Summer CSA Week 8

These past few days have found me washing raspberry stains off my fridge handle and sand out of my hair. And eating copious amounts of snap peas.

Aspects of high-summer send my mind racing back to childhood like chasing a ball down a hill before it gets to the street. I am struck by whatever memory pops up out of the variety of sensations this time of year. Like raspberries and sand. Or the feeling of walking past a creek: the coolness and the smell of wet rocks and moss inviting one to get closer. Maybe to get in it, if mom says it’s okay.

One of my favorite smells is of rain on warm soil. It’s the country version of my other favorite: rain on sidewalks (which is what I grew up with). The smell is so distinct, and so wonderful. It smells like rejoicing.

Janaki has been spending his free time (ha- that isn’t a thing he has) irrigating the fields


Freshly Hatched Baby Robins!

these past couple of weeks. Between newly seeded cover crops and full grown broccoli (and everything in between) everyone out in the dirt is thirsty. We’re lucky we have the infrastructure to water everything- but it’s not the same as a good long rain.

Day after day of lovely weather has upsides for sure. It’s weed killing weather, and I have no idea where my good rain jacket is. It is just a matter of time until the rain comes – and though it might rain on a parade or picnic later this week, I hope that when it comes you’ll rejoice like the soil and the farmers.

For the thirsty farm crew,



  • Basil20180730_133830
  • Beets
  • Chard
  • Cilantro
  • Cucumbers
  • Green Onions
  • Parsley
  • Green Peppers
  • Snap peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

Swiss Chard Pancakes

2 cups (475 ml) whole milk
2 1/2 cups (325 grams) all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
3 green onions, snipped
1 shallot, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, split, germ removed, and coarsely chopped
Leaves from 10 parsley sprigs
5 large or 10 small Swiss chard leaves, center ribs removed, roughly chopped
About 1/2 cup (120 ml) grapeseed, peanut, vegetable, or olive oil

To serve: Plain, thick yogurt mixed with a little lemon zest, lemon juice and salt, to taste

If you’d like to keep your finished pancakes warm while you cook them: Heat oven to 250 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil.

Make the batter: Put everything except the Swiss chard and oil in a blender or food processor and whirl until the batter is smooth. Scrape down sides. Add chard leaves and pulse machine until they’re chopped to your desired consistency.

Cook the pancakes: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and pour in a good puddle (1/4-inch deep) of oil. Once oil is hot enough that a droplet of batter hisses and sputters, spoon about 3 tablespoons batter in per pancake. It will spread quickly. Cook until browned underneath and (the edges will scallop, adorably), then flip, cooking on the other side until browned again. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, and then, if you’d like to keep them warm, to the foil-lined tray in the oven.

Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with lemony yogurt or another sauce of your choice.

Do ahead: Unused batter keeps in fridge for 3 days. Finished pancakes keep in fridge for a couple days, and will freeze much longer. Separate pancakes with pieces of waxed or parchment paper so they don’t glue together.

Summer CSA Week 7

This weekend I made a broccoli salad for a family pot luck. Before I chopped the broccoli into a thousand pieces, I showed my grandma. I told her why I knew (thought) it was ready to pick, and what the variety (Imperial) looks like in the field next to other broccoli. She got a kick out of it –or she humored me. Either way, she wasn’t going to get that kind of information in that morning’s paper. I know she would rather I go back to school, but she’s happy enough to learn about what I’m doing. The broccoli salad was a hit, and I was bragging just a little bit about the fact that I had helped to grow it.

It has taken me time to get there. Years. To brag in the simple, and not let that weird extended-family pressure (to do more, be more, have more) change how I talk about my life or vocation. As a still fairly young person, I clearly remember the stressful feeling of img_20180715_084528095some conversations before graduating high-school, and after, and again after a two year degree. Well-meaning and loving people just wanted to know what I was up to; I know that now. At the time, however, it painted how I talked about what I choose to do with my life. Do you know that feeling? –where you try to make what you’re doing sound as snazzy as it possibly can but really it’s just 90% simple day-in-day-out stuff. Like trying to print double-sided tri-fold programs, counting broccoli, sitting in meetings, or listening to children’s music all afternoon. No one’s job is a fairy tale. And if it is, they work in Disney World and that’s it’s own sort of thing.

Adding anything into one’s life or taking anything out of it that isn’t a part of our culture’s value system takes work. It takes deciding on a new culture and new values. Like choosing to repair things instead of buying the latest and greatest, or to participate in a CSA.

Parts of our society are so bent on the next new thing or some strange sense of the American Dream that we end up allowing the best things to seem like burdens. Like preparing food or growing food. There’s a notion of “why would you do that if you could be doing X?” I’m doing it because it’s not a burden. It’s an honor. I am happy to work on the farm and I’m happy to wash a little dirt off my refrigerator shelves once in a while. And I’m proud to tell my family that I do so.

For the farm crew,


P.S. Dave wanted to let members know that this will be the last of the head lettuce for a while until cooler temperatures set in. A few cut worms have been found as we have harvested. Wash this lettuce more carefully than you normally would.

P.P.S. Dave also wants people to be aware that the basil is young, fresh and delicious. It won’t keep long, so unless you use it soon, he recommends tossing it with some oil to keep in the fridge for a bit longer.

In your share this week:

  • Basil20180723_132713
  • Cabbage (red or green)
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Green Onions
  • Snap Peas
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes

Kale and Cucumber Salad with Ginger Dressing


  • 8 ounces fresh ginger
  • 1 green or red Thai chile
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil


  • 1 bunch kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 English cucumber, very thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced (or try green onions)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup store-bought fried onions



  • Heat broiler. Broil ginger in its skin, turning once, until very dark brown and beginning to scorch in places and a paring knife passes through the center with relative ease, 40–50 minutes (if skin is getting too dark before flesh is tender, turn down the heat or move to the oven). Let cool; slice (leave on the skin).

  • Pulse ginger, chile, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, oil, and 2 Tbsp. water in a food processor, adding additional water by tablespoonfuls if needed, until a smooth paste forms.

  • Do Ahead: Dressing can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.


  • Toss kale and ¼ cup dressing in a large bowl to coat; massage with your fingers until kale is slightly softened.

  • Toss cucumbers, onion, lime juice, and sugar in a medium bowl to combine; season generously with salt. Let sit 10 minutes to allow cucumbers and onion to soften slightly.

  • Add cucumber mixture to bowl with kale and toss to combine, adding additional dressing if desired. Serve topped with cilantro and fried onions.

Summer CSA Week 6

There is a growing list, never a shrinking one, of things do do on the farm. This time of year it all needs to be done right now. Or last week. This past Friday the crew finished close weeding the second planting of carrots. It is slow detailed work done crawling around on one’s hands and knees. The completion of weeding each carrot field is like a quarter, half, and three quarter chime to an hour when it’s finally done. Two down one to go.

There are a lot of things getting done on the farm and I don’t really know how. It is amazing what gets done. There is even more getting done than I know because half the time I don’t know what Janaki is doing on the tractor and more than half the time, veggies pop out of the ground and I realize Dave snuck seeds in at some point.

This past week on the farm my contribution to crossing things off the list has been 20180716_134923.jpgsuperseded by my adding things to it. Mostly adding broccoli. I’ve been spending a fair bit of time zig-zagging across beds of broccoli with my head down and my brow furrowed wondering if I really should be harvesting of all this. But yes, I really should. The first and second planting of broccoli (out of 8 plantings) both came on strong and at once. Luckily Janaki has a list of people he can call who might be interested in extra broccoli and John is good at sweet talking restaurants and grocery stores into ordering
just a case more.

Having such a bounty to manage is a good thing. Too much broccoli? What a lucky problem for a farm to have.

The harvest is what really matters even if I find myself thinking of other things I could be getting done instead. Like starting to weed the third planting of carrots. But the work  we do is given meaning by the harvest, and by the produce ending up in your home. Otherwise what would this all be about?

For the farm crew,







Garlic scapes

Greens mix


Green onions

Snap Peas

Juliet tomatoes


Cauliflower Slaw

1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds
Juice of half a lemon (about 1 tablespoon), plus more to taste
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt, then more to taste
3 tablespoons (30 grams) dried currants
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for frying
2 tablespoons (about 25 grams) brined or salt-packed capers
oil for frying
1 head of cauliflower (about 1 1/4 pounds)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 scallions, thinly sliced (use green and white parts)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional, mostly for color)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread almonds on a tray and toast them until they’re a deep golden color, tossing them once or twice to ensure even cooking. This will take 10 to 14 minutes. Set aside to cool.**

Meanwhile, place lemon juice, vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Add currants; set aside and let them soak while you prepare the other ingredients.

If using brined capers, drain and spread them on paper towels until most of their moisture has wicked out, about 5 minutes. If using salt-packed capers, soak them in water for 10 minutes to remove the saltiness, then drain, rinse and pat dry on paper towels. Pour a 1/2-inch of olive oil or another oil that you prefer to fry in in a small skillet or saucepan. Heat it over medium-high. When hot enough that a droplet of water added to the oil hisses, carefully add the capers and step back — they’re going to sputter a bit for the first 10 seconds. Once it’s safe to get closer, give them a stir. Depending on how dry they were, it can take 1 to 2 minutes for them to get lightly golden at the edges and then crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels.

Trim cauliflower leaves and cut head into quarters. Cut cauliflower, stem and florets, into 1/4-inch slices. Add to a large bowl.

Scoop currants from vinegar mixture with a slotted spoon and add to bowl with cauliflower, along with almonds, capers, scallions and parsley. Slowly whisk 5 tablespoons olive oil into remaining vinegar mixture in a thin stream. Add several turns of freshly ground black pepper. Pour over cauliflower and other ingredients and turn gently to coat all pieces. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more lemon juice, salt or pepper to taste. Dig in!

Israeli Salad

2 medium juliet tomatoes, cubed
1 1-pound English cucumber, cubed
1/2 medium red onion, cubed, or 4 scallions, finely sliced
3 tablespoons finely minced fresh, flat-leaf parsley
Juice of half a lemon
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sumac powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

You can either toss all of the vegetables in one large bowl, and pour over it the parsley, lemon juice, olive oil and sumac mixture you whisked separately in a small bowl, or if you’re in a hurry just toss everything all at once.

Other additions: 1/2 to 1 cup crumbled or cubed feta, 1 bell pepper, cut into cubes, 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained, 1/2 to 1 cup coarsely chopped olives, 1 to 2 tablespoons finely minced mint or dill or pita chips (see below). You could also whisk a couple tablespoons of tahini into the dressing for a thicker, sesame-coated flavor. Serve with pita chips, or just eat it plain!


Summer CSA Week 5

We have been having some pretty hot days out at the farm. It makes me thankful for my forays into the root cellar. What a lovely reprieve: to be out of the sun and having one’s arms submerged in the dunk tank. I have to remind myself -the tank is for the vegetables not for the humans. They need it more than I do.

Some days after work, I go for a dip in the lake. The queen of dunk tanks. It is nice to go during a weekday evening when there aren’t so many people around. People tend to keep a respectful Duluth-y sort of distance from one another, which I appreciate. Plus, everyone on the beach looks pretty good from a city block or more away. Not exactly like Bay Watch, but somewhere in the ballpark. Of course, get closer and bodies are just bodies. Cuts and bruises, hard times, bearing children and bearing years – it’s all there to see if you get up close.

My first couple of years farming, a few people would say things like “It’s just, like, so cool how you are all out here doing this, ya know? It’s, like, so peaceful. I’d love to do what you do”. And I would say something positive and polite and half true in response. But in my head I’d think – you wanna come out and do this? That’s great, because I’m tired and I’ve been in the sun for 10 hours and I’d love to go into town and get a burger and see a brainless movie.

Of course, these people were well meaning and I did like what I was doing. It would just hit me how there were gaps in what people from outside the farm thought versus what it was actually like doing it day in day out.

That is how it goes –sometimes from a distance things look just great. Like farming is frolicking through fields with baskets of kale and flowers being followed by lambs and dragonflies. That sounds lovely. Janaki, I want lambs. The following me kind.20180709_130045

When you get closer though, you see the real deal. The cellulite, the endless close-weeding, the age spots, the character flaws, the washing of the same bins again and again. Life is less like a storybook when you get up close to it all.

It is the being up close that really matters though. People are a different kind of beautiful when you are close to them. And farming is tiring, and full of things that don’t involve frolicking. Like walking behind a planter getting coated in dust and trying to finish a greenhouse and wandering around looking for something you just had a minute ago. Even tasks like picking up your CSA share and putting it away week after week, freezing extra garlic scapes and looking for ways to eat more greens looks snazzy when in a photograph in someone else’s (perfect) kitchen. Up close, it is work, and it is worth it.

Thank you for being a part of it all with us –from the more romantic aspects of farming (that do happen in real life, alongside all the other parts) to the dirt in your sink. It remains beautiful to me up close, and I hope it does to you too.

For the farm crew,


P.S. Dave says that the greens mix would be good if they were braised. It’s not quite as tender as ours usually is, but still good.


Garlic scapes
Green onions
Napa cabbage

Sweet and Sour Roasted Napa Wedges

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head napa (Chinese) cabbage, cut lengthwise into quarters
  • Extra oil for brushing

Place a large roasting pan in oven. Preheat oven and pan to 450°.

Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl.

Brush cut sides of cabbage with  oil. Place cabbage, cut sides down, on preheated pan; bake 6 minutes. Turn cabbage onto other cut side; bake an additional 6 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Heat broiler to high. Brush cabbage evenly with oil mixture; broil 3 minutes or until browned and caramelized.

Broccoli Farro Salad

  • Salt
  • 1 cup semi-pearled farro
  • 1 pound broccoli (dice stems)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or scapes!)
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Finely grated zest, then juice, of 1 lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces  grated pecorino romano or Parmesan

Bring a medium/large pot of salted water to boil. Once boiling, add broccoli and boil for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, until slightly softened but still crisp overall. Scoop out with slotted spoon or tongs, then drain.Add farro back to same pot (I’m totally okay with some errant leftover broccoli flecks and vitamins here, if you’re not, use another pot of salted water) and cook, simmering, for 25 to 30 minutes, until tender. (Since there are so many varieties of farro, however, if your package suggests otherwise, it’s best to defer to its cooking suggestion.) Drain and tip into a large mixing bowl; cool to lukewarm.

Pat drained broccoli dry on towels, trying to remove as much excess moisture as possible. Chop into small (roughly 1/2-inch) bits. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add garlic and pepper flakes, to taste, and cook for 1 minute, until garlic is faintly golden. Add chopped broccoli, lemon zest, and salt (I use a full teaspoon kosher salt here, but adjust the amount to your taste) and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 more minutes, until broccoli is well-seasoned and slightly more tender.

Add broccoli and every bit of garlic and oil from the pan to the bowl of farro and stir to combine. Add lemon juice, black pepper and more salt to taste (but 1/2 teaspoon of each is what we used) and stir to combine. Stir in cheese.

Serve warm or at room temperature as-in, with an egg on top, burrata, and/or bread crumbs.

Summer CSA Week 4

This past weekend I had a simply wonderful time at a camp up north. It is a yearly event in my life these past 5 years and attending feels like going home. It feels like home to be in and out of the lake all day, to smell like hippy bug dope and to see old and new (some brand new!) friends.

I feel so fortunate to have access to a space like that. I try not to take for granted the work people have put into the space for decades and the clean water to swim in and how safe and open the group is.

Really, I am so fortunate that there are many places that feel like home in some way. Like the farm- though it’s my job and isn’t mine per se. Janaki and Annie let us use their space every day to prepare and share food together. And throughout my years here the fields and their idiosyncrasies feel more and more familiar.

As the new members of the farm crew have been getting settled into the daily goings on it has reminded me of how humbling it is to start any new thing. In our society many of us don’t have a background in doing this kind of physical work hour after hour. In the midst of the change of taking on new tasks, I hope those of us who are practiced at working in this place are welcoming and helpful to the newbies.

The places I feel the most at  home in are the ones I want to keep clean and safe and welcoming to me and others. How precious to have multiple places to feel at home in?

If I add up all the space I feel at home in it probably doesn’t add up to much area. A few acres, a few yards and kitchens all added up. But it’s everything to me. And what of all the places that you feel at home in? Maybe it adds up to a larger area- maybe some of our spaces overlap (Park Point anyone?). When all the spaces we hold in ourselves are laid out, and we love them together there is a lot of power in that. Power to protect and to include.

I hope that your week finds you enjoying this good food and lovely weather in celebration of home.

For the farm crew,



In your share this week:


  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cukes
  • Garlic scapes
  • Head lettuce
  • Green onions
  • Radishes
  • Turnips

A Dressing Recipe

  • 1/4 cup oil (I’ve been using non roasted sesame oil and canola oil)
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
  • Splash of kimchi juice (if you have some around)
  • Splash of lemon or lime juice
  • 1/8 cup brown rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon puréed ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • dash of mustard (dry or liquid)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

We have been pouring this over a chopped salad of all the veggies and serving it over a bed of lettuce for lunch. Yum!

Roasted Beet Pesto (A Food Farm favorite)


  • 1 cup red beets chopped and roasted (about 1 medium beet)
  • 1-3 garlic scapes
  • ½ cup walnuts roasted
  • ½ cup parmesan cheesegrated
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Wash and scrub the beet and pat it dry. Chop it into ½” cubes and place the pieces on a large sheet of foil. Wrap the chopped beet in foil, making a foil packet.
  3. Place the packet on a baking sheet.
  4. Roast in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until beets are soft and juices are seeping out.
  5. Allow beets to cool completely.
  6. Add all ingredients except for the oil to a food processor or blender and pulse several times.
  7. Leaving the food processor (or blender) running, slowly add the olive oil until all ingredients are well combined. If the pesto is too thick for your blender to process, add a small amount of water until desired consistency is reached.