Neufchatal and Cream Cheese Special

We will be delivering again this Wednesday, November 11 throughout the area. I’m thinking we’re the only organic dairy route in the nation, so join up to say you’re on the cutting edge.

We have organic cream cheese and Neufchatal on special at $2.25 each and still have a good number of whole chickens for sale as well as some winter squash. Please order through our local dirt site to let us know what you’d like:

We will also be doing one other delivery before Thanksgiving and will have our own lamb available at the end of the month. You can also arrange to pick up if that works better.

Orders for Sunday

Here at the end of the produce season, this is your last chance to stock up on some things before we go on vacation. We’re sitting on a mountain of winter squash we’re selling for a real deal at $5 for 1/2 bushel as well as the last of the onions and peppers.
We also got in a set of small roaster chickens (4 – 4.5 lbs) and still have the range of Organic Valley cheeses and butters available. Order up at our Local Dirt site by Saturday evening and we’ll deliver on Sunday afternoon. If you’d rather pick up on the farm on another date, that works too.

It’s really cold in Minnesota (CSA Week 16)

Wow, didn’t it get cold last night? It’s a bad sign when there’s already frost on everything before you go to bed and the sky is clear as a bell. We’re guessing it was about 25 degrees, which really puts a final end to the season. Few things go through a freeze like that, even the beet greens where pasted to the ground. We have the white stuff forecasted for tomorrow, so selling at a farmers market in snow will be a first! Maree wishes our camera worked, because we’d like to have record of it.

End of season logistics: If you’re in the neighborhood, please just drop off the last wax box…if not, don’t worry about it. Also expect an end of season survey in the mail. We really do want to know how the CSA season worked for you. It’s also an opportunity to let us know if you’re interested in being a member next year….as a current member, we give you first chance to re-join before opening up to others.
Thank you for being a member this season. Our door is always open. If you haven’t gotten a jack-o-lantern pumpkin, please come on out and we’ll set you up.
In the box:
Tongue of Fire Beans: this is an heirloom dried bean. Simply shell them and use as any dried bean. There are not many, so I’m thinking of them as something to add to a soup.
Hubbard Squash: this is the big blue-colored one.
Buttercup Squash
Spaghetti Squash: yellow and long in color
Haralson Apples: a good baking and cooking apple
A couple sweet onions
A couple white onions
Popcorn: this needs to be dried quite a bit before popping. Pull back the corn wrapper and hang like you would indian corn for at least a couple of weeks in a dry sunny place.

Yearly Veggie Report (CSA week 15)

Wow, today and yesterday have been the worst harvesting ever. I was going to pull in potatoes, but that’s way too difficult in this stuff. It’s cold, wet, and miserable out there…stay inside and drink some tea or something (which sounds pretty good). All told, I do like bringing in fall crops…I just naturally feel like bringing in the end of the season harvest. Kind of like gophers or bears getting ready for winter, I think people get a natural instinct this time of year to pull in what they can.

Every year I do an end of season re-cap: th winners and losers of the produce season. I figure today is a good day to do that as I reflect on how the season went as I’m out in the machine shed cleaning up indian corn and winter squash.
In the winner category are all the cool season crops, which just loved this cool summer with a fair amount of rain. This includes kohlrabi, cabbage, broccoli, fall peas, leeks, spring greens like lettuce and salad mix and I’d have to throw in onions and beets as well. The grand champion of the year in my mind is celery…now I know this may seem like an odd one to you, but this is the third year trying to grow the stuff and typically it turned into a stalk 6 inches tall with the consistency of dental floss…so I was really excited about how it turned out this year! These crops grew well mainly because of the cool season, but there are some which did well just because I “got my act together”, which is evident in the long corn season this year–I think we got it in the box for 6 weeks, which is the most weeks in a season. This is because I got three plantings done in the spring, each 2 weeks apart, which allowed them to be spaced out. Another thing we did was cultivate onions well with the help of our new tine weeder, so we got good-sized onions because of little weed pressure.
In the loser category we have a list longer than I care to mention, some due to the weird season, but some due to me doing stupid things out in the field. The causualties of bad weather include some hot season crops. First and foremost is the eggplant…it didn’t even get into the box! It needed heat in a big way, but it also was under serious attack by the potato bugs this year…by far, the worst season ever with these guys. Our organic pyrethrin spray didn’t seem to do anything to these bugs…I don’t know if it’s a tolerance issue or I simply had my timing off. Anyway, they also devastated bad crop number 2: potatoes. I even put in these fingerlings for this season, but they didn’t get into the box either because they ended up being the size of small peanuts since the plants died back by the end of july, which is terrible. Still, the crop which just killed me this year was garlic. It was a comedy of errors on my part which destroyed this crop. I didn’t get it planted in time last fall, so I had to treat as a spring transplant; then I pretty much killed it by running it over with our tine weeder cultivator when I never should have…I’m still kicking myself for it. Others I wasn’t crazy about: strawberries, raspberries, spring peas, greens (swiss chard anyone?), edamame, and beans (although I loved the new variety we grew, Grenoble).
All told, it kind of evens out, although this isn’t any consolation to those who love eggplant or garlic and just didn’t get enough.
In the box:
Celeriac: some call celery root. You use whenever a recipe calls for celery…it keeps forever, just leave in crisper in fridge.
Rutebega: another standard root crop, some love it, others hate it. Try mixing in with potatoes and mash, about half and half proportions.
Cippolini onions: I had these for breakfast yesterday, sauteed with peppers and some tomato and put on eggs with some toast.
A sweet onion
Butternut squash: again, keep in a dry, sunny spot. The taste of winter squash actually improves with age…it’ll taste better in a couple weeks.
Buttercup squash: the dark green ugly one with a button on the bottom.
A couple pie pumpkins: can use for decoration or bake for use in pumpkin recipes like pie or anywhere you’d use that canned pumpkin stuff.
A small canteloupe: end of the line, I just throught I’d put in the last of them.
Sprig of Rosemary
A mix of peppers
A few heirlooms

The frost that never came (CSA week 14)

When I start harvesting winter squash I know for sure it’s fall, whether I like it or not. Typically I harvest winter squash right after the first light frost, usually in mid-september. It has happened here every year for the last 6 years, so I figured this year would be the same, but I guess not. This is both a blessing and curse.

It’s a blessing because we didn’t really have a summer and this ended summer actually gets some of those crops across the finish line–I would have been really upset if half the tomatoes never turned red.
It’s a curse because the frost forces me to let go of the summer crops. There’s only so much you can cover a few thousand plants and so the frost typically brings all tomatoes, peppers, beans, corn, and eggplant to an abrupt end. I get really worked up about this, dashing around the night before trying to pull in everything I can. But the day after the frost, I experience a huge sense of relief…I can relax because all those tomatoes coming in at one time really causes some stress. It’s all about picking and hopefully selling them in a really short window.
So, the summer continues and so do we. Peppers are actually turning color and that last set of corn actually ripened. By the way, I must apologize if you did hit some corn which tasted a lot more like field corn than sweet corn–an issue brought to my attention by some people I sold to at the market. The problem is that I planted sweet corn too close to the indian corn and they cross pollinated, making your silver queen take on the flavor of its neighbor…again, my apologies (I still have some more good corn at the farm if you’d like me to set you up to redeem myself).
As mentioned before, our harvest party will be saturday, October 3, starting at 5:30 with dinner at 6 pm. Please let us know if you are coming. We supply the main dish, drinks, and you supply yourself and a side. We look forward to hosting everybody….and we think the saturday evening will work better than sunday afternoon as we’ve done the last couple years.
Order extras at our Local Dirt site here
In the box:
Acorn Squash: dark, acorn shape. This has not been cured, so it will improve it’s taste if you leave in a dry sunny spot in your house (we typically leave in the greenhouse to cure).
Delicata Squash: some call a sweet potato squash…very stringless and tastes sweet potatoy. Again, cure as you would acorn.
Russet potatoes: Small, I know.
Cherry Tomato mix
A couple regular red tomatoes
A few Green Zebra tomatoes: yes, they are ripe at this stage. They are naturally zippy in taste.
Roma tomatoes: a good amount for saucing
Edamame: You don’t eat the stalk…just pull the pods off and boil a bit in salted water. Rinse in cold water and eat.
Colored pepper mix
Cherry Bomb hot peppers: These are supposed to be hotter than jalapenos, but I don’t buy it. They have a sweet flavor for a hot pepper I really like.
Red cabbage

Chickens, Chickens, Chickens

We got our first set of fryers in from my friend and fellow grower, Karen Terry of Fergus Falls. About 3 lbs in size, they are young and tender birds raised entirely on pasture with all organic feed. $6 each, click here to order at the local dirt site.

We’ll have these available for delivery or pick-up at the farm until they are gone (I have only 24, so we’re not talking a lot of birds here).
Karen will also be supplying us a set of larger birds in a couple weeks…more of a roaster size. While on the local dirt site, you can also arrange for other food for delivery or pick-up like cheese, butter, or extra produce like canning tomatoes or peppers. Frost has to be around the corner, so don’t wait too long.

The Logistics of Local Food (CSA week 13)

Local foods and buying directly from the farmer has been something I’ve seen grow and grow every year I’ve been in this kind of work. But one big issue that has continued to plague local foods is the logistics. What I mean by this is that it still isn’t convenient for you as an eater to access all the things you would like to get locally…instead, you have to go to 5 or 6 individual farmers to get your stuff. Get a CSA membership for your veggies, contact somebody in the fall to buy a quarter of beef or half a hog, go across town to get that good local bread. I hear this from people too from members and farmers market patrons.
Coordination amongst us small growers to supply people more variety only makes sense to me. It doesn’t add up to have a bunch of growers all driving around with small amounts of food and make the eaters work harder at finding us. This is why we’ve been working on adding other things to the mix of things we deliver. You’ve seen me write about having Organic Valley butters and cheeses available to be delivered with your produce. Also, we partnered with Kendra to offer a flower share and some members took me up on that, getting flowers delivered with their produce for the last 12 weeks. Talking to members and others, I also got a sense of what others are looking for and I have arranged with a grower friend of mine by Fergus Falls to raise some broiler chickens for you. She is raising the chickens to two sizes: some up to “fryer size” (3.5-4 lbs) and others up to “roaster size” (5-6 lbs.) . Fryers will be available starting next week.

We’re finally figuring out some of the logistics of all this and have an ordering system set up at a site called local dirt, where you can easily order up what you’d like on a weekly basis. We will deliver with the CSA box until the end of the season and plan on keeping some things available through the winter as well: This is a nice tool which makes all this ordering stuff really easy for us as growers and easy for you as eaters. You find what you’ll like and just add into your shopping cart like at or something….we’ll keep updating with new things like produce “extras”.
This is not something just for CSA members…if you know somebody who would like to get “on the route” just have them contact me…we’ll deliver for no charge in the area from Pelican to Detroit Lakes or people can certainly arrange to pickup at the farm. We’re really looking for people to see if we can make a go of this…
Put it on your calendars! We’re having our 3rd annual harvest party here at the farm. The date will be Saturday October 3rd, starting at 5:30. Plan on eating dinner at 6:00. We’ll supply the main dish and beverages, you supply yourself and a side dish for a potluck meal. This is a great way for you to meet other members, see the farm, and pick out your jack-o-lantern. Please let us know if you plan on attending.
Every year I put together a box I’m really proud of….this is that box for the year. Lots of variety and things I’m excited to see, especially that celery! I’ve never been able to grow it well before, so I was just beaming this morning harvesting the stuff.
In the box:
Italia pepper: red and green long pepper…really sweet
Colored pepper: some aren’t fully colored, but I wanted something in the box
Poblanos: A really mild hot pepper which look just beautiful. See cornbread recipe below.
Dozen sweet corn
A slug of tomatoes: they are in in a big way, so you get a good half dozen
A small bunch of fresh oregono
One oversized turnip with greens
Carrot bunch mix: there are two varieties here, atomic red and satin (white one). I especially like the satin, which have a good distinct flavor.
Snap Peas: a variety called Sugar Ann, which is edible pod, so don’t shell.
Yellow Cippolini Onions: A nearly forgot this onion out there, but it’s an Italian variety people really like for roasting or kebobs. Good intense flavor, but still mild.
Athena Canteloupe

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Skillet Corn Bread with Roasted Poblano and Oregano

Bon Appétit | July 2004

This moist bread is best fresh from the oven, but it can also be made ahead and reheated.

Yield: Makes 8 servings


1 medium poblano chile* (about 3 1/2 ounces)
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter


Char poblano chile over open flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag 15 minutes. Peel, seed, and finely chop chile.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and black pepper in large bowl to blend. Whisk eggs, milk, and sour cream in medium bowl to blend. Mix in poblano chile and oregano. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and fold in with rubber spatula; do not overmix.

Melt butter in 10-inch-diameter ovenproof skillet with 2-inch-high sides over medium heat, swirling to coat bottom and sides of skillet. Remove from heat. Spread batter evenly in skillet. Bake until corn bread is golden brown around edges and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool bread 15 minutes in skillet. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cool completely in skillet. Rewarm in 350°F oven 15 minutes.) Cut bread into wedges and serve warm from skillet