The Nitty Gritty Dirt

September 6 – From the Farmer……..

Wow! – as I sit down to write – the second round of salsa pints just went in the water bath canner.  After harvesting melons and potatoes, peppers and tomatoes, and squash earlier today, Gigi and I decided that we really should put up some salsa.  Last week I preserved 21 quarts of Orange Blossom tomatoes and 23 quarts of Pink Beauty tomatoes as well as half a dozen pints each of red pepper jelly, sweet onion and red pepper relish and green enchilada sauce.  So today, with two of us working at it, we made what I think is the best Salsa we’ve ever made – 24 pints of hot red zesty salsa and 16 pints of luscious yellow medium hot salsa.   Bring on the chips.  

Last Friday and Saturday, I was delighted that several shareholders responded to the invitation and came up to the farm bearing buckets and boxes and bags to fill with ripe tomatoes and peppers.   Due to the excessively hot weather, the tomatoes had been ripening faster than we can keep them harvested and it seemed a waste if there were folks who might be interested in putting some ‘summer in a jar’ up for winter.  Thanks all of you who took me up on the offer.    The tomatoes seem to have slowed down now that the weather is cooler.

Though I have been running the drip irrigation on the tomato, pepper, eggplant and melon field twice a week for 6 hours each time, it just is not enough.  With the combination of our sandy soil (though much of it is covered by thick hay mulch) and the above normal temperatures the vegetable fields have had it.   You will notice that some of your peppers and shriveled this week.  They are simply dehydrating.  All of the peppers I used in my canning looked like this.  There is nothing wrong with them – just not the crisp and crunchy peppers you want to munch on.   They are however extremely sweet and wonderful to cook with.  

I picked all the meager squash crop today.   We will lay the squash on racks in our hoop houses to cure and over the next couple of weeks, you will find squash in your boxes.   More and more, the fields are drying down, emptying, and getting ready for fall.  On Monday, I hooked the disk up to the Ford 3000 tractor and ran it over the sweet corn field, knocking it flat.  As soon as we finish harvesting the fall broccoli, we will put of fence panels so that the pigs can move into that field.  They will find the dried ears of sweet corn, the last of the diakon radishes and broccoli plants, and old bean plants - and think they are in pig heaven – as they also root up and cultivate the field for us.

In between harvesting and putting food by, I’ve been repainting all of our farm buildings.  The new color scheme is Brick Fleck red for all the buildings that are for people (like the su casa and seed house and Quonsets) and Pine Forest Green for all the buildings that are for animals (like the chicken house, turkey hoop, dog house etc.)  It is looking really nice with the fresh coat of paint.  I do still need to replace some trim and fix some of the window trim on the su casa, and we need to change out the summer canvas Quonset coverings for the winter poly tarp coverings.   Much to do before snow flies.

Until then, all is well at the farm…. until next week….. Robin

What’s In Your Share this week:

Watermelon                                         Sunshine (yellow inside), Starlight (red), New
                                                            Orchid (orange),  Mickey Lee (pink)
Cantaloupe or Honeydew                   Classic (heavy netting), Sarah’s Choice (smooth
                                                            netting), Diplomat (yellowish, smooth netting)
Carrots                                                Forto  and Dragon?
Sweet Pepper                                      Gypsy, Whitney  (yellow or orange or red), Carmen                                                             (long red or green Italian frying),  Islander (purple),                                                              Sweet Chocolate (brown),
 Hot Pepper                                         El Jefe Jalapeno, Serrano Del Sol,  Pizza (very mild                                                              look a little like Jalapeno but bigger)
Onions                                                 Sierra Blanca (white), Red Zeppelin (red)
Tomatoes                                             Taxi (yellow), Orange Blossom (orange), Pink
                                                            Beauty (pink), Paragon (red),
Potatoes                                               Norland
Brocolli                                                 Bay Meadows, Blue Wind
Diakon Radish                                     Summer Cross
Thyme                                                 Summer



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.