My first blogpost this season was in February – which means at the end of June we will be the “halfway point” in the farming season. Doesn't that sound crazy? I know our CSA members just received their first delivery, but that is a great yardstick to show how much effort goes into bringing good, quality food -- packed with nutrition -- to your table. From seed to soil. Weeding and watering. Picking and packing. It takes a lot of work to bring you super fresh goodies hand-picked on Monday so you get it Tuesday. No pesticides. No GMOs. No chemical fertilizers. No waste. But, a lot of work!
Knowing that we are helping families get the very best vegetables, fruits, eggs and meat gives us great satisfaction. And, as farmers, it means a lot to us that we are also renewing the land – thank
you for helping us be good stewards of the land we've been entrusted with!
For the next 19 weeks we will continue to put in the extra effort it takes to provide you with the very best (and tastiest) vegetables from our garden. Enjoy!
Is This Winter Or Summer?
As you know, Minnesota can have crazy weather. But even so, seeing the temperature change more than 60-degrees last week was amazing!
One day we had a freezing frost that threatened our crops. Then, we experienced tropical weather as the thermometer peaked over 90-degrees!
If you didn’t see it already, check out Joel’s video showing how the “June frost” affected the crops.
The good thing is that we can often anticipate those temperature swings and most plants are hardy enough that it doesn’t kill them. These extremes can slow growth though, which can impact critical harvest dates. To compensate, we use the warmer greenhouses or provide shade in the field to mediate the heat or cold. But sometimes, things still get delayed.
A New Baby – A Mooooving Experience!
Yes – another mouth to feed! But it won’t be our responsibility for a while. Daisy, our dairy cow, finally gave birth this week. We're looking forward to enjoying the rich fresh milk for everyone on the farm. Our daughters Una, Rosemary and Frankie have been “waiting forever” and were thrilled to pet this knobby-kneed calf before it could even stand.
Since we are following the tradition of naming Daisy’s calves in alphabetical order, we decided to name her Clementine! Check out the little thing!
Pretty As A … Peacock?
Another new visitor to the farm was a surprise – a peacock was spotted several times. Where did it come from? Nobody knows (we even asked our neighbors).
We’ve seen it around our free-range chickens, so it might be eating some of their food. Who knows. Its pretty shy, but we hope it stays!
Amazingly, the Peacock is a national bird of India, and is native to Asia, so our best guess is that it was raised nearby and “flew the coop.” With its exotic plumage, it seems so delicate – but it it is tough enough to survive our long and cold winters.
We know this sounds pretty high-tech, but it’s really pretty simple. Joel English (who is helping us manage the Osprey Wilds Farm) is extending our irrigation hose and making a simple outdoor shower that we can use after working long hot summer days in the field.
I don’t think it is a surprise to you that hot and sweaty farmers get pretty grimey during the dusty summer months. And our farmhouse’s single bathroom is pretty maxed out with our big family. So all the interns and visiting friends are glad for Joel’s work. The plan is that the irrigation hose will be heated by the sun and warm the well water so everyone can get a soothing shower and get squeaky-clean again (at least, mostly clean). The structure is still under construction for now, but it'll be up and running soon!
Beating The Heat In The Kettle
Another way we can end a long day of work is with a quick swim. Our old farm was quite close to Grindstone Lake and we often went for a dip there. But that is several miles away now so our new destination is a swimming hole on the nearby Kettle River.
Not only is it great to cool off, but the outings also help us bond as a team. There are always lots of laughter, splashing, goofiness and time to connect – and all while eating whatever picnic dinner Megan has prepared. As much as we love farming, it does feel good to get away from the field work and just relax.
Are You Thinking About Halloween Yet?
You probably don’t have trick-or-treating on your mind, but to provide you with some great-tasting squash and pumpkins (for both pies and jacko-lanterns) we have to get the plants in the garden now.
We also harvest a large number of squash and pumpkins to feed our chickens during the winter. While pumpkins are really good for chickens (because they are full of vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, copper, manganese and riboflavin) you wouldn’t believe how much they love to gobble them up. We just break one or two open, and the chickens crowd around it -- eating the fleshy part, the whole seed, the stringy guts, and even thin layers of skin on some pumpkin varieties.