Nitty Gritty News October 1st

This Sunday, October 4th, from 2:30 PM until 5:00 PM. Join in the Nitty Gritty Dirt Farm Annual Farm Games – Good Food, Friendly Farmers and Cheerful Interns, Homemade Soups and Fresh Baked Breads – RSVP to nittygrittyfarm@aol.com and let us know that you are coming so we can plan for you.

From the Farmers….

I’m gonna say it – the F word …………….FROST! That word that veggie farmers either dread if there is a lot of great looking produce still in the fields, or look forward to if it has been a hard year. We would have like to have at least one more week before frost so that all those beautiful unripe tomatoes could have had time to ripen. As did many of you, we had a hard killing frost – the temperature registered at 28 degrees on the indoor/outdoor thermometer so we are guessing that it was at least a couple of degrees colder in the low spots of the fields. On Wednesday morning everything was covered with frost – the trees, the lawn, the windshields of our vehicles. Even the water buckets for all the livestock had a thin layer of ice over them and all the hoses were frozen until midday. But we were prepared – or at least as prepared as we could be.

On Monday after we squeezed up and loaded the second group of lambs to go the butcher and Gigi left with them, Cara, Gretchen and Robin harvested every single squash, pumpkin and gourd still in the field. It was a blustery, cold day of work. We carried two haywagon loads of tubs from the field into the hoop house for protection. Then on Tuesday morning, we harvested all the peppers and eggplant right down to the tiny ones. We will chop and freeze and use many of the peppers in tomato sauce. And then, Tuesday afternoon, we picked tomatoes – once again filling every bucket we own – 80 in all. With that done – and so many beautiful tomatoes left in the field – we pulled out the huge tarps and covered an area about 60 feet by 40 feet – about 1/3 the length of the field and over 4 rows. We covered the Paragons and Pink Beauty’s because they have the most green tomatoes left. We also covered a small area of Orange Blossoms just because we couldn’t bear to lose all of them. And then we put tarps and rugs and blankets over all the produce in the hoop houses and over the wheelbarrows of tomatoes (that Robin picked because she just couldn’t bear to leave them to the frost, and basil (that Cara said we must harvest for pesto).

Wednesday morning was slow – hard to get started in the cold. And Gretchen and Cara are still sleeping in unheated quarters (and while the house is unheated too it is a lot warmer) so soon they showed up to work in multiple layers of long underwear, gloves and hats. [We are a bit short-handed this week as Dale is not here. We were very sad to hear that Dale’s mom who had been ill with cancer died last Thursday and Dale traveled to the Chicago area to be with his family this week.] As we surveyed the extent of the frost damage, we decided to try to glean some of the frozen tomatoes to make tomato sauce – so we picked about 4 bushels and began chopping them and peppers and onions for sauce – as well as prepping the last of the spotty basil we saved from the frost for freezer pesto.

We are sad to see the season ending. It had been a great year in so many ways. This Sunday will be our END OF THE HARVEST FESTIVAL. Plan now to come to the farm – play in our Annual Farm Games – and enjoy a variety of homemade soups and fresh baked breads – and see the farm at the close of the season. RSVP to NGDF and let us know that you are coming so we can plan for you.

Oh by the way – what to do with all those tomatoes and peppers????? You can chop the peppers and freeze them in ziplock freezer bags if there are too many to use fresh. While they won’t maintain their texture after being frozen they are great to use in cooking or on pizza. I think that one could use up a good amount of tomatoes making tomato juice, hot sauce and Cara’s Bloody Mary’s. And make more fresh salsa!


What’s in your SHARE this week:

Pumpkin – New England Sugar Pie, Baby Pam, Snackjack (all small orange edible and look about the same – Snackjack has naked seeds)
Pumpkin – Jack Be Little (tiny orange pumpkin edible), Baby Boo (tiny white pumpkin edible) Sweet Lightning (orange and green stripes on beige pumpkin shape edible)
Squash – Delicata (green and orange stripes on beige long), Buttercup (dark green )
Gourds – Small assorted mix, Koshare, Small spoon mix, Medium mix, Autumn Wings mix (not edible!)
Onions – Walla Walla or Candy (sweet yellow), Candy Apple Red
Sweet Peppers – Carmen (long green or red bull horn, Jimmy Nardello (approximately 1/2 x 6” green curled sweet), Lipstick or Apple (3” x 3” green or red thick wall with a pointed end), Islander (purple), Gypsy (yellow)
Hot Peppers – Conchos (approximately 1” x 3” jalapeno mildly hot), Serrano del Sol (approximately 1” x 3”very hot), Numex Joe Parker (approximately 1 ½ “ x 6” horn shaped – smaller than Carmen but very similar – mild), Chervena Chuska (2” x 5” mildly hot also looks like Numex and Carmen), Tiburon (very dark green almost black contorted looking Poblano)
Eggplant – Thai Green, Orient Express, Orient Charm, Galine, Dancer
Turnips – Just Right
Tomatoes – Paragon (large red), Pink Beauty (large pink), Orange Blossom (med orange), Taxi (yellow), Green Zebra (green striped), New Girl (small red)

Next week will be your last share for this season. You can expect: lots of potatoes, more squash, onions, kohlrabi, turnips, carrots, bok choi, maybe a few tomatoes

This week’s recipes:

Cara’s Bloody Mary’s
Serves 2

2 shots vodka
1 ½ cups homemade tomato juice (from NGDF tomatoes of course! – recipe follows)
Juice of 1/4 lemon
6 shakes of worchestershire sauce
6 shakes of homemade hot sauce (from NGDF peppers and tomatoes – recipe follows)
fresh ground black pepper

Shake all ingredients with ice in a shaker or 1 quart canning jar.
Serve with a homemade dill pickle (NGDF Wild Child dill pickles) or celery or olive

NGDF Tomato Juice

Cut up any assortment of tomatoes (cut up stem end, peels and all)
For every 4 cups of chopped tomatoes add one onion and one pepper (any kind)
You can add a bit of basil or parsley if you want.
Cook – start heating slowly to avoid burning) until all vegetables are soft.
Process through a food mill or Sauce Master Squeezo strainer.
Pour into jars and cool to use immediately or pour into jars and hot water bath can for 40 minutes.

Cara’s Red Hot Sauce (that isn’t so very hot)
2 quarts tomatoes chopped, peeled, cored
1 12 cups chopped hot red (or green) pepper
1 quart vinegar, divided
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons mixed pickling spices

Combine tomatoes, peppers, and 2 cups vinegar in a large saucepot. Cook until tomatoes are soft. Press through a sieve or food mill. Add sugar and salt. Tie spices in a spice bag and add to tomato mixture. Cook about 30 minutes or until thick. Stir frequently to prevent burning on bottom of pan. Add remaining 2 cups of vinegar. Cook until as thick as desired – about 30 minutes more. Ladle into jars and hot water bath process for 15 minutes for ½ pints or pints. Yield – about 4 half pints.


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.