Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sunshine after the rain feels good!

Good Evening,

We have been blessed with timely rains. This afternoon the propane tank got filled up and the driver quipped that we must not have irrigated much yet. He was so correct. We have not watered outdoor crops much at all. We watered carrots and onions early on to get them established and while that was finishing up it began to rain. The rains have come regularly since then, we just need to be thankful that nothing too severe has come our way.

We have been watching the potatoes carefully, and I have a suspicion that you will see potatoes next week. The CPB has not been a threat recently, the plants really look good. Last week almost all of them were flowering. I always like flowering potato plants.

We spent some time staking or caging the outside tomatoes this week, we have 6 rows to go. The tunnel tomatoes have been staked for several weeks and have green tomatoes on them.

We were on top of the weeds at the end of last week. Some sections are now looking like they need a real through weeding again....

We have little cucumbers appearing on cucumber plants in tunnel #1. Janna ate one the other day. It wasn't very big, put that means they are not far off. We are watching for flowers on the green beans. The first beans always taste so good!

This week in the subscriptions were some of the following...

peas ( some sugar snaps, some have shelling peas)
mini cabbage
green kale

We hope everyone has a good week.

John and Janna

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happy for Sunshine!

It has been a beautiful day and we enjoyed the sunshine as we scurried to catch up on hoeing, and mowing. We started picking strawberries this week and it may very well be the end. With 5-6 inches of rain in the past week, the berries have suffered. First, you may notice that they are a little "gritty" with dirt that has "splashed" up. Second, you may want to eat them ASAP as with all the uptake of water, they are also much more perishable. But, don't wash them until you are ready to eat them - they get mushy much faster after you wash them. You may ask "why does the extra rain cause problems?" Well, the biggest problem is that with so much rain, rot and deterioriation set in very quickly. On an happier note - many other crops are developing nicely and with a little added sunshine, should really begin to "take off".

In your shares this week.....

Strawberries - I think someone may have forgotten to pick theirs up - let us know.
Green Onion - white or purple pearl variety - lovely to mix in with your peas.
Peas - two kinds - Large shares have "Sugar Snaps" -edible pod - just remove the strings. Small shares have "Shelling Peas" - remove the shells and just eat the peas inside.

Large shares also have Swiss Chard and Spinach this week.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It has rained!

Hi Everyone,

It has rained often enough this spring that we have been slow to lay out irrigation pipe and drip line. Once in a while I figure if I water it will rain and if I don't it won't rain. I like to get an average of 1 inch of water on the vegetables each week. We like drip tape because it takes water right to the plant and doesn't water the pathways. In April we watered one garden with overhead sprinkler because it was quick to set up and we got good coverage to make the ground workable but we sure noticed the difference between drip and overhead on the water bill.

What beautiful weather this morning for the Sioux Center Farmers Market or Sioux City Farmers Market. Just enough breeze to keep from sweating and not enough to blow things away! Thank you for coming to picking up your subscription from the Market stand. It is good to see you all each week. Thank you for your kind words about the vegetables and words of encouragement.

In your share this week...

Baby Carrots - the real deal - snap off the root end and enjoy
Lettuce -
Garlic Scapes - the top shoot of hard neck garlic. Use it like a green onion - chop it up or snap it in pieces. Pungent when raw and milder when cooked.
Yukon Gold Potatoes

Full shares will also include Kale and Shelling Peas (string those pods and pop out the tender peas). These are great raw, added to salads, steamed lightly with a little butter, creamed with your potatoes.........

Garlic Scape information - check out this site for some fun information and recipes for scapes.

This is another site with great pictures and even more ideas for what to do with your scapes.

And finally, a great garlic article from the New York Times

Kale Chips - there are a lot of recipes out there for kale chips. They usually call for larger leaf kale, but it should work just fine with the baby leaf kale also - just adjust your roasting time. Also, with baby kale you shouldn't need to remove any stems in the prep step. Here is a recipe to try.

"Sure, you know Dana posted a Kale Chip recipe in November." But this is a man who likes to do things by the book and said he wanted to make the exact chips he'd just had. "Trust me," he said.

After about five minutes of prep and fifteen in the oven, we had a bowl full of crispy kale chips. The three of us (the two and a half year old included) sat down and had the bowl licked clean of kale chips in less time than it took to prepare them.

The difference between this recipe and the previous is the vinegar. I like the extra bite the vinegar lends to the chips and would encourage you to try it both ways. I might even try it with a heavier vinegar like balsamic, or even rice vinegar and add a sprinkling of sesame seeds along with the salt. There are a lot of possibilities.

We have Stacie Billis to thank for the inspiration. Stacie is an owner of Chow Baby, an organic baby food company based in NYC and the recipes on her blog are all catered toward cooking for children.

Kale Chips
adapted from Stacie Billis at

1 bunch organic kale, torn into 1/2″ pieces
3 tablespoons organic olive oil
1 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt

Preheat oven to 400° F. Whisk oil and vinegar and toss kale in the dressing until thoroughly coated.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place kale on sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with salt.

Bake for 15 minutes or so, until crispy. With baby leaf kale, be sure to watch closely so you don't burn your chips.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Visit the Farm

You are invited to visit our farm this Saturday, June 5 from 3 until 5 pm. Practical Farmers of Iowa is hosting a field day at our farm to talk about improving the energy efficiency of walk-in coolers. Even if you don't care to look at the cooler, come and see how things are doing here at The Cornucopia.

Can you say "new potatoes"? This is a new record for us, with potatoes ready in the tunnel even before we have peas. Things are rapidly transitioning as we finish harvesting beds and start new summer crops or simply harvest to make room for things like tomatoes that have been growing between an early crop. The theme of the week has been "plant, plant, plant". Timely rains and some partly cloudy weather make for good transplanting conditions - getting transplants in the ground with some moisture and not getting baked by hot sun. I was pleased to see how well most of the tomatoes did after all of the wind last week - better than I expected. We also planted some sweet corn this year (my idea, not John's) and it's up along with the squash and cucumbers.

Chickens - our first batch of the season is processed and back from the butcher. Pasture raised with no hormones or antibiotics, these birds are plump, juicy and delicious the way chicken should be. Call or email to place your order.

In your share this week........

Yukon Gold Potatoes - put them in a foil packet on the grill, boil them, make a potato salad, eat them with the thin skin on, or rub it off under running water - the sky's the limit!
Purple Kohlrabi - a great raw snack. Peel the bulb part and slice or cut in wedges and enjoy plain or with your favorite dip. Here is a link to some healthy ideas for using the bulb and leaves.
French Breakfast Radish - long with white tips
Carrots -
New Beets -either Golden Beets or Red Ace - the tops are wonderful and can be cooked just like spinach and served alongside the cooked root - check out this link for a discussion on cooking beets and beet tops.
Lettuce - try a lettuce wrap for something different. Mix up your favorite sandwich filling and instead of bread, wrap it up in a lettuce leaf. Check out the recipe below.
Green Onion - perfect chopped into a salad or a stir-fry

Lettuce Wrap from
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken (2 Cups)
  • Leaves of Romaine or Butterhead Lettuce
  • 1 Tbsp Curry Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Light Mayonaisse
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans
  • 1/2 Cup Diced Apple
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  1. Add the first three ingredients together in a bowl and gently mix together.
  2. Once the curry and mayonaisse are mixed well add pecans and apple and mix again.
  3. Top with a generous amount of fresh cracked pepper
  4. Wash and dry Lettuce leaves, being careful not to tear the leaves
  5. Spoon chicken mixture on top of lettuce – wrap – and enjoy!

The wrap has a great flavor and texture with the crunch of the apples and the pecans as well as the freshness of the lettuce. As a variation try adding some cheese for another layer of both flavor and texture.

Have a Great Week!