Nitty Gritty News Wednesday, April 13th

Wow, a lot has happened in the last month! We finished the maple syrup after a very short sap run. With some March days that reached 55 to 60 degrees and the nights staying above freezing, the sap run was short. Then when the night temperatures dropped, the trees were already budding and it was time to pull the taps - before the run really even started. But we ended up with a few gallons of syrup which will keep our farm crew in maple syrup cinnamon rolls for a while this summer.

Just as we finished cooking syrup, the second group of sheep moms began giving birth. With warm temperatures, it has been perfect for lambing (warm but still no flies.) We have 26 lambs so far - the biggest are already nearly 50 pounds - they grow sooooo fast. Four of the goats - Didja, Mamba, Mantra and Mezzo - have also given birth with six kids, three of which are doelings. We're still waiting on Stormy.

We've also been busy seeding. We've transformed our farm office cabin into a germination house with four - just build two new ones last week - plant stands full of flats of germinating seeds. With thirty six fluorescent lights going day and night it keeps the cabin plenty warm to aid in quick germination of peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and a variety of flower seeds. The cold nights are a constant worry. We are not automated and have small greenhouses, so keeping them warm enough at night when the temperature dips below freezing is difficult. Last week, we had spotty freezing on several flats of flower seedlings. A further concern is that after a night of close to or below freezing temperatures, the morning is too cold to open the greenhouse door. Then very, very quickly, as the sun rises high enough the temperature zooms to over 100 degrees. It takes almost constant monitoring on warm, sunny days, a choreography of propping doors, spray watering, closing doors, setting up small heaters....

Hopefully, by Earth Day - April 22 - we'll get the seed potatoes in the ground. We usually aim for Mother's day - so this is early. We'll also be receiving the thousands of onion plants which will go in about the same time. As soon as all those are in, we'll begin seeding Sugar Snap peas, Radishes, lettuce and greens. The bok choi and brocolli are growing in the greenhouse and will go in right after. Of course all this means plowing and disking and harrowing the fields - not to mention hauling and spreading loads of compost - before anything get planted!!!

Our apprentice/intern crew - some of whom will be starting full time soon have been volunteering on Fridays since tapping Maple trees in March. This gives us all a chance to get to know each other and gradually work into the farm season. They are an invaluable help at this time of year when we don't really need full time help. This year our interns will be staying in yurts as their temporary housing. Last year, we constructed two small yurts and this year we'll add to that number, creating a yurt village in our back yard.

Didja, one of our older goat does had triplets last year, and was equally huge in her pregnancy this spring - she looked like she was carrying two basketballs on either side - so we were guessing she'd do that again this year, but no - just one huge buck (boy) kid.

Thanks again to all of you who have joined the farm this year. We have a great intern/apprentice crew and are looking forward to a wonderful year. We still have shares available so tell your friends. We will be raising some meat animals again this year so watch the blog for the updates about available meat shares as we know the numbers we'll have available.
Until next week....


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.