When Given Lemons…

Below is a long story of our latest marketing strategy.  But before I get into it, please read the following announcements.

First, we have successfully negotiated a new supplier for our SalmonShares — Matt’s Wild Salmon. Matt’s Wild Salmon is a locally owned and operated husband/wife team bringing the very best salmon to Minnesota.  Matt grew up in Minnesota but found his calling fishing the beautiful waters of Southeast Alaska. In his off time he returns to his wife and kids in the beautiful woods of Afton Minnesota.  Most of what Matt catches is sold commercially. He only started sending fish to Minnesota because friends and family begged for it.  Since that first shipment 10 years ago, the excitement and demand for his fillets has only grown.  Try Matt’s Wild Salmon and you too will taste the difference.  To order go to our online store or click here!

Next, please order your add-on shares (eggs, cheese, fruit, meat, etc) as soon as possible.  This will give us a better idea of the demand.

Third, we may have a source for duck eggs this summer.  Please let me know if you would be interested in purchasing duck eggs.  I’m not an eggspert (ha, ha) so I can’t tell you the benefits of duck eggs but I do know they are bigger than chicken eggs.  In any case, let me know if we should pursue it.

Payment for the veggies shares is due unless you made alternative arrangements.  Please send in your payment at your earliest convenience.  If you are unsure of what you owe please contact me.

And as always, please spread the word about our farm!  We still have shares available.

Farm News

As you may or may not know I have been operating Fresh Earth Farms since 2003.  Seems like only yesterday.  For the first few years it was quiet.  I’d get the occasional phone call about joining the farm or needing help with a delivery issue but overall there wasn’t an unduly large number of calls and they were seldom wrong numbers.  Some number of years ago I started to get occasional calls for a company called CieloStar or Outsource One.  I told them they had the wrong number and left it at that.  Occasionally people were rude and hung up quickly then called me right back again.  It started to occur to me that perhaps they weren’t dialing the wrong number but were given the wrong number.  Who is this CieloStar?

Of course trying to look up a company like CieloStar was nearly impossible.  How the heck do you even spell CieloStar?  Plus people said, “Is this CieloStar?” so quickly I was never sure what they were saying.  Eventually I realized or discovered that the number they were trying to reach was our number but in the 612 area code.  I could see the mistake.  If you have a phone in the 651 area code and were dialing a local number you may not think to dial the area code.  Once I came upon this realization I would respond to the infrequent interruptions by telling them to dial 612 first.  This seemed to be effective for a time.

Hey Chris, what does this overly long story have to do with farming or the farm?  I’m getting to that.  Well last fall the farm suddenly started to receive a lot of interest.  We were getting 10 – 15 calls a day.  In the past we’d get maybe 10-15 calls a season much less in a single day!  Unfortunately they were all for CieloStar.  After the third or fourth call I was getting a bit exasperated.  On the next call when the person asked if I could help her with her 401k questions or some such thing I answered, “Unfortunately no but I could answer questions about growing vegetables in Minnesota.”  This was met with silence.  I continued, “The number you called is a CSA farm, not CieloStar.  Do you know what a CSA farm is?”  Surprisingly she played along and said, “Yes”.  So I proceeded to try to sell her on joining for the 2018 season.  You know what they say, when given cucumbers make cucumber water or something like that.

Day after day I was getting a lot of calls.  Most callers were not that sympathetic and either hung-up only to call back again or say sorry and call back again.  In my discussion with the one person who was sympathetic to my plight I came to the understanding that the City of St. Paul uses CieloStar as a benefits company and that a document was sent out telling people to call my number to get help with their benefits.  This document was obviously the trigger to start the barrage of phone calls and answering all these calls with dirty hands was taking its toll on my cell phone.

As the interruptions continued — likewise my dirty hands — I decided I couldn’t spend the time answering all these calls.  So I changed my voicemail answering message to say something like, “If you are with the City of St. Paul and have questions about your benefits please go to www.FreshEarthFarms.com and order a vegetable share for the 2018 season.  If you actually need answers to your benefits question please call your HR department to get the correct phone number. Thank you for calling Fresh Earth Farms!”  You know what they say, when given tomatoes make tomato sauce, or something like that.

Eventually I got an email from someone who apologized for the mistake and that she was interested in picking up at Ginkgo!  Well at least I got something out of it.  Then a week or so later I got a voicemail message from the City of St. Paul’s HR department where the person’s message was laughter at my voicemail answering message followed by an apology and the suggestion that maybe we can turn this mistake into something positive.  Well, six months later the phone calls have diminished to a few per week or less (I just had one today) and we now have a new drop site for employees of the City of St. Paul! You know what they say, when given kohlrabi make kohlrabi juice!

I guess the moral of the story is if you want to give my number out for something in your organization please do so.  It might just be the most effective form of advertising we have!

As always, do not hesitate to contact me with comments, suggestions, jokes and questions regarding your HR benefits!

Tippy-Top Shape

I want to thank everyone who works to keep this incredible greenhouse or building or whatever you want to call it — because there really is no name for it.  It is special.  And we keep it in tip-top shape.  We call it sometimes tippy-top shape. And it’s a great, great place.

But before I go into the details, here are a few announcements.

We could use some help recruiting new members!  We lose about 20% of our members due to life changes (relocations, etc.) and so far this season we’ve only recruited four new members. Please tell all your friends, Romans and countrymen.  Tell them to put your name in the “Where did you hear about us?” box on the order and we will credit your account $25.  If you think your office would have sufficient interest to be a drop site let me know as well.  Or if your neighbors would be interested if it is more convenient we can certainly pack boxes and send them home with you.  Please spread the word using all available media (including faxes)!

Please put in your orders for any of our add-on shares.  The sooner we know the easier it is to plan.

Payment for shares was due in March unless you are on a payment plan.  Please send in payment at your earliest convenience.  If you are unsure of the amount you owe please contact me and I can get that information to you.

Farm News

So yesterday I spent a few hours plowing.  Unfortunately not the type of plowing I was expecting this time of year.  We got about eight inches of snow here, probably about what everyone else got.  With all this snow I would be very surprised if we get into the field the week of April 23rd, which is about a week later than our typical start time.  Not only does the snow have to melt (might take awhile with the forecasted temps), but the frost still needs to come out of the ground and the soil has to warm and dry a bit.  I suspect each of these will take at least a week — and that’s assuming no more snow or rain.  But there is always a chance it could be sooner.  A week of bright sunny 70+ degree days could do it!

In the meantime I am planting in the greenhouse, or whatever you want to call it.  I believe the rodent issue is resolved so the planting has resumed quite nicely.  One way we hedge our bets on our planting (for years like we are currently experiencing) is to put the first round of some crops in larger planting cells.  This gives the plant more room to grow.  The plants don’t become rootbound if they are in the planting trays for an extra couple of weeks.

Other than greenhouse work it is mostly fixing equipment.  Today’s task was the air compressor.  I, with help from member Scott, was able to take a half hour job and stretch it into three hours.  Who knew how many ways one could misassemble (is that a word?  should be!) a compressor!  Once we got it back together correctly it worked like a champ.  How many different hats does a farmer have to wear?

Anyway, that is enough for now.  Please spread the word.  We’d love to sell out again this year.  And if you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or compressor repair manuals do not hesitate to contact me.  And here are a few trays of BS.

 

 

Of Mice and Men

It’s been a while since I last updated everyone on the activities here at the farm.  But before I do, here are a couple of announcements:

We are still taking orders for the 2018 season.  Renewals have been fantastic so thank you all for rejoining!  Recruiting new members isn’t going quite so well so please continue to spread the word!  Facebook and NextDoor have been successful in the past.  Tell your neighbors, your colleagues and your two friends.  Have them put your name in the “Where did you hear about us?” box on the order and we will credit your account $25.  Thanks for spreading the word!

Payment for 2018 shares is due this month unless you are on a payment plan.  Please send in payment as soon as possible.

We are taking orders for all our other add-on shares, e.g. Fruit, Meat, Cheese, etc.  If you plan to purchase these delicious add-ons please do so soon.  Help small, sustainable farmers!

Farm News

A lot has happened since my last newsletter.  I’ve purchased seeds, planted a bunch of them, replanted a bunch of them, and will continue to plant more until the snow melts and the ground thaws.  “Hey wait, why did you have to ‘replant’ a bunch of them?”, you may be asking.  Apparently the most recent resident in our greenhouse had a hankerin’ for beet, cauliflower and cabbage seed hotdish.  The day after I planted these crops in the greenhouse I noticed that the soil in many of the cells in the planting trays was disturbed.  I’ve seen this before.  A long time ago in a greenhouse far, far away (actually it is the same greenhouse) after I had planted watermelon seeds I saw the same disturbance in the force, er, soil.  So I constructed a death star, er, large cage that I could enclose the trays in until they germinated.  This was successful.

Over the years the disturbance waxed and waned but was generally limited to the larger seed crops like watermelons and squash.  So we used the cage for these crops to save the resistance, er, seeds.  I believe it was last season that I noticed the problem with eggplant and pepper seeds.  These are pretty small seeds so I was surprised that a mouse would bother them.  But it did.  So into the cage they went.

Then this year a mouse went after the beet, cauliflower and cabbage seeds.  These are small seeds as well so I don’t understand the appeal.  And besides, how does it know there are seeds in these cells?  Must be able to smell them or something.  Anyway, I tried a number of remedies — including cats that seemed entirely uninterested — and finally found one that resulted in success.  Suffice it to say that I no longer have this problem and hopefully it is solved for the remainder of the season.

Other than planting in the greenhouse I am just waiting for the snow to melt.  It is a tough job but someone has to do it.

As always, do not hesitate to contact me with questions, comments, suggestions, jokes, etc.

 

 

Make Eggplant Great Again

In case you were unavailable to watch it live, below is a transcript of this year’s State of the Farm Address.  But before we get to that, here are a couple of announcements.

If you plan to purchase SeafoodShare please do so ASAP.  The deadline is fast approaching (Valentines Day).  This is a great way to eat the most delicious seafood found in Minnesota.  Plus it is harvested using sustainable methods to ensure future generations can enjoy the taste and healthy benefits or wild seafood.

We are still taking orders for VeggieShares.  Please spread the word.  Tell both of your friends and all your family members!

Now on to this year’s State of the Farm Address!

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of the Farm, the First Lady of the United States, and my fellow Farmers:

Less than 1 year has passed since I stood at this podium, in this majestic chamber, to speak on behalf of the Veggie Eaters — and to address their preferences, their tastes, and their recipes. That night, our new Administration had already taken swift action. A new tide of hunger pangs was already sweeping across our farmland.

Each day since, we have gone forward with a clear vision and a righteous mission — to make eggplant great again for all Veggie Eaters.

Over the last year, we have made incredible progress and achieved extraordinary success. We have faced challenges we expected, and others we could never have imagined. We have shared in the heights of corn stalks and the pains of thistle’s spiny leaves. We endured raccoons and deer and mice. But through it all, we have seen the beauty of Fresh Earth Farms’ soil, and the calcium in the farm’s spuds.

We saw the volunteers of the “Brassica Army,” racing to the rescue with their hoes to save the kohlrabi in the aftermath of devastating pigweed pressure.

We heard tales of members like Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashlee Leppert, who is here tonight in the gallery with homemade salsa verde and chips.  Ashlee was aboard one of the first tractors on the scene in the sweet corn field. Through 18 hours of beautiful weather, Ashlee braved live corn earworms and raccoons, to help save more than 40 shares of Bodacious sweet corn. Thank you, Ashlee.

We heard about farm members like firefighter David Dahlberg. He is here with us too. David faced down walls of foxtails to rescue almost 60 bushels of cucumbers trapped in the north field threatened by cucumber beetles.

To everyone still recovering from too many tomatoes, onions, carrots and everything else — we are with you, we love you, and we will pull through together.

Over the last year, the farm has seen what we always knew: that no people on Earth are so fearless, or daring, or hungry as Fresh Earth Farms members. If there is a kohlrabi, we slice it. If there is a tomato, we sauce it. If there is a hot pepper, we tame it. If there is a potato, we mash it.

So let us begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our Farm is strong because our members are strong.

And together, we are growing fresh, nutritious, and delicious veggies.

We have created 2.4 million new peas, including 200,000 new snow peas alone. After years of pea stagnation, we are finally seeing rising snaps.

Potato beetles have hit a 45-year low. Flea beetles stand at the lowest rate ever recorded, and crow damage has also reached the lowest levels in history.

Meal preparation confidence is at an all-time high. Members have sliced one carrot after another, gaining trillions in nutritional value. That is great news for members’ health, wellness, welfare, and wellbeing.

And just as I promised the members from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest radish cuts and reforms in farm history. A typical family of four purchasing a FamilyShare will see their radish allotment reduced by two dozen — slashing their radish consumption in half.

This is our new member moment. There has never been a better time to start living the CSA Dream.

So to every member watching at home tonight — no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your food. If you eat hard, if you believe in fresh vegetables, if you believe in organic farming, then you can dream anything, you cook anything, and together, we can consume anything.

It was a yearning for fresh veggies that nearly 15 years ago gave birth to a special place called Fresh Earth Farms. It was a small cluster of members caught between a Cub Foods and a Sam’s Club. It was home to an incredible people with a revolutionary idea: that they could consume delicious, locally-grown vegetables themselves. That they could chart their own food destiny. And that, together, they could light up their waistline.

That is what our farm has always been about. That is what members have always stood for, always strived for, and always done.

They work in every trade. They sacrifice to feed a family. They defend our farm from imports from abroad. They are strong moms and hungry kids. They are firefighters, police officers, border agents, medics, and Marines.

But above all else, they are vegetable eaters. And this farm, this soil, these vegetables, belongs to them.

Our task is to respect them, to listen to them, to serve them, to feed them, and to always be worthy of them.

Farm members fill the world with wonderful  aromas. They push the bounds of recipes. And they forever remind us of what we should never forget: The people dreamed this farm. The people built this farm. And it is the people who are making this farm great again.

As long as we are proud of who we are, and what we are fighting for, there is no vegetable we cannot grow.

As long as we have confidence in our soils, faith in our members, and trust in our tractors, we will not fail.

Our veggies will thrive.

Our members will prosper.

And our Farm will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and delicious.

Thank you, and God bless Fresh Earth Farms.

On Ice

Garlic Patch

It has been awhile since the last newsletter.  Seems like time is going faster the older I get.

First a couple of announcements:

We have pricing in our online farm stand for most of the products we sell.  One item in particular I need to mention is SeafoodShare.  It has an early deadline — February 15th — so if you are interested please order it soon!  SeafoodShare is a fantastic way to enjoy delicious, nutritious wild, line-caught seafood from the cold, nutrient-dense waters off the coast of Alaska.  Plus you will help small boat fishermen and fisherwomen maintain a sustainable fishery instead of supporting large, Chinese trawlers destroying the ocean ecosystem.  Each month includes two different varieties.  New this year SeafoodShare includes dungeness crab!  If you choose “Payment Plan” or “Check” at check out you won’t have to pay for it right away.  Unfortunately you’ll have to pay it all upfront if you choose “Credit card”.  I highly recommend this product for those looking to increase their intake of healthy seafood.  Let me know if I can answer any questions.

We are taking orders for the 2018 farming season!  We’ve had a great response from existing members rejoining this season.  Thank you!  If you plan to rejoin please sign-up soon.  Space is limited.

But not limited enough to not refer your friends, neighbors, etc.  Spread the word about Fresh Earth Farms.  We had good luck with members who mentioned us on NextDoor last season.

Farm News

First, I should mention that we successfully planted the garlic back in November.  Actually I won’t know how successful it was until we see how it grows during the summer.  But at least we got it in.  Cross your fingers that it works!

Next, the primary activity at this time of year is taxes, seed orders, and taxes.  New this season is fixing the tractor we use to plow the driveway, which happens to be the same tractor we use to plow the field — but with a different plow.  Seems like the starter motor decided it was too cold and gave up.  Sure I could have had the new starter shipped overnight but then it would arrive when the temps were below zero.  Instead I saved the $s and await the starter to arrive during this upcoming warm spell.  Hopefully I can get the job done before the next snow storm.  In the mean time we’ve implemented the pack down method of driveway maintenance.  It works well as long as we don’t get too much snow or lots of drifting.

Other than that, an important job this time of year is seed ordering.  It is a multi-step process that starts with counting the seeds left over from last season.  Have you ever tried to count seeds?  Neither have I.  I use the estimate method.  Does it look like enough seeds?  If not, order more.  It works well enough.  The harder step is to look through the catalogs for new seed varieties.  We are always on the lookout for something new and interesting.  If you have any suggestions please send them our way.  If you would like more of anything now is the time to let me know.  And the interesting thing is that since so few people take me up on the offer each response holds a huge sway on what we grow!  So speak now and dramatically influence the veggie consumption of your fellow CSA members.

That is pretty much it for now.  Hopefully the next newsletter will be the “State of the Farm” address.  As always do not hesitate to send in your questions, comments, veggie suggestions, jokes, brain teasers, etc.

 

 

 

Neutrality

The following statements may be attributed to Christopher James, Chief Farming Officer of Fresh Earth Farms, CSA:

“For more than a decade, under both Republican and Democratic Administrations, Fresh Earth Farms has consistently made clear that we provide CSA delivery services in an open and transparent way.  We do not block eggplants, nor censor herbal content, nor throttle or degrade flower bouquets based on the content, nor unfairly discriminate in our treatment of add-on shares. These principles, which were laid out in the FCC’s 2010 Open CSA Order and fully supported by Fresh Earth Farms, are clearly articulated on our website and are fully enforceable against us.  In short, CSA delivery will continue to work tomorrow just as it always has.  Despite the existence and the enforceability of all of these commitments, we have, since 2004, also repeatedly called for a non-Title II legislative solution that would make these vegetable consumer protections permanent. We continue to support a legislative solution and will work with any interested members of Congress to achieve that solution.”

“Today’s vote by the FCC to remove the Title II section of the Vegetable Neutrality rules does not impact our commitment to Vegetable Neutrality. We do not block, throttle or otherwise interfere with consumers’ desire to eat what they want from their CSA share.  Fresh Earth Farms has always been committed to providing an open CSA experience for our customers, and reversing the classification of CSA services does not change our commitment.  We applaud FCC Chairman Ajit Pai for his leadership that has overturned the previous Commission’s decision to enact Title II, the 1930s-era CSA regulations.  Reestablishing ‘light-touch’ regulation returns a level of certainty for consumer protections and future investment and innovation that spur the growth of CSA.”

“And don’t forget to sign-up for 2018.”

Last Chance to Plant Garlic

With all the weather we’ve had so far this fall we haven’t planted all the garlic yet.  So we plan to finish the project on Sunday, November 12th from 12:00 until 4:00 or done.  Please come out and lend a hand!  We could use all the help we can get before we run out of time.  It would be helpful to know if you will make it but feel free to come at the last minute!

Farmers Marketing

If you are interested in Winter/Spring FruitShare please let me know ASAP.  It starts Wednesday, November 15th.  We have drop sites in St. Paul near 94 and Dale St, St. Paul’s Monastery on Century Ave and here at the farm.  Payment plans are available.  The fruit is delicious and gives you a bit of sunshine with every bite!  What more could you ask for during a cold, snowy winter?  Order online or just email me and follow up with payment.

And while you are online ordering your winter FruitShare you might as well sign up for the 2018 season!  We’ve had a great response so far but of course would love to see the rest of you join as well.  A deposit of $100 secures your spot.

Farm News

First and most discouraging is the weather just is not cooperating for us to be able to plant the garlic.  Too cold.  Too wet.  And not enough sun.  The ground is saturated, which in a normal year would be a good thing.  Oh well, looks like we will have to try spring planted garlic and hope for the best.

Second, at this time of year I spend a considerable amount of time working on marketing and sales, whether it is web site maintenance, Facebook postings, online videos or other means of selling the product without paying a company that has plenty of money and doesn’t need any of mine.  One idea I want to work on this winter is customer testimonials.  These could be just short one to two lines saying something positive about us or your experience, to a more involved multi-paragraph piece discussing why you joined, what benefits you received, what other places you’ve used in the past (other CSAs, farmers markets, etc.), why you continue to come back to our farm, etc.  If you have comments or stories you’d like to share please let me know.  If anyone is interested in writing their story that would be even better.  Don’t be shy and don’t expect one of the other members will do it.  Share your story!  And thank you in advance for anyone who steps up!

Third, there is always a third.

As always, do not hesitate to contact me with questions, comments, suggestions, requests, jokes, etc.

It’s the End of the Season as We Know It

Harvesting tomatoes while it snows

First of all I want to thank everyone for their support of the farm this past season.  Without your support our business would not succeed.  Our farm survives on the personal connections we strive to have with each of our members.  It is more difficult to have this connection with our delivery customers but we do our best to be available and accessible to everyone.  I hope you enjoyed the season as much as I’ve enjoyed getting to know you.  I look forward to another successful season with all of you next year!  And if you this isn’t clear, last week was the final week of this season.

Second, we are doing Winter FruitShare again this year!  What is winter FruitShare?  It is like summer FruitShare except it is in the winter with fruit that is available in the winter!  It is approximately every other week (with exceptions around the holidays).  We have three locations for picking up the fruit: here at the farm, a drop site near 94 and Dale St. and St. Paul’s Monastery near Larpenteur and Century Ave.  Pick-up days will be on Wednesdays again this season.  You can order online or by emailing me then follow up with payment.  You are also welcome to use a payment plan; no need to pay it all upfront.  Winter FruitShare starts November 15th so get your order in ASAP.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Third, we are taking orders for 2018!  We have had a great response so far but would love to get everyone signed up before the holidays hit and it gets forgotten.  The store has been updated for those who like to purchase online.  You can also just send in a check for $100 to reserve your spot.  A third option is if you have a PayPal account you can send a $100 deposit using their “Friends & Family” service; use my email address as the recipient.  It is free if your PayPal account has money or is linked to your bank account.  There is a fee if you use a credit or debit card.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Farm News

Here are a couple of things I should have mentioned in the last newsletter:

You should let the sweet potatoes sit for a few weeks before eating them.  Sweet potatoes when first harvested are not as sweet as you’d think.  It takes a bit of time for them to develop the sweetness.  I suggest you save them until Thanksgiving.  This gives them time to sweeten up a bit more.

The popcorn we sent out last week may not be fully dry yet.  Then again it may be.  The only way to tell is to test a few of the kernels.  If they pop the way you like then the rest should pop.  If not, wait a few more weeks.  Pro Tip: if the kernels are hard to get off the cob it is probably not dry enough.  I will test some in a few weeks and publish my results.

We did our best to get the carrots clean in the time available.  We felt it was more important to get you an abundance of somewhat dirty carrots than to get fewer cleaner carrots.  Hopefully this is your preference as well.  Speaking of carrots, this variety stores pretty well.  Keep it in the coldest part of your fridge.  And if you want to ensure they keep well put them in damp sand (sure Chris, I’m going to fill up my crisper drawer with damp sand).  The goal is to keep them cold and damp but not wet.  Cold to preserve them.  Damp to prevent dehydration.

The most crucial activity at this time is to find a way to get the garlic planted.  We’d typically have it done by now but with the wet October and the amount of work we still had we did not find a time to get it done.  If we can’t plant it this fall we may not have garlic next year.  Not good.  Plus we’d have to buy new garlic seed for 2019 at a cost of $1,000 or more.  Definitely not good.  I’ve done a bit of research and we still have a chance to make it work — as long as the weather cooperates.  But looking at the forecast I don’t see a whole lot of cooperation.  We’d prefer a week of warm, dry weather.  I’m seeing nothing but cool and damp.  One strategy may be to plant it in the hoop house.  If we can figure out a way to do this yet still have space for the tomatoes this may be our only option.  Otherwise we make the choice between garlic and no indoor tomatoes or no garlic and indoor tomatoes.  Neither is our preference.

Carrot Soup!

Speaking of an abundance of carrots, this past weekend we made carrot soup!  It was delicious and easy to make.  There are a lot of carrot soup recipes out there; here is the one I made.  It was easy and tasty.  I’ve seen others using peanut butter, interesting.  If you have a good recipe for using a lot of carrots send them my way!

And for those of you who have read all the way to the end I have a whole bunch of under-ripe tomatoes.  If you are interested in getting some please contact me and we can schedule a time for you to stop by.

I think this newsletter is plenty long enough.  But before I go here is a use for romaine lettuce.  Might come in handy next season (plus it looks warm)!

As always, if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me!

How Sweet It Is!

This is the last week of the 2017 season!

Be sure to sign up for 2018!  We’ve had a great response so far and hope to hear that all of you will be returning.  To reserve your shares send in or bring in a deposit of $100.

Don’t forget to fill out the online survey conducted by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.  Cards with the link were handed out last week.  If you didn’t receive a card please contact me and I can send you the link.

Farm News

Just a whole lot of harvesting and washing going on these days.  A lot of our harvesting is of below ground veggies — carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc. — which makes the washing part so much more work.  We do our best to get them clean but with only a couple of tanks and a hose it is hard to scrub off the dirt.  So we give a little bit farm away free with every order.  Hopefully you don’t mind a little extra scrubbing.  We could certainly spend the extra time washing them but then you would receive far less produce.  There is only so many hours available to do all the farm work.  Next week we will have more than enough time to do it, but then there won’t be any left to wash…

What will we have this week?  Most importantly sweet potatoes!  We dug the sweet potatoes two weeks ago and have been curing them in our greenhouse.  They were a bit dirty when we pulled them out of the ground and as far as I can tell they haven’t cleaned up much since.  We will try to get them washed prior to distribution but if we run out of time I apologize in advance for their uncleanliness.  Also new this week is popcorn!  The popcorn may not yet be dry enough to pop.  I suggest waiting a couple of weeks.  To test if it is ready take a couple of kernels off the cob and try popping them.  If they pop the rest should be ready.  If they don’t pop, wait another few weeks and try again.  I will send out a newsletter when I find ours is popping.  Pro-Tip: If the kernels are really difficult to get off the cob it is most likely not ready.

What else will we have this week? We have plenty of carrots, onions, shallots, and garlic.  Hopefully we have enough potatoes though I’m not positive if we have enough for every share; it may need to be matched with something else.  We will have bigger squash like butternuts.  Then the rest is odds and ends from what remains in the field.  Things like brussels sprouts, leeks, beets, cabbage, kale, etc.

We have SeafoodShare and SalmonShare this week.

The potatoes for WinterShare will also be distributed this week.

I believe that is all of the extra shares left for the season.

As always, do not hesitate to send in comments, questions, etc.