Thursday, November 12, 2009

2010 Kicking Mule Farm CSA info

Hello all!

First, thank you to many of you that have already contacted us expressing interest in our CSA for the 2010 growing season. We are very thankful to have your continued support.

I wanted to give you the little bit of information that I have so far regarding 2010. We are hoping to have 17+ deliveries, beginning in June and ending in October. We will have many of the same items we had (though some will be new experimental varieties) as well as garlic, more sweet corn, and the possibility of egg, chicken, and pork add-ons.
We will continue to deliver to Seward Co-op in Minneapolis, as well as Redwood Falls. We may explore a Farmers Market in Lucan as well.
The box size will remain the same, 1 1/7 bushel...which is a LARGE box that will feed 2-3 vegetarians and 4-5 omnivores very comfortably.

The price will be $450 for Minneapolis delivery, with a $50 discount if you pre-pay by Jan. 15. Yes, this is early to get payment, but it will allow us to order seeds, boxes, and finish our greenhouse early to get a nice jump. We may offer an additional fall-share as well (heavy on squash, greens, roots, etc.) but we are still working out the details.

If you are interested or know someone who is, please email us at: We will be adding a link to download an agreement. WE will be offering 15 Minneapolis shares and 5 Redwood shares.

Thanks again for your love and support, and happy eating!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Week 15--The last of the season

It has come and past. First and foremost, thank you so much for your support this season. It has been met with trial, the occasional error, and a whole lot of growing. We appreciate your support, kind words, and constructive criticism. We hope to see many of you back next season as well.
Stephen forgot the leaflets for each box this week, so I will do my best to remember what we sent this last week:
red bell peppers
various hot peppers--Hungarian carrot, jalapeno, and Serrano
banana peppers
Yukon gold potatoes
suprise green bunch--dino or red Russian kale
Japanese eggplant
Rosa Bianca eggplant
green cabbage or brussel sprouts
Thai basil
butternut squash
delicata squash
red kuri squash
pie pumpkin
bunched yellow onions
and a jack-o-lantern if you requested it.

We will be in touch and let those of you that are interested know what is shaking later this winter. Again, thank you for trusting us to feed you. Let us know what you liked, didn't, and would like next year (garlic is already way on the top of the list). Being a small CSA, you have a big say in what we grow.
Next year we hope to have more of the same, things that get requested, as well as the beginning of our orchard fruit and eggs and farm raised chicken as add ons.

Thanks again,
Steve, Molly, Miles, Frances,
Pippi, Cosmo, Super,
Blacky and Timmy,
a whole bunch of chickens and
a few roosters.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

First Egg!

Holy cats! I finally get to report that we found our first egg in the hen house last night!! Hopefully there is more to come because I would love to send a few with each share this week. Keep your fingers crossed for fresh eggs! Go hens, go!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Week 14 Delivery

In the box this weekend was:
Delicata Squash
Ornamental Mini squash
Pie pumpkin Squash
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Rosa Bianca Eggplant
Japanese Eggplant
Red Bell Peppers
Mini Yellow (Orange) Bell Peppers
Hot Peppers --Jalepeno, Hungarian Carrot
Various Herb Pack
and a few things I have forgotten I am sure...
Next week is the last delivery of the season and barring major frost we hope to go out with a bang. We will be delivering lots of winter squash (delicata, butternut, red curi), and even a jack-o-lantern if you let us know you want one. Also on the winter saver list will be parsnip, brussel sprouts, maybe some broccoli, and everything left in the garden that we can fit into the box.
We have really, really enjoyed working for you all this year and hope that we will see you back next year. As the spring season approaches, look for us to update the blog with ordering information for next year.
Our cost will go up (not yet determined) as this was a trial season for us all. Our deliveries will increase from 15 to 17+. We are adding a greenhouse to kickstart spring and hope to offer eggs and maybe farm raised chicken as an add on. We hope to have the same size delivery (1 1/9 bushel boxes), and may be offering half shares as well.
Please let us know what you loved and what you would have liked. We will be ordering seeds in the winter and would love to accomodate peoples preferences as much as possible.
See you next week!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Week 13

Came and went without us having a chance to post. I (molly) had to work on Friday evening, or packing day, so I am unsure what variety we sent although I do know that it closely resembled the week before.
We spoke to one CSA member who mentioned something mold-like on the potatoes. Please let us know if anyone else had this experience, as we are trying to pinpoint what it may be a result of. We harvest everything the day prior to delivery and want to be sure we are not sending anything that is not fresh and good.
It was also a busy weekend because we "harvested" the chickens that we decided to eat. It was a tough process to get through, but as omnivores we felt a desire to be more connected to the process of our food, even the less than fun processes. Thanks to our friend Christina who drove out from Minneapolis to assist.
We will be delivering for two more weeks, through the first weekend in October. We will install our hoop house in late fall and go for 17-20 deliveries next year.
Sorry to say we are still waiting for eggs. I am about ready to do a chicken dance in front of the hen house.
Happy eating!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Week 12

We are late on the post, but for records purposes I like to still have it recorded. Here is what was in the box (to the best of my recollection):
Heirloom Tomatoes
Sweet Corn
Delicata Squash
Green Bell Peppers
Mini Yellow (orange) bell Peppers
Serrano Peppers
Carrot Peppers
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Musk melon
Water Melon
Japanese Eggplant
Rosa Bianca Eggplant
Yellow Summer Squash
Swiss Chard

More winter squash right around the corner. We are seeing some items drying up as it has been getting chilly at night (frost on my car windows this morning). We wanted to thank Val for her help packing up boxes this week as the first week of school for us and the kids was down-right hectic.
Peace, love, and good eating!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Week 11 Update

Soory folks, no delicata yet. We just got out of the squash patch and are happy to report we have many, many squash on the way...just not this week. Also, we will have gigantic jack-o-pumpkins available if you want one with one of your last deliveries. I will take some photos next week to share the patch and the various squash that are growing on.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

More pictures!

Week 11

Hello from Kicking Mule Farm! We are well into the full fall time harvest and you can look forward to the following items this week:
Melon (either water or galia)*
Delicata Winter Squash*
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Heirloom Tomatoes
Daikon Radish
Green Bell Peppers and maybe mini Yellow Bell
Jalapeno Peppers (dark green)
Banana Peppers (yellowish green)
Hungarian Peppers (orange)
Japanese Eggplant
Thai & Sweet Basil
Italian Parsley
Yellow Zucchini
Red Russian or Dino Kale
Collards or Green Chard
Some areas of the garden are exploding, such as the tomatoes, melons, squash, and peppers. Other areas are dying back in their foliage, but maintaining a constant and consistent supply of vegetables. We have nearly stopped weeding, as that has slowed down as well. Instead, harvesting has become a daily gig in order to keep up with the tomato situation. We have eight varieties, all of which seem to be coming along well. In our household alone we have put up close to 50 jars of pickles and frozen brocolli and green beans for winter use. Tomorrow in addition to packing your CSAs we will attempt a mass salsa and spagetti sauce canning marathon.
It is a bittersweet time on the farm as we feel the chill in the night air and see the flowers fading back. Fall is nearly here and the kids will both be in school, an end to a very lovely and way-to-fast part of parenting. Steve and I have been busy at our other jobs and I said goodbye to folks I consider family at the co-op I worked at in Minneapolis. Life is oh so good, but sometimes I wish it would just slow down and let me savor it a bit more.
As promised, some recent photos.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Week 10 and rounding the corner into fall has been getting down-right chilly at night in SW MN. Tonight I have heard into the low 40's! It doesn't seem much like August in the air, but the calender says it is so I've got to believe it. We completed another large harvest this week and here is what you got in your box:

Heirloom Tomatoes
Daikon Radish
Sweet Corn
Green Bell Peppers
Jalapeno Peppers (dark green)
Banana Peppers (yellowish green)
Hungarian Peppers (orange)
Japanese Eggplant
Thai & Sweet Basil
Italian Parsley
Green Top Golden Beets
Yellow Zucchini
and Bunched Greens (red russian or dino kale, or collards)

I took a walk to the winter squash field and can report back that things are looking great. We've got some huge pumpkins and many different types of squash still to come. Also up soon will be melons, parsnip, green cabbage, brussel sprouts, and celery. We had a really late and rather disappointing broccoli harvest so we gave it a second go and will hopefully have more to share in the last weeks. Also on their second round are sugar snap peas, beets, and I do believe some spinach.
Otherwise, Steve and I are gearing up to start our first real go at full-time country life. Steve heads back to the classroom as a teacher next week and I will be working as a paraprofessional and serving food and drinks on the side. Later this fall we will be adding some hydrants for water in the garden, greenhouse and for the animals. We also hope to purchase the neccesary coverings for the greenhouse.
It has been and continues to be a wonderful, hard, joyful, heartwrenching, exhausting, uplifting experience. I know alot of those words I threw out mean the opposite of eachother, but I mean every one of them. There is something so magical yet so downright hard about this kind of work. I never would have believed it before. Now I have such a magnificant gratitude towards all of the folks that have grown and raised all of the food I have eaten over the years. As I have said before, we welcome visitors out to see what's shaking, so get in touch if you are interested. I promise some pictures next week, I have been lazy in that aspect.
Wishing you a week of yummy eating.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Week 9

We are over the hump but nowhere near the home-stretch. In this weeks box you will find:
Heirloom Tomatoes
Sweet Corn
Green Bell Peppers
Jalapeno Peppers (dark green)
Banana Peppers (yellowish green)
Hungarian Peppers (med-light green, some turning to orange)
Japanese Eggplant
Thai & Sweet Basil
Italian Parsley
Green Top Golden Beets
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Yellow Zucchini
and Bunched Greens (red russian or dino kale, or collards)

The Tomatoes are finally turning! This weeks are a mixture of varieties and ripeness. You should set the bag of tomatoes in a warmish/sunny spot to further ripen and check them daily. Try to wait until each is ripe before consuming. The ripening is underway in all of the ones we harvested this week so they need little more than time to complete the process. If you are terribly impatient, you can try placing an apple with them in the sealed plastic bag (still keeping in a warm location). Apples give off ethylene gas, which is used commercially to ripen many types of fruits at a predicatable time. No promises though.

The Broccoli and Cauliflower were a long time coming this year. They taste good but bear signs of not being the happiest plants (many have bolted). Hopefully we can squeak out a couple more weeks harvest with these. A late planting of broccoli is due for a late September harvest, of course, with luck.

We hope the same thing that finally got the tomatoes turning is contagious enough for the peppers to catch it. Your green bells are due to be red bells as soon as the mood suits them. There are also frying peppers and carrot peppers waiting to turn into dazzling colors.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Week 8

For the first time in a few weeks, we will get this one out ahead of the curve. We have a little break in our stream of guests, which makes for quiet days and nights to focus on working our land. Yesterday we weeded our entire squash field again (50 hills with 200 squash) and today we will reseed areas that have been harvested with late fall crops of carrots, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, and beets. As you may know, there is an event happening called "Eat Local America" which encourages folks to eat only local foods for the month of August. Last night we did it with a bang as follows: ginger/garlic soy sauce grilled chicken (processed that day by Miles' grandpa), grilled yellow zucchini, grilled sweet corn, and Julienned beet salad with fresh dill (all produce from our garden!) I have to say it was one of the most delicious and satisfying meals I have had in quite a while. Next we set up lawn chairs and watched the beginning of the meteor showers that took place last night. Oh summer.
I purchased an amazing cookbook this week that I recommend highly to any of you that are interested in continuing on with your CSA support either with Kicking Mule or any other farm. It is called " Farmer John's Cookbook --The Real Dirt on Vegetables" and it is filled with seasonal recipes and stories from a CSA. I have been trying the recipes, which I will share and both laughing and crying at the stories of the triumphs and trials of a family farm.
In the box:
Sweet corn*
Green Bell Peppers*
Yellow Zucchini
Dino Kale
Gold and Red Beets
Green Top Carrots
Herb bunch--parsley, sage, dill, and cilantro
Hot peppers
Green Beans
*New items this week!
and maybe: tomatoes and melons...they are so close!

Julienned Beet Salad with Fresh Dill:
from Farmer John's Cookbook
4 large beets
1 T. finely chopped fresh dill (I used more)
1 T. soy sauce
2 T. Olive oil
3 T. Rice Vinegar
a few dollups and sour cream

1. Put beets in a medium pot and cover w/ water. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered, until tender. (about 45 minutes)

2. Drain. Run cool water over them and peel off skins. Cut beans into matchstick-sized julienne strips.

3. Put beets into large bowl. Add dill and sour cream.

4. Whisk remaining ingredients and pour over beets. Stir and chill before serving.

Green Bean Salad
w/ walnuts and shaved parmesan in lemon dressing
1/4 c. coarsely chopped walnuts
1 pound green beans
1 1/2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 T. Extra virgin olive oil
4 oz. parm cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1. Toast walnuts in dry, heavy skillet over high heat until they start to brown and become fragrant, careful not to burn.

2. Bring large pot of water to boil. Add beans and salt, cook until tander but still firm, 3-5 minutes.

3. Transfer beans to colander and run cold water over them.

4. Toss to beans and walnuts in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.

5. Whisk lemon juice and olive oil until combined. Pour over beans and toss until well coated. Put on individual plates and sprinkle with parm cheese.

Refrigerator Pickles
For Brine:
3 c. each of vinegar and sugar
1/4 c. canning salt
1 t. each of tumeric, mustard seed and celery seed
Sliced Cucumbers
Sliced Onions
1. Combine brine ingredients and bring to a boil.

2. Alternate layers of sliced cukes and onions in a large jar (1 gallon glass is my favorite)

3. Pour brine over vegetables and refrigerate.

Enjoy your CSA this week and thank you for your support!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Week 7 Delivery

Hello all,

Week 7 Delivery:

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Cucumbers (pickling and slicing)

Napa Cabbage

Green Top Carrots

Swiss Chard

Herb Bunch of parsley, dill, cilantro and basil

Yellow Zucchini

Hot Peppers (Jalapeno and banana)

Red Russian Kale

Japanese Eggplant

Green Beans

Diakon Radish

Sorry that this blog falls on the day you get your box, and so no advance notice, but we have again had a very busy week on the farm. Those of you that get our CSA will learn more about the adventures of our 8 human guests and 2 dog guests...but I am sure you can guess that it both helps and hinders production on the farm.

We were blanketed with a heavy 2 day rain this week and are now looking at the skies and praying for warm sunshine. I find it amazing as a produce producer how all thoughts in the growing season turn to the weather. Tomatoes are literally hanging from the vines...but alas still green. A good helping of sun and heat is all they need to make their glorious transition and we are hopeful it will be this week. Corn is almost ready, we taste-tested on packing day and found it a bit too starchy still, and hope it will get its sweetness this week and be ready for box 8. I jumped up and down as I entered the brassica rows and found loads of little cauliflower and broccoli heads, finally opening up to the rain and air. They will be coming soon as well. Finally, melons and squash galore continue to ripen on huge vines that snake this way and that throughout the garden.

In news outside of the dirt, I (Molly) am on the tail end of my employment in the Twin Cities. While I will miss my ten year tenure of co-op magic very much, I am very excited for a quiet winter on the farm, in my bed each night, seeing my babies every morning, and avoiding a sometimes treacherous two and a half hour drive on MN winter roads. I have accepted a position at my son, Miles', school and will be assisting the kindergarten teacher with excited and eager five year olds. How sweet life is.

Additionally, the hens are reaching maturity and we are cautiously anticipating the start of eggs at the end of August / beginning of September. This means our CSA supporters may indeed get close to a month of fresh eggs in their weekly deliveries.

We will start to forecast the end of our CSA season soon, but our hope is to deliver until at least the first week of October, making your share total at 15 boxes this year. Many full season (and more pricey) CSA's have a 17 week season, so we feel pretty good about our first run, considering our tardy start due to a string of plowing predicaments. Keep in mind that next year we are doubling by way of additional land and a 24' by 96' hoop house. We are hoping to make at least 17 deliveries as a result.

Attached is a picture of what you will see in your box this week. Happy August and we'll write again soon.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Week 6 delivery

Sorry we are late with a post for tomorrow's delivery, but it has been a busy week...which seems to be the norm lately. Hey, not that we are complaining, just letting you know that instead of blogging I've weeded, planted, picked, cleaned, and boxed. Anyway, here is what you are in for this week...

Yellow Zucchini

Green Beans

Cucumbers (slicers and pickling)

Beets (Red and Gold)

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Jalapeno Peppers

Collards or Swiss Chard

Red Russian Kale or Dino Kale

Pac Choi

Napa Cabbage




Thai Basil

Coming (hopefully) next week:

sweet corn, eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, daikon radish, and more! New pictures next week! We don't mean to be so lame about postings, but picking is so much more our thing :)

We have continued to experience a severe lack in substantial rain coupled with warm days and cool nights. I love it for sleeping in, but the hot weather crops (corn, peppers, and tomatoes) are really taking their time. We aren't too worried though, because the boxes remain full and it allows us to both appreciate the fact that weather does dictate all in the farming world and that we will continue to have loads of color and variety in your boxes each week.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Grilling Recipes

Grilled Yellow Squash

  • ~2 yellow squash per serving
  • 3-4 sprigs of Italian Parsley
  • 1 clove of Garlic
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Wash and trim stem off squash.
This works really well with larger squash
Cut lengthwise into quarters. If your squash are less than 1 inch diameter, cut only in half.
Mince the garlic and parsley finely and combine with the olive oil in a small bowl. gently stir to marry the flavors.
On a tray or plate, brush the squash liberally with the herbed olive oil.
Try to grill on low or a cooler area of the grill. Use metal tongs for easiest handling.
Place the squash on the grill perpendicular to the grates. (otherwise you will lose your food).
Turn every minute to be sure it does not burn. You may continue brushing with the olive oil as desired.
Grill for approximately 4-6 minutes, but this will very greatly depending on the temp of you grill.
Serve immediately.

Grilled Pac Choi
This recipe is very simple and easy

  • 1 head of pac choi for 2 side servings
  • 2T Olive Oil
  • 1 clove of Garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Using a long sharp knife split the pac choi heads from base to top with a single cut through the middle. Wash and shake dry. Set aside to further dry.
Mince the Garlic and combine with olive oil in a small bowl.
Brush the pac choi liberally with the olive oil.
Grill at as close to a medium temp. Turn often. The top leaves may brown slightly; keeping them away frie the hotes parts of the grill and open flame will stop that.
Cook approx 3-5 minutes.
Serve hot.

T= tablespoon

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Week 5 Delivery

1 2
3 4
#1 Chicken Tractor: a movable, self-contained chicken coop.
#2 Heirloom tomatoes-unripe.
#3 The most beautiful plant in the garden remains the graceful eggplant. Striking deep purple stems & veins contrast the delicate green leaves. Violet star-shaped flowers are

prolific followed by quick fruit.
#4 Baby beet.
#5 Garden, july 21, 2009

In this weeks box:
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Green Beans
  • Snow Peas
  • Yellow Zucchini
  • Baby Red and Gold Beets
  • New Potatoes
  • Dino or Red Russian Kale
  • Swiss Chard
  • Romaine, Red Leaf and Bibb Lettuce
  • Pac Choi
  • Dill
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley

What's on the way?
Many things, but next us should be:
Tomatoes--Get ready folks, we have eight different heirloom varieties. Very affordable cases of tomatoes will be for sale soon. For canning, salsa and sauce making, etc.
Peppers-hot, sweet & bells
Broccoli & Cauliflower--these have been stinkers, but the plants are huge, we are just waiting for them to get their heads
Napa Cabbage
Pickling and Slicing Cumcubers

What's new?
We have chosen a sight for the greenhouse that allows us to only take down one tree. It should has complete southern exposure. We will begin its set-up later this fall.
We planted another row of broccoli and beets to have some for late fall harvest.
Steve made a "chicken tractor". Basically, it is a moveable chicken pen that allows us to move the chickens around the yard in a full protected pen, allowing them access to fresh grass daily while keeping them safe from predators.
We weeded our 250+ squash plants at Steve's dads house. They have loads of flowers and we are anxious to see how they produce.

We have begun looking towards next year. We will be expanding the cultivars of herbs that we offer. We also should be starting much earlier thanks to the high tunnel greenhouse; we are already selecting varieties and planning the layout. Leave us comments about things you have liked, disliked or would like to see.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Recipes for Weeks 4-5

Herbed New Potatoes

1-2 pounds of Potatoes (depending on the number of servings desired)
1/2 of a Small Bunch of Herbs (dill, parsley, chives, etc)
2 T Butter or Olive Oil
Sea Salt to taste
Cracked Pepper to taste

Scrub and cut potatoes into roughly 1 inch chunks, err on the larger side.

In a sauce pan, steam the spuds in 3/4 in of water until just tender.

Meanwhile, mince the herb of choice.

Drain spuds once tender. Add the olive oil or butter and herbs and cover until butter is mostly melted.

Gently fold the spuds and herbs until evenly coated. Salt and pepper to taste.

For a creamier version substitute 1/2 of the butter or oil with real cream.

Vegetable Stir Fry
This recipe can be modified depending on the veggies you have on hand. The key to stir fry is a hot wok, although a large non stick fry pan can work well. You also need a utensil to stire with; a wooden turner that fits the curve of the wok is best. Great and cheap bamboo utensiles can be found for only $2 at United Noodle in mpls. A perfect stir fry should maintain hints of the veggies original delicacy and texture. This is achieved by two things heat and timing. The pan and oil should remain quite hot at all times, in order to cook constantly and evenly. All veggies should be prepped before begining cooking if you are new to stir frying.
3-4 servings

1/2 onion
1-2 head pac choi
1/2 lb Green beans or peas.
1 pepper, hot or sweet
1 large or 2 med. summer squash
3 T Grape seed oil (or other high heat oil)
1 T rice vinegar
~1 T Soy sauce or fish sauce (to taste)
1/2 of a small bunch cilantro
Lime wedges
Rice or rice noodles as desired

First start your rice in the rice cooker so it will be done in plenty of time. If serving with rice noodles, begin the water to boil for them before you start chopping veggies.

Wash and Chop all veggies. The veggies can be chopped in strips or larger chunks. The only goal is to not cut the too small.
Onions in 1/4" strips,
Peppers: 1/4"-1/2" strips (depending on thickness),
Pac Choi: chop the darker leaf off where it ends on the stem, Mince the leaves they are always added lastly. The stems are to be chopped crosswise in 1/2" pieces.
Summer squash: 1/2" thick rounds,
Beans and peas are usually left whole or broken in half if they are longer.
De-stem and mince the cilantro, put in custard cup, and place on table.

If you are boiling rice noodles start them now. Or check the rice, don't start cooking until it only has about 6 minutes left.

In wok, turn on high heat and add oil. Now have a good sense of time.
When at frying temp add onions stir and turn often.
About 1 minute later, add beans. Stir and turn frequently.
About 1minutes later, add peppers. Stir and turn frequently.
About 1 minute, later add peas, summer squash, and pac choi.
Splash with the rice vinegar and any soy or fish sauce if desired. Stir and turn frequently.
Drain noodles and/or dish rice into bowls.
3 minutes later, add pac choi leaves. Stir and turn frequently.
after about 30 seconds remove from heat and stir a little more.

Serve over rice or noodles.
Sprinkle the mince cilantro liberally over stir fry.
Squeeze lime over the lot.

Other ideas to explore with stir fry:
When draining the rice noodles, run under cold water until thoroughly cool. Place a small handful of shredded mint leaves in the bowl before placing the noodles and stir fry atop. This makes a wonderful cooling meal.
Always garnish with liberal amounts of cilantro, chopped green onions and lime.
Add a half can of cocnut milk to the stir fry as you add the pac choi leaves for a heartier creamy dish.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 2009 Happenings

As much as you love to hear about what you are getting, we also love to chronical what we are doing as to both have an electronic journal of events, and to learrn from what we are doing so we can do it even better next year...and forever.

We purchased a hoop house a few weeks ago that will allow us to at the very least extend our growing season by close to a month next year. Also, it will allow us to get ahead of the curve a bit on what produce we are providing, by giving it a jump start while the rest of the soil is still sleeping. It is 24' by 96', and so will allow for quite a bit of additional space for veggies and maybe even fruit trees.

We have also been talking to Stephens father, who lives close to us, about renting some of his land next year. As most of you know, we are currently focusing small, and have 5 members this year. Next year we hope to grow to 15 or 20, and attend farmers markets in our area. This requires space and even more time.

Speaking of time, we have been devoting loads of it to ensuring our members get full boxes of fresh produce each week. Every week Steve and I are spending approximately 10 hours weeding and watering. On packing day (Friday night and Sat early morning) we spend an additional 3 hours picking or cutting, washing, rinsing, bunching, and packing the food for just five shares. So any given week, we are looking at a joint effort of 13 or so hours. This is why next summer our hope is to have the CSA program be our single form of employment, going to 15-20 CSAs will more than triple our work, leaving little time for the other employment we have been so fortunate to have. Additionally, it will mean that while we still intend to have the most affordable CSA out there, our prices will go up after this first "trial" year. We hope that you all understand that our dream is to make this our livelihood, and in order to do that, we have to get paid. While we appreciate those of you that took a chance on us in our first shot at it, the income we generated this year only paid for the seeds and the hoop house, not our labor. We are hoping to attend Seward Co-op CSA fair next spring, and hope to see our current members, along with some new members, there!

Enough of that work stuff. Let's talk chickens! We have almost 50 chickens on Kicking Mule Farm, about half males and half ladies. Our members this year will receive farm fresh free range chicken eggs in their last boxes this season, along with the option to add them weekly next year. Additionally, if our hens are as motherly as we have been told they will be, we will offer an add-on next year of farm fresh chickens as well. Our current breeds are Buff Orpington and Light Brahma birds. Both are known for their brown eggs (all through the winter if you treat them right), gentle demeanor, and ability to be good mamas. In the big market chicken industry, many eggs are incubated by humans and many breeds of birds have lost the will and know how to sit on their eggs until they hatch. We are hoping that ours will thrive, as they have been raised with good food, lots of room to peck at bugs and scratch the ground, and access to the outdoors from about 6am to 9pm. We will keep you posted as the pullets (young hens) get ready to lay their first eggs!

Finally, two new litters of piglets were born this week, with ten piglets in each. Moms and babies are doing great. Bessie the cow is up next, it could be any time!

Our love to you all for your support of Kicking Mule Farm!

Week 4 Delivery

Hey all, hoping you are all getting a chance to enjoy the beautiful weather. In our neck of the woods (or fields) we have been blessed with warm sunny days and cool starry nights. As mentioned in our last blog, we have had the pleasure to host many-a-friend of late, and truly appreciate their visits and help. I will be writing another blog about the goings-ons, but wanted to update those of you that like your shopping lists on what to expect this week:

Snow Peas

Green Beans

The last of the spinach, perhaps

Lettuce-bibb and fancy



Kale-dino and red russian

bock choy

Yellow Squash

New pota-ters


Everything is looking good in the garden, although the weeding never ends. Our onion crop seems to be the most fussy, so we are unsure what level of onions (or not) that we will have to share this fall. Bessie the cow escaped her three acres of woods, and went straight for our sweet corn, so that may be slim on delivery as well. Otherwise, here is the new veggies you will see in a few weeks:


Tomatoes-many varieties including heirlooms and romas

Peppers-at least hot ones soon, bell later

Sweet Corn





More soon, enjoy your week! Oh, and I will make Steve get on this here computer later and share some recipes for the newer items you will be seeing!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Week 3 Delivery

Hello all,

We are enjoying lots of company this week so this post will be short. I will share pictures of all of the friends and family who have joined us soon...






Snow Peas

Green Beans


and perhaps:

Summer Squash

New Potatoes

Yum Yum. The tomatoes are flowering and bursting and the pepper plants are getting loaded down as well. All in all, the garden is thriving!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Week 2

We now begin our regularily scheduled deliveries; Saturday, that is. Sorry, but we had to go bust on the strawberries last week. We can maybe squeeze a slight few in this time around, but even if we do, the reality is, first year strawberry plants are not going to produce a very large crop. I'm glad to hear that the mulberries arrived intact and edible.

This week's selections will basically mirror the first weeks in theme. Green and fresh.


Swiss Chard

Red Kale *new*


Lettuce ( I don't know if it is very 'baby' anymore, maybe teenaged)

Rapini (We are gangbusters, quantity wise, on this shit so we'll be sure to add some recipes too)

Spring Onions

Mulberries and

Baby Bok Choi

Like I said, Strawbs will come too, if we get enough to actually pack them.

How to cook your Box:

Shred and boil cardbord for 4 min. Serve chilled, or....

Greens are a tasty and nutritious food, but the main problem people come across is over cooking. Also remember that various greens have variouus flavors. Rapini is slightly bitter; I find Chard to be very succulent. Everyones tastbuds are different so not everyone will agree on the characteristics of a given plant.

Always tast the greens raw before you cook them; expect bold or subtle flavors , but try not to be turned off. If you find the flavor of a green to be bitter then pair it with a sweet ingredient. If you like the flavor as-is, simply try not to overpower it.

The single most important rule for cooking these tender leafies is do not overcook! No matter the green, over cooking is the surefire way to make it less appealing. These leaves have loads of fiber, don't try to boil it out of them. A pile of mushy green goo is rarely appetizing to anyone (anyone remember Popeye Brand canned spinach, even aan animated sailor couldn't save that crap). This means you should almost always start cooking your greens last if you are making a meal of many dishes. Figure no more that 6 minutes max for the greens, possibly even less.

Our families basic greens recipe is:


1-2 bunches of greens (any type), coursely chopped.

Several cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 an onion minced (use the spring onions since you have them, about 1/2 cup minced)

Butter or olive oil, enough to saute the mix

Salt to taste


In a large pan, heat oil or melt butter and add the onions promptly. Stir gently for one minute, add the garlic and greens and aute for 4-5 minute turning frequently. Cook until desired tenderness. Salt to taste.

From emeril...

Braised Rapini
Salt to taste
2 bunches broccoli rabe, stems trimmed and washed
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces pancetta or mortadella, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chicken stock

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add pancetta and saute for 4 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for 2 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant. Do not allow the garlic to brown. Add the broccoli rabe and chicken stock, partially cover the pan and cook until the greens are tender, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt, if necessary. Serve hot or warm, with some of the cooking liquid ladled over the top.

also stolen from the net:

Crispy Rapini

1 bunch rapini

2 teaspoon tumeric

1 teaspoon salt

2 cloves of garlic

4-6 T of olive oil

Place rapini in a pot and just cover with water. Add tumeric and salt, and cook until the stalks are crisp tender (~5 minutes). Drain.In a medium hot frying pan, heat olive oil and garlic (crushed/chopped)until fragrant. Add drained rapini and saute slightly - let the stalks get browned. Cook until the rapini flowers are slightly crispy and browned. Add salt and pepper as required.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A few quick farm updates

By now you have gotten your first CSA box and we hope you are enjoying it! We wanted to give a few quick updates on other happenings in our neck of the fields :)

1. Steve is busy building a hayloft in the barn to hold food for Blackie this winter.
2. We were interviewed last week by a gentleman at our house that works for the local Redwood Falls newspaper regarding our CSA, we'll provide a link when we get one.
3. We went to LaCrosse, WI this weekend to celebrate Molly's paternal grandma's 95th birthday! Happy Birthday, Grandma Marcie, we love you!
4. Weeds, weeds, weeds. If only crops grew like weeds do! It has been quite interesting trying to keep up, especially in those pesky onion seedling rows...
5. Val, Molly's boss, came for a visit with her kids and worked with Blackie the mule. She has a background in training horses and has been a HUGE help as we have been pre-occupied with other projects.

Have a great week, everyone. We will send out a new post by Thursday to let you know what to expect in your next box.


Friday, June 26, 2009

What we're growing this season

Here is a list of all of the veggies and fruits we are growing this season. Some may fail, as happens with seed crops, but we hope to share most of these varieties with our members:
Garden Vegetables (and fruit):
Sweet Corn, Yukon Gold Potatoes, Pickling & Slicing Cucumbers, Melons (water, charentais and cantalope) Yellow Zucchini, Green Beans, Peas, Rapini, Red & Gold Beets, Lettuces, Spinach Collards, Kale (Russian red and dino), Chard, Tomatoes (8 varieties, mostly heirlooms), Peppers (5 varieties, sweet and hot), Diakon Radish, Rutabaga, Carrots, Celery, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Eggplant (2 varieties), Onions (bunching, yellow & red), Parsnips, Delicata, Red Kuri & Butternut Squash, Pumpkins, Basils, Sage, Oregano, Cilantro, Parsley, Napa Cabbage, Bok Choi, Chervil.
Fruits Trees:
***These will likely not come until next year as the trees are young***
Apples (Honeycrisp, Zestar, Wealthy, Harralson, Regent), Pears (Lucious and D'anjou), Plums(Toka), Cherries (Rainier), Apricots, Mulberries and 2 Chestnut Trees.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Some pictures to share:

In the beginning...

Last year, we got this place for a song. Of course, it needed a lot of work. After selling our MPLS home in June 08, I moved out here to "finish" the house (i.e. make it livable). I had actually start working on it with my father in Feb or March. Here is the first shout out I've gotta give: DAD. We did a near complete rehab of the dwelling, bankrolled initially by Pops. (I suppose I also owe one to Uncle Tom for deciding to vacate said premise.) New wiring, windows, doors, kitchen, walls, bath, appliances, floors... It is a new house (on the inside). Thankfully,It only took a matter of weeks to make the first floor livable and a few more for floor 2. Many a day I was there with kids in tow keeping one room clean and clear for the kiddo's to hang in, setting up a movie or some such to gain 90 minutes of unimpeded work. Molly was a trooper, bringing home the bacon, tolerating my promises that it would be "done soon."
I planted our first garden still that year, In the first week of July! (I'm not stupid, but hopeful.) These poor plants were started in MPLS and kept alive yet root-bound untiltime could be made to stick 'em in the dirt. We harvested our first tomatoes in the first week of September. Gardening was not yet our priority.
I had hoped to get the future vegplot tilled that fall, but it was simply too low a priority. Late winter, I built a grow room in the house. A few lights and some cannabilized futon frames transformed our futre 2nd bathroom into a hopeful cubby. We started tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cabbage, brocco, brussels, and cauliflower. It went wonderfully. However, as the ground thawed and my thoughts turned increasingly out of doors, i was still no closer to getting that plot tilled.
I had been trying to culture some leads, but wanted to keep it as cheap (free) as possble. The most hopeful was a two-bottom plow my Pops had 'bought' sight-unseen from a guy a little ways north of us. After a few weeks of trying to get ahold of him, we took a drive to what we thought was his place. Actually, it was his sister's and she was tight lipped. I supposed we looked like trouble since he owed us something. We finally got it out of her that he might be in lock-up at county. She was gracious enoough to lend us a phonebook. Calling the Sheriff, we found him and were informed that he could only be reached in person during visiting hours. So that plow became a no-go.
Extra special thanks to our frien Ryan Batalden (you can find his family farm on the web and buy there grass-fed beef, its great). Ryan mentions to me, a few days later, 'I have an old four-bottom plow sitting in one of my pastures if you want it.' In fact he has one hell of an Oliver plow sitting there. So my dad and I show up with a trailer and this thing barely fits on, in fact it doesn't fit on. Luckily the tire on the plow (after any nuber of years left abandoned) still holds and has air in it! It supports the back of the plow, hang several feet off the back of the trailer. Our luck holds as the wheel stayts straight and we nurse this rig home, slow and steady.
A few days later, I attempt my first plowing. It went well. The main issue being that it is far too big of a plow for the space I was working in. We disked it down a few times, and finally were set to plant. By now its early May. My hopeful schedule was shot!
More of our story to come...

Week 1 Delivery

Weeks late, by my initial goal, but still fresh, the first delivery comes this Sunday, June 28.
I hope all (5) ofour members are still with us.
Deliveries will be made to our mpls dropsite, the Seward Coop Produce dept, by 11 AM. There are a few policies that I need to inform you of, so here goes:
You must pick up your box by closing time on the drop day 10pm. If you cannot get it by that time, you may call the produce dept (6123382465, ask for produce) and ask them to hold it until the following day. If you need to do this, do NOT delay, do it before 9:30 pm on the delivery day. This cannot become a normal activity. You must be prepared to pick it up on delivery day. If you cannot get it on a given week, be imaginative. Ask a friend to get it for you, give it to a friend or think of someway to keep it from going to waste. There is no ID check, so anyone can come and get a box as long as they know the day and name for your share.
The produce dept and the seward coop are not responsible for your box, save to store it until your pick-up. Any problems or concerns are between you and us (not them).
You must take it all with you, at that time; if you wish to inspect or snack on the contents of you box take it to your vehicle or the seating area of the store.
This week's delivery is happening on Sunday, THIS IS ONLY FOR THE FIRST WEEK! We are out of town until saturday night.

The first week's delivery will contain the following:

Strawberries (we hope)

Salad Mix or Baby Lettuce
Baby Chard
Baby Collards and

Spring Onions

Of course this may change slightly before actual delivery. Everything is garanteed to be uber-fresh this week; it will all be picked and pack the same morning it is delivered.
Mulberries are a tree fruit resembling blackberries and grow on trees (not bushes). They are rarely seen in stores or markets because of their enormous water content. due to the fact that they contain water, sugar and little else thay begin to decay almost instantly. Eat your Mulberries the very first day. They may already be losing their structure by the time you see them. But they make excellent topping for yogurt or ice cream or smear them as jam on toast tomorrow morning.
Rapini is a leafy brassica, related to broccoli. Steam or saute lightly. Do not overcook, it is already a tender vegetable.
Both Collards and Chard are better know in their adult form, but as younger tender greens, they do not require cooking to be enjoyed. You can use they as a heartier addition to a salad. Yet they are still excellent steamed or sauted as you normally would use the full-grown versions. Watch-out they will cook very quickly.
Eating this weeks selections is going to give you a very nutirent rich diet. Food this fresh is rarely available unless you growing it yourself; and these selections are nutritional powerhouses.
HEY, if there is anything that were are sending you that love, hate or simply cannot have, drop us a line. I will try to accommodate dietary needs if you have them, and help you with recipe ideas if you need.

Let's introduce ourselves

Hello and welcome to our first blog posting here at Kicking Mule Farm. We are located in SW MN, between Redwood Falls and Marshall in a small town called Lucan. Lucan has gained a small amount of notoriety lately as a result of a very wonderful brewery here, Brau Brothers.

Our farm is owned by Stephen Suss and Molly Christopher. We have two children as well, Miles and Frances. We moved here last year from Minneapolis, MN. We spent our first year fixing up the house and the outbuildings, now we are beginning to add some farming into the mix.

So where did our name come from, anyway? Here at Kicking Mule, we like to make lemonade from lemons. Shortly after moving here last fall, we brought our mule, Blackie, to join us on the farm. Shortly after that, our daughter Frances had a bit of a run in with him. Let's just say we came to understand that mules can and do indeed kick.

You can anticipate finding regular contributions from me and Steve, ranging from what is growing in the garden to what is going on with our buildings. Stay awhile and check it out as we offer you a glimpse of our dreams, failures, and accomplishments.