Nitty Gritty Farm News June 9th

From the Farm Manager...

Yes, the rain is wonderful – long, deep soaking, gently falling rains – replenishing the soil moisture – and making the crops – and the WEEDS grow. And the rain is frustrating as we try hard to accomplish all the farm tasks that need to be done at this time of year – sowing seeds, weeding, cultivating, mulching, building, etc. We usually try not to work in the fields in the rain and try to find other lower priority, and often more fun activities to do on rainy days like … baking bread, making cheese, working with wool, brewing beer, racking wine….
However, with so much to do, our crew persevered despite the rain on Tuesday, working all day long in the steady drizzle which often became a downpour. After planting the greenhouse-started beet plugs in the morning, the muddy crew posed for a photo op on the front porch – just moments before stripping off the wet, muddy stuff to be washed in one massive load, then changing into dry clothes - just to get even more wet and dirty in the afternoon.

Gigi and the crew headed over to Stark Winery to finish weeding their vineyard since by this time it was just too wet to be in our fields anymore. This was the third week of our crew working a part of a day at the winery in our new cooperation with them. Returning home wet, and cold and muddy, some of the interns still had enough energy to play guitar, banjo and dulcimer in the Tuesday evening jam session.

Today is still overcast with the sky threatening rain but it is holding off and we’ve all been working like crazy to get hay mulch between the onion rows. (It’s done now) Last week we hoed every row and without mulch, we’d be hoeing again – so the rush to get the mulch on before it rains again. As I write, I can hear the clanging of the fencepost pounder as Dale, Kristen and Stephanie work to put the posts into the sugar snap pea rows before winding twine to hold up the vines which will climb to nearly 5 feet. The plants are looking really good and we are hoping for a great snap pea harvest.

Gretchen and Kathryn are working at direct seeding another succession of crops in flats to go into the greenhouse – Joi Choi, Radicchio, Spinach and some late herbs – which will go into the fields as early crops like lettuce and radishes come out. And Sue has begun the laborious task of hand picking the tiny blades of grass from the thickly sown broadcast rows of lettuce and Asian greens. Gigi is doing the afternoon livestock check and I’m writing this column. All the crew is present and accounted for.

We are a little disappointed that a share will not be going out this week – we had hoped it would be ready. It’s been a really erratic spring so far – first too hot, then too cold – then too rainy – and in spite of planning our planting carefully - the only thing that is ready right now are the first radishes. So, the first share will wait until next week. Gigi will tell you more about that in the Marketing Coordinator’s column.

Intern/Apprentices: Stephanie joined our crew last week and so we are now at a five person four-day-a-week crew. Laura will join us next week and that will complete the crew. Add two more with Gigi and me and wow, can we move through a patch of weeds in a hurry. We also have a couple of one day at a time intern/volunteers – Sue and Kiely – as well as neighbors, friends and shareholders who come by to help out occasionally. With all of us at the table for our midday community meal – it is a table-full! Wonderful!

Didja, our oldest goat – the retired Grand Champion show goat and production winner, has moved to a new home. It was a bit sad to see her go, but she had become quite a bully, and so we decided to give her to a young couple to improve their herd. About two weeks ago, Didja smashed her yearling daughter Mantra into the fence and hurt her leg badly enough that we were worried for her life. Mantra is doing better, walking almost normally now, just favoring the leg a little. The interns are learning to milk the goats – some with more success than others. We are still only milking once a day, letting the goat kids nurse the rest of the time. With about two gallons of milk a day, we’ve been making quite a lot of soft Fromage Blanc cheese, and are looking forward to a little more time (and even more milk as we wean the kids) to make some hard cheeses.

Finally – thank you to everyone who braved the rainy weather and attended our first Farm Festival on Sunday. It was wonderful standing in a circle in the drizzle, blessing the fields and the flocks with all of you who came. We encourage all of you to put the date of the first Sunday in August on your calendar – the midsummer Abundance Festival.

Until next week …. it’s back to the fields … Robin


As Robin mentioned, our first share will be delivered on Thursday, June 17th. During the first few weeks, the produce will be boxed in categories, and you will be invited to take one item from each box, for example a bunch of radishes from one box, and a bundle of Bok Choy from another... We recommend that you bring a reusable bag to put your items into. As the produce becomes larger, each share will receive their own box. Even so, we recommend that you bring your bag to pack it into and leave the box, unfolded and flattened, at the drop site. That way, you don't have to keep track of it until the following week, and the boxes will last longer. Watch for more drop site details in upcoming blogs.

Thank you to all of you who confirmed your drop site choices with us. We are near our limit of shares but still have some left if any of you know someone who might be interested. This year, there are 60 farms that deliver to the Minneapolis/St.Paul area. It makes the competition for shareholders a little tougher but we think that is a WONDERFUL problem to have.



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.