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.