Monday, December 18, 2017

We Are Grateful

Sending Gratitude & Holiday Cheer Your Way!
Wishing you happiness, health, laughter and peace during the holidays.

It has been a wonderful year - thank you so much for your support this year and over the last 6 years!
There are big changes on the horizon that make us very excited for the season ahead. We look forward to serving you in the new year!

Locally Yours,
Brooke, John & Emily Knisley
(farm dogs Hazel & Odin, fam cat Loki and the chickens too)

Monday, November 27, 2017

A Trio of Parsnip Ideas

Need a little inspiration for your parsnips? Stuck in a rut with just plain roasting them? There are many ways to enjoy this sweet, nutty cousin to the carrot.

We looove them roasted, or slow cooked with a pork or venison roast! Here are a few ideas I found on the interwebs, if you have a great idea please share!

Parsnips, butternut squash and leeks.

Parsnip, Mushroom and Leek Gratin     from the Kitchn

Sweet Potato Parsnip Bisque     from Sweet Potato Soul

Roasted Tumeric Parsnip Fries     from Bucket List Tummy

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Deep Winter Greenhouse Kick Off!

Well our deep winter greenhouse (DWG) is up and growing! We had a fantastic turnout for our open house on October 29 and the first seeds were planted by DWG pioneer Carol Ford, Garden Goddess Greenhouse. Thank you so much to all our partners, supporters, contractors and members! This is thrilling and so important to our farm. We are full of gratitude.

Here is the open house and latest from the greenhouse in a photo update!

The greenhouse pre-landscaping around the exterior.

At the open house engineer Dan speaks about how the passive solar structure works. 

Here's a view of the air outtake at the front of the building, the circulation fan is in the middle, the intake (for hot air) is at the peak (black tiling).

We talk about how the DWG fits into our farm goals and what we plan to grow in it. Winter CSA here we come! Fresh greens during the winter - YuM!

Farmers John and Brooke.
Farmers John and Brooke, Greg from UMN RSDP.
Ribbon cutting time! Farmer John, bro-in-law Andy (construction helper, plus representing Carroll Distributing), Larry (construction helper supreme), farmer Brooke and CSA members Yvonne & Lee.

Thank you to the University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnership for making this program possible and helping us move into the future of our farm!

Thank you to our CSA members who have supported us on our journey! We were thrilled to have members Yvonne & Lee sharing the excitement of the day and cutting the ribbon with us!

Brooke, Yvonne and Lee.
Time to talk about planting and sow the first seeds! DWG pioneer/veteran Carol Ford, Garden Goddess Greenhouse, talked about how she plants in her greenhouse, the soil mix she uses and a little bit about growing. Then she planted the first planter with arugula seed! Video on facebook.

Thanks to all who shopped our mini market, came to enjoy the festivities and learn and celebrate with us! The event was very energizing and exciting. Live music was enjoyed by all, courtesy of Dick Kimmel and Stacey Watje. Live entertainment provided by farm cat Loki.

The first planting of arugula is up and off the germination mats! Seeding will occur about every other day until the greenhouse is filled up. Right now there are baby greens and microgreens growing, as we finish setting up the growing space in the greenhouse.

Gutter planters and plastic trays on the germination mats. We are working on setting up the inside structures, farm dog Odin likes to help (in comfort, of course).

The back room will be for storage and soil mixing, etc.

Below you can see some of the gutter planters underneath the germination/planting table.

Thanks go out to event organizers:
UMN Regional Sustainable Development Partnership and the Sustainable Farming Association.

Shout out to our local contractors:
Cedar Hill Homes (Glenn Hauser, general construction); Darin Portner Trucking (excavation/grading work); Nosbush Glass Co. (plexiglass install); NU Current Electric; Pat Faerber Masonry (block work); Searles Well Drilling (water work, directional boring); Heiderscheidt Digging (tiling suppies for air circulation system); Carroll Distributing (construction supplies); Larry Knisley - what would we do without your construction help! Thank to Frandsen Bank for financing the project!

None of the big wigs came, but we got this nice letter from Senator Amy Klobuchar! :)

Cheers! We'll keep sending out updates on facebook and here, as we grow!

Where can you find us next?

Mankato Winter Farmers' Market
Saturday, November 11th 10:00-12:00am, at Drummers Garden Center

Monday, October 23, 2017

Market @ the Farm

Market @ the Farm ~ Wednesday, October 25th 4-7:00pm
Come out to the farm and shop our Fall Market!

Shop from farm fresh items, storage items for your pantry, canned goods and health and wellness items, as well as local honey.

What's @ the Farm?
Apple Butter • Applesauce • Greens

Garlic & Shallots  • Herbs - dried & fresh
Butternut and Acorn Winter Squash • Broccoli

Watermelon Radishes • Parsnips
Herbal wellness items • Eggs • Onions • And more! 

Plus: Moody Bees Farm Honey products!

Bring your reusable shopping bags!

A sampling of available items! Plus, fresh produce!

Directions to the Farm: 11197 130th St, Madelia, 56062
From New Ulm: go 12 miles South on Hwy 15, turn left on 130th St., go 1.5 miles down the gravel.
From Madelia: go 8 miles North on Hwy 15, turn right on 130th St., go 1.5 miles down the gravel.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

2017 CSA Newsletters

An ongoing archive of our splendid 2017 season, our sixth season here at Alternative Roots Farm.
Weekly posts, along with links to our newsletters, will be added as they happen.

The "Posts" contain pictures of each box & a link to the newsletter.

Preseason {1}  April Newsletter
Preseason {2}  June 5 Newsletter
Member Supplements:
Storage Guide • Herb Guide • Honey Add-On Order Form
Week 2 Post • Newsletter
Week 11 Newsletter
Week 12 Newsletter
Week 15 Post • Newsletter
Week 16 Post • Newsletter
Week 17 Post • Newsletter
Week 18 Post • Newsletter

Week #4 CSA Box ~ July 5, 2017
French Breakfast heirloom radishes

Fresh Snow Peas
Week #17 ~ Sept. 28, 2016

Friday, October 6, 2017

Fall Shares Available!

Fall Shares & Market @ the Farm ~ October 25th 4-7:00pm

Full $80  (8 available) ~ Mini $30 (only 1 left!)
Available first-come, first served.

Pick up will be at the farm from 4:00-7:00 pm, Wed., October 25th and will be market style. Bring your own containers.

Full Fall Shares: ~1lb garlic, 3-5lbs onions, 4lbs potatoes, shallots, tomato-basil soup, apple butter, butternut & acorn squash, greens, varied bulk quantities of roots (parsnips, carrots, beets), cabbage, leeks. $80

Mini Fall Share: garlic, onions, apple butter, squash, leeks, greens. $30

Amounts are approximate, amounts & items may change, based on availability. 

An on-farm market will be available during this time also, for purchase of items ala carte.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

CSA Week 14

Week 14 boxes were delivered Wednesday, September 13. New for week 14 were acorn squash and baby leeks!

In the Box: baby leeks, German Red garlic, celery, summercrisp lettuce, 2lbs Kennebec potatoes, pint cherry/grape tomatoes, four Prairie Spy apples, red onions, Ronde de Nice summer squash OR zucchini, heirloom tomatoes, Thelma Sanders heirloom acorn squash, mix snap/wax beand, rosemary sprigs, pint ground cherries (half shares).

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Dozen Wonderful Ways to Use Your Apple Butter

Alternative Roots Farm apple butter is made with love, local and organic ingredients. We use only our organic apples, organic spices and it is now made with local honey from Moody Bees Farm (the only honey you should buy from now on ;). But what should you do with it besides putting it on toast?!

1. Top your oatmeal or pancakes! This is a great way to add some clean-eating sweetness to your breakfast routine.

2. Add it into baked goods. This is a great way to add some subtle apple pie flavor and make a great moist, delicious baked good. Think muffins, pancakes, bread and more!

3. Freeze into ice cubes. Toss the frozen ice cubes into your smoothie for a delicious apple pie flavor! Try it with bananas, almond milk and vanilla protein powder. This is also a great tip for using up apple butter that you aren't going to use up.

4. Spread on sweet potatoes. Dip sweet potato fries! Again, a great clean-eating option.

5. Yogurt topping. Drop a blob of apple butter in your yogurt, maybe add a squirt of Moody Bees Honey and enjoy a bowl of delicious yogurt of breakfast, a snack or healthy dessert! You can always add another dash of cinnamon or cardamom to add flavor and health benefits.

6. Muffin spread. Choose apple butter, instead of regular butter, for your next muffin indulgence. In summer it’s a great way to add flavor to those zucchini muffins. ;)

7. Add to your pork! Drop a dollop on your pork chop or loin.

8. PB & AB. Make a simple sandwich with apple and peanut butter - a double-butter sandwich. I think the kids will like this one!

9. Cottage cheese swirl. Drop a dollop in and swirl it into your cottage cheese.

10. Just eat it. Grab a spoonful of apple butter and enjoy the apple pie flavor. No guilt, just pure joy.

11. Add to roasted nuts. Drizzle over nuts that have been warmed in the oven and enjoy.

12. Top that ice cream! Add some natural goodness to your bowl of ice cream. Feel free to warm it up.

BBQ Bonus tip from a customer! Put a jar of apple butter, a jar of BBQ sauce and an ARF pork roast in the slow cooker, HEAVEN!!!

Made with Organic apples, local honey and organic spices. Apple butter is a clean eating treat!

Friday, September 8, 2017

CSA Week 13

We're back! Missed a couple weeks in's all good. My phone has been fussy with taking photos (and who even uses a real camera these days). Here are a couple photos of the week 13 boxes and a link to the latest newsletter, which features some tomato recipes. We are looking forward to enjoying the last third of the season - five weeks to go!

Week 13 CSA Newsletter ~ featuring: farm news, musings on preserving; tomato recipes, list of previous recipes.

In the Box: Jalapenos, Georgian Fire garlic, zucchini or zucchini & summer squash, head lettuce (half shares), Swiss chard (full shares), 1.5lbs mixed heirloom beans, carrots, mixed heirloom slicer tomatoes, pint of cherry/grape tomatoes, 2lbs Kennebec potatoes, trio of 'Prairie Spy' apples.

Some Tomato Shares members received 10lb boxes of mixed heirloom tomatoes; the rest of the these shares will be delivered over the next two weeks.

Herb Boosters continued with Basil, Rosemary and Sage this week.

The first of our Applesauce Shares were delivered. There is still time to grab an Applesauce Share! Stock your pantry with a case of farm fresh, clean-eating applesauce. Made with organic apples, local honey and love. A case of 12 is $65.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Apples :: Cortland

Mid - Late Season • Sweet-tart • Heirloom

Late September to Early October

A rich sweet-tart flavor that is aromatic and vinous. The bright white flesh has a nice coarse texture. The medium-large apple has a deep burgundy stripes over green-yellow skin. Cortland is a great all-purpose apple that makes a nice textured puree; it is great for fresh eating, cooking, as well as salads, because it is slow to brown.

Developed at Cornell University, Geneva, New York, 1915.

Parentage: McIntosh x Ben Davis.

Keeps for 3 months.

One of the first successful varieties developed from the popular McIntosh, the parent that it gets it's white flesh from. It is a very hardy tree, tolerating winters down to -40°, making it great for Minnesota!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

CSA Week #10

Quick and dirty - here's week #10! New this week - green pepper and red onions.

CSA Newsletter Week 10 ~ featuring: farm news; recipes: Melinda's Carrot Hummus, Chard-Potato Frittata, Chard Stuffed or Unstuffed.

Week 10 CSA Box ~ Aug. 16, 2017
In the Box: chives, Hungarian wax peppers (full shares), Swiss chard (full) or kale (half), Ronde de Nice summer squash, carrots, zucchini, German Extra Hardy garlic duo, Rattlesnake snap beans, 2lbs Reddale potatoes, celery, red onion pair, green pepper, cucumber trio.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

CSA Week #9

It was a rainy CSA day, one where the full body rain suit is a necessity to get the job done. Most harvest work was done Tuesday, accordingly, but a few items still had to come out during the rain. So, after a quick harvest of celery, kale, squash and cukes, I pulled all the green onions out of the field to clean and bunch out of the rain. That wasn't too terribly bad, or wet, but it did make the hand chillier than one would think for August!

New this week - snap beans (finally), Reddale potatoes, celery, Beacon and Pristine apples, and German Extra Hardy garlic.

CSA Newsletter Week #9 ~ featuring: farm news and a few questions; featured veggie: cucumbers; recipes: Best Ever French Beans, Simple Turkish Bean (Fasulye).

CSA Week 9 ~ August 9, 2017
In the Box: cucumber trio, celery, German Extra Hardy garlic, French Gray shallots (half shares), Beacon (red striping) and Pristine apples, Dragon's Tongue wax beans (full shares), Rattlesnake snap beans (half shares), carrots, rosemary-sage bunch, 2# Reddale potatoes, Ronde de Nice summer squash (half shares), green onions, Cocozelle zucchini (full shares), beets with greens.

Dragon's tongue wax beans.

Heirloom carrots, after washing, before bunching.
It was very exciting to have our first harvest of Pristine, off our young orchard trees!

Beacon and Pristine organic apples.

Info on Apple Shares coming soon!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

CSA Week #8

Jewels of summer in boxes this week, to celebrate reaching the half way point. New this week are French Gray shallots, tomatoes and Hungarian wax peppers!

CSA Newsletter Week #8 featuring: 
farm news
featured veggie: beans
-cucumber water
-Hungarian sour cream cucumbers
-carrot rice
-Paula Dean's zucchini bread (with a bunch of farmer notes)

In the Box: beet bunch, Russian Red garlic bulb, cucumber quartet, French Gray shallots, green onions, carrots, Swiss chard, pint mixed heirloom tomatoes (full shares), Ronde de Nice (round) summer squash, 'Cocozelle' zucchini, Hungarian hot wax peppers (half shares), Dragon's Tongue wax beans.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

CSA Week #7

Harvest and deliveries continue with Week #7 CSA boxes. New this week are Mountain Rose potatoes...mmm...

Week #7 CSA Newsletter ~ featuring: farm news; featured veggie: cabbage; recipes for: Evolution Cucumber Salad, Unstuffed Cabbage, Fresh Basil Vinaigrette, Preparing Garlic, Grilled Cabbage, Scallion Pancakes.

In the Box: green onions, basil bunch, jalapeno duo, kale, zucchini (half shares), cabbage, Russian Red Garlic, parsley, Dragon's Tongue heirloom wax beans, Mountain Rose new potatoes, cucumber quintet, apple butter.

From the farm, farm dog Odin was working on a cucumber and farm kitten Loki decided to join him. Totally didn't set this up! They were eating cucumber together! So cute.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

CSA Week #6

If you are looking back at recipes from previous newsletters all the shortcut links are HERE.

It seems time has started flying! I knew it was week 6, then it clicked that that's a third of our season! Crazy! Week 6 boxes were delivered - neither rain, nor snow, nor tornado warning shall keep us from delivering our produce. The downpour, torrential at times yielded about 1.7". this week were Dragon's Tongue wax beans, jalapeños and garlic!

A Full Share CSA box packed and ready to go!
 CSA Newsletter Week #6 ~ featuring: "what's in the box"; Recipes: Grilling Vegetables Part 2, Stir Grilling, Preparing Garlic and bean cooking tips; article: "Food Waste: Put Your Guilt in the Compost."

CSA Box Week #6 ~ July 19, 2017
In the Box: green onions, zucchini (half shares) or 'Ronde de Nice' heirloom summer squash (full shares), green cabbage, kale (half shares), pair of jalapenos, German Red garlic, 1.3lbs Sangre new potatoes, chives, Dragon's Tongue heirloom wax beans, carrots (full shares), 1.3lbs Lodi (tart) apples, cucumber trio.

Sangre new potatoes.

The garlic harvest is in! Fresh, or uncured, garlic went in this week's boxes.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

CSA Week #5

The weight of summer bounty is beginning to fill CSA boxes. The first summer squash/zucchini, cucumbers, beets and apples were packed into boxes this week. The delightful aroma of fresh veggies wafts from the boxes as you open them. Mmmm.

CSA Newsletter Week #5 ~ featuring: farm news, MANY recipes: Chimichurri Sauce, Baked or Roasted Beets, Sauteed Beet Greens, Grilling Greens, Grilling Vegetables part I, Beet cooking tips.

In the Box: Garlic scapes (curly-Qs), spring onions, sage (full shares), green cabbage, beets, 1# Lodi heirloom apples, pint snow OR snap peas, summer squash (round, pictured) OR zucchini (full shares), Swiss chard (half shares), kale (full shares), kohlrabi trio, cucumber trio (half shares), radishes, basil (half shares).

Lodi heirloom apples
Read more about our Lodi apples here.

Herb Booster
Herb Booster this week: Basil, thyme, spearmint.

Apples :: Lodi

Early Season • Tart

Mid-July. Lodi has a biennial tendency, so it may only bear every other year.

This medium sized apple has a green-yellow skin with juicy flesh. This is a soft-fleshed, tart and juicy apple. Okay for fresh eating, but best for cooking. Lodi cooks down fast, it makes a great sauce.

Parentage: Montgomery x Yellow Transparent.

Origin: Geneva New York, 1924. Developed by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station.

Short storage life of 1-2 weeks.

Monday, July 10, 2017

CSA Week #4

Last Wednesday marked four weeks of delivery under the belt and we are just getting started! The bounty continues and grows!

CSA Newsletter Week #4 ~ News from the farm; featured veggie: peas; tips for cooking kohlrabi; recipes: sautéed radishes & sugar snap peas with dill, kohlrabi & cabbage salad with maple lemon dressing.

In the Box: Basil, Swiss chard (full shares), pint snow or snap peas, garlic scapes, radishes, green onions, All Hail! Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam (or apple butter), quart shell peas, summer crisp lettuce (half shares, kohlrabi.

Herb Boosters began this week, with parsley, rosemary and basil!

Bonus kitten photo...Loki...fuzzy little kitten ball.