In the Kitchen: Millet Muffins

Millet Muffin

So I use to only associate Millet with a treat that I would give my pet Parakeet. (Do not tell anyone I had a pet Parakeet, especially the fact that said Parakeet killed himself, I think Parakeets were like the french bull dog of the 90s? no? ok ok I digress) Millet happens to be a super smart food that has been hiding from you in the bulk aisle of your favorite grocery store. 

Having treats around the house that please both parent and child are a true blessing. Treats that can be shoved in all of the above faces at any meal time or fussy period and made in under twenty minutes and are gasp SUPER HEALTHY/SUPER FOOD are a major plus. (eg. not mostly white flour and corn syrup) So I present to you the Millet Muffin. The answer to anyone who is tired of eating crap, but looking for a little comfort something or other.

MAKING THE CASE FOR MILLET
(it's partially accurate that Millet could save your life some day, I especially love that many of the benefits are critical for both child and adult)

1. Millet is alkaline and it digests easily.
2. The Hunzas – who live in a remote area of the Himalayan foothills and are known for their excellent health and longevity – enjoy millet as a staple in their diet.
3. Millet will hydrate your colon to keep you from being constipated.
4. Millet acts as a prebiotic feeding microflora in your inner ecosystem.
5. The serotonin in millet is calming to your moods.
6. Millet is a smart carb with lots of fiber and low simple sugars. Because of this it has a relatively low glycemic index and has been shown to produce lower blood sugar levels than wheat or rice.
7. Magnesium in millet can help reduce the effects of migraines and heart attacks.
8. Niacin (vitamin B3) in millet can help lower cholesterol.
9. Millet consumption decreases triglycerides and C-reactive protein. 
10. All millet varieties show high antioxidant activity. 
11. Millet is gluten-free and non-allergenic. A great grain for sensitive individuals.
12. Millet’s high protein content (15 percent) makes is a substantial addition to a vegetarian diet.
*Thank you Care2 for the info.

MILLET MUFFIN RECIPE

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups king arthur whole wheat flour
1/3 cup millet
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk (who has buttermilk at any given time? I used 2%)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Grease 16 muffin cups.
In a large bowl, mix the whole wheat flour, millet flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, mix the buttermilk, egg, vegetable oil, and honey. Stir buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture just until evenly moist.
Transfer batter to the prepared muffin cups.
Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

You Can...
Add fruit like bananas or cranberries. Halve the the oil and use apple sauce. Use Maple Syrup instead of honey. Smother them with salted butter and more honey to give off the you don't give an eff vibe.

 

 

 

 

  

Year One Lessons: Beatty Stone Farms

mangalitsa hog farm
Mangalica
Mangalitsa Farm

Winter time and the turning over to a new year is a natural, almost instinctual time to sit down and reflect on the past year and the lessons learned, and we've been doing a lot of reflecting on things that went well, and things that didn't work out so well in 2016, our first full year on our little farm.

It's been just over a year since we set out on this somewhat audacious adventure of starting a small farm. After studying permaculture and urban farming, and growing a sort of successful garden for a few years, we found ten acres of organic alfalfa, jumped on it , and sold our home in Northeast Minneapolis. (miss you still, love you NE!)

Since leaving advertising, years ago now, I have been dedicated to finding a heritage breed of animal that we could raise, promote, and maybe help even help sustain. Yes that means slaughter, yes that means eat, but the only way to beat the industrial farming machine and change our food system is to raise awareness and drive demand for slower and more diverse products that are better, and more kind to the planet. Like many heritage breeds, the Mangalitsa had an incredible story to tell rich with history, and we knew we had found our breed. So we accepted the challenge of raising an animal with a very slow and long growing period, and one that many had not heard of, but we were confident the flavor of real pork and the Mangalitsa's deep red, fatty, and healthy marbled meat had a place in our marketplace.

We started out with a name before we even dug our first fence post. Naturally any good Minnesota farm name has to include a Bob Dylan reference so we chose Beatty Stone Farms, named after Bob's mother Beatrice Stone, who to her good neighbors and friends went by Beatty. (bee-tee)

 

LESSONS LEARNED
 

Don't Ever Compliment a Farmers Rooster Unless You Plan to Take Him Home/Don't Have a Baby and Bring Home Three Roosters All In The Same Month.

The Least Sexy Projects Come First
Projects like paddock/pen design, fence building, grading, and water management will absorb a lot of  time and money but without them you can't pass go. We spent and will continue to spend time building paddocks, hanging gates, and adjusting grades and paddock placement to manage these insane rain events and reduce wet, muddy, dirty pig pens, with the ultimate goal of keeping the pigs and the land happy and healthy. 

They Call it Back Breaking Work For a Reason

Full System Design
You can't just drop a pasture/paddock somewhere without creating a system that works for everything and everyone around the farm. You must consider the impact on the natural surroundings, water, weather etc. There's a system that can work in a sustainable way, you just have to figure it out. We will be figuring it out indefinitely! 

Even Small Farming Is A Big Commitment
We knew farming would be hard work, and we can now say confidently, farming is definitely a lot of hard work. While we didn't really know what to expect, we now know that raising livestock and cultivating land takes serious time, commitment, and dedication. There's a reason why you hear about farmers never leaving their farm, there is just too much to do. Your life has to change, travel is limited, weekends away reduced, time away at all reduced. You need to be all in. 

The Art Of Feed
With our heads and lives deep in the organic food world, we were surprised at the limited options for organic grain and livestock feed suppliers. While much of the food world, restaurants, and groceries have transitioned to organic options, the feed world is far behind. With the goal of raising the healthiest pigs and highest quality meat, feeding chemical free, non GMO, soy-free and limited corn feed is a must. We are grateful to have found a great local feed supplier who sources and mixes up for us a complex blend of organic grains to ensure we are raising the healthiest and happiest pigs possible.

The Waste Has a Job To Do
You can't let manure and debris just pile up, you've got to put it to work. Animals poop a lot. Have a plan for the manure, and get out there and get your hands dirty.

We've learned to throw away very little, spent produce and clippings and peels are composted or fed to chickens or pigs. Feed crates are refurbished for gardening trellises and shelters. This also means working with local twin cities breweries to find a home for their spent brewery grains while helping to feed the pigs year round. This spring, our unprocessed maple sap will also go un-wasted and will be used to finish the pigs, and inject some sweet sugar content into their marbling!

Soil Comes First - Always
From grading and water drainage, to using good compost and amending for  your garden's overall health health and production, we learned the hard way - always consider the ground first. If the soil isn't on your mind or properly cared for it has a way of reminding you, from flooding to useless garden beds, mind your soil! 

Start a List: Prioritize and Set Goals
There are not endless hours in a day, especially if you are still working a full time job. If you try to get everything done all at once you will go crazy. You can not start a profitable farm, even on a small scale, over night.

The Kindness of Strangers is Your Classroom
When we first started farming I was super gun-shy when it came to asking other farmers for help or guidance. Maybe I had too much pride or I felt like people would avoid sharing their secrets to success, but we honestly couldn't do what we are doing without stepping out of our comfort zones and asking questions, (a lot of questions). Farming, especially something like a rare heritage breed pig, isn't something you can really learn in a book or on a website. It takes jumping in and doing it, and the generosity and kindness of strangers willing to help troubleshoot and share in their stories and experience. In fact, farming needs story telling to survive and grow. 

As we continue to learn and grow, fail, get injured, pound our thumb with a hammer, get knocked over by pigs, and hopefully succeed, we will continue to share our ups and downs, and our story. 

Get a closer look at the farm and follow our story at Beatty Stone Farms
Whole hog inquiry can be made directly at beattystonefarms@gmail.com

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Chef Camp Recipe Sneak Peek: PINECONE SOURDOUGH STARTER

Wild Pine Cone Sourdough Starter from Ryan Stechschulte of Spoon and Stable. Photos by Becca Dilley

Wild Pine Cone Sourdough Starter from Ryan Stechschulte of Spoon and Stable.
Photos by Becca Dilley

Many of our favorite chefs and restaurants are constantly testing the limits of locally sourced ingredients. Chef Camp promises to take you directly to the source of inspiration and into the woods with local twin cities culinary gods. Think summer camp with a side of cooking school. Here you will find a sneak peek into their latest cook book and culinary adventure with Spoon and Stable's Ryan Stechschulte. Pick up a copy of this cook book for your chance to bring these recipes and stories home and into your kitchen.  


PINECONE SOURDOUGH STARTER
1. BASE RECIPE
100 grams wild yeast water 50 grams rye flour
50 grams all-purpose flour
This mix is the beginning of the bread culture. Mix thoroughly and keep in a container with
a lid. This is known as your “starter culture.”

2. FOR THE FIRST TWO WEEKS FEED IT EVERY DAY WITH:
100 grams starter culture 50 grams tap water
25 grams rye flour
25 grams all-purpose flour
This process should be repeated once a day at the same time
every day for 2 weeks. You will eventually see the starter culture become active. It will smell like bread or beer and it will begin to bubble. This is a good thing. It is coming alive. You will also notice that you are throwing away half of your starter with every feed. That is the starter that you use to bake bread. You can either use it or give it to a friend or increase the recipe to make enough starter to bake 100 loaves. The quantity is up to you.

3. AFTER TWO WEEKS,
STORE IN YOUR REFRIGERATOR AND FEED IT ONCE EVERY FIVE DAYS WITH:

100 grams starter culture 50 grams tap water
50 grams rye flour
50 grams all-purpose flour
During the retarding phase of the feed, I will change up my percentages a bit. This is merely a way to slow the production of the yeast and it keeps you from having to feed this starter culture every day.
Mix this in the same manner as any other feed. If you want to use the starter culture to bake bread from this point, simply take out your starter, allow it to come to room temperature and begin feeding it like normal. After 2 days, it should begin to become active again.

FOR A GOOD SOURDOUGH BREAD RECIPE, CHECK OUT:
cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016277-tartines-country-bread


Chef Camp is a northwoods food retreat that runs Sep 1-3, 2017 at YMCA Camp Miller, 90 minutes north of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Campers take wilderness-themed cooking classes over open fires from some of the most talented local chefs, sip artisan coffee and cocktails, participate in classic camp activities (think archery, canoeing, and crafts!) and feast under the stars in an open-air mess hall.

Because giving a Chef Camp ticket is so much more memorable than a pair of socks, the camp counselors are sweetening the deal this holiday season with discounted pre-sale prices starting of $600, which includes all food, beverages, lodging and activities. 

Through the end of the year, tickets will also come with a beautiful print copy of the 2016 Chef Camp cookbook. The cookbook includes recipes from last year's event, including:

Oh Christmas Tree! Local Buyers Guide

 

Choosing a tradition that suits your needs and values can be a difficult decision each year, especially when it comes to the Christmas Tree. Research has shown that selecting a naturally sourced tree each year has less environmental impact than owning an artificial one....unless you plan to keep your artificial tree for 20+ years, after which the environmental impacts even out. 

 

URBAN TREE LOTS
With two locations, one in Northeast Minneapolis and one in South Minneapolis' Longfellow neighborhood, Mother Earth Gardens provide a marketplace for sustainably grown Christmas Trees. They stock a variety of responsibly grown, chemical free trees from the family farms of Henry and Gracia Anderson in Osseo, Wisconsin and Wade and Heather Comstock in Balsam Lake, Wisconsin. They offer trees as short at 4 feet and reaching over 12 feet tall, starting at around $25 each. 

DOWNTOWN DELIVERY
Fresh Fraser firs and wild balsam trees are available for local downtown delivery only at the MillCity Farmers Market through Nistler Farms.  The market moves indoors all month long with not only house christmas trees but locally grown produce, breads, cheeses and more. 

COUNTRY DRIVE
If you are looking to get your tree out of the city and enjoy a beautiful drive check out  Krueger’s Christmas Tree Farm in Lake Elmo. A real working family run farm with a  large selection of sustainable pre-cut trees or trees you can cut from their fields. 

 

A symbol of goodwill and love

The Fraser Fir has become a very popular tree due to its short, strong needles, tendency to hold them and its compact form. Native to the mountains of the Eastern United States.

The Balsam Fir has an aroma that says “Christmas.” Native to Minnesota and all of Central Eastern North America.

The Eastern Balsam, gaining in popularity, has characteristics of both Fraser and Balsam Firs. Nice smell, good needle habit.

The White Pine has many loyal customers. Its soft, long needles give a different look and feel. Native to Minnesota and all of Central Eastern North America.

The Black Hills, Meyer and Blue Spruce all have a shorter, compact needle and colors that range from blue to cool green. Black Hills Spruce are native to the Upper Midwest.

 

After the holiday season is over be sure to responsibly dispose of your Christmas tree by taking it to your local compost, recycling or waste management site. Some municipalities also provide curb side pick up and chipping services, reusing the trees for landscaping mulch and keeping them out of landfills. If you live in the Twin Cities you can drop off your tree at either Hennepin or Ramsey County's compost sites. Spend this Christmas with a clean, green conscience!

 

Thanks to Mother Earth Gardens and Dovetail Partners for their contributions to this post!

Cooking 101: Herb Butter

Photography by Amanda Eastvold

Photography by Amanda Eastvold

Butter is one hell of a crowd pleaser am I right? If you don't know what to bring to this year's dinner party/holiday gathering always, I repeat always feel good about showing up with some dressed up butter. Your host will be delighted and your bread never better. Did I mention it's super easy and can be done while nursing and brushing your teeth? (real talk drop a damn spoonful of this stuff on a steak while it's resting and your life will never be the same) 

INGREDIENTS
Quality room temperature salted butter about a stick. (our local favorite is Rochdale Farms Hand Rolled)
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest.
2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley.
2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme.
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped.
1/4 teaspoon salt.
Freshly ground black pepper.

INSTRUCTIONS
Blend all ingredients together with a fork, mashing garlic and butter to a creamy consistency. 
Let chill covered for a few hours before serving.
*You can get fancy slices by rolling butter in saran wrap before chilling in the refrigerator. 
 

Farm Story: Minnesota Cranberry Co.

Cranberries have been a part of Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember, and every year around this time I can't help but think of them and of that heated debate at Grandma Betty's table about canned vs. fresh. Admittedly as a kid I preferred canned, but now as a (somewhat) adult, I've grown to know that there's only one real option, fresh! 

We had the opportunity recently to tag along with the crew at Lakes & Legends brewery on a trip to the only operating cranberry farm in all of MN. Lakes & Legends has made sourcing local ingredients a priority in their brews, and these MN cranberries will star in their Cranberry Saison this holiday season (available exclusively in their new Loring Park taproom). The Forster family in Aitkin, MN– Randy, Billie, Amanda, Samantha, Shannon and Nathan, welcomed us and the Lakes & Legends crew one beautiful weekend as we arrived just before the sunset. We found fields of floating cranberries waiting to be harvested as far as the eye could see, it was a beautiful sight indeed. The Minnesota Cranberry Co. doesn't just harvest cranberries, they also produce delicious wild rice which we were lucky enough to sample for lunch the next day. 

We weren't the only ones who showed up for the harvest that beautiful weekend. Friends, neighbors and even the local school principle came to watch the harvest unfold. It was certainly a family affair and we couldn't have been happier to be a part of it. 

Minnesota Cranberry Co.
50 Maryhill Ln
Aitkin, Minnesota

The Forster Family of the Minnesota Cranberry Co.

The Forster Family of the Minnesota Cranberry Co.

Occupation & Growing Focus:
Randy owns Minnesota Cranberry Co. and Randy Forster Construction. Billie Forster helps in the farm and is the owner of Aitkin Quilts and Fabrics and Specialty Embroidery.

Choice of unwinding beverage after a full day in the field?
We both like good wine and flavored beer.

Randy Forster showing us the cranberry vines before the fields are flooded

Randy Forster showing us the cranberry vines before the fields are flooded

The berries grow on low perennial vines in sunken bogs which can grow well over 30 years continuously. They also take 16 months to grow, meaning farmers need to nurture two seasons of crops at one time–the berries ready to be harvested and the buds ready to grow for next year. For more detail on the growing process, check out this video. 

The berries grow on low perennial vines in sunken bogs which can grow well over 30 years continuously. They also take 16 months to grow, meaning farmers need to nurture two seasons of crops at one time–the berries ready to be harvested and the buds ready to grow for next year. For more detail on the growing process, check out this video


How did you become involved with this work and why do you do it?
Randy has always farmed but started cranberry farming when we were lucky enough to purchase a farm with this delectable berry on it. We do it because it is our livelihood and makes us smile. The risk, challenge and rewards are somewhat of a high.

What is the scale of this operation?
1,800 acres rice consumes about 500 acres, beans 200 oats 100 and cranberries 44 and the rest grows beautiful children, memories and happiness.

What's one thing you think people would be surprised to know about cranberry production? 
That cranberry’s are only 1 of 3 native berries to the United States.

The four air chambers inside are what makes it float!

The four air chambers inside are what makes it float!

This bud will turn into a cranberry next year

This bud will turn into a cranberry next year

There vast surrounding wetlands help provide water to flood and irrigate the cranberry & wild rice crops, year round in addition to providing habitat for swans, geese, bears, wolves, etc.  

Anatomy of the Cranberry plant. Illustration by Rachel Rolseth. 

Anatomy of the Cranberry plant. Illustration by Rachel Rolseth

Cranberries are a food, medicine and dye. They are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and outrank many fruits and vegetables for disease fighting antioxidants. Though the a major portion of cranberries are consumed on Thanksgiving day, cranberry juice, craisins and other cranberry products can commonly be found throughout the year. 

On the day we visited, the Forster family was harvesting more than 30,000 pounds of cranberries from just a one of two floating fields, each about four acres.  Most of this cranberry harvest will be frozen and sent to a major juice maker, but plenty will still go to surrounding local markets, friends and families, not to mention Lakes and Legends where it will be turned into a specialty cranberry brew. 

What's the best part of being a cranberry & wild rice farmer? 
We definitely like growing food and the versatility that farming offers.

What's the worst or most challenging part? 
The weather, the soft markets and the long days.

This harvester machine is used to knock the berries off the vines. Amanda told me that only her dad is allowed to use this because if you damage the vines, there could be major repercussions for the next years harvest. 

What are you most proud of this year?
The effort our children have put forth on our farm and the strides we have made in the cranberry fields.

What is it like to be a family owned & operated farm on this scale?
You definitely get a sense of teamwork. With the family always together and their strengths, there are always lots of ideas.

Everyone puts on waders as they climb into the corralled berries which are sucked into a large vacuum looking thing and up a tube where they the berries and the water are separated

Everyone puts on waders as they climb into the corralled berries which are sucked into a large vacuum looking thing and up a tube where they the berries and the water are separated

  

Are your children interested in pursuing a career in farming?
Amanda says she is interested in the family farm but not as manager. She is very, very active in FFA (Future Farmers of America). Shannon and Samantha say it will always play a part in their lives because it is part of them. Nathan says he wouldn't have it any other way.

Randy & Billie Jo

Randy & Billie Jo

There's always a little time for fun

There's always a little time for fun

What are your sources of strength & nourishment? 
I would say my strength and what keeps me interested in farming is my husband and his will to make it always work. Randy thrives on knowing what he is building.

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This is where the water and debris is collected and then recycled back to the land 

This is where the water and debris is collected and then recycled back to the land 

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The berries are sprayed as they float off to the semi truck 

The berries are sprayed as they float off to the semi truck 

And taste tested for quality 

And taste tested for quality 

Here they are being loaded into the back of a semi, they estimated the harvest would be around 30,000lbs the day we visited

Here they are being loaded into the back of a semi, they estimated the harvest would be around 30,000lbs the day we visited

Do you come from a farming background?
We both have some farming background but not at this scale.


What qualities do you think it takes to be a farmer?
It takes a person that doesn't have to live by structure.  Everything changes all the time.

Cooking 101: Cranberry Sauce

Freeze Ahead Cranberry Sauce Recipe
Cranberries, lemon + Orange, Granny Smith Apple, Sugar + Water 

Cranberries, lemon + Orange, Granny Smith Apple, Sugar + Water 

Somewhere between 1912 (cranberry sauce first hit the Thanksgiving Table) and 1941 (canned cran sauce hit the market) American's decided they needed to turn cranberry sauce into a jelly canned concoction feared and often ignored by many each Thanksgiving. But it doesn't have to be this way. Do you know why? Because making it couldn't be easier or more delicious. And if your life is upside down right now, and you need to somehow prepare some thanksgiving sides, the sauce can be made in under an hour weeks prior, safely stored in the freezer until show time.

INGREDIENTS
3 (12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries, cleaned
3 cups sugar
2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemon
2 cups of water

RECIPE
Cook the cranberries, sugar, and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over low heat for until the skins pop open.
Stir often, this should be around 15 minutes or so.
Add the apple, zests, and juices and cook for 20 minutes more until things start to get real squishy.
Remove from the heat, let cool before filling freezer containers. 

Adapted from Ina Garten's, Make-Ahead Cranberry Sauce

 

Survival Skills: How to Build Your Own Damn Campfire

Rediscover Fire 

Full disclosure: we recently moved to a small farm with a wood burning fireplace. After many a cold morning waiting for my husband to start the fire it got me thinking, this is really dumb.

Changing a flat tire, home repairs, starting the campfire – why are girls being kept out of learning these skills growing up? Are we too busy learning to sew and paint our nails? The truth is we are probably just way too comfortable asking for help. These gender specific chores are ingrained in us from the beginning, and it's a little embarrassing. Especially might I add, coming from a woman raised by a single mom, too often am I asking for help when the skills are capable of possessing.

From the very beginning this website has been focused on getting our hands dirty and re-skilling ourselves. Because so much of our self sufficiency skills have been lost at the cost to our planet and well being. That goes beyond growing a vegetable or two in this post. Let us pass on mankind's greatest achievement, the ability to make fire! Never again will you call on the man in your life to build the fire, because really why should he?

illustrations by Ashley Mary

Ready to put your lady pants on and make a damn good fire? So are we. So here's what you need:

SUPPLIES

  • Tinder: Some news print, small dry twigs or a few pine cones work for excellent fire starters providing fuel to boost your fire.
  • Fuel: Eight dry medium size logs for building a log cabin. We love using a blend of birch and oak. Have a pile near by for maintaining your fire. 
  • Kindling: A good size pile of dry sticks/smaller branches. 
  • Ignitor: Lighter or matches (we'll cover rocks & flints later..)

STEP ONE: Build Your Foundation & Walls
Clear out a small trench into the ground, let's say 4"x10" and about an inch deep. 
Place two smaller logs across from each other and two other smaller logs on top of them in the other direction. Think Log Cabin or Tick Tack Toe board. Repeat this step once or twice more.

STEP TWO:  Teepee Fuel + Ignition
In the center of your log cabin create a teepee of smaller sticks and tinder. Make sure you have a nice pile or ball of tinder in the trench first. (see image below)
Place more sticks across the top of the cabin in the same configuration as your foundation, covering the tinder.
Start the fire by placing a lighted match down the trench into the tinder pile or by using your lighter to get a flame going in the trench. A dry pine cone will ignite immediately. 

And finally make sure you practice good campfire safety. Only you can prevent wildfires. 

Garden Planning: Fall Bulbs

Bulb depth planting guide and a couple of our favorite perennial bulbs. 

Bulb depth planting guide and a couple of our favorite perennial bulbs. 

Plant bulbs in cool soil 4-6 weeks prior to a hard frost. A hard frost is a period of at least four consecutive hours of air temperatures that are below 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bulbs should be planted immediately after you buy them in a sunny area with well drained nitrogen rich soil (this means avoid a spot that collects a lot of water). 

Plant bulbs at a depth of three times the width of the bulb.
In sandy soil plant bulbs slightly deeper; in clay soils, slightly shallower. 

Cover with compost rich soil and a little mulch or dried leaves.
Water the bulbs after you plant them and then about once a week until the ground totally freezes. 

We also suggest covering the planted area in chicken wire if you have any squirrel gangs near by. 

We also suggest covering the planted area in chicken wire if you have any squirrel gangs near by. 

Fall Project: Garlic Planting 101

Sometimes garlic is just garlic. And sometimes it is more. This fall, learning more about this wonder crop has been a fantastic distraction from the current political situation. Whenever I find myself despondent after further breaking news, I go where I always go to regroup--the garden.  
While the rest of the garden is dying back, brittle from the winds of autumn and blackened from the first frosts, garlic is just getting started. Plus, this fall it has the added bonus of staving off vampires, or perhaps certain presidential candidates....

Garlic is a reminder that we are stronger together. One small clove planted this fall will turn into a coven come spring. Tightly packed little "witches" of an underground secret society, plotting an uprising.

Photography & Words By Amanda Eastvold

Photography & Words By Amanda Eastvold

TIMING
Like most bulbs, garlic is planted in the fall.  Mid-October is the optimal time here in zone 4.  I always know it's time to plant garlic around MEA (if you're from Minnesota you know what I'm talking about). For all things frost related check our post, What the Frost?

PREPARE THY SOIL
Prepare the soil by tilling it, or loosening it with a hoe, shovel or a hand tool.  Add compost if you have it, or purchase organic compost or well-rotted manure.  

Garlic needs well-drained soil, it will rot if the soil is too wet.  

Adding compost and organic matter will help with drainage, but will not help enough if planted where the soil stays saturated.  

Don't forget to rotate your garlic rows if you've grown it in the past season.  You should not plant anything in the allium family  (onions, shallots, leeks or garlic) in an area used for these crops last year.  


PREPARE THY "SEED"
Use only quality "seed garlic."  Garlic "seeds" are just individual cloves of garlic.  Do not use garlic from the grocery store for planting.  High quality "seed garlic" but can be purchased online or at local organic nurseries.  

Each garlic bulb contains 5-8 individual cloves.  Each clove is planted separately and will produce a full bulb or "head" of garlic.

If you are into saving seeds, you will save the biggest garlic heads from your harvest and plant only the healthiest and robust cloves.  They say that this is ideal as garlic "learns" about your unique soil and conditions and adjusts accordingly.

The garlic bulb should be broken apart by hand, don't use tools such as knives as you risk damaging the cloves.  

Leave the peels intact, as it protects the clove in the ground.  I think of it as it's winter coat, so don't plant "naked" garlic.


PLANT
Garlic should be planted in rows 12 inches apart.  

Use string to create your rows or step it off with one "foot" length between each row.  Make a 2-3 inch deep furrow with a hoe or hand tool along the string line.  

Each clove should be planted 6 inches apart in the row. 

Plant the blunt end of the clove down (this is called the growth plate, where the roots emerge downward), pointy end up, approximately 2-3 inches deep.

Cover with soil and tap down firmly.

COVER
Cover all the rows heavily with straw or a mixture of compost and leaves about 6 inches high.  Do not skimp!  I find that leaves tend to blow away so I first lay down a layer of leaves, then straw.
Mulch will compact over winter and keep the garlic from freezing.  The mulch will also hold in moisture, keep cloves from heaving out of the ground during frost/thaw and keep weeds down next spring and summer.

WATER
Although I said garlic does not like to be wet, it does need some moisture to start the rooting process.  I usually water on top of the mulch just after planting it.  You will not see any growth above ground in the fall, but it will be developing roots, so don't forget to water weekly if there is no rainfall before full frost.  

VARIETIES
There are many varieties of garlic out there, and there really is no right or wrong here.  It is best to plant at least 2 varieties in case one variety doesn't do well.  Pests usually don't bother garlic, however, there are various diseases that can effect garlic crops.  

how do you plant garlic?
How to Plant Garlic

Preserving 101: Apple Pie Filling

Tootie's Apple Sauce Recipe can also be found here.

Tootie's Apple Sauce Recipe can also be found here.

We loved the idea of saving time during this approaching holiday season by making and preserving apple pie filling while our apples are at their finest. For those who have questioned the final pie product, fear not because we've done the foot work and this filling is absolutely delicious. Use 2 Quarts for one 9 inch pie anytime over the next year, I'm also sure this would be delicious over ice cream or in a crisp.

INGREDIENTS
5 ounces cornstarch
4-1/2 cups white sugar or 50/50 brown sugar+white
3 tablespoons lemon juice
10 cups water
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
6 pounds of apples  (1 pound is about 4 apples roughly)

INSTRUCTIONS
1.   Sterilize quart jars either in the dish washer or by hand in hot soapy water.
Place jars on a cookie sheet and in the oven at 250 as your prep your filling. 

2.  In a large pan, mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add salt and water and mix well. Bring to a boil and cook until thick and bubbly, stirring almost constantly. Remove from heat and add lemon juice.

3.  Peel, core, and slice apples. Pack the sliced apples into hot canning jars, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace.

4.  Wash lids and rings boiling them in a large pot of water. Keep them at a simmer while you fill the jars.

5.  Fill jars with hot syrup, and gently remove air bubbles with a knife. 

6.  Put lids on and process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes. 

Apple Pie Filling Recipe

Preserving: Herb Garland

SUPPLY LIST
String/ twine for hanging herbs
Two small nails or tacks & a hammer
Clothespins
Scissors
Fresh cut herbs

INSTRUCTIONS
Herbs should be dried immediately after clipping from the garden.
To hang your cut herbs, simply tie ends together or use a clothespin to secure them to twine you have hung away from the sun in a well ventilated dry space. 

Give each herb bundle a little space, leaving about an inch between each set.
Many herbs take just 2-3 weeks to dry. Once dry, leaves will be crispy and are easily crushed between your fingers. Dried herbs can be stored and used for a full year after drying. 
 

*To substitute dried herbs in a recipe that calls for fresh herbs, use 1/4 to 1/3 of the amount listed in the recipe.

Farm Story: Little Bend Heritage Farm

For many people, Thanksgiving is a time to sit down and eat piles of turkey surrounded by family, friends, and loved ones. The catch: Most of us still have no idea where our turkey came from or how it was raised. While much of the protein world has already shifted to healthy and humanely raised meat, the turkey has lagged behind. There are however a handful of wonderful turkey farmers growing healthy, happy, tasty turkeys right under our noses. We had the good fortune of getting to know one recently. 

If you were one of the lucky ones able to scoop up a pasture raised turkey from Little Bend Heritage Farm this year (they just sold out!), not only will you know exactly where your bird came from, you can feel pretty darn good knowing your bird lived a good life. The Bourbon Red Turkey is known to many chefs as the best tasting bird around, and thanks to the nice folks at Little Bend going out of their way to preserve this special breed of heritage turkey, next Thanksgiving your carving table can feature one.

Heritage Breeds by Definition
have a story to tell

We want to congratulate Steve and Little Bend Heritage Farm for the great work they do and for selling out of this year's turkeys. You can order turkeys next year from Little Bend directly or check out the crop shares available at Cooks of Crocus Hill. 

Little Bend Heritage Farm
26352 300th Street
Chatfield, MN 55923

Steve Berg, owner and full time farmer at Little Bend Heritage farm.   

Steve Berg, owner and full time farmer at Little Bend Heritage farm. 

 

   

 

 

99% of all turkeys raised in the Midwest are the “Broad-Breasted White” variety, sometimes also called the “Large White.”   These birds are raised in confinement in extremely crowded conditions on factory farms. The birds have little resemblance to those found in a more natural pasture setting like these Bourbon Reds.  

99% of all turkeys raised in the Midwest are the “Broad-Breasted White” variety, sometimes also called the “Large White.”  
These birds are raised in confinement in extremely crowded conditions on factory farms. The birds have little resemblance to those found in a more natural pasture setting like these Bourbon Reds.

 

What is the main mission of your farm?
To provide a great tasting, alternative meat selection that people know were humanely raised and to help save the Bourbon Red heritage turkey which is on the watch list of heritage animals.

Can you tell us about your operation?
We started raising Bourbon Red turkeys 3 years ago. We started out with 10 hens and 3 toms. This year we had 35 hens and 5 toms and we sold 300 eggs for hatching, 400 poults (baby turkeys), and 250 turkeys for processing. Next year we will have 75 hens and 15 toms and are forecasting selling 700 eggs, 750 poults, and 400 processed turkeys.

You guys are known for your Heritage Turkeys–what else is going on around the farm?
I got into beekeeping a couple of years ago and next year we will have 15 beehives which we will sell the honey and beeswax products. Also this year we decided to grow gourmet garlic so next summer we will be selling that as well.


Let’s talk heritage Turkeys, specifically the Bourbon Red, how did you guys arrive at this breed?
A co-worker’s children had raised some for a 4-H project and he did not want to keep them so I took them as I thought they would be a good meat source for my family. But after researching them and finding out that there were not many Bourbon Red turkeys left I knew I had to do something to help save these majestic animals. With more research I found that there is a niche market for the turkeys and I believe the best way to save the Bourbon Red turkey is through promotion to get people to eat them rather than the factory turkeys.


What exactly is a heritage turkey?
A heritage turkeys is a domestic turkey which has kept it historic characteristics from turkeys that were brought to America by the settlers and bred to the Native American wild turkeys. In order to be classified a heritage turkey the turkeys must meet the following criteria: 

  1. Naturally mating: The Heritage Turkey must be reproduced and genetically maintained through natural mating, with expected fertility rates of 70-80%. This means that turkeys marketed as “heritage” must be the result of naturally mating pairs of both grandparent and parent stock.
  2. Long productive outdoor lifespan: The Heritage Turkey must have a long productive lifespan. Breeding hens are commonly productive for 5-7 years and breeding toms for 3-5 years. The Heritage Turkey must also have a genetic ability to withstand the environmental rigors of outdoor production systems.
  3. Slow growth rate: The Heritage Turkey must have a slow to moderate rate of growth. Today’s heritage turkeys reach a marketable weight in about 28 weeks, giving the birds time to develop a strong skeletal structure and healthy organs prior to building muscle mass. This growth rate is identical to that of the commercial varieties of the first half of the 20th century.
The pasture allows the turkeys to roam and forage, increasing muscle while maintaining a happier flock. 99.5% of turkeys raised in Minnesota are not pasture raised, you can change this by supporting small heritage breed farmers.   

The pasture allows the turkeys to roam and forage, increasing muscle while maintaining a happier flock.
99.5% of turkeys raised in Minnesota are not pasture raised, you can change this by supporting small heritage breed farmers. 

 

Do Heritage Turkey’s require any specific cooking or preparation methods?
All heritage turkeys have a greater dark meat to light meat ratio and also given the fact that our Bourbon Red turkeys are not injected with a water/salt solution means that our turkey cooks faster than the standard factory turkeys you find in your grocery store. Other than the shorter cooking nothing else is different. However; the meat is more savory due to the slower growth period and the natural diet they receive. Check out their website for some of their trusted recipes.


What are the biggest challenges you’ll face or are currently facing this season?
Matching the amount of turkeys to raise to the customer demand. Unlike beef, pork, or chicken, turkey is mainly a seasonal meat and it is hard to get someone to think about a turkey until it gets close to Thanksgiving. This means we have to forecast demand very carefully as it take 6 months to grow our turkeys unlike the 3 months it take to raise a factory turkey.

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 3.03.39 PM.png


What are you most proud of this season?
Getting our website up and running, securing a large turkey contract to a major cooking school in the Twin Cities area, and being able to reach a large audience to teach them about our Bourbon Red turkeys but also about the simple heritage lifestyle.


How can people support what you’re doing?
The best way is to visit our website where you can buy our hatching eggs, poults, and our processed turkeys. Next year we plan to expand the store to include the honey and gourmet garlic as well. Also, people can visit our website and read our blogs and watch our videos as a way to support us and get the word out.


What qualities do you think it takes to be a farmer?
Patience, and a love of animals and farming. A willingness to put all your heart and faith into the animals, the farm, and yourself.
 

Check out the wheels on this vintage manure spreader, no air needed!

Check out the wheels on this vintage manure spreader, no air needed!

Winter Squash Roundup

Winter squash are popping up everywhere and hopefully in your garden too. Gorgeous, and delicious, these are just a few of our favorite edibles along with their ideal cooking methods. Keep in mind these will keep for months in a dry dark cupboard.

1. Sugar Pie Pumpkin: The obvious choice for pies, but we love roasting it for Pumpkin Soup. 
2. Carnival: Mild and savory, keep it simple by roasting in butter and brown sugar. 
3. Spaghetti: An excellent healthy alternative to pasta the flesh separates into spaghetti like strands once cooked. 
4. Red Kuri: Savory and buttery, popular for it's edible skin. Great braised or in soups. 
5. Buttercup: Dry, sweet and stringless. We love using this with curry, especially in soup form. 
6. Delicata: Sweet potato like flavor, awesome sliced and roasted with olive oils, s+p.
7. Turban: Mild and nutty, use in recipes that call for sugar pumpkin.
8. Butternut: Sweet and mild, roast this cubed/peeled with a granny smith apple and onions for soup or eat alone.
9. Sweet Dumpling: Sweet and mild. Perfect for roasting whole or in cubes.  

 

 

Apple What? Apple Who? Varieties + Uses

Of the nearly 7,000 varieties of apples grown in the United States we match up eight common varieties with their ideal preparation and usage for you autumnal cooking adventures. And to get you through these adventures we've also included some equivalents when it comes to chopping and measuring. You now have no excuse to take full advantage of this year's incredible apple crop, get cookin! 

 

 

HOW MANY APPLES IS THAT?
1 large apple = 2 cups sliced or chopped = 1 1/2 cups finely chopped 

1 medium apple = 1 1/3 cups sliced or chopped = 1 cup finely chopped

1 small apple = 3/4 cup sliced or chopped = 3/4 cup finely chopped 

1 pound apples = 4 small apples or 3 medium apples or about 2 large apples

Peck = 10-1/2 pounds

Bushel = 42 pounds (yields 20-24 quarts of applesauce)

illustrations by Ashley Mary

Producer Story: Sift Gluten Free Bakery

Molly Miller, owner and full-time baker of Sift Gluten Free Bakery. 

Molly Miller, owner and full-time baker of Sift Gluten Free Bakery. 

Sift Gluten Free Bakery 
Contact Molly with any wholesale questions or special orders.

 

Platforms like City Food Studio empower our community to make a living out of doing what they love with little risk or initial investment beyond a belly full of creative thinking. We set off for our second visit to the shared commercial cooking space to spend a Sunday with owner and full time baker Molly Miller of Sift Gluten Free Bakery. Who also happens to be a one hundred percent delightful human being.

Molly has been baking treats using her own unique blend of gluten free flours that you won’t find anyplace else. It’s this unique blend that make her baked goods a serious competitor for the conventional; whether you are gluten free or not, they really are supreme. Molly turned out the most amazing tasting cinnamon+nutmeg donuts while sharing her story and giving us a little lesson on just what gluten really is. 

If you haven’t already tasted Sift’s baked goods at one of over a dozen Minneapolis locations you can special order GF treats or visit her at the Kingfield and Fulton Farmer’s Market this summer.  

 

From top to bottom: Pear + ginger, pistachio + chai, blueberry and lemon-poppyseed muffins. Champagne cupcakes. Cinnamon-spice donuts with a vanilla bean with maple glaze.

From top to bottom: Pear + ginger, pistachio + chai, blueberry and lemon-poppyseed muffins. Champagne cupcakes. Cinnamon-spice donuts with a vanilla bean with maple glaze.

Tell us about your operation - What do you do? How long has the business been in existence and on what kind of scale? Has the business changed scale since its initial inception?

Sift Gluten Free started at the Kingfield and Fulton farmers markets in 2013. The markets were looking to provide a gluten-free option to their customers, and I wanted to see if baking on a larger scale was something I could actually do! Muffins, scones, donuts, cookies, brownies…a little bit of everything is usually available at the markets. At the end of that season, I started working with Peace Coffee to provide gluten-free items at their Wonderland Park location. Eighteen months and countless muffins later, Sift items are now available at thirteen coffee shops.

When I started Sift, I had envisioned a quaint little storefront—not a wholesale business. I still dream of the storefront, but wholesale has been a great way to quickly provide people with gluten-free options. It’s also been a great way for me to experiment with recipes and learn the business side of baking.

 

What is your background and how did you decide to start baking commercially? 

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at 13, and had become frustrated with my doctors’ lack of advice on what to eat and how to take care of myself. It seemed a digestive disease could—and should—be managed through what I eat. So, in 2007 I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. My time at IIN eventually led me to experimenting with a gluten-free diet, which then led me to experimenting with gluten-free baking because I wasn’t about to give up sweets! 

Since college I’ve had various jobs in book publishing, marketing and advertising as an editor and writer. Baking was always just a relaxing hobby for me. I’d often talk about opening up my own bakery, but because I have no formal training as a baker, I just wrote it off as a dream. Over the last few years, though, I looked around Minneapolis at all the great food businesses that started as food trucks or at a farmers market, and I thought, “Why not give it a try?”. And I have to say, I’m really glad I did! 

 

What is gluten? Why would someone want to avoid it?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. People diagnosed with Celiac disease have an allergy to gluten, meaning they have a severe reaction if it’s ingested. There’s no messing around with gluten when you have Celiac disease. 

There’s a second group of people who are gluten free, and they have what is considered a sensitivity to gluten. This is the category I fall into. For me, avoiding gluten has helped control the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. I also feel significantly less bloated, more clear headed and more energetic from eating gluten free. Everyone’s reactions to gluten can differ, which is one of the reasons there’s no easy way to diagnose a gluten sensitivity. I know there are people who don’t believe gluten sensitivity is a “thing,” and it’s frustrating. If you pay attention to your body and know certain foods don’t make you feel your best, why wouldn’t you cut them out of your diet?

 

Mixing up Sift's gluten free flour blend. 

Mixing up Sift's gluten free flour blend. 

What quality does gluten bring to foods?

Think of a classic French baguette. Gluten provides pretty much everything that defines it: the crunchy outside layer; the soft, airy inside; the holes perfect for catching butter and jam. Gluten provides all of the texture, structure and flavor qualities that make bread bread—and help hold it all together in one tasty little package. It’s not impossible to recreate this effect without gluten, but because it takes more than simply substituting flours, baking without gluten takes a little experimenting. 

 

What are good substitutes and can you simply swap wheat flour with rice flour?

Gluten-free flour substitutes require a balance of both starch and grains. I make my own mix with five different types of flour, and also sometimes bake with almond flour. There are many gluten-free flour mixes on the market that can be used as a one-for-one substitute for traditional flour, but most contain xanthan or guar gum, which I prefer to avoid. These gums act as binders and help to provide a texture similar to gluten. Some people with Celiac have issues with xanthan, though, so I decided just to bake without it from the start. I use flax seed and occasionally psyllium husk as a binder instead.

Don’t let what I’m saying intimidate you, though! If you want to take a stab a gluten-free baking, pick up a pre-made flour mix and give it a whirl on a favorite recipe. You’ll probably be pretty happy with the results!

 

Cinnamon sugaring the Cinnamon-spice donuts.

Cinnamon sugaring the Cinnamon-spice donuts.

What are your favorite sources for recipe inspiration and ingredients?

I initially started by converting family recipes to be gluten free and often dairy free. Apple coffee cake, banana bread, cut-out cookies—nothing fancy, but definitely items I missed once going gluten free. Oftentimes I don’t remember what inspired certain recipes. I get a flavor idea, then stumble down a rabbit hole online, bookmarking recipes and making notes. Many times it’s gluten-full recipes that are the start, because I want to get the balance of flavors right and will use them as a guide. 

Bon Appetit and Cherry Bombe are two magazines I always have on hand. And Instagram is an endless source of inspiration. 

 

Do you have a grandparent or close elders who influenced your work? If so, how did they impact you? 

My mom always had cookies, bars or quick breads on the counter when we were growing up. Again, it was nothing overly fancy, but there was something about a homemade treat that I always loved. Her chocolate chip and M&M bars had a special following among my high school friends. It’s a simple yet thoughtful way my mom shows she cares, and I think that’s what baking is all about: sweets for those who make your life a little sweeter.

 

What were you most proud of this past year? 

Within a little over a year, Sift went from supplying one coffee shop to thirteen. There are still days when I find myself thinking, “What? How did this happen?” And then I just smile and get back to baking.  

In November 2014, I decided to make Sift my full-time job. It was (and still is) scary to leave the comfort of a traditional full-time job, but I wasn’t sure how to grow the business without giving it more time and energy. 

 

Limited edition Champagne cupcakes available for special order. 

Limited edition Champagne cupcakes available for special order. 

What are the biggest challenges you think you’ll face this coming year? How do you plan to address them?

Balancing baking with business is a lesson I’m always learning. I try to set boundaries around my time—for example, I’ll practice bake in the morning, then tackle bookwork in the afternoon. That is a tough task for me, because I’d just spend all day in the kitchen if I could. Alarms definitely need to be set to remind me to move on. 

 

How can people support what you’re doing?

Sift items are available at the following coffee shops. Selection varies by location:

Special orders can be placed by contacting Molly directly at yummy@siftglutenfree.com

What’s next for Sift?

In addition to continuing to grow the wholesale business, I hope to start looking for a potential space for a bakery! Stay tuned…. 

 

Photographs by Minneapolis-based photographer Lauren Carpenter.

Midsummer Gardening Checklist

It's not to late to save your garden or to even start a new one! Follow along with our midsummer to-do list to help pick things up again while encouraging growth and improving fall yields.

Pull Bolted or Spent Plants & Keep Planting!
This one is a hard one for me to do. Maybe that half dead bed of peas will pull a Lazarus and spring back to life pushing out a few more harvests! Not gonna happen, pull and compost the dead plants (if you suspect the plants are diseased avoid composting) add a little good soil and plant something else in the ground.
Those bolted radishes are taking up valuable garden bed real-estate! Remember to rotate crops and plant something different. We particularly like planting more carrots as they won't mind the cooler temperatures later this fall. Included in our late summer plantings are bush beans, they are quick to grow and won't take over your garden if you have limited space. Zone 4 gardeners will also be able to squeeze in a planting of lettuce, spinach, radishes and even beets.

Harvest Garlic + Replace with Dutch Clover
Your soil's nutrients took a beating growing that beautiful garlic, now is the time to plant some dreamy dutch clover. Dutch clover will amend the soil and attract the honey bees who your squash and brussels sprouts desperately need right now. Yeah yeah yeah, dutch clover spreads, but what have you done for a honey bee lately while they've been slaving away feeding our entire planet?

Celery Maintenance
Every year we try and grow something new, this year we are taking a stab at celery. If you planted in early summer chances are your stalks will need an elastic hair binder around each plant to encourage taller stalks. Also build up the soil around the base of the plant with mulch and compost and don't forget to water! These guys are always thirsty, and if you live in a world where you think the rain is enough for your garden, think again! 

Pumpkins + Squash Friends
Monitor for Squash Vine Borer.  Apply Mulch and fertilizer. If trying to grow great big pumpkins consider gently removing all but your largest healthiest baby fruit at this stage so your plant can send all its nutrients and good juju to that particular pumpkin. 

Watermelon & Melon Maintenance
Place cardboard and/or straw between the soil and fruit to prevent rotting. 

Plant a Pollinator Garden Bed
Many garden centers are purging plants and flowers at a discounted price. Fill your garden with many pollinator friendly varieties now to get those female squash flowers pollinated and fruiting. Checkout our pollinator friendly flower guide for more information on what to plant.

Fertilize + Prune (repeat) 
Remove old withered and yellow leaves throughout the garden on plants that are still producing. You can try and keep your herbs going by deadheading but for the freshest flavor we prefer starting over and sowing new seeds every few weeks, Cilantro is a good example of an herb you must keep replanting after it insists on flowering. Apply a compost tea or drench plants in a organic liquid fertilizer, we love TwoMikes every few weeks. 

Onions & Shallots: From Harvest to Storing

When to Pick Pick onions and shallots once all of their leaves have fallen over naturally. Lift carefully from soil and let dry for about a week in a warm dry place. This may be done in your garden bed, but should only been done when the weather is dry and mild. Leave in the ground a few onions or shallots to winter over and come back in the spring.

Drying You’ll know the onions are done drying when they have the papery brittle outer skins, like the store bought onions, but you didn’t grow em! The roots will be dry, and the tops will be completely dried out.

Storing Brush off excess dirt and you are ready to braid! Cut three pieces of twine about 3 feet long and tie them together at one end. Then braid twine and onion tops together, until within 6 inches of the of the twine. Wrap one piece of twine fast around the onions stems, then tie to the other two and hang in a dark, dry, cool place. This same practice can be done with harvested and dried garlic to keep for many months.

Pest Management: What Killed Your Squash Plant

THE PEST: Squash Vine Borer aka Squash Bug aka your worst nightmare if you are trying to grow anything from the Cucurbitaceae family, this includes squash, watermelon, zucchinis or pumpkins. 

Squash Vine Borers (Melittia satyriniformis) drop eggs onto thick vine type crops that hatch into grubby white caterpillar and will take down your entire plant.

Squash Vine Borers (Melittia satyriniformis) drop eggs onto thick vine type crops that hatch into grubby white caterpillar and will take down your entire plant.

INFESTATION SYMPTOMS: A couple of WTFs are usually one of the early signs a squash bug has been spotted in your growing space. Once referred to around my house as that crazy alien bird beetle that's hovering (yes hovering) over my pumpkin patch. These guys can take down an entire plant within a few days. Infestations are usually spotted too late, but your leafs will start to wilt and the plant will begin to collapse and then die. The vines will also become mushy and rotten.

These guys are really a location based problem. The vine borer can spot Cucurbitaceae from miles away and will keep coming back year after year to your pumpkin patch. Nothing really helps so put your wallet away and plan to pull eggs from your plant daily for about two weeks out of the year sometime between July and August.. So worth it, because who doesn't want to grow their own squash?! If you have been overwhelmed year after year by Vine Borer infestations try planting butternut squash only, rumor has it they are resistant to the vine borer take down. 

 

 

Check the underside of leafs and the base of your plant for brown small poppyseed like eggs. Remove the eggs with your fingernail or a dull knife. Once you've discovered a few eggs check back daily until egg laying has stopped.

The Vine Borer will only lay eggs for about two weeks out of the season.

Good luck! Happy Vine Borer Hunting!!

Lady Briefs (Vol. 15)

Lindsey Marie Gau

What makes you feel strong?

I feel strong when I use my body physically such as; practicing yoga, rock climbing, paddling or portaging a canoe. I think as a woman in this world, I have been taught to suppress my thoughts and beliefs. So when I am able to find my voice and express myself in difficult and scary situation I feel emotionally and mentally strong. 

What was your last piece of nourishment?

Having to think about this question made me realize I have not been nourishing myself enough lately, so thank you for asking. I would have to say the last thing I did that was nourishing was planting the garden for the community of people I am so lucky to live life with. 

What do you grow?

My spirit. This means doing things that fill up my spirit and expand my awareness. From being in nature, to connecting with others in deeper and meaningful way, or just being. Anything that makes me aware of my aliveness and connection to this big and beautiful world and all of her creatures. 

 

Lindsey is Co-founder of Spirit Guiding Adventures, guided rock climbing, rappelling and canoe trips in northern Minnesota.