Lida Farm Journal: Week 11

Where are the melons? If you’ve been wondering this since early august, just know that I’ve been wondering the same thing. But, finally, they have started to mature. We grew them using a plastic mulch called IRT this year for the first time. This is pretty typical on produce farms and something we did on Foxtail Farm where I used to work. IRT stands for InfraRed Transmitting, so the mulch allows in light to warm the soil and also stops weeds. This is the perfect recipe for growing melons, which love warm soil temperatures. One problem, on the other hand, is that the melons rely on irrigation lines below the mulch for moisture instead of rain. So, when you’re in charge of supplying “rain” to plants, you walk a real tightrope, balancing size and flavor. For example, if you irrigate a lot, you get big melons, but also flavorless melons. Myself, I was on the conservative side, so we ended up with small melons, but I think they have good flavor. Anyway, I’m just happy they finally made it!

We were thankful for the rain last week. It really made a difference for us. Things were really dry and I just dreaded the idea of setting up and moving drip tape to cover the whole garden. With little rains here and there, we should be fine on moisture as we move into fall…it’s hard to believe, but fall is right around the corner.

Harvest Party Invitation: Please make the trip to attend our harvest party on Sunday, September 16 from 1-4pm at our farm. It’ll be a real informal pot-luck thing, which will be a good opportunity to see where all this food comes from and mingle with other members. Details: We will supply pork and beef BBQ sandwiches and beverages. As a pot-luck, we would request you bring a salad, side, or dessert to pass. All members and your families are welcome to attend. Please RSVP at our home number (218-342-2619) or my e-mail ( so we get some numbers of attendees. Our farm is about half-way between Vergas and Pelican Rapids right off County Highway 4.

P.S. I am still posting newsletters online at I also put a number of pictures there too, so you can “see” the farm.


Tomato Mix

The little green ones are an heirloom called Green Zebra. We’ve grown them for the first time this year. Smaller than I thought they’d be, but they have good flavor.

A Couple Yellow Onions


Fresh Thyme

If you can’t get to using it soon, just let dry in your kitchen. We’re still using the stuff we dried last fall. If dry, you can put into a ziplock bag and knock around so all the leaves fell off the stems.

Sungold Cherry Tomatoes

Roma Tomatoes

Italian Beans

You’ll notice these beans are flat. They are a variety called Romano Bush and belong to a family of beans people call Italian beans, which are typical throughout the Mediterranean. When we sold at a farmers market in Northeast Minneapolis, there was always this old Lebanese lady who was crazy for these, saying she just could never find them in the US.

Green Stuffing Peppers

A Couple Colored Peppers

Hot Peppers

The red ones are called cherry bombs—really mild when you remove the seeds and membranes.


The light-colored one is a yellow variety called Sunshine and the other is a red variety called Sugar Baby.

Stuffed Peppers

4 green or red bell peppers
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 lb of lean ground beef
1 1/2 cup of cooked rice
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or parsley
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp of Worcestershire Sauce
Dash of Tabasco sauce

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, cut top off peppers 1 inch from the stem end, and remove seeds. Add several generous pinches of salt to boiling water, then add peppers and boil, using a spoon to keep peppers completely submerged, until brilliant green (or red if red peppers) and their flesh slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Drain, set aside to cool.

2 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat 4 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, add meat, rice, tomatoes, and herb, and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix well.

3 Drizzle remaining 1 tbsp. Oil inside peppers, arrange cut side up in a baking dish, then stuff peppers with filling. Combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl, then spoon over filling. Add 1/4 cup of water to the baking dish. Place in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the internal temperature of the stuffed pepper is 150-160°F.

Serves 4.

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