Posts Tagged ‘kids’

The Carlton County Farmers Market in Cloquet, that is. I’m planning to be there most Saturdays from 9 am – noon, if the weather’s decent. We set up in the parking lot near Premiere Theatres, which is off of Highway 33, so you can’t miss us. This week I’m bringing broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, a little spinach, some beet greens, salad turnips, radishes, kale, head lettuce, and scallions. Come early for the best selection, but don’t hesitate to stop by later, either!

The other vendors have a lot of goodies I can’t resist, like homemade bread, cookies, jam, and fresh eggs, plus meat if you don’t already have a freezer full like I do. This Saturday there’s some sort of kids’ activity planned during market hours, and kids can always hunt for the Market Mouse (a great idea if I ever heard one!). Next Saturday, July 15th, stop by for a delicious demonstration in memory of Emma Olson, The Bread Lady. It’ll feature Emma’s Finnish cardamom bread as well as bread from bakers Elizabeth Naglak and Terry Sharkey, plus jams and jellies made by farmers market members. Hope to see you there!


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Bean Time

It’s that time of year at Stone’s Throw Farm: farm members are getting a lot of green beans in their CSA shares, and some are starting to come out to pick their own beans for preserving. My nephews were here visiting my parents again recently, and Franklin (almost 6) helped me pick beans one day. All he needed was a “measuring stick bean” to help him determine if each bean was big enough to pick. Apparently he told my dad that next year, he’ll be able to pick all of the beans for me. In the meantime, I’m thankful that one of our farm members is a massage therapist!

Most of my time is spent picking cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and so forth; my mom helps with picking and does a whole lot of weighing and bagging on harvest days (thanks, Mom). My dad takes care of the pigs and the field work so the show can go on.

The recent rains really got some veggies going, and today’s sun should agree with most everything. Too much of a good thing can be a downer, though; Sunday night we got over 2 inches of rain at the farm, and didn’t need a drop of it! The pigs are probably happy that they have a regular pond in their pen now, so that part is positive. They’re getting more damaged produce now (I know the beets in the second video look good from a distance, but trust me . . .), which they also enjoy.

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My nephew, Graham, likes pigs!

I’ve received a few calls recently from people asking if we still have Stone’s Throw Farm CSA shares, so I wanted to assure our website visitors that we do still have a few available. As soon as the last share is reserved, I’ll update the website here and here.Thursday pick-up is pretty much full, but we have room on Mondays at all those pick-up locations.


My nephews Franklin and Graham visited the piglets (and their grandparents) in Iowa this week.

In other words, if you’re looking for a 2013 CSA share, go ahead and send that form and check! In the worst case scenario, I would notify you that we were already sold out and return your check.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have about the shares, of course. Or, just check out the latest pig pics!

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Yesterday was a great day to attend a conference — overcast with a few sprinkles — and I was able to attend the first part of the Farm to Cafeteria workshop in Cloquet. After the bustle of registration, the 85+ attendees settled in to the auditorium at the Cloquet Forestry Center and heard an introduction from our own LS-SFA’s Joel Rosen. Stephanie Heim took the mike next to give an overview of the Farm to School program, and as I listened to her lovely, soothing voice, I felt . . . tired. Sorry, Stephanie:  I really appreciate your work. I just needed a cup of tea.

It was good to be around other farmers and community members with a shared desire to bring good food to good people and help improve the farming economy in our area. The panel discussion was lively and informative, and it sounded like a delicious dinner featuring foods from local farms (yes, even in April in Northeast MN) was to be served after I left.

Speaking of schools, one of my favorite students, Tristan Pohl, is planning to help out at Stone’s Throw Farm this summer. Here’s a somewhat dated photo of Tristan (on the right) with her dad, Steve, and sister, Autumn. Tristan’s parents are splitting a share this year, and I hear she has quite a green thumb. I’ll be inviting other farm members and non-members to help out on harvest days (Mondays) this summer in exchange for veggies or reduced share prices. Stay tuned for more info on that opportunity.

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Let’s get those kids eating local spuds, folks!  Anyone interested in learning how to bring locally-grown food to cafeterias (of schools, hospitals, and nursing homes) is invited to attend a workshop on Thursday, April 29, 2010, from 2:00 – 7:30 pm at the Cloquet Forestry Center, 175 University Road. 

This includes:  “farmers, food service directors, schools, institutions, distributors, parents, school board members, administrators, teachers, wellness committees, rural and economic development specialists, Extension educators, Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) coordinators, non-governmental organizations, and other community experts.”

You must preregister for the workshop by April 26 (that’s Monday).

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Remember school lunch? I do. Mostly I remember white bread-and-lots-of-butter sandwiches, kids finding dead flies hiding under their tator tots (no joke — I witnessed it), and not having anywhere to hide the food I didn’t want to eat since I don’t like drinking milk and therefore didn’t have an empty milk carton (at one point at my grade school, we were required to clean our plates before we could go outside for recess). Long story short, the food wasn’t great.

That’s why I was encouraged to hear that a number of excellent organizations are working together to plan a “Farm-to-Cafeteria” workshop for Northeastern Minnesota. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, check out Lee Zukor’s “Open Letter to Our Children:  We’re Sorry About School Lunch” at his blog, Simple Good and Tasty. I really appreciate the comment by the “School Lunch Landy” (sic) — it’s not necessarily the staff’s fault that the food is sub-par!

On a related note, one of the attendees at the Lake Superior Farming Conference suggested that schools open up their kitchens to farmers during off-hours (usually school lunch rooms close around 2 pm during the school year and are empty all summer) so farmers can make value-added products without the expense of building their own commercial kitchens. Sounds brilliant to me.

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In this interview published today in The Washington Post, Michelle Obama talks more about exercise than eating well, but the article does mention her garden — so cool. I hope there are plenty of kids eating Stone’s Throw Farm veggies this summer and visiting the farm, too! 

A couple other things popped into my head while reading the article.  Obama talks about the barriers to getting kids playing outside, such as unsafe neighborhoods. How about 40 below windchills and six months of winter? Around here, a lot of people seem to limit their outside time to dashes from cars to buildings. I once heard a Wintergreen employee say, “There’s no bad weather; only bad gear.” Their stuff is expensive (I’m sure it’s worth every penny), but … a cheap pair of good old-fashioned long underwear also can do wonders.

The other evocative part of the interview for me was Obama talking about exercise being family time with her dad. On my 10th birthday, my dad poured a concrete slab for my sister and me to use as a basketball court. It was just a little bigger than the free throw lane and key, and I spent a ton of time there. I know Dad loved seeing us out there while he went about his work, and he’d stop and play a game of horse sometimes or shoot a few with me on his way by. Unfortunately, the practice time didn’t seem to do too much for my shot, but at least it kept me moving.

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You know your doctor, but you might only visit him/her once a year. You eat every day. Do you know your farmer?

Knowing your farmer is just one of the many benefits of CSA. The Wild Things CSA website has a great summary of the benefits for both farmers and consumers:

Advantages for farmers: 

  • Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin
  • Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow
  • Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow

Advantages for consumers:

  • Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
  • Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
  • Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
  • Find that kids typically favor food from “their” farm – even veggies they’ve never been known to eat
  • Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown

I hope to meet all of the Stone’s Throw Farm members in person at some point during the season. All members will be welcome to visit the farm, and I’ll probably see many of you at the drop-off site(s) on the day you pick up your share. We might host some events for members at the farm, too — it will depend on the amount of interest from farm members.

Yesterday I sauteed these veggies for Vegetable Chowder, a Moosewood Cookbook recipe. Everything was fresh from the Food Farm root cellar or frozen last summer by yours truly!

Will you really be “exposed to new vegetables?” Many of the vegetables I plan to grow at Stone’s Throw Farm will be very familiar to you:  carrots, potatoes, brocolli, beans, peas, tomatoes, squash, etc. But there may be a few you haven’t used before, such as celeriac, collards, fennel, parsnips … sound familiar? If not, don’t worry! I’ve collected dozens of great recipes, and I’ll share many of those recipes with Stone’s Throw Farm members throughout the season. I’ll invite members to submit their favorite recipes as well.

What about new ways of cooking? Besides trying new recipes, you might find yourself planning your meals a little differently after joining a CSA — I know I did when I started working at a farm. Instead of deciding what you want to cook and then shopping for the ingredients, what seems to work well for many people is to wait and see what’s in your share box that week, then plan your meals around those items. If you decide you don’t like something or can’t use it all, there’s no shame in composting. I might even figure out a way for you to send your compost to the farm!

CSA isn’t for everyone, but if you eat a lot of vegetables (or want to eat a lot!), are concerned about how your food is grown, and want very fresh produce without having to do the gardening yourself, consider signing up for a CSA share.

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