Week one newsletter
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The First CSA-It's finally here!

It always seems like the first CSA share should be much earlier-that we should be enjoying farm fresh food once we start enjoying nice spring weather. But I always have to remind myself that snow was on the ground not too long ago! 

Despite the fact that our green surroundings were very recently white, we have a smogesborg ready for you this week. In my six years of farming I've never experienced such a pleasant, wet when you want it, dry when you need it, spring. Usually we're scrambling to put together a decent first box, but not this year! Never before have I seen BROCCOLI ready this early!

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 zone. Looking through the catalogues was like being a little kid at an all you can eat buffet. My 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 I drove out to Essex Farm in Essex, New York to work on a farm I've admired since I started farming. Kristen and Mark Kimball operate a full diet year round CSA where they provide grains, vegetables, meats, dairy, eggs, fats, sweeteners, and more! You can read more about their farm in their book, "The Dirty Life" by Kristin Kimball.
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, spreading 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 15 piglets and 30 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. Dan moved here from Idaho, Bill recently returned from the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, Margaret from St. Paul, and Kayla from Northfield High School (where she just graduated, congrats!) 
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 six and a half 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 whenver 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 wound, 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! My favorite is our 1946 Farmall A.
And that brings us to this week... We've 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 so we can all eat like kings and queens this season!
A gorgeous head of delicious lettuce
Early broccoli. This is a variety called Bay Meadows. We've never grown it before, but are pleased with how early it is ready to eat.
Ordering seeds in the winter, with a fancy drink
Dan, holding the best tomato transplants we've ever grown.
This weeks share will feature beet greens, swiss chard, broccoli, salad mix, lettuce heads, spinach, arugula, garlic scapes, kohlrabi, and an herb. Keep in mind that this list is my best guess. Things change overnight in the fields, so do not be alarmed if what is listed above is not exactly what your share looks like

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! Think sunny days!

Margaret came across this wonderful article and shared it with me, and it's so good I'd like to share it with you:

5 things I do so I don't get behind on my CSA boxes:

1. Keep track of what came in the box.
2. Immediately prep or properly store everything.
3. Do a little mild meal planning.
4. See if there's something to preserve.
5. Share!

See the whole article here to find out more:
Our neighbors

So some of you may look at the arugula and think, what is this....horrible looking green thing....!

It's Arugula, a spicy green that is delicious. The flea beetles think so, too! The flea beetles come out when the soil gets just warm enough, and they hang around for a short time. We cover our crops with floating row cover to keep them out. I guess we didn't do good enough of a job in the arugula crop. The flea beetle damage does not affect the taste, only the aesthetics. So if you're brave enough, feel free to eat it in a salad.

If you're like me, you'll want to process it so you can't tell its full of holes. 

Good thing I have an awesome recipe for GARLIC SCAPE PESTO AND ARUGULA FLATBREAD:


Chopped garlic scapes

1/3 cup raw almonds

¾ cup olive oil

¼ cup Romano cheese


Freshly ground black pepper

3 flatbread rounds (about 12 inches in diameter; see note)

½ cup shredded mozzarella

¼ cup ricotta cheese

1 cup roughly chopped arugula

Balsamic vinegar


In a food processor, blend the scapes and almonds. With the motor running, add olive oil gradually, and then add the Romano cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spread each of the flatbreads with about 3 tablespoons of the pesto. Divide mozzarella and ricotta cheeses among the flatbreads.

Bake flatbreads in preheated oven 10 to 12 minutes.

Scatter top of each flatbread with chopped arugula and finish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Note: If flatbread is unavailable, use naan, focaccia sliced lengthwise, or pita.

This is what floating row cover looks like. Flea beetles like to eat all brassicas, like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collards, cabbage, brussel sprouts, rutabaga, and ARUGULA!
There are always a few hiccups with the first CSA delivery. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding. Questions, comments, concerns, and jokes are always welcome, call 507-581-9453, text, or e-mail


Until next week!
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