CSA Week 8: Emerging Summer Crops.

Week 8

Now that it is mid-July, there are many crops that are just starting to emerge. It’s so much fun to see them ripen up and even more fun to harvest ’em, pack ’em, and deliver ’em for you to enjoy. However, while the crops are indeed ripening up, it’s only just the beginning of the season, so what we have this week are the over achievers – the first little bit that is ahead of the rest of the crop of their kind.

But first… just a reminder for the full share folks THERE IS NO CSA NEXT WEEK. The CSA boxes will resume for everyone the week of August 1.

So here is what you’ll find in your box this week:

Kale OR Broccoli – Broccoli is one of those emerging crops right now. While there will soon be an ample supply of broccoli in the next few weeks, this week there are not enough broccoli heads for all boxes. So the broccoli heads will be randomly places in boxes, and the remaining boxes will be finding kale. Now kale is the super food for really cool people. Everyone knows that really cool people eat kale. And eating kale makes you really cool too. As a fellow cool person, I too love kale, and my favorite way to prepare kale is to simply chop it up, then sautee in olive oil and garlic. Kale chips are another fave of mine. And here are a few more recipes for you to try. Storage: both broccoli and kale can be stored in your veggie drawer in your refrigerator and will last for up to two weeks.

Vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes – Since this is the very first little bit that is ripening up, you will find just a VERY SMALL PORTION of tomatoes. I debated as to whether I should just eat the entire harvest of ripened tomatoes myself, or to share a very small portion with you all. As you can see, I opted to share them with you, so you can have just a little taste, knowing that there will be much more coming throughout the rest of the season. I’ll explain more about the characteristics of heirloom tomatoes, and how to store them in the next newsletter. Storage: If you haven’t already eaten your small portion by the time you bring your box home, keep you tomatoes on the counter. Do not put them in the refrigerator as that will significantly reduce their flavor.

Fennel Confession… I have tried for five years to grow fennel and have failed…until this year. The biggest reason for my previous failures is because I would get greedy, thinking “if I just leave them grow for a little longer, they will get a little bigger.” But every time I thought that, the fennel would just bolt. So this year, I opted to pick the fennel while it was still pretty small. I decided that it is better to have small fennel bulbs than to have no fennel bulbs. If you’re not familiar with fennel, it is a lovely veggie, a member of the carrot family, with white stalks and frilly, lacy, leaves. I like to just roast it and add it to salmon dishes, but here are a handful of recipes to try. Storage: keep in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Peppers – I’m growing about 10 different varieties of peppers, a combination of sweet and hot ones. Some are big, some are small, some are yellow, some are green, and eventually, if left on the plant for a long enough time, all varieties of peppers will turn red. You will find a combination of hot and sweet peppers to enjoy. Storage: Just like cucumbers, they can be stored either on the counter or in the refrigerator veggie drawer. Choice is yours.

Turnips with greens – Hakurei turnips are a small white turnip that looks like a radish. In fact, you can even eat them raw like a radish if you like. Otherwise there are a number of delicious savory recipes to try. And don’t just cut off and throw away the greens. Just like radish greens, turnip greens are also delicious. Yes, I know, these greens have already been enjoyed by some sort of toothy little bug, but don’t let the bug bites bother you, it’s just cosmetic. After all, when you get a bug bite on your arm, you don’t just cut it off and throw it away, just because it now has a couple of little red bumps on it, do you? Storage: keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Cucumbers – one or two for you to enjoy.

Zucchini – yes indeed. You’ve already had some practice with this versatile veggie.

Delivery Schedule
Good Earth Co-op in St. Cloud – Tuesday by 10:00 am
St. Cloud offices: Tuesday 10:00 – 10:30 am
Vital Images – Tuesday between noon and 1:30 or so
Made of Mora – Thursday by noon
World Headquarters – Thursday noon or later
City Center Market Co-op – Friday 10:00 am

Cheers,

Debbie

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CSA Week 7: Beet it.

Week 7

Don’t ask me why, but the famous Michael Jackson tune keeps running through my mind. But I guess that’s ok, because I’m quite sure the song is all about one of my favorite garden veggies, right?

Now that we are in the middle of summer, some of the heartier, more colorful veggies are ripening up. And nothing is more colorful than beets. In fact, be careful as you slice up these beauties, as their juice is a natural food coloring so you can easily stain your clothes too.

Enough preamble… here is what you’ll find in your box this week.

Beets with greens – a nice bunch with a combination of three different varieties: Golden beets, and two different kinds of red beets. If you’re not familiar with how to prepare fresh beets, here is a selection of recipes from the website. Also, the greens are equally nummy, which of course you already know because you’ve had beet greens in your box previously, so don’t just toss them out. Instead, toss them into a salad, are cook them up as a savory side dish. Both are full of antioxidants.

Kale – three different varieties of this trendy, nutritious green: Toscano (long, thin, dark green leaves), Russian (flat, smooth, medium green with blueish/purple veins), and curly kale (curly leaves…duh). All three can be used in any of the recipes from the website.

Kolrabi – You were introduced to this crunchy brassica last week. So you can try a different recipe this week if you like.

Zucchini – you’ll find two or three this week. I’m growing several different varieties, so they could be either dark green, light green, striped, yellow or ridged. All of them can be used in any of your favorite zucchini recipes, including all of the recipes on the website.

Cucumber – You’ve had some practice with this one. And since you’ll be getting a handful of mint this week too, you can make a refreshing cucumber, mint, and lemon or lime water beverage to kick back and cool down this week.

Mint – combine with cucumbers, lemon, or lime in a pitcher of cold water and enjoy.

Until next week… enjoy.

Debbie

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CSA Week 6: The Great Zucchini.

Week 6

Our Australian WWOOFer Em, demonstrates how to balance the magical zucchini. I say magical, because zucchinis are such an incredibly versatile, gentle, refreshing, prolific, and delicious veggie that is grown. What’s so impressive about the great zucchini is that it can be consumed raw, or cooked in a savory dish, or even made into a dessert. Considering it’s vast versatility, it’s a good thing that it grows so prolifically, in order for us to enjoy the many ways it can be prepared.  So you guessed it. You will see zucchini in your boxes starting this week and will probably be seeing them in your box throughout the majority of the remaining season. Good thing I’ve got a nice collection of recipes on our website for you to try.

But first… just a reminder to the folks in St. Cloud that due to the holiday weekend, some of the offices I deliver to are closed on Tuesday, so this week’s delivery to St. Cloud and Vital Images will be on WEDNESDAY instead of Tuesday. Deliveries will resume on Tuesdays next week.

So here’s what’s in your box this week:

Week 6 too

Garlic scapes – These are really fun. They are the long, curly-stemed flowers that sprout from the garlic plants. The flowers need to be removed, then the garlic bulb will stay big and strong, ready to harvest in about a month. Meanwhile, the garlic scapes can be used just like garlic. Chop them up nice and fine, and add to your recipe as if it was garlic, although it is a little milder than regular garlic bulbs. Storage: keep in your fridge veggie drawer and it will last for up to three weeks, maybe even longer.

Zucchini – if you skipped the above paragraph, now is the time to go back and review it :-). Storage: in the fridge veggie drawer, should be good for a little over a week.

Cucumbers – Another popular cucurbit that you will be seeing quite frequently throughout the summer as well. Storage: You have a choice here. There is a debate… some experts say to store in the fridge, other experts say store on the counter. I’ve tried both and they both work, so you can decide which storage method works for you.

Red Cabbage – Actually, I think it’s more of a purple color, but historically, and according to the seed package which says “red express,” it has been called “red” cabbage. It can also be easily used in any of your favorite cabbage recipes, no matter what kind of cabbage is cited in the ingredient lists. And here are a few more to try. Storage: In a plastic bag in the fridge, should last up to two weeks, even longer.

Kohlrabi – If you’ve never had this before, you’re in for a treat. It’s a member of the brassica family, just like cabbage, broccoli, radishes, and more. It’s best to peel it, and don’t be too quick to throw away the leaves as they are tasty too. My favorite way to eat it is to slice it very thin, and add a dash of salt. And another favorite way to enjoy is to shred it up like a potato, and fry it up like hash browns. It has the consistency of a radish, and the flavor of a cabbage. Here are a few recipes to try. Storage: in a plastic bag in the fridge, will last a good two weeks or more.

Parsley – a nice bouquet of this popular herb. If you feel inspired, you can make a tabouli salad, a popular Mediterranean dish. Storage: place in a vase on your counter to enjoy like a bouquet of flowers, or place in a plastic bag and keep in the fridge. Should last about 5 days.

Lettuce – I know, i know… I keep threatening you saying that this is the last time you will be having lettuce in your box. That’s because lettuce does not tolerate hot weather, so it bolts. Usually all of the lettuce bolts by now, but I still had a couple of heirloom varieties that have a high tolerance to bolting, so you’re in luck. But this is definitely the very last of the lettuce for the season, as everything is now picked. Storage: keep in a sealed plastic or glass container and store in the fridge, should last about 5 days.

You will notice that I don’t have a photo of the box ingredients included this week. That’s because the sugarhouse, where I clean and pack the veggies, was already in use by my husband as he is mixing up a new batch of Yellow Belly hard cider. The sugarhouse is a multi-use room. In the spring it is where we make maple syrup. In the summer it is where I clean and pack the veggies for the CSA. In the fall, it is where we press apples into fresh cider. And in addition to that, it is used all year long as it serves as our winery to make Yellow Belly hard cider. And today was one of those days where the winery took over, so there wasn’t any room for me to set up a photo of all of the ingredients today. But I will take a photo of it all and will add it to this post on our website later this week (photo now added).

As always, please return your box and cooler packs so I can refill them for you again. Here is the delivery schedule for this week:

Good Earth Co-op, St. Cloud Wednesday by about 10:30 a.m.
St. Cloud Offices Wednesday mid-morning
Vital Images Wednesday Between 12:30 and 2pm
Made of Mora – Thursday by noon
World Headquarters – Thursday by noon
City Center Market Co-op, Cambridge – Friday morning by 10 a.m.

Enjoy,

Debbie

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CSA Week 5: An Eclectic Array of International Cuisine.

week 5

Hello CSA Members,
This week’s box is quite a collection of favorites from many different regions of the world. Asian. Italian. Mediterranean. American. In honor of the multi-cultural delicacies, I thought it might be fun to highlight the items by their regions of origins…as I understand them to be.

Italian – a hefty handful of purple and green basil. This is such a versatile herb that it is frequently used in a multitude of Italian dishes. It can be added to your favorite tomato-based pasta sauce, or used all by itself as a pesto, which is my personal fave. Storage: you can either keep it in a vase of water, like a bouquet of flowers, right on your counter top, or store them in a plastic bag or container in the fridge. Both options should keep this herb fresh for about 4 to 6 days.

Mediterranean – a nice stack of grape leaves. I know, I know, you’re thinking “What? Seriously?? What the heck do I do with grape leaves??!” Those of you who have been a member of our CSA for the past few years will know what to do. But for those of you who have never heard of eating grape leaves, you are in for a wonderful Mediterranean treat. Here at Sapsucker Farms we regularly feast on stuffed grape leaves, also known as Dolmas. You can google and find numerous different recipes for dolmas, and there are some delicious options out there. But I keep it really simple, and have prepared this step-by-step guide on how to make stuffed grape leaves, a.k.a. dolmas. And by the way, I’ll be enjoying stuffed grape leaves this week as well. And you may even see grape leaves in future boxes as well. Storage: Keep in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge, and they should be good for at least a week.

Asian – I had a very abundant crop of bok choy this year, but alas, this is the last of this popular Asian green. I’m sure by now you have found your favorite way to prepare it. As it happens, I had it for supper tonight in a stir fry, and it was delish. [Burp]. Storage: perhaps you still have a bok choy from a previous box. Just keep them in the veggie drawer of your fridge, and they should last at least a week to 10 days.

American – ok, I admit that these items are popular all over the world, including here in America, so in honor of the upcoming 4th of July holiday, I opted to give these items a nod to our own heritage.

Cucumbers – The beginning of the cucumber season is now here. I should mention that cucumbers win the Sapsucker Farms MVP award every year, as they are a very prolific crop, so you will probably be seeing them in every box starting now through at least the end of August…unless some plague of locusts, rabbits, or other hungry beasties overtake them. Here are a few starter recipes to try. Storage: There is conflicting opinions about the proper storage of cucumbers. Some experts say to just keep them on your counter and they should last about 5 days. Others say put them in the fridge and they should last about 5 days. I’ve tried both, and they both work, so you can decide which method works best for your family.

Zucchini – This crop wins the runner up for 2nd most prolific crop of the season. You’ll be seeing a lot more zucchini in your future boxes, and the great news is that this is such a versatile veggie that can be used in savory dishes as well as deserts. This first box will only include one, maybe two small zucs, so it’s a great opportunity to start thinking about new recipes to try. I have a few here that can get you startedStorage: much like cucumbers…you can keep them on your counter or in your fridge. Both options give them a lifespan of about 5 to 7 days.

Lettuce – This is definitely the last of the lettuce. I’ve been able to eek out one more week of either romaine, or heirloom heads of lettuce, but the majority of the remaining lettuce has bolted.  I only wish I could keep it going for just a couple more weeks when the tomatoes will be ready, because there is nothing better than home-grown BLT sandwiches. Ok… I know… bacon doesn’t grow on a tree… but if I could grow it I would. However, I will plant a new succession of lettuce in the fall, so hopefully there will be one more opportunity for fresh local lettuce (and maybe even spinach) towards the end of the CSA season.

I wish you all a very happy 4th of July holiday. And as you are planning your summer festivities, I’d like to suggest that you add our Sapsucker Farms Yellow Belly hard cider to your shopping list. Available in two flavors: original semi-sweet, and ginger Yellow Belly.

Cheers,
Debbie

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CSA Week 4: Transitioning from Spring to Summer

week 4

Welcome summer. The season that we Minnesotans to eagerly look forward to, fill up with fun, and then all of a sudden, it’s fall. Knowing that summertime is full of vacations and complicated schedules, for you half share members, if you plan on being out of town during the week you would normally get your box, just let me know and I would be happy to switch up the schedule so you can get your box the following week instead. And with that thought in mind…

SLIGHT SCHEDULE CHANGE FOR 4th OF JULY: Since July 4th is on a Monday, many offices are also closed on Tuesday as well. So the delivery to St.Cloud offices, Good Earth Co-op, and Vital Images will be on Wednesday July 6th instead of Tuesday July 5th. All other deliveries that week will remain the same for those of you who pick up your box in Mora, here at World Headquarters, or at City Center Market Co-op in Cambridge.

So now… back to the veggie boxes. Just as our weather is transitioning from spring to summer, so are the crops transitioning from cool weather to warm weather produce. So here is what you’ll find in your box this week.

Sunflower shoots – a handful of these nutty, tender, and delicious sprouts from sunflower seeds. These are best enjoyed raw, either on a salad, or just as a snack. Storage: keep the plastic clam shell it comes in closed and store in the fridge.

Rosemary plant – I have an exceptionally good crop of rosemary this year. You’ll be seeing it again in future boxes, but for this first appearance, you will get a rosemary plant. The great thing about having a plant is that you have three options: 1.) put it in a window, water it, and let it grow big and tall. It has the potential to grow as big as a floor plant in just a couple of years. 2.) cut it up and use it in your favorite dish right now as a fresh herb. 3.) completely neglect it, let it dry up, then use it as a dried herb in your favorite dish. So you can’t go wrong in any of these scenarios.

Wombok – I know… you’ve never heard of womboks, right? Well neither did I until we had a WWOOFer from Australia stay with us for a few weeks. One day she mentioned to me “You have some huge womboks in the hoop house!” My immediate reaction was “What?! Womboks??!” and I pictured these hungry little monsters, like Tasmanian Devils devouring everything in sight. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case and it turns out that a wombok is the Australian translation for Napa cabbage. Whew. Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage, is a popular, tender and mild, oblong-shaped cabbage used in stir fries, slaw, kimchee and more. Here are some recipes to try. However, they are also quite a bugger to clean. As they grow, the leaves are spread out wide and relaxed, so dirt and grime easily drops down inside. So pay close attention to clean it thoroughly before you prepare it. Storage: in a sealed plastic bag or container.

Arugula – This spicy green made it’s first appearance a couple of weeks ago, as one of the ingredients in the salad mix. The full share members found it in their box last week. As the spring season comes to a close, so do some of the early greens, including arugula. This is also a fancy green that is often used in fancy dishes at fancy restaurants. One of my favorite ways to use it is as a pesto. Here are a few recipes to try if you’re not familiar with it. Storage: in a sealed plastic or glass container in the fridge.

Farmers Choice As the season transitions, I have some crops that are finishing up, while other crops are just starting to emerge. Since there are not enough of each of these crops to put in everyone’s box, you will find one of these items in your box: radishes (the last of the season crop, and don’t forget that the greens are edible too) OR cucumbers OR zucchini OR scallions.

Lettuce – The lettuce season will soon be coming to a close as well. It has always been my desire to try and have lettuce make it all the way to the tomato season. But since lettuce is a cool season crop, and tomatoes are a warm season crop, it can only be one or the other. Doesn’t seem fair, since BLT’s are such a great summer treat. Anyhoo… I digress… I think I might be able to eek out one more week of lettuce after this, before it all starts to bolt. So this week you will find some combination of romaine, and/or heirloom bibb lettuce. Storage: in a sealed plastic bag, or plastic or glass container and store in the fridge.

REMINDER: Please return your wax produce box and cooler packs to your pick-up location so I can re-fill them for you with more fresh, organic produce throughout the summer.

Here is the schedule for this week:
Good Earth Co-op, St. Cloud – Tuesday around 10:30 am
St. Cloud Offices – Tuesday between 10:00 to 11:00
Vital Images – Tuesday between noon and 2pm
Made of Mora – Thursday by noon
Sapsucker Farms World Headquarters – Thursday after noon
City Center Market Co-op in Cambridge – Friday 10:00 am

Enjoy,

Debbie

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CSA Week 3: Stir Fries and Salads.

week 3

Hi Full Share Members,
Since this is now the third week of the CSA, I won’t bug you with reminding you about the housekeeping thingies. But I will need to remind the half share members next week, so you can just skip through it.

This week’s box if full of goodies that are delightful to use in stir fries and salads. Here’s the scoop.

Arugula – This is a versatile peppery flavored green which can be prepared in hot or cold dishes. Here are a handful of recipes to try.

Beet greens (with a few micro beets). Just as the name implies, these are the greens from the tops of beets. Unlike radishes, I am much bolder at thinning the beets, mainly because beet greens are so delish. And in so doing, you may find a few tiny little beets too. Here’s a fun little fact, did you know that Swiss chard is a member of the beet family? That means any of your favorite Swiss chard recipes can be substituted with beet greens. Or you can take a look at some of these beet greens recipes too.

Scallions – tender, long and skinny green onions.

Bok choy – You should recognize this from your box last week. You can enjoy the crunchy stalks fresh, or chop them up for a stir fry.

Spinach – a nice bulging bag of Popeye the Sailor Man’s favorite power food. (please don’t tell me that you haven’t heard of Popeye!!)

Radishes – After thinning the radish patch last week, the remaining radishes had plenty of room to grow. So you’ll be getting a nice big handful of them the is week. And remember, the greens are also edible, so add them to a salad or stir fry as well.

Lettuce – A big head of red romaine, and small head of heirloom bibb lettuce.

Enjoy,

Debbie

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CSA Week 2: Seeing Green. And a Little Red.

week 2

Are you ready for some fresh, certified organic, Minnesota-grown produce??! Full share members got their first indulgence last week, now the half share members get to join in the fun.

But first… some housekeeping…(full share members…this will sound familiar…)

Your CSA will be delivered in a waxed produce box, plus it will have a cooler pack inside, both of which are re-usable throughout the season. So please be gentle with the box and return it along with the cooler pack for reuse each week. Plus, depending on where you pick up your box, there are a few things to know. So here it goes:

St. Cloud offices  for those of you who receive your boxes at your office, I’ll be dropping off your boxes on Tuesday mornings. Then just simply have your box and cooler pack ready for me to pick up when I deliver your box the next week.

St. Cloud Good Earth Co-op – Your boxes will be delivered to the co-op on Tuesday mornings approximately 10:30  am to 11:00 am. To pick up your box, go to a cashier, let them know that you are picking up your CSA and they will direct you to where the boxes are located. Then, next week when you pick up your new box, please return your box, collapse it, and leave the flattened box in the area where you pick up your new box, along with the cooler pack. Follow that?

Vital Images – I should be at your office approximately 2pm.

Made of Mora – your boxes will be ready for pick up by noon on Thursdays. Simply return your box and cooler pack to Made of Mora the next time you pick up your box.

World Headquarters (a.k.a. Sapsucker Farms) – For those of you who are picking up here at the farm, your box will be ready after noon on Thursdays. For your first time picking up, I will be here to show you where to pick up your box. Veteran CSA members, you know the routine here. Then just return your box the next time you pick up your box.

City Center Market Co-op in Cambridge – Boxes will be delivered on Friday mornings by 10:00 a.m. To pick up your box, you will need to go to a cashier, then they will retrieve your box, but they want you to bring along a bag to bring your goodies home. The co-op will keep the box and hold it for me next time I drop off boxes.

I’ll remind everyone of these procedures for the first couple of weeks, then we’ll all get into the swing of things and will know what to do in the future.

Wash your produce – Since all of your produce is organic, you don’t need to worry about any nasty poisons or chemicals on your produce. But you should still wash it before you prepare it. Everything has been field washed, meaning the big clumps of dirt, grit, and little critters have been washed off, but I can’t guarantee that I’ve gotten it all.

Okie dokie now…. here is what you will find in your box this week.

Rhubarb – A nice big handful, so there is plenty to make your favorite rhubarb crisp or better yet, my favorite rhubarb custard pie. If you don’t have a favorite rhubarb recipe, here are a few you can try.

Pea shoots – These curly, long stems of pea shoots are tender and succulent and can be added to salads, stir-fries, or just munched on as a snack.

Bok pak pac choy choi – There are so many different ways to spell the name of this Asian veggie, so I’m giving you the choice of picking your own way of saying it. I usually say “bok choy” which is the way I have the listed the various recipes on our website. The most common way to serve this is in stir-fries, or raw, just like a stick of celery. If you’re not familiar with it, here are some recipes to try. Yes, you will see that some tiny critter munched on the leaves a little, but don’t let that bother you. The crazy thing is, that when a plant gets a little bit of a bug bite, it reacts by sending out a surge of antioxidants to protect itself. In so doing, the plant actually increases it’s nutritional value. How crazy is that??!

Radish greens with micro-mini radishes – My dad loved radishes. He also loved to grow radishes. And he always said “when I grow up, I want to have a radish ranch.” I too like radishes, but I admit, I’m a whip when it comes to thinning the crop once the seeds start to sprout. I just have a hard time pulling little tiny radishes and not giving them a chance to grow. But, if the crop isn’t thinned, it gets crowded and the other radishes don’t get a chance to grow either. So that’s why the radishes are so small. Darn. However, the radish greens are equally as delish as the radishes themselves – a spicy, peppery green that tastes a lot like arugula. It’s also why I have a list of recipes for radishes and radish greens on our website, so you can give some of these ideas a try.

Spinach – a hearty bag of goodness.

Lettuce – a head of romaine, and a head of heirloom bibb lettuce.

Mint – This refreshing herb is a vigorous grower and very versatile. It can be added to hot and cold beverages to liven them up, or used in many different sweet and savory recipes.

I hope you enjoy your box of goodies. Of course, this is only the beginning so there is plenty more to come throughout the season.

Cheers,

Debbie

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CSA Week One: Greens Galore.

week 1

As we all know, here in Minnesota, Memorial weekend is the official start of summer…. even though technically it is still spring for a few more weeks. Here at the farm, this spring has been tricky as we’ve had hot days, then super freezing days, all within a one week. But despite these challenges, the plants have persevered and the first box of the season is ready.

But first… some housekeeping…

Your CSA will be delivered in a waxed produce box, plus it will have a cooler pack inside, both of which are re-usable throughout the season. So please be gentle with the box and return it along with the cooler pack for reuse each week. Plus, depending on where you pick up your box, there are a few things to know. So here it goes:

St. Cloud offices – for those of you who receive your boxes at your office, I’ll be dropping off your boxes on Tuesday mornings. Then just simply have your box and cooler pack ready for me to pick up when I deliver your box the next week.

St. Cloud Good Earth Co-op – Your boxes will be delivered to the co-op on Tuesday mornings approximately 10:30  am to 11:00 am. To pick up your box, go to a cashier, let them know that you are picking up your CSA and they will direct you to where the boxes are located. Then, next week when you pick up your new box, please return your box, collapse it, and leave the flattened box in the area where you pick up your new box, along with the cooler pack. Follow that?

Made of Mora – your boxes will be ready for pick up by noon on Thursdays. Simply return your box and cooler pack to Made of Mora the next time you pick up your box.

World Headquarters (a.k.a. Sapsucker Farms) – For those of you who are picking up here at the farm, your box will be ready after noon on Thursdays. For your first time picking up, I will be here to show you where to pick up your box. Veteran CSA members, you know the routine here. Then just return your box the next time you pick up your box.

City Center Market Co-op in Cambridge – Boxes will be delivered on Friday mornings by 10:00 a.m. To pick up your box, you will need to go to a cashier, then they will retrieve your box, but they want you to bring along a bag to bring your goodies home. The co-op will keep the box and hold it for me next time I drop off boxes.

I’ll remind everyone of these procedures for the first couple of weeks, then we’ll all get into the swing of things and will know what to do in the future.

Now… here is what’s in your box this week:

1 Dozen Eggs – one dozen very fresh eggs. You’ll see brown and green eggs, that’s because the Rhode Island Red chickens lay brown eggs, and the Aracauna chickens lay greenish colored eggs. This is the one and only time that eggs will be included in the CSA boxes.  For those of you who have purchased eggs with your CSA, these eggs are in addition to the eggs you have purchased. For the rest of you, If you would like more eggs in the future, just let me know, they are $3 per dozen and we can add them to you box in the future if you desire.

Rhubarb – The season is short for this delightfully tart treat. My fave is to make rhubarb custard pie, which you will find among the rhubarb recipes on my website.

Head Lettuce – Two different varieties are included: Romaine which is a large head with big leaves, and Deer Tongue which is a delicate heirloom variety with tender yet crunchy leaves. And just so you know, I have a LOT of lettuce growing, so you’ll be seeing a lot more in the future.

Spicy Salad Mix – this is a big bag with a mix of: beet greens, radish greens, arugula, and spinach. The radish greens and arugula are the greens that give this mix a bit of a spicy, peppery flavor.

Two pepper plants – I know, I know… you’re thinking “but Debbie, aren’t YOU the farmer here? Why are you giving me plants to grow myself??!” Well I’ll tell you why. My very first farm was located on the 24th floor of the Piper Jaffray Tower in downtown Minneapolis. And the first crop I grew was peppers. True story. On a whim, I picked up a couple of pepper plants at the farmers’ market on Nicollet Mall during my lunch hour, placed them in the window of my office and watched them grow, all year long. It was such a joy for me to watch them grow, so I started to play around with starting all kinds of seeds and plants. I even grew pineapples here in Minnesota too. Also true story. Ok… where was I? Oh yeah… peppers. So perhaps one of you may enjoy starting a farm in your office window, or patio, or give them to your kids to grow this summer. Lots of options for you to consider.  Just remember to water them, and you may need to put them in a bigger pot in about a month. Anyhoo…. you have two plants: one is a jalapeño which is a hot pepper frequently used in salsa, and the second one is Feher Ozon Paprika which is a small heirloom sweet pepper – one of my personal faves.  You will be seeing these peppers in your box this summer, so let’s see who’s plants bear fruit faster… yours or mine. The race is on!

Garlic – I had a huge harvest of garlic in 2015, and I still have a lot left overs. So the abundance of garlic now overflows into your spring CSA box. Of course, the new crop of garlic is growing beautifully as well, so you will be seeing more garlic later in the year.

Enjoy this early spring harvest (and last fall harvest) and I hope your new pepper farm gets off to a good start.

Cheers,

Debbie

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The 2016 CSA Season Will Soon Begin.

apple blossom and bee

Alas, spring is here, and the farm has been a busy place. Apple trees are blooming, honeybees are pollinating, and almost all of the crops are in the ground.

Although, I do have to admit, the early growing season has gotten off to a wonky start. Crops that are planted in the hoop house (a plastic-covered structure used for season-extension growing) are doing well. But the crops planted out in the field have been growing very slowly. Frosty the Snowman paid a visit here a week ago and blasted us with a hard freeze. While all the outside crops survived his visit, some of the brassicas (kale, cabbage, and broccoli) have a bit of a frosty fringe. They’re fine, but they’re just a little crabby after the freeze. Needless to say, the inside crops are much farther along than the outside crops, so I will keep you posted on the overall progress of all crops. (Yes, I did use the word “crops” six times in this paragraph…make that seven times…)

But first….

I will be sending you a weekly newsletter every Monday throughout the season to let you know what will be in your box that week, as well as other news from the farm. I’m using this Mail Chimp online software, and sometimes it may get blocked from your email system. So I need to make sure that everyone is able to receive this email each week. So…if you did NOT receive this email, please let me know. Wait a minute….ok that won’t work [head slap] so let’s try this…. please reply to this email by saying “blah blah woof woof” or anything else you want to say, so I know you received it. If you don’t reply, then I’ll track you down to figure out the best way to send this to you.

And second….

If you would like other family members, colleagues, or friends who are sharing this CSA with you, and you would like me to add their email to the weekly newsletter, please reply with their email address and I will include them as well.

And now….

Ok, drumroll please…brlbrlbrlbrlbrl….TING…. here is the schedule for the 2016 season. As you can see, the first box will be ready next week for the FULL SHARE members. The first box for HALF SHARE members will be the week of June 6. Of course, I have added the disclaimer “subject to change” which covers my butt in case the outside crops refuse to cooperate so I may need to add another hiatus in the schedule so they can catch up to the inside crops. Anyhoo….. here you go.

2016 CSA SCHEDULE*
Prepared 5/24/16
(Subject to change)
WEEK ONE Tuesday 5/31 St. Cloud Full share only
Thursday 6/2 Mora and Sapsucker Farms Full share only
Friday 6/3 Cambridge Full share only
WEEK TWO Tuesday 6/7 St. Cloud and Vital Images Full and Half shares
Thursday 6/9 Mora and Sapsucker Farms Full and Half shares
Friday 6/10 Cambridge Full and Half shares
WEEK THREE Tuesday 6/14 St. Cloud Full share only
Thursday 6/16 Mora and Sapsucker Farms Full share only
Friday 6/17 Cambridge Full share only
WEEK FOUR Tuesday 6/21 St. Cloud and Vital Images Full and Half shares
Thursday 6/23 Mora and Sapsucker Farms Full and Half shares
Friday 6/24 Cambridge Full and Half shares
WEEK FIVE Tuesday 6/28 St. Cloud Full share only
Thursday 6/30 Mora and Sapsucker Farms Full share only
Friday 7/1 Cambridge Full share only
WEEK SIX Tuesday 7/5 St. Cloud and Vital Images Full and Half shares
Thursday 7/7 Mora and Sapsucker Farms Full and Half shares
Friday 7/8 Cambridge Full and Half shares
WEEK SEVEN Tuesday 7/12 St. Cloud Full share only
Thursday 7/14 Mora and Sapsucker Farms Full share only
Friday 7/15 Cambridge Full share only
WEEK EIGHT Tuesday 7/19 St. Cloud and Vital Images Full and Half shares
Thursday 7/21 Mora and Sapsucker Farms Full and Half shares
Friday 7/22 Cambridge Full and Half shares
HIATUS No CSA this week 7/26 – 7/29
WEEK NINE Tuesday 8/2 St. Cloud and Vital Images Full and Half shares
Thursday 8/4 Mora and Sapsucker Farms Full and Half shares
Friday 8/5 Cambridge Full and Half shares
WEEK 10 Tuesday 8/9 St. Cloud Full shares only
Thursday 8/11 Mora and Sapsucker Farms Full shares only
Friday 8/12 Cambridge Full shares only
WEEK 11 Tuesday 8/16 St. Cloud and Vital Images Full and Half shares
Thursday 8/18 Mora and Sapsucker Farms Full and Half shares
Friday 8/19 Cambridge Full and Half shares
WEEK 12 Tuesday 8/23 St. Cloud Full shares only
Thursday 8/25 Mora and Sapsucker Farms Full shares only
Friday 8/26 Cambridge Full shares only
WEEK 13 Tuesday 8/30 St. Cloud and Vital Images Full and Half shares
Thursday 9/1 Mora and Sapsucker Farms Full and Half shares
Friday 9/2 Cambridge Full and Half shares
WEEK 14 Tuesday 9/6 St. Cloud Full shares only
Thursday 9/8 Mora and Sapsucker Farms Full shares only
Friday 9/9 Cambridge Full shares only
WEEK 15 Tuesday 9/13 St. Cloud and Vital Images Full and Half shares
Thursday 9/15 Mora and Sapsucker Farms Full and Half shares
Friday 9/16 Cambridge Full and Half shares
WEEK 16 Tuesday 9/20 St. Cloud Full shares only
Thursday 9/22 Mora and Sapsucker Farms Full shares only
Friday 9/23 Cambridge Full shares only
WEEK 17 Tuesday 9/27 St. Cloud and Vital Images Full and Half shares
Thursday 9/29 Mora and Sapsucker Farms Full and Half shares
Friday 9/30 Cambridge Full and Half shares
WEEK 18 Tuesday 10/4 St. Cloud Full shares only
Thursday 10/6 Mora and Sapsucker Farms Full shares only
Friday 10/7 Cambridge Full shares only

*I know… you hate asterisks… but this is just a reminder that as a CSA member, you share the risk with the farmer….meaning that there may be some crop failure, or Mother Nature could have a bad day and decide to take it out on the Sapsucker Farms crops….

And more stuff….

Here are some add-on items for sale from Sapsucker Farms. Just let me know if you would like any of these items throughout the season and I can add them to your CSA box whenever you want them, and I will coordinate payment with you as well. For those of you who have already ordered any of the items, you are good to go. Here are the prices for each:

Very fresh free-range eggs – $3 per dozen
Maple syrup – 17 oz. glass bottle – $15
Honey – 1 lb jar – $6
Honey – 2 lb jar – $12

Minnesota hand-harvested (by yours truly) wild rice. 1-lb package –  $10 

add ons

Organic farming practices….

I am frequently asked about the various organic techniques we use here on the farm to manage pests, weeds, diseases, and so on. So throughout the CSA season, I will try to highlight one of these techniques in each newsletter. This week’s feature is: Building Natural Habitat.  One of the most important organic management technique is to let nature do the work for you. By having natural habitat surrounding the veggie fields and orchards, it attracts the predator bugs that will happily feast on the bad bugs. Here at Sapsucker Farms, we maintain 40 acres of native prairie natural habitat which is divided into three different fields. While it may seem counter-productive, the best way to regenerate the native prairie is to burn it up. This past weekend we did the prairie burn and it is always an incredible sight to behold. Just click on the photo below to see a very short video of the fire as well.

IMG_8587

I’m almost done….

We are excited to announce that in April we launched a new flavor of our Yellow Belly hard cider. In addition to our (award winning) Semi-Sweet original hard cider, we now have Ginger Yellow Belly which is a ginger-infused hard cider, made with ginger that we grow right here on the farm. Our Yellow Belly is available in 170 + stores throughout the Twin Cities and Central Minnesota, plus it is served on tap and number of restaurants and bars as well. Here is the list where you can find Yellow Belly. Perhaps you might want to pick up a bottle to enjoy during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

YB

Now I’m done….

Wishing you all a very delightful Memorial Day weekend. And I am looking forward to the upcoming CSA season as well.

Cheers,
Debbie

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