Archive for July, 2011

Week 6, July 28

We will be making deliveries of pork to the twin cities this Saturday!  We will take orders until Friday evening.  Check out our new grilling, breakfast, and slow cooker pork package options in our store!  Let us know if you have any questions about ordering.

What’s in the box?

Full share:



summer squash

patty pan squash


green cabbage (tender sweet)

curly kale


green onions (Tropea)

half shares



summer squash

pattypan squash



green onions (a handful of people got the first sweet onions of the season)


Some notes on the box….

Loopers are the small green worms that love broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.  We gave all of these that we harvested a good dunk in water to get rid of these guys, but there is a chance that one may have made it into your box.  We are sorry for that if it happened to you, but rest easy, they will not bite you and they are not poisonous.  The worst they can do is gross you out.

Cauliflower came on all at once!  It’s one of those veggies that is SO MUCH tastier when it is fresh and local.  If you think you don’t like cauliflower, try it again and see if you change your mind.  It’s nice steamed or sauted with some butter and topped with melted cheese.  It’s GREAT roasted.  If you are looking to eat more veggies and less carbs, try grating your raw cauliflower (very easy with the food processor) and serving as an alternative to rice.  Also good cut up and served raw with your favorite veggie dip or dressing.

We love this cabbage.  It’s a variety called tendersweet and it is just that.  It makes a great coleslaw.  Have you ever tried putting coleslaw right on a hamburger or sandwich as an alternative to lettuce?  It works and it’s very tasty!  We also like it shredded and served plain with a spicy Indian curry.  It will hold well for quite some time in the fridge if you can’t get to it right away.

The pretty saucer-shaped veggie with scalloped edges are patty pan squash.  They can be cut in half, scoop the middle out, and stuffed with your favorite filling (we like lentils, onions, and cheese) and baked. Or they can be sliced and treated like any other summer squash or zucchini.  Great for stir fries or vegetable soup.

Here’s a picture of a lunch we had this week.  Pork ribs, roasted cauliflower, and cucumber salad with cabbage leaf, rice, and sauce from the ribs.  It was a hit and quite simple to make.  


Chocolate zucchini bread

1 1/2 cups sugar, 3 eggs, 3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 cups grated zucchini (approximately 1 medium zucchini), 1 tablespoon vanilla

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour,  1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup chocolate chips and/or toasted and chopped nuts

Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease two 5×9 inch loaf pans or a 9×13 cake pan.  Combine sugar, eggs and oil in a large bowl. Beat until well blended, then stir in zucchini and vanilla.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the zucchini mixture and stir to combine. Add chocolate chips and stir until relatively evenly distributed. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 50-60 minutes for the loaf pans or 35-45 minutes for the cake pan or until a tester inserted in the middle of a loaf comes out clean.  Cool breads in their pans on wire racks for ten minutes, then turn out onto racks and cool completely.  Or serve directly from cake pan.

Cucumber Salad 

Slice cucumbers and green onions.  Mix a 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1 Tbsp. sugar and a pinch of salt.  Mix together and let set a few minutes before serving.  Very good with barbque or anything with peanut sauce.

Cucumber Peanut Salad Recipe from 101 cookbooks 

Quinoa with currents, zucchini, and dill from 101 cookbooks

Roasted Cauliflower with Fennel-Chile Dry Rub from the Splendid Table

At the farm….

This week the squash and zucchini are peaking, probably next week as well. So if it is starting to feel like too much squash and zucchini well, it probably is. But it won’t last for long so do what you can to enjoy it. There might only be about 2-3 weeks left of this until next season.

We have little green beans forming on the plants, and the first tomatoes are starting to blush. The vines are loaded with fruit and as long as this rain stops and doesn’t drown the tomatoes we should be in store for a great harvest. The melons are really close to ripening as well. and they are looking great. Sweet corn is about 2 weeks out and is looking great as well.

We hope that we got enough zukes, squash, cabbage and cauliflower into the CSA boxes!  They were heavy and full and we were still left with a whopping 2,900 lbs of squash, zucchini, cabbage, cauliflower to go to the Emergency food shelf network. In New Hope, MN. If you haven’t read about them, the short of it is they match your money dollar for dollar that you donate in Turnip Rock Farm’s name. And then turn around to buy excess produce from us at a modest but fair 1$ lbs. We would gladly donate food without this, but we can only do so much before we start losing lots of time and money on transportation, and all the labor involved in harvesting and cleaning of the produce. Your donations help to offset the cost of bringing excess produce to the foodshelf for people who need it, and rarely see it among the shelves of boxed pasta, cans of green beans, and tons of cookies commonly seen in the foodshelves.

Our cookout on Aug 20th will be a fundraiser for Harvest for the Hungry, so come on out in the afternoon starting around 3pm and enjoy some all farm raised dinner with fellow members of the farm, and your farmers!  Pay what you can, pay what it’s worth. It’s all going to a good cause. It should be a fun time for the family as well. Bring your cooler so that you can take home some pork chops or other cuts if you like.  Vegetarian options will be provided. Camping is welcome.

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Week 5. July 21, 2011

What’s in the box?

Full Share:

red cabbage


summer squash

green onions (Red Long of Tropea)



lacinato kale (aka dinosaur kale)

single share


red cabbage


green onions (Red Long of Tropea)

lacinato kale (aka dinsaur kale)


Notes on the box….

It’s very hot and we’ve been eating cole slaw every day this week at the farm.  Also, cucumbers chopped with onions and fresh herbs and broccoli slaw on the menu.  We will be having salads of raw “massaged” kale and marinated raw zukes and summer squash tomorrow….  Cold salads and fresh veggies from the fridge to replenish our over-heated bodies have been welcome at every meal.

Everything can be stored in your fridge.  The cabbage will hold for quite a long time if you don’t get to it right away.  If you need to perk up your kale or broccoli, soak it in your sink filled with cold water for several minutes.  It’s hot out there and the veggies could be a little wilted after their journey and their time sitting at the drop site waiting for you.

We would normally be rounding out this box with beets or carrots, but the late spring has those things pretty far behind.  They should be ready about the same times as the sweet corn, so look out in the coming weeks for some VERY full boxes.


First a link to a page full of recipes that you don’t have to turn on the stove to make.  Not many ingredients from the box, but lots of good ideas for those of us sweating it out this week.

This weather seems to call for recipes from 101cookbooks.  They are always fresh and so delicious…  Here’s one for  a really yummy cucumber salad recipe and one for a raw kale salad.

Broccoli and Rice Salad

Cook 1 cup brown rice, white rice, or quinoa according to directions.  Chop broccoli florets finely, peel and finely chop broccoli stems.  Mix chopped broccoli into cooked rice while it is still warm to steam it a bit.  Cook a few slices of bacon (optional) and chop them.  Chop a few green onions finely.  Mix bacon, green onions, a cup of raisins into the rice and broccoli.  Mix in your favorite salad dressing (blue cheese works well).  Serve warm or chill and serve cold.  Sprinkle with sunflower seeds when serving.

Red cabbage slaw to serve with tacos

Place half a red cabbage (or one small) finely sliced, some cilantro leaves, and chopped green onions in a large bowl. Mix 4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp honey, and 2 Tbsp lime juice in a small bowl.  While whisking quickly, add 2 Tbsp canola or sunflower oil to vinegar mixture.  Add to coleslaw and mix thoroughly.  Great topping for fish or any other kind of tacos.  

About the crops

We don’t really like giving this much kale and collards, and chard, we consider them our ‘second string’ waiting on the bench for when other crops are behind. But we hope you are getting some good use from them. They are still very tasty and look nice.

Broccoli, Could look a bit ‘frazzled’  but, aren’t we all in this kind of heat?

We are usually harvesting beans, beets and carrots about this time of the year. This is where we are really starting to feel the effects of such a late spring. They were planted three- four weeks late, and then to top that off they had to be replanted a couple weeks later because the cold wet soil didn’t allow them to germinate well at all.  So they will be coming, better late then never. We could see some baby beets next week.

Carrots have continued to be a pain to germinate and get going. But we keep battling.

We were hit with another big storm last night. We got an inch of rain, which isn’t bad in itself, but it came fast, and the soil was already saturated. Total rain for the last two weeks is 4 inches which came down in three short storms.  The corn was laid down from strong winds, but should stand up again by next week.  There is some standing water in the field that will kill some tomatoes and peppers. Luckily we over-plant and you shouldn’t notice too much of a hole in the box.  We are looking forward to some milder temps and some sunny days next week!

coming up  cauliflower, green cabbage, more tropea green onions, one more round of Broccoli. more squash, cucumbers, baby beets.

We will be hosting a cookout on the farm!  

We will cook an all farm meal.  A classic american cookout including sweet corn with home-made butter, tomatoes, beans, potato salad, grilled steaks and chops. And desert!  Take a farm tour, meet your farmers, enjoy a campfire, pet the new calves, see the pigs and chickens, and see where all your produce is coming from. AND take home some rocks, PLEASE!

You are welcome to camp out if you like and have breakfast with everyone in the morning.

We will accept donations for the dinner.  Bring your own beer or wine or cocktails.

The date will be August 20.  Please RSVP by email!

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Our next pork delivery will be July 30th.  Go to this link to order pork.

We have put together some new packages to entice you.

Breakfast Package,  includes 4 packages of bacon, 2 ham steaks, and 4 breakfast sausage packages, and a dozen eggs.  60$

Grill Package that includes; 6 pork chops, 3 pork steaks, 3 lbs ground pork for burgers.  60$

Slow Cooker Pork package includes; 3 lb shoulder roasts, 4 lbs of spare ribs, and a 3lb ham roast.  40$

We also now have some great summer sausage. It is perfect for the this ‘not cooking’ time of the season. A 3# sausage log for 25$. Super tasty and good with cheese and crackers or on a sandwich.

All pork orders are home delivery. We make pork deliveries once a month, but will make more deliveries if we have more orders to make it worth the trip.  After you place an order, we will schedule a delivery day that works for you.  All pork orders are one time deliveries (not weekly like the vegetables).  Pork is paid for using Paypal.  Easy!

You can also make reservations for a larger quantity,   half =80 lb or  whole hog =160 lb packages. Prices go down the more you order. We can arrange delivery when it is convenient for you.  Please email us for more information about larger quantities.

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July 14, Week 4

What’s in the box?
Full Share:

Green Leaf Lettuce

Green Onions


Sugar Snap Peas

Garlic Scapes

Summer Squash


Rainbow Chard

Single Share:

Sugar Snap Peas


Summer Squash


Garlic Scapes

Rainbow Chard

Some notes on the box….

Sugar Snap Peas will need stringing this week.  How do you do that?  Break the end with the leafy thing up towards the flat side of the pea and pull towards the opposite end.  This is a good activity to do with kids.  You don’t have to shell the peas, but stringing them will make a more enjoyable meal.  This is the last of the peas for the year.  You can tell by the size and color and flavor.  These will taste better cooked than raw.  Blanche, steam, or saute until tender and bright green.

Broccoli and Chard stems can be eaten!  When cooking either, chop the stems and start cooking them a few minutes before the tops (put them in with the onions when cooking them in a saute recipe).  Wash the chard!  We had rain and it may still have dirt splashed on it.

Summer Squash and zucchini are light in the boxes.  Just enough to add to some eggs or pasta.  Not enough for a whole squash starring dish, yet.  Don’t worry, soon enough you will be grilling, stuffing, and making zucchini bread.

Cucumbers are getting their start in the field.  The warm weather should push them along so that you get multiples soon.

Garlic Scapes can be made into a pesto, chopped and added to scrambled eggs or salads, or put into a vase and enjoyed for its beauty (before you eat it).  They can also be grilled or roasted whole till tender or pickled.  I like to cut them about an inch long, saute them, and add them with broccoli and toasted nuts to pasta.  It’s great warm or as a cold salad.  If you are intimidated by them you can keep them in your crisper drawer until you work up the courage to eat them.  They won’t go bad for a long time.


Chard Sesame Balls and Onion Jam 

This one is for a nice appetizer or snack. Adapted from Jessica Theroux’s Cooking with Italian Grandmothers

Put 1 cup finely diced onions (you can add some red chard stems finely diced for color) with 1/4 cup sugar and salt and cayenne pepper to taste in a small pan and bring to a boil over med-low heat.  Boil till thick (5-10 min).  Remove from heat and stir in 1 T red wine vinegar.  For the Chard Sesame Balls, heat oven to 400.  Lightly oil a baking sheet.  Steam the chard leaves for a few minutes.  Squeeze the chard well until it’s dry.  Finely puree the chard along with some roughly chopped garlic scapes in a food processor.  Put the chard in a mixing bowl and whisk together with 1/3 cup ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan, 1 large egg, 1 tsp. lemon zest and slat to taste.  Put some olive oil in a bowl and some sesame seeds in another bowl. Roll the chard into balls (about 2 Tbsp. per ball).  Then roll the balls in oil and then sesame seeds.  Bake for 20 min.  Serve with the Onion Jam.

Swiss Chard with Raisins and Pine Nuts (or sunflower seeds)

Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet.  Add some chopped onion and chopped chard stems and cook till onions are golden and stems tender (10-15 min).  Stir in some minced garlic or chopped scapes and cook for a minute more.  Add the rinsed and chopped chard leaves a handful at a time, covering the pan between additions.  When wilted, stir in 1/3 cup raisins, 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (or sunflower seed meats), some lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve as a side with most anything or put it on a grilled cheese sandwich!

Cottage Cheese and Chard Gratin

Heat oven to 350.  Wash and chop chard (remove stems).  Cook chard until wilted.  Remove from skillet and press out liquid, but reserve it.  Finely chop chard.  Beat 5 eggs with 2 cups cottage cheese.  Add some chopped herbs of your choice, and 1/2 tsp of dill seeds and 1/2 tsp ground coriander ans salt and pepper.   Stir in chard and reserved liquid.  Pour into an oiled 8×10 baking dish and bake until set (45 min).  Cool for a few minutes and cut into triangles.

Shells with Broccoli, Scapes, and Capers 

Mix 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/4 cup rinsed capers.  Chop scapes.  Peel and chop broccoli stems and chop brocoli crowns into bite size pieces.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for pasta.  When it boils, add the pasta and cook a few minutes then add the broccoli and scapes and cook till pasta is al dente.  Strain the pasta/broccoli and mix in the oil/capers dressing along with some grated parmesan.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add chopped fresh herbs if you like.


Makes about 1 cup

10 garlic scapes, finely chopped

1/3 to 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (to taste and texture)

1/3 cup slivered almonds (you could toast them lightly, if you’d like)

About 1/2 cup olive oil

Sea salt

Put the scapes, 1/3 cup of the cheese, almonds and half the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor (or use a blender or a mortar and pestle).  Whir to chop and blend all the ingredients and then add the remainder of the oil and, if you want, more cheese.  If you like the texture, stop; if you’d like it a little thinner, add some more oil.  Season with salt.

If you’re not going to use the pesto immediately, press a piece of plastic against the surface to keep it from oxidizing. The pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days or packed airtight and frozen for a couple of months, by which time tomatoes should be at their juciest.

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On the farm….

The hot days have been good for the summer crops. We are now phasing into transitional weeks.  The summer crops are not yet ready, but the spring crops are  maturing VERY quickly.  It does affect the flavor of crops that prefer moderate temps and some may not be as delicious as we would like them to be (but still tasty enough).  The bummer about it is that it was such a late start getting those spring crops going, it feels like they didn’t really get their time under the spot light. That is the nature of things I guess.

We have a lot of weeding to do yet, but we are slowly getting ‘out of the weeds’ with this battle. Many crops now are what we call ‘made crops’. The planting, fertilizing, covering and uncovering, checking for pests, and cultivating is done. Now it is up to the weather to stay favorable and bring in a good crop.

Here is a list of the made crops at Turnip Rock Farm:

winter squash, Melons, Tomatoes, Potatoes (kind of, maybe one more hilling) summer squash, cucumbers, sweet corn, Garlic (lots of garlic), Greens, Cauliflower, Cabbage, peppers and a few more I can’t think of right now.

Then there are the crops we had to replant… Carrots, beets, beans, spinach.  It was a tough one this spring.  So, we didn’t hit those crops out of the park mostly due to the wet cold spring we had, but hey, 4 out of 40 aint bad. CSA farming is more like a bating average than anything. Some years you hit a few crops out of the park, and some years you just miss them or only get a single (I don’t even watch baseball). Point being, this year I feel like we have a fairly good batting average. The crops are growing big and uniformly, somewhat bug free, mostly not weedy, and the bees showed up to pollinate. Not too bad compared to other years where the sod would grow up in the crops,the soil wasn’t as fertile, the ph was low, or the grubs would eat the potatoes after we picked all the potato beatles off by hand…..  I guess overall I feel like we finally have enough years on this farm to know what problems to look for, what answers are out there, and how to implement those answers.  Ahh, the boring stories I could tell about vegetable production…

This weekend we had near to an inch of rain in ten minutes!  The wind was blowing so hard that two trampolines blew over from our neighbors’ homes!  One ended up in the middle of the pasture and the other was found in the potatoes.  It was raining so hard that we couldn’t see the flowerbed behind the house.  We were quite happy when it was all over to see our greenhouses still standing strong and our tomatoes which had just been trellised were also nice and upright.   The corn was leaning sideways, but it stood back up straight by Tuesday.  Phew.  We’ll take boring farming over exciting farming anyday.

On Tuesday our cow Sunflower had a bull calf.  We named him Jojo Potato.  We are now milking two cows and are excited for our future endeavor into cheesemaking!

Next week…

Cabbage, Summer squash, zuchinni, green onions, Kale, baby beets? cucumbers,

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Week 3- July 7, 2011

What’s in the box?

Full Share


sugar snap peas

Collard Greens

Fresh Garlic


Green Onions



Half Shares


Collard Greens


Green Onion

Fresh Garlic

zucchini or summer squash

sugar snap peas


Notes on the boxes

Fresh Garlic is something new that we wanted to offer.  It is older than green garlic, but not cured garlic, yet.  Peel and eat it as you would cured garlic, but enjoy its more mild flavor.

Strawberries are about done.  The warm weather got them all ripe all at once.  We could not pick them all before they started to get over ripe.  This will likely be the last week of berries.  Seems like no matter what, the week of the 4th of July is the last week for Strawberries.  We will miss you, Strawbs!  See ya next year!

zucchini, Summer Squash, and cucumbers will be arriving from the field in greater quantities in the coming weeks.  For now, Zukes and squash can be sliced up and added to your eggs for breakfast.  Cucumber can be added to a salad or sandwich.

Sugar snap peas  do not need to be shelled.  This variety has a “string” that can be pulled off with the end of the pea.  We usually cook the peas with a little butter and then de-string them as we eat them.  It’s not very graceful at the table, but it’s less work for the cook.  When eaten fresh, the strings don’t seem to bother anyone.  Sugar snaps are best eaten fresh.  The longer they sit in your fridge (or in the grocery store) the less delicious they become.  Yay for getting it right after we picked it!


Collards Delicious

To prep the collards, wash them, fold them in half and cut down the stem in order to remove it.  Stack up your de-stemmed greens and roll them up all together in a tube.  Slice them across the tube and you will have beautiful, elegant collard ribbons to cook.  You can cut them to the thickness you like, but I prefer about a 1/4 inch.  Lots of recipes for collards will have you cook them for hours until they become a tender mush.  This is necessary for those giant, toothy southern collards; but we have the pleasure of working with young collards that have yet to get so tough and bitter that they need that kind of cooking.  We just heat a little oil, butter, or bacon grease in a pan.  Add minced garlic.  When it smells good add the greens and saute until greens are bright and tender (should take about 10 min).  Season to taste with salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.  Optional:  Top a piece of bread with your favorite cheese and some of the collards.  Broil till cheese is melted.  Top with a fried egg.

On the farm…

some AMAZING photos by Larry who is working with us this season.  Thanks Larry!

and a couple of pictures from the packing shed

What does a typical day look like for Turnip Rockers?

Most of us start the day between 6-7 am (when we wake up, we are already at work!) Larry milks the cows most days, and gets swatted in the face with a wet tail most days.  He says it is more effective at waking you up than a cup of coffee.

Steve feeds and waters the pigs.  Lauren feeds June, our new calf.  She drinks about 3-4 gallons of milk a day (the calf, not Lauren). Craig takes the Gator out to feed and water the chickens and let them out of the coop to range around and eat what bugs and grass they care to eat.  Josh and Rama wake up to a wonderful baby boy to feed and care for plus making phone calls, answering emails, checking the weather and organizing the daily run around. This takes a tag team effort most days. Then we take on the tasks of the day, which at this time of year seem endless. Actually, it is for the most part.  If it’s not raining a lot, there is always something to be done from the time the ground thaws until it freezes again… Weeding the 12,000 ft of carrots and the 10,800 ft of onions, trellising the 8000 ft of tomatoes, running the irrigation when it’s dry, harvesting the 260 lbs of peas, and 260 heads of lettuce, and the 410 pints of stawberries. Not to mention planting nearly two acres of fall crops, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, corn, beets etc….  Then when the day comes to an end sometime around 6, we end it like we started. Milking the cows, watering the pigs, collecting and washing eggs, and feeding the calf.  We  remember to tally up what we did get done, and know that what we don’t get done will be there tomorrow. Unless of course it isn’t.

This weather, wow. Great, hot and dry. What a change from the cold and wet we had this spring. You could literally watch the crops grow. Every time we turn around the tomatoes are taller and bigger, and the squash is longer and the melons are vining out further. The sweet potatoes are more lush. Peas are dangling from the 5 ft vines. Broccoli heads are starting to show up. Potatoes are flowering and making little tubers to harvest in the coming weeks.  We are very excited about how things are looking out there.

But still I bite my nails about the next few weeks. I’m sure we will be hauling in some more great produce. But it is the life of a CSA farmer to always wonder what is going in the next box.  We try to do a good job staggering our plantings, but the weather can really change the timing of when things are ready.

Head lettuce will be coming to an end… you might be thankful for that.  It is starting to get hot and so the heads could be getting a little bitter. This is why we don’t grow it year round. Next week will be the last of it.  Then we will move more toward the summer lettuce aka; cabbage. But also, cauliflower, more broccoli, garlic scapes, summer squash, more quantity of zucchini and cukes…

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