Thursday, July 31, 2014

Farm Photo Update

From the field and barnyard - every corner is filled with life and activity these summer days!

Getting a piglets-eye-view...

Summer days...

A mom and her daughter, Lilly and Dafney.

On hot days these wallows look kind of nice!

Meet Banshee, she earned her name. She is an Americauna.

Two of our Speckled Sussex pullets.

One of our Columbian Wyandotte pullets. Hopefully one is a rooster!

Weaning has begun. This is the piglets haven.

They are doing good! Eating and drinking well.

And the mommas lush pasture, on the other end of the farm.

To the field! I we have started spotting little melons on the vines - a little behind from this spring, but doing well. There are acorn and butternut squash in abundance as well!

Young acorn squash.
Young butternut squash.
 We have been trialing white/yellow cucumbers for the last three years and feel like we have found a keeper! This is a tasty Holland White - one of our CSA members said it was the best cucumber they have ever had!

First ground cherry harvest today! These should make it to market in the next two weeks, after CSA boxes have received some.

Tasty treats. Highly addictive...

A peak at fall - Brussels sprouts.

August is peak season for tomatoes! Ready to taste the rainbow?!

Cherry tomatoes...

The forest of tomatoes. Sometimes harvest entails some crawling.

The beauty of the garden is all around.

A young zucchini.

This springs grafted apple trees - awesome!

Bean season has begun!

Rattlesnake pole bean.

Borage, for the bees.

Rain and a rainbow all around, but somehow it missed us. We did enjoy the beautiful skies.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

CSA Week #7

Week #7 is underway! Beans and tomatoes joined delivery this delivery. More summer bounty! We also moved on to a new variety of potatoes, and somehow still had snow peas for Monday's box.

CSA Newsletter Week #7

CSA Box Week #7 • July 28th, 2014
In the boxes: heirloom tomatoes (see below), 'Red Gold' potatoes, sage, 'Red Russian' kale, mix heirloom radishes, 1-1/2 lbs mixed heirloom snap beans, red onion, cucumbers, leeks, 1 pint snow peas (Monday), zucchini (half shares, not pictured.

Heirloom tomatoes, any of the following: 'Italian Heirloom' large, red, juicy (pictured); 'Valencia' yellow; 'Black Krim' purple; 'Wapsipinicon Peach' light white-yellow; mixed cherry types 'Blondkopfchen' and 'Cherry Roma.'

Hooray! So happy to be enjoying bean season!

'Red Gold' early season potatoes. Red skin, wrapped around deep yellow flesh. Tasty!

Herb Boosters (Monday only this week) received: mint, lemon thyme, tarragon, peppermint.

Tickets still available for our Farm-to-Table Dinner with Schell's Brewery & Chef Lacey Leuth!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

August Farm-To-Table Dinner @ Schell's

We are very excited to announce this event and this great partnership between Alternative Roots Farm, Schell's Brewery and Chef Lacey Leuth of Lola - An American Bistro, that is making it happen!

It is going to be a blast to get folks out to the farm for a tour (optional), then head to the brewery for an amazing meal. Check out the details and share them with your family and friends that may be interested - we have 30 tickets yet available at this time.

Local Routes: Farm-to-Table Dinner • Sunday, August 24th

4:00 (farm tour) // 5:45 (dinner only)  to  9:00 pm

Hosted at Schell's Brewery, enjoy a seasonal 6-course meal on their beautiful grounds. Courses will be paired with tasty brews - what a treat!

Local chef Lacey Leuth, of Lola - An American Bistro, (and Alternative Roots Farm CSA member) has prepared an amazing menu with local, seasonal items from our farm.

We are excited to highlight our heirloom tomatoes, heirloom corn meal and fresh apples in the courses, along with many other ingredients.

The Evening

The evening will start at the brewery, where we will meet to caravan and/or carpool out to the Farm. Tour Alternative Roots Farm, to see where and how our produce is grown, and then return to the brewery to enjoy that produce prepared in a 6-course meal, paired with seasonal and special brews from Schell's.

The Menu

Seasonal Gazpacho with cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes

Beet Carpaccio with beets and cucumbers, shaved red onions, fennel and arugula

Kale Ravioli tender and delicious ravioli with kale, garlic, ricotta and lemon zest, dressed with a tomato-garlic sauce

Grilled Polenta featuring an heirloom cornmeal polenta and a delightful sauce with mirepoix, rosemary, garlic and tomato

Beet Sorbet with a carrot coulis, apples and fresh mint

Apple Tart with caramel, cream and cinnamon


Tickets are available by contacting Alternative Roots Farm or Chef Lacey Leuth to reserve your tickets, checks can be made out to Alternative Roots Farm. Thirty tickets are still available at this time and we are looking forward to a full event!

Cost: $75.00        for the 6-course meal and beer pairings

Questions can be directed to

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Orchard Update

The amount of apples we are seeing at the orchard this year is tremendous and so are the pressures from pests and diseases. 

The wet spring has been an incubator for fungus issues at the orchard this year causing us to see things we have not seen before like Fro-Eyed Leaf Spot, which is present on nearly every tree.  The wetness also fed an outbreak of Secondary Scab in addition to Primary Scab.  Coddling Moth and Plum Curculio are present and affecting a normal amount of apples, but at the moment its tolerable and we are able to deal with it.  We are not complaining, but rather informing you of some of the issues we deal with at apple orchards across Minnesota.  We are thankful to be able to manage such an orchard and enjoy its beauty.

This year we have made sticky traps to catch Apple Maggot and keep them from laying their eggs on the apples. There are a total of 104 traps in the orchard and we hope they are successful, especially for those early apples like State Fair and Sweet 16. 

On another note, the Wealthy apples look amazing! They are already the size of a racquet ball but still have more than a month and a half before they are ripe. These are quite the treat when they come in.

2014 Apple Shares Now Available! Delivery starts in early September, find more details in our most recent Newsletter

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

CSA Week #6

Whew! That was a hot harvest yesterday. It was the kind of day where you sweat just blinking. The heavy work of digging potatoes started the day off, when it was yet cool. Red cabbage is making it's one-time star appearance this week - who doesn't love fresh cole slaw!!

Check out the CSA News Week #6

•Recipe for Fresh Basil Vinaigrette
•Recipe for Swiss Chard Gratin
•Recipe for Fresh Cole Slaw
•Veggie Profile for Potatoes
Orchard and Farm Updates

CSA Box Week #6 • July 21, 2014
In the Box: Carrots, 1 lb 'Satina' potatoes, heirloom mix Swiss chard, double-bunch of basil, 'Mammoth Red Rock' heirloom cabbage, 'Early Jersey Wakefield' heirloom green cabbage, 'Holland White' or 'Double Yield' heirloom cucumbers, yellow table onions, 1/2 lb Dragon's Tongue wax beans, zucchini (Monday) and broccoli (Monday, Half Shares).

A rainbow of colors!

Tickets still available for our Farm-To-Table Dinner with Schell's Brewery! A delicious, local 6-course meal, preceded by a farm tour. More info here.

Join our Mailing List.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

{Field-to-Table} Fresh Cole Slaw

A batch of fresh cabbage cole slaw.
Stir together until well blended:
•3/4 C mayo *sub plain yogurt
•1/4 C white vinegar
•1 T sugar

Finely chop or shred:
•1 small head chilled green or red cabbage, cored with outer leaves removed

Season with:
•ground black pepper and a pinch of salt to taste

If desired, add any of the following:
•dill, caraway or celery seeds
•chopped fresh parsley, chives or another herb

•grated carrots, radishes, kohlrabi
•crumbled crisp bacon
•chopped broccoli

Green cabbage.

Red cabbage
Do you have any cole slaw tips? Share them!

Subscribe to our Email Newsletter HERE.

Now Available:
2014 Apple Shares
A.R.F. T-shirts
Tickets for Local Routes: Farm-to-Table Dinner, with Schell's Brewery

See our latest Newsletter for more details.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

CSA Week #5

Lots of summer goodies in this week's box! Celery, cabbage, carrots, beans and cucumbers made their seasonal debut.

CSA Box Week #5 • July 14, 2014
In the box: carrots, broccoli, 'Satina' new potatoes, heirloom lettuce mix, 'Detroit Dark Red' beets with greens, heirloom mix Swiss chard, 'Early Jersey Wakefield' cabbage, celery bunch, 1 pint 'Mammoth Melting' snow peas, bunch oregano, cucumber, 3/4 lb 'Dragon's Tongue' wax beans and garlic scapes.

Head over to  check out our CSA Newsletter Week #5 for news from the farm and other good info, including:
•Cabbage profile
•Tips on grilling vegetables
•Recipe for Grilled Cabbage
•Recipe for Baked or Roasted Beets
•Orchard and Farm updates

Herb Booster
 This week's Herb Booster members received a quartet of sage, basil, tarragon and oregano.

The boxes were full to the brim!

Subscribe to our Email Newsletter HERE.

Other posts to check out related to this week's veggies...

Friday, July 11, 2014

CSA Week #4

Week 4 deliveries went out this week with the first potatoes of the year! We are seeing (and tasting) a shift to summer produce, but the lettuce is holding on under our shade tunnel for a short bit yet!

CSA Box Week #4 • July 7, 2014
In the box: new potatoes (Satina), Winter Density romaine lettuce (Monday only), Pirat butterhead lettuce, Black Eyed Susans (from our native prairie), 1 quart Green Arrow shell peas, 1 quart Mammoth Melting snow peas , 1 cup heirloom dry bean mix, sprig of rosemary, red and yellow spring onion bunch, Dinosaur (pictured) or Red Russian kale and garlic scapes.

All packed up and ready to go!

This week the members receiving Herb Boosters (Wed. only this week) enjoyed: sage, peppermint, basil and tarragon.

Subscribe to our Email Newsletter HERE.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

{Field-to-Table} Grandma's Buttermilk Cornbread

CSA member Megan made this delicious cornbread recipe with Alternative Roots Farm heirloom cornmeal. We taste-tested the recipe - it was a hit! Thanks Megan :)

Delicious cornbread!

Grandmother's Buttermilk Cornbread


*If you have any suggestions for adapting this, or any of our recipes, for specialty diets, please share!


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
  2. Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

{Field-to-Table} Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic scapes are only around for a brief couple of weeks in early summer. These flowering stalks of the garlic plant are harvested when they emerge, and curl back on themselves, so the plants may focus their energies on growing a nice, big bulb underground. Scapes are versatile and amazingly delectable - raw or cooked.

Garlic plant with scape.
A delicious recipe for this ephemeral spring treat!

Garlic Scape Pesto 

• 1 bunch garlic scapes (6-8)
• ½ C nuts, any will do
• 1 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 1-2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
• ½ t salt
• ½ C extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to taste

You may use the entire scape. Roughly shop the stems. You will have roughly one cup of chopped scapes, or more. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the pesto reaches the consistency you like – adding additional olive oil and lemon juice as necessary.
Store in a glass container in the fridge for up to ten (10) days. Store in the freezer for up to six (6) months. Enjoy!

Tip: If you would like to reduce the garlicky flavor you may add 1 cup chopped parsley, spinach or basil to mellow it.