Nitty Gritty Farm News September 22nd

From the Farmers…..

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Farm 2010 Fall Festival is coming up soon - Sunday October 3rd from 2:30 to 5:00. This is the last farm festival for this year. If you haven’t been to the farm yet, or if you have, we encourage you to join us for farm games, music, good food, a variety of home brews and home crafted wine and possibly home brewed root beer. You can meet Reba and her new calf Macintyre as well as meet the goats, sheep, pigs and chickens. We’ll celebrate the season together, come rain or shine. If it rains – surprise, surprise – dress warmly in rain wear. Let us know how many folks are coming so we can plan for the food. And, if you decide to come at the last minute, that’s fine too.

The birch trees outside the front door have started to turn from green to gold. The finches, nuthatches and chickadees are singing outside the windows waiting for us to start filling the feeders again. The barn is full of hay. Those 95 degree days seem like a distant memory (even though the last one was just a few weeks ago). Each morning, the interns begin the day dressed in winter garb, wool hats, warm socks, and long pants, and slowly shed their layers as the work day and temperatures progress. If one of them starts the day in shorts, it usually means that they haven’t done their laundry.

Fall field work is usually muddy and cold. On Monday, Robin and Laura pulled up the black/white plastic mulch we use between all the small row crops like carrots, chard, kale, and radishes. Within an hour both of them were covered with mud and their gloves had holes in the fingers from pulling up the rusted metal staples that hold down the plastic. In the afternoon, Laura began pulling tomato plants away from the black plastic mulch that is used for weed control and to warm the soil. And today the interns finished pulling up all the plastic mulch and drip irrigation lines we never even used. It is dirty work, but it is easier to do it now that when it gets colder. With such a good crew, we have been able to begin some of the fall clean-up work done ahead of schedule.

On Tuesday, we moved the sheep ewes to a new section of pasture, inside their electro-net fencing. It’s a little nerve-racking as we unplug the fencer and move it a section at a time with all of us pulling and replacing the step-in posts, until we have moved the whole fence and the sheep onto fresh pasture. We’ve been moving them around the seeded oats and turnip field for several weeks now. We’ll move them again in a week, and then it is time to split them into two groups for breeding. We’ll put one group in with Jedediah, our 4-year-old ram, and the other group with Lazarus, our 2-year-old ram. All of the lambs from last spring have been shipped except for five lambs to keep that Robin chose based on their lineage, their fleeces and their growth. Those five will join the older ewes soon as well to be bred to lamb next March.

We have decided to keep three goats this year, (at least for now). Stormy and her daughter Nimbus, and Mezzo. We will be breeding all of them in October as well. We like to have the goats giving birth the same time as the sheep so if we have triplet lambs or a ewe has problems the high producing goats are likely to have extra milk to feed to the lambs.

The five (now big) pigs will be with us until mid- November and the turkeys will be here until mid October or when we schedule a butchering date. They are getting pretty big and looking a lot like Thanksgiving. Our livestock chores keep getting easier and easier.

After moving livestock, we began gathering all the rest of the winter squash. This task soon became more of a farm sport than merely farm work. As Gigi slowly pulled the wagon through the field, everyone else took turns either throwing squash from the piles we’d already made in the field or catching them on the wagon. We quickly discovered the best position for each player. Dale is a good thrower and has good follow through. Robin did a good job fielding his throws and her long arms made it easier to retrieve any wild pitches. Laura has a nice lob to her throws and Stephanie played a great hockey goalie using her whole body to stop the flying squashes. Kristin used her t-shirt to pile full of the squashes closest to the wagon and then ducked as she emptied them on to the wagon to avoid the ball game going on overhead. Gigi played it safe and stayed on the tractor.

Rain was predicted for today. (What a surprise) But it never came. The clouds rolled through and the sun shown between the clouds but the rain didn’t fall. So sorting squash, harvesting carrots and cabbage and peppers was much more pleasant in the dry weather.

We are anticipating that our last share of veggies will be on October 7th. If anything changes, we will post it on the blog. We listen regularly to the Nation Weather Service to find out if frost is expected. The temperatures have dipped down to 38 overnight but not lower than that so far. When we do get a heavy frost warning, we spend all night if necessary, harvesting everything that can’t handle such low temperatures. Some years, we cover parts of the field with tarps and quilts to protect the plants. It works but with the scale of our rows it isn’t very practical. This year, I think we will have mostly everything out of the fields before that final hard freeze.

The radishes and greens we seeded a few weeks ago are looking great. We hope you enjoy the spring-like crispy radishes this week.

Until next week……………………..Gigi and Robin

What's In Your Share
Onions - Mars (red) Sierra Blanca (white)
Cabbage - Tendersweet
Winter Squash
- Cream of the crop (white acorn)
- Small Wonder (round gold spaghetti)
- Delicata (long green/beige striped)
Gourds - Small assorted (decorative, non-edible)
Peppers - Sweet: Carmen and/or Lipstick and/or Gypsy
Hot: Conchos (jalapeno)
Carrots - Dragon (purple Kuroda short/wide)
Radish - Rover (red)
Herbs - Sage, Lemon Balm


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.