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Harvesting in the snow

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Harvesting in the snow
This Week's Produce Harvest:
  • Winter Kale
  • Parsnips - from Harmony Valley, Viroqua, WI
  • Carrots
  • Celery Root
  • Rutabaga
  • Wheat Berries - from Breslin Farm, Ottawa, IL
  • Fresh Rosemary and Thyme
  • Frozen Asparagus
  • Frozen Strawberries - from Mick Klug Farm, St. Joseph, MI
  • Frozen Blueberries - from Mick Klug Farm, St. Joseph, MI
*Note: All items are grown by Prairie Wind unless otherwise specified. 
Farm Journal
Hello to you from the farm!
As we enjoy a calm sunrise from inside our house, we are well aware of the active place the farm remains at dawn. Coyotes, raccoons, hawks, skunks, rabbits and owls are plentiful around the farm at this time of year. The trace familiar tracks each morning and evening in search of food.
While most of our winter growing takes place within covered hoophouse structures, we're experimenting with additional field growing throughout the winter. We're doing this to build our knowledge, skills and adaptability for winter growing especially as our climate continues to change. One test was within our kale field, which is easy to spy from the popular sledding hill nearby (you can see the sledders watching our harvest)! One variety of kale we grow is called Winterbor. Winterbor is known to be somewhat winter hearty and since this winter has been mild, we decided to continue to care for the kale and conduct taste tests to understand the impact of the current conditions on this crop.
We noticed this variety did show signs of stress due to the lowest nightly temperatures, hence the slightly lighter green edges, however, the flavor is still delicious! We found the winter sweetened kale had no traces of bitterness that sometimes occurs in kale during summer. We also cooked the kale very slightly and the lighter green turned to a familiar, bright green color. We will continue to experiment with planting winter hearty kales and greens in the field next winter, and explore a few new varieties that are known to grown well on the east coast. We'll also continue to note our findings in our yearly journals so we can better plan for 2021-2022 winter harvests.
Winter growing is a great learning process for us. Each season, we dedicate more of our time, effort and minds to becoming better winter growers. For instance, our winter field walks look a little different with less crops actively growing and our bodies protected in lots of winter gear. However, each time we slow down and walk the farm we notice something new. These walks are essential to learning more about how things progress and change through the winter season. 
We are also finding more midwest growers embracing growing in the "off season" which is beneficial to us all! Together, midwest growers can better understand winter growing needs, troubleshoot winter disease pressures, observe climate shifts and determine how we can grow food year-round in the midwest.
As we put the final touches on our growing plans for 2021 and watch spring seeds begin to arrive, we look forward to the seasons ahead.

Thank you for continuing to support our winter work to steward healthy land and grow food for you!

The Miller family (Jeff, Jen, Owen & Gavin) and the winter farm crew (Tyler, Abbey, Kim & Arlet)
Frozen Produce Tips the Farm Kitchen

Our frozen produce is harvested at the peak of freshness, trimmed or chopped, blanched in water (when appropriate, e.g., broccoli, green beans, asparagus) and frozen. There are no additions to the vegetables or fruit. The freezing process preserves the best qualities of the produce -- the flavor and nutrients! We recommend using frozen produce within recipes where the flavor is important (e.g., soups, stews, baked, pureed) and texture needn't matter.
Seasonal Recipes in the Farm Kitchen

Celery Root Soup
Strawberry and Blueberry Smoothie Bowl
Parsnip Spice Cake
Baked Rutabaga Fries - add rosemary or thyme!
How to Cook Wheat Berries
Creamy Wheat Berry Hot Cereal

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