Nitty Gritty Dirt

We are all so tired of the constant rain. We have entirely too much water!!!!  We all  remind ourselves constantly this year how lucky we are to be farming on sandy soil where the rain at least eventually drains away.  If we had a more clay soil, our fields would be like some of our neighbors – the clay holding water like the bottom of swimming pool, keeping fields and crops underwater for days. 

Most of our crops look okay – maybe even better than just okay - a bit late but lush and filled with the promise of an abundant harvest later.  However with all this rain, the weeds just keep growing – and because of the soaked fields – we simply cannot get at the weeds to remove them.  It is good that we use a fair amount of black plastic mulch as well as black/white plastic between rows as that keeps the majority of weeds at a distance from the veggie plants we are trying to grow.  Most years we run out of time to keep up with the weeding, but this year, time is not our problem; we are constantly looking for alternative projects to work on at the farm since we cannot work in the fields. As a farm manager liking to work with a well organized plan, it is frustrating to always be looking not just at plan B, but plans MNOP.  Or even TUV.  It doesn’t make for a happy farmer. Just yesterday, we sent our whole intern crew to help a neighboring small farmer renovate her chicken coop – the floor having collapsed due to being underwater.  They all enjoyed a day of construction and I had a respite from figuring out what to do when we can’t do what needs to be done.

Our new grape vineyard looks wonderful.  The vines are growing lush and long, the grasses between the rows are filling in so there is no bare soil showing, and because of all the trees blown down in Harris during last week’s storm, we are having no trouble getting truck loads of wood chips to mulch in the rows alongside the vines.  We have our individual rebar stakes in by each vine.  We’ve tied each vine two or three times with used baler twine and we just purchased a used mower to pull behind the tractor to keep the rows mowed between vines. 

We also seeded a new pasture for the horses this spring that with all the rain is growing lush and beautiful.  And we seeded a grazing/cover crop of oats, field peas and buckwheat in a section of the veggie field not growing crops this year.  Both new seedings are growing at an amazing rate – happy notes in a frustrating year. 

This week during one of the regular rain showers, we asked each of our farm interns to write a paragraph bio of themselves.  We hope you enjoy reading about our 2012 crew joining the ranks of the amazing people who choose to work with us each summer.         

Until next week……………..


How To Pick Up Your Share

See the drop site list at the bottom of this page for directions to each drop site.  Farm delivery vehicles will depart from the farm around and if there is no undue road construction or accidents, we should be able to be at each drop site by approximately .  Nitty Gritty Dirt Farm intern or farmers will be ready to greet you and host each drop site to answer questions and help you pick up your share. .   

During the first few weeks, the produce will not come in individual boxes, but will be in boxes by category and you will take one item or bunch from each box.  The drop site hosts will help you.  
Later on as the produce gets bigger, a box will be packed for each individual share.  We still ask that you BRING A BAG or other container to take your veggies home in.  That way, you won’t have to worry about where to keep the box or remember to bring back the empty in weeks to come and we will be more sustainable re-using the waxed boxes for a long time. 

So BRING A BAG.   KEEP ‘EM IN YOUR CAR and you’ll be ready for Thursdays each week. 

What’s in your share this week:
Mixed greens:  including Arugula, Mizuna, Red and Green Mustard, Variety of Lettuces,
Red Russian Kale, Swiss Chard.
Radishes: Early Scarlet Globe, D'Artagnan 
Onions:  Baby Walla Walla
Cilantro:  Santo
Snap Peas:  Cascadia
Bok Choi: Mei Qing Choi


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.