Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Week 6 July 31st, 2013

We’re at war! With weeds… but that’s nothing new. Don’t worry, we’re pushing back the line. Except for the milkweed. This year we have been trying to keep as much milkweed in as possible to help out the Monarch population. They have had a tough year but we have been seeing a few Monarch butterflies lately! The Japanese beetles are also back but luckily their numbers are nowhere near what they were last year.

This week is like a weird warp zone between the early season and the summer crops and the dip in temperatures has slowed our eggplant, tomatoes and peppers just a bit. They are still looking great though and we are well positioned for some outstanding summer crops. Since we have a smaller box this week, Katelyn and I have been foraging in the forest for some special treats for you all!


Carrots or Beets

Zucchini or Patty Pan Squash


Fresh Garlic

Lobster or Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms

Normally all of our wild foraged mushrooms go straight to the chefs we work with but we thought this week we would treat our members as well! Here is some info regarding the lobster mushroom (Hypomyces lactiflorum) and the Chicken of the Woods mushroom (Laetiporus sulphureus) If you have any questions about either of these mushrooms please feel free to call me (Bryan) about it! Enjoy!

Your Farmers,

Bryan and Katelyn
Herbal Turtle Farms

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Week 5

The weather this week has been amazing and the plants are loving every minute of it.  It has been really enjoyable to be out harvesting all of the veggies this week and I have had a lot of great help from Lynette and Jenn while Bryan has been in the Boundary Waters.  Writing the blog post is usually Bryan's area of expertise so I'll just get right into what is in your box and a few ideas for what to do with it. 

What's in your box this week:

YaYa Carrots or Early Wonder Tall Top Beets
Summer Squash
Bronco Green Beans
Kale and Swiss Chard
Fresh Garlic

If you received carrots this week you will get beets next week and vice versa.  This will be our last week with the kohlrabi and Bronco green beans but our next succession of green beans is just starting to flower so they shouldn't be too far behind.  We pulled the first round of garlic and are going to pull everything else in the next week and start curing it all.  In the next few weeks we are expecting broccoli, cabbage, onions, peppers, carrots, etc.  If you feel like you are getting overwhelmed with veggies, now is a good time to start preserving some for the winter!  Cooking greens (chard, kale, kohlrabi greens) are one of the easiest things to put up-blanch them for a few minutes in boiling water, shock them in cold water, remove excess moisture and throw them in freezer bags. 
  When you are picking up your boxes please make sure to check that you are grabbing your box.  We have had a few people not receive their box because it was accidentally taken by someone else.  If you do happen to take a box that is not yours, please contact Bryan or I so that we can make sure everyone gets a box with the add-ons they are supposed to get.  Thanks!


Kohlrabi Hash Browns
Farmer John's Cookbook

4 medium kohlrabi bulbs, peeled
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons dried bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
plain yogurt or sour cream

Grate the kohlrabi and wrap it up in a dish towel.  Squeeze out excess moisture.
Combine eggs, onion, bread crumbs, salt, ginger, red pepper in a large mixing bowl.  Add the black pepper to taste. Stir until well blended.
Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy bottomed skillet.  Add the kohlrabi and press down firmly with a sturdy spatula.  Do not stir.  Let the kohlrabi cook until brown, 5-7 minutes.  Carefully flip the kohlrabi with the spatula, press down firmly and brown for another 5-7 minutes.  Serve with yogurt or sour cream.

Simplest Summer Soup
Minnesota's Bounty

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 sprigs thyme
1 small leek, white and green parts chopped
1 large tomato, diced
1 medium summer squash or zucchini, diced
1 Yukon Gold potato, peeled and diced
4 cups vegetable stock
8 ounces green beans, but into 1 inch peices

Heat the oil in a large soup pot.  Saute the onion, carrot, celery and thyme until the onion is transparent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the leek, tomato, squash, potato and stock.  Bring the stock to a boil; then reduce the heat and simmer the soup until the potatoes are soft but not falling apart, about 15 minutes.  Add the green beans and cook until they are tender, about 5 more minutes.

You can also check out this website about how to use your carrot greens!

Your Farmers,

Bryan and Kate

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

WEEK 4 - JULY 17th 2013

Lots going on at the farm the last few weeks!!!  Our "shed" is coming along nicely.  We hope to have the roof on next week.  We finally got our straw bales!  It was quite an adventure but thanks to our good friend Taylor we were able to get it done.  Let the mulching begin!  Bryan left today for the Boundary Waters and will be gone until the 25th!  Uhmmm... maybe someone should remind him that REAL farmers don't take vacation until after October ;).  Thanks to some AMAZING volunteers this season he's able to sneak away for a little bit.  

Green Towers Romaine Lettuce
Rainbow Swiss Chard
Bronco Green Beans
Sugar Snap Peas
Summer Squash (zucchini or patty pan)

This will be last week of lettuce for a while.  We have some heat tolerant varieties in the ground right now and if the do what they are supposed to we may have some mid-summer lettuce as well.  This will also be the only peas until fall.  They don't like the heat very much and the germination was tricky since we had such a wet spring.  The summer squash is just starting to come on so this week will be a teaser but don't worry-there will be loads of it very soon.  Kohlrabi may not be familiar to all of you-it has been described as a cross between a mild radish and a turnip.  You can slice or shred the whole bulb-peeling shouldn't be necessary since our kohlrabi are fairly young.  You can also use the leaves as you would other cooking greens.  We like to grate the bulb and throw them on top of salads if we are in a hurry.  

We are hoping to include some baby carrots and fresh garlic next week!  Everything in the field is looking fantastic-the tomatoes started to set fruit, the broccoli is heading, peppers and cucumbers are blooming, onions are forming fat bulbs and the garlic is getting ready to move to the barn to start curing. 

Green Bean Salad

A Few Quick Ideas for Kohlrabi:
Minnesota's Bounty

Kohlrabi Slaw:  Shred several medium kohlrabi bulbs, and place them in a colander for several minutes to drain.  Shred a small carrot and 1 small onion into a bowl.  Add the shredded kohlrabi, and then toss with balsamic or red wine vinegar to taste.  Allow to marinate about 15 minutes before serving.

Smashed Kohlrabi Potatoes: Add 1 or 2 diced kohlrabi to a pot of peeled and cubed potatoes, and bring the water to a boil.  Cook until the kohlrabi and potatoes are very tender.  Drain the vegetables, and then mash them, adding butter and milk as you would for mashed potatoes.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

WEEK 3, July 10th 2013

Looks like summer finally caught up with us!  July is hot and dry as expected.  This year we are ready for it!  Bryan's brother-in-law, Jeff, brought us a big surprise over the 4th of July.  They delivered the Herbal Turtle Solar Camel designed and built by Jeff's company Mid-America Solar (  It is an old military trailer with a 535 gallon water tank, a solar panel, LED lights, and a pump.  It is completely powered by the sun and works GREAT with our drip lines.  We should be well positioned to keep your produce lush even if we see drought conditions this year.  THANKS JEFF!!!


Garlic Scapes
Green Towers Romaine Lettuce
Lovelock Lettuce
Red Russian Kale
Pea Shoots

This week is full of power greens!  Enjoy those salads!  We should have more lettuce over the next 2 weeks and then we'll likely have a break from it until we see some cooler weather in the fall.  Snap peas, Kohlrabi, Green Beans and zucchini are EXTREMELY close.  We have been watering them and they will be ready next week.

We have a couple large farm projects coming up so if you are interested in helping out let us know!  Also, please remember to bring your boxes back each week.  They are very expensive and we have a limited supply.  As always, please feel free to call us with any questions.  Praise and back pats are also welcome! 

Your farmers,

Bryan and Katelyn 


Caesar Salad
A Girl and Her Pig

We had this for dinner last night and it was killer!

7 whole anchovies, rinsed, soaked and filleted
2 medium garlic cloves
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard 1
/4 cup champagne or rice wine vinegar
1 large egg 1 cup sunflower, peanut or grapeseed oil
a 1 oz chunk of Parmesan, very finely grated
Romaine lettuce
a chunk of Parmesan for grating
Sea salt

Place anchovy fillets and garlic in a small food processor and pulso to a rough paste. Add the mustard and vinegar, crack in the egg, and blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. With the processor on, gradually drizzle in the oil in a steady stream. Finally, add the Parmesan and blend until it's all well combined. Scrape the dressing into a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, then put it in the fridge to chill and thicken up. (It'll keep for up to 3 days.) Dress Romaine and top with croutons and shaved Parmesan.

Kale Chips

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Week 2 - July 2, 2013

What fantastic weather we have been having!  Your produce is looking amazing and it's shaping up to be a great and bountiful season.  This week our focus has been on weeding!  All that rain has given them a good start on us but that's nothing new.  We're hardened weeders.  Gonna bust a hoe on some weeds!  We will also be mulching our longer term crops in the next week or so.  We held off since it was such a wet spring and are happy in that decision since we did not lose any crops to rot.  We'll have a ton of great head lettuce for you over the next few weeks as well as snap peas, kohlrabi, zucchini, and green beans.

We have also been busy working on building our new garden shed... well shed is probably not the right word for it!  It is going to be amazing.  We have the base built and all of the walls up and are hoping to get the roof and siding on this weekend. Pics to follow soon! 


Lovelock Head Lettuce
Pea Vines
Garlic Scapes
Rainbow Swiss Chard

Some thoughts regarding your produce this week: The spinach is still beautiful but is getting big. It can be eaten raw or cooked but the larger leaves are probably more suitable as a cooking green. Garlic scapes are the tender, immature flower clusters that form on hardneck garlic plants. We need to break them off each plant so that the nutrients and energy is focused on bulb development rather than the flower. They are one of our favorite spring treats! The scapes can be used just like a clove of garlic in cooking, eaten raw in salads, sauteed or grilled. One of our favorite things to do with them is to baste with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill for 2 min on each side. Don't fear the scape! Pea shoots can also be cooked or eaten raw. They are a great addition to salads or stir fries. Take a bite and decide where they might fit into your meal!


The Mrs' Swiss Chard and Feta Pie:
Mr. Wilkinson's Vegetables

1/3 cup olive oil
1 bunch swiss chard or spinach, washed and roughly chopped
1/2 tsp nutmeg
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red onion, finely diced
2 cups feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoons of pine nuts
4 eggs, beaten
5 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
10 sheets of phyllo pastry
2 tsp sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, swiss chard and nutmeg.  Season with salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes or until wilted.  You may have to do this process in two batches.  Remove from heat and strain to drain the moisture. 
Place the onion, feta and pine nuts in a large bowl and mix well.  Add the swiss chard and mix well to distribute the ingredient evenly.  Add the beaten egg and stir to combine. 
Take a 2 quart casserole dish and brush all over with melted butter.  Layer two sheets of phyllo lengthways in the pie dish and brush with the butter.  Then, layer another two sheets of phyllo along the width and brush with butter.  Repeat this process so you have four double layers and two sheets of phyllo remaining. 
Spoon the swiss chard mixture into the casserole dish and spread evenly.  Fold the overhanging phyllo over the filling to enclose, alternating between sides, brushing the top of the phyllo with butter.  Place the last two sheets on top, tucking in the corners for a smooth finish, brush with butter and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.  Using a fork prick the top of the pie several times and bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden.  Take out of the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Spring Salad with Asian Dressing
Minnesota's Bounty

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil
6 cups of torn lettuce leaves
1 cup of  spinach

In a small bowl whisk together first 4 ingredients, then whisk in the oil.  Dress and toss the greens and serve them right away.

Radish Leaf Soup
Forgotten Skills of Cooking

3 tablespoons butter
5 oz potatoes, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup onion, peeled and chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups of water or stock of your choice
1  cup whole milk
5 oz radish leaves, chopped

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan.  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 or the soup will lost its fresh green color.  Puree in a blender.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

Spring Saute
Savoring the Seasons

2 cups mixed spring vegetables (radish, peas, pea vines, spinach, kale, chard, arugula, scallions, etc)
2 tablespoons butter or oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, balsamic vinegar or dry white wine
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Chopped fresh chives for garnish

Rinse the vegetables and pat them dry and cut into uniform size, about 1 inch pieces.  Heat the butter or oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat and quickly saute the vegetables for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Squirt with lemon juice, vinegar or wine, cover and continue cooking for another 30 seconds-2 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender-crisp.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.  Garnish with chives.