sesame snow peas, with red peppers from the freezer.
Mountain Rose new potatoes. What beauties!

Aaand pig pictures, for fun ;) My darling Cecil is very friendly. Not every pig like to snuggle like that! They are surely getting big very fast now.

Brooke and Cecil (6 weeks).
 The kiddos.

Farmers' Market this Saturday, July 11th • 9 am - Noon in the Target parking lot, New Ulm

See you there! We'll have peas, carrots, beets, garlic scapes, greens, herbs, cabbage and more!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Are you a Farm Fan?

We'll see you at Farmers' Market starting this Saturday, July 11th!

Announcing FarmFan

This is a new program for our Market customers. 

Sign up to get text messages right before the market with availability information and weekly specials. Then come on down to the market to checkin and get rewards!

Sign up here:
Or Text to Join:  Send a text to 54459, with the code alt985

More Details:
•After you become a FarmFan, one hour before the market {Saturdays @ 9am} you will get a text message from us with what’s fresh on that market day.
•You may unsubscribe at any time, by responding STOP or UNSUBSCRIBE to any text message you receive from us.
•To check-in, you will come to the market, make a purchase, and we will give you a passcode that you will text back in to get checked in for that market day.

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!

Are you one of our farmers' market shoppers? Become a "Farm Fan" to get text message updates to remind you when market is going to start, and what we will have.

Join by Text: Text the Code: alt985     To the Number: 54459
Join Online: Here