Sunday, October 04, 2015

End of the Line

It seems but a week ago that I was planting seeds in the greenhouse and now we've just delivered the last box.  Overall, this has been one great summer growing season and we appreciate all of you who have been along for the ride.  We had consistent rains through early August which helped establish  good crops and no crazy weather: no tornadoes, huge winds, or bad hail.  

This time of year, like many, we feel like eating high calorie foods and sleeping.  It's the fall where our bodies ready themselves for winter.  At least for us, after five months of vegetable growing every day, we're spent.    
Even Coffee Doesn't Help Sometimes
Don't worry, Lida Farm's never sleeps for long.  A vacation over MEA weekend, and we're looking towards some winter growing.  After a winter's rest, we get just as excited as ever for spring planting and we'll be be ready to roll for yet another season!

In the box: 
  • Long Pie Pumpkin: Oblong Orange Squash 
  • Regular Pie Pumpkin
  • Acorn or Red Kuri Winter Squash
  • Fresh Sage and Rosemary
  • Yellow Onion
  • A couple Sweet Peppers: These plants just won't die off...
  • Parsnips: No, not funky need to cook these.
  • Swiss Chard 
  • Spinach
  • Rutabaga


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Endless Summer

Typically we've had a light frost by mid-September.   Since I'm in the produce business, one would think that a frost would get me down, but quite the opposite.  A  frost in September marks a definitive transition from summer to fall crops.   Brussel sprouts and other cole crops sweeten up with a little frost, vines die and expose the winter squash, and all those hot-season crops die.  It's quite a relief.

At this point, we're stuck in a summer-fall limbo where I can't fully let go of summer stuff, which is just making me anxious.  Still, there are only two other weeks of the CSA after this week, and I just have to move into all those wonderful fall crops out in the field.  So, I'm trying to turn the corner into fall, frost or no frost.  Enjoy a week of cooking some hearty meals with these roots and squash we included.  

In the box:

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Start Squirreling

I know it's hot, but fall is in in sight.  All those summer crops have already-sadly-reached their peak and are on their way out.  The melon patch has been steadily taken over by yellowjackets, corn is turning brown in the field, and those tomatoes are starting to look a bit haggard.

Now is the time we should all start making like squirrels and start storing all that bounty of the year because, gulp, winter is coming.  Many a customer at the farmers market hems and haws whether the day is perfect to can tomatoes, but, like today, I've had to inform them that "it's now or never."  That's why we invite members to come out and pick tomatoes starting tomorrow (Sept 6) and Monday and runs through the week.

In the box:
Red Tomatoes
Golden Rave Yellow Romas
Melon Medley (Charatais, green/gray in color; Honey Orange, white; Sun Jewel, yellow)
Potatoes: Some received purple viking (best roasted or fried since boiling or mashing makes for a weird color), most others received yukon gold potatoes
Salad Mix
Fairy Tale Eggplant: these guys are little, but you work with them the same as any other eggplant
A Couple Onions
Celery: There have been problems with this celery having a bad core, but you should be able to still strip off the stalks
Green Pepper
Red Bell Pepper

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Wheat Harvest by Hand

Sometime I feel like we live in the 19th century at Lida Farm.  Last summer we milked a cow by hand.  We harvest a lot of produce with big harvest knives.  And I feel like we're always out digging with shovels more often than we should to for some reason. I call it modern-day peasant culture; some may like to market it as 'artisan' while others label our lifestyle just a waste of time.

Either way, I really felt like a medieval serf this week when we harvested our little patch of wheat by hand.  To use a combine on a piece of ground 6 feet wide and 40 feet long would be ridiculous and it was too weedy anyway.  I used our salad mix knife to cut the wheat and we threw it on a big tarp.  Once it dries a bit more, we'll beat the stuff with a plastic baseball bat and begin to separate the wheat from the chaff in a high wind.  Lord knows if this will be worth the time, but it's been a cool process.    

Apprentice Kelsey as Ceres, Goddess of Wheat

In the CSA box:
Watermelon: You received either a Sunshine yellow melon or New Orchid orange variety
Leek or Cippolini Onion: Most received a leek like last week, but I ran a bit short and a few received a Cippolini, a flat onion, which is my favorite and very flavorful.
Red slicing tomatoes: Most of these are a Celebrity or Defiant varieties, which have been been performing great this year in the field.
Yellow 'Golden Rave' Romas: These are best eaten fresh, instead of cooked as most romas.
Bunch of Carrots
Eggplant:  A lot of people are always asking me about preparing eggplant.  One simple way is grilling, try this recipe
Green Onions: The onions with a band around them, not to be confused with the leeks
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Anaheim Pepper: This is the green pepper which is pretty straight and pointy.  This is a hot pepper, but with less heat than a jalepeno
Italia Pepper: Red and green like the Italian flag, this is a very sweet pepper, good for sauteing or eating fresh.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Spontaneous Farming

I love the world of sustainable agriculture.  It attracts a great cast of actors few other fields can claim.  Organic agriculture attracts serious foodies, left-wingers in search of utopia, Christian home-schoolers, reformed hippies, would-be hippies, people who like to wear plaid, feminist crusaders, and, well, people who just like to eat tomatoes that taste better than cardboard.  It's a wild mix of passionate people who feel that agriculture holds a key to unlock many of the challenges which currently challenge us, including community dissolution, climate change, and healthcare to name a few.  I believe organic ag holds an important place to improve our world as well, otherwise I wouldn't be spending long hours in a the blazing heat to make this work.

A great example of this attraction came last week when my friend Zach and I were getting ready to harvest our garlic crop on Sunday.  It was a nice surprise when I found that a few folks who were traveling cross country caught up with Zach and decided to lend a hand for the day.  I doubt the same crew would have helped on a plumbing job or cashiering at the local big box.  Instead of just three of us digging up garlic by hand we had six, which makes a huge difference when pulling in over 1,000 heads. 
Garlic Harvest 2015 with Zach, Ryan, Loren, and our cross-country roadtripping friends
In the CSA box: 
Sun Jewel Melon: Yellow oblong things with white stripes. This is a Korean white-fleshed melon.  It's ripe, but is made to be eaten when firm.  
Roma Tomatoes
A Red Slicing Tomato
1-2 Heirloom Tomatoes: Some got a variety called German Pink (huge tomaotes) while others got Cherokee Purple variety (dark purple and green in color).  These are not for cooking, but best eaten fresh.
Biscayne Pepper: A light green and long pepper.  This is a sweet pepper.  
Big King Arthur Pepper
Dozen Sweet Corn 
Westlander Kale
Bunch of Carrots
Merino Garlic: This is still officially fresh garlic since it hasn't cured.  You may find it a bit stronger than garlic which is completely dried down. 

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Sweet Corn is Here

It's always a great time of year when sweet corn comes in.  Even your Uncle Ed who calls all vegetables 'rabbit food' and eats only potatoes gets in the act of seaching the neighborhood for corn.  Farm stands pop up on roadsides with hand-made signs like 'sweet corn, picked today.'  

Although this has been a long-time American tradition, the corn business is changing a bit now that GMO sweet corn is becoming more popular because it's easier to grow.  At this time, most sweet corn is still non-GMO ( as people plant tried-and-true varieties.  At Lida Farm, as certified organic growers, we are 100% non-GMO and pesticide free (all certified organic is non-GMO since GMOs are not allowed at all under organic standards).  If you're getting a hankering for more sweet corn, we've started to put a few dozen at a time on the farm stand (open 24/7 til October).

In the CSA box:
Sweet Corn: I'm the guy who is alway on people's case about not over-boiling sweet minute and turn off the heat.  Still, I really like roasted or grilled sweet corn:
Green Pepper
'Islander' Purple Pepper or 'Blanco' White Pepper
Big Sweet Onion
Swiss Chard
Yellow Beans: See recipe below
Red Tomatoes
'Orange Blossom' Tomato

Garden Bean Salad from Food Network Kitchen

1 small red or sweet onion, finely diced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
Kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 15 -ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 pound green and/or wax beans, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
Freshly ground pepper

Soak the diced onion in cold water, 10 minutes.

Whisk the vinegar, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl, then whisk in the olive oil. Drain the onion and pat dry, then add to the dressing. Stir in the white beans.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the green and/or wax beans and cook until crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the beans, then plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again, pat dry and add to the salad. Marinate at room temperature, tossing occasionally, about 1 hour.

Before serving, stir the parsley and chives into the salad and season with salt and pepper

Friday, July 31, 2015

Cows, Milk, and Vegetables

This week we took possession of a beautiful Jersey cow we named Beatrice.  Our cow from last year, Peanut, just couldn't get pregnant, so we had to make the decision to bring her to the butcher.

Our new Jersey, Beatrice
It's been quite a while now since we dried up Peanut and stopped milking, so it's been a chore getting back into swing of things.  At this point we're milking two times a day with portable milking machine I picked up a few days ago; it's almost a necessity since she's giving five gallons of milk a day!

With all the other stress we have going on with the other many moving parts of the farm, one would rightfully ask, "Why are you milking a cow?  Don't you already have enough to do?"  Well, yes, we certainly do have enough to do already, but a milk cow is a real cornerstone for a small farm like ours.  The operative word is "complementary"...the cow complements the other activities on the farm and the other enterprises we operate.

These are the major resources a family milk cow brings:

  • Manure: We manured our entire 2 acres where we grew produce last fall and winter with manure from Peanut.  We didn't have to haul it down a highway or pay anybody for the material or service.  Last year's back field was a disaster, really lacking fertility and tilth.  What cured it?  You guessed it...manure.
  • Animal feed: Other animals like milk just as much as humans.  Whether milk that went bad or whey from making cheese, any excess we can't use goes to our layers, broilers, dog, and pigs, especially the pigs...they will kill for milk.  This cuts down feed bills and makes for a healthier animal.  This doesn't even count the calf we'll raise with the cow.  Last year's calf brought in some much needed money in the middle of the winter after going to auction.  
  • Any dairy product you can imagine: We drink milk, make cheese, half and half, whipping cream, cream cheese, sour cream, butter milk, kefir, butter...need I go on? 
  • Companionship: A family milk cow is different from other livestock.  She becomes a member of the family, spending time every day brushing her and talking with her.  Sorry, pigs, I don't feel the same way about you :) 
  • Beauty: I always say, we only do pretty produce, but, really, we aspire to make as beautiful a place as possible.  There's nothing more beautiful than a Jersey grazing on a dewey early-morning pasture or head down at sunset.  Ah...that's why we do this.  
In the box:
  • Tomatoes!  Hey, they have finally come in.  Everybody got a pint of cherry tomatoes and a 1-2 early varieties.  The orange variety is called 'Orange Blossom' and the yellow variety is called 'Taxi.'
  • Beets: A mix of either traditional red with Chiogga (Bright red on outside) or Touchstone Gold
  • Celery: This is the best celery I've ever grown.  MN celery typically gets tough and stringy, but this isn't that way...the ribs are big and full of flavor (sorry, California, your celery tastes like water). 
  • 'Westlander' Kale
  • A 'Red Long of Tropea' and a 'Alisa Craig' or 'Walla Wall' Sweet Onion
  • A Cucumber 
  • 'Norland' Potatoes

Friday, July 24, 2015

Beautiful in the Heart of Darkness

As I write this in our porch, I'm looking over the front field.  It's a beautiful site as swallows dive over the nicely trellised tomato plants and green sweet corn.  The sun is out, but it's pretty cool for a day in July with a nice breeze.  Even with all this beauty around me, I'm still in that July state of mind, what my former mentor called the 'heart of darkness.'

July is a time when small weeds turn into 4-foot tall monsters overnight and produce harvest is something you need to do each and every day just to keep up.  It's the time that can really wear out market gardeners like me when every hour is consumed with the battle against the weeds or trying to keep up on cucumbers.  I've been doing this enough in my life to know, however, that things will begin to slow down in August when we give up on pulling weeds and planting new crops.  I should at least slow up enough to stop and watch these birds near my house for a spell.  Should we all keep things in perspective.

In the box:
'Imperial' Broccoli: A lot of these heads turned out to be huge.
Fennel: This one can throw people for a loop, but it's great sauteed with other veggies.  Here's a recipe from Simply Recipes:
A couple Cucumbers
A couple Yellow Summer Squash: Cook up and use however you like your zucchi done.
A smattering of Lettuce: I scraped the fields to find a mix of lettuces to fill the boxes this week.
Sweet 'Alisa Craig' onion
Green Beans 
'Norland' Red Potatoes

Friday, July 17, 2015

Tomatoes Around the Corner

A few days ago we experienced one of the best moments of the year: eating the first tomatoes.  They were orange Sungold cherry tomatoes in the high tunnel, and, man, they were good.  I'm not letting you know this to torture you, but let you know that they are coming soon.

Rainbow at Lida Farm after Yesterday's Rain
The challenge with packing 50 boxes each week, however, is that you need a really large quantity to make sure something can get to each of you.  At this point there's probably 6-7 pints of cherry tomatoes and that's about it, certainly not enough to supply the CSA this week, but, I hope, next week.  

In the box: 

Napa Cabbage: This is a monster cabbage.  These were so big we did some serious trimming back in the field and they still took up most of the box.    One thing we do is make into an Asian salad.   Allrecipes has a video recipe similar to what we've made before (sorry you have to watch an ad first):
'Alisa Craig' Sweet Onion: This one is pretty mild as far as onions go
Summer Squash: Every one has at least one Zucchini and some have Yellow Summer Squash.  One recipe idea that I love are using the summer squash to make fritters.  Grate the summer squash and mix in with 2-3 eggs plus salt and pepper and some chopped onion.  Fry in a pan til each side browns a bit and firms up, like a pancake.  You can dress with cheese and/or salsa. I like these for breakfast.  
Cucumbers: First time for cukes in the Friday box!  There are two kinds here.  The light green/white ones are fully grown out pickling cukes and the dark green are a slicer variety called 'Marketmore'  I've found the skin on the pickling cukes to be a bit tough and bitter at times, so I suggest you peel them.  
'Provider' Green Beans; You know it's summer when these guys arrive. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

How to Deal with Produce

Sometimes I've found that people sign up for a CSA or take stuff home from a farmers market and it ends up going bad on them, not necessarily because the veggies weren't fresh, but because they didn't know how best to store the food.

We grow a lot of variety of produce.  With all that diversity, you learn that different plants like different conditions.  Not everything likes to sit in your crisper drawer in your refrigerator.  One such a plant is basil  I get a lot of questions about to keep basil from turning black.  Bottom line: Don't Put into the will go black.  I made this video to explain a couple ways to store basil in this weeks box:

Also find this week's farmcast where I explain about different produce in the box:

In the Box:

  • Bunch of Beets: Greens are looking good, so try cooking these up.  This one looks good...hey it uses bacon:
  • Kohlrabi
  • Green Cabbage 
  • Summer Squash (maybe a zucchini, maybe yellow summer squash)
  • Green Onions 
  • Small Head of Lettuce: Either a Red Butterhead type or Greenleaf type
  • Basil 

Friday, July 03, 2015

Our American Tradition of Agriculture

As we approach July 4th, all of us reflect on our nation and its history.  For many, our minds turn to our founding fathers, the Revolutionary War, and the Declaration of Independence.  My mind, of course, goes to farming.

At the time of independence, we were a country of farmers.  Part of the myth of our founding was that we were a nation of yeomen, freemen who farmed small plots of ground.  We all know that we were also a nation of plantations and slavery, but, mainly due to the writings of Thomas Jefferson, that's not the ideal we were handed down.  This Jeffersonian ideal of democracy built on the free association of hard-working free people remains an inspiration to many, myself included.  The yeoman farmers of yesterday were not serfs under the thumb of some Lord or Duke, but free and independent operators with a stake in their local governments and development.

Family from 80s farm crisis, Daily Globe
If small family farms were the bedrock on which our democracy was based, we have been in trouble for a long time.  For my entire life-I was born in 1977-family farms have been in retreat.  I clearly remember the farm crisis of the 1980s when Willie Nelson took the stage at Farm Aid and America's attention was turned to farm families' struggles.  Farm auctions and foreclosures blanketed the evening news.  Although the attention waned with time, the trend of family farm loss continued.  Instead of being a nation of independent yeoman farmers, it's hard not to feel like we've become a nation of farmers on contract to our overloads of Tyson, Smithfield, Cargill, and Monsanto.

Despite this doom and gloom, at least those of us in the sustainable agriculture communtiy still have hope.  There are many more farm operations like our own making a living today because people like you chose to buy your food directly from the farmer  It may sound Pollyanna-ish, but I firmly believe these simple choices are making a real difference in keeping that dream of family farm alive.

In the Box:

  • Garlic Scapes: These are the tops of garlic which can be  used in substitute for green onions or garlic. See recipe below for an idea.
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • 'Farao' Green Cabbage 
  • Snap Peas: Don't shell these...just eat the whole thing
  • 'Lacinato' Kale: Dark green with a blue band 
  • A couple small heads of lettuce
  • Broccoli or Cauliflower: Most of you got cauliflower, but we had to substitute in broccoli in some boxes
  • Basil
Garlic Scape Carbonara from

  • ½ lb campanella pasta, or shape of your choosing
  • 4 slices bacon (about 3¼ ounces), chopped
  • ¼ cup garlic scapes, cut into ¼ inch coins
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  1. Set a pot of water to boiling on the stove and cook the campanella pasta (or desired shape).
  2. While it's cooking, cook the bacon over medium heat until browned. Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and add the garlic scapes. Cook until soft (2-3 minutes). Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. (Drain both the bacon and the garlic scapes on a paper towel).
  3. Whisk together the eggs, salt and red pepper flakes.
  4. When the pasta is done, quickly remove it from the stove and set a different burner to low heat. Drain the pasta and add it back to the pot, on the burner set to low. Stir in the garlic scapes and bacon. Add the egg mixture and stir feverishly for 3-4 minutes until sauce is thick and creamy. Don't let it overcook or it will be gloppy. Sprinkle the Romano cheese in, a little at a time, and stir to combine. Don't add it all at once or it won't mix throughout the pasta as well (since it will clump).
  5. Serve immediately.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Tribute to Good Neighbors

There is a long tradition of neighborliness amongst farmers.  In many respects this is something we look back on in nostalgic terms as if it is something which our parents or grandparents enjoyed in the good ol'days, but none of us really know about today.  Today this phrase "good neighbor" means being friendly and helping out every once in a while, doing something like watching a dog or picking up somebody's mail.

In farm country this had a different, more significant meaning.  A good neighbor was somebody who had just as many things to do as you, but dropped all of them to lend a hand.  And I don't mean a small job, I'm talking about 8 -10 hours of labor to put up hundreds of bales of hay in blazing heat to beat a rain or helping to pull a calf at some crazy hour of the night in the cold of winter.  That kind of neighborliness was done because all of us depended on it. Those kinds of assitance paid off in the end because dedicating a day to your neighbor would get repaid when you were in need yourself.  The community of growers was richer, not in a strictly montery was, but because the strong bonds built through work side-by-side.

That kind of work exchange which was almost necessary for survival amongst the small diversified dairy farms which covered Otter Tail and Becker Counties is just as voluntary a 'nice thing to do' as amonst any towndweller.  After all, most farms today are as automated as most manufacturing plants.  Who needs their neighbor?

In spite of all this, we are blessed with farm neighbors who still carry on the best sense of the term.  This weekend I have a neighbor who volunteered to lay cement block for a couple days to repair a barn wall destroyed in a rainstorm last year.  This is time worth hundreds of dollars and all he wants for payment is a nice dinner and help moving block.  I've had neighbors borrow us equipment, mow ditch embankments, herd our animals when escaped, birth lambs, plow entire fields who have asked for nothing in return.  I owe them all and would do whatever I could whenever they need it.   I think that's the feeling we should all have to build a real neighborhood.  

In the Box:
  • Sugar Snap Peas (please don't shell these...just eat them)
  • Radishes
  • Head of Romaine Lettuce
  • Bunch of Westlander Kale
  • Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
  • A few Baby Bok Choy
  • Scallions aka Green Onions
  • Spinach

Friday, June 19, 2015

Solstice for Dads

This year Fathers Day and the summer solstice co-incide, but I don't put any kind of great significance behind it (after all, my favorite stat is that Father's Day was the #1 day for collect calls, back when we had collect calls).  But, as a grower, I always pay attention to the summer solstice since it holds some sway over the growing season.

It's kind of a love-hate relationship.  It's depressing to think that all days after this point get shorter and we're on the slow decline back into winter - terrible thought, I know.  However, I love getting on the other side of the solstice since plants become easier to deal  In the CSA box this week you'll find a lot of greens that have their birth in spring.  Pretty much all of them are light sensitive so they like to bolt as we approach the longest day of the year - a really difficulty for me as a grower!  You may have been perplexed when observing your own garden that something like a radish or lettuce or even a broccoli looked great one day and was trying to bolt and go to seed  the next.  That's the solstice for ya.  Few people believe me when I sing the praises of fall lettuces and cole crops because everybody thinks these are spring crops, but, due to the shorter days after the solstice, they mature much better from here on out, making me a little less anxious and farming just a bit easier.  

In the CSA box (Check out farmcast about the box): 
  • 'Rover' Radishes
  • Brasing Mix
  • 'Two Star' Green Head Lettuce
  • Arugula: Green with band in oak-leaf shape
  • Mizuna: Light green with jagged leaves
  • Swiss Chard: Stuff that looks like muli-colored rhubarb
  • Cilantro
  • Spinach: Loose, unbunched leaves

Simple Sauteed Braising Mix Recipe from Full Circle, a huge CSA on the west coast.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: Serves 2-4

  • 2 Tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 medium white onion or shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ pound Braising mix (or make your own)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup stock or water
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper
  1. In a large, high-sided sauté pan, heat oil over medium high heat.
  2. When shimmering add onions and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and sauté briefly, stirring quickly to avoid browning, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add in braising mix, tossing to mix.
  5. Sprinkle with paprika and add stock, covering and reducing heat to low. Cook until lightly wilted, about another 3-4 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and sprinkle with lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tomatoes in the Ground!

Last week was way colder than anybody wanted, including our tomato plants.  Despite being covered by the greenhouse, we discovered black basil and frost-damaged tomato, eggplant, and pepper plants Tuesday morning.  Yikes!  Aside from the damaged leaves and a little more stress, I expect these plants to do fine.   

It was a great relief this Memorial Day weekend when we got these plants in the ground with no more frost in sight.  The planting crew (yes, the kids did help) dove in Saturday evening and all day Sunday to put in nearly 3,000 tomato plants and about 600 pepper plants.  Let the summer growing season begin - Game on. 

Lida Farm planting crew with Holland Transplanter (Sylvia, Willem, Argo, Maree, and Ryan)

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Sign up for CSA by March 15 and receive 2014 price

Now's the time of year when we all look toward spring.  We're putting winter behind us and dream of warmth, sunshine, and summer harvests.  I've found that this is also the time of year when people start thinking about signing up for CSA shares.

2015 will mark our 10th season operating a CSA and I think we have a long list of reasons why to choose Lida Farm for 2015: 
  • Certified Organic: Last year we certified to assure folks that we're "doing it right."  We invest in building soil to produce healthy crops without chemicals and GMOs, 
  • Clean Energy : We power our farm with carbon-free wind and solar power.  Our Ventera wind turbine provides a majority of the farm's electrical needs and we recently installed solar thermal panels to heat our winter greenhouse. 
  • Small-scale Family Farm:  We're pretty much the opposite of big ag.  All produce which you receive is grown, cultivated, washed, and packed by Ryan and Maree Pesch with some assistance from our friend and apprentice Kelsey Wulf.  Our three children make up the rest of the workforce, but their contributions are hit and miss. We're hoping for 50 shares in 2015.
  • Delivered Shares: One feature many of our members enjoy is that their CSA box simply shows up on their doorstep.  We deliver every Friday directly to home or businesses in Pelican Rapids, Detroit Lakes, Vergas, Cormorant, and many lakes in between.  We have limited shares delivered to a dropsite in Fergus Falls on Tuesdays.  
  • On-farm Experiences: The fall harvest party may be reason enough to join.  We also invite members to pick peas, beans, tomatoes, and a jack-o-lantern.  
We offer two kinds of CSA shares: a full/family 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 (8 deliveries over 16 weeks).  We also expect to do fall storage shares and some winter shares with details forthcoming. 

Full share (3/4 bushel box each week for 16 weeks):
  • Pick up at farm - $435 (receive 2014 price if sign up by March 15)
  • Delivered - $485 (receive 2014 price if sign up by March 15)
Every-other-week share (3/4 bushel box every other week): 
  • Pick up at farm - $235 (receive 2014 price if sign up by March 15)
  • Delivered - $265 (receive 2014 price if sign up by March 15)
*You will receive a 20% discount if using SNAP benefits to have your assistance go further.  

Sign up: Fill out this order form.  To confirm that you are in our delivery area or whether we have shares still available (especially if you're reading this in May or later), please contact Ryan or Maree at 218-342-2619 or  

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Happy New Years from Lida Farm

I hope 2015 finds you and your family in good health and spirits.  At Lida Farm, we're both tired from 2014 and expectant for the year to come.

The big chore and accomplishment in 2014 was the construction of our deep winter greenhouse.  We are nearly 90% complete as of the New Years.  We just attached the two solar thermal panels on January 2, but still need to hook them up.  There is also a ceiling I need to install inside the greenhouse to put a barrier between the humid air in the greenhouse and the cold steel roof.  Right now terrible weather is holding us back, but we expect to get the solar panels running in the next couple of weeks.

We'll need to do some terracing on this steep hill and bury some tiling, but these tasks obviously wait til spring.

I also planted our first seeds in the greenhouse Christmas morning - unbelievable, Christmas morning!  Things are germinating well and the temperature is fluctuating between 32 and 80 degrees, even in the coldest weather.  Today we are zero degrees, with an overcast sky and 40 mph wind gusts; the temperature is sitting near 50 degrees and the propane heater is not kicking in at all.

We look forward to the first greens harvest toward the end of January and all the off-season growing we can muster between now and May.  I am especially excited to grow our own onion starts by seed this year and get those tomato and pepper plants started super early for high tunnel production, not to mention baby arugula in February (I'm getting tired of greens from California going bad in our fridge).