2018 CSA Box

We hope that everyone is loving their CSA this year. For those who are part of a different CSA or considering being a first time member next year, here are some photos of this weeks CSA box, it weighed over 27lbs! This box has lots of staple veggies including potatoes, onions, peppers and tomatoes. We also have a few specialties including purple beans, suyo long (asian heirloom cucumber) and a ghost pepper!

The total box included the following: melon, watermelon (red and yellow ), potatoes, onions, beans (green, yellow, purple ), various cucumbers, sweet peppers (green and red ), hot peppers (halapeno, hot wax, ghost ), cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, summer squashes, garlic, tomatoes, lime basil, and basil

Feel free to reach out to us if you're interested in joining our CSA next year!

Roadside Stand Open!

Our roadside stand is now open for buisness!

We are excited to have our roadside stand open for buisness. It will be open every day sunrise to sunset. We currently have zucchini, cucumbers, cabbage, broccoli, snap peas and summer squash available! More produce will be available very soon, so make sure to check out the stand or shoot us a message to see what's available! (We also have syrup and a limited supply of honey for purchase!)

Notice to CSA members: We have emailed everyone regarding your first week's pickup! Check your emails so you don't miss out! :)

Spring Heat Wave & Maple Sugar!

Wow! This heatwave is getting us ready for a hot summer! 5 days in the low to mid 90s is enough to wear down even the most experienced farmer. When your livelihood is made by being a farmer you have to train yourself to overcome heat waves. It is important to balance your work with plenty of rest and hydration. We enjoy filling our cattle troughs with ice cold hose water and using it as an outdoor ice bath to help us cool off after hours in the hot sun.

In terms of farm work for the week; we haven't slowed down because of the heat! We have full removed all the stakes from last year's tomato field- which was over 2,000 stakes. We typically try to get that job done in the fall after the tomatoes have stopped producing, but unfortunately that doesn't always happen as we'd like it to and then we are stuck doing it in the spring. Over the last week we've had one of our former gymnasts, Ian, out here helping us on the farm. It's always a blessing having young muscle out here on the farm doing tasks like these!

Maple sugar; it's something we have never made before but we've always talked about doing. With this heat wave and the intermittent rainfalls we decided it was time to try it! We did a bit of research beforehand so we knew what to expect and what to look for. From there on we just went for it! It has been a fun experience learning how you can start with drilling a hole in a maple tree to get sap (which is essentially water) and end with fine crystalized pieces of maple sugar! Maple sugar can be used in recipes in the same way as cane sugar is used. It can be used to sweeten drinks, top oatmeal or incorporated into a flavorful rub for meats! Maple sugar is on average twice as sweet as cane sugar, so it makes for a wonderful substitue for making sweet treats and desserts!

New mower!

A new mower may not sound very exciting to most, but living on the farm we have acres of land that have to be mowed! Having a quality working mower can transform the look of the farm! We made it through 2017 using an old mower with 1 working blade and a battery that needed to be charged every time you used it. Now we have a brand new 46" 22hp Cub Cadet mower!

Spring time on the farm comes with many things to do beyond working in the field. There is a lot of upkeep that starts in order to keep the farm looking great! We have many acres of mowing, a treenline that needs to be kept up, flower gardens to be cleaned up and mulched and so many little projects all alround the farm. We could work from dawn until dusk every single day and still not be able to be fully caught up.

When it comes to field work, we have accomplished plenty of that as well! We continue to plant tomatoes, of course. We started three fields of pumpkins, squash and gourds. We have finished most of it but have also been delayed due to wet fields and lack of time. We have also planted onions, beans, peas, radishes, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi, zucchini and more!

We are off to a fantastic start to our season! We're very excited to have a fantastic farming season with outstanding produce!

5.15.18 Tomatoes and Potatoes!

We are very excited to let everyone know that we have started transplanting our heirloom tomatoes!

This planting is a couple weeks ahead of last years schedule, so we are hoping for some early season tomatoes! The last couple of days we have transplanted over 1,000 tomato plants! We plan to be planting tomatoes over the next month or so. Last year we had an immense amount of rain through the spring which set us back on planting because the fields were too wet. This year we feel like spring skipped us- we went straight from winter to summer weather! This isn't necessarily a bad thing, just as long as we get some rain along with the sunny weather! When it doesn't rain we are forced to be watering the plants by hand.

Along with tomatoes, we also planted potatoes! We planted some blues, some reds and some double reds (red skin and red inside). Potatoes are unique when compared to most produce because to get potatoes for this year we simply plant leftover potatoes from last year!

There are many spring jobs on the farm which we enjoy however trimming apple trees is not one of them... If it weren't essential to do, we would not do it. It's one of our least favorite jobs on the farm but we love good apples so it's a must! When we trim the trees we mainly try to cut off the water sprouts, unless more major trimming is required. If we let water sprouts continue to grow they'll turn into full branches. Water sprouts typically grow straight up reaching out to get as much sun as possible. When trimming apple trees you don't want branches overlapping, growing together or growing straight up. This causes issues as they get bigger. This is why we work hard to eliminate those sprouts to keep the trees growing healthy and producing good fruit!

5.3.18 Outdoor Planting Season Begins

The snow has melted, the ground is drying, the sun is hot and we are ready for the spring weather! We have taken this opportunity to catch up and get back on track from a lonnggg winter!

You have to start by determining when the field is ready to be worked up. Do it too early and it will be too wet and the soil will clump too much. Do it too late and the field will be too dry and won't have enough moisture to promote early seed growth. We are at the perfect spot right now!

We are currently in the busiest time of the spring season, planting. We started working up the ground earlier this week to prepare. Today we planted our first set of sweet corn, so we are prepared for an early batch!

We've also got some garlic coming up! This is always exciting because garlic is planted in the fall with hopes that it all comes up in the spring time! We see it as one of the first true signs of spring around here.

We'll have another update soon, so check in the next couple of days for that! :)

4.24.18 Spring is here!

We have survived one of the snowiest springs in history and the largest April snowstorm! Spring time is here and we are busy at work to get the farm prepped outside! We are weeks behind because of the snow and mud, but between Friday and today we are almost dry enough to get into the fields!

Our maple trees have finished producing sap and we're boiling down the last of our sap/syrup, which means we'll have our final product soon! We worked hard yesterday taking down all the buckets and pulling taps from the trees. In the next couple of days we'll hand-wash nearly 100 buckets and lids and put them away for storage until next year.

We have started building our greenhouses and will finish up early this week. We have thousands of plants that will call the greenhouse home until the fields are ready and the weather is steady.

4.4.18 Winter wonderland on the farm, in April?

April 3rd, 1974 was our previous snow record with 5.90 inches of snow. April 3rd, 2018 we set a new record with 7.50 inches of snow.

Oh Minnesota, why must you play these cruel jokes on us?

April snowfalls make life on the farm that much more difficult. It creates more mud, covers fields to prevent field work, makes travel around the farm difficult or impossible (by vehicle at least) and just generally puts us behind from a normal year.

We are hard at work down in the basement with planting and preparing for the season. There is a lot of work that can take place both inside and outside in the spring. It ranges from obvious spring jobs such as planting to less obvious jobs such as reorganzing the barn to ensure that once the season gets rolling we are able to work efficently!

We are very excited for this years season and for our CSA! We're planning more events for this year, new types of produce and more! Please reach out to us with any questions you might have about our CSA or CSAs in general!

Just in case anyone was curious the top 10 snowfalls for April, here you go!

Top ten largest April Snowstorms in the Twin Cities 1891-2013
Rank Date Year Amount (in)
——————————————
#1 April 14 1983 13.6
#2 April 27-28 1907 13.0
#3 April 19-21 1893 10.0
#4 April 29-30 1984 9.7
#5 April 6-9 1923 9.6
#6 April 13-14 1928 9.5
#7 April 13-14 1949 9.3
#8 April 1-2 2002 7.6
#9 April 8-9 1980 7.6 (tie)
#10 April 4-5 1957 7.4
— https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/climate/journal/13_april_snow_records.html

3.27.18 A fallen tree and a jungle of baby plants

This has been a week of progressing on spring's two biggest tasks; planting and making maple syrup! Our basement greenhouse is fully underway with tomatoes, peppers, celery and many more varietys of produce growing! We have thousands of more seeds to plant, but we will soon run out of space until we can get the outdoor greenhouses built! The plants have grown substantially since we starting planting back on March 5th and we continue to look forward to watching them grow!

We have also been hard at work with our maple syurp! Maple syrup is a lengthy yet rewarding process. We burn thousands of pounds of wood in order to keep the fire hot enough to boil the sap. Over the last week we've been working hard on cutting down a fallen basswood tree. We've hauled out thousands of pounds of wood from this single fallen tree, with more haul out still. After it's hauled out it then has to be sawed into pieces and split with a splitting maul.

We hope everyone has a great weekend!

-The Gyslands

3.19.18 New boiling station!

This was a busy weekend for us! We spent Saturday and Sunday outside working on fixing up our driveway, carrying 5 gallon buckets of sap out of the woods to our boiling station and finally fixing up our boiling station!

50 degree days in March are always welcomed by us! It gives us the ability to get a head start on the season. It helps melt the snow, thaw the ground, dry the mud and lets the sap flow! We carried over 40 gallons of sap from our tapped trees out to the boiling station. The general rule of thumb is 40 to 1, meaning 40 gallons of sap is equal to 1 gallon of maple syrup! We collect our sap with 5 gallon bucks and then carry it to where it needs to be. This way does require a bit more physical labor, but we can get a cleaner end product using no chemicals. Another way to do it is collect sap via tubing and run downhill to a collection point. The issue with this is that those tubes have to be cleaned with chemicals, which we prefer to stay away from.

We started Saturday's work with trying to thaw out the previous boiling spot so we could dig it out a better spot. Well, that didn't go quite as planned.. We ran into 2 inches of thawed mud and then frozen solid ground. After taking a minute to look at the situation we decided it best to move the boiling station over in order to create a fresh clean spot. We had purchased new concrete blocks to reconstruct it all. With our new station we should be able to boil roughly 100 gallons of sap simultaneously.

Finally the fun got started! We had everything set up to start boiling the sap! Having a fire large enough to boil the quantity of sap we do requires a monumental amount of firewood. While the fire blazes on and the sap boils we make trip after trip in and out of the woods collecting fuel for the fire.

We have tapped more trees this year than any year before and we have a better boiling setup than any previous year. We anticipate this to be our best maple syrup season yet! We look forward to having some final product soon to share with all of you!

-The Gyslands