Nitty Gritty Farm News

From the Farmers …………….
I wish I could have been writing this column yesterday instead of today – because yesterday I was feeling so good about everything at the farm.
We’ve had another great week – so much accomplished. From Monday, with our crew we tilled, composted and planted a new planting of spinach, radicchio, holy basil and bok choy and mulched it all with hay mulch. We tied up the next layer of our tomatoes, dug, mowed and disked rows of potatoes, picked a million (actually 14 buckets) of shelling peas, shelled them and put them into our freezer, and weeded monster weeds from the black turtle beans. On Monday morning we loaded and delivered the six biggest lambs to the butcher. And then, of course there is the harvest.
We started early this morning – right after animal chores – picking beans. Beans cannot be picked if they are wet as they get nasty brownish spots on them called ‘rust’. Anticipating the bad weather, we started early, picking seventeen, five gallon buckets of green beans before the storm hit. Watching the sky get darker and darker, as the first raindrops fell, then more and more, we grabbed our full bucket and ran to the packing hoop house. We then grabbed rain coats and headed back out to the cucumber patch where we picked three, five gallon pails of pickling cukes for our crew and five buckets of slicers for your share boxes, along with a big bunch of dill and a few heads of garlic. Dale was the only one who got completely soaked in the downpour as he brought in the garlic. Kathryn got just a little wet and the rest of us made it to the house with our pickling necessities just in time.
As the rain poured down and the wind blew, we made pickles. Today we decided on Sandwich Stackers and Short Brine Dills. I think the final count is twenty seven quarts. Dale is still tending the last two canning kettles as I write.
As the sun came back out, we went back out and harvested cabbage and garlic and I walked around the fields surveying the damage caused by three inches of hard driving rain in less than an hour.

It could be worse. The sweet corn, popcorn and buckwheat are almost completely knocked over. Many of the pepper plants are laying flat on their sides, some completely broken off. A lot of the flowers that I’d been hoping to include in your shares tomorrow are broken or laying in the mud – as is the head lettuce.
But – on the bright side – the staked tomatoes look great as do the melons, beans and squash, and anything mulched with hay. Many of the veggie rows are covered with mud but most of the crops look as though it will recover. Many of the cabbage heads ready to harvest split with the sudden influx of rain.
Once again, it is a summer of challenges to farming. Sometimes I think it is amazing that anything grows at all with all the idiosyncrasies of the weather.

On Friday morning, Gigi and I are planning another whirlwind road trip to Iowa to pick up our new cow Reba. We just heard yesterday that all the necessary veterinarian paperwork to go across the state line is ready and we can get her when we are ready. So we’ll trade vans with Gigi’s parents, hook up the stock trailer and head back to Cedar Rapids. Everyone here is pretty excited about getting a cow.
All the other livestock is doing well. The biggest broilers are definitely turning into Godzilla birds and we are planning to butcher them next Tuesday. The medium broilers are getting to their most ugly stage, when their feathers don’t cover their skin, and the tiny broilers are still cute. The turkeys are really cute but in their desire to roost, they keep getting out of their hoop house. The five little pigs are really growing. They really enjoy getting the whey from our cheese making as well as piles of veggie seconds. Soon we will be moving them to a new pen.
The sheep – ewes and rams – decided to move themselves this morning. During a lull in the rain, I brought a bucket of cucumber ends out to the pigs, and found 18 sheep grazing the lawn and sampling the Brussels sprouts and cabbage. With the help of an empty bucket, they all happily followed me into a new pasture.
Until next week……………..Robin

What’s in your share this week:

Green Cabbage – Primax
Cucumbers – Raider and Sweet Slice
Summer Squash – Elite, Raven, Slick Pick, Lita, Zephyr
Green Beans – Derby
Broccoli - Packman
Herbs – Basil, Marjoram, Cilantro, Dill


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.