A Bit of Hawaii in Minnesota.

This week I’m pretending that I’m living in Hawaii. Even though it’s February, and here in Minnesota it’s cold and gloomy outside, inside the greenhouse it’s like being on a farm on the Hawaiian Islands.

It’s time to start the ginger crop for the 2017 growing season. This year I am planting 100 lbs of ginger which should yield anywhere from 300 to 500 lbs by the end of the season.

Yes, ginger can be grown here in Minnesota. It just takes time, patience, and of course, a bit of knowledge on how to grow it. But the biggest need is having the right kind of growing environment for it to thrive.

Here at Sapsucker Farms, I purchase new, certified organic ginger root every year. I don’t replant any ginger from my previous year’s harvest for three main reasons 1.) I don’t know how to store it properly from November to February in order to assure that it is viable for the next season 2.) Every single piece that I grow is used in our Yellow Belly ginger hard cider. 3.) just like potatoes, by replanting your own stock you can perpetuate disease.

So here is how I grow ginger. In February, I start the ginger roots in my greenhouse. It takes about six weeks for them to sprout. By this time, the weather outside is warming up, and in particular, the soil inside the hoop house is warming up, so the sprouts are transplanted in hoop house sometime the end of April and early May.

The sprouts look a lot like bamboo. Tender green shoots with skinny leaves. Once it’s planted in the hoop house, then it needs to be nurtured throughout the summer…weeding…watering…feeding… By being sure it has all of its basic needs met, then it’ll happily grow until fall.

By November, the hoop house is a forest of ginger. Even though it’s cold outside, the warm soil and all of the greenery inside have a large enough mass to keep the environment warm and humid, well into the cold season.

Then the fun begins. Time to harvest. And nothing is more rewarding than to dig up a nice big ginger root like this one. Grown right here in the great state of Minnesota.

 

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Seed Starting Begins.

It may still be February, but it is prime time to start seeds in the green house. Digging in the dirt makes my hands as happy as a pig wallowing in mud. Ahhhhh….

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Yellow Belly Wins 2017 People’s Choice Award.

For the consecutive second year, Yellow Belly has won the “People’s Choice” award for best cider at the 2017 St. Cloud Craft Beer Tour held at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud. Huge thanks to our friends Davey and Rachel Johnston who helped pour samples and enthusiastically told our story to the crowd of 3,500 who attended the event. It was a very fun day for all.

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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.

week-18

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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