Nitty Gritty Farm News

From the Farmer……

We have a cow! Well we will be having a cow. Following quite a bit of research into the ‘perfect’ breed of cow for our farm – [small, docile, and easy to handle; produces good meat; and produces a useable quantity of good tasting milk] – we took a whirlwind road trip to the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area to look at a couple herds of Dexter Cattle. Why cows, you might ask, aren’t you happy with the goats? Yes and no. We love the goats – especially, I, Robin love the goats – but the goats produce milk that is essentially naturally homogenized – the fat globules are very small and mixed with the milk so the cream does not rise to the top of the milk. Thus we cannot skim cream for our coffee or for making ice cream – two BIG priorities for our farm. And – goat milk gets goaty after only a few days making it unappealing for drinking. We thought that adding a small cow producing a small (2-3 gallons per day) quantity of milk would be a good choice. So…….. we chose a small, calm, dun colored Dexter cow named Reba to add to our farm.

Reba the newest member of Nitty Gritty Dirt Farm

Reba is ten years old and is bred to have a calf this August. We plan to let her feed her calf and we will get half of her milk and the calf will get half – just like we do with the goats. We are quite excited – about all the possibilities of having a cow. Gigi will be making another trip to Iowa to pick up Reba next week.

The Gate for the new Cow Pen.

Pulling posts to redo the pen.

It has been a stinker for weather to work in this week – with the high heat and humidity it has been pretty miserable. We’ve tried to begin work very early in the morning and then take off a few hours in the afternoon to go swimming at the Fish Lake beach, and then put in a few more hours in the cooler evening. But even with that it is sweaty, dirty, energy-sapping weather. I keep saying that I don’t like July – because of this weather – but then we get to the food. Broccoli, zucchini, turnips and kohlrabi, Chinese and green cabbage, baby carrots and basil, cilantro, thyme and marjoram to prepare for meals!

Weeding melon rows

The harvest is really coming in – and we are so excited about cooking it that even though it is 90 degrees we still prep huge pans of stir fry and grilled chicken and giant gorgeous salads for our noon farm dinners. We are entering the abundant season – get ready!

Building the Cow Pen

This week at the farm, we did a lot of animal work – a bigger pen and automatic waterer for the rapidly growing little pigs, a new hoop house for the teenage turkeys, a redo for the beginner hoop house for the 50 new broiler chicks that arrived Tuesday morning, an enlarged pen for the big broilers - adding a big outdoor grassy section, enlarged the mid-aged broiler and Auracana chick pen, moved the ewes and rams to a new pasture, made a new cow pen for Reba - and weighed and sorted the lambs into the ready to butcher size and the need to grow a little more size. Wow – I’m tired just going back through that list. Most of the time the animals chores just tuck into the beginning and end of our work day in the fields – but every once in a while we need a whole day just to catch up on the changing needs of our critters. Oh yes, we also prepped and constructed new frames and put an extra deep super (box of frames for honey) on each of the six bee hives.

We also did more weeding and mulching and planting. We tore out the old Mei Qing Choi plants and plastic mulch, tilled and tilled, hauled many wheelbarrow loads of last year’s compost, tilled some more and then planted a succession planting of Joi Choi Bok Choi and Fennel – and then immediately mulched it all with the old hay left after the lambs ate the leafy stuff out of the stemmy stuff. It looks beautiful and ready to withstand either too much rain or not enough. We also weeded between the rows of tomatoes and mulched with old sheep hay and just this morning tilled and weeded between the cantaloupe and watermelon rows and seeded in rye which as it grows will inhibit the weeds and make a nice bed for the melons to grow on.

………until next week ………Robin

What’s In Your Share

Sugar Daddy Sugar Snap Peas
Kohlibri (purple) kohlrabi, Winner (white) kohlrabi
The Blues Chinese Cabbage
Summer Squash: Raven (dark green), Elite (med green), Slick Pick (yellow), Zephyr (yellow/green), Lita (gray)
Packman Broccoli
Herbs: Lime Basil, Genovese Basil, Ararat Basil
Lettuce: Green Bib and/or Freckles Romaine

This week, because both the Broccoli and Summer Squash are just starting, it is possible that there won't be enough for all drop sites to get both. So, if you only get one this week, you will get the other 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.