My MN Farmer

Our Family Blessed To Feed Yours


2015-Farm-News

December 8th, 2015

Wow, here it is almost halfway through December and it still feels like fall with temps in the 40’s. We had a fantastic Thanksgiving with delicious home raised turkey.Hopefully you did too. I absolutely love the week of Thanksgiving because it is the big wrap-up to our season. It is a crazy start to the week but after all the turkeys and vegetables are delivered on Tuesday, I can relax for a few days with our family and enjoy our blessings.

And after Thanksgiving starts the new season. I like to think of it as the Conference and Planning season. The seed catalogs start showing up and I get re-energized thinking about how we can improve and do things differently for the upcoming planting season.

We had some people asking about Christmas gifting of shares this week. Now is a great time to get on that. You can sign up on-line or give us a call. We also have nice gift certificates we can send to you so you have something to put in a Christmas card. Just let us know that you would like one. I can’t think of a better gift then deliciously healthy food.
Also just a reminder that our discount pricing is in effect until December 31st. You can save up to 5% by signing up early. You are also helping us by allowing us to get our seed orders in before the rush time of spring. So thank you to those that sign up early.

October 17, 2015

This is the last official newsletter of the 2015 season. It was a wonderful, though wet year and we are already thinking about what is next. I have garlic being separated and planted, spinach and bunching onions we are going to try and get in the ground this week for next season. Here’s hoping we can get a lot done this week!

If you know you are going to miss your box you can already sign up for your Thanksgiving delivery if you would like. Sign up for the Thanksgiving delivery of eggs, turkey, produce or chicken. We will put the 2016 store up tomorrow morning if you are interested in the early sign up discount.

Thank you so much for your support of our farm. Blessings on you and all of your families. We have been so blessed and only hope we can pass some of those blessings on to you!!!

October 10, 2015

The newsletter is up and ready to be read. Check out a Greek Green Beans Recipe, a huge THANK YOU from your farmers and a list of what is in the box this week.
This is the last week of regular season and before you know it 2016 will be here. That brings fresh produce again. The time of the year we all love! If you are a bit nervous about trying to make it through this winter without fresh veggies we can try and help. We have a Thanksgiving share available for a Tuesday Nov. 22nd delivery. We also just published our shares for the 2016 season if you are already ready to jump on board for those. We have a 4% discount for signing up before Jan 1st.

October 3, 2015

The season is winding down. There is one more regular season delivery after this week. Following that there is one extended season delivery. Don’t worry, if you are really going to miss your fresh produce and eggs we will be running a delivery the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and probably another one in January for beef, eggs and chicken. Let us know if you are interested in that.

Our newsletter has a recipe for stuffed acorn squash, list of box contents and some farm happenings.
We only have 5 more rows of potatoes to dig! Yeah!! 1,500 feet left of crawling down the row flipping through the dirt and hauling a heavy tote of taters. It is a good thing the tote is heavy or our labor would be fruitless! 🙂 May your day be blessed!

September 28, 2015

Sorry, we have been so extremely busy I didn’t get my newsletter out in time this week! It was a 1:30 in the morning night on Sunday evening, or Monday morning to get all the fresh goodies to you on time. It has been so wet it made it hard to harvest what we needed. None the less everything was extremely fresh either harvested late Sunday or early Monday morning for Monday boxes. The benefit was when we were all outside we were able to enjoy the eclipse. Thanks God for the entertainment while we were working. It was very beautiful and we had a lot of good discussions while talking about the enormity of the heavens.
In the belated newsletter this week there is a recipe for pumpkin chocolate cookies, a collard green pasta, some cute pictures of us picking radishes and a list of all the items in the box. The boxes are greener this week and lighter again. Enjoy the greens before they are no longer with us again.

September 21, 2015

If Taco Casserole, Candied Squash, Grandma’s Tomato Soup recipe, or Confessions of a CSA Farmer sounds good to you check out the newsletter. No pictures this week, too busy sharing recipes. 🙂

Pray for our mud boots and strong legs and backs to hold out slugging through the mud. We again got a couple downpours this week which results in lots of mud. Hoping for a dry spell so we can harvest potatoes and beets again. Plus it is much easier to haul 300 squash to the house with a lawnmower and trailer than a little red wagon. Here is us praying for dryer weather!

September 14, 2015

The newsletter is up and ready. Check it out for a member submitted chicken recipe, a list of crops in the box and a field report because of all the rain we have had.
Also 4 weeks left of regular season then one of extended. The season is dwindling fast. Fall always seems to go so quickly!

The picture to the left is Lucas digging potatoes with Daddy Dean. It wouldn’t have been abnormal except they found a Lego man in the field! Wish we could grow more of those. He was in pretty good shape too.

Below are happy broiler chickens and Dean weeding our baby beets.

September 6, 2015

It has been another busy week. We tore out one cucumber high tunnel and planted that in lettuce. We also replanted a garlic high tunnel into cucumbers. We like to keep some of those crops going for as long as possible.
The newsletter has lots of pictures on it this week. Lots of new crops growing to help us finish the season strong.
Remember, the Monday Labor Day delivery will be on Tuesday this week. Wednesday deliveries will be the same. Have a safe and happy holiday!

August 30, 2015

It looks like we will have another employee starting this coming week. Yeah for God’s provision!
The newsletter is up and ready. Look for a zucchini soup recipe, a picture of some happy pigs and a reminder that Labor Day deliveries are moved to Tuesday.

August 23, 2015

This has been a busy week! Not only are we down two employees but we have one of our animals at the fair. Then to add to that we got dumped on with rain last night, although we are kind of getting used to that. 🙂 I hope you can’t tell the difference in the boxes that we have been busy. We try our best to multi task. Farming and family definitely is a balancing act. Now our children are interested in showing bunnies next year, do we really need more to balance? We can be good at juggling right?
The fields are producing well. We are more overwhelmed with weeds than I can remember in the past but we are getting through it.
We have one applicant that seems like it could be a good fit so we will see if that leads somewhere. Continued prayers for the hiring situation are appreciated.
Anyway, here is our newsletter. This is the first week of squash. Yeah for fall crops.

August 15th, 2015

See the sad news? Two of our employees are now back at college. We sure will miss you Megan and David! Now we have to do all your work too. 🙂 Know of anyone who wants a job?
More hamburger is coming up at the end of the month. We will let you know if you are on the waiting list. I think we will have a good amount to get to people who are interested.
Check out our newsletter for box contents, a zucchini recipe and a hamburger update!

August 8, 2015

Check out our newsletter for a picture of our cute new calf, a list of box contents and two different recipes for summer squash and zucchini.
Know anyone that is interested in organic farming and would like to help out on the farm? This is the last week we have our college students. We’ll miss you David and Megan! We would love new employees or volunteers. Let us know if you know a good worker for our family.

August 1, 2015

Wow the weeks fly by in the summer. We are now on the 8th week of the regular season. Check out the newsletter this week to see a member submitted recipe, a recipe for a summer cold cucumber salad, next week’s expected box contents and the answer to the mystery question, “Why would farmers get a call from the dispatcher at 3 AM?”

July 26, 2015

If you don’t want to be carried away by mosquitoes don’t come visit for awhile. After the rain those pesky bugs have multiplied like crazy. They just seemed to be getting a little less horrendous and we got 3 more inches of rain. Ugh. Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to buy some mosquito jackets.

Hope you have been enjoying your box. We love to share with you. Look for recipe ideas and a photo of the largest Zucchini at market on the newsletter this week. Enjoy!

July 18, 2015

Hot weather around here but we survived the storm. Hope you are enjoying your produce. Here is the newsletter this week. Check out the member submitted recipe for kohlrabi potato soup!

July 12th, 2015

The newsletter is read with a recipe for cucumber dill yogurt salad, an update of our 6.5 inches of rain and a menu plan for the week.
We delayed the potatoes for a week because of all the rain. I think they will be in the box next week with some garlic. If you haven’t dug potatoes in the mud before I wouldn’t suggest you change that anytime soon. 🙂
One of our new calves. There is another mommy in labor right now! Praying for healthy calves!

July 5th, 2015

It is another beautiful morning! Hope you are enjoying the beautiful weather and the 4th of July!
We moved 1064 hay bales over the last 4 days so we are happy it is not warmer than it has been. Our cows and sheep are happy to have food stored up for the winter though. We still have plenty more to move and stack but at least we have a good start. Grass feed livestock is a lot easier in the summer than the winter. 🙂
The boxes are starting to transform from more greens to more variety. On the newsletters this week is a recipe for Quick and Easy Swiss Chard, pictures of our ram, Rama-Lamba Ding Dong enjoying a radish and a great recipe finder that lets you choose the ingredients you do and don’t want to use and then it kicks back a recipe. Here is a link for that http://www.whfoods.com/recipestoc.php. It is part of the World’s Healthiest Foods website. Hope this helps your cooking experience!

June 28, 2015

We have so much produce here! We just kept planting and have trusted God to find us an outlet. You benefit from this by having stuffed full boxes of goodies. The value of the produce in your box is a fair amount higher than the price that you paid for your box so you are getting ‘extras’. If there is too much for you to eat please feel free to pass the blessing on to a friend, pastor, neighbor, coworker or family member.

Today was an amazingly beautiful day! From the beautiful mist in the sunrise this morning to the pretty setting sun. Barely any wind and lots of beautiful weather makes the day glorious. Hope you were able to enjoy it!

The cucumbers are just starting to come in. They are so crisp, fresh and delicious. Wednesday shares got cucumbers last week and we will get the Monday shares some this week.
The newsletter has recipe ideas for collards and kale on it this week. If you are looking for the cilantro dressing recipe that is on last week’s newsletter. Enjoy your bountiful box of goodies!

June 21, 2015

It is officially summer and the fields are starting to reflect that. I see our first zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers and the potatoes have flowers. Yeah, lots of good produce ahead! Check out our newsletter to see more fun facts about our farm.

June 13, 2015

The first week of regular season is here! Everyone who is signed up gets a box of fresh grown produce this week. Read our newsletter to give you more info including recipes, box contents and a special section on seasonal eating.
The fields look amazing this year. The tunnels are terrific. I can’t ever remember such amazing growing conditions. Lettuce and cool season crops are bountiful. It won’t be long before we get more colorful produce but for now enjoy those lettuces. The big beautiful sweet lettuce won’t last all year. The heat will change that quite quickly. Before you know if there will be cukes, tomatoes, potatoes and bulbing onions. The seasons change quickly around here so enjoy what you have when you have it!

 

June 6, 2015

The newsletter is ready and I have a couple recipe ideas on it this time. There was no room for that last week. If you have great recipes using your produce let me know. I may even post them on the newsletter but at least I will get to enjoy them myself. 🙂

So many things have been happening on the farm. We are harvesting, planting, weeding, trellising, washing, packing, delivering, and spending quality time with our customers at market. There is just too much going on to write about it all but I put a quick update on the newsletter. Some pictures might help you get an idea of our fun.

The first week of extended season went very well. There were only a few glitches so now I hope we are all ready to roll smoothly. We are looking forward to our second week of extended season and then the full blown fun of regular season the week of the 15th. Hope you are as excited as we are.

May 30, 2015

Tomorrow is the first day of extended season. We are so excited to be your farmers. Hope you are as excited as we are!
The newsletter this week does not have a recipe on it but make a beautiful salad with the lettuce, kohlrabi and onions cut on top of it and you are set! Enjoy your fresh goodies!

May 20, 2015

Look at what is happening on our farm!

May 1, 2015

We are so excited about this season! The weather has been perfect and the tunnels look amazing. Our tomatoes are flowering, our honey bees are flying around and pollinating the apple trees and our lambs, piglets, calves and chickens are out on the fresh green grass. We are already harvesting spinach, bok choi, radishes, lettuce and chard and there is so much more that is almost ready. The potatoes are planted and the onions are close behind. We have tons of seeds in the ground including beans, peas, carrots and we are debating putting the sweet corn in tomorrow morning. Wow this is a great time of year for eating! There is nothing like that first spring salad topped with radishes, hard boiled eggs and grilled chicken.

Also if you haven’t signed up for this season yet you still have time. Don’t miss out on a chance to eat healthy again this summer!

Want to come see what all the excitement is about? Baby Chick Day is just around the corner. Come check out our new babies and our tunnels and gardens on May 16th.
Baby Chick Day (with piglets, lambs and calves too)

Who: Young and old Alike members or non members are welcome

What to bring: Mud boots if it has rained, your friends and family who want to learn about farming

When: from 8:00 to noon

Where: Our Farm

35100 191st Ave

Montgomery 56069

Enjoy the Beautiful Weather!

Your Farmers,

Dean and Jean Braatz (and our seven kiddos!)

April 28, 2015

This is really getting into the busy season now. Can you tell because my updates are shorter? I’ll try and do better today…
It has been a wonderfully busy week last week and we are up for lots more this week. We are harvesting lots already and so our online farmer’s market is up and running. The things coming out of the tunnels now are cilantro, bok choi, romaine lettuce, swiss chard, radishes, bibb lettuce, red fire lettuce, and spinach. This is a wonderful time for salads!
We have a good amount of aphids and white flies in our tunnels so we have on our list to order ladybugs as beneficials to get the aphids. Good produce is loved by all, including little bugs. Go away aphids!
We have all of our onion sets planted and are just starting transplanting our onion plants which we have grown from seed in the greenhouse. We have about 1,400 planted and only have 64,100 to go. Not that anyone is counting! 🙂
The ground is ready for potatoes. Our goal for the week is to gt them all planted. We cut them last week and they are ready to go.
We are excited about our farm party Baby Chick Day on May 16th from 8-12 in the morning. Come and bring your friends. It is an open farm day. We will have our chicks, piglets, lambs, calves and lots of other fun here that day!

April 25, 2015

Our third calf was just born. She is such a cutie! All black with white on parts of her face. It is so fun to see how adorable these little ones are. Looking at Elizabeth, our first calf born so small we are reminded about how fast they grow. Wow! What an amazing design. From cute to huge and amazing!

April 18, 2015

Wonderful News!
The $600 cover crop we planted did sprout! Yeah, slow to start because of the cold and snow but it is there. We might not get quite as much benefit out of it as we would have if it was bigger but we will benefit from it. YAY!

April 10, 2015

The first tomatoes have hit the ground. We now have four tunnels filled with tomatoes and all the side crops that go with them. We are also harvesting our first bits of lettuce and the spinach crop is coming in great! I made a huge bowl of spinach and lettuce salad last night, topped it with a homemade dressing and the family gobbled up every last leaf. I love spring!

We still have one ewe to lamb. I wonder what she is waiting for? She is a yearling so she probably didn’t breed when the others did because she was younger. Well Amy snowflake, we are ready for your lamb whenever you want to share it with us.

We have two adorable calves running around now. We have a little girl and a little boy. They are super cute. The little girl is all black and named Elizabeth because she was so small when born, only about 75 lbs. 🙂 Our little Elizabeth is now up to ten and a half pounds. Still a peanut.

The greenhouse and high tunnels are looking fabulous!

We have had a pretty dismal week on the farm. If you only want to hear about the dream of happy farming and not about the realities of bad things that happen on the farm stop reading now. 🙂

Apple Trees and Moles

We have had problems in the past with bunnies stripping the bark off of the apple trees so last year we invested the time and money into putting a fence around both of our apple orchards. We figured with the protective tubing around the trunk and the fence around the orchard our apple trees were pretty safe. Unfortunately the moles decided that they could still chomp at the base of the tree. Because of this we have had considerable damage to the trees and lost a fair amount of them. How sad. All these trees we have invested time and money into and still we have lost the battle against the animals. Drat!

Sheep and Fires

Last Saturday our family and a wonderful volunteer family was out in the field building high tunnel 13 when Sam our 9 year old noticed some smoke coming from behind the hay pile. It doesn’t take long after smelling smoke for a farmer to switch from building high tunnel mode to high school track star mode, (yes Dean helped the record in Jordan for quite a while after graduation). He quickly realized it was the sheep barn that was on fire and the fire was big and spreading quickly. Ugh, the new baby lambs and mamas were in a panic. We had already lost two ewes and one lamb. So sad! In the Bible we are often compared to sheep because we keep doing things we are not supposed to do. That was the issue with the sheep. The children were in charge of keeping the sheep out of the barn. Being panicked, they wanted to go back into their place of safety instead of staying in their outdoor yard where they were safe. Dean and our friends got hoses and put out the fire but it was no small project. It ended up that we lost 1/4 of the barn. We believe the fire was started from a heat lamb that was on two of the lambs that were not quite as warm as we would have liked them to be. The barn is now fixed up and you wouldn’t know it happened but we won’t forget it, that’s for sure!

March 28, 2015

The weather is cold again but that warm snap was so welcome! The warmth and dry ground allowed us to plant our cover crop for the year and the pasture ground. It is so nice to have that off the list. Now hopefully it will have good germination even after sitting under a foot of show for a while!

 

The lambing is going very well. We have three of our twenty ewes left to lamb. Those cute babies are worth losing sleep over. During lambing season it is important for us to check on the progress of the ewes and the health of the baby lambs every 4-6 hours. Add this to taking care of our 4 month old (and 6 other kids) and it is a great way to see how well one functions on little sleep. Life is good though. We are just warming up for the summer

We planted our first high tunnel this week. We now have swiss chard, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, bok choi and radishes in the ground. Let the growing begin!

March 12, 2015

It has been way too long since I wrote an update again. Sorry! We just completed our taxes today and our computer was tied up with financials the last two weeks so I haven’t wanted to disrupt that! 🙂 So here is our fun farm news…

Greenhouse is getting greener!

It has been so wonderful to be out in the greenhouse where the weather is always warm. We have been planting lots more! All of our tomatoes are up and from newly sprouted to about an inch tall. Our peppers are starting to show their cute little tops too. The spinach is looking beautiful. Can’t wait to get them in the ground. 🙂

Are Those Both Eggs?

Yes! Not all eggs are created equal. I am one of those people who really likes to take pictures, even of those odd things in life! Here are two eggs that we found while washing. Isn’t it awesome how things can be the same but yet so different? We think so!

First new baby!

Our first cow had a calf the Thursday we were gone at the MOSES conference in Wisconsin. It was such a cold day but the mama was so good at caring for her! We kept checking in with those watching the farm to make sure she was fine but she is! The little calf, about 75 lbs is doing well and is so adorable. She is all black and that probably helps her stay warm when the sun is out. I usually send out a picture and ask for name suggestions from members but since she was little and a girl my daughter has already taken it upon herself to name her Elizabeth like our little girl who isn’t so big. Hopefully my daughter Elizabeth won’t mind having a cow named after her.

First Lamb Due the 15th

Our 20 pregnant ewes are getting close to their due dates. The earliest ones were bred to be due on the 15th. We have been checking them every 4-6 hours already. The thing about ewes is they are not always the best mommies. Because it is not unusual for the ewes to have multiple lambs at a time they sometimes forget to take care of, or don;t realize which lambs are theirs so we put them in an area by themselves for a couple of days until they learn which babies are theirs. Then they can go back with the flock. I’ll try and be better about posting quickly when they come. We are excited about their cuteness. Did you know that a typical baby lamb is between 7-10 lbs?

Sheep Shearing Makes Sore Farmers

Last Friday Dean and Andrew sheared the 20 ewes. You have possibly seen the shepherds at a county or state fair sheer their sheep. They have them in a head gate on a stand and sheer them as they are dancing around. That is not the way they do it at the farm. The farmer actually lays the sheep down in about 5 different positions supported well so they don’t feel like they will tip and then the sheering happens. I can say that Dean would attest that after sheering that many sheep your body protests in places you didn’t even remember you have muscles. The sheep are between 130 and 200 lbs. Not an easy wrestling partner. 🙂

February 24.2015

We just got home from a high tunnel conference. Did you even know there was a such a thing? This is what we were up to for two days. A bunch of farmers got together and collaborated their knowledge about soil ph, organic fertilizer options, leaf testing, water testing, spotted wing drosophila controls, irrometers, high tunnel ventilation, soil testing, biologicals, buying bumble bees for pollination and parthenocarpic cucumbers. Also a lot of tomato information; best varieties of tomatoes for taste, least likely to get yellow shoulders or blossom end rot, and how to control some of those icky tomato problems if you do happen upon them. Also we did the fun things when a bunch of people get together, talk and eat and have fun. Now we are back to planting on Friday again with even more energy! 🙂

February 11, 2015

This weekend the first seeds are meeting with the dirt! Onions will be the first to meet the soil then it won’t be long before the cool season crops and peppers go into flats in the greenhouse.
If you are ready to sign up for the 2015 season now is the time. The early season discount ends the last day of February, then we will be at the regular pricing.
So happy to grow for all of you! Thanks for eating healthy produce and supporting your local farmers!
On a side note our 2 month old Elizabeth was diagnosed with RSV today. She seems to be doing ok with just a mild viral infection but prayers are more than welcome! Thank you! Our ER trip today wasn’t on the schedule.
The pictures below are Farmer Dean feeding the cows who are expectantly awaiting their delicious hay.
Chickens coming to the door of the high tunnel to say hi and get their pictures taken.

January 23, 2015

Almost all of our seeds are now here. We were in the greenhouse already cleaning it up and getting it ready for this coming season. It was fun to see the strawberry plants getting green and we even saw one flowering. It makes it feel like spring even though there is a day in the forecast with a high of 1 degree. We will start planting seeds in the beginning of February.

If anyone needs an outing in February we are one of the 3 farmer speakers at this upcoming event in Mankato. It is February 5th at 6:30 at First Congregational United Church of Christ. The movie shows how farming has changed and why. Joel Salatin is in the video and showing how his farm runs too. Thanks!



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