Do you enjoy the heat of summer or would you rather sit in mosquito-free air-conditioning? This heat can be wonderful and joyful for little boys who love to frolic in water. However, constantly feeling 80 – 90 humid degrees for us full-blooded Minnesotans can become an exercise in endurance. I think that’s why so many enjoy pulling out Christmas songs and dwelling on the coolness of the Minnesota winter during the month of July.
For those of you who enjoy farm fresh food and supporting small farms, now is also the time to think about what foods you’ll want to have through the winter. Being small and seasonal we produce most of our meat when the weather is warm and the pasture is flourishing with extra nutrition for our animals. Are you going to want a ham or roast chicken for your holiday meals?
Now is the best time to order your half or whole hog. We normally sell out. I am very proud of the pastured pork we produce and can say these are the best pork chops I’ve ever had. If half is too much for you (80-100 pounds of meat), some people get friends together and split it up between themselves.
You can also still get your broiler chickens and maple syrup, while the supply lasts. Though our beef is sold out for the year, we have some grass-fed goat available still. The meat is an excellent source of essential nutrients for your family and we have some by the pound if you wanted to give it a try before your buy a whole animal.
The farmer’s market has been a big part of our summer schedule this year. We’d love to see you if you’re in Aitkin on a Saturday morning. We’ll have pork and goat by the pound, whole broilers, our maple syrup and lots of veggies to enjoy. You can also order tomatoes for your canning needs, so give us a call, set up a time to visit the farm, or send us a message by email, Facebook or Instagram. We look forward to hearing from you.
Flashback Recipe idea: Grill up some Maple Mustard Chicken!
Rhubarb is Ready: $2 per pound if you pick it up or $3 per pound delivered to your area. 218#927#1425
Rhubarb is loaded with vitamin C, K, calcium, potassium, manganese and more. It also has a good amount of fiber and has a very low glycemic load.* Now is the time to enjoy the first fruits of Minnesota. It’s a great time to can up some rhubarb sauce or freeze chopped rhubarb to enjoy all year long.
Be sure to order some maple syrup to go along with it. Maple syrup helps the rhubarb to not have the filmy after feeling on your teeth. You don’t have to use so much sweetener when you use it either. Normally if a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, I’ll put 1/2 cup of maple syrup in for starters and can often decrease from there. You may also need to cut the liquid in a recipe if you do this. And for those of you who sometimes get heartburn with rhubarb desserts (likely because of the white sugar), it sure helps cut back on that as well.
Recipes we’ll be making again:
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Blueberry Rhubarb Crisp
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Strawberry, Rhubarb, Lemon Rind, Yogurt, Maple/Stevia Smoothie
BBQ sauce (made with rhubarb)
“Refreshing Rhubarb Salad”
Maple Rhubarb Sauce
1 cup rhubarb, chopped (2-3 stalks)
1-2 Tablespoons maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
Stir rhubarb and maple syrup together in a small saucepan. Stir over medium low heat for 5 minutes, simmer for about 3 more minutes or until the rhubarb has broken down and a pourable sauce forms. Taste and sweeten as desired.
Wonderful topping for ice cream, pancakes, oatmeal, etc. This recipe could easily be made in large batches and canned.
We never spray our produce and practice soil health principles to create healthy and yummy produce.
*http://foodfacts.mercola.com/rhubarb.html and http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2056/2 (the ads on this site are not so good for the eyes, but I thought I’d let you know where I got this information)
Here’s a super simple recipe for your morning. We gathered with two sweet families for retreat to the farm this weekend. However, I think we may have worked them harder than a retreat requires. This meal was Sunday breakfast. Since they asked for the recipe, I’ll share it with you all.
Maple Baked Oatmeal
4 cups rolled oats
1/4 – 1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup coconut oil or butter
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350 unless mixing it the night before*. Mix all the ingredients together. Grease a 9 x 13 pan with lard or oil. Pour mixture into pan. Bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes.
Serve with Milk
*I make this recipe the night before and stick it in the refrigerator.
Don’t forget to check out our new recipe page:
What a great recipe for a cold and wet day! We made this up one time we were out collecting sap and got caught in the rain. Hope you enjoy it.
Homemade Maple Syrup Hot Cocoa
3 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
Blend all the ingredients together with a whisk or in a blender. Heat in a saucepan. Ladle into cups. Enjoy!
Broccoli and Peas Should Be Ready Beginning of June
Young Appretices 4/3-4/6
1st Bottle Baby
Finishing School Strong
12 Piglets Born 4/11
Dairy Heifer Arrives 4/12
This is the time of year to be on the farm. There is so much excitement and so many new babies to see. Here’s our highlights from this month so far:
- April started strong with sap flowing full swing. We’re still collecting and will likely continue until Wednesday with our final boil down Thursday and Friday.
- We had two amazing visitors. Jaeden has been here three times now and this time brought along her friend Olive. We met Jaeden during J(une)-Term 2015 through AFSA high school. She and eight others came for a whole week of farm experiences. Her second visit was this last fall when she helped us harvest honey, harvest garden veggies and make jelly. April 3-6, her and Olive enjoyed lots of newborn baby goats, feeding our lone bottle baby, collecting sap, planting onions in the high tunnel, and playing games with our boys. We enjoyed our time with them and hope we didn’t work them too hard.
- Our first new experience this April is our little bottle baby, Prancer. The boys run, jump, and frolic in the yard with him each day and he stays close to our farm dog Ruby at nights. We’re hoping to bring him out to pasture once he’s on two feedings a day. Right now he is 15 days old.
- Peter turned 10 years old this month, yes double digits. He’s an amazing boy and becoming quite the farmer himself.
- Home school continues. My boys are motivated to get our studies done before summer arrives.
- Our second batch of piglets were born yesterday! Mat counted twelve that seem to be thriving. One didn’t survive and one is half the size of the others. Peter can’t wait until they get big enough to ride.
- Our second new adventure arrived on the farm today. She is a Dexter-Jersey heifer calf. Even though she isn’t a year old, she’s likely over 400 pounds. We’re hoping to breed her and have a calf and fresh cow milk next summer. Silas cannot wait. It will be fun to get to know this new addition over the next months. Please comment with any name ideas, for she doesn’t have one yet.
Not even half done and we’ve had lots of excitement. We’re excited for more goats babies, more visitors, more planting, and lots of action as the month continues.
Maple Syrup Evaporator
Crazy Wood Pile
Boiling Down Pans
Today we had another adventure on the farm. Yes, we’re full steam ahead again. I suppose you could say it started yesterday. Mathew started boiling down and stayed up all night and all day adding wood to the fire and sap to the pan. After emptying our storage container we stopped around 3pm Thursday and started filling up our bulk tank again with the sap from our two 50 gallon barrels. Then we took those two barrels out to the woods again. It was a beautiful March day at 53 Fahrenheit. After taking a quick look at our new goat babies, we drove through the pasture and to the woods on the other side. Just as the first barrel was filled, a strong wind blew, the temperature dropped about ten degrees within minutes (I’m serious. It got cold quick!), and the rain and sleet started to fall. We were soaked once the second barrel was full. It took about twenty minutes to fill the first barrel and only fifteen for the second since we were cold and hasty. I’m so glad I had prepared a snack at home. Being cold and wet made the rewards waiting for us so much better. I had made some chocolate zucchini cake with maple syrup instead of sugar and promised to mix up some homemade maple hot cocoa. What a treat! Continue reading
It’s February and it looks like Spring might just come early for Minnesota this year. Yes, March is known for abundant snow. Could we get 66 inches like they did back in March 1965 (wikipedia fact)? The way our weather has been this year, it would be rain instead. Spring isn’t just rain and flowers for us anymore. This will be our fourth year tapping maple trees and harvesting the sap for something I don’t think I’ll ever be able to live without. Using syrup instead of sugar cane is wonderful in all the recipes I’ve tried (just use the correct ratios). I’m fortunate I don’t have to use sugar beet sugar anymore due to the fact GMO variety make up approximately 95% of the crop.
Tomorrow, we start tapping. Eighteen days earlier than last year. It is likely to be warm (50F is shorts weather in Minnesota), sunny and wet in the woods.