*Oak Park and Farm Members will receive this week.
Both of our sons are quite involved in the farm this year. As you can see from the smile in the first picture, Gavin, 13, is seeing a great start to his beehives this summer. Each weekend, he's checking in on the bees with mentoring from longtime Prairie Crossing beekeepers and friends, Liviu and Lilly.
Gavin's nearly lived his whole life on this farm. He enjoyed learning about and hunting for bees when he was little. He's watched farmers work alongside the 20-40 beehives strategically placed throughout our growing fields. We're grateful for his work to grow the population of pollinators that we will need for our zucchini and cucumber crops nearby!
Owen, 17, is serving his second season as an official crew member. Combined with his overall knowledge of the farm, Owen's ability to switch between Spanish and English is coming in particularly useful this season with our crew members speaking both languages on the farm.
I remember Owen feeling a bit self-conscious about being a 'farm kid' in his early years. He now realizes how fortunate he is growing up around farmers, conservationists, and you, our community. His experiences on the farm help him better understand the importance of the natural world for which he and his fellow classmates will soon be responsible. Based on these experiences, he's carefully selecting a major for college applications later this year (!).
We started farming 16 years ago without fully realizing the impact the farm would have on our children or the children that would visit our farm. We've found children are quick studies and deeply understand the things they see and experience, even those we don't speak about. Our boys understand the seasonality of our farm, as our lives take on similar patterns each spring, summer, fall and winter.
Children understand and relate to the frustration and sadness of losing our chickens to predators. They feel the hope of life, as they plant a seed and are drawn to trying new foods from the field.
As our boys grow up, we hope that they'll take the lessons they learned from the farm into whatever they do. Our nieces and nephews (pictured) and the classes of students who have visited our farm throughout the years give us hope that our natural world is in capable, caring hands.
Enjoy this week's spring harvest!
Warmly, ~ The Miller Family and Prairie Wind team
Notes from the Farm Kitchen
Our spring salad mix is grown in our hoophouses, so it is more limited in its exposure to the elements (e.g., wind, rain). This creates slightly delicate, sometimes larger leaves than our summer mix, which hold up nicely to most salad dressings. We triple rinse the salad mix to create an easy go-to for spring salads or sandwiches heading to a picnic.
This week members will receive fresh rhubarb from Mick Klug Farm. As one of the few vegetable crops that the Klug's farm grows, they've seen a great crop of rhubarb (with strawberries following closely behind!) due to recent heat waves. We enjoy rhubarb for its versatility in both savory and sweet dishes, and it freezes very well, too! To freeze, simply wash the stalks, chopped into 1/2 inches pieces, and freeze in 2 cup increments so it's ready to use in combination with those upcoming strawberries.
Seasonal Recipes in the Farm Kitchen
Stewed Rhubarb - My mom's favorite! 1-1/4 lb rhubarb 1 orange, zest, and juice 1/2 cup sugar
Put the rhubarb into a saucepan with the orange zest, juice, sugar and 2 tbsp water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 8 mins until the rhubarb is cooked but still holds its shape. Serve as a warm or chilled soup.
Part II: Rhubarb Syrup To make a syrup, remove the rhubarb from the liquid, turn the heat up and reduce until you get a syrupy consistency. This tastes great over ice cream.