Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fall is definitely here. We've had our first frost and that touched up most of the basil. With the basil done, that means our days at the Grand Forks farmers market are also done.

Towards the end of the season we were surprised by one of our customers - Chef Holmes of Sanders Restaurant in Grand Forks - with a gift certificate to come and have dinner. Barry and I enjoyed that dinner recently and I have to tell you how wonderful it was! We enjoyed every little flavor and as an added touch Chef Holmes himself makes regular visits through the dining room to ensure you are having a good time. It's great to have such wonderful customers.
Lately I've been wondering what to do with the HUGE pumpkins that developed in the pumpkin patch. I grow them mostly to keep down the weeds and usually have no intention of selling them. Last year we were approached by the Mothers of Preschoolers program and we sold them the whole lot for a small price that fit their tight budet. They were truly shocked when we delivered them and they were much larger than they were expecting. This year the pumpkins are even bigger. If you know of any group, organization, or business looking for some extra large pumpkins at a great price, please email us. I'd love to see them go to a great home.

We're almost done with visitors to the farm for the year as well. We will have a group of young people from the Devils Lake Middle School coming for exploratory day on October 6th. We'll learn all about labyrinths and then do a labyrinth walk. I love having young people in the labyrinth, they fill it with energy. After this group I think we're done at the farm although that doesn't mean done for the year. I am booked to speak in Rugby in October at a Women's Agriculture day and I'm sure my other dates will start to book soon as well.

Fall is also the time some of us try to stock up for winter. This year at our house that has meant grape, black currant, and nanking cherry jelly, spaghetti sauce and salsa from the tomatoes and the yet to be created apple pies. I usually make up and freeze at least 12 pies to get us through the winter. This year I think I will make Barry run the peeler/slicer. Many hands make light work. It is very rewarding to make things you can enjoy for the whole winter from the 'fruits' of your labor.

So to go into fall, here's a piece by one of my favorite authors, stay warm, relax, and enjoy the ride:
“She had only to stand in the orchard, to put her hand on a little
crab tree and look up at the apples, to make you feel the
goodness of planting and tending and harvesting at last.”
- Willa Cather

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Produce Party a Big Success, Now Off To WomanSong!

It's Thursday and the Produce Party last Saturday was a big success. We had over 350 people in attendance and a good time was had by all. Several vendors sold out early and were so pleased with sales they said "sign us up for next year right away!"

Many people participated in our contests which makes me really happy. I love to find ways to engage people in the activity. In the largest tomato contest Marliss Platz was the big first place winner with a one pound and 12 ounce tomato totally organically grown. She won a weather radio. Second place was Bonnie Himle with a one pound 7.5 ounce tomato - by the way Bonnie won second place last year too let's wish her luck for a first place winner next year. Connie Nelson came in third in this contest.

In the Ugly vegetable contest we had a REALLY ugly blue hubbard squash that looked like a yawning cyclops. I mean this thing was UGLY. This squash was grown by Jim Bennington of Churchs Ferry. Jim won a gift pack with a bird feeder filled with seed, a rain guage, and a thermometer. Second place was a tie between a potato growing out of a potato brought in by Amy Anderson of Leeds and a striped, gnarled, split tomato brought in by Joy Norman of Maddock (her husband really but he didn't even want his name on the thing it was so ugly). Third place went to Judy Sabbe of Leeds with a pair of contorted potatoes.

The Grand door prize of a basket filled to the brim with goodies from our vendors went to Gay Carlson. Yvette Paulson won a handmade handbag from Maddy Zing Designs, Madeline Brennon of Northfield MN. Crystal Meier of Minnewauken won the herbal wreath made during the demonstration by Cindy Behlolavek of Summer's Memories in Sabin MN.

A big Thanks goes out to Alex Gronas and Kaycee Scott for helping us with our booth and clean up afterward. These two kids are the hardest working kids I know (with the exception of our son) and we are so fortunate to know them. Besides being hard working they are polite and respectful to our customers. Thanks guys!

The big day is over and now I've been concentrating on WomanSong this weekend in LaMoure/Oakes. You can check out the schedule online at www.DakotaWomanSong.org. I'm doing to workshops on herb cooking down there and doing a reading of the 2006 Prairie Garden book - which I will also be selling. I do have copies of this book for sale so please contact me if you would like to buy one - they are $9.00. They make a great Christmas gift and of course, winter is coming - what a good book to curl up with on a cold day.

Take Care for now - we'll write more next week and tell you how it went at WomanSong.