Monday, November 19, 2012

How to use Dried Mushrooms...

This winter we will be selling dehydrated mushrooms at the Winona Winter Farmer's Market.  Using dried mushrooms is easy and they make a great addition to winter meals such as soups and croc pot goodies!  Often times the flavor of the mushroom intensifies when dried and if stored properly they will last years.  The best way we have found to store dried mushrooms is in a sealed glass jar out of direct sunlight.

If you are using our dried mushrooms in soups or the croc pot there is no need to re-hydrate prior to tossing them in.  If you are planning to fry, bake, etc. here is the best way we have found to re-hydrate.  Keep in mind that some mushrooms, such as shiitake, will re-hydrate better than others.

Measure out the amount of mushrooms that you need (1 oz of dried shiitake comes back to around 1/2 lb).  Put them in a bowl with warm water.  We often fill the bowl almost to the brim and then place a saucer on top of the bowl so that the mushrooms stay completely submerged.  Set the whole thing aside for 15-20 minutes.  Check on the shrooms and if they feel like they've softened up strain them with a slotted spoon or strainer.  You will want to keep in mind that they will have quite a bit of water content when cooking.  Use them like you would a fresh mushroom.  The by-product of re-hydrating your mushrooms is a bowl of nutrient and flavor rich water that can be added to soup stocks, rice, etc.  Experiment and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thanks for a great season! Box 19 (and 20) Oct. 23rd 2012

Thanks for being a part of our farm this year! Your support is a crucial piece of our operation. We are in our 3rd year of CSA and this was our biggest membership yet. Making the jump from 25-40 members was a little nerve-racking at first, especially given the extreme weather conditions this summer! We definitely learned a lot this year and are excited to implement a few new changes for next season.

We were able to upgrade to a walk-in cooler this fall which will save a ton of time every day (though we’ve gotten pretty good at refrigerator tetris) and will also allow us to harvest storage crops all at once which will free up planting space for other crops sooner.

We will definitely be investing in a better irrigation system next spring. We had one of the worst droughts in a while this year and a lot of our crops suffered because of it. I don’t think we had a decent looking beet all year! The irrigation system will help immensely with our root crops such as onions, carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, etc. These are key crops for us as they store well and are generally things that our membership really enjoys. Having irrigation will also allow us to ensure that we are including a good variety of produce in the boxes each week. When we are faced with tough weather conditions and we end up losing crops it really affects the variety of vegetables that we are able to include in the CSA.

It was a challenging year on the farm but we learned some excellent lessons! Thanks for sticking with us through the good and the bad (hopefully there is more of an emphasis on the good). The CSA model is designed that way. That’s what makes a CSA different. It’s not a replacement for the grocery store or the farmer’s market. It’s a model that allows you to basically become part of a farm. You have an intimate relationship with your farmers. You are supporting a local farm. You are reestablishing a relationship with your food that many people have lost these days. You are able to enjoy the bounty of a great harvest… but you are also assuming a risk. The risk that a crop will fail, or hail will destroy the tomatoes, or a late frost will kill the apple blossoms, or a cow will break into the garden and eat all the kale! Many things can go wrong in the daily life of a farmer and many of these are beyond our control. But for us, the joys far outweigh the woes. We love growing your food but we also understand that the CSA model doesn’t work for everyone.

Thanks again for allowing us to be your farmers! We look forward to continuing to develop our relationship with you…

Your Farmers,

Bryan Crigler and Katelyn Foerster
Herbal Turtle Farms


Herbal Turtle Horseradish Sauce
Shiitake Mushrooms
Pumpkin or Squash


Squash or Pumpkin
Bok Choy
Oyster Mushrooms
Watermelon Radish


Here are a few pumpkin recipes from one of our members... Thanks Lizzy Haywood!

I made these cookies and they are awesome:

And then I got inspired by this recipe:

....but I modified it thus:

2 c shredded apples (soft ones that aren't as good for munching)
2 ripe bananas
1 c pumpkin puree (cooked, but you could do raw if you want)
1 T real maple syrup
2 t. pumpkin pie spice from the co-op
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c craisins
1/2 c pecans

Make sure to coat your dehydrator or cookie sheet with an oil spray (like organic coconut or canola oil) otherwise these will stick like crazy.

flip the leather once while it is drying.

Frozen fruit leather is yummy, and also if you tear it into bits it makes a good topping for salads!

Braised White Cabbage with Thyme:

Shiitake Mushroom Pizza:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

BOX 18 - Oct. 17th, 2012

Next week is our last CSA box!  Thanks so much for choosing to be a part of our farm this year.  Your decision to be more involved with one the MOST important things in your life... your food... is key in helping to build and maintain a sustainable, healthy food system that generations to follow will benefit from.  THANK YOU! 

In case you did not have a chance to read our previous blog post...  You are the reason we grow vegetables and raise chickens and have dirty fingernails for 6 months out of the year. Your feedback is very important to us and we base most of our farm decisions on member preferences. We have created an online survey that we hope you will take a few minutes to complete. Here is the link: Thanks for your input!


Pie Pumpkin
Watermelon Radishes
Shiitake Mushrooms

Please let us know by Monday if you would like the extra box we mentioned in our post last week!  You can email us at or call 507.450.5877 (Bryan) or 507.313.5085 (Katelyn) and let us know.


Please check back later!

Monday, October 15, 2012

2012 CSA Survey

Our CSA membership is the lifeblood of our farm!  You are the reason we grow vegetables and raise chickens and have dirty fingernails for 6 months out of the year.  Your feedback is very important to us and we base most of our farm decisions on member preferences.  We have created an online survey that we hope you will take a few minutes to complete.  Here is the link:  Thanks for your input!

Your Farmers,

Bryan and Katelyn
Herbal Turtle Farms  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Box 17 - Oct 10th, 2012

Things are winding down on Herbal Turtle Farms.  We have 2 boxes left this season!  There are LOTS of projects to finish before we settle down for the winter so let us know if you would like to help out with any.  We will continue to take out old crops and trellis, planting garlic and possibly some carrots for next spring, trimming an re-mulching herb beds, putting shiitake logs down to rest, replenishing winecap beds, and more!  We are really hoping to get a cover crop in but it has been so dry this fall that it may do more harm than good.  If we till up the soil and the seeds don't germinate we will be stuck with bare soil over the winter.  If we have a dry winter that could be very bad news.  We may opt to leave the weeds as a cover and try to get a cover crop in early next spring.  


Snow Peas
Pie Pumpkin
Onions or Leeks

Since we missed a box in July due to the excessive heat we are offering an extra box during the last week of the CSA.  This box will consist of mainly storage crops such as cabbage, beets, and winter squash, but may also include broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, radishes, etc.  Whatever we have left we will throw into the box!  We realize that not everyone likes to process foods for the winter so we will be giving members the option of requesting the extra box rather than just giving it out to everyone.  If you would like us to include the bonus box with your final CSA pick-up please email or call us and let us know by Monday, Oct 22nd.  You can reach us at or 507.450.5877 (Bryan) or 507.313.5085 (Katelyn).   

Your Farmers,

Bryan, Katelyn, and Ayden
Herbal Turtle Farms


Pumpkin Cookies with Cinnamon Icing:
These are insane.  I made a double batch last time and we ate them in a few days.  If you only make one recipe that I gave out this year-let this be the one.

Swedish Cabbage Soup:
A really great fall soup!  One of my favorites!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

BOX 16 - October 3rd, 2012

Just when you were preparing for storage crops and cooking greens... BAM!  We hit you with some snow peas.  And they are TASTY.  You may notice a few spots on them here and there which is a reaction to the first few frosts.  We should have more of these next week weather permitting.


Bok Choy
Snow Peas
Watermelon Radish

We are doing a big push this month to get everything winterized!  We will be planting garlic, pulling out old crops and trellis, tilling and planting cover crops and putting mushroom logs to rest for the winter.  It's going to be a busy couple of weeks...  If you are interested in helping out with any of these projects let us know.


Vegetable Stir-fry with Ginger Vinaigrette:

Coconut Curry Roasted Squash:

Broccoli Rosemary Cassarole:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

BOX 15 - Sept 26th, 2012

Pssst... Guess what?  You can make pumpkin pie with out canned pumpkin pie mix!  Yes, ladies and gentlemen it's true, with our revolutionary scientific break-through pumpkins you can now make pumpkin pies from actual pumpkins.  ;)

The frost finished off the rest of our summer crops - basil, beans, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes... but it was a very effective form of weed control also!  Our fall crops are still luscious and beautiful and should produce nicely through the end of the season.  Now that the weather has changed you can expect to get a lot more cooking greens so get those saute pans ready!  You can also easily put up any of these greens by simply cooking, bagging, and freezing them.  The cabbages will last a VERY long time in the fridge so don't worry about trying to get through them too quickly. 


Sweet Peppers
Hot Peppers
Watermelon Radishes
Prize Bok Choy
Pie Pumpkin

We will be giving out a survey in the next few weeks to get your feedback about your CSA experience this year.  We are always open to constructive suggestions to help us improve our CSA!  Our box supply is quickly dwindling as we approach the end of the season so please be sure to bring your boxes back each week.  Thanks!

Your Farmers,

Bryan, Katelyn and Ayden
Herbal Turtle Farms


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

BOX 14 - Sept 19th, 2012

It's getting cold out there!  We worked in wool hats and long underwear this morning.  Not to worry though... our fall crops don't mind :).  We have a beautiful crop of winter squash and already have snow peas forming!   The watermelon radishes are gorgeous and have a nice mild flavor.  We are experimenting with a radish chip recipe (which we've included) but you can also eat them like a regular radish.  Katelyn likes to dip them in butter and cover with salt!


Sweet Peppers
Hungarian Black Hot Peppers
Winter Squash
Watermelon Radish
Royal Burgundy Beans

We've been super busy lately since James started school again and Katie moved to Madison on a new adventure as an author.  If you've been wanting to come and help out sometime Tuesdays are the day!

Your Farmers,

Bryan and Katelyn


Watermelon Radish Chips:

Roasted Sweet and Savory Squash:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

BOX 13 - Sept 12th, 2012

Our summer harvests are coming to an end and we are starting to see some beautiful fall crops coming in!  The tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers and eggplant are all starting to die back so we may not see much more from them this season.  Yesterday we harvested our first winter squash crop of the year and they are beautiful!  All of our fall successions are still looking great and we have a lot more great produce on the way...


Sweet Peppers
Hungarian Black Hot Peppers
Purple Beans
Cucumbers/Lemon Cucumbers
Caraflex Cabbage 
Acorn Squash or Pie Pumpkin

We will be putting one of our fields into a cover crop within the next few weeks.  Hard to believe that fall is upon us!  It's been quite a weather roller coaster this season. 

Your Farmers,

Bryan, Katelyn and Ayden
Herbal Turtle Farms


Caraflex Cabbage Slaw:

Thai Red Curry with Winter Squash:

Tuna Salad with Lemon Cucumber:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

BOX 12 - Sept. 5th, 2012

We are lovin the bounty of beautiful tomatoes on the vines!  Sometimes they love you back as you can see from this awesome picture Katelyn took the other day!   In other news... We got the walk-in built!  MANY thanks to our very good friends and family members who made it possible!  Though we were growing fond of playing cooler tetris every day... we won't miss it much!  Now we just need to get the electrical run and we will be in business


Purple Beans
Baby Swiss Chard
Sweet Peppers
Hot Hungarian Black Peppers
Cucumbers/Lemon Cucumbers

We were happy to get the rain yesterday and don't seem to have any serious hail damage on the crops.  Still have canning tomatoes if anyone is interested... not sure how much longer we will have them available.  Also, please remember to bring your boxes back each week! 

Your Farmers,

Bryan, Katelyn, and Ayden
Herbal Turtle Farms


Cherry Tomato Couscous:

Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil:

Broccoli Basil Mac and Cheese:

Lemony Green Beans:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

BOX 11 - August 29th, 2012

We now have a walk-in cooler!!! Well... to be fair, it's sitting in pieces on a pallet but we have it!  We will be attempting to put it up this weekend.  If any of you happen to be electricians and would like to donate some time to help us wire it up we won't stop you :). 

We harvested the first of our fall successions this week.  Spinach, which you will receive in  your box, and a few pie pumpkins!  We washed the spinach once already but were hesitant to wash it again because we didn't want it to bruise.  We would recommend washing it once more!

We are still harvesting a TON of tomatoes and have been busy putting some up for the winter but our chickens have really been LOVING the leftovers.  There isn't a seed left when they are done. 


Heirloom Tomatoes
Sweet Peppers
Hot Peppers
Summer Squash


Roasted Eggplant Spread:

Fresh Basil Herb Dip:
This is a blog that we really like to read.  She has tons of great ideas for gardening and recipes!

Marinated Cucumber Tomato Salad:
2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced into rounds
4 large tomatoes, sliced into rounds
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon slivered fresh basil strips
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Arrange cucumbers, tomatoes and onions in a shallow serving dish.  Mix oil, vinegar, and sugar in a small bowl and pour over the vegetables.  Season well with salt and pepper.  Cover and let marinate for at least one hour and up to 4 hours.  Sprinkle with herbs just before serving (the leftover marinade makes a good dressing for salad greens).  Makes 6-8 servings.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

BOX 10 - August 22, 2012

Box 10 means we are officially half way through our CSA season!  We hope you have been enjoying your produce so far.  We have lots of great stuff to come... Honey, pumpkins, winter squashes, soybeans, spinach, watermelon radishes, peas, Herbal Turtle's world famous horseradish sauce and more!  I don't think we'll have much for apples this year :(.  The extra mild winter/early spring caused the trees to start flowering early and when the last frost hit I think we lost quite a few blossoms.


Swiss Chard
Cucumbers (Lemon or Slicer)
Baby Beets (Detroit Red and Chiogga)
Sweet Peppers (Green or Purple Beauty)
Hot Peppers (Hungarian Black) 

Tuesday's are great days for helpers at the farm so if you are interested in getting your hands in the dirt let us know!

Also, if you would like to buy some tomatoes for canning let us know and we have plenty of canning tomatoes that we will give you wholesale pricing on. 

Your Farmers,

Bryan, Katelyn, Ayden, Libby and James
Herbal Turtle Farms


Caprese Salad

Roasted Broccoli

Purple Velvet Torte

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

BOX 9 - August 15th, 2012

It's been a bountiful week on Herbal Turtle Farms!  The rainfall has been great for us, both in the garden and in the mushroom yard.  We are also starting to see a lot of wild edible mushrooms and hopefully can find a few hours in the week to go out and harvest them.  We are starting to plan our CSA potluck but have not set a date yet... stay tuned for party details!  This will be a great opportunity for you to meet other CSA members and to tour the farm and see where your food is coming from.  Plus we'll have some great food and live music :).


Famosa Savoy Cabbage

Dragon's Tongue Beans

Basil Mix (Genovese, Purple, Thai, and Lemon)

Tomatoes (Multiple varieties, see previous post for details)

Red Onions

Summer Squash/Zucchini


Black Hungarian Hot Peppers

Sweet Bell Peppers


We are already starting to get inquiries about the 2013 CSA and are currently taking orders.  If you are enjoying being a part of our CSA and it is something you would like to do again next year let us know.  We filled up pretty fast this year and we will not be expanding much next season.  We would rather grow slowly and ensure that we are serving our current members the best we can. 

Your Farmers,

Bryan, Katelyn, Ayden and James
Herbal Turtle Farms


Ginger Garlic Savoy Cabbage

Prizewinner Green Beans with Tomatoes and Herbs
(From Asparagus to Zucchini)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
about 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup sliced onions
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound green beans, ends clipped, beans cut in half
1 sprig rosemary
2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
salt to taste or 2 tablespoons salted butter

Heat olive oil in deep pan over medium heat.  Add garlic and pepper flakes; saute until fragrant.  Add onions, saute until translucent, 3-5 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup water, the dried spices and green beans.  Stir, cover, and steam cook beans until nearly done, 10-15 minutes.  Stir in the rosemary and tomatoes.  Cook very briefly, until tomatoes are warmed through and beans are done.  Season with salt, or if you prefer, melt salted butter over the beans before serving.  this recipe won a prize in the 2002 Food for Thought Recipe Contest in Madison.  Makes 4 servings. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

BOX 8 - August 8th, 2012

TOMATOES!!!!!!!  We have been harvesting some really beautiful and flavorful tomatoes this last week.  We planted 5 different varieties (4 of them are heirlooms) this season and all are doing very well.  We have included a picture and description of each variety below.  We will be giving out plenty over the next few boxes but please let us know if you are interested in purchasing more and we will sell them to you at our wholesale rate. 

The rainfall has been a blessing and we are very pleased with the germination rate of our fall successions.  We should have plenty of spinich, radishes, carrots, and beets among other tasty treats to come. 


Black Hungarian Hot Peppers
Dragon's Tongue Beans (yes, they are supposed to be flat!)
Genovese Basil
Listada di Gandia Eggplant (Winona, Trempealeau)
Famosa Savoy Cabbage (La Crosse, Rochester)

We will be hosting a mushroom inoculation workshop again this summer.  Those of you who are interested in learning how to grow your own mushrooms please let us know as we are giving CSA members a discounted rate.  We will post details on this blog as well as on facebook and twitter soon.

Also, don't forget that we are always looking for volunteers!  If you would like to come out for a half day or even a few hours let us know and we will schedule something.

Thanks for your continued support!

Your Farmers,

Bryan, Katelyn, Ayden, Katie and James


Brandywine Beefsteak Tomato  Organic Brandywine Tomato - HEIRLOOM Big and beautiful! This classic variety was one of the first to bring recognition to the heirloom label. Known for its perfect balance of sugars and flavor. Dark pinkish-red flesh is smooth and juicy, so make sure to have a napkin handy! Fruits are very large, weighing 1 lb or more.

Copia Beefsteak Tomato

Organic Copia Tomato - A great tomato for farmers’ markets and a must-have for selective tomato growers. Unique fine-lined stripes of golden-yellow and candy-red make this tomato amazing to look at. Large beefsteaks average 12-16 oz with sweet, juicy meat and swirling color throughout. Stabilized by Jeff Dawson from a cross between Green Zebra and Marvel Stripe and named in honor of COPIA, the American Center of Food, Wine and the Arts in Napa, CA.
Red Pear Tomato

Organic Red And Yellow Pear Tomato - HEIRLOOM Unique pear shape.  Plants put out high yields of perfect pear-shaped tomatoes and keep producing right up until frost.

Rose de Berne TomatoOrganic Rose de Berne Tomato - HEIRLOOM Dark rose-pink hue and well-loved heirloom flavor that is not too tart, nor too sweet. A tomato taste test topper at Phillies Bridge Farm Project in New Paltz, New York as well as in the HMS trial gardens. Round fruits are 4-8 oz with meaty flesh perfect for slicing. Soft-skinned, but not overly fragile and holds up well against cracking.

Moskovich TomatoOrganic Moskvich Tomato - HEIRLOOM High quality, early-season heirloom tomato that rivals the hybrids. Excellent producer of 4-6 oz red tomatoes in just 60 days. Fruits are round to slightly flattened with a deep red color and luscious, rich flavor. Great eaten fresh or for processing. Highly resistant to cracking, making it a great pick for the greenhouse too. Like all Russians, Moskovich can stand up to cool conditions.


Mark's Sweet and Spicy Squash
(From Asparagus to Zucchini)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 cups summer squash, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup diced onion
1 leek, chopped
2 Hungarian hot peppers, diced
3 tablespoons honey
salt and pepper

Heat oil in skillet; add squash, onions, leeks and peppers, and saute until tender.  Drizzle honey over vegetables.  Stir in salt and pepper to taste.  Turn off heat, cover, and let stand 3-4 minutes.  Makes 4 servings

Easy Blender Salsa
This is Kate's sister, Molly's, go to salsa recipe.  You can substitute a pound of fresh tomatoes for the canned and add more salt. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

BOX 7 - Aug 1st 2012

Things are looking great in the garden this week!  Tomatoes and peppers are on their way.  We planted most of our late succession crops and are shaping up to be right on schedule... weather permitting!  We mentioned last week that we were featured on the show Garden Connections... here is the link to the episode:  Our segment starts at around 11 min, 50 sec. 


Swiss Chard
New Potatoes
Summer Squash/Zucchini
Famosa Cabbage - Winona/Trempealeau
Egg Plant - La Crosse, Rochester

If you recieved eggplant this week you will get cabbage next week and vice versa.  The new potatoes are from our friends at Whitewater Gardens!

Your Farmers,

Bryan, Katelyn, Ayden, Katie and James
Herbal Turtle Farms


Chickpea Sauté with Greek Yogurt
(Cook the Book)
This recipe calls for a lot of swiss chard.  We made it last night using a similar amount to the one in your box and it turned out great!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

BOX 6 - July 25th, 2012

RAIN!!!  Today we danced!  It was a much needed rain and thankfully there is more in the forecast.  The garden is extremely happy and we are starting to see a lot of summer produce.  The first eggplants and peppers are coming on and a few tomatoes are starting to ripen.

We mentioned earlier this season that we gave Ayden his own section of the garden this year.  He planted it himself, has been weeding and watering, and harvesting his own produce.  In exchange for his work we have been letting him sell his produce at the farmer's market and keep the money he earns.  He decided that he wanted to save up for a new bike and this week he sold enough to buy it!  He has learned some great lessons this year and we are VERY proud of him! 




Red Norland Potatoes

Sweet Corn



Salad Greens - La Crosse, Rochester

Zucchini/Summer Squash - Winona, Trempealeau

The sweet corn and red potatoes are from our friends at Fairview Farms. They are another local farm using sustainable growing practices. We are not set up to grow corn but our members really seem to enjoy it so we buy from or sometimes trade with other local farms who have growing practices and farming philosophies similar to our own. Hope you enjoy!

Your Farmers,
Bryan, Katelyn, Ayden, Kate and James
Cilantro Chutney (goes great with MANY things!)

"Drippy" Mexican Sweet Corn
(The Splendid Table)
Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Walnuts and Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
(Serious Eats)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

BOX 5 - July 18th, 2012

Broccoli!!!  We got it.  Hope you like it!  Garlic is finished curing and looks beautiful.  We will be adding it to your box throughout the season until we run out.  Egg plants and tomatoes are coming on and the plants are looking beautiful.








It seems like we have had to battle almost every harmful insect known to man this year but we are somehow staying ahead of them (so far). Our zucchini and summer squash had a bad case of Squash Vine Borer and Bryan had to literally do surgery on each plant to get the bugs out and save the plant. Hopefully they will recover... he's a farmer, not a doctor! We will definitely be introducing some nematodes to the fields this year to hunt the grubs down so they don't come back as strong next year.

Please remember to bring your boxes back each week and if you're not going to be able to pick up your box let us know so that we can save it for you.  Boxes that are not picked up are automatically donated to the coop or drop-site manager.  Also, please call us if you need to make other arrangements, not the coop or drop site as they have no affiliation with our farm.  Thanks!

Your Farmers,

Bryan, Katelyn, Ayden, Kate and James
Herbal Turtle Farms


Chile Broccoli Pasta
(Vegetarian Bible)

2 cups dry penne or macaroni
1 medium head broccoli
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 fresh red chiles, seeded and diced
8 cherry tomatoes (optional)
small handful of fresh basil or parsley, to garnish

Cook the penne or other pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for about 10 minutes, until tender but still firm to the bite.  Remove from the heat, drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.  Set aside.  Cut the broccoli into florets and cook in salted boiling water for 5 minutes.  Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again.  Heat the olive oil in the saucepan that the pasta was cooked in.  Add the garlic and chiles, and tomatoes if using.  Cook over high heat for 1 minute.  Return the broccoli to the pan with the oil and mix well.  Cook for 2 minutes to heat through.  Add the pasta and mix well again.  Cook for 1 minute more.  Remove the pasta from the heat, turn into a large serving bowl, and serve garnished with basil or parsley.

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
(From Asparagus to Zucchini)

2/3 cup lime juice (6 ounces)
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
pinch salt
2/3 cup packed cilantro leaves
2-4 dashes bottled hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon cumin
1/4 cup canola oil

Place all ingredients except the oil in a blender.  Turn on blender.  Add oil very slowly through the "hole" in the middle.  Use a little water if you lose the hole, but just enough to keep the little hole so the oil will get blended.  Makes about 1 1/4 cups. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

BOX 4 - July 11th, 2012

We need some rain!!!  Luckily we have a new watering tank that fits on the back of Kates truck and gravity-feeds a hose.  This makes watering about 5 times faster!  The heat really hurt the last of our cold weather crops last week but some things have been loving it.  Tomatoes, peppers, summer squash and egg plant are looking great!  We have plenty of broccoli and it's looking pretty bug free.  We triple washed the cauliflower but you may want to double check for bugs before you throw it in the pot (remember we grow using organic methods).  We pulled all of the garlic last week and have it curing now... looks great! 


SALAD MIX - (Winona and Trempealeau)
CARROTS - (La Crosse and Rochester)

We will be doing our Certified Naturally Grown inspection soon and will need a few CSA members to inspect the farm.  If you are interested in doing this for us please give Bryan a call at 507.450.5877.  It shouldn't take more than an hour or so and would give you a great opportunity to better understand how we grow your food. 

Your Farmers,

Bryan, Katelyn, Ayden, Katie and James


Grilled Green Bean Salad with Lentil Vinaigrette
2 tomatoes (about 8 ounces each), halved

1 basil sprig
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, halved
2 shallots—1 halved, 1 minced
2 cups pure olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons black beluga lentils
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped oregano
1/2 pound green beans
4 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 small zucchini
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 packed cup baby arugula

1.Preheat the oven to 300°. Put the tomatoes in a small baking dish, cut side up. Add the basil, bay leaf, garlic and halved shallot. Add the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake the tomatoes for about 2 hours, until very tender. Let cool slightly. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to a plate and break them up slightly. Reserve the tomato oil. Discard the basil, bay leaf, garlic and shallot.

2.In a small saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon of the tomato oil with half of the minced shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened, 2 minutes. Add the lentils and 3 cups of water; season with salt and pepper. Simmer over high heat until the lentils are tender, 15 minutes; drain and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the vinegar, oregano, 1/4 cup of the tomato oil and the remaining minced shallot. Season with salt and pepper.

3.Heat a cast-iron grill pan. In a medium bowl, toss the green beans with 1 tablespoon of the tomato oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred, 2 minutes.

4.In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the tomato oil. Add the diced pancetta and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the pattypans and the crushed red pepper, season with salt and cook for 1 minute. Add the roasted tomatoes and green beans and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Spoon the vegetable mixture onto 4 plates and drizzle half of the lentil vinaigrette on top.

5.Add the arugula to the remaining lentil vinaigrette and toss. Mound the arugula on the green bean salad and serve.

Make Ahead The tomatoes in their oil and the lentil vinaigrette can be refrigerated separately for up to 3 days.

Hot Cabbage Slaw
(From Asparagus to Zucchini)

2 bacon stips or 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
6 cups shredded cabbage
chopped fresh dill to taste
pinch of sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vinegar

Chop the bacon, fry in skillet, remove, and drain on paper towel.  Add onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add 2 tablespoons water, the cabbage, dill, sugar, salt, pepper; cover and simmer until wilted but still crunchy.  Add bacon or oil and vinegar and toss.  Makes 3-4 servings.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

BOX 3, JUNE 26th 2012

It's been an exciting week at Herbal Turtle Farms!  Katelyn is back from Colorado and has survived her whitewater rafting adventure, we have been getting the farm ready for Bryan's big 4th of July family reunion, and today we had a television crew out to the farm to interview us for a gardening show!  We'll give out a link to the episode as soon as it airs. 


Fresh Garlic (not cured yet so use it soon as it will not keep as long)
Snap Peas
Radishes (La Crosse, Rochester)
Baby Carrots (Winona, Trempealeau)
Swiss Chard - Cooking Green
Red Leaf Lettuce - Raw Green
Pea Shoots - Cooking or Raw Green-excellent in stir fries!

If you recieved Radishes this week you will get Carrots next week and vice versa.

Also, a heads up for Winona and Trempealeau members... We will not be dropping boxes on the 4th as our drop sites will be closed and many of our members will not be around to get boxes anyway.  We will bring boxes on Thursday, July 5th instead.  As always, feel free to reach out to us any time!

Your Farmers,

Bryan, Katelyn, Ayden, Katie, and James
Herbal Turtle Farms


Radish Leaf Soup
(Forgotten Skills of Cooking)
We gave out this recipe last year and people LOVED it.  It sounds a little odd but we think it's worth a shot!
3 tablespoons butter
5 oz potatoes, peeled and chopped
3/4 C. onion, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 C. chicken or vegetable stock
1 C. whole milk
5 oz radish leaves

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.  When it foams, add the potatoes and onions, and toss until well coated.  Season with salt and pepper. Stir well, cover, and sweat on a gentle heat for 10 minutes.  When the vegetables are almost soft but not colored, add the stock and milk.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes and onions are fully cooked.  Add the radish leaves and boil with the lid off for 4-5 minutes, until the radish leaves are cooked.  Do not overcook the soup or it will lost its fresh green color.  Puree in a blender.  Taste, and adjust the seasoning. 

Rainbow Swiss Chard Appetizer
(From Asparagus to Zucchini)
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced shallots
4 stems chives, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried, ground thyme
1 bunch rainbow chard stalks, finely chopped (use actual greens for another recipe)
cream cheese, softened
toasted, sliced french bread or crackers

Melt butter in pan over medium heat.  Add shallots and saute 2 minutes.  Add chives, thyme and chopped chard stalks; saute until stalks are tender, tossing to coat with butter.  Transfer to bowl and let cool, patting it with paper towels to soak up excess butter.   Spread cream cheese on toasted bread or crackers.  When chard is cool, spoon some onto each cracker.  Makes about 4 servings. 


Friday, June 22, 2012

Ayden's first produce!

Ayden is super excited about his first harvest!!! He has been working hard to plant, weed, and water his corner of the garden and tomorrow will be his first chance to sell his produce at the Winona Farmer's Market.  We're super proud of him for all of the hard work and great energy he has put into this project!  He will have Bok Choy and Kohlrabi for sale this week... The Winona Farmer's Market runs 7:30am-Noon and we will have Shiitake and Golden Oysters there as well!  See you then!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

BOX 2 - June 20th, 2012

Wahoo! It’s been a busy week at Herbal Turtle Farms! Katelyn is out in Colorado at her family reunion so we’ve been a person short this week… good thing we’re all farming powerhouses ;). We were happy to get the rain this week as it really gave the peas a boost. The heat has been tough on the head lettuce though so we’ll have to wait until our next round is ready. The arugula looks great and tastes spicy and delicious. Usually the flea beetles hit it pretty hard but I guess this spring they were busy eating the Bok Choy instead!


Arugula – raw green, a great (and spicy) addition to any salad!

Bok Choy – cooking green

Snap peas- eat raw or cook, these are great by themselves as a snack!

Kale – cooking green

Kohrabi – eat raw or cook

Chives – use raw or cook

Didn’t have much time to get photos up this week but this is something we definitely plan to do more of. We’ll have more peas next week along with radishes and Swiss Chard! As always, feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions or feedback…

Your Farmers,

Bryan, Katelyn, Ayden, Katie, and James

Herbal Turtle Farms


Kale and Blue Cheese Roll-Ups


1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened

6 oz blue cheese, softened

3-4 tablespoons minced garlic scapes or fresh garlic cloves

1 pound kale leaves, blanched until wilted, drained, squeezed dry, and finely chopped

Black pepper

1 loaf soft sandwich bread, crusts removed

Extra-virgin olive oil

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Beat cream cheese, blue cheese, and chives until smooth. Mix in kale. Season with pepper to taste. Flatten bread slices with a rolling pin. Spread a layer of kale/cheese mixture over slices and roll up. Brush each roll with olive oil and place seam side down on baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 min. Serve immediately. Makes 20-24 roll-ups.

Garlic Stir-Fried Snap Peas

(Oak Ridge Farm)

3 cups sugar snap peas

1 tablespoon oil (any mild one)

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Cooked rice (optional)

Heat oil in a skillet. Stir in garlic. Add peas; cook and stir 2-4 min on medium heat. Remove and sprinkle on lemon juice, add salt and pepper. Serve over rice if desired. Makes 3-4 servings.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

BOX 1 June 13th, 2012

Hello Herbal Turtle 2012 CSA members!  We hope you enjoy your first box!


Garlic Scapes (these are the curling tops of the garlic plant and you can use it just like a garlic clove)

Kale (Cooking Green)

Bok Choy (Cooking Green)

Butterhead Lettuce (Raw Green)

Kohlrabi (Cook or eat raw like a radish)

You will note that there are lots of healthy greens this week :). Hopefully we can add some vibrant radishes for a little color in the next week or two. All of the produce is looking great in the fields. The lack of rain has slowed some things down a bit but we’ve been hand watering and should be on track for our harvest dates.
The Bok Choy did fall victim to a ravenous swarm of flea beetles as you may have noticed. The damage is only cosmetic and although we value presentation, we thought you may enjoy it anyway… we certainly have been! (see recipe below).
Katelyn’s cousin Michelle has a wonderful blog we thought you may be interested in checking out. She recently wrote an awesome article regarding CSA’s and useful tips for first time members! Check it out at
We also highly recommend shredding your kohlrabi with a cheese grater and using it as a topping for you salads!

A few items that may come in handy this season:

1. A salad spinner!  You can pick them up fairly cheap and you can thank us later.  Giving your greens a quick soak in cold water and then spinning them dry will keep them crisp for your salads.

2. The cook book "From Asparagus to Zucchini: a Guide to Cooking With Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce" by the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition.  It is an AWESOME cook book written specifically for CSA members.  We give out a lot of these recipies but there is also a ton of great advice about storing and preparing your produce as well.

As always, feel free to call us with any questions, comments, or just to say hello!

Your Farmer's,

Bryan, Katelyn, Ayden, Katie, and James
Herbal Turtle Farms

Stir Fried Bok Choy with Cashew Sauce
(From Asparagus to Zucchini, MACSAC)
1/2 Cup raw cashews (can sub roasted/salted cashews as well)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbs minced ginger root
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 1/2 lb bok choy
1/4 cup peanut oil
Toast cashews in a dry skillet, tossing frequently, until lighly brown and fragrant.  Combine cashews, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, red pepper flakes and 2-4 tbl of water in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.  Set aside.
Wash bok choy stems and leaves well, making sure to rinse away dirt in the ribs.  Separate the bok choy leaves from the stalks.  Cut stalks into 1 inch pieces and roughly chop the leaves.  Heat peanut oil in a large skillet over hight heat until hot but not smoking.  Add bok choy stems and cook, stirring often, until crisp tender, 2-3 min.  Add the leaves and cook until they wilt and turn bright green, another minute or so.  Remove to a platter and cover with cashew sauce or serve sauce on the side. 
Super Healthy Kale Chips
(Jamie Oliver)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

2012 CSA Pick-up Information

Greetings Herbal Turtle CSA Members!!! Thanks for choosing to be a part of our CSA, we are extremely excited about this season! The warmer weather and addition of our modest but effective greenhouses has got us off to a great start this year. We will continue to publish weekly newsletters which will include farm news, box contents, and recipes for you to try. In an effort to save paper this year we have decided to post the newsletters here on our blog at but not in a hardcopy form. The blog will be updated every Wednesday. Our first box is scheduled for the 2nd week in June. If we have enough produce ready to do a box earlier than that we will call everyone and let you know.

Winona members, your pick-up site will remain at Bluff Country Coop in the produce section. We will have boxes there by Noon on Wednesdays and you can pick them up anytime between Noon and Close (8pm). Please keep in mind that the sooner you can get your box the better as things may start to wilt if left out too long.

Trempealeau members, this year we will be dropping boxes off at the Simota House. The address is 12365 Hunter Lane. Boxes can be picked up between 6 and 8pm on Wednesdays.

Rochester members, you can get your boxes from us at the Saturday Downtown Rochester Farmer’s Market. We are there between 7am and Noon. We will bring coolers to keep your produce cool but the sooner you can get there the better. The farmer’s market is a great place to pick up a box! You can do your other shopping at the same time!

La Crosse Members, pick-up will be at the Riverside Corporate Wellness Office (RSCII Building, 2nd Floor - above River Rocks) Thursdays between 10:30 am and 4:00 pm. After 4pm the boxes will be placed outside the office in the hallway. We do have an alternate drop site in La Crescent so if you know that you will consistently be later than 4:00 to pick up your box let us know and we can arrange to have you go to the other site.

Please remember to return your boxes each week! The wax boxes are fairly expensive so we only order what we need each year. As you can imagine it can cause a lot of problems if we don’t get them back each week! Your name will be listed on your box along with a color coding system that lets us know which add-ons you are supposed to get so make sure you don’t peel off the colored stickers :).

If for some reason you are not able to pick up your box please let us know ahead of time and we can make other arrangements. Any boxes left over at the pick-up sites will be taken and eaten by employees of the pick-up sites! Also, if there are any issues or you have any questions please contact us directly. The businesses that allow us to use their space for pick-up have no other involvement with our farm and will not be able to help you. We love hearing from our members so feel free to reach out! Bryan: 507.450.5877, Katelyn: 507.313.5085. Looking forward to a GREAT season!

Your Farmers,

Bryan, Katelyn, Katie, James and Ayden

Herbal Turtle Farms

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

2012 CSA!!!

The Herbal Turtle Farm's Crew has been busy getting plants in the ground, mushroom logs inoculated, apple trees tended to and a new round of seedlings started for our second successions.  Not to mention keeping our chickens and highland cattle happy and bringing on 4 new lambs!  Always something going on! 

We are excited to welcome our new La Crosse members to the farm this year.  It's great that Riverside has taken such an interest in health and sustainable agriculture and is allowing us to set up a drop-site there! 

We will be sending out our 2012 kick-off letter in the next week or so.  We usually like to wait until Mid-May to do this so that the information is fresh in your minds and also because we usually get a few last minute sign-ups!  We have our first box scheduled for the 2nd week in June but the way that the weather has been this spring we may end up ahead of schedule.  We'll let you know for sure in the kick-off letter. 

We do have a few spots left so if you have been putting it off... give us a call!  Looking forward to a great season...

Your Farmers,

Bryan Crigler
Kate Foerster
Ayden Crigler
James Balonis

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ready for the season!

We've been pretty busy over the last few months getting ready for the 2012 growing season! A lot goes on behind the scenes that many people don't realize so we thought we would take some time to share a little of the process with you in order to give you a better understanding of our farm...

The first thing we need to do each year is decide how many members we can realistically take on given the resources available to us. This year we decided that 40 shares was the maximum we could do without compromising the quality of our boxes.

Next, we need to decide what we are going to fill those boxes with! This is probably the most important and most complicated part of the planning process. In order to keep your boxes full of quality produce each week we need to plan crops that will be ready in early spring - late fall. Some things will grow very quickly and can handle a hard frost, some (like tomatoes, egg plant, and peppers) are very delicate and take a long time to mature, different crops also need different soil temperatures to germinate, some can be direct seeded while others do better as transplants. This is also the point where your feedback from last yrs surveys are taken into account ;).

We actually plan out each week based on the time it takes for each crop to mature so that we have a pretty good picture of what will be in your boxes every week for the season. Of course weather and other variables have to be taken into account but we get a pretty good idea.

Once we know what's going in the boxes we start planning how much of each crop we will need, how much space is required for those amounts, and when the plantings will need to occur so that the crop is ready to harvest when the plan calls for it. At this point we order seed and finish up our planting schedule.

Finally, we start working on our "greenhouse plan". We don't have a large greenhouse yet, but we call it a greenhouse plan because it relates to when we actually start our seed indoors for the transplants. We also rearrange the house to accommodate for all of the seed trays and lighting units we have to fit in!!! This yr we also have a very small greenhouse that we will use in the early spring to harden off our transplants.

Before you know it... its time to start seed! That's what we're doing now. We are also gearing up to start inoculating shiitake logs in early April. Let us know if you're interested in helping out, we'll let you know when we have a date lined up!

We are really excited about this season and looking forward to being your farmers again! Please be sure to let us know if you are planning to participate in our CSA again this year as we will only be growing for 40 shares.

Your farmers,

Bryan Crigler & Katelyn Foerster