Nitty Gritty Farm News August 5th

From the farmers………
It has been a HOT week here at Nitty Gritty Dirt Farm. And in spite of rain on Sunday, we had a wonderful Mid-Summer Abundance Festival. Thank you to everyone who braved the weather to eat, drink, converse with us, wander around the farm and take hayrides in the rain. Your presence reminds us all over again why we do this and why we love doing it – even with the HOT weather.

Usually by August the constant need for weeding is over - but not this year with all the rain. And I think that the weeds are even worse than usual – certainly some weed seeds that have lain dormant for several drought years seem to have sprouted and grown – some amazing grasses towering over the (mulched) dry beans. So even though it is now August, we’ve been pulling and pruning weeds where none should be by now and in this HOT weather it is certainly a sticky job.

The Auracana chicks have finally been moved to their new living quarters. The same age as the 16 big, fat broilers they have been living with, they are small, agile and have gotten exrtremely good at flying out of their pen and wandering farther and farther from where they should be. On Sunday morning as Kristen was doing last minute preparation for the festival, she had Birch, our husky cross dog out with her and the temptation was too great - Birch nabbed an escaped Auracana chick. Luckily he has a very soft mouth and didn’t hurt it, but it did increase my desire to have those little pullets moved to a more secure pen. Their new quarters created by our interns are spacious with tall outdoor fence walls and a renovated door thanks to Dale, and so far the ten future laying hens seem content and disinterested in trying to escape.

Reba has not had her calf yet though she is getting closer. I’m guessing a couple more weeks. We’ll keep you posted.

The veggie fields are amazingly abundant this year – and early. We began picking melons this week – the Honeydews are first – but the cantaloupes and watermelons will be very soon. I don’t think we have ever had melons ripe the first of August here in Harris, it is usually closer to the end of the month. The melon crop is tremendous – but with all the rain – there are a lot of cracked and damaged melons. We’ve begun feeding wheelbarrow loads of them to the pigs and chickens. And just today, we mixed up a 5 gallon batch of Honeydew Melon wine.

I am disappointed by the tomatoes which started out with such promise. Though they are loaded with green tomatoes – there is a lot of blight from the rain and hot weather. But I do think we will still have a lot of good tomatoes – so not to worry yet. We’ve just begun picking the first few yellow Taxi’s, the cherry Sungold’s, and Orange Blossoms. You’ll probably begin seeing them in your boxes in the next couple of weeks.

While the interns and I were harvesting melons today, we were talking about how to keep some of the various vegetables for a few days since it is so much to use immediately. They suggested that I also share my advice about how to keep (for a short time) some of the veggies you get in your share – if you can’t use them right away. You should also know that as much as possible, we do not wash most of the mid-summer veggies. Tomatoes, peppers, squash and melons have a natural protection on them that helps them keep longer. And of course there are no poisons that you need to wash off.

Zucchini and other Summer Squash – use the small ones right away. Bigger ones can just sit on the counter at room temperature and will keep for a week or so. Never refrigerate them.
Peppers – keep at room temperature. Will keep for several days.
Potatoes – keep at room temperature in the dark. Use small potatoes quickly. Larger ones will keep longer and once cured will keep for months.
Tomatoes – sit upside down on the stem end (stem removed) Never refrigerate tomatoes. They will usually keep for several days. Taxi’s don’t hold well so use up first.
Cabbage – store in crisper of fridge. Uncut cabbage can sit at room temp several days. Just peel outer leaves when using.
Bok Choi – store in crisper in fridge- will wilt but is still good to use.
Brocolli – use soon. Can hold for a short time in a small amount of COLD water. Change the water often.
Herbs – can hold by placing bottoms in cold water for a short time. Dry or chop and freeze in ice cube trays with water if you can’t use them up.
Onions – store at room temp – will keep up to a week or more.
Carrots – rinse and store in plastic bag with holes for breathing. Store in crisper or bottom of fridge.
Beets – tops won’t keep well. Cut off tops and store tops for short time in water. Longer in fridge but they will get very limp. Store roots like carrots.
Melons – store in fridge – but beware that with cantaloupes or honeydews your whole fridge will smell like melon. We cut up the melon and store in covered bowl.

We store most of the veggies we pick to use at the farm at room temperature for short periods of time – one to two days. We monitor the veggies we are holding and use up first the ones that seem not to be keeping as well.

This is the abundant season. We hope that you are enjoying creating memorable meals with your farm-fresh veggies.
Until next week …………Robin

What’s In Your Share this Week

Carrots Scarlet Nantes
Summer Squash Zephyr, Slick Pic, Raven, Elite, Bennings Green Tint, Lita,
Horn of Plenty
Sweet Corn Sugar Buns
Eggplant Dancer (pink), Galine and Dusky (purple),
Orient Express (skinny purple)
Beets Merlin
Peppers Hot: Jalapeno/ Serranno / Numex Joe Parker
Sweet: Gypsy (yellow), Islander (purple), Wizard (bell)
Onion Sierra Blanca
Honeydew Melon Diplomat and Passport
Asian Melon Sun Jewel
Bok Choi Joi Choi
Cucumbers Sweet Slice, Raider, Homemade Pickles
Herbs Ararat purple Basil, Genovese green Basil


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.