News and blog

Current happenings on and around the farm!
Posted 3/12/2018 3:20pm by Jenna Untiedt.

While we all might not be happy about the hour we lost this weekend, it is a sign of what’s to come. Days are getting longer. The forecast has 50 degrees in the near future. The snow is rapidly melting and soon enough, Spring will be here! With Spring arriving soon, our staff is well into planning for the upcoming season. Plants are being planted, seeds are being seeded, and soon enough you will see our greenhouses going up in parking lots near you.  

With the thought of Spring arriving, the thought of staffing our garden centers comes to mind. It is that time of year where we are ready to begin adding to our talented teams. Do you enjoy working outside? Do you like to get your hands dirty and take care of plants? Do you enjoy being part of a fast-paced environment? Well, consider joining our team for the 2018 season. 

Part-time, Full-time, evenings, weekends, we are looking for individuals to fill our teams. We have several positions available and would love to talk to you if you are interested. In addition to our garden center staff positions, we are also hiring for vegetable stand positions. More information can be found here:

Here are a few positions that are available for the upcoming season:  

Buffalo Garden Center: Full-Time, Part-Time  

Eden Prairie Garden Center: Full-Time, Part-Time  

Maple Grove Garden Center: Full-Time, Part-Time  

Minnetonka Garden Center: Full-Time, Part-Time  

Montrose Garden Center: Full-Time, Part-Time. This location is open from the beginning of May through mid-June.  

Waconia Garden Center: Full-Time, Part-Time. This location is open from the beginning of May through mid-June.  

Vegetable Stand Locations: Maple Lake, Plymouth, Wayzata, Minneapolis, Mound, Eagan, Richfield  

We are looking forward to meeting with interested applicants in the coming weeks. Spread the word and we hope to have you on our team this coming Spring/Summer! 

Posted 10/24/2017 11:14am by Jenna Untiedt.

With the blustery weather outside, we can definitely feel fall in the air. The trees are losing leaves faster than we can rake them and our eyes are all glued to the forecast for the upcoming weekend. We aren't ready for the first snowflakes quite yet. Lots of work to be done as we continue to wrap up our season, and snow only makes it that much harder. 

As we near our last weekend of retail operations at all of our garden centers, we want to encourage all of you to stop in and stock up on pie pumpkins, squash and apples for the winter! Grab a jar or two of honey and maple syrup so you can have those summer tastes when you think you can't handle Mother Nature and her brutal temperatures this winter. 

Are you new to storing squash? Here are some helpful hints. We are big fans of taking an afternoon or two and freezing a few varieties of squash to enjoy all winter long. Squash adds great variety to your winter vegetable options. Throughout the winter we like to pull out bags of frozen squash and use as a side dish to dinner. Another great option is squash soup. It is easy to make and is always so flavorful, give it a try. Here is one of our favorite recipes

Pie pumpkins can be used all winter as well! You can make your own pumpkin puree for Thanksgiving pies as well as pumpkin bars. Here is our favorite pumpkin bar recipe for you to try.

Thinking of stocking up on apples? Honeycrisps will keep for quite a while. Haralsons will keep even longer! Haralsons make great apple pies and apple crisp. Snowsweets, Keepsakes, and Firesides all add great flavor to apple sauce. Homemade applesauce is definitely a treat, try some out and let us know what you think.

As Halloween approaches, share your pictures of carved pumpkins! We love to see everyone's creations. Use the #untiedts or tag us in any of your social media posts, we can't wait to see what you all come up with! 

Enjoy the last few days of October and make sure to visit our garden centers before we wrap up our season. Thanks to all of you who have visited us on a regular basis. We couldn't do what we do without the wonderful support of our great customers. Happy Fall! 

Posted 10/10/2017 7:39am by Jenna Untiedt.

As the 2017 CSA season comes to an end, id like to take a little bit of time to recap the season. This is my 5th season running our CSA program and our 7th CSA season in total. By far, this was the most challenging season for me. As I try to figure out how to improve the program, I think it is important to look back at the season and see what took place.

In all honesty, I think the state of the world has put pressure on each and every one of us. There are so many extremes taking place in the world, that I truly believe it is having an affect on all of us. I have worked with customers my entire life, and I can honestly say that 2017 was the most challenging I have ever had. By no means am I calling anyone out on this, because I am probably just as guilty as a consumer, but I truly think we can do better. In a world that has a lot of complex issues going on at the same time, I think it is a time to come together as communities and build each other up instead of tear each other down. 

As a business, we are facing extreme labor shortages that have caused us to close down over 25% of our retail locations this season. We left more crops in the field this year than any other season because we simply can not afford to harvest everything. As a grower, we are working at the state level to combat some of the labor issues, but we are entering year 3 at the legislature and in all honesty we are tired and these are costly battles we continue to fight. We will not give up as we are working with a group of about 25 growers who are also experiencing the same issues. Minnesota lost two large fresh produce producers last season and we are on the verge of losing many more if the state won't listen. We believe there is a need and want for locally grown produce, but some farmers are beginning to think otherwise. If we continue to lose growers, soon we will become totally dependent on produce coming from other states or even over seas. We will keep you updated throughout the winter on our progress. 

Farming is still very unpredictable. We build out many different variations of what each CSA box will look like based on our planting schedules, but at the end of the day we truly have no control. This is still a lesson we are teaching many consumers. In addition to this, we never try to send bad produce. Occasionally, something may slip through when packing the shares, but we never purposefully send bad produce. This was a common theme this season. If members were unhappy, very few communicated until it had escalated to the point of anger. We have always asked members to let us know if something is not up to their standard and we would replace it no questions asked. Please remember we guarantee everything, we just need to know about it in order to fix it. We can't operate without happy customers, so we do our very best to fix any issues we have. 

Have you watched the news lately where they talk about the trend of 'Ugly Produce?' I am still trying to understand this as a grower because if our produce isn't perfect, it is often rejected. As we try to feed the population with locally grown produce, not everything is going to be photo shoot perfection, but it still has great flavor. As Americans, we have access to the most food, but yet we waste the most food too. While I wish everything was 100% perfect all the time, I encourage everyone to try using all their produce. What I mean by that is if something has a spot on it, you can still use it! Tomatoes are a prime example.....if the tomato develops a black spot which is very common at this time of year, it is still edible. Simply cut around the spot and eat the rest of the tomato. If you let something sit too long in the fridge such as zucchini, I encourage you to slice it up and throw it into soup. As someone who grew up on a farm, we very rarely ate the #1 produce that we send to customers or our stores. Rather, we ate the #2s which often end up in the compost piles. Everything still has great flavor, but just might not be as pretty. At the end of the day, it costs the exact same to produce a #1 product as it does a #2. 

Farm tours continue to be very popular. We added several dates this season to accommodate as many people as possible. Throughout the month of July we saw over 1000 people at the farm. While the tours happen at our busiest time of the season, we truly believe they are important. So many individuals are so far removed from where their food comes from that we feel the need to educate as many people as possible. Farming is very much a science that is continually changing. We are continuously changing how we grow crops each season in order to grow the highest quality produce we can for all of our customers. Thank you to everyone who took the time to come visit the farm during the tour weekends. 

We are truly thankful for each and every one of you. Without you, we would not be able to do what we do. Our entire team has great pride in everything we do and we give it 100% all the time. With that being said, we have launched our 2018 CSA program. By signing up early, you allow us to continue to expand our high tunnels, work to combat our labor issues, and plan for next season. Thank you all for letting us grow for you! 

Posted 10/10/2017 6:46am by Jenna Untiedt.

This day is always a little bittersweet. On one hand, I am extremely happy that I can go to my own house on Monday nights instead of staying at the farm and starting at 2:30 on Tuesday mornings. On the other hand, the end of the CSA season means that within a couple weeks, most of our employees will be going home until next spring and our office becomes quite quiet. Plans are already being made for next season and we begin working towards them even before there is a complete wrap of this season. Never a dull moment here on the farm!

Anyways, let's get down to what to do with ALL the produce in your shares this week. 

Squash: Buttercup and Acorn squash are great for freezing. Simply bake, let cool and then scoop into freezer containers. These are great to pull our in the cold winter months. I encourage you all to maybe try freezing a couple other varieties as well so you can enjoy squash all winter long!

Spaghetti Squash: Instead of ending up in the emergency room needing stitches, bake your spaghetti squash whole. Once soft, then cut it in half to remove the seeds. You can use this squash in replace of spaghetti noodles and it adds great texture and flavor. If you are feeling adventurous, try making the spaghetti squash into a hotdish!

Brussels Sprouts: I ate these for dinner last night and they were amazing! I like to shred into smaller pieces and saute with a bit of bacon and olive oil and top with a bit of parmesan cheese. They are also great boiled or roasted. Try adding in some sliced shallots for a nice added flavor. 

Fingerling Potatoes: Yum! So, last night I sliced these potatoes and tossed in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. I roasted at 400 degrees until they were crispy. They were delicious! If you like crispy potatoes, give these a try! If crispy potatoes aren't your thing, try boiling or baking.

Carrots: These are great to roast on a cool evening like today! Drizzle with a bit of honey and you have a great treat to go along with any meal. 

Beets: The final batch of roasting beets are here. Roast and set aside for salads throughout the week. Remember, these can store for quite a while in the fridge, just make sure to put them in a container so they don't get too dehydrated. 

Apples: Maybe it is time for apple crisp! Or, apple sauce. Or, just continue eating them as a snack. Enjoy the Minnesota Grown Honeycrisp and make sure to look for Minnesota Grown apples in the stores as they have much more flavor than the others grown in Washington or other parts of the my humble opinion at least. 

Fennel: With the cool temps, it is a great time to get back in the kitchen. Try adding diced up fennel with a pork tenderloin to get extra great flavor. Otherwise, add to some diced up potatoes. 

Swiss Chard: One last dose of summer! Enjoy the greens while you can. If chard isn't your favorite, add a bit of bacon to it to reduce the green flavor. 

Napa Cabbage: Definitely enough here to make one last summer stir fry in addition to some great cabbage rolls. While the cool temps set in, try to be a bit creative in the kitchen and enjoy these last remembrances of summer. 

Tomatoes: Please note that these will not last long. If they start to get spots, just cut around them. Enjoy in salads or sandwiches! Savor the taste of Minnesota tomatoes, because this is the end until next summer. 

Grape Tomatoes: Snack time favorites are back again. The shelf life is getting a bit shorter on these, so enjoy within the first few days of receiving them. 

Honey/Syrup/Jam: Our tradition continues....enjoy these tasty treats all winter long! If you need to stock up, you can find the honey and syrup at all of our garden centers until Halloween. Enjoy!

There you have it, the final share of 2017. We thank you all for being loyal CSA members. The shares are extra full today, so be careful as you bring them to your cars. Also, make sure to unpack them as soon as you get home. Lastly, as a CSA member I would like to ask you to take our annual survey. This really helps us to prepare for next season! There will be a follow up to this blog with my thoughts on the entire season, so stay tuned later today. 

We hope to see you back next season!

Posted 10/3/2017 3:49am by Jenna Untiedt.

As I right this shortly before 4am this morning, I am sitting in the office listening to the down pours of rain and giant claps of thunder. It has truly been months if not longer since I have heard rain like this. The rain definitely doesn't help us at this point, in fact, it makes it much sloppier as we try to get pumpkins and other produce out of the field. The rain also makes me think of the two bedroom windows I left open at my own house yesterday morning before I left.....whoops! 

Alright, let's break down the share this week. The temperatures are cool again so the thought of cooking is actually appealing once again. I love fall so much because there is so much you can do with everything in the share this week. Let's begin. 

Lettuce: Perfect for salads. Tuesday nights are always salad nights at my house if there is lettuce in the CSA. They are easy and delicious. Have you noticed how much longer fresh lettuce lasts? If you store it properly, you should get close to 3 weeks out of it, that is, if you don't eat it all right away. My other favorite thing to do with the lettuce right now is to make some egg salad and put it on top of a giant bed of lettuce. Technically, it is probably still a salad, but it definitely isn't as salad-y (is that even a word?). 

Cauliflower: I really just enjoy roasted cauliflower. I will roast the enter head with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. But, I think im going to try something new this week. Everyone I know is talking about Buffalo Cauliflower. I included a link in the newsletter, but here is another one. These look amazing and will definitely be on the menu one night this week. 

Grape Tomatoes: These go great on top of that salad you might have or just as an afternoon snack. Enjoy them while you can!

Kohlrabi: Yes, kohlrabi! Because there isn't a lot of it in the share this week, I would recommend roasting it with your potatoes. It makes the potatoes go longer, and if you have kids who tell you they won't eat it, they likely won't know the difference. If you want to enjoy it on it's own, you can make a quick kohlrabi slaw for a quick side dish or afternoon snack. 

Chub Cukes: These will definitely be added to my salad tonight as well. I try to ration them out though, so ill eat one tonight and the rest will be divided up into two sandwich bags so I can grab them for snacks. I am going to miss the days when I have to buy them at the store again....the flavor just isn't the same. 

Apples: Honeycrisp this week! Im not really sure I need to give you ideas on what to do with these, but they can store in your fridge for a while if you know you can't get to them all this week. If you are thinking you'd like to have a warm breakfast, try mixing a couple apples into some overnight crockpot oats

Green Peppers: I've definitely learned to love peppers on my salads. Otherwise, you can dice the peppers and add them to eggs, stir fry, or use them in a great hash with the sweet potato. 

Sweet Potatoes: Baked, boiled, roasted, or made into a hash, these are wonderful. Sweet potato hash is one of my favorite foods ever. I like to roast the potatoes with olive oil then add them with some sauteed onions, peppers, and anything else in my fridge that needs to be used up like mushrooms or kale. Then you can add a protein of choice and top with an egg......this is a perfect Saturday morning breakfast. 

Butternut Squash: The squash this week are huge! Don't let the size intimidate you though, these are so easy to bake and then enjoy leftovers for a few days or you can freeze the leftovers. Freezing squash is easy and makes for some great side dishes for the late fall or throughout the winter. 

Leeks: Maybe a batch of potato leek soup is in the future? Otherwise, add these to any dish that calls for onions. These also make great toppings for burgers or steaks. 

Potatoes: With the cooler temps, mashed potatoes sound like a great option. Otherwise, diced and roasted these potatoes are wonderful. 

There you have it, week 16s share. Hopefully you find some helpful hints here and can make it through the share this week. Remember, if you can't get to it all, squash will store for up to 2 months, the apples will last a while in the refrigerator, potatoes will store too. Just make sure you properly store your veggies and you can be enjoying this share for weeks to come. Have a great week everyone and remember to be kind to one another. 

Posted 9/26/2017 3:23am by Jenna Untiedt.

From one extreme to another here in the great state of Minnesota. 95 degrees over the weekend to highs in the low 60s if we are lucky. While we are getting our last taste of summer, it is nice to have a few days of cooler temps again to recover from the heat. It is funny to think that I ran my air conditioner more during the month of September than I did August. Weather is a funny thing. 

Many of you have emailed asking when the final share of the season is. We have two weeks remaining after the delivery today, which puts us at October 10th. We have many things to enjoy over these next few boxes, and with the weather cooperating, it will be a great time to be in the kitchen to cook. 

Let's take a look at the shares this week:

Sweet Corn: White and Yellow varieties again this week. Enjoy them now because they are the finale of both varieties. One last summer meal is a great idea to use up this corn. Hamburgers on the grill, slices of tomatoes, and sweet corn. If you can't make it through the corn this week, simply boil and then slice off the cob. Throw in a freezer bag and use in soups and chili this winter. Don't let it go to waste as we all know the quality of sweet corn in the stores goes way down after the Minnesota season is over. 

Tomatoes: The theme of the last few shares is: Enjoy them while you can! The same thing goes for the tomatoes. Enjoy slices on a burger or sandwich or dice into a salad. The flavor is still phenomenal and you won't want to let them go to waste. 

SweeTango Apples: A full bag of apples for you to enjoy. If you have a build up in your fridge you could make crisp, otherwise keep taking them for your afternoon snack. They are a wonderful, healthy treat. 

Cauliflower: It's purple! Roasted is my favorite way to consume cauliflower and this is no different. Toss in a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt, roast at 425 for about 25 minutes and you have a great side to any meal. This variety will remain purple when you cook it which is pretty awesome. Lastly, because we had the surge in temperatures last weekend, there may be a few small brown spots on the cauliflower heads, but it is still completely edible-the heat more or less affects the appearance and not the taste. 

Acorn Squash: Squash season is here! If you aren't quite ready for squash season, these will definitely store. You can keep them on your counter for a few weeks without worrying they will go bad. Enjoy baked or roasted, the taste will definitely make you feel like fall is here to stay. 

Chub Cukes: It is kind of crazy to think we are at the end of September and still have chub cukes left to harvest. A great snack or salad topper this week. Enjoy them while you can because the end is near and then we return to store bought baby cucumbers which definitely have a different taste than these. 

Sugar Cube Melon: Finally! If you could only hear the discussions in the office on the crop failure of the first few plantings, you would understand why we are so excited this planting worked out. We win some and we lose some, these were definitely a challenge this season. Store in your refrigerator. Eat plain, or my favorite breakfast treat is to cut in half and fill the middle with cottage cheese. Some people even eat them with ice cream, all are great options!

Mini Bell Peppers: A handful for you to all enjoy this week. Whether it is in stir fry, raw as an afternoon snack, or mixed in with your morning eggs, they may be little, but they add a lot of flavor! 

There you have it, week number 15. A variety of seasons all coming together in one share. Hopefully everyone can enjoy some time in the kitchen this week. These last few shares have had some items that were ok to let rest such as potatoes, so maybe now is the time to make some potato chowder or another type of soup. Have a great week and enjoy the cooler temps!

Posted 9/19/2017 8:36am by Jenna Untiedt.

The ideas are going to be quick this week. I always think fall is going to slow down a bit, but life seems to happen and more things are added to the calendar. The nice thing about the shares this week is the ability to begin to store some of the produce for later weeks. Don't feel rushed to get through it all, but rather place it in the fridge and plan to use it within the next few weeks. Here are a few ideas for that:

Potatoes: On a cool fall day, dice the potatoes and add to the crockpot with a roast. These potatoes have great flavor and will make a wonderful addition to dinner. 

Carrots: These could be added to the roast as well, but if you want to use them now then roasting them is a great options. I like to peel and slice into sticks the long way. Then, place on a cookie sheet with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper....roast at 400 degrees until soft. Want a little extra treat? Drizzle a bit of honey over the top and you have a great treat!

Lettuces: These are great for weekly salads again. What a treat to have fresh lettuce once again. I usually wash it all up, and store in the fridge ready to go so I can make a quick salad for lunch on the run or add a side salad to dinner, both are great options. 

Grape Tomatoes: Enjoy them while you can. I saw some shipped in tomatoes in the store the other day and it reminded me of what is to come. Add these to your salads or to your afternoon snack. 

Cucumbers: What a great snack option or salad topper. Not water logged, but crisp and firm make them a wonderful addition to your snack repertoire.

Apples: Swee Tangos are my absolute favorite. Forget the Honeycrisp for me, but these are wonderful for breakfast, snacks, or sometimes even dinner. Add a dollop of nut butter or eat alongside some yogurt or cottage cheese and you have yourself a meal. I like to stockpile some of these so I can enjoy them throughout the fall!

Jicama: Yum! Just peel and enjoy! If the flavor isn't your favorite, shred into a slaw and use to top some tacos. It is extra crispy so dipping in some hummus is a good option as well.

Kale: Chips or sauteed is on my menu for this week. Or, if you are feeling the fall vibe, you can make some kale and sausage soup! The possibilities are really endless which makes this veggie so fun.

Salsa Mix: If the romas aren't dead red yet, let them sit on your counter for a day or two. Pico, regular salsa or use all the ingredients as salad toppings. Many choices to choose from, but they are all sure to be wonderful.

There you have it, a few options to help you through the share this week. Many people have started to ask when the last week of the program is. The final delivery day will be Tuesday, October 10th. A few more weeks to enjoy local produce and the joys of summer.  

Posted 9/12/2017 3:26am by Jenna Untiedt.

This time of year always gets me. One day it is cool and we dress for fall, the next day is hot like July and we have to turn the air conditioning back on. It's a little crazy if you ask me, but we make it through it enjoying every day as much as we can. Any day we have sunshine and no rain right now is a happy day. We may need the rain, but our crews definitely enjoy sun and nice weather instead of working in the rain as they begin harvesting fall items such as squash and pumpkins. 

September brings us shares that are unique as we are merging two growing seasons together. We still get the best of what summer has to offer, but we also start to see the great things that come with cooler weather such as squash, fennel, new types of potatoes and so much more. 

The share this week is great and the opportunities are endless. For me, this week is all about quick, easy meals as I have a whirlwind of a week which leads into an even crazier weekend. 2017 has been the year of weddings for me. Most everyone has had one of these years, but for me, it is probably my second or third. Luckily, there is usually a year of no weddings in between the years of multiples! This years wedding lineup has been mostly destination weddings though...I mean, I can't really complain and should really thank my friends for choosing to get married in super cool places, but it definitely has added some chaos to my summer! This coming weekend is another wedding weekend, but this time in Michigan. Everything was planned out perfectly for my friend's wedding in Michigan, but in the meantime another good friend's mother passed away. Needing to be in two places at once, I somehow managed to rebook flights and will now make it to both events to support both friends, but preparing for a busy weekend doesn't leave me a lot of time to enjoy well thought out meals this week. Oh, and good college friend from Australia is coming to visit in my world is a bit chaotic this week! I can always sleep next week, right? It is a good thing that most items in the share this week are great for quick and easy meals.

Here we go, let's break down the share:

Sweet Corn: This is some of the best. I will cook all mine at once and probably eat an ear or two with dinner tonight, but the rest ill end up cutting off the cob and mixing in with some of the pico de gallo ill make with the salsa mix. 

Radishes: If you aren't a fan, add these to stir fry. The taste blends right in and you get another veggie added to your diet for the day. I call that a win-win. I have a chicken stir fry on my menu for Wednesday night and this will be the perfect addition for a tiny pop of flavor. 

Honeydew Melon: Slice and enjoy! I enjoy the melon with a side of cottage cheese as a mid morning snack or sometimes my breakfast. I'll be real with you all, I leave my house at 530am to make it to the gym before work and sometimes I forget to eat breakfast until 10am or so when my stomach starts talking and my coworkers begin looking at me weirdly. Try with a squeeze of lime and im sure you will be pleasantly surprised with the great flavor. 

Grape Tomatoes: Extra tomatoes for you all this week! I toss a few of these on my salads at night or for lunch. The rest get eaten quite quickly as a snack throughout the day. So many of you have told me these never make it home for your family to enjoy as you eat them at the office. Hopefully this larger pack will make it home this week!

Potatoes: These fingerling potatoes are absolutely amazing. I enjoyed them last night, but I will probably make them again Friday night so I can have leftovers before my crazy travel day on Saturday. Simply slice the long way, toss in some olive oil along with sliced fennel, add a dash of garlic salt and powder and roast at 425 until crispy. They are so good! 

Fennel: If mixing the fennel with your potatoes doesn't appeal to you, roasting it alone or alongside any type of pork is a great option as well. Ideally, I will end up making pork chops with the roasted potatoes and fennel on Friday, but I can't count on that quite yet. 

Cabbage: If you don't get to using your cabbage this week, that is totally ok. Cabbage keeps a long time in the fridge. Mine will likely be kept until next week when I can make cabbage rolls with half of the head and the other half will be used for some slaw for fish tacos. Be adventurous and try something new!

Pico de Gallo Mix: Pico is so easy to make, it just takes a little bit of slicing and dicing time. I plan on making mine right away when I get home tonight so that I can enjoy it throughout the week. I put this on everything from eggs to a salad to my potatoes. Yes, you can use it as a normal salsa for chips too, but I usually just add it to anything im already eating. Ill also set some aside to so I can mix the sweet corn I don't eat tonight into it as well. The mix with the sweet corn makes a great topping for burgers!

Shockwave Cantaloupe: Let this sit for a few days on your counter, but then slice and enjoy! This will make a great addition to your weekend breakfast options. Again, drizzle with a bit of fresh lime and enjoy! Some melon on the porch with a cup of coffee sounds like a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

Snow Peas: These are great to mix into any stir fry or just sautee them. Because I already have stir fry on my menu for the week I will probably add a few to that, but the rest ill just sautee with a bit of butter so I can enjoy them for lunch or as a side for dinner.

There you have it, week number 13. Four more weeks after this to enjoy fresh and local produce from your shares. Hopefully a few of you have taken the tips to freeze a few things you haven't gotten around to using. If not, it's not too late. Enjoy the week! 


Posted 9/5/2017 3:07am by Jenna Untiedt.

Im starting off my post a bit differently this week. After a few rough weeks, I felt the need to address the CSA concept a bit and what to do if you are unhappy. Sometimes I think we get so caught up with work and life that we forget there are people on the other side of a computer screen. We forget how fortunate we are to have access to fresh and local food. We forget what really goes into growing the food that sits on the table before us each night. By no means am I downplaying any other profession because I know we all have our challenges, but on more than one occasion this past week multiple people were unaware of the work that went into preparing for the CSA or how produce was harvested. I figured I would take a few extra minutes this week to just share some thoughts with you all.

Everyone always says farming isn’t for the faint of heart, but I don’t think it was until this season that I really understood what encompassed the entire saying. Farming operations work around the clock in every element of weather to get product to market on time. We can’t turn the switch on a Friday afternoon and say ‘see you later.’ Weekends are just another day of work and regular 9-5 hours are difficult to come by. And now, the State of Minnesota is making what we do even harder by limiting the number of hours our employees can work….more on that issue another week. We don’t say this to get attention, but maybe to bring awareness to what farmers really endure.

When we first created the CSA program, I actually was not involved. I was off doing my own thing, living in my own world because that is what I told myself I needed to do after college. I needed to experience industries outside of agriculture. Well, times change and there was an opportunity to rejoin the family business. Building this program has been my main job since 2012 and I work hard with our entire team day in and day out to ensure that you, our customer, is receiving a full share. We pride ourselves on never once sending out an empty box or cancelling a week of the program because we don’t have any produce. We are incredibly thankful for our teams that work day in and day out to make all of this possible. Every piece of produce that comes from our farm is hand harvested, meaning that it takes much longer than what a machine could do, but the quality is also higher than machine harvested produce. We are able to grow special varieties that are much more delicate because of the way we harvest. We see that as a value for all of our customers.

We work hard to provide the highest quality produce to all of our customers. Occasionally though, something may slip through the crack. Should this ever happen to you, please let us know in a constructive or courteous way and we would be more than happy to replace the item. Our goal is to keep you happy as a consumer. On a few occasions this season, I have received emails from unhappy customers who are extremely angry with how their produce was shipped. We make mistakes, we are only humans working in an imperfect world. I try to fix all issues as quickly as possible, but I want to remind everyone that at the end of the day, we are farm growing produce that is sometimes unpredictable. We take all issues seriously and strive to make you all happy.

Bad produce may happen, but we are here to fix it or make it right. We are here to provide you all with nourishing food and support our communities. Without you as customers, we would not be able to give back to all the communities in which we are a part of. Although growing vegetables is not my specialty, I get to see individuals who are passionate about it each day. They truly dedicate their lives to ensuring fresh produce gets into the hands of our consumers. Without people like that, the idea of fresh and local would be merely an idea and not a possibility. So, if you are still reading this, thank you. Thank you for taking a few moments to understand what we do and how much we truly care. As our customer, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us to grow for you.

Let's move on to the share this week. With those rain showers yesterday afternoon, some real fall temperatures arrived. I couldn't believe how fast the temps fell! With some cooler weather though, the thought of cooking returns and the box this week can definitely help out with that.

Sweet Corn: Enjoy it while you can. If you didn't make it to the State Fair, here is your chance to enjoy some State Fair sweet corn. Even if you are a little burnt out from corn, just boil it, slice if off the cob and toss into the freezer. It is always nice to pull out a bag of fresh sweet corn during the winter months. Whether it is to eat plain or add to chili or another soup, its always a winter delight. 

Tomatoes: I had the best sliced tomato with a burger last night. So much flavor! Enjoy on burgers, diced into salads, or even plain. These truly are the taste of summer. Again, if you have a pile of tomatoes on your counter, just dice into chunks and freeze on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, put into a freezer bag and save for the cold, winter months. 

Grape Tomatoes: Tired of finger food snacks? Try slicing in half, add some fresh basil and mozzarella cheese and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Enjoy these while you can as the cool temps will definitely start to slow production.

Golden Potatoes: Cooking at the parents house is always a gamble. I am never sure what kitchen tools my mother has, so sometimes I bring my own. I brought my mandolin this week to slice potatoes and knew she had an electric frying pan that was perfect for fried potatoes. They were delicious! I remember fried potatoes from my childhood, but it has been years since Ive had them. If fried potatoes aren't your thing, try boiling and mashing this type, they truly have exceptional flavor. 

Broccoli: There are so many ways to enjoy broccoli. My favorite though is to roast it and have it turn a little black and crispy. Otherwise, steamed broccoli is a great addition to many meals. 

Mini Bell Peppers: Aren't they cute? These are perfect for afternoon snacking. I used to hate eating peppers raw, but now they are one of my favorite snacks. If raw peppers aren't your favorite, try slicing them in half, scooping out the inside and filling with a bit ricotta cheese and baking until soft. Top with a small piece of bacon and you have a great addition to any meal. 

Jalapenos: These keep for a long time, so don't think you need to use them all this week. You can also dice and freeze so you can add to chili throughout the winter. With the temperatures this week though, chili kind of sounds like a wonderful idea right now!

Shallots: These are phenomenal with the Romano Beans. Sautee the shallots in some butter until soft and then add the Romano Beans. Cover the pan and let the beans steam until soft. These flavors together are so wonderful you could probably make an entire meal out of just beans and shallots. 

Romano Beans: See shallots? If mixing the beans with shallots doesn't appeal to you, you can definitely just steam these beans. When you get these home, please dry the beans off as they have a tendency to mold if they get too warm. Cooking them right away would be best, but if that isn't possible please store in the paper bag or in an air tight container with a paper towel inside to absorb the moisture that the beans give off. 

Onion: Do you have a build up of onions in your fridge or on your counter? Maybe it's time for a batch of French Onion Soup. Or, did you know you can freeze the onions as well? Just dice and lay on a cookie sheet. Freeze on the cookie sheet and once frozen toss into a freezer bag or tupperware container. Take out and add to soups or meals throughout the winter. 

Apples: Zestar! and Chestnut Crab (little apple). The Chestnuts are the perfect snack sized apple for the kids or for an afternoon snack at your desk. Enjoy the Zestars! one more time before we likely move onto a new variety next week. 

Canary Melon: Im going to first start off saying, if you get a bad melon, we did not mean to send one. Please let me know and we can replace it next week. I wish there was really an xray machine that would help us see inside 

There you have it, week number 12. If you are still reading this far, thank you. I know if got a bit lengthy this week, but I feel like sometimes we just have to address a few things. I hope you all have a fantastic week. I know these cool temps make me excited to get back into the kitchen and do a little cooking this week. Enjoy!

Posted 8/29/2017 3:27am by Jenna Untiedt.

For many of you this is the last week of summer with the kids at home. The thought of starting school next week is both a dreaded and welcomed thought. The calendar flipping to September later this week is almost like an automatic sign that fall is here. The State Fair is upon us, almost like an automatic gateway from summer to fall. Even with all these signs of fall, there is still plenty of summer offerings to be enjoy in the shares. 

The end of August and the month of September is truly one of the best times to be a CSA member. The convergence of seasons offers a wide variety of produce and usually cooler temperatures makes us want to cook a bit more. This is a great combination which should leave us all happy. 

Let's get down to what the share has to offer this week:

Sweet Corn: Here you have it, the same corn as we are sending to the Minnesota State Fair Corn Roast. Enjoy it boiled, grilled, or in chowder. Under the leek section, I am included a fantastic chowder recipe that includes sweet was absolutely delicious and a breeze to make. 

Slicing Tomatoes: BLT's, toppings for burgers, or fresh pasta many offerings. Even if you can't get to them all this week. Quickly freeze them by slicing in half, placing on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Once frozen put into a ziploc bag, label, and enjoy is soups or stews this winter. 

Grape Tomatoes: The best finger food snack around. By leaving these on my counter, they have become a quick go to snack. Also, they make a great salad topping throughout the week. Enjoy them while you can. 

Onions: Don't be afraid to keep these for a while. No need to use them right away. Store in a cool, dark place. If you are ready to use them, they make great fried onions to top your burger. 

Potatoes: Last night I made a potato, corn, and leek chowder. Eat was easy and delicious. These potatoes make the perfect addition to the chowder, and the chowder will make great leftovers. Any meals I have prep in less than 30 minutes is a winner in my books. If chowder isn't your thing, try a potato salad for your Labor Day weekend gathering. 

Kale: Every time I make kale at my parents house, my mother just cringes. Me on the other hand, I could eat it every day. Toss with a bit of olive oil and bake. Eat it soft or let it get crispy. This truly has great flavor. 

Leek: Yes, there is only one right now, but it is huge. Here is the recipe for Corn, Potato, Leek chowder I have talked about. If you are new to leeks, they have the most subtle onion flavor. The best part about this recipe is you can use the white and green portion of the leek so you don't waste any of it. If chowder doesn't sound appealing to you, try just sauteing the leek and enjoying on top of burgers or another type of sandwich. 

Zucchini: With the cool weather, zucchini bread is in the plans for this week. I need to find an evening where im home before bedtime, but this will definitely take place. If you are having a hard time using up your zucchini you can always freeze it. Shred it and place into a storage bag. Label with the quantity so you know for future use. It is great to use in breads later or add to soup in the winter. 

Apples: Zestar! apples again. Soon we will be moving on to a new variety so enjoy these while you can. They make great afternoon snacks. If you are feeling ambitious, you can always try apple crisp, but I think ill save the crisp making until we are into some other varieties. 

Red Radishes: Im not a huge radish lover, but I don't mind them in stir fry. This is a great way to hide them from kids while ensuring they are getting some extra veggies in. Just slice thin and add to all the other vegetables you are using. The taste is extremely subtle, so most people won't even realize they are there. 

Black Radishes: These weren't my favorite at first, but they are growing on me. You can cook these like any other root vegetable. Roasting them is how I first tried them. Black Radish Chips is how I managed to be more open to them. The chips are thin and get a bit crunchy....they have a lot of flavor, and it is a flavor I think you will either love or hate. Give them a try, isn't that what a CSA is all about? 

There you have it, hopefully a few ideas to help you through the box this week. A couple new things to try and hopefully enjoy. As the month of August comes to a close, enjoy the last few days of summer. Most of you will have a long weekend coming up, enjoy it and use it to get outdoors. It's truly amazing how fast this summer has gone. To think we only have 6 weeks left of the CSA is kind of scary. I mean, I can't wait until I can spend Monday nights at my own house again and now wake up at 2:30am, but in all actuality the season has gone incredibly fast. I truly hope you are enjoying your experience with the CSA and it is expanding your tastes just a bit. Have a great week!