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.