My Farm Philosophy (CSA week 1)

We’ll this is week number one for our 8th CSA season as Lida Farm!   I’m feeling good about where we’re heading and I think it’ll be a great season.  

I think individual farms have their own “take” on agriculture and how their farm fits in the world; this is probably even more important for CSA operations where people choose an operation to make “their farm” for the season.  My own farm philosophy is geared towards three things: soil, people, and community.

We are committed to growing our produce without the use of any synthetic chemicals EVER (we haven’t use a chemical on the place for the 8 years we’ve lived here).  We also do the best we can to build the soil as much as possible each year, incorporating livestock into our operation and interplanting cover crops to fix nitrogen and add organic matter.

People are the core of our operation.  We do our utmost to make sure our members and farmers market customers get clean, quality food.  I love the feeling of knowing we are helping to feed families and giving them a direct connection to farming.  I love getting to know people who eat our food and learning about what their interested in.  We’re going to have a few events over the season this year to make connecting a bit easier, including an open house and fall feast so stay tuned.  We want our farm to be your farm, so please make a point to attend some events or simply come out and visit!

Lastly, community is big for us.  Not only our local communities of Pelican Rapids and Vergas, but also our fellow local farmers.  Just as local residents support us in becoming CSA members and customers, we in turn support our local businesses.  Building up a stronger local economy in our little rural part of the state is a core part of our mission and I feel so much more can be accomplished if we all cooperate together.  We also take on a role of educating the community on sustainable agriculture.  For the last 3 years we’ve hosted Pelican Rapids early childhood classes in the fall and the local 4-H club was out just last week.

In the Box: 

  • Bok Choy 
  • Garlic Scapes – the curly green bunch.  Think of scapes and use them as garlic-y green onions.  You can also use them in place of garlic cloves; they’ll be a bit more mild than garlic cloves.  
  • Arugula – the bunch of greens which look like elongated oak leaves.  This can be eaten fresh or steamed or in a pasta; a traditional Italian green.  I prefer as a simple side salad with parmesan, oil, pepper, and some balsamic vinegar. 
  • Radishes – some got cherry belle (red variety) and others got French breakfast variety (look like long pink/white bobbers).  
  • Red Russian Kale – big bunch of purple greens.  These need to be cooked.  I typically do kale with sauteed bacon and onions and then simmer down the cropped greens for 10 minutes or so.  
  • Green Onions
  • Salad Mix (in the bag) or Romaine Lettuce  
  • Spinach – loose greens with the pink roots 

Stir-Fired Bok Choy from the Food Network


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 8 cups chopped fresh bok choy
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • Salt and ground black pepper


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute. Add bok choy and soy sauce cook 3 to 5 minutes, until greens are wilted and stalks are crisp-tender. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. 
I suggest you use the garlic scapes in this recipe in place of the garlic cloves – it’ll work fine.  

Lida Farm on TV

I spent a good portion of today getting pretty wet and cold.  I was bedding down young chickens in a leaky coop in the pasture, securing a greenhouse in some high winds, and seeding in our greenhouse kept cool so as not to burn too much propane in a spring storm.  To warm everybody up a bit, I thought I’d share this video Lakes Country Living TV program did on us last summer.  It was hot out and produce was peak season.  Try not to pay too close attention to that sea of foxtail in the onion patch!

CSA week 11

If you noticed I missed last week’s newsletter. This is the first time in the four years doing a CSA. Sometimes in the season, about this time, you “hit the wall” in much the same way a marathon runner “hits the wall.” When thinking about this, in many respects we CSA growers are like long-distance runners–we need to be consistent and steady to produce a good box each week for 16 weeks.

The lack of heat is still the weather story around here. This is the second week for melons. We’re glad to have them, but they are late. Some things you may not even notice, like the okra that never comes to market because the plants just sit there doing nothing. I’ll complain about it, but my sympathies are with other farmers out there like the one I talked to last week: 600 acres of soybeans and he doesn’t see them making a harvest. Boy, that makes my 2 acres where some things are good and some bad not too bad a problem really. This is why sustainable ag types highly appreciate diversity in crops…if one thing “crashes and burns”, there may be another which does well. In many respects, we’re trying to bring back a tradition on farms where many things were produced from a couple hogs and a steer to garden produce, grains, hay. Even if the growing season went to pot, at least you could feed yourself.

In the box:
Leeks: keep refridgerated and cut lengthwise to clean out before using…dirt gets into the leaves.
A couple tomatoes
Dill: This is for using the frawns, not the seed head like in pickling. See recipe below.
Cherry Tomato mix
Corn: mostly a white variety called Silver Queen. It’s pretty mellow and I love the name. Last week’s yellow variety is called Bodacious, which is another cool name.
A red onion
White Potatoes
A couple peppers: The small slender one is an Anaheim (slightly hot, really mild) and the other is a Cubanella (sweet, not hot).
Cantaloupe: most of you got a variety called Athena, others got an “eastern type” called Halona, which has prominent ribs
A couple cukes

Cucumber, Mustard, And Dill Salad
From Gourmet | October 2004

2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon mild olive oil
1 large seedless cucumber (usually plastic-wrapped; 1 lb), peeled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt, and sugar in a bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking.
Halve cucumber lengthwise and remove seeds with a small spoon, then cut halves crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices.
Add cucumber and dill to vinaigrette, tossing to coat.