Nitty Gritty News September 10th

From the Farmers….
It is definitely fall here at Nitty Gritty Dirt Farm. With the days getting shorter and shorter and the mornings and evenings cooler and cooler, we are listening to the weather band radio regularly for frost warnings. So far nothing – but…. And tonight we finished harvesting and picking up melons and zukes in the dark with only the truck headlights to find our way through the fields – and it was only 8:30!

Gigi and I had a wonderful trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. It was our first BWCA canoe trip since we started the CSA the five years ago. The weather was perfect. The water was like glass and our dogs behaved very well. It was Birch’s first time in a canoe and he was quickly a pro – stepping very gently and carefully in and out at every portage – and laying down while we paddled. We cooked our own potatoes, carrots, zukes, onions and cabbage – and thoroughly enjoyed our farm food away from home!
When we arrived home on Tuesday, it was to a farm crew busy at work. Cara all weekend along with Dale and Gretchen on Tuesday, were hard at work keeping the farm going while we were away. Once again, we reaffirmed what we already know – we have a great farm crew this season!

Every season brings its own challenges – and we have certainly had our share of weather challenges this year. With the early spring cold and drought, followed by mid-season drought and then getting way too much rain all at once dumped on us at the wrong time and now again too dry – it is easy to understand why farmers always complain about the weather. We remind ourselves that this is partly why we are a CSA – because we can be so diversified. Then no matter what the season brings – at least some of the crops are sure to do well even if all of them don’t. This year, the warm season crops like tomatoes, peppers, melons and squash are far less than what we would like to see in production, earliness and quality. But the cool season veggies like broccoli, cabbage, bok choi, collard, and Chinese cabbage have been phenomenal. And while the pastures on which we like to rotationally graze our livestock have been almost non-existent in this dry, dry season, our livestock had thrived anyway even if a bit more confined than we would ordinarily like. And - we have an amazing farm crew this season which makes all the difference in the world. WE welcomed Tim to our crew this week. He’ll be with us for a few days working at the farm in between times for him. We are delighted to have a fresh surge of energy.
We also want to take time in the middle of our season to thank all of you shareholders for being a part of our farm this season. Without you we would not be able to farm. We hope that you have enjoyed your boxes each week and found the challenge of using your veggies – whatever they are - enjoyable and have learned new ways to prepare them – even when there is too much or not quite enough – or it is something you think you don’t like. Thank you for your intentionality about connecting your food with the land and the farmers who grow it. We know it isn’t easy being this intentional and committed. It is and would be easier to just buy what you want, when you want it, at the grocery or the farmer’s market, instead of taking what we are growing and harvesting on any given week. We applaud you for taking this step toward a more sane and sustainable food system.

Though it is several weeks away, please mark the first Sunday of October on your calendar as our END OF THE SEASON FARM FESTIVAL. The festival begins at 2:30 p.m rain or shine. If you haven’t yet made it out to visit the farm, we encourage you to take this opportunity to do so. Come and see the place where your food is grown and meet the crew who makes it all happen.
Until next week….


Watermelons: Sunshine(round striped – yellow) or New Orchid (round striped – orange) or Starlight (round striped – red) or Blacktail Mountain (round dark green – red) or Sweet Siberian (oval striped – orange) or Mickey Lee (round pale green – red)
Cantaloupe: Superstar, Pulsar, Eclipse
Honeydew: Diplomat, Passport
Onions: Walla Walla, Red Candy Apple
Eggplant: Dancer (pink oval) Galine (purple oval) Thai Green (green long) Orient Charm (pink long) Orient Express (purple long)
Sweet Peppers: Islander (purple bell) Jimmy Nardello (green Italian frying) Carmen (green bull horn)
Hot Pepper: Conchos (large jalapeno)
Tomatoes: Taxi (yellow) Orange Blossom (orange) New Girl (small red) Paragon (large red) Pink Beauty (dark pink)
Shelling Beans: Landmark (see recipe for using shelling beans)
Radish: Shunkyo semi-long (long red cooking radish)
Bok Choi: Mei Quin Choi
Basil: Ararat (purple/green Thai)

“Shelly, shell, or shelling beans are the tender stage of what will become dried beans. At this point their pods are tough, twisted and dry, far past the stage for eating. But the beans within are still moist. Any bean (including green beans) can be a shelling bean if grown to the right stage. Shelling beans cook more quickly than dry beans but they do not cook quickly. “ from Deborah Madison in ‘Local Flavors’.

Here’s our recipe suggestions for using your shelling beans.
Shell the beans. Put in saucepan and cover with water. Add spices (try garlic, thyme, marjoram) and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 30-45 until tender.
Use the beans either in: a crock pot or casserole dish with potato chunks, carrots, onions and tomatoes. You can also add meat if you like. You might also add a big spoonful of pesto at the end of the cooking time.
Or add the cooked beans to a pilaf made of rice, beans, or lentils. Just use any pilaf recipe and add the beans. You might want to add dried cranberries and pecans and use the pilaf to stuff in a scraped cooking pumpkin. Bake until the pumpkin is tender.

Simple Salsa
5 -6 Tomatoes
1-2 hot peppers (depending on how hot you like)
2 sweet peppers
1-2 onions
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon or lime juice or apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Coarsely chop tomatoes, peppers and onions – or chop in food processor. Add salt and lemon or lime juice and cilantro. Chill for an hour or longer to allow flavors to mingle.


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.