Windy today, but it is a wonderful 8o+ degrees! Heather, our farm manager is out plowing and planting with the help of our new full-time Farm Tech!
Meet Bill Bittle! Bill, the oldest sibling to two younger brothers and one sister, was born and raised in SE Pennsylvania (Chester County) where there is an abundance of Amish and Mennonites, black buggies, dairy farms, and tobacco fields. He and his wife Elaine (a 5th grade teacher at Bottineau Elementary), have 3 grown sons, one living in Minot, one in Fargo, and one in Ellis, KS. They are blessed with one grandson, Riley.
Bill got his first degree from Mansfield State College – PA in Human Resources/Psychology. Of course, some of us don’t work in our degree field so after living and working for Telco for 17 years in Pennsylvania, he and Elaine moved to Bottineau, ND in 1996 where Bill worked for 11 more years for Turtle Mountain Communications.
To follow his passion of gardening, Bill decided to go back to MSU-Bottineau full-time in 2007 where he completed four horticulture degrees in Greenhouse, Turf, Landscape Design and Urban Forestry. In 2008, Bill interned with the Longwood Gardens in PA, and was one of the two selected for the Greenhouse Summer Program. After working with the City of Williston Forester, and as a Horticulture Tech with the Minot Park District, he has landed in our gardens!
Bill loves to garden at home in his own greenhouse (he has over 1000 plant starts in trays), and he is an avid reader! Welcome Bill, to the ECH team!
The potatoes are planted … here is one variety we have in the ground.
and look … three garlic sprouts are peeking through the dirt!
We are excited to offer our CSA program this year with 15 half-shares and 25 full shares available. We will have beans, salad greens, peas, okra, tomatoes, leeks, eggplant, onions, carrots, watermelon, beets, zucchini, radishes, corn chard, potatoes, cucumbers, pumpkin, romaine lettuce, spinach and peppers. We will also have cut flowers for your table!
If you are interested in a half or whole share this season, please contact me at email@example.com or call 701-228-5649.
For the past 10 weeks, we have been busy harvesting all sorts of vegetables from our CSA gardens and high tunnels. Each week, shareholders have taken home bags stuffed with potatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, okra, beans, peas, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, and swiss chard … Our 4 high tunnels have produced very well this summer with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and we gave out some watermelons and cantaloupes this week with more coming in the next week or two. Volunteers have brought crabapples to contribute as well as some nice looking basil! We have had so many tomatoes that we were able to donate some cherry tomatoes to the Annie’s House project being built in Bottineau. Volunteers came from all over the world to help build a new ski lodge up at our Bottineau Winter Park to honor Anne Nicole Smith (killed in one of the twin towers on 9/11) from Stanley, ND. Many zucchini and ripe tomatoes have been sold for salsa and/or donated to the Good Samaritan Society or the local Family Crisis Center. I have taken the time to each week to google different recipes, and nutritional facts on different veggies to share with our CSA holders. We are still harvesting each week and are getting ready to offer Fall favorites: pumpkins and melons.
Lots of goodies this week! Zucchini, summer squash, swiss chard, eggplant, some corn, peas, beans, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, some okra, some onions, peppers, carrots … Check out this recipe for Carrot Salad! And some nutritional benefits to eating Swiss Chard!
· 2 tablespoons walnut oil or canola oil
· 2 tablespoons lemon juice
· 1 tablespoon honey
· 1 small shallot, minced
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
· 2 cups shredded carrots, (about 4 medium)
· 1 cup peeled and shredded celery root (see Note) or celery stalks instead
· 1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see Tip)
Whisk oil, lemon juice, honey, shallot, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add carrots, celery root, raisins and walnuts; toss to combine.
Tips & Notes
Ingredient Note: Look for celery root (or celeriac) in the refrigerated produce section near other root vegetables. To peel it, remove the thick skin with a knife or use a vegetable peeler and peel around the root at least three times to remove all the fibrous skin.
Per serving: 190 calories; 12 g fat ( 1 g sat , 2 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 22 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 3 g fiber; 357 mg sodium; 384 mg potassium.
Swiss Chard Tidbit: Even though it is called “Swiss” chard, it originated in Sicily and today remains an important part of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. It also happens to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Here are 8 health benefits of Swiss Chard!
Antioxidants: The rich dark color of Swiss means that it is loaded with antioxidants!
Blood Sugar Regulation: Swiss chard contains syringic acid and fiber— both of which help to regulate blood sugar levels.
Bone Health: Swiss chard, like other leafy green vegetables, is an excellent source of calcium which helps to strengthen the bones and teeth.
Cancer Prevention: Studies have found that leafy green vegetables are particularly beneficial against colon cancer.
Brain Health: the vitamin K in Swiss chard is crucial for the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system .
Healthy Blood: Swiss chard is high in iron,.
Hair Health: Swiss chard is rich in biotin, an important hair vitamin that promotes hair growth and strength.
Eye Health: One cup of Swiss chard contains a whopping 9,276 mcg of lutein, an antioxidant that is essential for eye health .
How does our garden grow? Very well … as we harvest lots of fresh veggies for our 4th week of shares! Tomorrow, we will be bagging up some potatoes, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, carrots, beans, peas, summer squash and okra. The 2 plus inches of rain that Mother Nature so graciously gave us yesterday and last night has temporarily removed our gardens need for water!
As you can see, we have some melons and corn flourishing nicely and will be ready later this summer/early Fall.
Heather, our Farm Manager, had some help this summer with Kristin and Tayte. With Heather expecting her first baby (literally at any moment), these 2 students have really made our gardens remain weed free, and harvest happy. As school starts right around the corner, their last day is Friday. Kristin is off to Minot State to continue her college education in Nursing and Tayte is heading back to High School to start her Junior Year. Good Luck Gals and thanks for all your summer support!
As you are all aware, just a few short weeks ago, we finished planting. If you havent had a chance to read up on that, visit our Entrepreneurial Center for Horticulture tumblr page, we have a blog about it there. We are now beginning to see the fruits (or vegetables) of our labor. Next week we can expect to begin seeing a steady supply of produce. Please keep in mind that the shares do begin small, and as the season continues the shares become much more plentiful! This coming week, we should be able to see a small harvest of peppers, peas, some squash, and more lettuce.
Many of you may be wondering where the green beans are. Please dont worry, the truth of the matter is that we have been battling the same issue that many face… Deer. Those beautiful, majestic creatures of mother nature have decided to give us a challange, and thus far beans are their absolute favorite in our silver platter of gardens. They have attempted to snack on some other plants, but they tend to shy away from it after a few nibbles.
We would like to remind you that we would be more than happy to see you stop by and visit us. If you are not able to make it while we are normally here (7-5) please feel free to call us and set up a time when you would like to see what we have going on here. We are very proud of what we have growing, and we want you to share in that joy! Feel free to bring work clothes, but if you don’t have time for that, we would be happy just to see your smiling faces!
Please feel free to call or email us to set up a date at 228-5649 or 228-5605. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Heather and Stacy work hard tilling, making beds, and planting many, many, many potatoes. Twelve rows, in fact. As well as radishes, lettuce, carrots, and onions.
We have a good bunch of plants growing here in our greenhouse in preparation for the upcoming season. We thought we’d introduce you to a few of our babies. Not everyone gets to see what their tomato looked like as a tiny, new plant.
First up - meet our baby broccoli. You can already see the distinctive dusty, pale green of the plant. Honestly though, baby cauliflower looks a lot like the broccoli. Good thing they are all labeled!
Here we have some of our tomatoes! They actually aren’t all that small anymore. They are quickly getting bigger and we’re quickly approaching the time where they’ll get to take little day trips out to the high tunnels to ‘harden off’ before they are transplanted. But for now, they’ll continue to be babied here in the greenhouse. We did just have snow yesterday, after all.
Here’s a fun one - Okra! We have a lot more okra growing this year since they produced just fine last year (our trial year). So this year you may be seeing a nice, full crop of okra.
This one should be easy - salad greens! This is a mix of different greens. They are actually quickly nearing the stage where they could be harvested for baby greens. The particular ones are destined to go home with a group of kids from the local school but we’ll have a tasty harvest of greens probably starting in late May for our members.
Peppers! We’ve got sweet, bell peppers, jalepeno peppers, all sorts of peppers growing this year.
And here is an interesting, new trial we have - husk cherries. They are supposed to produce beautiful, paper lanterns. Inside that lantern is a small, round cherry. The taste has been described as “freshly baked cinnamon bread.” This is our first year growing them. As such, we have only a trial amount. Just to see if they grow alright in our climate and fruit. If they do fruit, we’ll be asking our CSA members to do a taste test for us!
There are a lot more plants started in the greenhouse, a few in the high tunnel, and we’ll be seeding in the tunnels before you know it! If you happen to be in the area and want to check things out for yourself, feel free to stop by!
Shares for the 2012 Season are now available! Contact us for more information about how you can take part in this exciting season!
The first ‘official’ day of spring isn’t until tomorrow. Usually, when this date comes around, us Northerners just laugh because it almost always feels like the middle of winter still.
Not this year. See that? Yeah - up there. That was photographed today here in Bottineau, ND. This crazy warm spell we’ve been experiencing seems to have convinced the trees that spring is really here. And here at the 4 Seasons CSA - we’ve got spring fever!
The greenhouse is full of plants! Things that have just popped up (like these greens) and things that a bit more established, like tomatoes and peppers. Marvin Baker over at North Star Organic Farms in Carpio, ND has started over 400 tomatoes for us in his passive solar greenhouse.
But it’s not just the greenhouse! The Lath House, what we affectionately call Heather’s House, is seeing some growth too. You may remember this was our first high tunnel, a lath house converted into a high tunnel with poly and hard work.
We had some kids come over as part of our outreach. Heather took them out to the high tunnel and they seeded some greens for us. Are the rows straight? Are the seeds spaced perfectly? No - but in the scheme of things, that doesn’t really matter compared to what the kids learn and how much fun was had.
As you can see, their hard work has paid off! We have several beds where salad greens have sprung up and are beginning to grow. Earliest spring for the 4 Seasons CSA yet!
So keep an eye out on our blog, the newspaper, and around campus. The time is quickly approaching to sign up for your share of the harvest! As you can see, we’re already into our growing season. Happy Spring!