Yellow Belly Barrel Aged Wins Gold Medal, and Judges Choice Award.

barrel-gold-medal

We are thrilled to announce that Yellow Belly Barrel Aged hard cider won the gold medal in the category of “Wood Aged Cider” at the 2016 U.S. Open Cider Championship. In addition, the branding was recognized by the judges in a special Judges Choice award for one of the top ten most creative names.

The competition was held in October in Oxford, Ohio, with over 160 entries from across the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom. 15 categories of cider were judged. Complete details of all of the results can be found on the U.S. Open Cider Championship website.

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Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday.

Mn Gift pack

Two ways to support small, local businesses like ours. Celebrate Small Business Saturday and think small, and local. Then relax at home and shop online on Cyber Monday. Treat your loved ones with wonderful local gifts we have on our online store. But be sure to stop by your favorite wine & spirits store to pick up a bottle of Yellow Belly so you can kick back and relax after your shopping excursions. Thank you for your support of small, local businesses like ours.

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CSA Week 18: The last box of the season.

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You’ve seen plenty of pictures of food throughout the season, so I opted to use a photo to just remind us all of the beauty that surrounds us this autumn season.

It has been an adventurous season for me. And considering that you, the 2016 CSA members have joined me in this journey I thank you for standing by my side. This was the first year I had to battle ground hogs, in both the garden and the hoop house, as well as deer getting into the hoop house. I can’t blame the animals for wanting to munch on the goodies I’ve been growing, but I can sure be mad at them for the destruction they have caused.

Thankfully, the critters didn’t get everything, which is why you sill find these items in your box this final week:

All boxes will contain:

Eggplant – I hope you have fallen in love with this very versatile, highly popular [in Europe] veggie.

Potatoes – a random combination of white, red, yellow or blue spuds.

Onions – a few medium sized yellow or white onions.

Garlic – a nice sized head.

Vine-ripened and/or green heirloom tomatoes – They’re still growing, ripening, and ready to eat, whether they are green or ripe.

Kale and/or Swiss chard – cheers to a bunch of healthy greens.

Herbs: either mint, parsley, basil, sage, or thyme

Other items that may randomly appear in your box:

Artichokes – may be big or small.

Beets and/or beet greens – the last of the beet patch that survived the deer attack.

Broccoli – to my surprise, the ground hogs have left it alone and some of the florets have sprouted.

I thank you all for your support of our farm. It has been my pleasure to grow fresh, certified organic fruits and veggies for you this year.

God speed to you all, and I wish you much health and happiness.

Cheers,
Debbie

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CSA Week 17: A Smorgasbord of Everything.

week-17

I know, you’re probably wondering what the photo of the bumble bee has to do with a smorgasbord. Well, nothing really. I just saw a bumble bee on these flowers along the edge of our driveway when I went out to get the mail today, so took photo of it. I thought it was pretty an decided to share it with you.

And now, what do I mean by a Smorgasbord of Everything? It means that since this is the last CSA box of the season for the half share members, I’m filling the boxes with all of the different things I still have left on the farm, but not every box will be exactly the same. So here are some of the things you’ll find:

All boxes will have:

Apples – we harvested apples this week, and since we grow about 30 different varieties, so we mixed a whole bunch of different kinds together into one bag. Some of the varieties you’ve heard of such as: Zestar, Honeycrisp, Regent, Cortland, MacIntosh, Beacon, Honey Gold, Chestnut Crab, and Haralson. Then there are some varieties you’ve never heard of such as: Striped Harvey, Famouse, Minnesota 1734, Empire, and Kaneb Sweet. I guarantee you will have lots of fun tasting and comparing them all….even though you won’t know which one is which. However, please note…the apples have not been washed at all. In fact you will see some that have some freckles of dirt on the skins. No worries, it may look ugly, and if you really want to remove it you can scrub it off with a scrub brush. But just beware that there have been many birds lounging in these trees throughout the growing season…. if you know what I mean….

Winter Squash – you’ll find either an acorn, buttercup, butternut, or red kuri squash. The acorn and buttercup squash are dark green with bright orange flesh; Butternut squash is tan with orange flesh, and the red kuri is bright orange with orange flesh.

Grapes – I have a huge grape crop this year, and they just keep on giving. So you’ll have another carton of table grapes for snacking or making jam.

Green and/or ripe heirloom tomatoes – You’ve had a lot of experience with the ripe tomatoes, but the green tomatoes offer you a couple of options. 1.) you can let them sit on your kitchen counter and they will ripen up just like the ones you’ve enjoyed all summer. 2.) you can pickle them or prepare fried green tomatoes and try Jim’s Aunt Mary’s recipe on our website.

Herbs – some type of herb, either sage, parsley, or thyme. I’m sure you will recognize parsley, so for the boxes that have either sage or thyme, I will put a label on it for you.

Peppers – the hearty pepper plants bounced back after being attacked by both the deer (in the hoop house) and the groundhog. Both the sweet peppers and the hot peppers made a comeback, so you’ll find a little of each.

Random appearances – these items will be randomly placed so you’ll just have to see what surprises I’ll have in store for you.

Beets and/or beet greens – even though the deer in the hoop house really munched them down, some of them survived and many of the greens grew back. For those beets that really got chomped, you’ll see that the root has been removed, but the greens are still nice and edible.

Swiss chard – large leaves of greens with colorful stems of red, pink, yellow or white.

Potatoes – red, white, yellow, or blue, just like you’ve seen over the past few weeks.

Kale – dino or red Russian varieties.

Artichokes – one or two here and there.

And now, for the half share members, the season has come to a close. Full share members you have one more week to go. All of you will find an evaluation form and self-addressed, stamped envelope. I would really appreciate your feedback on your experience with the Sapsucker Farms CSA this year.

As for next year… I will no longer be doing a CSA. While I will continue to grow organic fruits and vegetables, I will be pursuing a new direction for the growing operation. For those of you who are interested in a CSA, I highly recommend Fresh Starts Farm located right here in Mora. This is a wonderful farm with lots of experience growing vegetables, and their CSA serves the Mora, Cambridge and Duluth markets.

Meanwhile…in other news from the farm…

We are delighted to announce our newest Yellow Belly Small Batch Hard Cider flavor: Barrel Aged. This is our cider blend that has been aged in oak bourbon barrels. It’s very smooth, with a delicious balance of apples and a very slight note of bourbon and oak. It is now available in Mora, and is rolling out in retail stores and restaurants across the Twin Cities and the rest of Minnesota.

YB bottles and glass medium

Thank you all for your support.

I want to thank each and everyone of you for supporting our farm. I hope that you have enjoyed your experience with the Sapsucker Farms CSA, and I certainly hope I get to see you at the Mora Farmers market, or when I’m doing a Yellow Belly tasting at stores across the Twin Cities and other parts of Minnesota.

Cheers to you all,

Debbie

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CSA Week 16: I REALLY Hate Groundhogs!

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The groundhogs have been viciously attacking the crops this year. I used to see them as cute, furry little varmints and I’d cheer for their escape when being stalked by a bird of prey. But that all changed this year. Now I see them as nasty rodents with big fangs that take pride in devouring as much of my crops as they can.

This year, they have completely devoured the entire edamame crop, and the entire brussel sprouts crop, they’ve stripped the kale plants up the stems to the point where they look like little palm trees (shown above), fortunately there is still some kale left to harvest, and they invaded the hoophouse and nailed the sweet peppers. THAT’S why I really hate groundhogs.

Despite the devastation they’ve done, I am able to still fill the boxes with some goodies this week. So here is what you’ll find:

Peppers – some of the peppers are regenerating, so I think I’ll be able to have enough for the boxes this week. Most of them are hot peppers, but a few sweet peppers can be found too.

Vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes – While I still have lots of tomatoes, most of them are green. Now that the weather is cooling off and the days are getting shorter, the tomatoes are not ripening as quickly. But There still are some out there to be had and I will find them.

Eggplant – Did you figure out how terrific they are? I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. And I hope you look forward to seeing more in your box this week too!

Basil – It’s still looking beautiful, and I still have quite a nice bunch growing. So even though you’ve had it in your box last week, as long as it is still doing so well, I’m including it again. As far as I’m concerned, there is no such thing as too much basil. If you don’t want to use it in a recipe, then just put it in a vase and enjoy the wonderful aroma.

Grapes – I have oodles and oodles and oodles of grapes this year. And the groundhogs haven’t touched them…. mainly because they are growing on an arbor on the side of the shed, and that dogs patrol that area to keep furry critters away.

Potatoes – A nice bag of red, white, blue, and white potatoes.

Onions – A few medium sized onions.

Kale – The groundhogs didn’t get them all, so kale lovers, you’re in luck.

The delivery schedule this week is back to normal:
St. Cloud offices – Tuesday morning by 10:30
Good Earth Co-op – Tuesday morning by 10:30
Made of Mora – Thursday by noon
World Headquarters – Thursday by noon
City Center Market Co-op in Cambridge – Friday by noon

Enjoy,

Debbie

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CSA Week 15: Slight Schedule Change this week.

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Please note that the boxes delivered to Made of Mora deliveries will be ready on WEDNESDAY this week instead of Thursday. Same for boxes picked up here at World Headquarters, will be ready on Wednesday instead of Thursday. All other delivery times will remain the same. Here is the schedule this week:

Good Earth Co-op, St. Cloud Offices – Tuesday by 10:30 a.m.
Vital Images – Tuesday between 11:30 and 12:30
Made of Mora – Wednesday by noon
World Headquarters – Wednesday by noon
City Center Market Co-op – Friday morning by 10:00 a.m.

Ok, now that we have the housekeeping taken care of, here is what you’ll find in your box this week.

Grapes  As I explained to the full-share members last week, these aren’t your ordinary table grapes.These are unique, Minnesota grown grapes that thrive in our cold climate. We have purple, white, and red grapes, but please don’t ask me what variety they are because we lost the list with the description of what we planted. But if you’d like, I can certainly come up with some impressive names for each. These grapes do have seeds, and they have a super intense grape flavor. Even though most of them are purple, there is a variety of different kinds of purples, so that is why each bunch will have it’s own unique flavor.

Leeks – This year I grew a different variety than I’ve grown before. This is a much smaller leek, so they are not as woody as the bigger leek, and much easier to clean. If you’re not familiar with leeks, they are like a giant scallion, and can be added to soups, stews, or when sliced very thin, added to salads.

Swiss Chard – You had some practice with beet greens, now you can apply the skills you’ve learned with preparing beet greens. Why? Because Swiss Chard is a member of the beet family.

Potatoes – A nice big bag of red, white, blue, and yellow potatoes. Living in the Midwest, the land of “meat and potatoes” I know you know what to do with these. Combine these spuds with some leeks for a nice potato-leek soup.

Eggplant – In other parts of the world, particularly in the Mediterranean, eggplant would be the “meat and potatoes” to that region. Some friends of ours from Turkey have shared with us some incredible dishes they have prepared using eggplant, and I have become a huge fan of it. But I know that eggplant is not very popular in this area, but I hope you’ll find a recipe that you’ll enjoy. In fact, when you combine the eggplant, garlic, and basil that is also in the box this week, you’ll have a simple and delicious meal. And the recipe is right here too.

Basil  I am so impressed with my basil crop this year. Usually basil is usually shriveling up this late in the season. But this year it’s not, so I get to add it to your box this week.

Onions – you’ll notice that the onions are a little bigger this week. That’s because I’ve been saving them for now. If I started giving you big onions, then itty bitty onions I know you would be disappointed. This way, the little onions found a happy home and purpose in life, instead of being overlooked and ignored.

Garlic  A head of garlic freshly harvested from this year’s crop.

Vine-ripened Heirloom Tomatoes – While there are still lots of tomatoes on the vine, the cooler weather and shorter days mean the tomatoes are ripening much slower now. But what is ripe will be in your box this week.

Enjoy the bounty,
Debbie

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CSA Week 14: Slight Schedule Change this Week.

Week 14

Please note there will be a slight change to the CSA schedule this week:
Good Earth Co-op – No change, boxes will be there on Tuesday by 10:30 a.m.
Made of Mora Wednesday by noon for this week instead of Thursday.
World Headquarters Wednesday by noon instead of Thursday this week here at the farm.
City Center Market Co-op, Cambridge Thursday morning by 10 am instead of Friday mornings.

So with the changed schedule this week, some of you will be able to enjoy the bounty earlier than usual. And here is what you’ll find in your box this week:

Grapes – These are not your typical table grapes. In fact, we’ve lost the paper with the list of names of what we planted, so we don’t even know what they are anymore. But what I can tell you is that you won’t find them anywhere else. We have several different varieties of purple, red, and white grapes, with most of the varieties being purple. They do have seeds, but they have a much more intense, tart, grape flavor than you’ve ever experienced. Of course, those of you who have been members of the CSA in the past, know exactly how good they are. They have also ripened up much earlier this year. Normally I prefer to harvest them after the first frost as that will sweeten them up a bit. But what the heck. They’re ready now, so you’ll be enjoying them now and [SPOILER ALERT] next week too!

Herb Sampler – You’ll find three different herb packages this week: Sage – Like most herbs, sage had lots of health benefits, full of flavonoids and antioxidants. It’s also delicious and is most most commonly used with poultry dishes. Thyme – has an earthy flavor and is used in many Italian dishes. Oregano – the sage kind of took over where the oregano was planted but I was able to find just a very small bit to share. Oregano is also used in a lot of Italian dishes, and is especially great with tomatoes sauces.

Beans – The second harvest of beans is now in progress and so far I’ve been able to harvest them before the ground hog gets to them. You’ll find the familiar, colorful varieties of purple, green, and dragon’s tongue.

Beets with greens – Last week I told you how the deer have gotten in to the hoop house and they decimated the sweet peppers and beets. Fortunately they didn’t get all of the beets, and I was able to rescue these remaining survivors, which is officially the last of the crop for this season. I’m hoping that the veggies these deer ate in my hoop house will help them grow up big and strong so I can shoot them and put them in the freezer come deer season in November.

Potatoes – A combination of white, yellow, red, and blue potatoes.

Onions – Some more little ones, much like last week.

Kale – some curly and purple kale this week.

Vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes – I haven’t caught the chipmunk in the hoop house yet. I see the little rascal scurrying away, so his time will be limited. Meanwhile, the ripe tomatoes seem to be more plentiful and higher up on the vine, perhaps he can’t reach them? At any rate, I have a nice big bundle of ripe tomatoes for you this week.

So don’t forget you folks in Mora and Cambridge. Your boxes will be ready a day earlier than normal.

Enjoy,

Debbie

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