Friday, April 28, 2017

Do you want to buy from corporations or neighbors?

Where you buy your food matters. Twenty years ago, if you bought organic, you were buying from family operators. Today, organic has gone corporate. Organic retailers and manufacturers are publically traded and stock market traders want their financial return.

In the shadow of well-known organic brands owned by multinational behemoths like General Mills and ConAgra stands a thin phalanx of local farms building an alternative supply chain. When you choose to buy from these families and neighbors, you feed not just your stomach but really the businesses which will grow around you. It's not only money in the pocket of the farmer himself, but how those dollars flow to other local farmers and small businesses in your backyard. 
Hugh Dufner, Hugh's Gardens
A simple example is my potato seed. Last week I drove to Halstad Minnesota to pick up 500 lbs of seed potatoes from Hugh Dufner of Hugh's Gardens. Hugh has worked the trenches of organic production and marketing for a long time, and, like many I've known in organic farming, he is more motivated by healthy foods and farming than a dream of some potato empire.

When I visited his warehouse, I was impressed by the activity. Five people were employed working the wash and packing line, a real buzz of activity in a seemingly sleepy town.   

An even more inspiring part of Hugh's story is how he is actively transitioning his business. Instead of liquidating or selling out to some of the many new large operators jumping into the organic market, he instead is training in two young farm operators to take over. They are buying a home and moving up to Halstad. This is what a true organic food movement looks like. We not only grow without pesticides, but we deliver on the promise of organics to contribute to the wealth of rural communities. 

Too often as corporations enter into organic food, they employ their same old tried and true tactics: drive down price by squeezing suppliers and cutting labor and wages. Their replacement of family-based businesses may save you 10 cents on your next food purchase, but I assure you that your rural communities becomes all the poorer for it. Instead, please seek out local producers like ourselves who are committed a local food system that benefits our Main Streets, not Wall Street.  

Fergus dropsite is filled, but we still have room in Pelican Rapids, Detroit Lakes, and Perham on Friday afternoon. See http://www.lidafarm.com/p/2012-csa-information.html or contact lidafarmer@gmail.com for details.  


Sunday, February 05, 2017

Taking on Memberships for 2017

Crossing over the  line into February, we're just weeks away from starting summer transplants like peppers and tomatoes.  Yes, summer will come sooner than you think!  
Now is the time to make plans for your summer produce needs.  We offer two kinds of CSA shares: a full share where you receive a 3/4 bushel box of what's in season every week for 16 weeks and an every-other-week share where you receive a box, well, every other week over the same time.  




Full-Weekly Share (3/4 bushel box each week, 16 boxes):
  • Pick up at drop site or farm - $495

Every-other-week Share (3/4 bushel box every other week, 8 boxes):

  • Pick up at drop site or farm - $255
DROP SITE LOCATIONS
1.     MANNA Food Co-op in Detroit Lakes (Fridays)


2.     Clean Plate Grocery in Perham (Fridays)

3.     
Riverview Place  in Pelican Rapids (Fridays)

4.     Keller Williams Realty in Fergus Falls (Tuesdays)

5.     On site at Lida Farm (Fridays)

HOW TO SIGN UP
Please fill our our 2017 order form below to join for the year.  We ask for half the payment when you sign up with the remainder due half way through the summer.  

Friday, September 30, 2016

Preparations for Autumn

Hey, we've come to the end of another summer CSA season and I'm tired.  Mar and I are motoring over to Duluth on Sunday after the farmers market on Satuday and we're taking the kids to the Black Hills next week for vacation.  We're been harvesting, washing, and packing produce 6 of every 7 days for the last four months....it will be nice to take a break.

When we return there's still preparations before freeze up.  We'll need to take out tomato trellis, disk the fields, and plant our rye cover crop.  Wood needs to be stacked, a cabins needs winterizing, and I have a plan to build a sauna this fall.  We still even planting late season greens since we're going into our third year of the winter CSA.

So, as you look to preparing for the cold weather yourself, let me get a couple things on your radar:
  1. Buy Some Meat: Our members, the Nordgrens, farm west of Pelican and have beef and pork available for sale this fall.  Contact them at 218-340-2423 or hnord00@gmail.com if interested.
  2. Fall CSA Share: We're planning on delivering "Halloween" and "Thanksgiving" boxes of good fall crops and some greens.  I'll be sending out an email to give you a chance to sign up.  
Thank you, CSA members, for joining us for the ride this year and thank all others who read this blog.  I hope my words give you some insights into our farm life, provide a few things to ponder, and maybe provide a little humor.  -Ryan.  

In the box:
  • Celariac: Yes, this is a crazy looking vegetable, I know.  It's the ugly bulb on the end of a skinny celery stalk.  You use the bulb in cooking anywhere you'd use celery.  
  • Autumn Greens: These greens in the bag are young and mild, so you could use as you would salad mix/lettuce or use to finish off a dish where you'd cook down some greens. 
  • Chiogga Beets 
  • Sunshine Kaboca Squash 
  • Acorn or Carnival Buttercup Squash
  • Red Onion
  • Parsley
  • Parsnips: The white carrot-looking things
  • Pie Pumpkins 
  • Cabbage: Not the prettiest cabbage I've grown...

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Party Preparations

Maree was greeted yesterday by a pig being butchered in her front yard.  She took it pretty well. 

Here at the farm we've been doing our best to get ready for the harvest party.  This is the one time each year when we invite a bunch of people over to celebrate the season.  We've been mowing (this only happens about 4 times a year), weedwhipping, and generally putting things away so it looks a little less chaotic.  Hopefully when you come, you will still see the real Lida Farm behind all this order :) 
Harvest Party in the Barn, 2014 or 2013

We do have a little rain in the forecast - still only 30% chance this evening - but please come prepared just in case.  We'll go on a little walking tour at 5 pm so we'll trounce through some wet grass at the very least.  Just in case of bad weather, we are setting up the barn for dining.  Ideally, we'll be outside, but, should we need to go inside, it does make for an authentic barn event experience.  Lots of hay bales and bad lighting...

Please note that this weekend at Maplewood State Park is Leaf Days, a great opportunity to check out leaves in their autumnal glory.  If you're making the trek to the party, you could make a day of it.  

In the Box;: 
Salad Mix
Parsnips: Those loose white things which look like carrots. 
Carrots 
Butternut Squash: The tan one
Sunshine Kabocha Squash: The red one
Russet Potatoes
Dill
Cucumber
Garlic 
Leeks 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Big Vegetables

Some crops we plant, weed once, and forget about until fall.  Once such crop is rutabagas.  Only last week we said, "Man, we should go and check on those...maybe they're ready to go into the box."  Well, we went to rutabaga corner in the front field, and, wow, they got huge!  About a quarter of them got so big that they were weirdly misshapen and we kept out of the CSA boxes. This one was bigger than my head:


In the box:

  • Rutabaga
  • Butternut Squash: The long tan one.  Butternuts lend themselves well to a bisque or soup.  Check this one out: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/curried_squash_soup/
  • Buttercup or Kabocha Squash: These two really look a lot alike.  A kabocha is rounder than a buttercup and more yellow on the inside than the orange-fleshed buttercup. 
  • Russet Potatoes
  • Carrots 
  • A Couple Onions
  • Spinach: Some is red and some is green.  Both kinds really got messed up by the hail last week, so it doesn't look the best, but the holes won't make it taste badly. 
  • Cilantro: The green bunch with the red band
  • Garlic 
  • Eggplant

Friday, September 09, 2016

Adolph Pesch: Spudman

I remember when I was a teenager, my grandpa had me take a copy of the magazine "Spudman" from a shelf so he could proudly show me a picture of himself hosing down potatoes in some non-descript warehouse in East Grand Fords.  "You see, I'm famous...I made the big time..." he said, teasing.  My grandpa Adolph--a name that went out of style for good reason--worked 3-4 jobs in this prairie town to support a family of 11 kids, one as hired man working the potato fields which surrounded the town and another in the dank warehouses which were East Side's defining feature (besides the 60+ bars back in the day).

You see, unlike other farmers who point back to long lineage of farm owners and operators, my own past is filled primarily with landless peasants and farm laborers.  In a similar way to my grandpa who traveled to EGF from Floodwood in the 30's, my grandma Adele's family brought themselves to the Red River Valley in the midst of the depression.  They came to work the fields because, no matter how tough hoeing potatoes sounds, it sure beat the poverty and shame of the Turtle Mountain Reservation.

Historic picture of East Grand Forks potato warehouse (Source: https://robbielafleur.com) 
I bring up my family's  farming history because our past always follows us around - it's part of who we are.  Today, as I gathered up the first of the big Pontiac potatoes with those deep-set eyes, I couldn't help but think about my grandpa.  This red potato, together with the Norland variety we also grow, was a mainstay of the Red River Valley potato business.  I'm sure Adolph spent many an hour digging the same variety out of the ground, and, like myself, washing them.  It took three generations, but this younger Spudman can say these potatoes came out of his own ground.  The inspration to work hard and care for his family came from elder.

In the box:

  • Arugula: This was much prettier a few days ago before the monsoon and hail.  
  • Cilantro: Small bunch with red band
  • A Couple Peppers
  • A Couple Tomatoes
  • Bunch of Beets
  • Buttercup Squash: Seemingly everybody's  favorite with a deep orange flesh inside 
  • Acorn Squash: Great for stuffing (think pork stuffing cooking inside in the oven...) with a yellow flesh
  • Red Onion
  • Daikon Radish: I always suggest using in a salad with vinegar and sugar...something like this http://www.food.com/recipe/musangchae-daikon-white-radish-salad-like-korean-radish-kimc-417657
  • Pontiac Potatoes

 

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Bountiful Harvests

This time of year we start to pull in some big harvests.  Earlier this week was the onion harvest, but coming up is still very heavy winter squash and potato harvests.  In the middle of the summer we just pull in the bit of a crop that we need, but, as cold weather and frosts become possible as we move into september, we need to pull in an entire crop to keep it safe and sound.
Onions drying on hayrack

In the box:

  • Edamame: Yes, the big bunch of soybeans stuffed in your box.  Pull the pods or beans off the stalk, boil in saltwater a few minutes, and serve.  You pop the bean out of the pod into your  mouth...think a snack with a beer. 
  • Black Spanish Radishes: Bunch with blue band and greens.  These are radishes that get big like a racketball.  With their rough outside, you need to peel these before using. 
  • A few slicing tomatoes
  • Colored pepper
  • Italia pepper: The long red/green pepper - sweet, not hot. 
  • Cippolini onion: The flat onion...really my favorite.  It's pungent with a good flavor, so use as you would a yellow onion in cooking. 
  • Melon: Some received a yellow canary melon, some a cantaloupe.
  • Delicata winter squash: First squash of the year.  Cut in half, remove seeds, and bake face down on a cookie sheet until soft.
  • Cucumber
  • Swiss Chard or Kale