Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Apples :: Prairie Spy & Connell Red

Let me introduce you to two of our late season apples...Prairie Spy and Connell Red.

You may see one, or both, of these in Winter Apple Shares, if you pick one of those up. I have heard from several people that Connell Red has become their new favorite. Both will be at the farmers market as well!

Prairie Spy and Connell Red apples - late season varieties.

Prairie Spy

A sweet apple with excellent flavor, which only improves in storage. Crisp.  Good sized, firm and dense apples. Great for fresh eating, cooking and storage. An attractive fruit that is cherry red over green-yellow. Introduced in 1940, by the University of Minnesota. Extra long keeping winter storage apple. Keeps 3- 5 months in storage. Stores very well until mid-January, then waning in quality into March.

Connell Red

Very large fruit with a sweet flavor with a hint of pear. Fine-grained flesh is good for fresh eating, salad, and baked apples. The tree is vigorous and weeping. Introduced in 1943, by the University of Minnesota.

How to Get ARF Apples

You can contact us directly, at any time, to get ahold of some apples. Text Brooke 507-412-7605, email info@alternativerootsfarm.com, or find us on facebook.

We attend the winter farmers markets in Mankato, with the next date being this Saturday, December 15th, from 10:00-12:00 at Drummers Garden Center. The first January date is the 12th.

Grab a Winter Apple Share - last dates for 2018 are Dec. 15 (Mankato) and Dec. 17 (on farm). Sign up by Dec. 12.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Holiday Winter Apple Shares

Order by this Wednesday for our last Winter Apple Shares for the year!!!

This is a great deal on local, organic apples. Shares are 10 lbs for $22, or 20 lbs for $40. Shares will have 2-3 varieties of late season storage apples, or you can request baking apples.

Pick up either in Mankato this Saturday, December 15 at the Winter Mankato Farmers' Market atDrummers Garden Center & Floral between 10:00-Noon, or at Alternative Roots Farm on Monday, December 17, between 5:00-7:00 pm (rural Madelia).

Fill out the online form:

**Holler with any and all questions!**

Monday, October 8, 2018

Winter Apple Shares Now Available!

A New Apple Offering from Alternative Roots Farm

Sign up for one or more of our Winter Apple Shares - whether you are snacking, baking, or stocking the pantry this is a great, tasty deal!

Grab 10 or 20 lbs per share delivery - create your own program. Choose from four different pick up options throughout late October and November; a December date may be added later on.

10lb Share: $22  •  20lb Share: $40 • Larger quantities may be purchased at $2/lb.

Monday, October 29 - 5:00-7:00 pick up at the farm
Wednesday, November 7 - 4:00-7:00 pick up at the farm (during Fall CSA/Market at the Farm)
Saturday, November 10 - 10:00-12:00 pick up at Mankato Winter Farmers Market (Drummers)
Monday, November 26 - 5:00-7:00 pick up at the farm
A December date may be added later on. 
*Oct. 29 & Nov. 26 Mankato drop offs may be added if enough people sign up from the area.

How to Sign Up

Use the Order Form, or...

Contact us to let us know your:
   •preferred pick up date(s)
   •size of share for your pick up date(s)

Contact via:
   •Email: info@alternativerootsfarm.com
   •Text: Brooke 507-412-7605

Payment may be sent to Alternative Roots Farm 11197 130th St., Madelia, MN 56062

Monday, October 1, 2018

October Farmers Markets

A big chill is in the air, Halloween decor is popping up in neighborhoods and thoughts of warm oven baking apple crisps and pies are welcoming.

Farmers' Market season is bringing the best of Fall bounty now! It is not over!

October Farmers Markets and Events

New Ulm Farmers Market - Two more weeks! Sat, Oct. 5 & 13  Running through Oktoberfest.

Market at the Farm - Wednesday, October 17 4:00-7:00 right here at the farm!

Mankato Farmers Market - Four more weeks! Saturdays through Oct. 27.

Makers Space Market - Sunday, October 28 from 12:00-5:00  pin  Mankato Makerspace 1700 3rd Ave.

You can also find our apples every day at Valley Veggies, of Hwy 68, and weekends at Pumpkin Junction at Blue Skye Farms!

Fall CSA Shares and Winter Apple Shares

Two more Fall CSA Shares are available - October 17 and November 7.  See full details.

Coming soon - all new Winter Apple Shares!

Coming soon - Applesauce Shares and Apple Butter Shares!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Apple Season Updates!

Apple Season Updates Orchard Update September 26 -  Now available Zestar!, Honeycrisp, Sweet Sixteen, Cortland, McIntosh, Fireside/Connell Red, Haralson. Coming soon - Honeygold, Regent.

Also coming soon, sign up for our first Winter Apple Shares - one delivery of 10lbs or 20lbs of apples in October, November and/or December!

Contact us at info@alternativerootsfarm.com - Sign up for our newsletter for updates!

Where to get A.R.F. Apples:  
New Ulm Farmers' Market (Saturdays)
Mankato Farmers' Market (Tuesdays/Saturdays)
New Ulm Community Market & Co-op
Natural Food Co-op (Litchfield)
Arizona Olive Oil Co. (Mankato)
Pumpkin Junction at Blue Skye Farms
Valley Veggies

Follow regular updates on our Facebook page.

Upcoming Events including A.R.F.:  

Makers Market at the Mankato Makers Space - Sunday, September 30th 12:00-5:00 pm
--live music, Lucky Devils BBQ, bloody mary bar, vendors and more!
Pumpkin Junction at Blue Skye Farms - Saturdays/Sundays Sept. 29 - October 21
--bring the family out for some fun, pick a pumpkin, grab some ARF apples.
Market @ the Farm - Wednesday, October 17 - 4:00-7:00 pm
--Shop all available products right out at the farm! Watch for updates
Market @ the Farm - Wednesday, November 7 - 4:00-7:00 pm

--Shop all available products right out at the farm!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

How to get our garlic

If you have ever had our garlic you know it is top notch - it certainly blows the grocery store garlic out of the water. Grab a tissue...I don't want to make you sad, but...we are sold out for the season.

It was a teeeerrrrrrrible year for garlic growers all over the state. The long cold spring, wet (saturated really) conditions in June did not help. We had a 54% loss on our farm, but we are oh so grateful that loss came in size, not plants (about 3,000 of them). We know two other nearby growers who lost 7,000 and 10,000 plants. So, anywho, hows about that garlic?!

Normally we would have garlic for sale into the winter, but the only way you are going to get our garlic yet this fall/winter is to get in on our Fall CSA program! (Winter/Pantry CSA is sold out at this time.)

We have a limited amount of Fall #2 Hunter's Moon and Fall #3 Snow Moon CSA Shares yet available - holler at us to reserve a share!! info@alternativerootsfarm.com or text Brooke 507-412-7605.

Fall CSA pick up is held at the farm, from 4:00-7:00 pm on the dates listed below. 
Pick up will be market style, bring your own containers. 
Stock up your fridge and pantry with local, organic, seasonal goodness!

Fall CSA Order Form

Hunter’s Moon Share

Fall CSA #2  •  October 17

Full Shares $85  ||  Chard/kale, greens, onions, potatoes, winter squash: acorn/butternut, garlic, watermelon radishes, beets, carrots, apples, applesauce & apple butter.* Deposit: $45     5 more available!

Mini Shares $35  ||  Greens, onions, potatoes, winter squash: acorn/butternut, garlic, parsnips, carrots, beets, applesauce.* Deposit: $20     4 more available!

Snow Moon Share

Fall CSA #3  •  Nov. 7

Full Shares $90  ||  Microgreens, onions, potatoes?, winter squash: acorn/butternut/potimarron, garlic, watermelon radishes, beets, carrots, parsnips, apples, applesauce, cabbage. Deposit: $50     8 more available!

Mini Shares $35  ||  Microgreens, onions, potatoes?, winter squash: acorn/butternut, garlic, parsnips, carrots, beets, applesauce/apple butter. Deposit: $20     Only 1 more available!

*All items subject to change, based on availability.

Fall CSA Order Form

Monday, September 10, 2018

Apples :: Honeycrisp

Mid-Late Season • Sweet-tart

Mid-Late September

Known for its exceptional crispness and well-balanced sweet-tart flavor. This pretty, dappled red apple is superb for fresh eating, for baking, and salad as well.

Developed by the University of Minnesota. Designated in 1960 as MN 1711, patented in 1988 and released in 1991.

Offspring: SweeTango, Cosmic crisp, First Kiss/Rave.

Parentage: Keepsake x Unknown.

Stores 6 months or more.

Named Minnesota's state fruit in 2006. Known as Honeycrunch in Europe. With the success of the Honeycrisp apple it is hard to believe that at one point it was slated to be discarded.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Fall CSA Share Season!

Our first Fall Share is just a couple weeks away! With the chill in the air this morning I cozied up in a sweatshirt and slippers - it indeed feels like fall. Let us welcome Fall and it's harvest and bounty with the Harvest Moon Share! Scroll down for full details...

Email info@alternativerootsfarm.com or text 507-412-7605 to grab a share and make sure of availability - just 4 left for our first share. Come out to the farm, where your food is grown - fill your fridge/pantry, invest in food as medicine, build community and enrich your soul.

Connecting you to the land and farmers that feed you.

 Stay tuned! We plan to host a Market @ the Farm alongside these events!

Fall CSA Shares  ||  Fall CSA pick up is held at the farm, from 4:00-7:00 pm on the dates listed (Wednesdays). Pick up will be market style, bring your own containers. 

“Going to Alternative Roots Farm to pick up our Fall Share is something we really look forward to. It’s fun to see the animals! The vegetables are great and beautifully displayed. Heading out to the farm makes us “town folks” feel like we are part of the harvest season.” -Yvonne & Lee, CSA members

*Items subject to change, based on availability. You can see notes that were made on some changes, due to 15" of rain in June and the continued effects...many items were lost, some are still behind.


Fall #1  ||  Harvest Moon Share Wednesday, September 19  Only 4 left!

Full Shares $70  ||  Herbs, celery, chard, kale, greens, onions, potatoes??, winter squash: acorn?/delicata, tomatoes: cherry/slicers, cabbage, garlic, beets, carrots, applesauce & butter, apples. Deposit: $40

SOLD OUT Mini Shares $25  ||  Herbs, chard, onions, potatoes, winter squash: acorn?/delicata, tomatoes: cherry/slicer, garlic, carrots, beets, apples. Deposit: $15

Fall #2  ||  Hunter’s Moon Share Wednesday, October 17

Full Shares $85  ||  Chard/kale, greens, leeks, onions, potatoes??, winter squash: acorn/butternut, garlic, watermelon radishes, beets, carrots, apples, applesauce & butter, tomato-basil soup??. Deposit: $45

Mini Shares $35  ||  Greens, leeks, onions, potatoes??, winter squash: acorn/butternut, garlic, parsnips, carrots beets, applesauce. Deposit: $20

Fall #3  ||  Snow Moon Share Wednesday, November 7

Full Shares $90  ||  Microgreens, leeks, onions, potatoes??, winter squash: acorn/butternut/potimarron, garlic, watermelon radishes, beets, carrots, parsnips, apples, applesauce, cabbage. Deposit: $50

Mini Shares $35  ||  Microgreens, leeks, onions, potatoes??, winter squash: acorn/butternut, garlic, parsnips, carrots, beets, applesauce/butter. Deposit: $20


Friday, August 3, 2018

Apples :: Pristine

Pristine apple.

Early • Tart

Late July

Wonderfully tart, crisp, juicy and firm, with flavor and sweetness under the tartness. Medium-sized lemony-yellow hued skin with a pink blush, and white to cream flesh. Great flavor, and keeping, for an early apple.

Introduced in 1994.

ParentageCo Op 10 x Camuzat.

1-2 weeks.

Has a biennial tendency. 2018 was or first crop and we are delighted with the flavor and crispness for such an early apple! We are excited to add this to our long list of apple varieties.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Fruits of our Labor

Shout out to The Land Magazine for featuring our farm in their current issue! What a nice article. Follow the link for a read of their July 2018 issue.


Sunday, July 8, 2018

2018 Fall Apple Shares

**Fall Apple Shares are now sold out** You may purchase apples from us beginning in mid-August, by contacting us directly, or shopping at the New Ulm Farmers' Market (Saturdays) and the Mankato Farmers' Market (Tuesdays/Saturdays). Also, watch for our apples at Co-ops in the region! Don't forget to let us know if you are interested in an Fall Apple Share for next season!

Fall Apple Shares Now Available!

Please holler at us with any and all questions!

Fall Apple Share
$54.00 :: 24 lbs/4 lb Bag x 6 weeks Sept 5/8 - Oct. 9/13 

That's $2.25/lb, regularly $2.50/lb! Filled with standard and heirloom varieties, which change week to week - the best of what's in season. This year we will be harvesting around 25 varieties, in a few years that will jump to over 50! Featuring organic & transitional organic apples hand-picked by your local apple farmers, John and Brooke. Weekly reminders will be sent out, along with nerdy apple information and recipes! Winter Apple Shares (new!), Applesauce and Apple Butter Shares will be available later in the season.

Delivery: *Please pick an option that works for all 6 weeks.*
     (1) Saturday - New Ulm Farmers' Market, 9:00-12:00 am, Cash Wise lot, 9/8-10/13
     (2) Saturday - Mankato Farmers' Market, 8:00-12:00, Best Buy lot, 9/8-10/13
     (3) Wednesday - In-town New Ulm, 5:45-6:45 pm, 1221 Settler Trail, New Ulm, 9/5-10/9
     (4) Wednesday - At the Farm, 5:45-6:45, 11197 130th St., Madelia, 9/5-10/9

Reservation: Email info@alternativerootsfarm.com to reserve your share and confirm your delivery choice, or holler at us with any questions.

Payment: Due at the time of reservation, cash or check please.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Field to Table :: Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes - those wild looking curly-qs - are a delightful late spring-early summer treat. Many are completely unawares of this veg, while others know to look for it during this brief season. As seen below, scapes are the flower stalk of the garlic plant - we remove them at this time of year (when they reach full curl), so that the garlic plants may focus on making bulbs instead. (Scroll down for recipe links.)
Garlic scapes growing.
What do they taste like?  Garlic scapes have a mild garlic flavor, the white, swollen flower part of the scape has a bit more kick. You can use the entire stalk; to use test the base end to remove any tough parts (especially if they are real large) just like asparagus, by bending and snapping the stalk where it breaks easy, you may also want to trim the tip. Because the flavor is milder, some folks who have a hard time eating garlic find that they can enjoy scapes.

How to use Scapes  Scapes are delicious raw or cooked! Another bonus is that they have a really long shelf life. I chop up my scapes and add them to eggs, fresh salads, pastas, soups, stir frys. They are fantastic cooked on the grill - leave them whole, add a little olive oil and pepper, and toss in the grill wok. Really they are so versatile, you can add them wherever you would use onions or garlic. Make a scape chimichurri or pesto, hummus, or try pickling them. Scroll down for recipe links. If you want to tame their flavor go ahead a blanch them for 30 seconds, cool, then proceed with your recipe.

Storing Scapes  Store scapes in a closed container - a plastic bag or tupperware - and they will keep for a month or more (I have literally lost some in the back of the fridge and they were still good three months later). Make sure to remove any rubber bands.

Preserving Garlic Scapes  We preserve our garlic scapes two ways here on the farm, and both are easy peasy. First, we simply chop and freeze! In the photo below you can see trimmed scape sections, these are prepped, then chopped and frozen on a cookie sheet; once frozen they are transferred to a freezer container, then we can easily grab a tablespoon or a handful and toss into meals all winter long! They hold really well this way, surprisingly good enough to even throw on raw salads.

The other way we preserve scapes is by making a pesto. We blend up the pesto and freeze in pint jars (experiment with what size jar is right for you). We used to freeze it in vacuum seal bags, with the oil it is easy to open a bag, break off a hunk and reseal; we move to jars to use less plastic.

Some of our favorite ways to use the pesto include in grilled cheese sandwiches, with crackers/sardines/cheese (a favorite quick lunch), in scrambled eggs, with sautéed greens, of course it good with pasta and you can mix with yogurt for a dipping sauce.

**Warning - consumption of garlic scapes may result in extreme pleasure and may result in additive behavior, heightened awareness of the brief fresh garlic scape season, shaking your scape bunches like maracas in the kitchen.**

A Handful of Recipes to Get You Going

Garlic Scape Pesto (We use walnuts instead of pinenuts.)
Garlic Scape Chimichurri Sauce (Omit the jalapeno, if you aren't feeling it.)
Pasta with Garlic Scape Pesto
Pickled Garlic Scapes
Pasta with Garlic Scape Pesto, Sugar Snap Peas and Ricotta 
Garlic Scapes Hummus

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Seasonal Items for Sale 6/24

What's In Season?
Contact us to make an order - pick up at the farm, or delivery by arrangement. Cash/check only please.
Lettuce $2.50-3.00/head - red and green
Radishes $2.00/bunch or 2/$3.50 *Limited time!
Kale $3/bunch or 2/$5
Swiss chard $3/bunch or 2/$5
Garlic Scapes $3/bunch or 2/$5 *Limited time!
Herbs $1.75/bunch – sage, parsley
Green shallots $1.50/bunch *Limited time!
Rhubarb $2.25/lb or 3/$6
Contact us by email info@alternativerootsfarm.com
In Gratitude,
Brooke & John

Friday, June 22, 2018

Photo Update June 22

So, this will be an update for all of June, apparently! As of today we have had 9.67" of rain, the field is more like a bog, but it is what it is. Cruise through the month of June so far in these pics...
Maybe I should grow cranberries in my bog?
Did you catch that worm video on facebook? The mud has provided some fun. ;)

The raspberry patch got an overhaul - well weeded and trellis posts put in. We will wait to string up wire until next year (for one thing it is just too wet right now).

Raspberries are beginning to blush!

For two weeks we did our Spring CSA pick up at the farm, here's what it looked like - a market style pick up where folks select their own goods.

Lettuce, rhubarb, radishes, strawberries, kale, parsley, sage, green shallots and garlic scapes are farm fresh in June!!

Green and red heads of summercrisp lettuce.
Heirloom rhubarb.
Beautiful radishes.
Delicious and nutritious kale.
Parsley and sage.
We started on our big project for the year! We will be renovating the quonset hut to meet our changing needs at the farm. The inside is all graded, supplies are being delivered and we are getting ready to get the concrete poured.

Tomato plants are blooming and little green fruits can be spotted (same with cukes).

A little evidence of the rain - carrots look okay at the top of this planting, but I'm pretty sure I'll have to replant the back half. The rains are really setting back weed control, as well as some seeding.

Potato blooms grace the field! We have lost some potato plants, due to the water, hopefully these sunny days will help things bounce back.

I just harvested our first pound of basil on the 21st! I love the smell of basil!

Harvesting for Spring CSA and local orders has been a little mucky! Today looks dry all day - quite a blessing!!

I added two new items to our wellness line, two items we use around here regularly, our Cool It and Herbal Bug Spray. Cool It is a blend of essential oils that I use on hot days - spritzing on my pulse points, back of my neck and on my chest to cool off a little. The bug spray is a blend of yarrow and catnip to cleanly and naturally deter bugs; spray every hour, or as needed. Studies show catnip to be as effective as deet!

It's been a real pleasure harvesting fresh food for my community again this spring. The open house we had in May, the Spring CSA and Mini Market at the Farm brought old and new faces - it means so much to connect with all of you.

 Apples are growing! The crop looks really great this year. Info on Apple Shares coming soon!!

Until next time!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Photo Update May 24

In this post...News from the Farm...&...What's in Season...

Fresh from the Farm

The trees have moved past full bloom into petal fall, we can see successful pollination and little pear, plum and apricot fruitlets in the trees. 

We are busy seeding and transplanting crops into the veggie field, for August/Fall/Winter markets, Fall/Winter CSA. We have delivered loads of organic transplants to Shellee's Greenhouse in Madelia - it's so fun to work with other local women business owners!

Brooke and Shellee, of Shellee's Greenhouse with organic
basil and cucumber transplants.
The strawberries have hit full bloom and will ripen to be enjoyed by our Spring CSA members - just a few weeks away!

There's always plenty to do, but learning is important. I was happy to spend a field day out learning from another farm's systems and experience. Below you can see a moveable tunnel system used for extending the season - a fascinating system.

T-shirt order is still underway - see more details, or head over to the order form - until June 22!

What's in Season

Rhubarb, asparagus, nettles, chives, wild edibles like ramps and mushrooms.

I have been busy harvesting rhubarb for customers and the New Ulm Community Market (Thursday markets 2:00-7:00pm), as well as for freezing to make into strawberry-rhubarb jam later on. Try these Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp Bars.

Rhubarb chopped and headed to the freezer.
I have also been harvesting stinging nettle to dry for tea/infusions, make into tinctures and infused oil for herbal salves. If you are interested in nettle tincture, to use for your seasonal allergies, contact me and I'll make sure you get some out of this year's batches!

Stinging nettle in the dehydrator. Once dried I use it for teas and infusions.
On our woodsy forays we have harvested wild ramps, gray morel mushrooms, pheasant back mushrooms and oyster mushrooms. Not near enough morels yet though!!

Asparagus is ready for harvest every other day. While we eat a lot fresh, the seasonal abundance is getting put up in the pantry too. This year I am canning all of the fresh asparagus. In the past I have always frozen it, it keeps well that way, but I like canning, as it is energy independent in storage and freezer space is always at a premium.

Like I said, we are always working hard... ;)