Thursday, December 02, 2010

Small Wind Turbine Construction In Process

Well, the small wind turbine construction project continues. Dan and Bill from Residential Wind Power are looking to complete the project before Christmas. The tower from Rohn tower is now manufactured and on its way and RWP has the turbine from Ventera Energy on hand, ready for final connection to the tower.

First Dan dug a really deep hole, about 14 feet across and 10 feet deep for the foundation. This step is obviously important, considering the foundation not only needs to hold up a 110-foot tower with a 500 lb turbine on top, but also keep that tower up nice and straight in some major winds.
After some serious digging, Dan and Bill poured the foundation. Since this is a tripod tower with three legs, three pylons were put in place with mounts on top to attach to the tower. After putting in the foundation, Dan and Bill ran the wire about 300 feet down to our woodshed where the inverter will be placed. Power will run down the line to the inverter, become transformed into usable energy and then run the short distance to our main junction box. This was done just in time before freeze up. Once the ground froze, this would have been impossible.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Small Wind Turbine Construction

After figuring that if the organic vegetable growers weren't willing to buy into wind energy in this environment, then nobody would, we decided to take the plunge and purchase a small wind system. Our system is a 10 kW Ventera made in Duluth, MN and our installers are Residential Wind Power from New York Mills, MN. They started construction this October and I'll be sharing some pictures from start to finish.
This is our pre-turbine picture. The tower will stand behind the barn at 110 feet, so should clear these trees pretty easily.
Right now this area is home to our sheep pasture. The orange flag marks the spot the tower will go. It probably won't be till the first of the year that the tower and turbine are in place since it takes 12 weeks or so to construct the tower...they only start manufacturing the tower when they get the order.
The excavator is in place...Dan and Bill figure it will just take a few days to excavate for the foundation, trench the wire a few hundred yards to the electrical box, and pour the foundation.

Friday, October 01, 2010

The End of the Line

Well today is the final CSA delivery of the season (although we will continue Sunday deliveries every other week of dairy and fall crops in the off season).

This is always a bittersweet moment for me. I'm typically worn out enough to be happy that the last CSA box is going out the door, but I'm a bit sad that the season's over too. These times often make me reflect on how we did. Although we had some nice warm weather this year, I was not terribly impressed with the way things grew. At the end of the day, the weeds loved the weather, which made them terrible to keep up with, and the serious rains we had all summer really stunted the growth of the plants. If I were grading the season, I would give it a C+.

Now I'm looking forward to next year, shooting for a B+ or A- at the least. We have a lot of time now to prepare the field for next season, spreading manure and disking in this years crops so they begin to break down. This should make the fields have better soil texture and greater fertility. I will also be ordering a big high tunnel (hoop-shaped greenhouse) in the next couple of days, which will allow us to grow early greens, tomatoes, and peppers. I'm sure I'll also dream up a few more projects to make 2011 great!

Lastly, I would like to thank all of you for being members this year. Maree and I could not do what we do without your commitment. All members will be receiving a survey by e-mail; please let us know how it worked from your end.

In the box:
A couple peppers
Celeriac (the ugly bulb which has a celery top): you can use this in place of celery in any recipe.
Red Kuri or Blue Bonnet winter squash
Spaghetti Squash: Oblong Yellow Squash
Two Pie Pumpkins: Yes, these work well for pies! Typically you cut in half, bake on a cookie sheet upside down, and scoop out after it's soft.
Red Potatoes
Bunch of Carrots
Parsnips: the ones which look like white carrots

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Harvests

I've noticed this season that it takes me longer and longer to harvest the produce for the box on Fridays. I typically wake up early, get out harvesting, and wrap up the boxes by noon. Sometimes when there are a lot of time-intensive crops like peas or beans, it may take a while longer or we get going on Thursday night. That's why it's been so frustrating this season to be finishing up at 2 or even 3 pm and dashing off to get deliveries done before 4.

Each week I think I'm just getting old and slow, but, reflecting back over the season, I think this weather is what has been killing me. Today, like a lot of Fridays, I'm going to have to harvest in mud and puddles of water. Getting stuff out of the ground, however, is only part of the problem. In order to get produce clean, I spend lots of time spraying, soaking, and scrubbing produce so it doesn't look like a mudcake. I bet 75% of Friday harvests have been in the mud after a recent rain and about 25% of the time have been done in the rain. No wonder I'm getting slow...maybe it's not aging (although we all know there's no gettin
g around it)?Reminder: We're having our Lida Farm get together this Saturday evening, starting at 6:30. It's a casual event with snacks, drinks, and a bonfire. If so inclined, bring something, but just bring yourself. Meet other members and check out the farm. Hope you can make it.

BTW we also had the Pelican Rapids Early Childhood class out this Monday (see picture):

In the box:
Norvalley White Potatoes
Rutebega(s): root with greens on top.
Butternut Squash: all winter squash should be stored in dry, sunny location (don't refrigerate)...winter squash actually will get sweeter with time.
Acorn Squash
Harelred Apples
Collard Greens
Summer Squash

Sunday, September 19, 2010

CSA get together September 25th

Every year we have a little get together at Lida Farm for the year's CSA members, so you can check out the farm and meet all those other people who have also been receiving a waxed box periodically in their garage or porch. For the last few years we've been having a potluck thing for Sunday dinner, but we thought we'd change it up this year. So we're going for an after dinner snacks, drinks, and bonfire affair. Casual, no need to make a hotdish or anything, stick around as long as you'd like.

So, this is the lowdown:
  • Time: 6:30
  • Place: Lida Farm (44593 275th Ave. - corner of Otter Tail County Highway 4 and East Lake Lida Road-there is a map on the website to the right)
  • Activities: Ryan gives his typical farm tour, drinks, bonfire
  • What to bring: mainly just bring yourself, but, if so inclined, bring something to drink or some kind of snack/appetizer (your homemade salsa, etc.) We will be providing a mix of drinks and snacks ourselves.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Late Season Slump

Well, it's terrible out there. I just came in for some coffee to get a little boost to harvest and just plain warm up. I hope this monsoon slump we've been in will finally turn around!

I always find this a pretty tough time of year to carry on. There are only three more weeks of the CSA after this week and we're realistically about a week from a first frost. Lots of stuff still needs to be harvested, but, having been at it for quite a while, I'm down right tired. I don't think I could pull it off without the caffeine. Still, I'm always a bit sad when that first frost comes.

In the box:
Buttercup winter squash
Yellow onion/red onion
Juliet tomatoes
A mix of peppers
Green zebra tomatoes: these are ripe now....don't wait for them to change color just because they are green.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Fall Weather

This weather has been a nice change from dewpoints in the 60s and temperatures in the 90s. The change has made me appreciate the oncoming of fall, which is just around the corner. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but summer is almost over.

How does this affect growing at the farm? What I find fascinating is the effect fall weather has on growing time. In the summer, something like salad mix can go from seed to full-sized mix in 3 weeks, whereas it will take twice as long in fall weather. It seems like its still somewhat warm and sunny, but we just don't have the full strength of the sun and length of day to move things along. This all reminds me to get that fall salad mix planted. Gotta go!

In the box:
Green Zebra Tomatoes
Red Celebrity Tomatoes
San Marzano Roma Tomatoes
Sweet White Onions
Green Peppers
Little Red Cabbage
Kale or Collards
Thai Basil: pretty nice variety with a hint of licorice
Summer Squash

Friday, August 27, 2010

Today made me think about how busy you get when you begin to combine activities. We all have those things we do, have experience doing, and, consequently, are good at. For me, this is growing produce. We've been doing this a while-9 seasons-and, granted, we get a lot of things wrong every season, but we got it down for the most part.

This season, of course, we just had to challenge ourselves (as if having a third child wasn't enough) by branching out into raising chickens. Today was one of those days when I had to layer this new enterprise on top of my usual routine, which makes for a busy day.

Usually I can get outside and start harvesting produce on Fridays before 7 am, but, today, I didn't get out into the field until nearly 9 am because the chickens had a date at the processors in Ashby at 7 am (this is one of the few USDA-inspected poultry processors people like I can bring poultry to in the nation--even growers from central WI cart birds up there). So, instead of hunting for melons this morning, I was on the road at 5:30 with a 20-foot trailer and 90 chickens in the back, cruising down the interstate. This is actually a really nice way to start the day, having that first cup of coffee with the rest of the world asleep. Once at the processors, it's time to catch and move birds two by two into crates to go into the plant. This isn't as pleasant an activity, but it needs to get done. They cooperated for the most part and I only had one escape and hide under the trailer on me. I kept thinking the people of Ashby must come down to watch some of this entertainment of people unloading and chasing chickens around.

Anyway, we have another load going down to the processors in two weeks and can start making arrangements to deliver the broilers people ordered in the spring. Although this morning chore set us back a bit today, that's just what's needed sometimes as we juggle all the different chores that comes with being a diversified farm (livestock, crops, pasture, garden).

In the box:
Melons: everyone got a cantaloupe and either a watermelon or yellow Spanish melon
Red Tomatoes: standard Celebrity variety
Juliet Roma tomatoes
Beets: These are pretty small and pathetic, I know, but I figured some beets are better than no beets at all
Arugula: oakleaf-shaped greens in a bunch
Daikon Radish: Don't be afraid of this one, check out the recipe below.
A few peppers: Red ones are Italia Peppers and green are Biscayne
Yukon Gold Potatoes

Daikon Radish and Carrot Salad
From The St. Paul Farmers Market Cookbook
1 4-inch piece of daikon radish, peeled
2 tsp. salt
2 med. carrots, peeled
2 c. ice water
3 T. dressing

1 T. soy sauce
1 T. sesame oil

Use a vegetable peeler to peel down the radish lengthwise, making long thin shreds. Put shreds in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour. Cut carrots in half lengthwise. Use a vegetable peeler to peel down the carrot half, lengthwise, making long thin shreds. In a large bowl, combine ice water, remaining 1 tsp.. salt and the carrot and radish shreds. Wix well, cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
Make the dressing. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Rinse radish and carrot to remove salt. Drain. Toss with dressing and chill.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

CSA Week 10: High Season Harvest

Well, we're over halfway through the season. High season is coming in and those tomatoes are ripening up big time. It's that time of year when it's tough to keep up on all the harvesting that needs to take place. In some respects this is a tough time of year, but it's also really exciting...really what we've been waiting for for the last 3-4 months. Nothing get me going like going out and finding ripened melons, jumping around from one to another, knocking them, lifting them, checking out the tendrils to make sure they are ripe (even after all that, they can still be a dud).

Enjoy the heat.

In the box:
Bi-color Seneca Dancer corn
or some Silver Queen white corn
Japanese Eggplant or Some Calliope Eggplant
Cherry Tomato mix
Beans (tri-color mix)
Syrian Pink Tomatoes (Yes, they are ripe when pink)
Cherokee Purple Tomatoes
A Red Tomato
Specialty Carrot Mix (purple haze, atomic red, satin white)
Kale or Collard Greens
Fresh Thyme
A melon or two (some got a canteloupe, others watermelon)

Friday, August 13, 2010

The People Behind the Farm: Cosmo

OK I realize that Cosmo is a dog, not a person, but he's definately a personality around Lida Farm and one who certainly has a role to play.
Cosmo's been with us now six years and knows his place in the operation. He makes an effort to greet most everybody who stops by the farmstand (whether they like dogs or not...I'm still waiting for him to scratch up somebody's car, since he's that friendly). Probably his most important job, however, is fighting rodents and other predators who would do the plants or animals harm. I think he survives mainly on a diet of voles, moles, and gophers in the summer. Also he keeps the airspace clear of any roving birds who may want to eat a chicken and guards the sweet corn from the racoons (although he's not perfect since parts of the sweet corn patch have obviously been ransacked by those thieves of the night). He's also good company too!

My big observation of the week is that farming moves really fast sometimes as evidenced by our losing 33 broilers this week in a matter of hours. On one of our recent scorching days, Maree went down to fill up their water and feeders only to find a bunch of chickens all laying on the ground, some literally belly up, with their tongues hanging out. Some were already dead and we tried for a couple hours to shoot water into those who were hanging on, although we lost some of them too. It was not a good day! And this all happened in the 4 hours we had last watered them. We have lots of insight about where we went wrong, but it just goes to show that you always need to stay on your toes. Reflecting on it, I think we often view farms as idyllic places where ma and pa just plod along doing their chores and not much ever happns, but, in reality, you'd be surprised at the pace...things can move just as fast here as the New York stock exchange.

In the box:
Bodacious Yellow Sweetcorn (maybe some white corn mixed in).
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Green Onions aka Scallions
A small head Romaine (summer lettuce isn't ever pretty).
Yellow Sun Carrots
Some Tomatoes (the dark purple one is called Cherokee Purple...great flavored, so eat fresh, not cooked).
A couple Cucumbers

Quinoa and Fresh Corn with Scallions
From "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone"
3 ears of corn
2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
Salt and Pepper
1 T. butter or canola oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, including some greens
1/3 cup crumbled feta or grated cheddar
Shuck the corn, slice off the kernels, and set them aside. Reverse your knife and scrape the cobs to get the milk. Bring the stock to a boil in a saucepan; add the quinoa, corn scrapings, and 1/2 t. salt. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Melt the butter in a small skillet, add the scallions and corn kernels, and cook over med-high heat until scallions are bright green, about 3 minutes. Toss them with the quinoa. Season with pepper and serve, garnished with crumbled cheese. Can be used as a side dish or a filling for tomatoes or zucchini.

Friday, August 06, 2010

The People Behind the Farm Series: Jane

Although I am pretty much the chief cook and bottle-washer around here, there are many others that play a significant part at Lida Farm that you may not be visible to you. I'm going take some time over the next few weeks to feature each, so you get to know "The People Behind the Farm."

Our first snapshot is of Jane Solie, our volunteer "apprentice" of the season. Jane has a real interest in sustainable agriculture and came to us this early summer requesting to help out to learn the craft of vegetable production. Jane has been living in Montana the last few years, but is from Detroit Lakes and is in the area for the season. Jane helps us with general production on the farm, aka "weeding" and helps each Friday harvesting, packing boxes, and some deliveries. She will be working on an 0rganic dairy goat farm this fall and winter-in Hawaii of all places! Sounds good to me.

It's very common for CSA operations like our own to take on apprentices each season. This is how I learned the ropes and it's also how current growers are training the next generation. I know that without Jane it would be much harder for us to produce a quality box each week.

In the box:
A smattering of bi-color corn
Summer Squash
Alisa Craig Sweet Onions
A Couple Green Peppers
Bok Choi
Cherry Tomato Mix
Yellow Taxi Tomatoes
Alcosa Cabbage
Specialty Red Japanese Radish

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Love of Tomatoes

Well,the tomatoes are starting to ripen. This is pretty exciting for me, because, although I raise a mix of produce, I really consider myself a tomato person. I consider it my true medium. You won't find too many in the box this week, because the first week is always a "hunt and peck" operation where I have to search high and low just to get a half case. But once they start going, it becomes an avalanche pretty quick.

So, what's so great about tomatoes you ask? There's a number of things.
  • I like the huge variety of tomatoes. We grow 13-15 varieties-which seems like a lot-but it's absolutely endless. Even the names are good: Sungold, Green Zebra, and-my favorite-Nebraska Wedding (isn't that just a great name for a tomato?).
  • I like endless tastes of tomatoes and how they change from season to season. Tomatoes are the closest thing we have to grapes around here. Considering on the soil, climate, weather, you get different tastes...terroir for you foodsnobs out there :) A real dry year produces vibrant sweet flavors. We've definitely had the heat, but we've been a bit wet, so let's see on taste this year.
  • I like harvesting tomatoes. Things like carrots are just some you go out and harvest-there's no allure-but tomatoes are like a gold digging expedition. I crawl around under this big canopy of foliage, prospecting for big tomatoes, colorful tomatoes, ones with crazy shapes and so on. It's also a big harvest, which I have to approach as "hitting it hard" when the time comes, like a fisherman in high season. It's a great feeling pulling cases upon cases into the packing shed.
So, let the season begin. I can't think of a greater sign of high summer season!

In the box:
A smattering of tomatoes (Orange cherry ones are called Sungold, some small Taxi tomatoes)
Lettuce (Greenleaf, Redleaf, or both)
Beets (A bit on the small side, but I just couldn't wait any longer)
Red Norland Potatoes
Small Red Marble onion(s)
Native Gem Sweet Corn
Red Express Cabbage or Stonehead Green Cabbage
Lacinato Kale aka Dino Kale
Bunch of Carrots

Kale Potato Soup
From "Simply in Season"
More of an Autumnal recipe, but would work well for this box.
1 bunch kale, chopped and steamed. Set aside.

1 T. butter
1 large onion
1 clove garlic, minced
Melt butter in soup pot. Add onion and saute until golden. Add garlic, saute another minute.

2 large potatoes, diced
2 cups hot water or broth
Add, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft. Remove half of the cooked potatoes, puree the rest with the cooking liquid and return to the soup pot. Return reserved potatoes and steamed kale to soup pot.

3 cups water or broth
1/2 t. salt or to taste
pepper to taste
Add along with additional hot water or milk to preferred consistency. Heat gently until hot.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Growing with Three Kids

Our third child, Graham (look left), was born this April with much to-do. I'm still not sure his birth fit into the growing season well or not. It was good that he came before too much fieldwork got going, but it got us off our game a bit at the beginning of the season when getting on top of things is really important.
I'm often asked how we actually operate Lida Farm with now three kids and myself with a full-time job. And the only way to explain it is teamwork. Maree and I learned a while ago that both of us trying to do work outside just makes our marriage suffer because we are always arguing about who's "turn" it is to hold the crying baby or catch a kid before he or she drives their trike into the township road. So, we do a constant trade off. When I get home from work, Mar is often in the mood to get away from kids, so I watch them and make dinner as she works outside. Then she does the same for me on other nights and on harvest days. A definite balancing act!
In the box:
Stonehead green cabbage
Silver Rose Garlic
Small amount of braising mix (mix of greens bound with a rubber band)
Arugula (oakleaf-looking green that has a peanut-y taste)
Red Norland Potatoes
Chives (to go with the potatoes)
Yellow beans
Summer squash mix (some zucchini, some yellow)

Arugula Pesto
From How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
2 cups arugula, washed and dried
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 T. walnuts or pine nuts, lightly toasted
salt and pepper to taste
Remove any tough stems from the arugula. Place it in a food processor or blender with the garlic, nuts, salt and pepper.
Add a 1/4 cup olive oil and pulse a few times. With motor running add additional olive oil to make a creamy sauce. Use within a day. Goes well with grilled chicken or shrimp.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Seems like every year I write at least one "disaster" entry. For this season, our biggest disaster came Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. We had hail, serious rain, and a massive wind. Yes, this definately affects the plants, but, on the good side, this came at a pretty good time (if there is one). This is the time of year when tomatoes are not only small and green, but also hidden under a lot of foliage, so it will leave some pitting, but won't leave bid open sores on the fruit. If tomatoes were orange, ripening to red, it would be terrible.

Not that there's no issue with hail.
You will probably notice some holes in the Napa cabbage leaves and maybe some dents. The chicks in the new lean-to also got a bit wet through the whole ordeal too, so I had to carry a few under the heat lamps to get them going again.

FYI: Member workday this Sunday at 2 pm at the farm. This isn't anything mandatory, but if you'd like to get your hands dirty a bit, see the farm, and pull some weeds, please come. I promise to find something for you to do. We'll probably go til 4 or 5, so come for what you can.

In the box:
Napa cabbage
Cauliflower (not the's a bit purple from the heat and sun, otherwise just fine).
Summer Squash (the yellow variety called Sunburst and you'd use the same way as Zucchini)
Green Beans
Green kale
Bunch of Carrots

Greek Fennel Skillet
(from Simply in Season)
2 cloves garlic (crushed or minced)
In a medium skillet saute in 2T olive oil for 1 minute

2 medium fennel bulbs (the white part of the fennel plant)
1 large onion
Add and saute until tender, 5-10 minutes

1 T lemon juice
3 medium tomatoes (chopped)
Add and cook over medium heat until part of the liquid evaporates, 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

1 1/2 cups feta cheese (crumbled) or mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup black olives (optional)
Stir in.

Mar and I gave this a try last season and really liked it. We served over crusty Italian bread, although it would work over pasta too.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Weird Produce in a CSA Box

What can I say? I strive to go long on the standard veggies, but what would a CSA be without a little surprise? You know when you open your box and find some real oddball veggie you need a botanical guide to identify.

Members often tell me this is part of what they like about CSA, although too many surprises tends to scare some people away. Still, I think you trying to hit a curveball every now and then is probably good for you...when you get that bulb of fennel in your box here in July, I hope you approach it as an adventure to reach out for that cookbook you never look at and try something new. I'm just as bad as anyone, making those dishes I've always done, but it's good to get out of my rut too.

I was thinking about this today when I was out picking fava beans. I have to confess I've never grown these or eaten these in my life, so they are a grand experiment. We had to do a little research to get a general jist to prepare them, especially since you just have a few. A simple way to use your fava beans is to shell them, boil the beans (just a few minutes), remove skin, and toss with olive oil and lemon juice and serve with a sharp cheese like pecorino or parmesan. Otherwise, you're on your own-good luck!

In the box:
English Peas (the ones you need to shell)
Deep Purple Scallions
Kohlrabi (these could also be added to recipe below)
Fresh Mint (stuff that look like a weed)
Fava Beans (big monster beans):
1-2 little cucumbers (just a taste, but the first of the season!)
Black Spanish Onions (see recipe below)
Salad Mix
A bit of Spinach (every week for 4 weeks...are you tired of this yet?)
Raspberries (for some)


This could also be good without the cabbage.

2-3 black Spanish radishes, scrubbed and grated
3 cups finely shredded cabbage
1 cup coarsely grated carrots, any color
1/2 cup thinly sliced green or red onion
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, or mint leaves

In a bowl toss together the radishes, the cabbage, the carrots, the onion, the lemon juice, the sugar, the oil, the herb, and salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Farming in June

June's a tough month in market gardening.

The guy I used to work for would always say, "If you have a good June, you'll have a good season." Sitting here in my 7th season after being an apprentice, I would have to agree.

June and into July is the only time of the year when a grower has all major activities going on at once: cultivating/weeding, planting, and harvesting. It's a tough balancing act, because, you can get sidelined concentrating on one and do a bad job on another. So, spending too much time on pulling weeds and hoeing and you may just forget about that second planting of beans or putting in cabbage or cauliflower for the fall. Or Thursday rolls around, and, although you have potatoes that need hilling and beets in need of weeding, you have to spend half a day picking strawberries and peas. Yep, it's a balancing act.

So, Ryan, how was June? Well, plantings are on and harvesting is going well, but those weeds are getting fierce. Good thing we have a long 4th of July weekend to do battle with them.

In the box:
Snap Peas (edible pod)
Red Oakleaf Lettuce
Deep Purple Scallions
Some get Raspberries (others are coming in the next couple weeks)

Recipe: Ginger Stir-Fried Snap Peas and Fish Maree is reading this book called the "Art of Eating in" and the author has this website where she's posting some pretty interesting recipes.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ducks in the Garden

Growing is all about the unexpected and usually the unexpected is a bad thing.

The other day my neighbor told me that my ducks were eating my lettuce and I thought "oh, they're probably eating that old bed of salad mix...what can they really do?" Well, I found out when I went out there today to find two little ducks had eaten about half of the head lettuce out there and I caught them red handed doing it!

Now I've read that ducks are good to have around a place like ours because they are supposed to eat potato bugs, but I've yet to see any truth to that. Instead, they are more like farm saboteurs than f'arm helpers.

Honestly, if you or someone you know would like to adopt these ducks, let me know soon. Otherwise their lives will be cut pretty short.

In the box:
Snow Peas
Head Lettuce (either green oakleaf, red boston, or romaine)
Radishes (standard cherry belle or french breakfast-the ones which look like bobbers
Braising Mix (bunch with a mix of greens-weird purple one, mustard greens, kale): see recipe below

Spicy Braised Greens from the food network (

(note: you probably didn't receive as much as a lb, so adjust accordingly).


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 pound turkey bacon, diced
  • 1 cup sliced yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 pound collard, mustard, or beet green leaves, or a combination
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Heat a large, 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil to the pan, and when hot, add the bacon in the pan and cook, stirring often, until the bacon is well browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the onions to the pan and cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the greens to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute. Add the water and salt and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the greens are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the lid, and raise the heat to medium-high, and continue to cook until most of the liquid has reduced, about 5 minutes. Taste and re-season the greens if necessary.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

CSA Season is Starting

Welcome to the 2010 Lida Farm CSA season! This is our 5th season operating a CSA in the Pelican Rapids area, so we should know what we're doing at this point!

If you've come to this blog looking for news from the farm this spring and past winter, you've been sadly disappointed since I write little in the off season. But now that produce is coming in expect an entry every week about the going-ons at the farm, what's in season and in the CSA box, and my general musings about small farms and the like. We also highlight a recipe each week which features a veggie in season.

Overall spring has been good as we get ourselves organized for summer. Spring is a time we ramp up on projects we just can't pull off in July or August when we get on a treadmill of plant, harvest, wash and repeat.

For example, This year we offered a chicken share where people pre-arranged whole broilers which we'll deliver late summer or early fall. Now that we've promised all these people some 250 chickens, we actually need to raise them. Part of that is giving them a place to live, so my carpenter father-in-law Don and I have been diligently building a lean-to off the side of our woodshed (mainly Don...he's the professional. I just haul tools and stuff for him). It still needs some tin for the roof, but the hard part is done we hope. As you can see from the picture, the lean-to juts into our pasture, so, when the chicks arrive they will have easy and free access to grass and pasture.

In the box:
Salad Mix
Napa Cabbage
Baby Bok Choy
Daikon Radish

Catalina Dressing
Taken from the U of M nutrition program that Maree teaches at Pelican Rapids Elementary

2/3 cup canola oil (or other vegetable oil)
1/2 cup sugar or equivalent sugar substitute
2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Mix all ingredients well. Store in refrigerator.
Serving Size: 2 Tablespoons

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Annual Membership Drive

Well, we're getting ready for another season and we're putting out the call for members!

This little blog entry is like my own form of an annoying public radio membership drive: "We can't do this without you, the members..." And this is absolutely true. Seriously. We can't. We will be starting hundreds and hundreds of transplants soon, a big risk when you consider the tending, planting, weeding, and harvesting that comes between us and a finished vegetable crop. If we didn't have our CSA membership who already paid up to receive a share of the season's harvest, we'd be a bit more hesitant about putting all those plants in the ground hoping somebody's going to purchase all that produce when harvested.

We are changing up our CSA program a bit this year. We continue to have a "regular" CSA share ($400) where you receive a delivery of a mix of produce every week, but we've also added a couple other options:
  • The "every-other-week share" ($225). The name kind of says it. You get a delivery every other week and we're starting this especially for couples who get overwhelmed by a regular share. Chet and Paulette Nettestad of Pelican Rapids were our every-other-week trial run last year, and, from talking with them, it seemed to be a good amount for two people and worked out well.
  • The "a la carte share" (increments of $100). This is a customized delivery every other week, and, like an a la carte menu, you choose what you want from our online order system ( earlier in the week and we deliver on Fridays. Think about it as having a tab with us. You put in $100, $200, $300 at the beginning of the season and we keep track of what you order and let you know your balance monthly. On our site we also carry Organic Valley dairy products, meats, and eggs you can order too. This is a "use it or loose it" option. You will have from now until December to use your tab and whatever is leftover will be donated to Lutheran World Relief, because it's a little harder for people around the world to feed themselves than for us here...I like their approach to sustainable rural development and I'm a Lutheran.
  • The "chicken share" ($60). You receive 6 chickens (5-6 lbs) in three deliveries from late summer to early fall. The chickens will be whole, frozen, and plastic wrapped just like a whole chicken in the store.
So, if you are interested in becoming a member of Lida Farm, please get in contact with us. Our e-mail is and our phone is 218-342-2619. Call with won't be bugging us. Our brochure about our CSA program and the order form are linked below. But please make sure we are not filled up for the season and you're in our delivery area before sending in the order form.

Click here for a brochure about our CSA
Click here for our order form

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lida Farm in Winter

What happens on the Farm all winter? Although you'd think that we would try to do nothing, I keep finding projects to do. So far has been a laundry list of repairs and maintenance which I've been trying to get to for a long time: fixing the sheep feeders that have been broken the last 6 months, cleaning the chicken coop, putting in a glass pane in the barn that I shattered 2 years goes on. One of the biggest projects was putting woven wire fence around the back pasture so those sheep have something to eat in the middle of the summer next year.

But probably the project I'm most proud of so far is our skating rink. Neither of the kids have skated before, but they did both get skates for Christmas this year. I figured there's no better place to learn than on the pond across the sheep pasture. It took a few hours of shoveling, scraping with an ice scraper, and taking water out of a fish hole with
a gallon jug, we were in business!

Me putting on the finishing touches, sweeping the snow off with the broom.

Willem's first skate