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green garlic
Green garlic is immature garlic without a prominent bulb -- but with a strong garlic flavor. Tender parts of leaves can be used in soups and stocks, while the bulb is good anywhere you like garlic.

This brittle root is the pungent source of horseradish sauce. I like it grated into things like mashed or scalloped potatoes, or to bring roasts and casseroles alive. To make the sauce, you'll need: A blender or food processor, vinegar, salt, and an extension cord so that it can be whirled outside to protect you from the extra-strength vapors. Ask us more if you want your own homemade sauce -- the vinegar-blender stage can be tweaked for mild to hotter-than-commercially available.

fiddlehead ferns
First, fiddleheads must be boiled for at least 10 minutes before eating, the water will turn dark, and you should discard it. Then, take your blanched fiddleheads and use them as you might green beans or asparagus. My first exposure to them was in an Italian dish, that was probably a penne pasta with a light creamy sauce and whatever veggies were fresh. This time of year, I would do garlic, onions, bee balm (for it's oregano-thyme-bergamot flavor), lemon, and some delicious olive oil.

Egyptian walking onionsEgyptian walking onions
Egyptian walking onions are reputedly named for their ability to travel across the garden through bulb multiplication in the ground and aerial bulblets. Last year was our "rebuilding year" for a giant walking onion patch, and these were in the way of something new. Use as you would a scallion or green onion, but know they have a reputation for strong flavor.

Swiss mint
The mintiest mint we grow -- 10/10 mintiness.

Do you have kitties? Treat them to some fresh catnip. Can be used as mint, but only as a last resort (in my opinion) because of musty overtones and low mintiness (1/10).

wild oregano mint
We discovered this variety of mint in the wild, and we're the only place anywhere to get it. Flavor is savory, not sweet. Range of flavors in decreasing order: oregano, thyme, mint, and this spring (the flavor changes) a bit of lavender. I can't wait to use this in some pesto combinations we're dreaming about putting into the freezer before basil gets here. Not for desserts -- for dinner. Rivaling bee balm for most intoxicating this spring. 3/10 mintiness

bee balm
Bergamot is the distinctive undertone to bee balm. This bee balm is wild-harvested, and the most succulent I have seen. We dry bee balm leaves on-the-stem, then stuff into jars to use in dishes throughout the year, but use it especially with lamb dishes, in herbal dressings, and in Italian and Mediterranean dishes. Sometimes bee balm is minty, but this year it's a 0/10. In 2014, we said: "Perhaps my favorite herb along with tarragon, flower gardeners know it as monarda. It grows wild, too, and has a savory mix of flavors ideal for any Mediterranean cooking from Italian to Lebanese. Referred to sometimes as 'horsemint', it tastes like a otherworldly blend of thyme and mint, with an oregano finish. I love flavoring wild rice with it and other wild herbs like juniper berries." ... "We had folks try bee balm in their tomato-based pasta sauce, combined with rhubarb for a sweet-savory sauce, chopped and mixed with butter on crackers, as part of the spices for Lebanese meatballs. Terribly fine work you've all done."

Yarrow leaves yarrow leaves
Ferny leaves sometimes dried for tea, and sometimes used as a salad-herb -- somewhere between a salad green and a mincing herb. Just the look of it is like a meadow, and the clean taste will then bring you there. As in the garden, yarrow leaves are good with companions in the pot or pan because the fern-fuzz texture is better in small quantities, or with some degree of marinating, wilting, or cooking. Light flavor suggests chicken, fish, salad, spring soups. Very mild as yarrow goes.

Violet blossomsviolet blossoms

wild plum blossoms

Virginia waterleaf
Beautiful leaves with unique white markings that look like water droplets. Bags are small and large leaves mixed. Small leaves are suitable for salad or in a sandwich; larger leaves are best used as in place of spinach or kale in cooked dishes. Trim the stems to the length you prefer.

stinging nettles
Don't eat these raw or let them touch bare skin -- they really do sting! Handle with tongs, gloves, or pour right into boiling water. Cooking or drying removes the sting. Please do not be alarmed by the appearance of a hole or two in the leaves which are not harmful and do not indicate the presence of pests therein. Once you get past these character flaws, this is an epic superfood.

Violet leavesviolet leaves
Small leaves with a flavor like and the size of baby spinach. Very small quantity of these leaves, despite our offer of 8 oz bags.

pheasant back mushrooms (sorry, Wisconsin only)
Always cook edible mushrooms before eating. My favorite method for these mushrooms is as described below, but fried in bacon fat. This is a great re-use for extra bacon fat for two reasons: 1) waste not, want not, and 2) the mushroom bits turn into crispy bacon-like bits. Not the best thing I have ever put in a salad, but definitely a standout topping for skillet-hot meals featuring gravy or cheese. In 2014, we said: "These mushrooms smell like watermelon raw, but take on earthy tones when sliced thinly and fried. The most important thing here is – slice off the pore layer (spongey webbing) before cooking. Only the white cap layer and upper skin is eaten – the stem and pore layer are discarded."

juniper tips
Springtime pollen sufferers, skip these -- everything was exposed to juniper pollen while harvesting these. These are not the pine boughs we offered last year, nor the spruce tips we've talked up in the past. These are many things at once: prickly, succulent, sweet, sappy, crunchy, and tender. Go ahead -- try one raw for a unique taste and texture, although most folks would like these crushed, minced, and used sparingly in something that could be electrified by a bright, vivid flavor. I love to use these in pesto with sunflower seeds in place of pine nuts -- just a pinch will do. This year, they're destined for spiced butter (imagine it on lamb, wild game, fish like salmon, or rubbed on just-grilled food).
After paging through Volume II of our Broadsheets, we've tabulated all the types and varieties of produce we served in 2015. Now, 2014 was a busy year, and we just posted a few days ago that we harvested 78 varieties of food for our CSA sharers!

Still, even we were surpised to see the breadth of our offerings.

Broadacre Farm served a total of 93 varieties ​of food in our 2015 CSA! Here's the complete list (with the number of weeks served in parentheses):

aronia berry


basil, lemon (2)

basil, sweet green

basil, purple (2)

beans, green (9)

bee balm (2)

bee balm petals (3)

beets (4)


broccoli (9)

bronze fennel (2)

Brussels sprouts (3)

cabbage (7)

cabbage, red

carrot (5)

carrot flowers

carrots with-the-greens

cauliflower (5)



cilantro (2)


cherries, tart (2)

cucumber (8)

currants, white


dill, flowers

eggplant (6)

elderflower (2)


garlic (14)

garlic, green (2)

garlic chive flowers

garden huckleberries

gooseberries, green (2)

gooseberries, black




kale (8)

kohlrabi (2)



lemon balm (3)

lettuce, mini-head

linden flowers

mint, lavender (2)

mint, mountain

mint, Swiss (2)

mint, wild oregano (3)

mustard greens

nasturtium blossoms (2)

onion, Egyptian walking

onion, green

onion, red (2)

onions, scullions

oregano, Italian (3)

oregano, Greek

parsley (8)

parsley flowers

parsley root

pea shoots

peppers, hot (8)

peppers, mole

peppers, sweet (3)

pine bough

potatoes, new

pumpkin (2)


radishes, spring (2)

radish, fall (3)

raspberries, blackcap (2)

raspberries, red and golden (3)

red clover blossoms

rhubarb (2)

Salad of the Seasons Mix (4)

sage (3)

Sichuan peppercorn

summer savory (2)


sunflower petals (2)

squash, summer (13)

squash, winter (3)

sugar snap peas (2)

staghorn sumac

stinging nettles

thyme (2)

tomatoes (11)

tomatoes, on-the-vine

tomatillo (3)


wild dock leaves


Broadacre Farm grows dozens of kinds of food. But what's likely to be on the menu in any given year? To start showing off our wild and varied food diversity, here is a complete list of all the produce we grew the year we launched the CSA in 2014.

All the varieties here were served at least once, and food we served multiple times is also noted.

Broadacre Farm served a total of 78 varieties of food in our 2014 CSA!

apple, Wolf River (3)

apple, wild

apple, Zestar


basil, Aristotle (4)

basil, cinnamon

basil, lemon

basil, Purple Ruffles (4)

basil, Thai (2)

bean mix (3)

bee balm (2)

bee balm petals (2)

beet (1)

carrot (5)

carrot seed heads


cherries, tart

chicory leaves


chive blossoms

cilantro (2)

corn (4)

cucumber (9)

dill (2)



gooseberries, green (3)

grape leaves (2)

Greens of the Season Mix (3)

Jerusalem artichoke (2)


kohlrabi (3)

lavender (2)

lettuce, head (2)

mint, Swiss

mint, chocolate

mint, mountain

mint, wild oregano (3)

mushroom, chanterelle

mushroom, coral (2)

mushroom, dryad's saddle (4)

mushroom, Giant panus

onion, Egyptian walking (2)

onion, sweet


parsley (5)

parsley, Italian

pea mix

pea / bean mix (3)

peppers, hot (13)

pepper, sweet (9)

plums, wild

potato, purple

potato (2)


radishes (4)

raspberries, blackcap (3)

raspberries, golden (4)

raspberries, wild (3)

rhubarb (2)


Salad of the Seasons Mix (7)

Sichuan peppercorns (2)

snap peas (2)


staghorn sumac

stinging nettles

squash, summer (10)

thyme (3)

tomatillo (2)

tomato (12)

tomato, cherry (8)

tomato, drying (2)

tomato, salad (7)

yellow dock leaves

Western mugwort

winter squash / pumpkin (2)

wood sorrel (3)


Farmer's Statement

X Broadacre Farm is Barrett Johanneson and Joe Castleberg. Our contact info: barrettjohanneson@gmail.com and josephcast@gmail.com. Email is currently the surest, fastest, and most reliable way to contact us during the summer months of the CSA. We can also be reached by phone: 715-673-4122 (home), 715-505-5380 (B. cell), and 715-279-0149 (J. cell). During the summer months, Barrett’s cell is the most reliable way to reach us by phone, but email remains the best option overall. Our home and mailing address is W2262 County Rd. K, Durand, WI, 54736. While we haven't been assigned a legal address at the farm, the location can be described as 0 Stark Rd., Menomonie, WI, 54751.

X Broadacre Farm encourages visitors by appointment for real farm and wildlife experiences. Access to and amenities at Broadacre Farm are sometimes limited by snow, mud, minimum maintenance roadway, pasture fencing, and other on-going infrastructure improvements. Please call ahead before visiting so we may accommodate you. We also provide visitor tips and directions to the farm.

X Broadacre Farm's CSA operates as a hybrid – between a classic CSA where the farmer chooses what's in a share, and a modern customizable CSA where the member chooses the produce – what, how much, when, and how often -- via online services.

X Broadacre Farm’s online service is buy-down via CSA credits. Our farm’s CSA credits are used purely at the member’s discretion and / or based on a member’s account settings; all Broadacre Farm products are priced at reasonable market rates determined by the farmer. Our farm's CSA subscription service, custom delivery, add-on items, and other services are all available for purchase by redeeming CSA credits. CSA credits are deducted from a member's account when orders for products and services are purchased. CSA credits are redeemable for Broadacre Farm products when such products are in-season and available. Pre-season purchases of CSA credits are always encouraged because the CSA model relies on early eater support to finance pre-season expenses.

X Broadacre Farm's policy as a pay-ahead CSA is that we cannot offer cash refunds or season cancellations. In case of member dissatisfaction, our remedy offers may include: offering a replacement or alternate item if available, offering Broadacre Farm CSA credit refunds, or member may choose to redirect unwanted credits to our People Share program that feeds underserved communities. Broadacre Farm's 2016 CSA credits expire on Dec. 31, 2016.

X Broadacre Farm offers the highest-quality fruits, vegetables, and other farm products, without the use of any synthetic chemical sprays or amendments, using only non-GMO seeds and feed. This year, we expect our season to begin with once-monthly deliveries in April and May, followed by weekly (Thursday) availability from June 2016 to November 2016. Almost all the produce we offer is grown at Broadacre Farm; a small fraction of our produce is shared family specialties grown in verified conditions, while a fluctuating fraction is sustainably wild-foraged in areas with environmental integrity. We are constantly learning about new ways to honor sustainability as the core of our mission. While Broadacre Farm is not certified organic, a 30-year-plus history of the land shows no pesticide or herbicide use and our own farm practices meet or exceed organic standards. Broadacre Farm is currently pursuing alternative certification such as Certified Naturally-Grown or Animal Welfare Approved.

X Broadacre Farm also agrees to:

  • focus on the satisfaction of CSA members while relying on member input.

  • follow scientifically-proven methods of food safety that meet or exceed standards.

  • always keep customer information private.

  • be good stewards of living things and the environment.

  • make efforts toward sustainability whenever possible.

  • foster a community spirit through agriculture and food.

  • provide additional resources and service beyond food for a great experience.

X Broadacre Farm reserves the right to amend this agreement at any time. Any amendments to this agreement will be provided to members via email or mail; and notified by phone, email, text message, or social media.

Member Agreement – Member agrees:

CSA members are first serve -- That the Farmer puts CSA members first and will not allow any surplus to go to any other market before CSA Members are served.

Risk and reward -- To accept the universe of risks and rewards in farming and the limitations of the Farmer, including weather, pests, and other crop losses beyond human control.

Balance in all things To accept that the risk of crop failure is balanced by the rewards of our farm’s biodiversity.

Early and advance sales -- That pre-season sales help Broadacre Farm mitigate the up-front spring costs before anything is ready to eat. Up-front costs include purchasing seed, soil amendments, equipment, insurance, and repairs.  The Farmer will thank you profusely for the early support!

CSA credits -- That payments to Broadacre Farm’s 2016 CSA become CSA credits which are deducted by The Farmer as products and services are requested and ordered by the Member, and fulfilled and distributed by the Farmer, and received and enjoyed by the Member.

Seasonal availability To acknowledge and accept that the quantity and offerings of produce will fluctuate from week to week throughout the season.  Some weeks may be bountiful and other weeks may be light.  Certain items may be available one week and gone the next.  Some weeks may offer more diversity and other weeks may feature a ton of one item in particular. All items are seasonal.

Pick-up day -- That the only delivery and pick-up day is Thursday;

Thursdays -- That Thursday deliveries are a good match for both farmer and CSA member;

Thursday reasons -- That CSA shares must be picked up Thursdays due to freshness, food safety, limited space, and limited operations with drop sites;

Dropsite staff -- That staff at third-party drop-sites voluntarily offer three services on behalf of Broadacre Farm: the use of their sites to physically store our deliveries on Thursdays only, to be available during business hours to hand over CSA shares for pick-up, and as a site to receive wax boxes for re-use. Please treat staff, policies, and property of third-party drop-sites with the utmost respect, as Broadacre Farm assumes complete responsibility over your satisfaction in regard to our product and service at drop-sites.

Refrigeration -- That drop-sites do not offer refrigeration unless by specific exception;

Abandoned shares -- That shares not picked up from drop-sites on Thursday may be considered abandoned;

Abandoned share redistribution -- That abandoned shares may then be discarded or redistributed to staff of the drop-site or members of the public, as the Farmer cannot return to drop-sites for re-delivery or re-distribution.

Refunds after delivery-- That Broadacre Farm cannot offer any refunds or credits for food after it has been harvested, cleaned, packaged, and delivered.

Alternate picker-uppers -- That CSA members are encouraged to designate an alternate person to pick-up CSA shares whenever CSA members cannot. We suggest members choose a friend, family, co-worker, neighbor, etc. in the event of a non-pick-up. An alternate must only provide your (Member) name at the drop-site to pick up your share for you.

Drop-site pick-up cost -- That delivery to drop-sites is free;

Home delivery -- That home delivery is an available option, and that charges may apply.

Home delivery plus concierge service -- That temporary storage using coolers and freezer packs may be available for home drops, and that charges may apply.

Unsupervised drops at home -- That if home delivery is selected as an option, the Member acknowledges The Farmer is not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged product after it has been delivered to the correct address. Further details can be described and arranged when the Member subscribes to that particular service.

Online settings -- That Members shall be responsible for updating order requests and account settings (vacation holds, CSA non-member pickup, etc.) if personal pick-up isn't possible that week.

Vacation hold notice -- That vacation hold notice must be given -- via your account settings or personal contact with the farmer -- at least 48 hours notice for vacation holds. Members may schedule vacation holds in advance.

Reminder messages -- That Broadacre Farm offers friendly order and pick-up reminders by email and text message.

Emergency / delivery cancellation -- That if the Farmer is forced to cancel Thursday delivery for an emergency, that the next day, Friday, is the alternate delivery day. I understand Broadacre Farm will notify me of cancellation and alternate delivery by phone / email / text message / social media.

Wax box returns -- To conserve wax boxes and return clean boxes to drop-sites, and to make efforts to reuse, recycle, re-purpose, or compost other packaging.

Communication That Broadacre Farm communications, especially the Broadsheet, is our weekly publication that features important news, updates, and changes to service. All CSA deliveries include a current copy of the Broadsheet, and Members may request paper-only or digital-only Broadsheets. Our standard service is both digital and print.

Fair notice -- That the farmer has made a good faith effort to include any information that will enhance a Member’s satisfaction, as published in the Broadsheet, on social media, and via other methods.

Prices and availability -- That prices and availability of all Broadacre Farm products and services are subject to change.

Substitutions -- That the Farmer will fulfill my order to the best of their ability.  I understand the Farmer fills orders as equitably as possible, while acknowledging supply sometimes fluctuates wildly. However, I give the Farmer permission to make substitutions of equal or greater value to my order on an as-needed basis, at no extra cost to the member. (Example: after a Member places an order for lettuce the Farmer discovers the crop has been ravaged by hail. The Farmer has been given permission to substitute a wild greens mix or a cabbage or kale as a substitute.  The Member receives one of these items as a replacement for the lettuce they ordered for that week’s share.)

Allergy and distaste notice -- That I will inform the Farmer of any food allergies that may prevent me safely enjoying my CSA share. Broadacre Farm allows members to blacklist items. The Farmer is not responsible for any dissatisfaction caused by an undesired product received if the Farmer has not been previously informed of the Member’s household’s distaste or inability to use an item.

Work rebates -- That each Member (limit: one per household) volunteering for 4 or more hours of work on the farm is entitled to one $50 rebate per calendar year, payable after the end of the season. I acknowledge that work is not required, that there is no commitment or pressure to work, and that I may choose to work or not at my discretion. I understand that Broadacre Farm has helpful opportunities available for all ages, skill sets, and ability levels.

Credit balance -- That it is the Member’s responsibility to maintain a balance of Broadacre Farm credit by providing payment or payment information toward a positive balance.  Member acknowledges responsibility to read statement balances or invoices provided by the Farmer, to request them if they are not provided, and to purchase additional CSA credits to continue to be able order and enjoy additional products from Broadacre Farm.

Suspension of service -- That if my Member credit balance is too low or funds do not exist to cover an order (and payments are not made) that the Farmer will stop fulfilling orders and delivering product.

Resumption of service -- That a Member may choose to resume suspended service by purchasing more Broadacre Farm 2016 CSA credits and adjusting their account settings.

Payment methods -- That Broadacre Farm offers the following payment methods: Credit card (via http://squareup.com/market/broadacre-farm), cash, check, or money order. Payments may be mailed to Broadacre Farm, ℅ Barrett Johanneson, W2262 County Rd. K, Durand, WI 54736. On a case-by-case basis and by request, Broadacre Farm may accept barter, gold, Bitcoin, and direct-deposit at WESTconsin Credit Union.

Credit expiration That all credits purchased for the 2016 season expire January 31, 2016! 2017 credits purchased in 2016 will be applied towards the 2017 season.  The Farmer encourages Members to take advantage of early-bird deals and sign-up for the next year’s season as soon as possible.  

Credit + account establishment That by submitting a payment and / or signing up for an online account,  my CSA share and my rolling, deductible credit balance is secured.

Agreement That I agree to the terms and conditions set forth in Broadacre Farm’s 2016 CSA Membership and Operating Agreement.

22 January 2016 @ 09:52 am

Broadacre Farm's 2016 CSA Buyer's Guide

How much is a credit worth?

Each credit is equivalent to $1.00 U.S dollar.

How are prices calculated?

Prices are calculated based on market rates, taking into account freshness, quality, our competitors, peak season, demand, and abundance or scarcity. We aim for fair and reasonable prices comparable to that of a brick-and-mortar farmer's market.

How many credits should I buy?

As many as you think you can use in a season, or as many as you can afford while there is a discount. Based on our classic share cost of 30 credits served for 20 weeks, the equivalent of a full-season full-share cost would be ~600 credits.

When are discounts available -- and why are they early?

Steep discounts are available in winter and early spring, with substantial discounts in late spring, and with market prices prevailing during our delivery season. Our discounts have concluded for the 2016 season -- please look for discounts to begin again in January of 2017. We believe that buying Broadacre Farm CSA credits is a great value anytime of year! The pay-ahead CSA model helps small farms like ours pay for the expenses of running a farm before the sales from crops could ever fund them.

How big is a classic share? What's the value of a classic share?

A classic share comes in a ¾ bushel box, and contains about 6-24 different items, though usually around 12-15. A full ¾ bushel box is about 2 fridge crispers-full. Classic shares are deducted at a flat rate of 30 credits. Shares are typically served brimming with food, although spring shares are physically much lighter due to 'greens season' while fall shares laden with root crops can be much heavier.

I've done a one-size-fits-all, flat-rate CSA before. How does your CSA compare in terms of value?

Here's a comparison of the value you get if you're familiar with classic CSAs: The equivalent price of a full share (3/4 bushel boxes weekly for 22 weeks) is about 600 credits. That's about two crispers-full of produce each week, from 6-24 items of naturally-grown heirlooms and garden favorites, plus herbs, spices, edible flowers, and wild-foraged specialties. A full share is suited to small and large families, people who split a share with a roommate or alternate a share with a neighbor, folks into canning and preserving, and individuals and couples who might be vegan / vegetarian, or who eat 4 or more meals at home each week.

Do you do half-size shares or every-other-week delivery?

Yes! The cost of a half-size share (1/2 bushel boxes weekly for 22 weeks) is 300 credits. That's enough for one crisper-full of produce each week, from 3-12 items of the same great produce we serve in full shares, but in a smaller package. A half share is suited to college students, individuals and couples who want to supplement their garden in off-seasons, and families who eat fewer than 4 meals at home each week.

Where will I be able to use my credits?

Web services provided by SmallFarmCentral.com are currently under development and is in a testing phase. Our future website will have login, user accounts, settings, and a shopping apparatus for shares you'd like to customize. (May 16: Testing is almost complete. We are currently creating original web content such as photos and descriptions for clear and organized shopping.)

Can I switch between classic shares and custom shares during the season?

Yes! (May 16: It is as easy as selecting Classic or Custom from a drop-down menu.)

I have more questions about Broadacre Farm's 2016 CSA!

Please watch for our 2016 CSA Membership and Operating Agreement which explains everything in great detail! Or, write to us or call with your personal questions.

23 May 2015 @ 06:23 am

A list of all the favorite heirloom plant varieties available today!

Beefsteaks and Slicers
German Johnson
Berkeley Pink Tie-Dye
Paul Robeson
Black Krim
Ruth's Red Perfect (photos)
Purple Calabash (photos)
Wisconsin 55 (photos)
Yellow Peach
Hawaiian Pineapple (photos)
Pink Brandywine (photos)

Salad Size
Cascade Lava (photos)
Tigerella (photos)

Lollipop Cherry (photos)
Matt's Wild Cherry
Black Cherry
Chocolate Cherry
Brandywine Cherry
Dr. Carolyn's Pink Cherry
Blue Berries Cherry
Sweet White Currant Cherry (photos)

Pearly Pink
San Marzano Lungo No. 2

Sweet Pepper
King of the North
Sweet Chocolate
Orange Bell

Hot Pepper
Magnum Habanero
Aji Limon
Craig's Grande Jalapeno
Serrano Huasteco

Other Peppers
Mulato Isleno (mole)
Pasilla Bajio (mole)
Peppadew (pickling)
Corno di Toro Giallo (Italian)
Corno di Toro Rosso (Italian)

Ukrainian Beauty

Greek Oregano
Italian Oregano
Culinary Sage
Anise Hyssop
Lemon Basil
Purple Ruffles Basil
Italian Large Leaf Pesto Basil
Double Parsley

Strange Fruits
Aunt Molly's Groundcherry
Purple Tomatillo
Garden Huckleberry

Summer Squash
Striata de Italia
Yellow Crookneck
Fordhook Zucchini

Winter Squash
Thelma Saunders Sweet Potato
Waltham Butternut
Tahitian Melon
Turk's Turban
Boston Marrow

Marina di Chioggia
Galeux d'Eysines (Peanut)
Mammoth King

Will's Sugar
Blacktail Mountain

European Melons
Far North

Shintokiwa Long
Double Yield

16 October 2014 @ 05:14 pm

what's in your share / what's in season

fruit                 'Ruth's Red Perfect' tomato

root                  carrot mix
                     'Yellowstone' and 'Red-Cored Chantenay'

root                  'Clearwater' sunchoke

herb                  parsley

herb                  thyme

herb                  lavender

herb                  rosemary

vegetable          winter squash@
                      'Red Kuri' pumpkin
                      'Nutterbutter' squash
                      'Spaghetti' squash
                      'Reba' acorn squash
                      'Tahitian Melon' squash
                      'Jarrahdale' blue pumpkin
                      'Sugar Baby' pumpkin
                      'Kakai Hulless' pumpkin

seeds                 pumpkinseeds

greens               'Ragged Jack' red kale & 'Lacinato' dinosaur kale

@ Random rotation

+ + +

Use first Sunchokes, tomato
Best keepers Winter squash & pumpkins

Cool, dry, & dark places Winter squash & pumpkins

Quick Picks
Pumpkin pie Squash + butter, maple syrup, egg, organic sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, brown sugar & pastry dough
Roast beef Carrots, sunchokes, tomato, parsley, thyme, lavender, rosemary + grass-fed beef, potatoes, onions
Meatloaf Parsley, thyme, lavender, rosemary + grass-fed ground beef, egg, crackers or breadcrumbs, black pepper, & ketchup
Mango-pumpkin ice cream Cooked pumpkin or squash + pureed mango, cream, egg yolks, sugar, grated ginger or crystallized ginger

+ + +

And with this week's share, the delivery season for Broadacre Farm's 2014 CSA is now at a close.

A few pragmatic things first: What should I do with my last share box? I will be reaching out to folks in the weeks following the CSA to make a one-day pickup of any wax boxes you would like taken away. Can I return my box in Menomonie? Boxes may also be returned at Menomonie Market Food Co-op – just mark it with the name “Joe”. Can I store the boxes over the winter? I wouldn't recommend it as the cardboard fiber and wax are flammable. This isn't an issue when the box is used in refrigeration. What's probably the best reuse? They are pretty convenient for hauling groceries, I hear. At the end of their life – are they recyclable or compostable? No, they should be included with other solid waste. Recyclers neither have a use for waxed cardboard nor do they have a way to refine it. I don't have any data to suggest they would compost as the wax makes the cardboard moisture- and microbe-resistant.

+ + +

This week, we have the season's last tomato – a Ruth's Red Perfect. We've grown them for three years now, loving their late-season ideal tomato qualities like a maroon interior deceptively darker than the skin and a rich, round tomato flavor. There are other tomatoes – storage varieties and the shelf-ripened rescues – but many fruits cross the line now and we prefer to think of happier days when each ripe tomato was perfect, trusses dripping off the vines, and summer seemed to stretch on forever.

Summer is over. Like in the spring, we again dig in the ground with our hands, this time because everything around has been consumed by cold, extinguished by frost, and our shovel was stolen, so no potatoes or groundnuts. The cold forces root crops to create sugars and hold them – a sweetening. The later in the season they're harvested, the sweeter carrots and sunchokes can get. We were thrilled with the yield and ease of harvest with our new sunchoke, Clearwater. The white skins are easy to see, lack the knobs and creases of wilder, red varieties, and we don't have to grow them in clay anymore. Washing was a snap as the alluvial silt drained away. Sunchokes match the fleeting season with fussy storability – exposed to air, they get pillowy and flat. Stored too wet, and mold will spring up from their sugars. Hope you enjoy these sunchokes, plumper than the last – try them sliced up raw, pickled, mashed or roasted.

The starchiness of the season, with root vegetables and squashes leading the charge, is a wonderful time to introduce aromatics to roasts, baking projects, and buttery root vegetables. Thyme, for it's ubiquity in European foods; rosemary for bridging the flavor race between breads and meats; and lavender as rosemary's doppelganger that adds a mysterious but delicious herbal exclamation point.

Burying the lede, so to speak, but of course this week is winter squash and pumpkin week extravaganza. The original plan was to mete them out one at a time over several weeks, but two things complicated this: Too many tomatoes to serve, and not enough of each squash variety to give each to everyone. We carefully budgeted a colorfully diverse mix of each variety that survived unscathed by the hordes of tiny striped beetles.

It's easy enough to Google Image Search cultivars, but here are some identifiers you'll notice handling them. Speaking of handling, don't use the stem as a handle – broken-stems can drastically reduce the shelf life.

'Red Kuri' pumpkin Flaming orange, a pointed bottom that makes it sit weird and spin like a top
'Nutterbutter' squash Miniature butternuts, with creamy light tan skin, a flat bottom, and bulbous ends
'Spaghetti' squash Shaped like a torpedo or a football, light yellow skin, with flesh that cooks into strands
'Reba' acorn squash Scalloped shape with a definite point, dark green skin and an orange-blush 'ripeness indicator'
'Tahitian Melon' squash Huge to giant, butternut shaped but slightly ribbed, and skin with pearly patina
'Hubbard's Green Improved' Teardrop-shaped and bright green, on the larger side
'Jarrahdale' blue pumpkin Distinct blue-grey skin, shiny like porcelain, deeply ribbed, & squatty or oblate
'Sugar Baby' pumpkin Classic small orange pumpkin
'Kakai Hulless' pumpkin Mostly orange pumpkin with a fading pattern of dark green webbing; dual purpose pumpkin chosen for flesh and dark-colored naked seeds that do not require shelling

Don't forget that with each squash you have the opportunity to harvest your own fresh pumpkinseeds. (We can't offer raw pumpkinseeds because it's a processing and 'cut raw food' step we aren't licensed to perform.) Pumpkinseeds have a similar nutrient profile compared to other oily seeds and nuts, and are tasty sprinkled on salads, rice dishes, or as an ingredient in herbal pestos as a substitute for pint nuts. (Why we substitute local ingredients for pint nuts until we can grow pines ourselves: Pint nuts are mostly imported from China and can be known to cause 'pine nut mouth', a real condition where the eater loses almost all sense of taste for weeks, and everything eaten tastes metallic like batteries until it gradually fades away.)\

Last on the menu is a return of greens, in the form of some really healthy kale, both 'Ragged Jack' (aka 'Red Russian) and 'Lacinato' (a dinosaur kale that also goes by the name 'Toscano di Nero', or Tuscan black.) Kale, like root crops, doesn't turn bitter or unpalatable at the end of the season, and instead sweetens to prevent it's cells from exploding ice crystals that can form in cold weather. The recent cold has helped immensely in producing this kale – the grasshoppers we've been battling are too lethargic to get to our tasty leaves.

+ + +

End of the Season Notes

First, a sincere and hearty roar of a 'thank you!' to all of our sharers, volunteers, local businesses, readers and eaters. It has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life working each week to bring you fresh, natural food. It's important that you know that your support of Broadacre Farm by joining share-by-share to our CSA is what made 2014 possible. Rather than just a list of names and addresses, by following your kitchen adventures and meeting with you each week, by mid-summer I felt like I was with family.

There is still so much we want to share with you, including plans for next-year's CSA, projects we've already begun in preparation for spring, and new varieties already going in the ground. And while the CSA news won't really be ready for primetime until early 2015, I want to talk about meat.

The extreme focus on the qualities and quantities of our CSA shares did not allow us to dive into poultry-raising this year, and so we have had no eggs or chickens to offer. With investments in infrastructure, the plan is to begin pasturing birds in spring of 2015.

In the meantime, our collaborative neighbors at 3D Farm do have pastured lamb and grass-fed beef available, and I am working with 3D to bring these wonderful meats to our CSA sharers. Starting in November, I'll be arranging special sales of beef and lamb for delivery to Eau Claire and Menomonie, as well as a special pick-up in Hudson, Wisc for our Minnesota customers.

You want a sneak peek grab-bag of what next year might look like? Heritage breed chickens, pastured eggs, more onions and garlic, more brassicas and kohl crops, more root crops, microgreens, cultivated fungi, CSA kiosks with share box return, an early bird discount, and plans to relocate to a homebase at the farm that has running water and other modern wonders!

Thank you again for your support and your feedback – we'll be in touch later this year with more thank-you's and a survey, and early next year with the full details of Broadacre Farm's 2015 CSA. Chat us up anytime!

Broadacre Farm is

Barrett Johanneson, Joe Castleberg and Gemma

(home) 715-673-4122 (cell) 715-505-5380



09 October 2014 @ 03:54 pm

what's in your share / what's in season

fruit                'Wolf River' apples

fruit                 large tomatoes
                    ('Black Krim', 'Hawaiian Pineapple', 'Kellogg's Breakfast', 'Ruth's Perfect Red', 'Aunt Ruby's German Green',
                        'Thessaloniki', 'Virginia

fruit                 small tomatoes
                    ('Lollipop', 'Sweetie','Sungold Select X', 'Black Cherry', 'Aunt Ruby's German Green X', 'Bloody Butcher', 'Indigo Rose')

fruit                 'Golden Anne' raspberries

vegetable         tomatillo mix
                    'Purple' and 'Cisineros'

vegetable         serrano peppers

vegetable         jalapeno pepper

vegetable         green habanero peppers

vegetable         baby sweet peppers
                     ('King of the North', 'Anaheim' and 'Sweet Chocolate)

vegetable           winter squash@
                       'Nutterbutter' butternut squash
                       'Spaghetti' squash
                       'Reba' acorn squash
                       'Delicata' winter squash

@ Random rotation

+ + +

Use first Ripe tomatoes, blemished squashes, raspberries

Best keepers Winter squash and pumpkins
Room temp to 50degF Peppers, tomatoes, tomatilloes

They can't stand each other Apples, tomatoes, and squash should all be stored apart from one another – gases from ripening fruit can spoil the whole lot.

Quick Picks

Golden God soup Squash or pumpkin, yellow and orange tomatoes, carrots + onion, coconut milk, turmeric, garlic, grated ginger, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt
Maple apple pie Apples + maple syrup, arrowroot powder, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, pastry

First, eat your golden raspberries – they don't last!

Now we are truly seeing the end of the tomatoes coming. The frequent morning frosts are enough, but we can see the rescued tomatoes inside diminishing through culls, preserving, and serving to each share. New tomato appearances this week include Ananas Noire (a green-pink-brownish red beefsteak) and a few more Indigo Rose (a black-sided salad tomato with delicate pink flesh). These two have been damn hard to bring to your table – the Ananas Noires are big splitters and crackers, while the Indigo Rose seemingly refuse to ripen up and feel hard as billiard balls. Overall, the tomatoes that are left are blemished, unevenly ripened, and presenting other season's-end cosmetic issues, so we downgraded to one quart of small tomatoes to wind the season down.

Prior to this week's share, we have been harvesting like none other. Three times this week, I have turned around from the farm and brought back a truckload of produce. That's about three times the volume we normally handle. While we brought in ripe tomatoes, semi-ripe tomatoes, and greenies, we've also been harvesting all of our peppers (from hot jalapenos to hotter serranos to fiery green habaneros), to the last lingering green peppers from crops we're close to calling failures because they produced so little, Anaheim peppers in particular.

All those peppers and tomatoes seem to indicate a lot of Mexican dishes in our future, but what tips the scales are the truly prodigious tomatillos. This week's harvest is from a single plant, and we have about a dozen more plants to complete harvesting. Our tomatillos have been going in a salsa verde, easing up the tomatoes for use in Italian dishes and canned items for winter. You don't have to can salsa verde – you can just make it on the stovetop and cool for chips, marinade some beef, chicken, or pork, or devour it over some tacos. Husk and wash tomatilloes with hot water for best results.

Apart from the onslaught of tomatoes, we are also able to bring you a heap of apples this week. The Wolf Rivers have reached a mature size and color, but what sets them apart is their wonderful perfume. Cook them or eat them raw, and know that they will hold up for (amazingly delicious) pie, but that pre-cooking for too long will result in sauce. Apples (and things like apple pie, apple jam, apple chutney) all freeze well. Any freezer box or Tupperware will do.

As for the squashes and pumpkins, we are trying to make the fairest and most robust 'random rotations' with our numerous varieties. This week, we have mostly smaller varieties. Break out your nana's pumpkin pie recipe.

Nutterbutter Baking, curries, soup

Spaghetti Bake, then scoop for vegan, gluten-free 'pasta'
Reba Baking, stuffing, roasting
Delicata Edible rind; slicing, frying, baking, stuffing

Preview of the last week Large pumpkins and winter squash, Silverton Russet potatoes, groundnuts, kale

Barrett Johanneson

02 October 2014 @ 04:48 pm

what's in your share / what's in season

fruit                     'Golden Anne' raspberries

fruit                     tomatoes
                        ('Black Krim', 'Hawaiian Pineapple', 'Kellogg's Breakfast', 'Ruth's Perfect Red', 'Aunt Ruby's German Green', & 'Thessaloniki')

fruit                     cherry tomatoes
                        ('Lollipop', 'Sweetie', 'Pearly Pink', 'Sungold Select X', 'Principe Borghese', 'Black Cherry' & 'Aunt Ruby's German Green X')

fruit                     salad tomatoes
                        ('Bloody Butcher', 'Sungold Select X', 'Aunt Ruby's German Green X', & 'Pearly Pink')

root                     carrot mix
                        ('Yellowstone', 'Chantenay' & 'Red-Cored Chantenay')

herb                    parsley

vegetable            kohlrabi
                        ('Superschmelz' & 'Early Purple Vienna')

vegetable            cauliflower
                        'Green Macerata'

vegetable            serrano peppers

vegetable            Italian frying peppers
                        'Jimmy Nardello'

vegetable            'Italia' sweet bell peppers

+ + +

Use first Raspberries, ripe tomatoes,
Best keepers Carrots, kohlrabi

Room temp to 50degF All tomatoes & peppers
Refrigerate Carrots, parsley, kohlrabi, cauliflower
Dry it Parsley
End of season Yellow-and-red sweet bell peppers

Quick Picks
Thai carrot-tomato bisque Carrots, orange tomatoes + coconut milk, ginger, garlic & onion
Stir fry Kohlrabi, carrots, cauliflower, serrano, sweet bell pepper, frying peppers, salad tomatoes + rice, tamari
Giardiniera pickles Kohlrabi, carrots, cauliflower, serrano, sweet bell pepper + salt & water
Raw-pack canned tomatoes Tomatoes + salt, lemon juice, jars and canning equipment
Seared cherry tomatoes Cherry tomatoes + garlic, butter, red wine vinegar, salt, herbs, & spices

Raspberries should be eaten while reading this sentence – a handling accident means they will probably only last through this day. In a way, we're thankful for little disasters like that because these raspberries are melting and somehow creamy. In growing perennials, it is often said that the first year they sleep (establishment year), the second year they creep (slow growth with some yields), and the third year it leaps (rapid growth and mature yields). Raspberries will have their own 'leap year' in 2015, and they fill a delicious spot for fruit as the summer heat dissipates and slight frosts roll through. Also cool about this variety is how the leaves curl around the berries, protecting them from frosty wind and dripping autumn rain.

A week of 80degF in October means tomatoes are having their anticipated ripening bonanza. The slight frost indeed killed back some leaves, exposing unripe fruit to waning sunlight. In places, the stupid jute and sisal trellises have sagged to the ground, with tomatoes in a substantial linear piles. The result was more tomatoes than we have ever grown, in any season. This week's harvest beats pretty much all the growing seasons we've ever had, almost all together. Cases and cases and cases, to the point where the entire pick-up bed was filled.

So what to do with it all, besides all the choice fruits going to you lovely folks? Besides having salad tomato wedges with the co-op's bulk salad green and searing cherry tomatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we have been doing some canning. Green salad tomatoes got pureed with apples and tomatilloes for an unusual fruit ketchup, with a lemony undertone coming from Sichuan peppercorns – this ketchup is amazing with pork brats and will be enjoyed alongside many beef ring bolognas. Tomatoes of all sizes get blanched, peeled, and stuffed into sterilized jars with salt and lemon juice at the bottom. Tomatoes go in raw and get boiling water bath canned for 85 minutes. The house fills with steam, the water runs down the windows, and the jars come out looking like kaleidoscopes.

As for the rest of the share, our parsley is holding the line while other herbs bide their time ahead of the upcoming freezes. Also in the share to represent green are our brassicas – also known as kohl crops and cruciferous vegetables. They've done relatively terribly this year, but we are encouraged by the Green Macerata cauliflower, which is the first cauliflower we have gotten to head up. Kohlrabi is cropping again, too, and we have a tidy mix of stem bulbs.

Peppers won't survive more super cold, so we have been stripping them – a few serranos, the last of the Italia sweet peppers, and the only crop of our Ark of Taste heirloom Jimmy Nardello peppers.

Preview of next weeks Pumpkins, winter squash, Silverton Russet' potatoes, more tomatoes, more tomatillos, Wolf River apples, groundnuts

Barrett Johanneson

25 September 2014 @ 04:04 pm

what's in your share / what's in season

fruit               'Wolf River' apple

fruit               'Golden Anne' raspberries

fruit               tomatoes
                  ('Sub-Arctic Plenty', 'Black Krim', 'Hawaiian Pineapple', 'Kellogg's Breakfast', 'Ruth's Perfect Red',
                      'Aunt Ruby's German Green', &

fruit               cherry tomatoes
                  ('Lollipop', 'Sweetie', 'Pearly Pink', 'Sungold Select X', & 'Principe Borghese')

fruit               salad tomatoes
                  ('Imur Prior Beta', 'Bloody Butcher', & 'Sungold Select X', & 'Aunt Ruby's German Green X')

root               beet mix
                  ('Touchstone Gold', 'Bull's Blood', & 'Chioggia Candystripe')

root               'Yukon Gold' potato

herb              wild white sage#

vegetable     'Applegreen' eggplant@

vegetable     serrano peppers

vegetable     jalapeno peppers

vegetable     Korean green peppers

vegetable     sweet bell & baby bell peppers
                 ('King of the North' & 'Sweet Chocolate')

# Wild foraged.
@ Random rotation

+ + +

Use first Ripe tomatoes, raspberries
Best keepers Potatoes, beets, apples

Room temp to 50degF All tomatoes & peppers
Refrigerate Beet mix
Dry it Wild white sage, hot peppers
End of season Sweet bell peppers

Quick Picks
Sweet beet borscht Beets, tomatoes, potatoes, herbs + raisins, mushroom broth, sour cream, dill, lemon juice
Spaghetti sauce Tomatoes, sweet peppers + onion, garlic, red wine vinegar, marjoram, thyme, oregano
Tart Tatin Cherry tomatoes + pastry dough
Salsa verde verde Ripe green tomatoes, tomatilloes, hot peppers, sweet peppers + garlic, onion, lime, cilantro
Egg in green pepper Sliced sweet pepper, egg + butter
Fruit sauce Apples, raspberries + raw honey, water

Getting to the end of the season means fewer surprises in terms of ingredients and crazy harvests. The Wolf River apples are still clutched to the tree without too much windfall or waste. About half the apples are culled due to scrape marks, gouge from twigs, and holes and are destined for applesauce, apple butter, and a special batch of apple-tomatillo ketchup that will be amazing with anything pork. I was proud to serve three little berries last week – will there be four this week? Raspberries are starting to burst out with fruit in the waning sunlight and frigid nights, but frost hasn't nipped them yet. The tomatoes have been dropping off in quantity and quality. At the peak of the season a couple weeks ago, we had three dozen beautiful beefsteaks ready to go. Now there are a smattering of orange Hawaiian Pineapples and Kellogg's Breakfast being matched with some of the most perfectly formed and excellently flavored Aunt Ruby's German Greens and even a Virginia Sweets – the most beautiful varieties are also our worst performers this year. Salad tomatoes now include a few plum-sized Aunt Ruby's so don't wait on a tomato that looks unripe – the green ones are ready when they yield to the touch and will also have some yellowing or pinking on the blossom end. Cherry tomatoes are still going strong, although we've experienced some hitches: 'Black Cherry' is slow, slow, slow, plus we left a tray of them in the garden; 'Snow White', a white cherry, appears to actually be more 'Lollipops'; and 'Sweetie' red cherries are so small and not very numerous that 'Principe Borghese' takes the slot for reds. There may be a time in the near future – or next year – when the cherries arrive in half-pecks but for now cherries are a laborious timesuck that also happens to absolutely be worth it. Finally, beets are on again, which in the context of tomatoes means borscht to me. Once you've decided to make a beet-based soup, you can start throwing in everything from carrots, potatoes, herbs, dried fruit like raisins and tart cherries, and then top it off with yogurt or sour cream and enjoy it hot or chilled. Yukon Gold potatoes, a favorite of a lot of potato eaters I know, have ameliorated our less-than-stellar potato harvests. You'll love them roasted whole, cubed in soups, sliced and baked with olive oil and wild white sage. Speaking of meager harvests, our most elaborate eggplant year has been a dud, with only four harvested and even fewer developing. Peppers, however, are in abundance for the last of the salsas, with a melange of jalapenos (loose on the bottom or atop the potatoes), serranos (with the salad tomatoes), and Korean green peppers (with the cherry tomatoes). With frost or even a freeze on the way, it was time to bring out all the sweet peppers we could muster, with half of all bells regardless of size harvested and nestled in your wax box. Oh yeah – the freeze is coming, perhaps as soon as Oct. 3. Big shares a'coming.

Preview of next weeks 'Silverton Russet' potatoes, carrots, more tomatoes, pumpkins & winter squash

Barrett Johanneson

18 September 2014 @ 04:35 pm

what's in your share / what's in season

fruit                     'Wolf River' apple

fruit                      'Nero' aronia berry

fruit                     'Golden Anne' raspberries

fruit                      tomatoes
                         ('Sub-Arctic Plenty', 'Black Krim', 'Hawaiian Pineapple', 'Kellogg's Breakfast', 'Ruth's Perfect Red',
                             'Aunt Ruby's German Green', &

fruit                      cherry tomatoes
                         ('Lollipop', 'Sweetie', 'Pearly Pink', 'Sungold Select X', 'Black Cherry' & 'Principe Borghese')

fruit                      salad tomatoes
                          ('Imur Prior Beta', 'Bloody Butcher', & 'Sungold Select X'')

fruit                      tomatillo mix

                         'Cisineros' and 'Purple'

root                      'Marris Piper' potato

root                       carrot mix
                          'Chantenay', 'Chantenay Red- Cored'@, & 'Yellowstone'@

herb                       'Aristotle' basil

herb                       wood sorrel

herb                       parsley

herb                       lavender&

spice                      carrot seed heads#

vegetable               kohlrabi mix
                           ('Superschmelz' and 'Vienna Early Purple')

vegetable               serrano peppers

vegetable               jalapeno peppers

vegetable               poblano pepper&

vegetable               'Italia' sweet pepper

vegetable               summer squash mix
                           ('White Scallop' patty pan@, 'Dark Green Prolific' zuke,
                               'Lemon' summer squash@,
'Yellow Crookneck' squash)

vegetable               'Lemon' cucumber&

# Wild foraged.

@ Random rotation
& Naturally grown item from family gardens

+ + +

Use first Ripe tomatoes, herbs, hot peppers
Best keepers Carrots, potatoes, zucchini, kohlrabi
Room temp All tomatoes & peppers, carrot seed heads
Dry it Lavender & parsley, serranos
End of season Basil, zucchini, and summer squash

Quick Picks

Salsa variations Tomatoes, tomatillo, sweet peppers, hot peppers + lime, garlic, onion, & salt
Half-mashers Potatoes carrots (or potatoes plus any other root: Jerusalem artichoke, rutabaga, or turnip)
Baked-then-fried potatoes One, bake potatoes. Two, chill. Three, slice. Four, drag through milk. Five, dredge in flour-based breading with finely ground cornmeal or Arboria rice plus salt and freshly ground pepper. Six, fry in butter. Or, substitute carrot seeds for black pepper.
Tea-pickled peppers Serranos, jalapenos + Lapsang Souchong smoked tea, salt, & garlic
Coleslaw Kohlrabi, apple, carrot, parsley, wood sorrel, ground carrot seeds + herbal vinegar & salt
Lavender lemon bars Lavender and wood sorrel + eggs, sugar, & pastry crust
Apple-aronia tart with lavender Apple, aronia berry, lavender + sugar, lemon juice, & pie crust
Aronia syrup Aronia berry + lemon juice, sugar & H20

Wolf River apple

Also known as the whole pie apple or the one-pound apple, this is the first crop that we knew we'd be serving and enjoying one day at Broadacre Farm. This variety of apple originated in northwestern Wisconsin in 1870, as a wild tree with unusually large fruit and has gone on to win pie-making contests and be coveted by dessert chefs ever since. The harvest dates we've found are all over the place, so we started harvest small at the first frost, and expect to resume harvesting before they start to fall and damage themselves. Pardon their blemishes, but also recognize their value – commercially grown apple trees are sprayed far above and beyond almost any other crop with up to two dozen different chemical residues found on supermarket apples. Our apples are all apple, with no weird sprays, no funky chemicals, and no unidentifiable (but probably petroleum-based) waxes.

'Nero' aronia berry

This largely unknown berry has been showing up on beverage labels and cereal ingredient lists since I learned about it about five years ago. In a lot of ways, it's like a blueberry – dark blue, grows on a bush, same size, similar blossom-end rosette. But they are indeed different fruits. Aronia berries start out as very tart and astringent, but lose astringency and gains sweetness upon ripening. They aren't juicy and so don't squish quite like blueberries, but they don't require specialized soil, water, nutrients, and fussiness like blueberries either. Aronia is also known as chokeberry, which authors like Sam Thayer (Wisconsin forager extraordinaire) have bemoaned sounds and reads just like chokecherry. So let's just say aronia, eh? Best paired with other fruit – and don't forget the sweetener (sugar, stevia, or otherwise).

Golden Anne raspberries

So glad these survived frost – have a first taste of next year's fall standard with these pillowy, mild, and a little-beat-up raspberries.


We got frosts – two or three of them this week – but the damage was minor. Cooling weather plus diminishing sunshine from cloud cover and the fall-angled sun means beefsteaks will begin their slow decline. Salad tomatoes and cherry tomatoes didn't seem to be injured and maybe started ripening even faster. Our goal is to continue having tomatoes in the last four shares of the season, but all that could change with the first freeze. Before that day (which could be slated for September 29 or 30), we plan to harvest all our tomatoes, be they green or halfway or ripe. The flavor of pre-picked tomatoes simply doesn't compare to vine-ripened tomatoes in August, but to have a supply of fresh tomatoes readying as you rake leaves or start the fireplace for the first time … it's a sublime enjoyment.

Maris Piper potato

This is a new variety for us. We skipped the Kennebecs and Norlands this year to try something a little different and found Maris Piper to have staple qualities with a different character. It's an English heirloom which is reputed to have a high dry matter / lower moisture content making it suitable for French fries, roasted, baked, or mashed. Really pleased this yield surpasses that of Purple Peruvian fingerlings – the weed pressure in the potatoe patch has been fearsome.


Carrots are turning out nice – sizing up and succeeding each other. Chantenays are big and blunt, while the Yellowstones have an identifiably spicy scent. The smaller wedge-shaped roots are supposed to be Chantenay Red Cored, but I think something went awry and I'm not sure what they are besides delicious.

Basil Frankly, not even sure if this will make it into the share as of writing. There is a bit of frost-blackening across the top, but the globe shaped plants protected the inner growth. This is certainly the last basil of the year, and I'm happy for it – it has been a terrible year trying to grow enough good basil. (There's never enough basil.) Wood sorrel tart little shamrock leaves appear to be prone to frost, but we have a few protected places for this week's harvest, plus one more? Parsley to bring a sharp, mineral flavor to your dishes. Lavender, from Joe's folks' garden – thanks to Sheila for cutting us a few sprigs to share. I don't know how she grows such nice lavender – mine is about 4 inches high after an entire season.

Carrot seed heads
Before getting into flavor, you must know that some professionals warn against women who are pregnant or who are seeking pregnancy. First, I am not a doctor, but I will say that carrot seeds are counterindicated for considerations toward a woman's fertility. If you're male, younger, older, or otherwise not looking to expand the family, feel free to enjoy this third edible part of the incredible carrot, after the root and the greens. The flavor has a bit of citrus following behind a vibrant black-pepperiness (as opposed to mustardy-pepperiness). I harvest the seed heads whole because of a vague memory that threshing seeds is considered a processing step. Processing is a no-no in the raw produce business unless you have a commercially licensed kitchen, so we offer unthreshed seed heads already in a threshing bag for your enjoyment.


Never said this before but don't forget to peel it! Kohlrabi – the cabbage with a lump in its throat – is back for a second and final time. Just as they were sizing up, many started to crack. I'm pretty disappointed in our brassicas this year, as we've pretty much lost hope in broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage being included in any share this year. Even kale has been bad, bitten into oblivion. We're strategizing how we can include more brassicas next year, as we recognize they're a staple on the dinner table.

Hot peppers

Serranos are now beating jalapenos in the size department, with a few about four inches long. Jalapenos are still squatty, with shoulders and more width. If you make salsa, you're running out of time as our peppers could be nixed by a freeze at any time.

Sweet peppers
Poblano Let's thank Joe's mom Sheila again sharing a few of her peppers! Our Anaheims are slow, slower, slowest so these blocky morsels are a pleasure to behold. Italia has borne the brunt of weeds, strangely acid soil, and encroachment by squashes, and the cold and rain is doing no favors. Next week, they'll stop.

Zucchini and squashes
Succession coming on just to get nipped by frost. These could also end at any time, plunging us into fall.

Lemon cucumber
Pale yellow, round, and the last of them! Special thanks to Christy and Sheila for rounding out our final shares!

Preview of next weeks 'Silverton Russet' potatoes, beets, eggplant, more tomatoes & more peppers

Barrett Johanneson

11 September 2014 @ 04:19 pm

what's in your share / what's in season

fruit                     tomatoes
                        ('Sub-Arctic Plenty', 'Black Krim', 'Hawaiian Pineapple', 'Kellogg's Breakfast',
                             'Ruth's Perfect Red', 'Aunt Ruby's German Green', &

fruit                     cherry tomatoes
                         ('Lollipop', 'Sweetie', 'Pearly Pink', 'Sungold Select X', & 'Black Cherry')

fruit                     salad tomatoes
                         ('Imur Prior Beta', 'Bloody Butcher', 'Sungold Select X', 'Virginia Sweets', & 'Aunt Ruby's German Green Cherry X')

fruit                     drying tomatoes

                        ('Principe Borghese')

root                      'Chantenay' carrot

root                       Jerusalem artichoke

herb                      'Purple Ruffles' basil

herb                       oregano

vegetable               summer squash mix
                           ('White Scallop' patty pan@, 'Dark Green Prolific' zuke, 'Lemon' summer squash@, 'Yellow Crookneck' squash)

vegetable               serrano peppers

vegetable               jalapeno peppers

vegetable               'Magnum' habanero pepper@

vegetable               sweet pepper@
                          ('King of the North' & 'Italia')

@ Random rotation

+ + +

Use first Jerusalem artichoke, ripe tomatoes, herbs
Best keepers Carrots, squash, zucchini, hot peppers

Room temp All tomatoes & peppers
Dry it Purple basil & oregano

Quick Picks

Tomato sauce Tomatoes, oregano, basil + red wine, red wine vinegar, salt
Salsa Tomatoes, serrano, jalapeno, habanero, sweet peppers, zucchini + lime, garlic, red onion
Oven-dried tomatoes Principe Borgehese tomatoes, oregano, basil + olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic
>>> Or, try Mexican spices and hot peppers
Caprese salad Tomatoes, purple basil + olive oil, mozzarella cheese


  • Starting to see the 'intentionally green' tomatoes come on – the taste-test winning beefsteak 'Aunt Ruby's German Green' and her cherry version which turns out to be a cross. The best way to tell ripeness with these is not by color, but by touch. The tomatoes' flesh should be soft and give a little when touched. A faintly yellow tinge also appears on the 'blossom end'.

  • 'Principe Borgheses' are back, and we can now recommend the 2-hour roasting as an approximation of 7-hour sun-drieds. Sun-drieds are more flavorful, but roasted gives you more to bite into.

  • The beauty of heirlooms is really coming through – you're now seeing giant orange-yellows (doppelgangers Hawaiian Pineapple and Kellogg's Breakfast), pillow-shaped salad tomatoes with variations from yellow to striped to brown, and an expanding selection of cherries of all sizes and colors. We try to keep blemishes to a bare minimum (tomatoes with one healed wound and no open flesh), so you can see the exquisite variation between varieties. Supermarket consumers would probably cry out that they are not perfectly similar without any characteristic markings. But we are happy to share the bounty of summer when it includes map-like lines, dotted stripes, deep ruffles and fluted contours, and stretch marks where their antique genetics pushed the tomatoes' girth to gigantic proportions.

Feeling challenged
We tended to a lot of mostly disgusting disasters this week: Ruptured an eardrum, discovered a trash can functioning as an ecosystem, and harvested in a torrential gale. As for Gemma, we cleaned up so much dog barf, threw out the bed she yakked on, then she got sprayed in the face by a skunk. We also tended to a family member's fifth arrest and third rehab this year, all while other close family is getting married out of town this weekend. Hope you don't mind one-pager – we're ready hit the resent button right about now. Onward to glorious fall CSA shares!

Preview of next weeks 'Yukon Gold' potatoes, aronia berry, tomatillo, lemon cukes, beets, eggplant, golden raspberries, more tomatoes & more peppers

Barrett Johanneson

04 September 2014 @ 09:33 pm

fruit                 wild plums+

fruit                 wild apple mix+

fruit                  tomatoes
                       ('Sub-Arctic Plenty', 'Black Krim', 'Hawaiian Pineapple', 'Kellogg's Breakfast', & 'Ruth's Perfect Red')

fruit                  cherry tomatoes
                       ('Lollipop', 'Sweetie', 'Pearly Pink', & 'Sungold Select X')

fruit                  salad tomatoes
                       ('Imur Prior Beta', 'Sub-Arctic Plenty', and 'Bloody Butcher', 'Sungold Select X', & 'Virginia Sweets')

root                  carrot mix
                       ('Chantenay', 'Red Cored Chantenay', & 'Dragon')

root                  fingerling potato
                       ('Purple Peruvian')

herb                 wild oregano mint

herb                 parsley

herb                 wood sorrel+

vegetable         sweet corn
                       'Country Gentleman'

vegetable         'White Scallop' patty pan@

vegetable         'Dark Green Prolific' zuke

vegetable         'Lemon' summer squash@

vegetable         'Yellow Crookneck' squash

vegetable         cucumbers
                       ('Mountain Pickling'@ and 'Boothby Blonde'@)

vegetable          'Korean Dark Green' peppers

vegetable           serrano peppers

vegetable           jalapeno peppers

vegetable           'Magnum' habanero pepper@

vegetable            green sweet pepper
                          'King of the North'

vegetable            yellow & orange sweet pepper
                          'Red Belgian'

+ Wild foraged
@ Random rotation

+ + +

Use first Ripe tomatoes, herbs, peppers

Best keepers Carrots, potatoes, squash, & zucchini

Room temp All tomatoes & peppers

Best cooked Wild plums and wild apples

Dry it Wild oregano mint, parsley, hot peppers

Replant it Wild oregano mint

Quick Picks

Tomato sauce Tomatoes, wild oregano mint, parsley, sorrel + red wine, red wine vinegar, salt

Salsa Tomatoes, serrano, jalapeno, Korean pepper, habanero, sweet peppers, sweet corn, zucchini + lime, garlic, red onion

Long-stewed hen Carrots, tomatoes, parsley, zucchini + stewing hen, red wine, garlic, red onion

Lacto-fermented peppers Jalapeno, serrano, habanero, sweet peppers, habanero + salt, garlic

Wild plum-apple sauce Wild plums, wild apples + water, sugar or honey, vanilla bean

Wild plums

What I consider to be the harbinger of fall, as it's always ripening as the nights are cool and . One of my first foraging experiences was on the corner of an old field in Puposky, Minnesota, where rickety old trees collapsing under wild grapevines lighted up with maroon-yellow orbs of fruit. Plums range in ripeness from almost liquefied to hard-and-yellowish, with the very softest ones most enjoyable for fresh eating. Then, the yellow-orange flesh is sweetest while the skin never loses any tartness. The best application here is for cooking. Not only do the sweet juices blend with the tart skins, but that vivid reddish-purple color leaches out into a sauce. You have to strain the pits, but that's no big deal once you've smelled their signature wild plum aroma coming from your saucepan. Don't attempt to pit them – not only are they 'clingstone' rather than 'freestone', but the flesh and skin cook away from the pit. Lastly, if you're a true kitchenista, you can make a child's strength fermented beverage traditionally made from the leavings of fruit processing like leftover pulp, skins, and pits – kin. Probably named after 'kinder' (German for child), it's a low-alcohol ferment that gets a second use out of the first harvest.

Wild apples

Some are ugly, some are red, some are sweet and dry, and some are tart and juicy – that means they're best with their powers combined. Since that kind of rules out fresh eating, delve into some fall fare like applesauce, apple pie or tarts, or combine their body with the flavor of wild plums and spoon over ice cream, oatmeal, or dress up a plain old cheesecake. Joe and I foraged most of these cosmetically-impaired fruits from seldom producing wild trees along a pasture fenceline in Buffalo County. Now that we've lived here for about five years, we're starting to get to know where all the apple trees are, when they are ready, and which ones are worth the effort. Weeks back, I teased wild crabapples – nope, that tree was ransacked by deer who jerked the branches down to make all the ripe fruit fall. But then these lagging trees had ample amounts, plus we gleaned from our friend Margaret's mother's tree whose fruit was at risk of not being picked and eaten.


The only change with tomatoes – besides seeing new south-garden varieties like Virginia Sweets, Ruth's Perfect Red, and Ananas Noire starting to show ripe fruit. However, the downpours have added up to nearly five inches of rainfall this week. The full-grown canopies of tomatoes plus constant moisture that never really dries out puts the crop at some risk of fungus, but it also means added habitat for slugs which reduced our perfect orange beefsteak tomato harvest by half. Twelve little slug bites translates eighteen pounds of beautiful tomatoes rendered un-servable. These bigger orange tomatoes – primarily lookalikes Hawaiian Pineapple and Kellogg's Breakfast – have all their distinctive markings, unique scars, and lewd shapes plus the result of our packing policy where 'only one blemish allowed'.

Little allowances like that are done to cut down on waste, as up to 40% of food that is grown is wasted.

Cherry tomatoes

The most significant thing we've discovered here is that two of our anticipated varieties are not fruiting true to their descriptions. Sungold Select Cherry is supposed to be not only the best flavored orange cherry, but also the overall taste test winner for all of cherry-tomato-dom. However …. the only organic seed available was from an Etsy seller and they must not have ensured against cross-pollination because every plant sets a different color fruit, and none are cherry sized. Few are even orange, but instead with pixelated stripes, oblate yellow cushions, and brownish with green shoulders. Same thing is happening with the newly fruiting Aunt Ruby's German Green Cherry, which also is not cherry sized and is already showing color variations making the harvest of intentionally green and ripe tomatoes into a very perplexing endeavor. With no uniform size or color traits to count on for ripeness. Thinking next year about going with Green Zebra, another green tomato that indicates with yellow stripes when it's ready.

Salad tomatoes

A selection of not-quite-cherry, not-quite-slicer tomatoes that would otherwise roll around the box and get squished by everything. Our most prolific fruits so far are Imur Prior Beta and Bloody Butcher, but now Stupice is coming on strong with nearly identical fruits and the lovely variations of Sungold Select X showing variety. Quarter or eighth them, toss with chopped cucumber, crushed garlic, and a vinaigrette and you're ready.

Carrot mix

First of our carrots – don't peel to retain the nutrients in their colorful skins! Dragons also lose their purplish color upon cooking.


As per a sharer request, we bring you Purple Peruvian potatoes. Their appearance is delightful, but our yields were disappointing, probably due to incredible weeds. We want your feedback on flavor for this variety, because we're doing purple fingerlings again in 2015, but there are many choices out there. For a fun experiment, you can create purple or blue baked goods with potatoes like these. To tint things up, bake, boil, or roast the potatoes, mash them, and include in your favorite bread or pancake recipe. Also feels perfect plating these alongside a Salad Nicoise.


Parsley, wood sorrel (the invisible herb from last week's share – it got cut after print deadline), and wild oregano mint. These should pair well with two of the most popular routes, Italian and Mexican.

Summer squash and zucchini

Old zukes are succumbing to powdery mildew; new zukes are putting on fruit and filling the space where our lettuce crop bit the bullet. For perspective, sixteen patty pans last week; one this week.


The last hurrah for these, too – the plants are done.


From sweetest to hottest: Green bell, yellow and orange sweets, jalapeno, Korean pepper, serrano, habanero. Still only four habaneros – they need heat.

Technology Report

To save time and track all of my ideas, I keep a file called Broadacre Everything File as a journal and catch-all for seed-shopping, important dates, recipes, & ideas for the Broadsheet. This week, the power supply was interrupted while saving this 67-page document of everything going on at the farm, and turned it into hash marks. RIP, Everything File; I last printed you two months ago. ###

Mixology Note

Wild oregano mint is back, and the flavor has changed again – the thyme-oregano herbal notes are all at their strongest, but mint has come back to match them with mild, sweet, delicious leaves. Turn wild plums to syrup.

Preview of next weeks Potatoes, carrots, aronia berry, tomatillo, more peppers & more tomatoes

Barrett Johanneson


fruit                     tomatoes
                      ('Sub-Arctic Plenty', 'Black Krim', 'Hawaiian Pineapple', & 'Kellogg's Breakfast')

fruit                     drying tomatoes
                      ('Principe Borghese')
fruit                     cherry tomatoes
                      ('Lollipop', 'Sweetie', & 'Pearly Pink')
fruit                     salad tomatoes
                         ('Imur Prior Beta', 'Sub-Arctic Plenty', and 'Bloody Butcher')
root                     beet mix
                      'Bull's Blood', 'Touchstone Gold', & 'Chioggia'
herb                    'Aristotle' basil
herb                    Italian parsley
herb                    thyme
herb                    wood sorrel
spice                   Sichuan peppercorns+
vegetable           'Bling F1' sweet corn
vegetable           'Superschmelz' kohlrabi
vegetable           'White Scallop' patty pan,
vegetable           'Dark Green Prolific' zuke
vegetable           'Lemon' summer squash@
vegetable           'Yellow Crookneck' squash
vegetable            cucumbers
                      'Mountain Pickling'@ and 'Armenian'%@
vegetable            'Lemon' cucumber%
vegetable            pea and bean mix
                      ('Rembrandt' snow peas, 'Sugar Anne' snap peas, 'Neckargold' pole bean, 'Burgundy' bush bean)
vegetable             serrano peppers
vegetable             jalapeno peppers
vegetable             green sweet pepper
                       'King of the North'
vegetable             yellow sweet pepper
                       'Red Belgian'
vegetable          'Magnum' habanero pepper@

+ Wild foraged

@ Random rotation
% Family contribution

+ + +

Use first Ripe tomatoes, sweet corn, herbs

Best keepers Beets, peppercorns, patty pan
Room temp All tomatoes, basil
Dry it Sichuan peppercorns, thyme

Quick Picks

Tomato sauce Tomatoes, thyme, Italian parsley, basil + red wine, red wine vinegar, salt

Salsa Tomatoes, serrano, jalapeno, habanero, green pepper, yellow pepper + garlic, lime
Pink coleslaw Kohlrabi, beet, cucumber
Borscht Tomato, beet, cucumber, thyme, parsley + onion, mushroom broth, celery seed, raisins, sour cream, dill
Gazpacho Cucumber, tomato, sweet peppers + garlic, onion, cool water, olive oil, vinegar
Ratatouille Tomato, zucchini, sweet peppers, basil, thyme, + bay, garlic, onion, eggplant
Grilled smorgasbord Tomatoes, beet, patty pan, squash, zucchini, sweet pepper, kohlrabi, tomatillos, sweet corn + olive oil, applewood-smoked salt, ground coriander, chili flakes

Tomatoes are those big, weird beefsteaks that we dream about all winter. New inclusions are a couple of the large orange varieties – Kellogg's Breakfast and Hawaiian Pineapple – which only improve the more orange they get. Great for cooking, canning, and eating fresh (including for breakfast), you can admire their beauty and odd variations, then let their orange flesh dissolve into your favorite dishes. Drying tomatoes are the quart of all orange-red cherry-size tomatoes. Principe Borgheses, our most prolific tomato, produce copious amounts of small fruits best suited to traditional dehydrator drying, sun-drying, oven-drying, and roasting. When cooking, a little balsamic vinegar (or balsamic strawberry juice, or Fruitti di Bosco) to your preparation to bring condensed tomato flavors into a whole new realm of intensity. Salad tomatoes are about the size of a golf ball at one-to-two ounces, and are the right size to quarter and serve raw atop salads, to peel and marinate in an overnight brine, or to cook whole in flavorful Italian sauces. A new variety here is Sungold Select Cherry Tomato, which is quite certainly not cherry-sized. This category is also more of a 'plum' tomato mix. Pearly Pinks are more plum-sized, too, and they lead the way in the cherry tomatoes, alongside the yellow Lollipop and red Sweetie plus a few very ripe Principes.

Beets – root crops besides radishes, finally! Only they are slowly sizing up, while other ready beets developed a disconcerting series of spots. So we kept the ugliest ones back and offer a few to give color and earthy flavor to a dish or two. I love borscht for beets, a soup that can withstand half the ingredients summer has to offer, although beet slices roasted with olive oil, garlic, salt, and finished with goat cheese is simple, classic, and a fine way to enjoy a beet. There should be a few more beets on the way, but not so many to overwhelm you.

Basil, Italian parsley, thyme, wood sorrel

Four herbs you can parcel out to your weekly dishes, or use all together in a pesto, a homemade sauce or pickle, or mix leaves all together and preserve in frozen olive oil cubes. With basil you have sweet, parsley has minerals and vegetal points, aromatic thyme smells clean and sunny, with wood sorrel bringing a Northwoods lemon tartness to the bunch. Drip spoons full of pesto over freshly sliced raw tomato and mozzarella for pure summer heaven.

Sichuan peppercorns seem to go along with fall crops – roots and brassicas especially – and so go ahead and reserve this August specialty for days of future hunger. We've experimented with these to see how much abuse they can take and stay fresh. From leaving them out on a plate to dry for weeks, to packing them in bins in the fridge, nothing takes their aroma and flavor away. I'd recommend leaving the lid off to let excess moisture dissipate, and then simply stowing them with your spices for that rainy day. A pepper grinder, spice mill, or a clean coffee grinder is your best friend with these.

Sweet corn this week is the last of the Bling F1, with some cute mini ears appearing with the full-sizes. Easy to use a small amount – boil for two minutes, tongs it to a cutting board, cool slightly, then strip with a knife to throw in cornbread, salsas, or atop a pizza.

Kohlrabi is the engorged throat of the brassica family that also has cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Finely textured and succulent, you'll love this vegetable sliced, grated, or even in big grill-marked planks to go along with kebabs.

Cucumbers are slowing down, including Boothby Blondes which bit the bullet and are over. However, we shared some produce from Joe's parents, including Armenian cukes, which are fuzzy, green, and furrowed, as well as Lemon cukes, named for their yellow shape rather than for their mild flavor. Joe's folks are growing their cucumbers in strawbales using soil pulled from their calf enclosure, so no needly unknowns there. Joe found a few recipes for lemon cukes specifically, including using the cored fruits as soup bowls. Not up for soup in summer? Stock up on buns for sandwiches because these round cukes have that perfect midsection to match.

Summer squash, patty pan, and zucchini are starting to tax my brain, so I would love to hear what you're doing with them. Drop us a line by email, text, or social media – we want to share your ideas for this bumper crop of courgettes with the other sharers. I can say that right now I'm dreaming about a roast chicken soup with zucchini, corn, and sweet peppers, as well as those cumin-flavored patty pan pickles sampled at Fermentation Fest.

Pea and bean mix is enjoying its final week as the plants are waning. We'll cut them down soon and new light, heat, and airflow will transfer to tomatoes that could use a boost.

Serranos and jalapenos are here to spice up your life. Hard to choose the rotation, frankly, because we have many other peppers reaching maturity, including Jimmy Nardello frying peppers, Sweet Chocolate bell peppers, actual ripening Red Belgians, and Anaheims, as well as hot peppers like Korean Dark Green and Magnum habanero (making its rotating debut this week).

Sweet peppers are being thinned again for your enjoyment, and we are starting to see some reddening and ripening. Some of the King of the North peppers are not only the best quality, size, and weight for us as growers, but also, humbly, the nicest we've seen as consumers, too.

Mixology Notes

Lemon cucumbers can be juiced into “cocktails, agua frescas, and smoothies”, as Joe found at SpecialtyProduce.com, and has ideal flavor matches with melon (Midori), gin (Hendrick's), and margaritas. Peel first, though – cucumber peels turn pre-made beverages bitter after hours. Sichuan peppercorns, which actually taste lemony, have potential in a glass. I tried to brainstorm their application – something about Citron Peppar – but clearly this needs some experimentation via strong infusions. As for kohlrabi, I saw one being used as a vessel for a drink at renowned Danish farm-and-forage restaurant Noma, aka the world's highest rated restaurant. Obviously with this many tomatoes, herbs, peppers, and peppercorns, someone will be making some fine Bloody Marys – imagine the flavor of a raw smoothie version, with fresh blended tomato, green pepper, and serranos.

Preview of next weeks Wild plums, yellow dock root, black tomatoes, carrots, carrot seedheads

Barrett Johanneson

sound: Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma

fruit                     tomatoes
                      ('Sub-Arctic Plenty', 'Imur Prior Beta', 'Black Krim', & 'Bloody Butcher')
fruit                     cherry tomatoes
                      ('Principe Borghese', 'Lollipop', 'Sweetie', & 'Pearly Pink')
fruit                     'Zestar!' apple
herb                     Purple Ruffles basil
spice                     Sichuan peppercorns+
vegetable             'Milky Way' sweet corn
vegetable             'White Scallop' patty pan,
vegetable             'Dark Green Prolific' zuke
vegetable             'Lemon' summer squash@
vegetable             'Yellow Crookneck' squash
vegetable             cucumber
                       ('Mountain Pickling' or 'Boothby Blonde')
vegetable             pea mix
                       ('Rembrandt' snow peas & 'Sugar Anne' snap peas)
vegetable              bean mix
                        ('Neckargold' pole bean, 'Burgundy' bush bean)
vegetable              tomatillo mix
                        (purple and 'Cisineros')
vegetable              serrano peppers
vegetable              jalapeno pepper
greens                   Greens of the Season Mix ('Ragged Jack', 'Lacinato', and 'Pentland Brig' kale; 'Bull's Blood' beet greens, & Rainbow Lights chard)

+ Wild foraged
@ Random rotation

+ + +

Use first Ripe tomatoes, greens, sweet corn
Best keepers Tomatillo, peppercorn, patty pan
Room temp Tomatoes, basil
Dry it Sichuan peppercorns

Quick Picks
Oven-dried tomatoes
Principe Borghese cherry tomatoes + dried herbs, olive oil, garlic

Salsa verde Tomatillo, serrano, jalapeno, basil + roasted garlic, lime
Chili verde Salsa verde + green pepper, pork
Zucchini-corn salsa Tomato, zucchini, sweet corn, serrano, jalapeno + onion, garlic
Pasta salad Snap peas, basil, marinated beans, cherry tomatoes + quinoa pasta, olive oil

The beefsteaks are still coming on, with Black Krim leading the way, and the rest lagging because the tomato plants are so huge they cast shade upon themselves. Experiments of weeding, trimming, and additional trellising are underway. This is another case of wishing for the summer we are not getting this year – we need sunshine and heat to bring on the late varieties. There is still plenty of time, but all those green orbs are tempting. One tragedy occurred when we left the first (and exquisite) Kellogg's Breakfast tomato on a table at the farm. Next week there will be more!

Cherry tomatoes
A few new varieties here, and while they're pretty and tasty, they're not numerous yet. Not so with Principe Borghese, an Italian heirloom bred to be the ideal sun-drying tomato – it's the majority tomato in the quart, deep orange-red with a peach-like cleft and often a characteristic sharp point at the blossom end. If you're wondering how in the hell someone sun-dries something in cold, wet weather without it spoiling, the answer is that we do it in the oven. One of my first garden-to-kitchen experiments was raising these little meaty Principes (or P.B's, we talk them up so much), where I grew them specifically to dry. However, without a solar dryer, I was a little stuck until I found a recipe in my first adult cookbook for oven-dried tomatoes. So bless Michael Chiarello for this fantastic way to enjoy tomatoes. The process is easy, transformative, but uses a lot of time (up to 7 hours) in the oven at low temperatures. Here's how to do it: Slice Principe Borgheses in half from stem to blossom end (not on their 'equator' because they roll too much on the pan. Start adding it together in a large mixing bowl, and coat them with olive oil and a couple cloves of pressed garlic. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of dried herbs -- herbes de Provence, or a mixture of thyme, ground fennel seed rosemary, lavender, and marjoram. Or use fresh herbs: Rule of thumb for substituting dry herbs for fresh is 1:4 – so, if you have fresh herbs, use 4 tablespoons. Add a generous crackling of black pepper and sea salt, then bake at 170 deg F for 6-7 hours, checking about once every hour. Toward the end of baking, the tomatoes will be reduced to 1/3 or ¼ of its original size, and should have a leathery quality where no more juice exudes but without crispiness or scorching. Remove and cool, then store in a jar using the herbed oil and maybe a little additional olive oil to cover. Stores in the fridge for a week or less, depending on juiciness (juicy tomatoes besides Principes don't store as well). Oven-dried tomatoes keep in the freezer indefinitely, and are fantastic on pizzas, in casseroles, beside cuts of meat, in pasta salad, in sandwiches, blended into readymade or homemade sauces, and even the herbed oil makes a wonderful base for salad dressing.

So proud to bring you an apple from our Zestar apple trees. Lots to say about Zestar and yet more is said by offering you one of our first apples as a demonstration of our commitment to perennial agriculture.

Basil continues to be a tough crop to grow this year, and ever thankful we have six varieties. Purple Ruffles is up this week, although we reduced the harvest because our second section is getting shaded out and it has destroyed the texture and the flavor. I do see a recovery for the plants themselves, but the flavor once it returns from thrip damage will be the biggest question to answer.

Sichuan peppercorns
The reddened seed husk of the prickly ash tree that grows wild around here. Lemony and numbing, a little goes a long way – 7-10 corns for a Chinese dish, or about 1-3 corns per pound of meat. Best dried and ground.

Sweet corn
'Milky Way' is the name we chose for this family heirloom that we grew in conjunction with his parents, Christie and Sheila Castleberg. Chris originally bought the seed from the Shumway seedhouse before GMO corn was introduced into the market (and in fact GMO sweet corn has only recently been let loose on the food system. So after years of growing Peaches and Cream, Kandy Korn, and Tender Treat sweet corn together, selecting and saving seed from the best cobs, and renewing this cycle every year, we bring you a sweet corn that really isn't available anywhere else. And while grown in Buffalo County, these plants were raised in our former garden which had a three-year track record of no pesticides and herbicides, enough time to qualify for organic certification.

Squashes, Cucumber, Pea mix & Bean mix
These four are pretty common to you now, and as they should be – they are our summer garden staples. A few changes though – we cut down the 'Tendergreen' half-pole, half-bush beans because they were incompatible with our habaneros, 'King of the North' sweet peppers, holy basil, and lavender. (Plus the beans were rough and production fell way off weeks ago.) Cucumbers are clinging to life, but producing less now and there may be a gap before the new plants set fruit. I thought squash was a goner when I saw powdery mildew on the leaves, but they are producing more than ever, and could peak next week with the rain we've gotten.

Also known as husk tomatoes, tomatillos are used in much the same way as tomatoes. There are a few differences, though. They aren't well known outside of Mexican and Mesoamerican cuisine, and they don't have quite the same richness of flavor as tomatoes. No matter, as they are the primary ingredient in salsa verde, which is then the base for chili verde (a green chili with slow-cooked pork). Tomatillos keep extraordinarily well – when picked before first frost, they can store until Thanksgiving. That's due to the fibrous husk that keeps pests at bay, and any with a hole is easily discarded. Besides the husk, tomatillos have a sticky layer of saponins (natural soap) on their skin that must be washed off until the fruits are no longer slippery. Because of these protections, our tomatillos are unwashed. One of those cases where washing promotes spoilage and reduces shelf life. After washing, their best treatment is broiling under and extremely hot element until slightly blackened, split, and leaking juices.

Serrano & Jalapeno
Your jalapeno is the last for a couple weeks so they can size up, and it's with the tomatillos. The serranos, five of them, are atop your cherry tomatoes. Serranos are several times hotter than jalapenos, so beware of heat!

Greens of the Season Mix
Also proud of this beautiful mix of our best leaves. I say 'our best' because now 90% of our leafy greens are bitten by flea beetles or chewed by grasshoppers. There was absolutely no 'Vivid' choi harvested, and we found a scarce few kales worth serving. A part of me will cheer for joy when sweater weather arrives and all these gnawing pests will slow down like molasses and be eaten by giant birds. Then we can have lots of nice greens again. Strangely, our other brassicas – cauliflower, broccoli, and kohlrabi – are showing very little leaf damage and will undergo testing this week to determine their flavor profiles. Yes, it's true – kale is just a non-heading, non-rooting crucifer, and all the other brassicas have edible leaves just like kale.

Mixology Notes
Not too many herbs this week, primarily having to do with basil, but Joe and I spent some time and money investing in new perennial herbs to make sure that our eating and drinking fans of Broadacre Farm have flavor, flavor, flavor. Because our mints have been popular, we have chosen ten new varieties to plant this fall (perhaps with enough time to include in a share). We'll have everything from 'Iced Hazelnut'  mint (coffee and chocolate drinks), 'Kentucky Colonel' mint (expressly for mint juleps), and 'Mojito' mint which is the true mint used for authentic mojitos. Add to that 'Berggarten' sage and more 'Profusion' sorrel, and you have the start of a real alcohol apothecary. (Plus, you know, you can put herbs in the food.)

Thanks to volunteers
A space this small can hardly justify the huge appreciation we have for the volunteers we received last week from Avodah Farm, another CSA farm located in Pepin, Wisconsin. Special thanks to Martha, Geoffrey, Simon, Joe, and Elijah for helping us whip the south garden into shape. Thanks also for the amazing homemade mozzarella and potluck. Joe and I can't thank the Avodah crew enough!

Preview of next weeks
Wild crabapples, beets, kohlrabi, wild carrot seeds, more heirloom and cherry tomatoes

Barrett Johanneson

The Broadsheet is free to CSA sharers of Broadacre Farm. This ninth issue is free for anyone to explore ideas in local food, Midwestern terroir, and the launch of Broadacre's first ever CSA, with shares delivered Aug. 14, 2014. Nine-plus future issues! Published June-October.

what's in your share / what's in season

fruit                     tomato@
                         Sub-Arctic Plenty, Stupice, Imur Prior Beta & Black Krim
fruit                     cherry tomato@
                           Principe Borghese & Pearly Pink
herb                     'Aristotle' basil
herb                     parsley
herb                     cilantro
herb                     wild oregano mint
spice                    staghorn sumac+
vegetable             'Bling' sweet corn
vegetable             Bean mix: 'Rembrandt' snow peas, 'Tendergreen' beans, 'Burgundy' bush beans, 'Neckargold' pole beans
vegetable             'Sugar Anne' snap peas
vegetable             'King of the North' green pepper
vegetable             'Red Belgian' yellow pepper
vegetable              serrano pepper
vegetable              early jalapeno pepper
vegetable             'Boothby Blonde' cucumber
vegetable             'Mtn. Pickling' cucumber
vegetable             'Yellow Crookneck', 'Lemon', or 'White Scallop' summer squash
vegetable              'Dark Green Prolific' or 'Dunja F1' zucchini
greens                   Salad of the Seasons Mix
                          'Amish Deer Tongue' lettuce, Johnny's 'Encore Mix' lettuce, 'Winter Density' lettuce, 'Flashback Mix' calendula blossoms,
                            & scarlet runner bean flowers and buds
mushroom           dryad's saddle mushroom+

+ Wild foraged.
@ Random rotation due to first appearances.

+ + +

Use first Black Krim tomato, sweet corn
Best keepers Sumac, 'Principe Borghese' tomato

Room temp Tomatoes, basil
Peppers enjoy temperatures around 50 deg. F
Keep in water Cilantro, basil, parsley, mint

Quick Picks
Salad e-Shirazi Tomato, cucumber, wild oregano mint + red onion, olive oil, garlic, lime juice
Zucchini with cheese and herbs Zucchini, wild oregano mint + feta cheese
Corn-zucchini queso chowder Sweet corn, zucchini, bell pepper + asadero & cheddar cheese\
Sumac wine
Staghorn sumac berries + sugar, Campden tablet, yeast

+ + +

Tomato Beautiful 'Black Krim' is the first of the beefsteaks to start producing – red tones, green to purple-black shoulders. Most are uniformly shaped, although we had our first pound-plus slicer. The other tomatoes are earlies in rotation for a couple weeks. We should have one or two new tomatoes each week from now until October when frost takes everything. Don't worry, we expect to have tomatoes for another nine weeks!

Cherry tomatoes 'Principe Borghese', a reddish-orange to reddish cherry-sized tomato has been bred for sun-drying, oven-baking – slow processes that reduce the moisture and bring out the meatiness. While I love them cooked for hours with olive oil, garlic and herbes de Provence, they make a decent cherry tomato for fresh eatinrg. Almost enough 'Pearly Pink' to go around for each share – they're pink!

Basil 'Aristotle' is on deck again thanks to some volunteers who dug it out of the weeds. Thankfully, the extra shade kept them from bolting, holding that wonderful flavor. The other basils are in a state of flux between recovery and constant attack, but 'Aristotle' is completely unaffected. ('Purple Ruffles' is the runner-up for most-thrip resistant basil, but grows about one-quarter or one-sixth as fast as the rest of the basils.)

Parsley A few sprigs for salad-e-shirazi, pizza topping, or seasoning chopped tomato and cucumber.

Cilantro The tail end of our first planting of cilantro, a bit of cilantro to meld in among your basil, parsley, and wild oregano mint.

Wild oregano mint The wild mint is holding up much better than the Swiss or chocolate mint. The flowers are pretty but they steal the flavor. Due to the season, wild oregano mint is only remotely minty now, and has a full-throated thyme-oregano flavor. Like this mint? Save your stem with most of the leaves cut off and place it in a glass of water. Within a couple weeks, the mint will have formed roots and is ready to plant. Fall is a fine time to plant mint – it will form a patch much larger than you imagined the following spring.

Staghorn sumac Sumac seems like an easy wild foraged crop to take, abundantly appearing on north-facing slopes, roadsides, and fencelines across the Midwest. The problem is that these locations are often out-of-bounds for foraging because they are too close to GMO cornfields or polluted roadways. Our sumac grows naturally on the boundary with our neighbors and has not been scorched by herbicides that force sumac's foliage to grow into a shrieking fall red. The reddish berries are the edible part, with a sour flavor most often applied to sumac-ade in North America. In the Middle East, sumac (aka 'sumaaq') is used as a spice to add a sour bite to chopped vegetable salads, hummus, and lentil and chickpea dishes. Best, we have so much on hand that Joe and I will be experimenting and posting our results online to share with you. To use in the kitchen, a fork removes the berries to save your fingers from their stickiness. They can be left to dry in a single layer on a plate or on a low setting in your food dehydrator.

Sweet corn Wish we would have planted more than a row of this first sweet corn, a non-GMO hybrid grown from organic seed. Whatever the case, we have enough to share with you before our big patch of corn is ready to be divvied. We appreciate your comments on this trial variety – hybrid seeds are expensive, fussy, and can be hit-or-miss compared to open-pollinated stand-bys like 'Country Gentleman' sweet corn.

Bean mix 'Neckargold' is the winner this week, with our harvest totes filled with yellow-green, gold, and pale yellow beans. Missing harvesting on Sunday morning while I was visiting family, I was afraid the large beans would be tough, fibrous, and unsweetened. This is not the case! The large beans were terrific in a red Thai curry, and still worked fine for fresh eating (although the smaller beans are preferred.) Chop the beans into bite-sized pieces and cook after the onions but before the zucchini or otherwise early on the stovetop. In other bean news, 'Tendergreen' has stopped producing and is shading out peppers, so it'll be mulched this week, but the 'Burgundy' bush beans are rescued from toppling 'Gezahnte' tomatoes and should be back in force soon.

Snap peas Our giant row is leaving our first planting in the dust. I'm always surprised at how much sugar snap peas retail for at the co-op, so I'm happy with this hefty little bag. No matter how many of them grown, they don't last long – they get eaten too fast.

Green pepper 'King of the North' is a pepper I've been coaxing for a few years as I tried to get my sweet pepper skills on par with my hot pepper successes. The plants were collapsing under the weight of blocky new peppers, so it was time for a taste test. I haven't grown this pepper to fruition before, so you all will have to let me know how it holds up flavor-wise. I love the squeaky sound fresh peppers make!

Yellow peppers 'Red Belgian' continues to astound with up to eight peppers per foot-tall plant. A few are reddening, but the patch itself needs side-dressing with compost to produce a flawless crop. (A few have spots on the bottom signaling a calcium deficiency.)

Jalapenos We might give these a break next week to let the plants and fruits to 'level up'. Proud of these little peppers, but let's see them really perform. Jalapenos are a stubbier and squattier than serranos.

Serranos First serranos! Serranos are longer and thinner than jalapenos, and also much hotter! Tall and rangy plants producing handfuls now, properly treated serranos should be dripping with peppers by September. Get ready to get your spice on – habaneros are on the way, too.

Cucumbers Cucumber vines are not looking so hot, finally succumbing to all their pest pressures. I expect wilting vines to give up the ghost in the next couple weeks, leaving a gap before our late-season cucumbers try for a fall crop.

Zucchini Our heaviest week yet for zucchini, and so heartening too that the succession crop seem better in almost every way – large healthy leaves, no cucumber beetles, planted in soil with fine tilth (described as 'chocolate cake' by a helper this week). Can't wait. The large ones are good eating, too, just remember that big zucchini is better suited to grating, raw 'pasta' dishes, pickling, baking, and stuffing than are the small ones. Reserve the tender ones for salad, snacks, and other fresh eating.

Salad of the Seasons Mix Salad is back, with sections of recovered lettuce producing one more crop before we must reseed again. Beyond the greens, we've included calendula blossoms (U-pluck) and scarlet runner bean flowers and buds which are lightly floral and beany. Radish pods, while crunchy and hot-spicy, are also too pointy to be included – the needle tears a hole, and all that.

+ +

Preview of next weeks new potato, Sichuan peppercorn, juniper berries, beefsteak and cherry tomatoes, sweet corn

Barrett Johanneson


The Broadsheet is free to CSA sharers of Broadacre Farm. This eighth issue is free for anyone to explore ideas in local food, Midwestern terroir, and the launch of Broadacre's first ever CSA, with shares delivered Aug. 7, 2014. Ten-plus future issues! Published June-October.

what's in your share / what's in season

root                     'Easter Egg' radishes
                        'Valentine's Mix' radishes
herb                     'Aristotle' basil
herb                     'Purple Ruffles' basil
herb                     cilantro
vegetable             tomato@
                         Principe Borghese, Sub-Arctic Plenty, Stupice, Imur Prior Beta, and Pearly Pink Cherry
vegetable             Bean mix: 'Rembrandt' snow peas, 'Tendergreen' beans, 'Burgundy' bush beans, 'Neckargold' pole beans
vegetable            'Sugar Anne' snap peas
vegetable             early jalapeno
vegetable            'Boothby Blonde' cucumber
vegetable            'Mtn. Pickling' cucumber
vegetable            'Yellow Crookneck', 'Lemon', or 'White Scallop' summer squash
vegetable            'Dark Green Prolific' or 'Dunja F1' zucchini

@ Random rotation due to first appearances

+ + +

Use first Tomato, basil, cilantro
Best keepers Radishes

Room temp Tomatoes, basil
Keep in water Cilantro, basil

Quick Picks

Raw, soups, salads, fridge pickles, roasted, grilled – traditional summer fare that needs neither explanation nor fuss.

+ + +

Radishes The last of the European-style radishes until the much larger daikon radishes are ready in the coming weeks.

Basil 'Aristotle' and 'Purple Ruffles' basil are featured this week because all our other varieties are under attack by a pest known as thrips. Microscopic, they damage the emerging leaves and are easily spread via pinching off flower buds that ruin the flavor. Another candidate for 'we've-never-had-so-much-trouble', our basil planting was designed to provide profuse amounts of basil for pesto to stir-fry and back to Caprese salad and basil oil. Now we must take the next couple weeks and methodically spray the plants with a non-toxic, food-and-pet grade diatomaceous earth (a fossil mineral that cuts and dries bugs out) to kill the thrips, then allow for new regrowth of undamaged leaves.

Luckily, the globe variety 'Aristotle' is unaffected, with its tiny leaves, resistance to bolting, and edible chop-them-up stems. Likewise, 'Purple Ruffles', the slowest-growing and most zingy basil, is mostly unbitten but have been visited by chewing grasshoppers.

'Thai Holy' basil and 'Lemon' basil are the next candidates for rehabilitation, although they are almost ceaselessly trying to flower and still have their own thrip challenges to overcome.

Want to keep basil going for indoor harvests in the cooler months? Sprouting roots from basil is as easier as rooting mint, but a bit slower. Strip almost all but two tiny leaves at the top, and keep the stalk in fresh-then-refreshed water. Roots should begin to appear in 1-2 weeks, after which plant your start in richly composted soil. Works with any basil cutting!

Cilantro Mostly sold in only flat-leaf form, the second growth stage produces frillier, lacier foliage. Both are good eating. We grew this crop along with lettuce in a shadier area to set back flowering, as we aren't growing for the spice coriander, which is simply cilantro seed by another name. As it turns out, the shade and poorer soil did not make the leafiest cilantro. We'll put in more in our rich, nutrient-laden south garden for more (and faster) cilantro in the hot-and-sunny south garden.

Tomato It appears the first beefsteaks were early flukes, as the early tomatoes – Stupice, Imur Prior Beta, and Sub-Arctic Plenty are the bulk of harvestable tomatoes right now. All these earlies are on the small side and are virtually indistinguishable.

Even though they are just barely coming on – the cool nights don't help – it's difficult to get across just how many tomatoes are on the way. We love to grow tomatoes and peppers, and usually rake in yields that swamp our kitchen. This year, of course, our tomatoes are yours. While we have four main varieties this week, that's just a fraction of the varieties growing at Broadacre. There are around 15 more varieties nearing production stage, and with each variety there are at least 12 plants in each row. That means that from now until frost, there are about 15-20 tomato plants with your name on them.

Bean mix The triad is complete! The bean mix is now green, purple, and gold, with a few outlier snow peas.

Snap peas Truly a summer delicacy, these edible pod peas are crispy, sweet, and coming on in full force. Despite that we also had a SNAFU with our refrigeration where we lost about a quart because they froze. However, we are picking two-to-three times a week because this planting is in the rich southern garden. I presume we will be putting in about a pint each week until they're supplanted by cucumbers and zucchini by the end of the month.

Jalapeno Sizing up and tumbling out of the branches. These peppers are going to get some pampering to ensure we cross the finish line this fall in style with buckets of the green beauties.

Cucumber 'Boothby Blonde' are the pale cukes, and some have that 'blonde' at the stem end, while the 'Mountain Pickling' are brushed both dark and light green with ostrich-like marks where the spines were. These first plants to go in around June 1 are bearing moderately now, and got lots of special help these past weeks, with weeding, mulching, and fertilizing with fish emulsion. Still their lifespans will run out in a week or two, and we will wait for the second planting to begin. The new plants in the south garden have warded off cucumber beetles as seedling and are growing at four times the rate as the early planting. We also have an experimental planting of 'Miniature White' cucumbers among the sweet corn to test their compatibility when planted as companions.

Summer squash and zucchini Beautiful summer squash! I thought you would never arrive in the quantities we all know when the next door neighbor is growing it. Our patch of squash is off to the races, constantly buzzing with bees and flowering profusely. This week, we have five varieties, from the green zucchinis in tubular and pear shapes, from bumpy to smooth yellows, to the first lemon-shaped 'Lemon' to the UFO-shaped patty pan squashes known as 'White Bush Scallop'. These plants – equally susceptible to cucumber beetles like the cukes, melons, and pumpkins, seem to have recovered from their plight and will continue for a few more weeks before giving out. Like the cucumbers, we added a second planting of these in the south garden to ensure we get our fill of succulent courgettes, large and small, until the frost comes.

* * *

Farm Report

The rotation of crops has now come full circle – in the beginning of the season, the shares were predominately wild foraged crops (with rhubarb and head lettuce), to summer crops (with no wild foraged crops). It illustrates the resilience we bring in our CSA, wherein we have increased the diversity of our share without doubling the work ours, buying bigger equipment, and other solutions of scale. We're also confident each week that we will have flavor, nutrition, calories, and color filling each of those boxes.

Speaking of the CSA share box: As you may have noticed, we are still on our ¾ bushel boxes, which I will admit is probably one of my bigger miscalculations. I regret not being able to source them sooner (you would think it's a standard size, but it's not), or being able to fill them sooner, but what do you do? The winter months were consumed with CSA planning, and I wouldn't even release the brochure without determining all the crops we'd grow, what kind of varieties, how to bridge gaps, and a calendar to take advantage of nature's abundance. And still … I would have been better off describing our entire season as 'between ¾ bushel and 1 bushel per week' perhaps with a different price point. But there is still time to prove that we can bring you a loaded share given the heavy, bulky, and profuse produce on it's way – 15-20 tomato plants per share, our best potato planting ever (four varieties), crabapples (collapsing under the weight of perfect apples), and a monolithic row of pumpkins and winter squash that threatens to blot out the sun.

Salad of the Seasons (along with it's erstwhile counterpart of cookable greens, Greens of the Season) has been in flux. August brings heat, is drier, and the sun burns long – not a good recipe for lettuce. My goal was to serve 18+ weeks of the salad mix, but there is a state of diminishing returns when the lettuce has bolted, and people are reporting that they have 'never eaten so much salad in my life'. I'm sure that as the new salad mix gets up and growing, that the new mix will be your place to try scarlet runner bean blossoms, calendula petals, and nasturtium. Mid-season, Greens of the Season made more sense to split into individual ingredients to make folks' experience with new entries like yellow dock leaves or chicory more specific to recipes.

Last thing to mention: Please return your share boxes!–

– Barrett Johanneson

barrettjohanneson@gmail.com, 715-505-5380


The Broadsheet is free to CSA sharers of Broadacre Farm. This seventh issue is free for anyone to explore ideas in local food, Midwestern terroir, and the launch of Broadacre's first ever CSA, with shares delivered July 31, 2014. Eleven-plus future issues! Published June-October.

what's in your share / what's in season

root                        Walla Walla sweet onions
herb                       parsley
herb                       thyme
herb                       wild oregano mint+
herb                       cinnamon basil
herb                      'Purple Ruffles' basil
herb                       yellow dock leaves
spice                      bee balm petals+
vegetable               tomato@
                              Black Krim, Principe Borghese, Hawaiian Pineapple, or Sub-Arctic Plenty
vegetable               pea and bean mix: Sugar Anne snap peas, Rembrandt snow peas, Tendergreen beans, Burgundy bush beans
vegetable               early jalapeno
vegetable               'Boothby Blonde' cucumber or 'Mountain Pickling' cucumber
vegetable               'Yellow Crookneck' summer squash or 'Dark Green Prolific' zucchini
vegetable               'Red Belgian' sweet pepper
mushroom             dryad's saddle*

+ Wild foraged
@ Random rotation due to first appearances

* Mushrooms to Wisconsin only due to MN law

+ + +

Use first Tomato, dock leaves, basil, parsley
Best keepers Onions, hot peppers, sweet peppers
Dry it Thyme, wild oregano mint, bee balm petals

Quick Picks

Pho Peas and beans, jalapeno, yellow dock leaves, purple basil + rice noodles, beef broth, pho spice
Pesto Basil, yellow dock leaves, thyme, parsley + olive oil, garlic, salt
Infused gin Wild oregano mint, bee balm + gin
Dried spice mix Wild oregano mint, bee balm petals, parsley, 'Purple Ruffles' basil + salt
Fruit salad Cinnamon basil + peaches, pineapple

+ + +

Special question to you How have you been enjoying your Salad of the Seasons Mix? After last weeks' trick-or-treat with the daylily blossoms – they go bad immediately and must be discontinued indefinitely – we spent time this week refocusing on how this labor-intensive constant item is going to develop in future shares. Besides my constant interest in how fresh you find your veggies, I also want to know: Is salad mix every week too much, just right, or do you wish there were more? Likewise, how did the new BioBags perform compared to the old plastic bags? Your feedback helps us plan several weeks out, and apart from all other crops, the balance of time devoted to salad mix always must be spent wisely.

+ + +

Walla Walla sweet onions Here seems to be a good place to mention that I've never been the best onion grower. They hate my nemesis, grass. It shades their strappy leaves and the roots compete in the soil. That soil needs sulphur, which is confusing to source organically. Mulching to keep the weeds down promotes rot. Then, during the growth phase, the soil needs to be disturbed so that they bulb up. Also, they're insane to start from seeds with a one-year shelf-life – tiny blades-of-grass-like sprouts that get stuck in the seed coat and stop growing, or grow so slowly you wonder how any farmer does it, especially with stuff like scallions that don't amount to much, where several must be bunched to make a unit. This year, I resorted to 'sets', or onions grown (by a professional onion house) partly last year and kept in storage for me to plant in spring. The yield was disappointing, but I hope they make up for their pearly dimensions with sweet flavor. Apart from these onions, there aren't too many of their cousins coming along. The garlic chives have been lost in the wild east garden, Egyptian onions will provide a couple more servings, but after that, that's it. There will be no big red, yellow, or white onions on the way, and that really needs to be remedied in 2015.

Parsley In lieu of salad greens, or even lettuce, we have humble parsley. How parsley, that thing sitting next to your steak at a supper club, became relegated to ignored garnish status is beyond me. Parsley contains three times the nutrients than lettuce. Chopped finely, makes a great addition to any summer salad with zucchini, tomato, or cucumber. Tabbouleh, anyone?

Thyme Strip the leaves for general cooking, use whole sprigs tucked under the skin of roasted poultry, or infuse in a vinegar for future dressings.

Wild oregano mint Hard to know what to call this one, because while the Swiss mint was the mintiest, this is hardly minty at all. At times, it doesn't even register as mint. Instead, it has an oregano-thyme flavor, disqualifying it from desserts but setting the tone for savory stuff like meat seasoning, roasted vegetables, and spice mixes. Also a bonus because four-lined plant bugs ruined all the oregano this year.

Cinnamon basil A warmer, fruitier scent to it, this basil lends itself to peach or pineapple fruit salads.

'Purple Ruffles' basil A strong and abiding anise-flavor. Slice it into fine ribbons at the last minute to serve atop anything you'd like imbued with our sturdiest (and slowest-growing) basil.

Yellow dock leaves Also known as curly dock, this is a sour green that compares most closely with sorrel. It's the same flavor as the wood sorrel, too, but lacks the clover leaf-like shape in favor of long, strappy swords. We included it in Greens of the Season Mix because of the lemony-tart aspects, so you can use it to wrap up fish, slice thinly for a chopped vegetable salad, wilted in pasta, chopped or pureed for a sorrel soup, or as a lemony green in your pesto. Just think of it as lemon in a leaf. Despite the green leaves, yellow dock is named for the yellow-fleshed root it produces, also edible and medicinal, and on deck for fall shares.

Bee balm petals The Jello shot glasses came in! Besides that, this is the second and final week for petals. Most florals pair best with fruits and sweets, but bee balm petals' thyme-sage bite holds up to grilling, spice, garlic, smoke, you name it. Consider mixing them into Lebanese lamb meatballs or marinating your favorite pork cuts for the grill.

Tomato Tomatoes have begun! There are too few for one of each for everyone, so the varieties are in rotation for now. Our very first tomato was a toss-up between Principe Borghese (cherry-sized, best sun-dried) and Hawaiian Pineapple (a red-blushed orange beefsteak with lots of gorgeous cracking and mottling). Others are Stupice (stoo-PEACH-ka) and Sub-Arctic Plenty (plum-sized earlies), and a beautiful green-spotted Black Krim. Tomatoes are the main event here on the farm, and we've been doting on our nearly two dozen varieties to start coming on in waves.

Pea and bean mix New to the mix is Burgundy bush beans, which probably are the best 'green' beans I've tasted – sweet, juicy, crispy, soft skin and tender flesh. New Sugar Anne snap peas just starting. Gold beans are seven feet tall with nary a bean.

Jalapeno The more we pick, the more robust the plants get and the more fruit they put on. Cool.

Cucumber Finally, enough to go around. I prefer the versatility of pickling cucumbers to slicers, but obviously the size is different. The good news is the cucumber plants have recovered and should be abundant; cucumber beetles have already killed several replanted vines casting doubt on late season cuke harvests.

Green zucchini and yellow summer squash These plants are also recovering and loaded with flowers and bees, and again the new ones are under attack. Small ones are tender slicers for soup, salad, or sides; large ones are good for shredding, stuffing and baking, and pickling into relish. Did you know 40% of food goes to waste? That's why we include a giant zuke every once in a while – it's a shame to throw out a two pound courgette when it just needs the right recipe to make a meal with leftovers after.

Unripe 'Red Belgian' pepper Unlike other peppers we know, Red Belgian begins as a pale yellow fruit with purplish markings. We planted these right where the center of the brush pile was for lack of weeds, and the soil seemed extra water-retentive for sandy-silt. Turns out, there's lots of nutrients to grow fruit, but little nitrogen for leaves. Picture eight-inch plants with eight fruits on them – it's not sustainable for the plants, so we're thinning and eating them.

Dryad's saddle mushroom I find it unbelievable that I'm still finding dryad's saddle mushrooms erupting from the same prolific garden stump, but here they are. These polypores are nearly always done in June; that we're finding them in nigh August is weird. Nice thick flesh, though. To eat: Fillet the under pore webbing, gently clean the top, slice very thinly, and fry. Or perhaps you started Fruitti di Bosco – a great place for a watermelon-y fungus.

+ + +

Mixology Notes

Infusing flavors into vodka, but looking to expand your horizons? Consider reserving a few herbs to flavor your own gin. Whether your gin of choice is piney Tanqueray, smooth Bombay Sapphire, or rail-style Seagrams, this CSA is bringing flavors you can apply to your own custom G&T's, smashes, and fizzes. This week, consider bee balm petals for more than just garnish and let loose their thymey-sage glory. Or pair the flowers with another wild one, the oregano mint. Other reasons to go with gin include that soon Sichuan peppercorns will be popping open and ready for sparing applications where numbing-lemon-pepper flavor is need, plus our harvest of piney-spicy juniper berries is approaching.

Don't think your herbs will stretch as far as I'm pulling them? What about parsley vodka? Remember, if you're wondering how fresh vegetables fit into cocktails, that's what Bloody Mary's are for. (Or parsley shots alongside gazpacho in August.) Rounding out the bar, go for fruitier matches for the cinnamon basil – Malibu or peach schnapps. If vodka's still your gig, put that 'Purple Ruffles' basil into some Prairie Organic from Minnesota or 360 vodka which comes in a beautiful and reusable bail-top bottle.

+ + +

Foragers Report

Not too much to report here – we are in the doldrums of early summer foraging, when the gooseberries and blackcaps are tapped out. There's a similar signal when the spring foraging season has ended – that late May or early June morning when you notice all the dandelions have vanished. There are abundant wild things on the way, but for a few weeks,we can indulge in the heirlooms that gardeners have been working on for hundreds of years to supplement the abundance of the wild.

+ + +

Volunteers needed The state of the garden is such that volunteers are needed to pull us back from the brink of weeds, trellis tomatoes and pumpkins trying to escape, pick buds off basil, replant areas of succession crops and replacing crop failures, pulling unwanted plants by hand (mostly rhizome grass, lamb's quarter, and soapwort), fertilizing with fish emulsion and pond bottom fines, and a seemingly endless list of physical work from didn't-even-break-a-sweat tasks to Sisyphean chores.

We want to ask you to come help us get this garden under control so that we can increase our yields and devote more time to harvesting for the next eleven weeks. In August, I'm calling on volunteers to head out to Broadacre Farm and pitch in to make this year's work count for next year, too.

The best days for volunteers at the farm are Fridays through Wednesdays.

With installation of the well and pump approaching, we are still under a water watch – that means we have limited hand-washing, potable water, and irrigation, but not for toilet facilities, bathing, or dishwashing. Phone recharging is available, though.

There are coolers for storing cold beverages and snacks brought with you, although extra refreshments of bagged ice are always welcome and encouraged. Food is potluck-style – I cook, you cook.

We also have a need for various recycled items, so bring your junk and leave it with us. We need five-gallon pails, brown cardboard, broken hoses, and various other things you're waiting to dump.

Access to the garden at the farm is dry, unobstructed, and mowed, while the eroding driveway is holding together.

Also, free beer.

But wait! Call or write ahead to make arrangements – 715-505-5380 or barrettjohanneson@gmail.com

+ + +

Preview of next weeks new Purple Peruvian fingerling potato, Sichuan peppercorn, tomato, beans and peas, lemon basil, cilantro, peppers

Barrett Johanneson


The Broadsheet is free to CSA sharers of Broadacre Farm. This second issue is free for anyone to explore ideas in local food, Midwestern terroir, and the launch of Broadacre's first ever CSA, with shares delivered June 26, 2014. Twelve-plus future issues! Published June-October.


what's in your share / what's in season

fruit                           wild berry mix: blackcap raspberries, wineberries, & wild raspberries+

fruit                           green and ripe gooseberries+

fruit                           Mesabi tart cherries

root                            Valentine's Day Mix radishes

                               Easter Egg radishes

                               Chinese Green Luobo radish

herb                            holy basil

spice                           bee balm petals+

vegetable                    Pea and bean mix: Sugar Anne snap peas, Rembrandt snow peas, &Tendergreen bush beans

vegetable                    early jalapeno

vegetable                     Egyptian onion aerial bulb

vegetable                     (Boothby Blonde cucumber, Dark Green Prolific zucchini, Mountain Pickling cucumber, Yellow Crookneck summer squash)

greens                           Salad of the Seasons Mix: Johnny's Encore Mix lettuce, Turtle Tree Seed lettuce mix, Amish Deer Tongue lettuce, Blushed                                           Butter Oak lettuce, Pirat lettuce, Red Romaine lettuce, Winter Density lettuce, daylily blossoms+, radish flowers)

greens                           chicory leaves

+ Wild foraged.

Quick Picks

Purple pie Blackcaps, gooseberries, bee balm petals + elderflower, sugar, orange zest

Holy basil lemonade Holy basil + lemon, sugar

Stir fry Holy basil, early jalapeno, zucchini, radishes, onion, peas + mushroom, chicken, jasmine rice

Pasta al fresca Chicory leaves, onion + pasta, pork sausage

Bee balm butter or cream cheese Bee balm petals + butter or cream cheese

Infusables Wild berries, cherries, holy basil, or bee balm petals + sugar, vinegar, or alcohol

Berry mix

The cane berries are finishing their run in partly shaded edges, with discoveries of eight or nine berries on one branch getting fewer and farther between. Blackcaps are becoming scarcer. The wineberries – the red berries with the magenta blush and frosty 'bloom' – are so ripe on the bush that they are untransportable and are thus a trailside delicacy, especially for our dog Gemma who grazed beside us. This must have been the week last year when I invented 'purple pie', a catch-all berry pie (blackcaps and gooseberries, mostly, but supplemented with preserved garden huckleberries) with the last of the elderflowers and the first bee balm petals. Rosewater makes a great substitute for vanilla when you're using your own edible flowers, and orange zest still magnifies the blackcaps. Eventually, the crust was filled with fruit, sugar, and flowers, and the result was a pie that inspired this very CSA: Time-stamped with seasonality, and in a unit that was built from many tiny pieces otherwise ignored by our mainstream food system.

Mesabi tart cherries

Technically, these cherries are from Joe's folks' tree which we planted alongside them years ago, and we can now bring you a first taste of what Broadacre Farm will grow up to be – a world-class fruit producer with varieties you'll never see in a store, and have probably only ever eaten from a can, swimming in corn syrup. Want to make cherry tartlets or cherry clafoutis, but you reach for that cherry pitter no one has? Lifehacker.com's headline says it all: “Pit Cherries Cleanly and Easily with a Chopstick and a Bottle”.

Radish mix

As heat turns up the growth dial on radishes making them spicy, bolting (growers' word for when crops go to seed and lose flavor), and outright explosions alongside hollow centers, spongy texture, and woodiness. Biggest, prettiest, and last bunch until fall.

Holy basil

If you don't get to making your own Holy Basil Supreme, think about preserving some of the bounty by steeping this anise-flavored basil into liquid form. There are at least three good approaches: white wine or rice vinegar (shelf stable), vodka (shelf stable), or cold infused in olive oil (blanch 5 seconds, then puree with 1 cup oil; keeps a week chilled). As for drying, I've had better luck separating each leaf from the stem, rather than the bunch-hanging method – basil stems tend toward mold and basil leaves may wilt and blacken if left on stem. Store dried leaves whole

Bee balm petals

The star of the share, the overlooked spice of Midwestern meadows and forest edges, and the fireworks of mid-July. The flavor is really hard to describe, and tends to make me regard it as singular. The profile has notes of rosemary, thyme, sage, and bergamot. Easy routes include flavored butter (essential oils get carried in the butter), and if you're truly pressed for time, fill a jar with sugar and petals or submerge them in a vinegar or vodka for later.

Strong flavor – best used a pinch at a time.

Pea and bean mix

Finally, other peas and beans have come on. This is the end of the first planting of Sugar Anne, and the new 75 ft. bed has not started to produce yet. So I'm happy to include Tendergreen bush beans and Rembrandt snow peas this week. Each variety should increase in volume, then they'll be joined by loads of Sugar Anne snap peas, Burgundy bush beans, and Neckargold yellow beans. Any of these is good raw – remember your instinctual method for de-stringing some of these beans: Do you snap upward, or snap sideways catching any upper or lower string?

Early jalapeno

These are probably milder than the radishes, and at the same time, the more I include these early Early jalapenos, the more the plants will develop canopies to support the weight of the jalapenos that are coming. If you like real heat, wait for the serranos and Magnum habanero to start fruiting.

Egyptian onion aerial bulb

We served a version of this earlier: A whole 'treetop' of Egyptian walking onions. This is how large the aerial bulbs will grow if left to the onions own devices. What they lack in size they make up for in flavor, delivering a bracing onioniness that can flavor an entire dish even if it doesn't fill that same dish.

Vegetables in rotation

Cucumbers, zucchini, and summer squash

Don't know if we are winning or losing the battle against striped cucumber beetles, but the effects are obvious: Plants at full-size producing one-or-two fruits per plant despite all we have done for them. However, this week there is even enough to go around, as last time we split the five glorious first vegetables with Minneapolis and gave the chanterelles to Wisconsinites. It felt like a fair compromise, and is a demonstration of what you might already know: Everything goes to CSA shares.

Salad of the Seasons Mix

The salad greens are coming on so strong that we abandoned the laborious stellaria tips in favor of traditional greens, plus added a favorite lettuce-y flower, the daylily.

Chicory leaves

No Greens of the the Season Mix (greens for cooking) this week, as insect pressure has bitten up so many leaves. Since people were asking for a ID and use breakdown on all these greens, we thought, 'Why not try one green at a time?' Chicory leaves have a bitter flavor profile, but a 1-2 minute blanch boosts palatability. Bitter flavors have a home in Italian and Thai cooking, where they form a balance with sweet, salty, and sour. Additionally, bitter vegetables are used in heavy meals, or after them – the bitterness acts like a digestive tonic that allows a diner to eat more, especially fats.

CSA Notes

+ Thanks to a generous Eau Claire sharer for the new-used fridge! With our now expanded fridge space, we'll make multiple harvests as well as harvest more produce, all of which will be fresher. Cheers.

+ We had a few requests to not include certain things in certain shares, and we are working to accommodate. If you know you aren't going to use an ingredient – or won't be around to use your entire share – let us know so we can adjust the shares.

Preview of next weeks Burgundy bush beans, Neckargold yellow beans, cilantro, parsley, Sichuan peppercorns, Purple Ruffles basil, & first tomatoes

Barrett Johanneson


The Broadsheet is free to CSA sharers of Broadacre Farm. This second issue is free for anyone to explore ideas in local food, Midwestern terroir, and the launch of Broadacre's first ever CSA, with shares delivered June 26, 2014. Sixteen-plus future issues! Published June-October.


what's in your share / what's in season

fruit                                wild berry mix: blackcap raspberries, wineberries, & wild raspberries+

root                                Easter Egg radishes
                                   Valentine's Day Mix radishes
                                   Chinese Green Luobo radish

herb                                lemon basil

vegetable                        jalapeno pepper

vegetable                        (Boothby Blonde cucumber,
                                    Yellow Crookneck summer squash, Dark
                                    Green Prolific zucchini)#

greens                            Greens of the Seasons Mix

                                    (Bright Lights Swiss chard, yellow dock leaves, mallow, lamb's quarter
                                    broccolini, chicory; Ragged Jack and Dinosaur kale, Vivid choi)

greens                             Salad of the Seasons Mix
                                    (stellaria tips, Johnny's Encore Mix lettuce, Turtle Tree Seed lettuce
mix, beet greens, tatsoi)

mushroom                     chanterelle+@

+ Wild foraged.
# Limited quantities (to Minneapolis).

@ Limited quantities (to Wisconsin).

Use first Wineberries, raspberries, blackcaps
Room temp Basil likes counters, not fridges

Quick Picks

Blackcap jam Blackcaps + Grand Marnier, sugar
Blackcap ice cubes Freeze into cube trays

Iced radishes Radishes + ice cubes, salt
Goat cheese lasagna Greens of the Season Mix, lemon basil + rice lasagna noodles, goat cheese
Gravlax Lemon basil + wild caught salmon, salt, sugar
Scrambled eggs and greens Greens of the Season Mix + pastured eggs, grassfed butter
Trout wrapped in dock leaves Yellow dock leaves + white fish, butter, garlic
Chanterelle oil Chanterelle + olive oil
Green Goddess / Golden God Soup Salad of the Seasons Mix + mushroom broth, sour cream
Frutti di Bosco Blackcaps, chanterelle + balsamic vinegar


+ The new Biobags are in! It's a small miracle considering the first name, last name, street name, and street letter were all misidentified on the label. Non-plastic, non-toxic, non-GMO, reusuable, compostable – just the right packaging for our CSA. As we packed, we noticed flatter-wetter leaves clinging to the bags, so please give us feedback on how they're keeping your leafy greens fresh.

Foragers Report

I responded to a report that chanterelles had been seen, and although some may have been driven over by heavy equipment by the time I got there, so I harvested the few I could – chanterelles only grow wild and can recur perennially at the same location. I also found what I thought were oyster mushrooms, five in all, growing from a willow stump, but that too has been taken out with heavy equipment. The blackcaps, wineberries, and wild raspberries are coming on strong now and will continue in dappled shade for what looks like at least one good week but maybe as many as three. I keep sampling the ox-eye daisy leaves and I love the rich flavor and pepperiness – these will keep going all summer, if I can work their remote locations into our rotation. While the Monarda at Broadacre is blooming its fireworks, the bee balm petals I harvest come from an established patch that doesn't diminish from picking which could happen next week. Late Tuesday, I examined a split log across a ravine to find a spongy gel, which turned out to be white jelly fungus, a delicacy in China used in desserts and and sweets. Haying took the red clover blossoms, so that season may be complete. Edible blooms should transition to daylily flowers through August if we can seem to harvest before noon – the afternoon blossoms turn to mush.

Pest pressure

Four lined plant bugs are gone and stinkbugs are at bay, but now tiny grasshoppers are taking really inconsiderate single bites from seemingly every leaf out there. However, a tiny selection of cukes and zukes ripened and are in your Minneapolis' shares, with chanterelles in Wisconsin shares.


+ Blackcaps Last week's berries were a little underripe, a little jostled in places, one pint of berries was missing from a share completely. We used a vinegar wash (two parts water, one part vinegar) to make the berries last under refrigeration, but the drying method was too harsh and broke the berries in spots. Frankly, it's incredible raspberries even exist as they are around 96% water However, the hillsides are tumbling with blackcaps and we can bring you more.

+ Delirium Our record earliest time completing washing and packing was Week 3, when we wrapped up the shares at 11:18 PM Wednesday night as is our ritual now. Week 4, we were again ending the day at 2:47 AM (like we did last night, too). That's really unacceptable, and ultimately we've determined that harvests actually must begin by Monday, with foraging Tuesdays, garden harvests beginning dawn Wednesdays, and delivering to you fine folks on Thursdays. Nearing 3 AM, your hands don't even know what they're doing anymore – am I typing the Broadsheet? Am I weeding quackgrass? Are my hands numb from cold washing salad greens? I could tell mistakes were made when there are 12 shares to pack and there were extra radishes leftover – just a sign. Late nights lead to early Thursday morning print deadlines and rush orders at Main Street Graphics in Durand, leading to Broadsheets being inserted on the way out the door. This past week, I last-minute-packed the radishes (super cold) and basil (room temp) for maximum freshness in the afternoon and left the Broadsheet unpublished online until that night. Later, at the Bottineau Library in Minneapolis, I finally had my USB keychain and internet, but Livejournal's security banned me for an hour – after the library closed. Just goes to show the pitfalls of a nomad farmer, and the importance of having many back-ups.

What the forecast looks like

Farmers are talking about haying, and I want you to know what that means: Make hay while the sun shines. And while the forecast is looking more dry than bright for the next week, there'll be more (incredibly beautiful) party cloudy days ahead to perhaps ripen more garden crops that are the bellwethers of summer. I'm talking the cucumbers, summer squash, pole beans, bush beans, jalapenos, sweet peppers, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, six kinds of basil (Aristotle globe, Purple Ruffles, Thai Ka Prao holy, lemon basil, Italian large leaf basil, and cinnamon basil), and maybe some tomatoes, finally!

In a not-too-distant future we'll be eating

+ Tart cherries When Joe and I moved in to the house we live in now, I bought Joe's dad Christie a Mesabi cherry tree for his birthday. Around my own birthday, I was thrilled about buying a fruit tree for the first time, and as a fellow devourer-of-cherry-worlds, Mesabi was the tree that broke ground on the cherry garden we see from our kitchen window. That was four years ago: first part=year, status quo; first full year, few cherries but rapid vegetative growth; second year, a boatload of big red cherries that raccoons completely destroyed hours before harvest; third year, the early spring broke bud dormancy early too and frost took all the blossoms here and across the Midwest; this year, cherries! Joe's mom brought a couple Mesabi cherry pie slices over to share, with yellow-red flesh suspended in a pink gel. A cherry tree is a patient gift to give and to receive because it can take from 4-7 years for excellent cherry trees to develop. Luckily, I found supplier of special new Canadian cherry breeds which are sweet and produced on dwarfing rootstock leading to precocious fruiting by the third year.

+ Golden currants Perhaps our best performer from 2013 plantings, currants thrive in the part shade like gooseberries do. This was the first year we tasted fruit, and I have to say the soft, translucent orbs filled with yellow gel and seeds was citrusy, sweet, tart-sour, juicy, and I can't wait until their third and fourth years when the branches are weighed to the ground with fruit reminiscent of lemons.

Preview of next weeks Sichuan peppercorns, blackcap raspberries, peas & beans, cukes and zukes, bee balm petals

Barrett Johanneson

(Italics denotes new information.)

The Broadsheet – Broadacre Farm's 2014 CSA, Week Three – Vol. 1, Issue #3 – July 3, 2014

what's in your share / what's in season

fruit                    green gooseberries+

herb                   chocolate mint

edible flowers    elderflowers+

mushroom*       dryad's saddle+

                      (Polyporus squamosus)

mushroom*        crown-tipped coral fungus

                       (Artomyces pyxidatus)

greens                young grape leaves

greens                Salad of the Seasons Mix

(stellaria leaves and flowers, baby lambsquarter tips, leaves and broccolinis; basswood leaves, purslane tips, baby leaves of kale, chicory, beets, radish; red clover blossoms, Blushed Butter Oak lettuce, Johnny's Encore Mix lettuce, Bronze Arrow lettuce, and Turtle Tree Seed lettuce mix)

* WI only due to MN state law

+ Wild foraged.

Green gooseberries

A strange, old-fashioned fruit, these not-necessarily-eaten-fresh berries have traditionally been some of the first berries around, barring strawberries and maybe honeyberries. Think of them like rhubarb in berry form. Wild gooseberries are mostly eaten green because wildlife devours them, both ripe and unripe. Even then, some webbed thing afflicts the ripe ones that makes them unappealing. However, no severe winter, deep snowpack, or gnawing predators can stop wild gooseberries from putting on fruit from the same gangly shrub, in the shade or part shade, for years.


Most of the interesting recipes for green gooseberries are from over a century ago. It makes a well-received green gooseberry jam, which I've boiling-water canned, but is easier to do on the stove and store in a freezer jar in the fridge for up to a week, then freeze. Another more recent recipe comes from the River Cottage folks, and that's Green Gooseberries and Elderflower Jam. One thing that makes green gooseberries great with other seasonal fruit (like strawberries and rhubarb) is that it is really high in pectin, the gelling agent that makes jam a jam instead of a sauce. The little berries are so high in pectin that one can make home-canned pectin from them – that recipe is also from the 1800s.

Nowadays, commercial pectin is made from apples and / or quinces. It's certainly easier to pick a pome than it is to pick seemingly thousands of berries which can only be spotted from underneath the plant, which is of course spiked with catchy thorns; a rarer subspecies called Ribes oxycanthoides even has spikes on the berries – fun to eat raw. The berries are stemmed and with a dried part of the flower attached; it must be picked off. This is definitely a job for kids, as it is tedious and the berries don't burst easily.

Chocolate mint

A mint with a deeper flavor that some attribute to chocolate. I can't say I always taste it, but if there were ever a mint that's a natural with real chocolate or cocoa, this is the one. I found the leaves more minty than anything, so it could be your herbal component in a mojito or a classic summer beverage to blend and serve for Pride or the Fourth of July – the Lawnboy. Fill carafe with ice cubes, one can lemonade concentrate with no water, enough vodka to make it blend, and about a dozen mint leaves or more.


Let's talk safety and preparation, then about how ethereal, fleeting, and singular elderflowers are. First, all parts (bark, wood, roots, leaves, unripe berries, and even the stems) of the elderberry bush are inedible to the point of illness, except for the flowers and ripe berries, of course. Even dried elderberries from online retailers must be cooked before being eaten. But those two parts that are eaten are to be relished and ravenously devoured before the season blinks and is gone. Around here, elderflowers start around the Fourth of July and bloom gradually over a about a week. With a small window like that, elderflower is best preserved, and in terms of flavor, sugar is its best carrier.

To prepare, it's best to separate the flowers from the stems, probably with a fork or an unused comb. Other chefs simply cut the flowers off with as little stem as possible, if the concoction will be strained. We've used this shortcut with no adverse effects.


Like the French liqueur St. Germain, or those vaguely floral sodas in the IKEA cafeteria? That's elderflower, and you have some fresh ones that will bring magic to cocktails, over ice cream, mixed with club soda, and dripped into beaters whipping cream. All the recipes for Elderflower Syrup are virtually the same – sugar, water, zest of lemon, orange, and lime. I've tried canning and I'll be honest: it looks like a jar filled with yellow fluid. Maybe use that nice imported liqueur bottle that's too displayable to throw away.

Elderflowers also add a sweet, floral note to pies and tarts, and it makes a flavorful companion to strawberries and rhubarb, each on their way to season's end.

+ I love the version of elderflower syrup that uses zest of one lime, one lemon, and one orange, but I can't find it. However, Georgia Pellegrini has a base recipe you can adapt to suit for: Homemade Elderflower Syrup (georgiapelligrini.com)
+ The recipe I used also called to let the flowers and sugar macerate for three days which was slightly; two days was enough.
One tablespoon of syrup is often enough to flavor a whole batch of cupcake frosting, or to scent a honeyed cornbread cake, or to mix into a quart of plain yogurt.

Dryad's saddle mushroom

Almost certainly the end of dryad's saddle mushroom season, eh? There were plenty of these fruiting in the garden this week, so you get more. Remember to peel the spongy webbing underneath, wash just before cooking, and always eat cooked. Slice extra thinly to work with the chewiness, and toss any parts that give the paring knife resistance.

Crown-tipped coral fungus

A little unspecific last week – these are crown-tipped coral fungus, as there are many lookalikes none of which were served. Case in point, I found a whole quart of clean corals but upon close examination, it is a co-evolved mushroom without the crown-tips called Ramaria stricta, which isn't harmful but tastes bad.

Young grape leaves
+ On storage: I've found the grape leaves do better over the week sealed in a bag. While the wax bags are useful for some things, the leaves can become brittle and cracked. If the leaves will let you, you can fold the bag over with your share's nametag, or you can substitute your plastic Broadsheet packaging.
+ This week, Joe and I are going to try out the grape leaves as fresh spring rolls, like the kind we used to get regularly when we lived near Eat Street in Minneapolis. Some rice vermicelli, some Egyptian walking onion, a litle mint is nice, sriracha. More results on this one later. If the leaves prove their versatility, kimbap is surely on the list after that.

Salad of the Seasons Mix
I haven't written much about Salad of the Seasons Mix, and I should. It truly is a snapshot of what's tender and peaking, plus first tastes, previews, and volunteer vegetables. However, most of these greens and flowers haven't been bred to be luscious like lettuce, or have supermarket voluptuousness, or even be shaped uniformly. We sample the greens as we go, choosing which we glean from pasture, garden, forest edge, or even from deep in the woods. We're learning a lot about the interplay of heft versus loft, where heft is how substantial the bag weighs, and loft where the leaves aren't all flattened and the bag looks full. Red clover blossoms figure heavily this week at the height of their perfumed fireworks before they fad to brown and we transition to ... daylily blossoms, perhaps the best hot summer salad out there.


And if you haven't tried the salad mix wilted with a hot dressing, I highly recommend it. This past weekend, after Joe made bacon for lunch, I poured off most of the fat, tossed in some diced onion, a few of the strawberries I've kept in the fridge pickled in balsamic vinegar, and a couple tablespoons of that balsamic / strawberry juice from the jar. Once the onions are translucent, I increased heat to high for one minute and then ladled the hot dressing over the greens. Fantastic green flavor somewhere between salad and cooked greens, and I finished my salad before my bacon -- no lie.

Farm conditions and how they shape a share

First, will the dim, cold rain ever end? There was an inkling that Week 3 and 4 shares would be lighter, which thankfully turned out not to be the case this week. You'll notice that virtually all the items are wild-foraged from pasture, forest, and fenceline, and it's not for lack of work in the field. While it could be El Nino, we Midwesterners have become more accustomed to drought after a few very dry years, the flash flooding and sloppy conditions are catching some of us off guard.

So, with the rain also comes clouds, and they prevent the light from reaching the plants to create photosynthesis. So the plants are growing because they love water, and excessive rainfall is washing away nutrients; in others its spawning insect invasions. The rain causes plentiful mushrooms to erupt from ground, wood, and debris, but can also lead to dangerous mildews and plant fungi that will shut down a crop. The sun simply isn't reaching the leaves to let the dozens of varieties we have planted to actually grow. Still, leafy crops abound for now.

As for insects, it has been a free-for-all among early summer pests. The earliest cucumber plants are being ravaged by striped cucumber beetles, and they're sharing with brown marmorated stink bugs which smell like the employee restroom at a Dow chemical factory. We have been squishing them, and have applied neem, a plant-derived oil approved for organic agriculture that bugs hate – it is used sparingly as it is toxic to all insects but isn't persistent in the environment and isn't toxic to humans.

Other pests at work have been the Four Lined Plant Bug, which leaves dispiriting brown circular spots on virtually all members of the mint family, from mint itself to oregano to savory, hyssop, thyme – pretty much all the popular garden herbs and flavorings that can carry through until the fruit comes on. Now as nymphs become adults, the damage has increased alongside the knowledge that these bugs die back at the end of June. The damage remains, and we must cut down any spotty leaves so the plants can recover to crop again and even flower.

Luckily, there is a light at the end of June, and it's that sweet peppers, early jalapenos, lettuce-leaf basil, tomatilloes, and tomatoes are all thriving. We're also replanting anything at risk of crop failure so we can still have plenty of cukes and zukes this summer.

Preview of next weeks Blackcap raspberries, Easter Egg radishes, basil …

Barrett Johanneson

sound: A Tribe Called Quest
The Broadsheet is free to CSA sharers of Broadacre Farm. This second issue is free for anyone to explore ideas in local food, Midwestern terroir, and the launch of Broadacre's first ever CSA, with shares delivered June 26, 2014. Sixteen-plus future issues! Published June-October.

what's in your share / what's in season

fruit                 rhubarb*
herb                mountain mint+
herb                dill
herb                bee balm+
herb                Thai holy basil
vegetable        Egyptian walking onion
greens            Blushed Butter Oak lettuce
greens            Salad of the Seasons Mix+ (stellaria tips, baby lambsquarter, red clover blossoms, baby leaves of beets, lettuce, chard, kale, radish, spinach; ox-eye daisy leaves, wood sorrel leaves and flowers, sugar pea shoots, snow pea shoots)
greens             young grape leaves+
mushroom       coral fungus+
mushroom       dryad's saddle mushroom+

* Special delivery.
+ Wild foraged.

Quick Picks

Rhubarbade Rhubarb + sugar, water

Rosy red rhubarb Rhubarb + Jello, flour, butter (cooks.com)

Rhubarb chutney Rhubarb, onion + bacon fat, raisins, coriander, lemon zest, smoked salt

Dolmas – Young grape leaves, dill, mountain mint, Egyptian walking onion + rice or farro, lemon

Mushroom tapenade – Mushrooms, Egyptian walking onion + hazelnuts, dried fig


BLTs – Blushed Butter Oak lettuce and Rhubarb Chutney + tomato, pastured bacon, bread

+ Dill-Mint Chimmichurri Sauce -- basil, onion, dill, mint + garlic, parsley, olive oil, lemon zest

Rhubarb – Joe and I harvested what we felt was a massive amount of rhubarb last week to see that volume end up as seven or nine stalks. Not so this time, with an assist from a neighbor and fellow gardener Cari, who offered her surplus stalks to Broadacre's CSA if the share felt light. Writing this Tuesday, I hope you enjoy the abundance.

Last week, I heard from folks who made rhubarb crisp, rhubarb-bee balm sauce, and in our kitchen, a rhubarb chutney sweetened with Zante currants (which are actually dried champagne grapes and very sweet). A surprisingly recommended recipe that vibrates with Midwestern-ness is Rosy Red Rhubarb, where one prepares a quickbread cake with lots of butter, then sprinkles a packet of strawberry Jello mix over the top. Truly 80s.

Mountain mint – Mountain mint isn't your ordinary mint. Preferring more sunny arid slopes rather than gardens, it grows in loose colonies that are easy to find because last year's gray stalks and seedheads persist over the seasons. It's an almost medicinal scented mint, very suited to tea, but this mint is sort of calling out for ice cream, preferably a vanilla with the seeds in it, although the flavor could hold up well in a dark chocolate ice cream a la Andes mint candies. The more versatile route is a simple syrup you could pour over whichever desserts. All syrups keep well frozen or can be boiling-water canned. The ratio is 1 part sugar to 1 part water for concentrated shelf-stable syrup; for shorter timespans, use 1 part sugar, 2 parts water.
+ A pretty thorough primer on mountain mint: Mountain Mint, Pycnanthemum (hubpages.com)

Dill – Already tried freezing into ice cubes and ready for something else? Try infusing vodka with dill for a special Bloody Mary.
+ Joe shares this link about 15 Times Dill Stole the Show, and says #1 is Grape Leaf Pilaf. (huffingtonpost.com)

Bee balm – We had folks try bee balm in their tomato-based pasta sauce, combined with rhubarb for a sweet-savory sauce, chopped and mixed with butter on crackers, as part of the spices for Lebanese meatballs. Terribly fine work you've all done. This is the last for the season if we still want to get any of perhaps my singular favorite wild flavor – bee balm petals.
+ A couple more recipes: Bee Balm Fruit Salad and Pork Fillets with Bergamot Sauce (backyardpatch.blogspot.com)

Thai holy basil – First basil of the season! A mere sprig, but would you get a load of that full-on anise-basil scent? It's intoxicating. It's the key ingredient in Twin Cities-based Sawatdee's holy basil supreme (which, considering the mushroom factor, could be made at home this week). There are three more flavors of basil on the way.
+ Supenn Harrison's original recipe for: Holy Basil Supreme (minnesotashowcase.com)

+ Or cross-reference that with Urban Herb School's stellaria based recipe for: Chickweed Pesto (urbanherbschool.ca)

Egyptian walking onion – This is the succulent flower stalk and out-of-control bulbils of a perennial onion. This entire vegetable can be eaten any time of year, and it's often the first up in spring. We chose to keep the bulbs alive in the hopes of a fall harvest. Bonus for gardeners and kids: You can split off the living bulbils and start your own patch of onions.
+ I was talking with a sharer who seemed surprised that this was a perennial onion, or that onions can be perennial. Your onions were from our original clump, purchased years ago at a community garden sale, and we've since been adding our stock and starting perennial onion colonies around the entire garden site. As for the shares,
n a perfect world, we would be able to have onions every week. And indeed, that's the goal. One way to have onions more frequently is not to kill the plant and look for two or three harvests per species per season. That way, in that perfect world future, we can serve one week of chives, one week of Egyptian walking onion shoots, one week of chive flowers, and so on through annual favorites like cippolini and Walla Walla sweets (which I will admit haven't been my best crop). Next on the list of perennial alliums to explore on a much larger level in Broadacre Farm's 30 acres of rich bottomlands: Ramps.

Blushed Butter Oak lettuce – We heard from you that this half-oak, half-butter Bibb was a quality lettuce, and we agree. That is, when our refrigeration equipment isn't working to freeze them in the middle of the night! I carefully stripped off the blackened or translucent leaves that had been museum-worthy hours before, and hoped for the best that the quality would last a few more hours. We're trying again with this delicate lettuce and hope for your feedback.

Salad of the Seasons Mix – Talk about lessons learned. As a weekly item, I wasn't truly honest with myself about how much work it would be to put together a half-wild, half-farmed salad mix. Barring all must-cook greens, relying on plentiful edible flowers and wild greens, avoiding excessively large leaves – it all adds up to a labor intensive process. But the reward will be there this week, with sample baby leaves coming on, the best baby lambsquarter leaves I've tasted, and the red clover blossoms we were all meant to have instead of a pittance of petals.
+ Salad, or soup? Imagined and packaged as a salad, but you don't have to use it that way. Eager to experiment, I'm going to make my own chilled Soup of the Seasons (a chilled, raw soup made in a blender) because some amazing person gave a Vita-Mix as a recent birthday present. Until that recipe is ready, you can ogle this stellaria-based soup, as another name for stellaria is chickweed. As for ingredients, just substitute any fresh herb for the stinging nettles: Chickweed Soup (bloomsandfood.com)
+ Urban Herb School used Thai basil with stellaria to make: Chickweed Pesto (urbanherbschool.ca)

Young grape leaves – Dolmas! ("Fresh grape leaves elevate dolmas", pressdemocrat.com) There are variations on the theme, but it doesn't look like grape leaves are a worldwide phenomenon. However, we have all the makings of a Mediterranean feast whether it takes place in perfectly rolled orbs of grape leaf, or chopped into a casserole.
+ Additional instructions for using the young grape leaves includes cutting the main five ribs to better roll them, and a quick boil in salty-vinegary water is an easy way to approximate jarred grape leaves (simply because they are not usually available so fresh).
+ For sharers who have been trying to put more fish on the menu: Trout Grilled in Grape Leaves (primalgrill.org)
+ This is the recipe I use to pickle grape leaves
(except I throw in a slice of preserved lemon): Preserved Grape Leaves (honest-food.net)
+ Better research makes a difference when I'm wrong about worldwide phenomena: Grape leaves figure into "Greek, Vietnamese, Turkish, and Romanian cuisines". Nutrition info at the link, too. (sfgate.com)
+ This recipe for Grape Leaf Pilaf is more along the lines of the freeform casserole-style dish that I would try after not being nimble enough to roll my own dolmas. I prefer to use pumpkinseeds toasted in a cast iron pan over pine nuts -- most pine nuts are imported from China and some pine nuts reportedly cause 'pine nut mouth', where you lose your sense of taste for a month. No thanks! We grow Kakai Hullless pumpkins for their naked seeds. Anyway: Grape Leaf Pilaf (food52.com)

+ Sally Fallon's recipe for lacto-fermented grape leaves. Get pickled at the link: (herbangardener.com)

Coral fungus – A two mushroom share! This fungus prefers old logs and branches that are flush with the ground and have really been in profusion due to the rain. Singularly, all you get is earthy mushroom scent. But when bagged alogether, you get a resonance of citrus, too. I've enjoyed this in a mushroom hash with dryad's saddle mushroom. This is a showier mushroom, and it doesn't really hold up to the rigors of long cooking, as it doesn't hold the unusual shape. Cook this mushroom, don't drink alcohol with it the first time, and I can't wait to see what you do with it.
+ I retained the sometimes-woody end piece of the mushroom so that they handled, washed, and used more easily in the kitchen. The single stem can be helpful when swishing in water to clean.
+ The coral fungus we saved to eat ourselves was also one we washed to see how washing affected quality. Bottom line? It was terrible -- sodden, clumped together, it took ages to drain into copious paper towels, and the humid environment needed to . Their unusual habit of forming upward 'antlers'
means debris can fall in, but also that rain washes it out.
+ For our personal piece, leaving it out on the counter to dry changed the scent, and perhaps the flavor. First, it was a pure earthy mushroom smell, while Friday afternoon it is very much a citrusy-peppery aroma. I can't wait to cook this mushroom in some butter to see how the flavor transforms. However, our piece also was out of refrigeration for more than six hours and it didn't look appealing after that. So, a more perishable mushroom you could take out to breathe a few hours before supper.
+ More recipes, ID, preparation, and pickling tips from this link to: Coral Mushrooms / Clavaria (foragerchef.com)

Dryad's saddle mushroom – Quite certainly the last dryad's saddle mushroom for the season. These mushrooms smell like watermelon raw, but take on earthy tones when sliced thinly and fried. The most important thing here is – slice off the pore layer (spongey webbing) before cooking. Only the white cap layer and upper skin is eaten – the stem and pore layer are discarded.

The story of last week I was saying it throughout the day, and it should be said again: Everything went wrong but the food. Despite the best efforts of Joe, myself, and a helpful volunteer, last Wednesday's harvest-wash-pack day was a disaster.

The plan was to harvest-wash-pack all on site. This plan slid into domino collapse for a lot of reasons: The rain broke the generator, the fridge wasn't secure against the elements, and every fiber nearby was wet.

For this week's drop, we had two days of harvest instead of one, less commuting, and more sleeping (some of it after the alarm clock). Yes, the weather was drier,too. We washed and packed the shares at our home, while working on building our infrastructure at the farm.

Not ready this week Wild elderflower, blackcaps

Preview of next weeks Elderflower, blackcap raspberries, Easter Egg radishes, garlic chives …

Barrett Johanneson

The Broadsheet is free to CSA sharers of Broadacre Farm. This first issue is free for anyone to explore ideas in local food, Midwestern terroir, and the launch of Broadacre's first ever CSA, with shares delivered June 19, 2014. Seventeen-plus future issues! Published June-October.

The Broadsheet – Broadacre Farm's 2014 CSA, Week One – Vol. 1, Issue #1

what's in your share / what's in season
fruit                rhubarb
root                gobo / burdock
herb               dill
herb               sorrel
herb               Swiss mint*
herb               bee balm*
herb               chives and
edible flowers        chive blossoms*
mushroom     Giant panus mushroom
                      (Lentinus levis)
greens            'Blushed Butter Oak' head lettuce*
greens            stinging nettle tips
greens            Salad of the Seasons Mix
            (stellaria leaves and flowers, wood sorrel leaves, baby kale, red clover petals, dianthus and sedum flowers)

Use first Mushroom, bee balm, and head lettuce.
Best keepers Rhubarb, sorrel, gobo, and nettles.

* Frustrating last minute damage by cooler frost which nearly destroyed everything at 3:30 AM and resulted in damage to the noted items. Everyone got a little something extra to make up, and there will be more mint and bee balm on the way.

I just picked up my share. What now? There are no mnemonic devices yet as to best storage techniques, but until I have a format here are a few best practices suited to Week 1.
+ If it's an herb that's on a stalk that you use fresh (like dill or chives), you can store for up to a week when un-banded and set in a glass of water. Then, fix a plastic bag over and secure with a rubber band.
+ Long herbs on a stalk that you can eat fresh (but are best dried, like bee balm and oregano) should be eaten fresh within a couple days. Drying herbs from your share is easy – simply bundle and hang upside-down in a warm area with good air flow out of direct sunlight.
+ Shoots and stalks (like rhubarb) can be stood up in water, but this can be cumbersome – store in the humid crisper. I am trying to avoid wrapping anything in plastic film, and if I wrapped at all, it would be in this category.
+ Greens should be kept in the humid crisper, too, and always do better sealed in a bag. I've found that a paper towel in the bottom will absorb excess moisture following washing, leading to longer storability of greens. Our non-GMO bio-plastic produce bags did not arrive before Thursday, so bags for now are plastic.

Quick Picks
Pesto – stinging nettle tips, bee balm, chives + olive oil, garlic, salt, sunflower seeds
Wild pasta or risotto – bee balm, chives, mushroom, and gobo
Green eggs – stinging nettle tips, dill or bee balm or chives + eggs
Miso soup – gobo, chives, stinging nettle + miso
Cobbler – rhubarb, mint + orange zest
Lebanese beef or lamb meatballs – Swiss mint, bee balm, chives and blossoms + grassfed beef or lamb
Simple syrup – rhubarb or Swiss mint (for dessert glazes, pancake topping, or cocktails) + sugar, water
Dried herbs – Swiss mint, bee balm, chives and blossoms, or dill + string
Oatmeal topping – rhubarab + apple, sugar, orange zest, and rosewater
Half-wild mojito or ice tea – Swiss mint, bee balm
Tempura or fritters – chive blossoms
Infused vodka – dill, Swiss mint, or bee balm + vodka

Notes on packaging First, I was unable to locate an wax box supplier who could send affordable bushel boxes, and drove to Woodbury to get the closest replacement based on dimensions – ¾ bushel boxes. The express shipping charge raised the cost to over $12 per box! They should be around $2 to be a good value. However, 1 bushel boxes will be used probably starting Week 3. Wax boxes are not recyclable, but they are quite reusable and are a reliable way to keep produce fresh as I learned when subscribing to the Featherstone Farm CSA.     As for plastic packaging within the share, we aim to use as little of it as possible, and where possible will search for non-GMO bio-plastics, compostable packaging, paper bags, parchment paper, string, unbleached paper towels, and sometimes vegetables loose in the box.

Stellaria This lettuce-flavored wild green is completely edible, from leaves to stems to flowers, and so I've included all three in the Salad of the Seasons Mix. It grows in cultivated areas, wild spots, marshy areas, tall grass, the shade beneath boxelders, everywhere. I've had it in burgers, beneath chunks of watermelon and feta in a salad, and dressed with Bragg's vinaigrette.

Giant panus mushroom – This is exactly the kind of fly-by-night item I dreamed of including – wild mushrooms. We take great care with wild mushrooms before anyone is allowed to eat it. We take notes on habitat, growth surface, the shape and size of cap and stipe (stem), color, texture, scent, any bruising or staining characteristics, color of the spores, time of year, and any standout identifiers such as rhizomorphs beneath the bark of a host tree, a hairy stipe, or drops of 'milk' when cut. We use taxonomic schedules to rule out any lookalikes, and slowly go through checking the positive identification characteristics. When all the research is done, we cook and eat a small amount, and abstain from alcohol.
        Giant panus mushroom is like an oyster, used to be in the oyster family, and some call it the 'woolly-legged oyster'. It is not as tender as an oyster, but that toothsomeness makes it ideal for slicing thin and frying. It 'holds up to cooking' just like they say about apples. Joe and I brushed off the ever-present debris and ate it with butter, asparagus, gobo, green onions, white pepper, and a tiny sample of coral fungus.
Mushroom pro-tip regarding alcohol – It's best to abstain from alcohol while eating any mushroom that's new to you. Even edible mushrooms can cause some upset when paired with booze. So skip the wine this time and enjoy some fungal goodness with the morning scrambled eggs, or a mushroom-hash-on-toast for an easy lunch.
Mushroom pro-tip regarding cooking – Don't eat this or any other mushroom raw. With one exception for the ubiquitous white button mushroom, wild mushrooms are almost never eaten raw. That's partly because the flavor develops in cooking, often imparting umami flavor to grains, sauces, or fat. Raw mushrooms, on the other hand, have scents like cucumber-watermelon (dryad's saddle) or anise-citrus (giant panus). The best way to enjoy this state of the mushroom is simply take a deep breath.
Mushroom pro-tip regarding washing – Wild mushrooms and mushrooms in general are not washed because it rapidly increases spoilage because of their soft tissues. Instead, they are brushed with special mushroom brushes, although any brush would work – a brand new hairbrush with bristles, a paintbrush, or one of those free toothbrushes that accumulate after dentist visits.

Stinging nettles – A nutritional powerhouse, stinging nettles are de-stinged by cooking – a quick boil will render them harmless. Don't touch them raw or you'll get a minor skin irritation for a few hours. Best in pesto. This is the end of the season for nettles, after which bugs destroy the leaves and the flavor goes metallic.

Bee balm – Perhaps my favorite herb along with tarragon, flower gardeners know it as monarda. It grows wild, too, and has a savory mix of flavors ideal for any Mediterranean cooking from Italian to Lebanese. Referred to sometimes as 'horsemint', it tastes like a otherworldly blend of thyme and mint, with an oregano finish. I love flavoring wild rice with it and other wild herbs like juniper berries.

Preview for the next weeks Blackcap raspberries, green gooseberries, Egyptian walking onions …

– Barrett Johanneson

>>> Broadacre Farm
, Menomonie, Wisc.

COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE is farmers growing food while members pay ahead for a weekly subscription of local produce. Broadacre Farm aims to supply you with a FULL SHARE, about a bushel of vegetables, fruits, and farm products to keep your crisper full of the freshest, chemical-free local ingredients for 18 weeks or more.

My name's Barrett Johanneson, and I'm growing food for other food lovers. I believe everyone deserves nutritious food and that local food can't wait. This is my first season growing for market, offering a CSA, and raising chickens, all at Broadacre Farm.
WHEN YOU SAY 'WE' Joe Castleberg, my partner, works in Menomonie. While we still call Durand home, we're exploring all options to be on the farm full-time. He helped install the beautiful gardens taking shape there.
THE PLACE The Menomonie-area farm is 110 acres of pasture, forest, a pond, and now a market garden.
PEACE OF MIND I'm proud that the land has a pedigree of no documented chemical or GMO usage in at least the last 30 years with virtually no tillage since the 1950s. Perennial grasses provide hay and forage for cattle who provide manure and fertility. Ecology at work.
LANDSCAPE The land is mostly rolling grassland and pasture surrounded by forest and fencelines, and is populated seasonally by beef cattle. The farm borders rich wildlife habitat in the Lamb's Creek Wildlife Management Area.
TRAINING AND SKILLS For the last five years, I have been experimenting in the field with annual vegetables and perennial fruits and learning everything I can about heirloom seeds, how to cook from scratch, ecosystems, perennial edibles, and permaculture.

>>> Farmer
Barrett Johanneson with giant lettuce grown at home.

IN THE BLOOD At 2, I was gardening with a spoon and planting flowers by seed in northern Minnesota. I've always loved summer, vegetables, fields, gardens, and forests, and now I get to make that the focus of my life, growing food for new and old friends in the Twin Cities, Menomonie, and Eau Claire.
PREPARATIONS I bought the land late in 2012, and in 2013 began to break ground on an intensive and layered garden located around the former farm's old barnyard and windmill.
MOONSHOT The plan laid it out -- provide food from snowy spring mornings all the way through the next winter with the aid of root cellars, novel food preservation methods, and a complement of livestock to build soil and grow it all. My dream is a mix of everyone's favorite vegetables, new heirloom flavors, plus the wild food, tree fruits and nuts that I stopped wishing more farms offered and started growing the foods I craved.
BEACHHEAD The site I chose for the farm's market garden is tucked into those rolling hills and unsprayed pastures. The first hedges, paths, and plots are in play.
HISTORY The land had previously been owned by my neighbor-farmers, David and Deb Fruit of 3D Farm. Most of the land is currently leased to 3D Farm, which specializes in rotationally-grazed, grass-fed beef and other pastured foods. David's beef cattle are a serene and funny presence as they surround the garden's fence and peer in at their old haunt.

>>> we share links, photos,
news and pithy commentary on Facebook at

ARE YOU AN ORGANIC FARMER OR WHAT? Short answer: No ... my own standards are pretty strict. Broadacre Farm is not certified organic and is not enrolled in any certification program.

Speaking for my farm and garden practices, I do not use any chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides. In the last year I have tended to it, the soil in my garden has not been treated in any way contrary to the specifications laid out by the USDA's National Organic Program.

The generational history of Broadacre Farm's land does not include any chemical spraying or GMOs (genetically modified crops) stretching back 30 years or more to the advent of agricultural hijinx. Organic certification usually takes three years of avoiding banned chemicals and practices, keeping paperwork, submitting to government inspections, and paying fees.

Since Broadacre Farm is very new and eager to provide food, we chose not to go this route. We're not ruling out some form of certification in the future; it is likely to be with the Certified Naturally Grown program which is administered by farmer-peers and has as strong or stronger standards than those in the National Organic Program.

>>> Rhubarb is prized as the first fruit of spring; our new rhubarb crowns were drought-stricken last year, so we're planning irrigation in 2014, and new starts like 'Garden Fraulein Scharfer Torte', 'Victoria', and 'Glaskin's Perpetual' by spring of 2015.

Of course even organic gardening faces pest or weed pressure, so in due course I may use diatomaceous earth (crushed up diatoms from oceanic sediment), neem oil (a beneficial tree oil), or Bacillus thuringiensis inoculation (a contagious epidemic for grasshoppers) to control certain populations.

More likely methods of pest and weed control may include sheet mulching, chickens, spraying with comfrey or stinging nettle compost tea, planting flowers to attract beneficial insects, or our fearless Labrador-beagle mix, Gemma.

“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”

– Chinese proverb{C}{C}

>>> The apple codling moth is attracted to apple cider vinegar, molasses, and banana peel in a milk jug, instead of the apple blossoms where the moth's progeny destroy fruit. At their family farm in Durand, Wisc., my partner Joe Castleberg (left) with his mother, Sheila Castleberg (right), installing a homemade organic pest control device in an apple tree.

A CSA share consists of a “bushel box” (about the size of a microwave), delivered to your city's designated site on Thursdays, for 18+ weeks from June to October.
The BROADSHEET A weekly one-sheet + web content all about your share–storage, recipes, ID-ing, farm conditions, food lore, a few images and some prose.
On-farm EVENTS A few times a year, all CSA members and friends can gather at Broadacre Farm to break ground and share bountiful harvests.
OVERALL VALUE Subscribing to my CSA really is a value for the price when factors like quality, availability, and knowing where your food comes from are also important to you.

QUALITY, to me, means a nutrient-rich, sustainably-grown food that’s fresh, ripe, or well-preserved, with enough of the right information to earn a place on your plate -- and it has to taste good!

AVAILABILITY means the produce in your crisper is grown a few miles away rather than thousands. We're working on convenient pick-up locations based on your input.

The 18-week FULL SHARE represents a starting point toward the goal of half-year to year-round food production in western Wisconsin.

Broadacre Farm will also be developing season-extension efforts such as row covers and hoophouses, to expand the length of our season to 26 weeks or more.

CAN I VISIT THE FARM? Sure! I love planning ahead to keep my time organized, so please give me a call at 715-279-0149 / temporarily unavailable 715-673-4122 to make arrangements. I often find myself away from the farm on forays or errands, and also need quiet times for writing (my other career), sleeping, and family.

WHAT ABOUT ON-FARM EVENTS? There are two events tentatively planned for 2014. One, a Groundbreaking Day early in the season to welcome CSA friends to the farm, work and play in the garden, and explore the farm on foot. Second is Salsa Day in September — U-pick tomatoes and peppers, salsa tastings, and farm and garden tours.

>>> Dryland-grown tomatoes are flawed flavorbombs, while CSA members get quality in reserve. Heirlooms like 'Hawaiian Pineapple' are partners in harvest with purple tomatilloes and hot peppers like 'Jalapeno' and 'Magnum Habańero'.

For an idea of what's in season, read What's in Season / What's in a Share?

Are you hungry in Eau Claire, Menomonie, or the Twin Cities? Click here to reserve your place in Broadacre Farm's 2014 CSA.
14 March 2014 @ 02:02 pm

“Each weekly share will reflect what's ripe and ready that week, and as such are subject to weather, pests, and other risks and rewards of nature--sometimes less, most times more, and ever-changing.” -- Barrett Johanneson, Broadacre Farm

what's in season on the farm ... early season

'Salad of the Seasons' mix, radishes, early strawberries, alpine strawberries, sorrel, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, Swiss chard, snow peas, parsnips, dandelion greens ...

… French tarragon, dill, chives, cilantro, chocolate mint and Swiss mint, stinging nettle shoots, dandelion root, burdock root (aka gobo), bibb lettuce, rhubarb, asparagus, Egyptian onion shoots, baby turnips, garlic chives, kale, Virginia waterleaf, wild violets

what's in your share
circa June 15th (est.)

'Salad of the Seasons' mix
bunch of baby carrots
'Viroflay' spinach
bunch of radishes
bunch of baby turnips, greens on
one bunch of dill
one bunch of mint
mustard greens
small container strawberries
bundle of dandelion roots
Bull's Blood beets

what's in season on the farm ... mid-season

'Salad of the Seasons' mix, zucchini, blackcap raspberries, chive blossoms and buds, potatoes, daylily blossoms, mountain mint, carrots, ever-bearing strawberries ...

… purple and Thai basil, onions, Malabar spinach, bee balm leaves and petals, broccoli, cilantro, cucumbers, green sage, cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomato varieties like Stupice, Kellogg's Breakfast, Aunt Ruby's German Green, Principe Borghese, Ruth's Red Perfect, Black Krim, cantaloupe, dill flowers, mini-watermelon, nasturtium

what's in your share
circa July 31th (est.)

'Salad of the Seasons' mix
pint of cherry tomatoes
head of broccoli
first heirloom tomatoes
bundle of sage
bag of new potatoes
half-pint blackcap raspberries
bag of arugula
bunch of cilantro
tray of meadow mushrooms*
quart of sumac berries

what's in season on the farm ... late season

'Salad of the Seasons' mix, heirloom tomatoes, wild plums, cabbage, broccoli, onions, winter squash, sunflower seeds, red raspberries, golden raspberries, blackberries, lavender sage, chicken of the woods mushroom*, eggplant, 'parsleriac', 'Wolf River' apples ...

>>> Apple-pear tart with apricot jam and candied orange zest.

… hot peppers, sweet peppers, Sichuan peppercorns, pumpkins, rutabaga, beets, groundcherries, tomatillo, groundnuts, kale, sunchokes, celeriac, daikon radish, flour corn

what's in your share
circa Sept. 15th (est.)

'Salad of the Seasons' mix
many heirloom tomatoes
red onions
bag of tomatillos
pint of red and golden raspberries
bundle of 'Toscano di Nero' kale
pint of jalapenos
'Red Acre' cabbage
one purple top rutabaga
'Tahitian Melon' winter squash
'Nutterbutter' winter squash
pint of wild plums

>>> for updates on farm news and events,
plus new farm products and collaborations
read BroadacreFarm.Wordpress.com


In the spring and summer of 2013, Joe and I planted: 'Northern Star' alpine strawberries; 'Tri'Star' ever-bearing strawberries; 'Mary Washington' and 'Purple Passion' asparagus; 'Green Victoria', 'Glaskin's Perpetual', and 'Canada Red' rhubarb; 'Golden', 'Pink Champagne', 'White Imperial', 'Red Perfection', and black currants; wild and 'Pixwell' gooseberries; 'White Russian', 'Sweet Lavender', and 'Northrop' mulberry; 'Crimson Passion' and 'Carmine Jewel' bush cherries; American hazelnuts; 'Reliance' and 'Contender' peaches; 'Nijeiseiki', 'Shinsui', 'Shinseiki' Asian pears; 'Collette Ever-bearing' European pear; 'Dunbar's', 'Mt. Royal', and 'Ewing Blue' plum; 'Adirondack Gold' apricot, 'Lemony' quince, 'Frontenac Gris' and 'Marquette' grapes, 'Bicentennial' black walnuts, hops, sea buckthorn, goji berries,
and more …

*Wild mushrooms only available in Wisconsin shares, or by appt. on-farm in Menomonie.

14 March 2014 @ 02:01 pm
About Broadacre Farm and the 2014 CSA, <strike>accepting applications now</strike> The sales phase of the 2014 CSA is currently closed. We are now taking reservations for 2015, as well as a wait list should additional shares become available.
What's on the menu
Sign-up sheet
14 August 2013 @ 02:37 pm

Milkweed + water

Milkweed is allowed to thrive wherever it sprouts, providing a host plant for Monarch caterpillars. Beyond and behind, Joe hauls water from the back of the pick-up. We practice water conservation on the farm because there is not a functioning well and water must be trucked in and dispensed by hand.

Gobo + Bee

Gobo (also known as burdock, cockleburr, or Arctium lappa) is turning into one of those miracle crops for northern permaculturists -- edible root (earthy), edible inner stalk (cucumber-y), first year shades out grass and competition, deep taproot (resistant to drought and improves soil), leaves make a great mulch, thrives in sun or shade, second year stalks provide habitat for birds (insect- and weed-seed-eaters who leave their fertile droppings). Add to the list: pollinator. July is known as a time of year when not much is flowering, but milkweed, gobo, comfrey, and asters fill that spot on our calendar.

13 June 2013 @ 03:41 pm
Waylaid by overdue tasks, frustratingly intermittent rainshowers, equipment breakdowns, and an injury or two, Joe and I put off a farm trip the last two days. While still recovering from hundreds of highway miles and the inevitably packed calendar of mid-May through mid-June, I was presented face to face with the seeming disaster of the front garden. With nearly all growing efforts taking place at the new farm rather than the rented house, this garden is all but abandoned.

With each successive spring, the garden has become more choked with spring vegetation – stinging nettles, gobo, asters, goldenrod, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, and dandelions. This is the time of year when even the dandelions have outlived their usefulness (roots spent, leaves bitter, and flowers gone to downy-caking seed that's nigh impossible to wash out of your salad greens) and quackgrass's newly invaded areas start to sprout seedheads themselves. In past years, fortuitous volunteers sprout from the previous year's carrots and unsightly lettuce spires; even some annuals can do their own work for you. But this year even the chervil crept and bolted to paltry flowers and dirt-flavored leaves in the blink of an eye, and so it appears that we have entered the dead stretch of June when it feels like nothing is fresh for salads and the true bounty of strawberries is still several sunny days off.

In these bare times when I know I'll be yearning for a fresh crisp bite of something green, I like to make what I colloquially call 'fresh pickles'. The ingredients are water, salt, and virtually any edible thing from the garden. This year, I had enough chive blossoms to use a handful fresh instead of saving for seed. Straggler dandelion petals I pinched from the flowerheads, daylily flower buds, garlic chive shoots, stray asparagus spears emerging from mulch, wild lettuce leaves (with their pale blue hue and sticklebacks), water celery, and horseradish leaves. The kale in the keyhole garden provided something substantive toward nutrition without much bulk.

Before I get ahead of myself, here's a recipe for yesterday's variation:

1 dozen chive blossoms
2 horseradish leaves, sliced thinly
3 dandelion blossoms (all petals, no green parts)
1 handful dandelion leaves (small, tender, and from plants with no blooms)
1 handful of daylily buds
3 garlic chive shoots
6 wild lettuce leaves
4 asparagus spears, chopped
10 sprigs of water celery
6-8 kale leaves (de-ribbed and sliced into ribbons)

2 cups water
1 tablespoon salt

8 black peppercorns
½ teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
½ teaspoon brown mustard seeds
3 prickly ash seed husks (aka Sichuan peppercorns)
1 bay leaf

Chop, slice, or tear up your ingredients and immerse them in a wide quart jar of brine, add your spices, and plop a narrow-mouth half-pint jar to weigh down the vegetables and herbs in the brine. If your quart was half-full before, it should be 5/6-full before adding the weight jar, and about a half inch below the jar's rim when you're done. Save a bit of space for the vegetables to expand as they begin to ferment. Cover your makeshift crock with cheesecloth, a jelly bag, or a clean and scent-free rag.* Try your pickles after a few days and select for when they have reached your ideal level of sourness. The spice and salt should have permeated the vegetables by then with a slight effervescence. That's when it's best to lid the jar and refrigerate.

The best part of this general recipe is how you can use whatever is available (as long as it doesn't need to be cooked, or it's a leafy green that will disintegrate into mush). In the past, I've included: violet blossoms, violet leaves, pea shoots, pea pods, green beans, dill, dill flowers, daylily blossoms, baby carrots, baby parsnips, curly parsley, Italian parsley, green tomatoes, tiny cucumbers, broccolinis, green onions, garlic, tarragon, bee balm petals … whatever your heart desires.

Or, perhaps the best part is how versatile it is in the kitchen. At it's peak, I like to chop unrefrigerated fresh pickles into a relish to top a good bratwurst. Otherwise, I've added it to supper's sauerkraut, started a soup base from a bit of the brine, and made some really special salad dressings, marinades, and sometimes even more pickles.

* Most picklers call to cover your crock with cheesecloth, but I prefer to use re-purposed jelly strainers that aren't being used to strain because they fit perfectly for the task and they can go through the dishwasher or the other washer without retaining scents. (Also, the artificial fiber is finer than cheesecloth which I think is better at keeping out bugs and spores. Cheesecloth, which can be produced sustainably and then composted at the end of its life cycle, is either too hard to procure locally or too expensive by the square foot.)
10 June 2013 @ 04:44 pm
Never finding a good way to make an announcement amid the inactivity of an extended winter, this past year, I became the proud owner of 110 acres of the most beautiful countryside in Menomonie as the first milestone of a new farm. It marks the end of a long search for farmland that began in earnest five years ago, as I was completing my graduate school at Hamline and readier than ever to leave the city. As I've moved around from Eau Claire to Durand, Menomonie has been one place I've explored the least, and now I can be sure that within a few years, I will someday make it my home.

The land is situated among moderately sloping forests and flatter pastures, somewhat reminiscent of the Driftless of Buffalo County where we live now. With coulees, sandhills, old dairy farms, and government property being prevalent, there are not too many folks living in the area. The property benefits greatly by adjoining hundreds of acres of DNR wildlife area that with remarkable ecology – I've seen bald eagles, sandhill cranes, Canada geese; heard owls, coyotes, and an array of warblers. While mostly unforested, the new farm is ringed with mature fencerows festooned with wild grapes, wild black cherries, wild raspberries, oaks, maples, ostrich ferns, prickly ash (our native Sichuan peppercorn), dead elms (a morel mushroom indicator), and even an autumn olive, wild plum, and wild blueberries here and there.

While the seller's cattle will continue to be rotationally grazed on the outer edges, the focus of 2013 from 2017 is the old homestead area, which will be the beachhead of a perennial food farm featuring tree crops, fruits and vegetables for all seasons, and a long list of other products which might sate my appetite to produce local food for my neighbors, be sustainable, and to provide amply for my family in good times and in bad. The property has been in the seller's family for three generations, generations that never latched on to or believed in chemical agriculture and so didn't use pesticides or herbicides – just a system of grazing animals on pasture.

With a late start from the May 2 blizzard (16 inches of the heaviest, wettest snow fell on Menomonie), my first full day working with Joe as a tree farmer involved busting out the Husqvarna chainsaw and sawing fallen branches blocking the road in. But as the season progressed, the precarious stockpile of prematurely-delivered grafted fruit trees and bundles of berries and nut trees lingering in a repurposed bathtub has now dwindled. All the named trees are planted, and many more unnamed species are in the ground and being misted, fogged, and scattered-thunderstormed for these past weeks.

Still, the planting of saplings, canes, wild varieties, shrubs, berries, crowns and corms are underway, sometimes in areas of deeply loamy silt and sand, and others where shattered stones break the surface of the soil revealing gravel, rocks, and a few boulders. With the first 2/3 of an acre, mostly gardening methods are being used. (That is, when virtually all the mechanical, combustion, and electrical equipment is malfunctioning.)

The other 109 1/3 acres will be another story because my style of growing is to work smarter, not harder, which I do realize seems a bit pat. But put it these ways: Plant once, harvest always. Don't waste labor where nature already labors. Mantras for me, both. I could never convince myself to devote this much work toward annuals crops like corn, soybeans, or wheat (or at least until the perennials start working harder themselves).

Loving gardening and farming as much as I do, this whole period of my life pursuing agriculture has also been about the pursuit of the time, resources, and situation in which I can write. So now that a series of community events and special occasions have concluded, I can now rekindle that sputtering spring fire. Transplant the best varieties I've been incubating at home. Plant the miraculously cheap perennials from garden sales put on by Good Egg Food Co-op and the Lake Wissota Garden Club. Finally put in the vast quantities of tomatoes, peppers, and tomatilloes that are a cinch to raise and proliferate and make winter cooking such a pleasure. Resume plans to install a wildlife fence outside the hundreds of feet of edible hedges we're planting while also moving forward with restoration of the old metal windmill which will spin once again. There will be more.

The name that fits is Broadacre Farm.
02 May 2013 @ 11:55 am

We broke out the shorts this week, the rakes, the cardboard for smothering quackgrass. I snuck out two mornings ago to forage for spring greens, now knowing four or five species to really fill a bucket – I got Virginia waterleaf, dandelion, cleavers, cress, and marsh marigolds. I nibbled on a few blackcap raspberry buds, already bitterand past that special moment when they taste like almonds and would be amazing in a wildflower honey infusion. Heat baked off the dried grasses. Shirtsleeves. Skunk smell wafted. Beavers had cleared all but two pussywillows, their blossoms yellowed with age and pollen. On the same walk, Gemma and I scoured the shoreline of a shallow backwater, where I introduced her to a langoustine-sized native crayfish, exoskeletal fragments, and finally the boxy Blanding's turtle that was eating her fill of crawdads and basking in the sunshine. Haven't seen her for a couple years.

It seems especially cruel then that a blizzard is shaming our area, with all those May Day posies blown off their doorhandles, the anarchists and agitators are all tucked into their beds. Farmers don't like it either. Trees snapping; lights flickering, school canceled. The maple tapping season was over, the harvest all bottled; is it still? All those spring greens buried beneath twelve inches of snow. The turtle and her lobster luncheon. Thinking of the optimistic gooseberry leaves which had mostly unfurled, but hesitating to draw down their yellow pendants. Upon returning from last night's food co-op meeting, Joe and I rigged our friend Mary's recycled childhood bedsheets over the keyhole garden, clipping at fitted sheets with clothespins, enduring sleet and a yard light with a schizophrenic motion sensor. Remember that list of scrappy seedlings we planted? We still wish to eat them.

The mail-orders from Oikos Tree Crops and St. Lawrence Nurseries have arrived. Grafted and wild trees, shrubs and bushes have started to arrive in the mail, and characteristically wish to leaf out and, having broken dormancy, proceed with their explosive spring growth. Yes, just as the woods are leafing out in response to our vaguely encouraging protest chants (“We want leaves!” and “Green leaves now!”), we put the kibosh on those saplings because there are still so many to-do's to cross off the list: ground thawing, road improving, deer fencing, windmill fixing, equipment hunting. What to do when your food forest arrives in the mail early?

Plant the trees in the basement. Line the corner of the western wall in a windowless cellar with leftover scraps of sixty millimeter polyethylene sheeting. Line the sheeting with straw. Begin unwrapping bundles of sticks and planting them in the straw. Swaddling and tucking the straw. Wetting the straw from a rain-simulating watering can. Folding a flap over to generate rootlet-saving humidity. Batten up the window to bar the light, but crack the seal to let cold air in and trick the trees to leaf another day.

Outside, falling trees are killing our power. Better post while the Submit button is hot.

25 April 2013 @ 10:19 pm

Feet hurt, crick in the neck, hands dirty – I've been gardening again after what feels like the longest winter in history.

Being in the first generation of drastic climate change, I think it takes a certain spring when winter and spring overlap. With intermittent snow and frosts keeping dormant perennials in check, you'll see signs of both seasons at once. This morning's chill gave way to afternoon sweater weather with a ratty gray fleece all that was needed to absorb sunshine and stay warm, sans jacket. Plants are finally coming back in shoots and starts, mostly purpled with cold-hardy pigments – stinging nettles, mint, horseradish, dandelions, chickweed, chives, cress and dock. (And of course, creeping charlie and quackgrass, their green leaves barely stunted by snowpack and frozen soil.)

Meanwhile, indoors, Joe and I were ready for a basement switch-out. The aquaponics table in the basement had seen its growth spurt, but the peat-compost-perlite soil medium had algae-fied and begun to suffocate the root systems, so we took all the ready and weak seedlings and brought them out to our blank keyhole garden – a circular raised bed lined with pavers, filled with sticks, and loaded with composted cattle manure. After many months of waiting, we planted two miniature white cucumbers, three Stupice early-season tomatoes (a half dozen greenies held erect on sturdy stems), a plate of Cocarde lettuces, Siberian kale, borage, Alaska peas, yarrow, calendula, minutina, arugula, Mammoth dill, and a couple other tiny rootlets that will all respond well to a few days seventy-degree days and fifty-degree nights and then cooler, wetter nights beyond.

Looking out at the tan yard after six months of snow, the withering banks revealed a winter's-worth of bleached dog shit, poly-fill from Gemma's dog toys, crushed soda cans, and the peeled bark from dead elms. A few wheelbarrows of garbage hauled away, the organic matter went toward lining the Cherry Garden with new soil and mulch. Joe clipped the old lambs-quarter and lovage stalks with a pruner (we left them up to create snow drifts as a water conservation measure) while I deposited lawn debris around scattered seed bombs we threw out before the last snowstorm. Talk about happy accidents: A leaky tray of transplants had flooded my seed-and-germination area, soaking about two dozen packets of wildflowers and random edibles like parsley and thyme. Instead of weeping and ordering more, we washed the seeds out into a bucket of water, created a slurry from soil mix, and slung wet clods on any bare ground. If only a few sprout, we'll have echinacea, sweetgrass, butterfly weed, and a long list of other sublime natives.

Likewise, the dead lawn out front has been seeded with prairie desirables. Unseasonable fall weather in December had us till-scraping the sod off a large patch of front yard. This spring, we raked muddy clumps of grass down the hill and then spread a gallon size bag's-worth of wildflowers, grasses, and legumes to help pollinate the garden below. Besides, it should cut twenty or thirty minutes off lawn-mowing which takes three hours a session. So much lawn to kill, so little time.

Foraging has been hit-or-miss. Late winter is a scarce time to collect edibles or medicinals, but I searched out the nine pines in our area and scraped highly aromatic pitch from wounds only to have the sap mold over in the jar. Joyously, I found a use for the cottonwood saplings taking root in the garden and burgeoning in the pasture – their resinous buds are the main ingredient in the biblical Balm of Gilead, which I concocted with hot coconut oil. However, I hit the motherlode of groundnuts, which grow along beaded strings at certain streambanks and fix nitrogen into the soil. Flooding had eroded an area loaded with them, and I've returned to collect spoil after spoil of 'taters' as I call them, necklace after necklace hanging into the stream. So unobtrusive, only experts can spot their delicate pea-flowered vines once spring begins its green riot. Most groundnuts are thumb-sized, but the baby's-fist-sized trophy tuber was found hanging from a tree over the water, as if it were a Christmas ornament. As for the weeks of cool temps and many Pacific Northwest-like rainfall, I predict a brief but prolific morel season for western Wisconsin that will last for about a week to ten days and peaking in mid-May. (Last spring – dry, hot, and six weeks early – was terrible for morels, with my take totaling a dozen apricot-scented little brains of morel.)

And like those first shoots – purple as a bruise, nascent, and ready to be cut down in their prime – I have here simply written an offering that says, “I'm alive; there's a hope and a chance here. I made it through the darkness.” The sun does rise and set; the moon arcs and disappears. There is satisfaction in the act of journaling, as long as it is only marginally about me. Nature, growing, ideas, methods, farming, gardening, secrets from the old country, grandma's recipes, sly tricks, and how-to's – that's what I like to write about. And I have long lacked an outlet for critical views. The days of private confessionals and coy whispers are likely over, but perhaps my raw blood prose may momentarily leak and flood through your collective seed-bank, germinating perennial ideas.

Note: Unlike times past, many entries will be public, friends-only posts are rare, and the vast majority of what I write is private. Comments are open to anyone, even anonymous. I can't guarantee replies to comments because sometimes I have nothing worthy to say in response. I'll accept dialogue, but not abuse. Please know the difference because I log IP addresses. Thanks and welcome.

11 November 2012 @ 03:00 pm

Spring delicacies by Permavultur
Spring delicacies, a photo by Permavultur on Flickr.

Chamomile blossoms, sage flowers, June strawberries, and the first pepper of the season -- Hungarian wax -- on May 24, 2012.

11 November 2012 @ 02:02 pm

Spring greens by Permavultur
Spring greens, a photo by Permavultur on Flickr.

At the end of the growing season, memories of the first greens of spring. May 24, 2012.

11 November 2012 @ 12:03 pm
Heirloom solanaceaeWinged seedBaroque filthDusk, Chippewa River Valley.Giant insect examining all available color choicesNewfoundland
Goodbye, brutalist libraryThree unknown berry branchesPlant IDEvening commuteJoe on his new bikeSquare foot garden
Community garden teamworkBanbury Place and Eau Claire RiverEau Claire RiverWoodland trailkitchen as a kind of labCuteOverload.yard
After a whirlwind came through the sunflowersView from Jeffers Road gardensChicken of the WoodsWeighing the mushroomsSauerkrautdeer

Life in Eau Claire, a set on Flickr.

Photos from a year spent in Eau Claire.

08 July 2012 @ 02:01 pm

for great local recipes and more,
visit GoodEggFoodCoop.com

In kitchens that reflect a local flavor from locally-produced ingredients, there are certain recipes known for hitting the "trifecta" -- combining three local foods which transform into something incredible. This recipe for buttery popcorn is an inaugural entry to the local food hall of fame. The taste of Wisconsin is at it's absolute best with Wheatfield Hill Organics popcorn, Century Sun sunflower oil, and Midvalleyvu Farms cultured butter. And don't skip this oil -- the very high smoke point makes for perfect popping. The fresh-pressed oil imparts a wonderful nuttiness to the richly flavored popcorn. Then, the golden melted butter from pastured cows and sprinkles of fine salt make this a favorite casual treat for movies at home on the couch, or paper-bagged to a summer baseball game.

Pepin County Popcorn
ready in fifteen minutes

1/2 cup Wheatfield Hills Organics popcorn (Durand, Wisc.)
1/4 cup Century Sun Oil certified organic sunflower oil sunflower oil (Pulaski, Wisc.)
3 tbsp. Midvalleyvu Family Farms cultured butter (Arkansaw, Wisc.)
salt to taste

In a medium saucepan with fitted lid, pour the sunflower oil and cook at medium-high heat. At the very start, put in three to seven kernels -- once they've popped, pour in the rest of the corn and cover with the fitted lid. Gently jostle the pan to prevent scorching before and during the popping. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the butter on medium-low until it is completely melted, then take off heat. When the popping corn slows to once every few seconds, immediately remove from heat. Being careful to avoid hot oil, pour popcorn into a large bowl, then drizzle with spoonfuls of butter, alternate with salt, all while stirring to coat the pieces. Serve in a paper bag or in a large soup mug.

recipe from
Good Egg Food Co-op
Durand, Wisconsin

23 May 1980 @ 12:16 pm

This journal is friends only.
sound: "The Theme For Tonight" - Circlesquare