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
•  •  •

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?

•  •  •

Friday, April 21, 2017

Earth Day Events

Celebrate Earth Day with us! 
We celebrate Earth Day every day and tomorrow is a great day to enjoy that!
 You can find your favorite farmers around town on Earth Day - stop by and say hello.
Brooke & John

Apple Tree Sale @ Shellee's Greenhouse

Shellee's Greenhouse, Madelia, has invited Alternative Roots Farm to be a part of her Opening Day/Earth Day!

We will have apple trees for sale all day, 9:00am-5:00pm at the greenhouse. John will be there from 12:00-4:00pm, to answer all your apple tree questions! Plant a tree for Earth Day! Larger trees are $30 or $45, smaller trees are $11, or 3 for $30.

March for Science @ Herman Heights Park

Gather to celebrate all that is awesome about science and hear some great speakers!
The event kicks off at 10:00am. Brooke will be the farmer guest speaker at this event - come and hear what science means to her, and our farming. Several other speakers - teacher, ecologist, doctor, and a science enthusiast - will speak, followed by an act of service.

How great that this is happening right in our backyard?! Come and celebrate! 
Details here, or below:

Hermann Heights Park, New Ulm  •  Sat., April 22  •  10:00am-1:00pm 
To support publicly funded and communicated science and evidence-based policies as pillars of our society and our freedom! Who should come? Everyone is welcome! This is a family-friendly event.

What are we doing? The event will kick-off with local inspirational speakers (farmer, teacher, ecologist, doctor, and a science enthusiast) who will talk about what science means to them. We will then participate in an act of service: picking up trash in the park and woods area as well as cutting down invasive buckthorn and hauling the brush into piles.

We will not be marching, but instead will be gathering for a Science Celebration. Signs are welcome, but please keep them positive and focus on what science means to you. 

What to wear? Your favorite science shirt, gloves, sturdy shoes, clothes you don't mind getting dirty for the trash/ buckthorn removal portion of the event.

4.21.17 Phenology Report

April 21, 2017 Phenology Report:
So its been a while since I have updated you all on all things Phenological at Alternative Roots Farm, but I assure you that things are changing rapidly! As far as the fruit trees go, the timing of the bloom seems to consistently follow the same schedule, with the apricots already in bloom, the plums blossoms at "white tip" (flowers not open yet) and the apples in the "tight cluster" stage (tight cluster of flower buds but not yet in pink tip). What is important to note at this time of year is that there are not a ton of pollinators around working the flower buds, especially if its cool and wet out - because of this, the apricots this year will rely heavily on the pollination services of small flies and other native pollinators that may be hanging around. Hopefully the flies can help provide us with some apricots this year!
The changes in the wildlife category are crazy right now - the male pheasants or "Roosters" can be heard cackling starting at sunrise and through the day. There has been one bold rooster who has chosen the grove across the road as his stomping grounds, even though we have 2 hunting dogs constantly running around the farm! For some reason he has taken a liking to our chickens and has been caught twice now right next to the chicken run courting the ladies. On another note with our feathered friends, Brooke's favorite bird has returned - the Brown Thrasher! This bird is certainly a bird of the summer, and remains here through fall. The Thrasher is a bird about the size of a blue jay, with a long tail, long and slightly curved bill - to me it's the Road Runner of the north. What's even more unique about this bird is its amazing at mimicking other bird calls - including robins, chickadees, wrens, hawks, crows, grackles, etc...Although loud, this bird is hard to see and spends most of its time on the ground or the tip top of the tree.
In the riverine areas around this part of the state, the spring ephemerals are all leafing out, but not yet all blooming. Some Bloodroot has been seen blooming, but things like Dog Toothed Violet, Dutchmens Breeches (sp), and trout lilly are not there yet.
That is all for now.

Our bold pheasant, hanging out by the hens.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Greening Up Part I :: In the Greenhouse

The greenhouse is filling up! It is the beginnings of playing tetris with all the flats of gorgeous green seedlings that promise a season of plenty. It starts slow, with onions, shallots, leeks and celery, but we are now in full swing.

Small, round brassica seeds that love to roll in all directions.
We primarily use "soil blocks" (3/4" blocks below) to start our transplants. These are great for superior transplants, root systems and reducing our plastic footprint.

Broccoli seeds, before being tapped down into the soil.
Many seeds were started this week, including our second plantings of kohlrabi, lettuce and broccoli. Also, swiss chard and ground cherries were started. Early this week tomatoes and peppers germinated and moved under the lights.

Beautiful, beautiful celery. 
 Celery might be my favorite seedling, as far as beauty goes. (I don't like the stinky tomatoes, but they are beautiful as they grow.)

Tomato sprouts!!!
 The onions, leeks, shallots and early kohlrabi will be moved out to the transplant greenhouse tomorrow!! Woot! Woot!

A beautiful flat of bunching onions.
 This could be one of any number of brassica babies. The brassica family include broccoli, cabbage and kale - all of which are populating the greenhouse right now!
Brassica seedlings, in 3/4" soil blocks.
 We have some herbs started as well - rosemary, thyme and parsley.

Rosemary in 2" soil blocks.
 I love lettuce babies! Amazing that these little plants will be amazing salads in only a handful of weeks!

Winter Density heirloom lettuce.
 Lettuce celebrate Spring!!

Pirat butterhead lettuce
 Kohlrabi! Our first time growing them by transplant, instead of direct seeding in the garden. This is great!

Kohlrabi (many brassicas look like this).
 Seeding continues in earnest each week, as we edge closer into the season. Pretty soon we'll be seeding in the field!!

Peppers germinating!
 A peak inside the celery forest. ;)

Next: Greening Up: In the Field (part 2)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Spring Favorite :: Peas

Mmm, fresh peas picked straight from the vine. This is really one of my favorites during spring (and summer, and fall) harvests. Picking peas can be tedious, but I'll admit it, I like it. I sort of build a meditative pace and I'm pretty quick at it. Shell peas are really my fav, it's just lovely to pop those pods open. Which type is your favorite? 

Scroll through for a few recipes.

Peas germinating!

Environmental Rockstar...

Peas are nitrogen "fixers", which means they can take nitrogen from the atmosphere and fix it into the soil, making it available to other plants.  So they're good for you and good for the soil! 

Snow peas on the vine.


There are thought to be four centers of origin, including Central Asia, the Near East, Abyssinia, and the Mediterranean. There is evidence of cultivation along the Thai-Burma border, dating back 12,000 years.  Peas were introduced to the Americas soon after the arrival of Columbus.

Pea blossoms.

Health Rockstar...

Peas are a good source of protein and fiber. They are rich in vitamin C, iron, thiamine, folate, phosphorous and potassium. They are also a source of omega-3 and -6, beta-carotene and vitamin E. Peas contain phytonutrients, which are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

Mammoth Melting snow peas.

Pro Tips...

Use peas within 2-3 days for best flavor and maximum nutrients.

The main season for peas is spring - early summer, so preserve their freshness by putting some in your freezer for pastas and stir frys all year around. Shell peas may be shucked and frozen. I like to freeze them on a sheet pan, before vacuum sealing them in bags. This is a great activity to do with the kiddos! Snap and snow peas should be blanched before freezing (if this is the only thing keeping you from doing it then skip the step and just use them within 6 months). Use frozen peas within 12 months.

Sauteed Sugar Snap Peas

Top and tail the sugar snap peas, pulling off the strings.  Slice on the diagonal into ½-inch-thick pieces.  Put into a saute pan with a ¼-inch of water, butter and a sprinkling of salt.
Cook until done, about 3 minutes.  The water and butter should be emulsified and coat the snap peas, which should be bright green and just tender.  Adjust the seasonings and serve—try curry or garlic, or whatever floats your boat.

*You can also toss other items in, such as your onions, kale, radishes, beet greens or spinach in, as well as garlic, garlic scapes and other goodies, such as Swiss chard or shallots.
[Main recipe from Chez Panisse Vegetables]

Sauteed Radishes and Sugar Snap Peas with Dill

Makes 6 servings  • To remove strings from fresh peas, just snap off the stem end and pull string lengthwise down each pod.

•½ C thinly sliced shallots (or a onion + 1 clove garlic)
•1 T olive oil
•12 oz sugar snap peas, trimmed, strings removed
•1 T butter
•2 C thinly sliced radishes (about 1 large bunch)
•¼ C orange juice
•1 t dill seeds (omit if you don’t have any)
•1 T chopped fresh dill (or slightly less dried dill)

Melt butter with oil in a large non-stick skillet, over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add sugar snap peas, cook for one to two minutes, and radishes sauteing until crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Add orange juice and dill seeds; stir 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in chopped dill. Transfer to a bowl; serve. Credit: Bon Appétit, April 2004

Braised Peas with Spring Onions and Lettuce

• 1 knob of butter
• olive oil
• 1 heaped t flour
• 1 C chicken or vegetable stock
• 6 spring onions, trimmed, outer leaves discarded, and finely sliced
• 14 oz fresh or frozen peas
• 2 little butter lettuces, sliced
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• juice of 1 lemon *about 3 T
• extra virgin olive oil

Slowly heat the butter and a good glug of live oil in a pan. Add the flour and stir around, then slowly pour in the stock. Turn up the heat and add the spring onions, peas and lettuce with a pinch of alt and pepper. Put the lid on and simmer for 5 minutes or until tender. Taste, correct the seasoning and squeeze in a little lemon juice. Serve drizzled with a splash of good oil. It’s fantastic served with a piece of fish.
Credit: Cook with Jaime (Jaime Oliver)

Sesame Snow Peas

•1lb snow peas 
•1/4 red bell pepper
•1-1/2 t sesame seeds
•2 t toasted sesame oil

Steam lease until bright & crisp-tender, 1-2 min. Cool under running cold water. Drain & dry.  Toss with remaining ingredients.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Phenology Report

Phenology Report 3/7/2017: 

Its been 2 weeks since I have written a report and WOW how things can change so fast. The phrase of the week is "Don't like the weather in Minnesota? Wait a couple of minutes, it will change!" Yesterday was a perfect example of this....Coming home from work it was about 65F outside, with a severe thunderstorm warning in effect. At about 1:00AM, while letting the puppy out for his nightly escapade, I was hit in the face with huge snow flakes and the temps around 25F! That is March in southern MN.
These temp changes are somewhat harsh to us, but nature is well adapted and can "weather" these changes with seemingly little concern. For the last two weeks, migratory waterfowl have been holding up on the large wetland east of the farm - giving up both enjoyable evenings seeing hundreds of birds swarming around the area getting ready to settle for the night, while in the mornings I am often greeted with single flocks of geese (snows, blue, Canada, and Lesser Canadians) and swans passing overhead and chirping while I complete the morning chores. I wish every morning were like this! Most of the ice has receded from area lakes and these waterfowl are taking up their usual nesting spots - Brooke noted that the swans are back on Linden Lake looking for the proper muskrat hut to lay their eggs. This is an annual sighting on Linden - and one we always enjoy. One neat thing about Linden that I have always found interesting is that it seems to be a hot spot for Canvasback ducks - they are a rather elusive large duck that not common for the area, or the state for that matter, but we see them every spring and fall on their annual migration.
Canvasback ducks
Last note on our bird friends - the Killdeer have returned! Brooke and I love these upland shorebirds (oxymoron). Seeing their little babies later in the spring can really bring up the spirits if you have a bad day! I mean, who cannot chuckle and little cotton ball looking chicks on stilts chasing after mom and dad down the gravel road. Hahaha:)
On the plant side of things here is what I am seeing: Lilac buds are green and ready to burst. I hope these cool temp swings do not hurt the flowering buds. Nettles are starting to poke up, soon enough we will be collecting the young shoots for the animals as well as drying some for ourselves.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Photo Update 3.8.17

Some photos around the farm, this week! It's time to get back into our photo update routine. With nice(r) weather and thawing ground we will be getting more active outside. Dear me! You'll need some pics of the greenhouse plants in the next one - things are growing!

Ragnar's favorite place to hang out these days is on top of the cozy, warm chick brooder. He just sits there and watches when I am tending to them. They are growing fast and have their awkward young feathers coming in.

The piglets were weaned this week. One by one we are winning them over and getting them to flop down for belly rubs. Elsa, pictured, is quite happy to to be done nursing.

We have been busy canning shredded chicken and chicken stock/bone broth. Read our blog post From the Pantry :: March for other kitchen shenanigans.

Canned chicken and broth.
John is gearing up for grafting apple, apricot and plum trees for the farm, as well as teaching a grafting workshop in New Ulm this Saturday. The workshop is tidied up and ready to begin!

The first round of Sponsor-A-Tree signs are finished! We are so grateful for our members' financial support of our growing orchard. For orchard updates check out our Apples page.

Signs for our members/farm fans who have sponsored a tree.
Crazy winds have been defining the last week and the first spring storm rolled through on Monday, March 6th. The smell was delicious, but I'll hold on to winter for a bit longer. Normal temps are good for the orchard trees - breaking dormancy early/bud development ahead of schedule always comes with the threat of frost damage.

Things are growing around the farm already - chives above, rhubarb below.

Rhubarb growth.
Cedar posts for trellising.
Just around the corner is tree planting on our new land!! John and Larry have been busy harvesting cedars for the apple tree trellis system. Below, John has staked out the tree rows on the new land. (The Quonset hut is ours now too!)

Apple tree row staking on our new land.
I have been enjoying hard boiled eggs more frequently - good, easy, healthful protein! Look at those beautiful yolks.

Hard boilers.
 That's all for now, thanks for stopping!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

From the Pantry :: March

Fall storage items we are still eating from the pantry:

Winter squash (some are getting wrinkly)
Potatoes (beginning to look a little alien)
Garlic & shallots
Red & yellow onions
Sweet potatoes (bought from another farm)

Summer produce items we are still eating from the freezer:

Shredded zucchini
Various fruit - rhubarb, strawberries
Other items below these, yet to be discovered...

Side Track!

Redefine what you think of as eating seasonally! YOU define the season, if you start preserving for year-round/extended consumption. Part of this may also include redefining what you think these items may look like - octopus sprouting potatoes, wrinkly spuds and squash. YuM.

It's Pantry and Freezer Clean Up Time

With spring and farming season just around the corner we have been putting priority to cleaning up our pantry and freezer. Focusing on prepping items for our busier times. This is the first time we have been so successful at this, during this time of year and it feels great. 

Potatoes: Our storage potatoes may indeed last us until the summer's new potatoes come in! With our potato stock we have been making twice baked potatoes with the larger, better looking tubers. Along with these we also continue to freeze portions of mashed potatoes.

 Twice bakers and mashers headed to the freezer. This is one way to redefine how we eat seasonally.

Winter Squash: We have butternut and acorn squash in the pantry and because of the wet WET fall they are not storing as well as normal. We have been roasting and freezing portions of puree and I still aim to can some (cubed) before we are done. P.S. Another reason I have really been enjoying this is because I have been adding squash to the dog's food and they love it (well Odin loves it, Hazel tolerates it).

Chicken: We put fifteen stew hens in the freezer in November and we have slowly been putting up shredded chicken and stock/bone broth. The chicken, veggies and herbs sit in the crock for a day, before shredding and canning. Then, the bones, skin, etc. goes back in for another day to make bone broth for cooking and using as a healthful drink (which I also put in the dog's food sometimes). I'll add apple cider vinegar to help extract beneficial minerals from the bones and sometimes I toss in a beef marrow bone to increase the benefits. After it's done I strain the broth and pressure can it (then sort out the 48-hr cooked veggies/skin, etc. to throw in the dog food). ;)

Organs: We always get back our pig organs when we harvest and since we aren't super good at eating them they have sort of piled up in the freezer. While one of us likes liver, the other doesn't, so we have resolved to dehydrating these items (if they don't get put into sausage) for dog treats. This is proving a great way to clean up the recesses of the freezer.

Still on the List

Lard: crank out a bunch of rendered lard. (Try making some soap?!?)
Garlic/shallots: freeze some olive oil/garlic balls; ferment some for holistic farm management.
Zucchini: I always freeze too much! I should crank out some breads to stick back in the freezer.
Freezer excavations: what is hiding at the bottom of the freezer? (Usually way too many frozen peppers.)

Lard, beautiful lard!

What's Missing?

It's a great time of year to check in and see what you are missing - what do you need to preserve more of next season? For us, celery. Darn it! Every year we run out. Okay, I'm going for an ice cream bucket full this year! Also, we need a new salsa to put away, one type is not enough. It would also be nice to have some canned beans.

What's on your list?

Resources & Other Interesting Things...

Why is organic food so *#@! expensive?? | Ali Partovi | TEDxManhattan

Bone Broth, Broths an Stock

8 Bits of Plastic You Can Quit Right Now

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

February 24 is National CSA Day!

Do you have your CSA share yet?! Our goal is to move out the last of our few remaining share, so we can focus on farming and the important projects of the season ahead, including planting our new land into organic orchard and building our deep winter greenhouse for winter growing. Will you join us?

Friday, February 24th is National CSA Day. "CSA is the most direct connection that an eater can have with his or her farmer and is a connection to the land that an eater can’t get in any other way. Through CSA, we imbue food with meaning, story, and connection. In a world of intractable problems, being a CSA farmer or CSA member is an act we can take to make life better for our land, economy, and community as a whole." Excerpt from A Vision for 5 Million CSA Customers by 2030

CSA isn't just a meal delivery service, it's a connection to your food and farm. A way to support the health of your family, while also supporting your local economy and the health of your environment. It's an adventure, it's community building - with the bonus of being delicious!

Our members are at the core of what we do - thank you! This isn't just a job, it's a lifestyle - it's a labor of love that we are proud to do.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Orchard Update, From Up a Ladder

Pruning tools and piles in later winter.
With the early February thaw, orchard pruning and any clean-up from the winter is in full-swing!  The mature trees are taking their final shapes with each cut, while the young trees are being formed for future years.  

Pruning mature trees is much different than pruning the young; over pruning the young trees can stunt them for a long period of time, whereas the mature trees are able to rebound the stress of pruning more quickly.  

Soon to follow pruning will be grafting, staking out the new orchard area, transplanting trees from the nursery and sticking in those companion plants for the trees!  

Come April, the Alternative Roots Farm will have a whole new look.

Follow orchard updates on our ARF Apples page and on facebook.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Phenology Report

Follow along on Facebook to get John's phenology reports!
In 2017 I am making it a goal to post more about Phenology and what we are observing in nature/climate around our area. For those of you who are not familiar with the term "Phenology" its the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life. So, after that brief introduction here is your phenology tidbit for the week: Keep a look out for raccoons this time of year, its mating season for these guys! Yes, warm weather will bring raccoons out of their winter slumber on a sunny day in January, but right now they are more than just out for sunbathing, they are looking to find a mate! 
Another thing noticed is that with these warm day time temps and cool night time temps, you way want to start thinking about getting your maple syruping equipment out - by the weekend were are expecting day time highs of 40's and lows in the teens, perfect for sap to be running! 
Last but not least, I have always enjoyed the phenological part of farming, especially in the orchard. People ask, "when do you prune" and to be honest, there is never a specific "Date" that I start - rather I think of it much like maple syrup running, I prune when the day time temps are at or just above freezing and the lows at night are below freezing. I do this because it shortens the amount of time between when we prune the tree (literally a wound), to when it can start healing. Pruning too early in the winter can open the tree up to injury from the cold. So when do I start? Some years in late January, some years in Mid-February and maybe years even in March. In 2017 I will be starting this week!
Farmer John

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

2017 CSA Sign Up is Open!

We invite you to join us for our 6th season of CSA at Alternative Roots Farm! We will again be offering Full and Half CSA Shares, as well as Farm Shares (sold out). Apple Shares, Fall Shares and new Winter Shares, will be available later in the season.

What is CSA?  We love CSA because it connects us directly with you, our customers, but there are many reasons why CSA is a great model for food production and delivery!

2017 CSA Details  Veggies, apples, weekly newsletters - we work to support you and your use of your weekly/bi-weekly deliveries.

Email us at to reserve your share today!

What our Members are Saying...

"We have been doing this for a couple years now and the quality and service has always been exceptional! We love trying the new items and enjoy the old favorites. I like how it helps to get us to eat a little more healthy than normal. You both are so nice and always answer any questions that we have! I love being able to eat locally sourced organic food!!"

"We loved being a part of the CSA share! We did the half share and looked forward to fresh organic produce with new recipes from the newsletter. It was worth every cent. Thank you!"

A few photos of last year's boxes:

Early season CSA box: yellow cucumber, parsley, beans, celey mini, shell peas, radishes, 2 kohlrabi, green cucumber, spring onions, snow peas, garlic scapes.

Mid-season CSA box: mixed tomato quart, zucchini, red cabbage mini, basil, yellow & green cucumber, bunching onions, shallots, round summer squash, carrots, mixed heirloom beans, swiss chard, mixed wax beans, oregano, beets.

Late season CSA box: carrots, potatoes, trio sweet peppers, swiss chard, leeks, mixed quart specialty tomatoes, shallots, red & yellow onion, garlic bulb, green pepper, 2 slicer tomatoes, bunch mizuna salad greens, apples, ground cherries.