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Week One: June 19, 2014
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Welcome to the CSA

Week One:
 

Hi Friends

 
We've made it to the first box! We've been busy since January to get ready for this day. In the middle of winter, when it seemed impossible that anything would grow in our harsh climate, we poured over seed catalogues, choosing varieties that will thrive in our Northfield hardiness zone 4a. Looking through them was like being a little kid at a smorgasbord. Our eyes might have been bigger than our physical limitations... We planned when to plant what, how much to plant, and how every crop will be grown. 
 
Winter season is conference season, and in between leading dogsledding trips, I squeezed in a handful of conferences where I joined other sustainable farmers to learn about cover cropping, nutrient density, soil microbial populations, soil health, tractor implements, greenhouse production, crop rotations, raising animals holistically, and more. In February, we applied for and received a USDA grant to research soil microbial populations in our soil and how inoculating our soil with compost tea effects our soil health.  
 
Then the spring came and we were able to start getting our hands dirty in the greenhouse. We planted over 40,000 plants in our greenhouse. Our growing season has an average of 124 days. In order to grow the crops we want to grow, we have to start many of our plants inside, like tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, swiss chard, lettuce, and more. Many were started in March, well before the snow began to think about melting outside.
 
But slowly the snow did melt, the frost came out of the earth, the soil dried out, and we were able to start preparing the land for our little veggies. We spent hours on the tractors subsoiling to reduce compaction, injecting compost tea to inoculate our soil, plowing to turn in our cover crops, tilling to prepare the seed bed, and spreading tons (actually, 61 tons) of manure and compost to fertilize our soil.
 
The spring also brought new life to the farm. We welcomed 10 piglets and 50 laying hens to Seeds Farm. They are fun. Watching them is better than watching tv! They all have their individual personalities and quirks. We've been rotating the chickens (and soon we'll start rotating the pigs) onto new pasture where they can eat grasshoppers, grubs, insects, fresh greens, and enjoy plenty of sunlight. When the animals are happy, I am happy.
 
We also welcomed an awesome work crew. Ian, assistant farm manager extroirdinaire started in April after working on a number of farms out east for four years. In May, Michael joined us as he finished his junior year at St. Olaf, and in June Marie and Olivia from Carleton, and Kayla from Northfield High School joined us after finishing their sophomore, junior and junior years, respectively. 
 
By May we were able to start putting our tiny vegetable plants in the fertile soil. The first crops to sprout outside were the peas, spinach, radish, onions, and potatoes. When the threat of frost was minimal, we transplanted our brassicas-broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collards, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and kohlrabi. When the threat was gone, we planted our solenaceous- tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. It took us weeks to plant all five acres of vegetables. 

Not only do our plants grow in the fertile soil, plenty of weeds grow as well. Just like our human bodies make a scab whever we have an open wound, mother nature protects her wounds by populating it with growth. To farmers, it looks like weeds. It's mother natures way to protect the soil from erosion. If we weren't trying to grow vegetables, we'd let nature heal her woiund, but these 'other plants' steal nutrients, water, and sunlight from our vulnerable vegetables, so we get rid of them (without using harmful chemicals). Thankfully we have a number of tractors and implements that we drag through the soil and strong backs to get the job done!
 
And that brings us to this week... We welcomed 50 kids from the local YMCA camp ages 7-11 out at the farm for a field trip to check out the animals, make potato stamps, have a scavenger hunt, and paint. We dodged flash floods and have been watching the Cannon River rise nervously. Some of you recall last year when we weren't so lucky... We also welcomed 8 baby turkeys. We planted fall cabbage and broccoli. We pulled mega amounts of thistle from the fields.We trellised our tomatoes. And we spent a lot of time getting prepared for this first CSA pickup.

I hope you enjoy your fresh, delicious, produce. We're thrilled to get to share it with you.

 

THIS WEEKS SHARE
 
We have fresh produce for you! This week you'll find rhubarb, peas, chives, green onions, basil, lettuce heads, swiss chard, radish, daikon microgreens, spinach, and dried beans.

A fun note about the beans. My first year farming at Seeds in 2009, I was given a small handful of dried beans from Victor, who brought them from his home farm in Mexico when he moved to Minnesota. Victor was growing an acre of vegetables out at SEEDS Project next to us. We saved the seed from the harvest that year and planted them the following year. Each year our harvest has multiplied, and now we harvest bushels! 
 
Even though summer is upon us, the summer abundance is still a few weeks away. The CSA season starts humbly at first, but before we know it, we'll be swimming in produce! It was a cool, wet spring this year (hard to remember when it's in the 80's now) which made it hard to get into the fields when we wanted. We're still on schedule for planting, but some of our crops are taking a little longer to mature. They'll catch up soon. Think sunny days!
NEWSLETTER

This weekly newsletter is our way to communicate with you. In it you'll find news from the farm, a recipe, important information, and more. Please read it!

You'll also find that we update our Facebook account frequently with photos. Friend us at facebook.com/seedsfarm.  

This photo is of a robins nest I found in our old cultivating tractor right before I set out to the fields. Thankfully mama and the chicks did fine in their new location in a nearby bush.
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The following is a list of the weekly and biweekly members picking up on ODD delivery weeks. If you are a weekly member, you will pick up your box every week for 18 weeks. If you are a biweekly member on this list, mark your calendar to pick up your produce June 19/20, July 3/4, July 17/18, July 31/Aug 1, Aug 14/15, Aug 28/29, Sept 11/12, Sept 25/26, Oct 2/3, Oct 16/17. Biweekly members picking up their boxes EVEN weeks will start next week.
 
ODD WEEK DELIVERY Veggies Egg Budding Farmer Flower
         
Farm
Thursday 4-9 pm
**we will be there from 4-6 pm
       
Sara Brice 1 1 1  
Meleah and Kristi 1 1   1
Kristi Stets   1    
Emma Wilhelm 1      
Jenifer Anderson 1      
Sarah Williams 1      
Katie Blise 1      
Patricia Jermeland 1 1 1  
Julia Reich 1      
Rick and Karen Dennison 1      
Greg and Nancy Carlson 1 1   1
Mary Carlson   1   1
Bill Minehan 1 1    
Dana Balukas 1      
Jeremy Girard 1 1    
Alex Trautman 1      
         
Just Food
Thursday 4-9 pm
       
         
Nicki Loduha 1   1  
Colin Froines 1 1    
Steve Lindley       1
Bill Upham       1
Nicole Cuppy 1      
Kelly and Colin Irvine 1     1
Janet Mitchel       1
         
         
Northfield Home Delivery
Friday morning 7-10 am
       
         
Jeane Hatle 1 1   1
Amy Pagel 1 1    
Katherine Helgen 1     1
Chris Daymont 1      
Mississippi Market
Friday morning 7-10 am
       
         
Molly Hartnett 1 1    
Rebecca Amidon 1 1   1
Heidi Carlson 1      
Sarah Taylor 1      
Gilbert and Andy 1 1    
Uptown
Friday morning 7-10 am
       
         
Bryan Duff 1      
Barb Kunz 1 1   1
Julie Hayes 1      
Audrey Webb 1 1    
Sara Hardwig 1      
Kim Cook 1      
Valley Natural Foods
Friday morning 7-10 am
       
         
Sue Van Heel 1      
Heather Jaynes 1      
Ned and Denise Bulman 1      
Elizabeth Carlson 1 1    
Eric Lindgren 1 1    

CSA MINDSET
 

Eating from a CSA box is fundamentally different from eating at a supermarket or farmers market. Instead of picking out exactly what produce you'd like, you get a box full of whatever is in season that week. Some you may recognize, some you may not! In exchange for your flexibility, you are rewarded with the freshest, most delicious vegetables available. Flexibility and creativity will help you make the most of your box. And we're here to help you with the rest. In each newsletter you will find a recipe or two featuring a vegetable in your box. 
 
So, my words of advice to make the most of your CSA box? FEAST! The growing season in Minnesota is short, so make the most of it. Some crops are only available for a few short weeks. Enjoy them while they are here! And if you cannot utilize every single morsel, please do not feel guilty. We purposefully fill your boxes to the brim so you get more than your moneys worth. If you have extra that you can't eat, that's alright. The easiest thing to do with extra produce is to share it while it's fresh. It's also super easy to blanch and freeze it. Blanching locks in the nutrients so they don't degrade in the freezer. You'll be glad you did when you pull it out of the freezer in January.
Never fail, every day, delicious on everything, salad dressing:

This recipe is simple, but great. I usually make a whole quart mason jar at a time of this salad dressing and have it on hand at all times. It's even good on ice cream...

1 cup good olive oil
1/3 cup good balsamic vinegar
2 cloves crushed garlic (just wait until the garlic scapes are ready on the farm!)
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon honey
Salt and Pepper to taste

Shake and enjoy. Pour over some peas, chives, lettuce, chard, nuts, dried fruit, cheese, or whatever and taste the sunshine!
There's a bit of dirt on my veggies?

I won't give you vegetables as dirty as the radishes in the picture, but I will tell you that some of your vegetables may need a wash before you eat them. This is on purpose! We will clean most of the soil off of most crops. However, some crops last longer if we don't wash them. Like zucchini - if it's not muddy in the field when we harvest them, they come out of the field basically clean. If we dump a bushel of pretty clean zucchini in our dunk tank, they'll bump against other zucchini and bruise, starting the deterioration clock. 

Plus, it's good to eat a little dirt here and there :) 













Now enjoy! Please don't hesitate to call or e-mail with any questions.

This photo is portion of one of our 13 fields. Basil, swiss chard, beans, fennel, celeriac, celery, sweet potatoes, cilantro, dill, kohlrabi, beets, zucchini and summer squash live in this field.
Copyright © 2014 Seeds Farm

Our address:
6903 115th St E
Northfield MN 55057
*Mapquest spits you out 1/4 mile west of our farm

Contact:
Email: seedsfarm@gmail.com
Phone: (507) 581 9453
Website: seedsfarmproject.com

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