Nitty Gritty Dirt Week 18

From the farmers….
We are so ready to be done with rain. I’m not even sure anymore if we even need more rain to replenish the aquifer. All of our sandy soil is wet as deep as we dig so it seems to be plenty wet here. After just two days of nice weather, it rained on our Fall End of the Harvest Festival on Sunday. What a disappointment. Just a day earlier it had been so pretty here with the brilliant colored maple trees, the yellow birches and the pumpkins and gourds and squash providing more seasonal color. But in the rain everything looks grey and gloomy and dead.
On Tuesday, we hosted a group of seniors from the Wilder center – in the rain of course. We had a really fun time – as we did with the small but energetic group who came to the Fall Festival in spite of the rain. It is always fun to host groups of folks here at the farm. As we talk and share with others about our farm and our philosophy about food and agriculture it reinforces for us why we do this and why even though we are so often exhausted and overextended, we still love what we do and can’t imagine doing anything else.
We continue to harvest the last of the veggies. We thought that all the potatoes we had left to dig – nine 250 foot rows – were the red Norlands. But surprise – four of the rows are Yukon Golds. Due to intern mapping error and me just not checking – we thought that none of the Yukons survived getting frosted in the barn prior to planting. And while the rows are missing a lot of plants – there will still be a lot of potatoes there. Yukon Golds are our favorites with Norlands second. We did get all the Norlands dug, but weren’t able to get the Yukons. If we have way too many for our root cellar, we will be contacting you about more potatoes.
All of the squash is harvested. Because of the invasion of squash bugs, we suffered huge losses on almost all varieties. It seems that the Sweet Dumpling and Butternut survived the best. We are exploring a lot of options for next year to control the bugs including a pyrethrin/diatomaceous earth mix and a neem mix and ducks. We’re not sure how we can fence the ducks to stay in the squash area and no where else and not be sitting ducks for eagles and hawks, but we’re exploring possibilities. We can’t use any poultry that would peck or eat the veggies rather than the bugs. Most of the ideas we’ve found in our searching are simply not practical on the scale we grow.

In case you didn’t read your email from us this week – we could use help on Saturday. We will be tearing the plastic mulch out of the fields. This is an easy but dirty job – and it is one that is so much better with a lot of people to make it go fast. Since all of our interns except one are finished for the season, we could certainly use some help. If Saturday doesn’t work for you – we will also be working on tearing down the fields on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday next week. If you’ld like to come and help for three or four hours, we would love to have help. Let us know.

On Saturday, we’ll be loading up all but the smallest two pigs and sending them off to the butcher. It will be sad to see them go. We have so enjoyed the antics of fifteen pigs this year. We will miss them but will have the two littlies left to raise for another month or so. Even though it is sad, it is also a good feeling to be paring down. Already our chores are so much quicker with fewer livestock. All the rabbits are in the freezer and next week we’ll be putting the ram in with the ewes so that will be one fewer separate animal to care for. Then in another week, we’ll combine the older ewes and the younger ones so that all the sheep will then be together – and easier again to care for.
Until next week ….

The Bread Box
This week your bread is Sunset Squash Bread. A yeasted bread, a mix of butternut and Blue Magic squash add flavor and color to this Tassajara Yeast Bread. A good bread to serve with soup.

What’s in your Share
Onions – Red Burgermaster
Potatoes – Norland Red
Beets – Red Ace/ Detroit Dark Red/ Chiogga
Swiss Chard – Northern Lights
Kale – Red Russian
Carrots – Cosmic Purple/ Bolero
Radishes – Scarlet Globe/ Pink Beauty/ Shunkyo Semi-long
Squash – Sweet Dumpling (tan and green heart shaped with grooves) / Buttercup (green turban) /Delicata (tan, green and yellow oblong striped)/Red Kuri(orange teardrop)
Pumpkin – Baby Pam, New England Sugar (small orange pie) Lady Godiva (yellow and green stripe odd shaped – use for seeds only) Jack be Little (mini orange – edible) Baby Boo (mini white) Gooligan (orange and tan mini)
Gourds – small assorted mix, Autumn Wings mix
Corn – Earth Tones Dent

[Note – we are very short staffed this week and this list includes a lot of labor intensive harvesting. This is what we plan for your share – we are hopeful that we can get it all harvested this week.]
Help on Saturday
See the From the Farmers column for information about helping on the farm on Saturday or during the last three days of next week. Thanks.

On the Road, KSTP program change
The date for the On the Road program to feature Nitty Gritty Dirt Farm has changed to Sunday, October 19th at 10:35 PM. Watch for it.


Use the addresses to google or mapquest or look up the drop site from your particular location. Keep in mind that the folks at the drop sites are volunteers, allowing us to use their space (and in some cases, their homes) as drop sites. Be nice to them. We couldn't do this without them. If you have any questions about your share etc., you should ask us, not them. They have enough to do....as do we all. All deliveries occur on Thursday afternoons. Approximate drop site times are listed below each location. The end times vary but you should pick up your share as early as possible. Look for the NITTY GRITTY DIRT FARM DROP SITE signs at your delivery locations along with lists to check your name off when you pick up, and a description of exactly what you should take.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Farm
10386 Sunrise Road (Cty Rd 9)
Harris MN 55032

35 north past North Branch to the Harris Exit. Turn Right.
Go into Harris, cross RR tracks to stop sign. Turn Left
Go 2 blocks to County Rd 9, also called Sunrise Road. (at Heartbreakers Bar) Turn Right. Farm is 4 1/2 miles out on left side of road. Look for Nitty Gritty Dirt Farm sign.
Shares available from 3:00 to 6:00

United Theological Seminary 3000 5th Street NW, New Brighton MN 55112
694 to Silver Lake Road exit. Go south to 5th and turn west (right). Go three blocks to UTS. Follow driveway (left) to the maintenance garage at the far north end of the parking lot. Shares available after 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM.

Pilgrims United Church of Christ
8801 Rice Lake Road, Maple Grove MN 55369
Just off of Weaver Lake Road across from Rice Lake Elementary School. Use main church door. Shares available from 3:30 to 6:00.

Acadia Cafe
329 Cedar Avenue South, Minneapolis
NW corner of Cedar and Riverside. Park on Riverside or
in lot behind the cafe.
Shares available after 3:15 PM until 6:00 PM

Vincent Avenue
3646 Vincent Avenue North, Mpls MN 55412
1/2 block north of 36th Ave N, and 2 blocks south of Dowling. Park on the street. Shares available after 3:30 until 6:00 PM

Additional drop sites may be added as shares are sold. Drop Sites are subject to change but plenty of notice will be given and alternate sites will be within close proximity to the original drop site.


Robin Raudabaugh & Gigi Nauer

Nitty Gritty Dirt Farm

10386 Sunrise Road

PO Box 235

Harris MN 55032

(651) 226-1186


Also Nitty Gritty Goods Wool CSA
Robin Raudabaugh

We are a 15 acre Community Supported Agriculture farm providing a wide variety of fresh, organically and sustainably grown vegetables, fruit, lamb, pork, turkey and chicken. Located one hour north of the Twin Cities, we deliver to several metro locations. We are intentional about our organic and sustainable farming practices which include (but are not limited to): maintaining soil health through green and animal manures, compost, mulch, cover crops and crop rotations; Organic Pest Management to naturally monitor, prevent and control insects and other pests; maintaining animal health and well-being through the use of portable and loose housing and pasture rotations. Owner/operators Robin Raudabaugh and Gigi Nauer provide over 30 years experience in fruit, vegetable and livestock production, education and customer service. Our primary goal is to build community, relationships and personal health and well-being around good food and the intentional living that creates it. We’d love to have you join us.

Not every day is like this but we try.

Not every day is like this but we try.

Not every day is like this either.

Not every day is like this either.