The Garden Center will open daily, 7am-7pm for ongoing plant shopping.
When you pick up plants, stop to shop locally produced goodies (check out our new farm tshirts, too!) at Prairie Wind Farm Stand. We look forward to having you back at the farm this spring!
Welcome to week two of the 2023 Growing Season!
This week's harvest is starting to really feel like spring! We are harvesting the radishes we seeded before our hoophouse disaster. The arugula was seeded in a hoophouse we are borrowing, just for spring, from our generous friends, neighbors and landowners, the Liberty Prairie Foundation.
On most spring days, we and our team are focused on the details in the field, like experimenting with a new planting process for our summer potatoes (pictured here). Jeff and I also balance a number of other responsibilities on behalf of the Prairie Crossing Farm, too.
Since we've gotten questions from members about some of the names and organizations around the farm, we thought we'd take a moment to better explain.
The Prairie Crossing Farm is a 94-acre farm located within the Prairie Crossing Community, a nationally recognized conservation community. This farm is owned by the Liberty Prairie Foundation, which also resides on the farm property with us. The Liberty Prairie Foundation is our landowner, strategic partner, neighbor, and more. The Foundation runs a number of place-based programs like the Farm Business Development Center (FBDC), the Community Gardens, and educational programming in partnership with Grayslake High School District 127 to name a few.
Prairie Wind leases land, housing, and agricultural spaces, like the long white barn where we wash vegetables and host CSA pickups. We, the Miller family, serve as the resident farmers for the Prairie Crossing Farm. This means we care for the farm 24/7 as we live here!
We, Jeff and Jen, also serve as mentors, educators, and/or resources for those involved with Liberty Prairie Foundation's programs. This takes many forms: managing resources, like wells and heating usage between farmers; serving as greenhouse mentors and educators; coordinating expectations and hospitality for farm visitors; and presenting on various field days.
Last fall, we (Jeff and Jen) increased our roles with the Liberty Prairie Foundation and became the Managing Directors of the entire Prairie Crossing Farm. This meant that during our winter season, we along with other Foundation staff members engaged in a land planning education program, namely Allan Savory Institute’s Holistic Planning curriculum, that provided us with a universal decision-making framework for the farm. From there, we developed a strategic land plan for the Prairie Crossing Farm.
Throughout our 17 years of farming at the Prairie Crossing Farm, we have always envisioned a whole farm ecosystem rather than a set of separately farmed areas. Wildlife, water, and seeds travel seamlessly between our environments and see no borders, so why should we? This spring, we are striving to manage the farm more holistically with water and mineral cycles, energy flow, and biological community dynamics in mind for making decisions.
Despite the various hats we wear, we remain focused on growing food each day and sharing our gratitude to you for taking this seasonal journey with us. There's no greater honor than to be your farmers!
Happy spring eating, ~ Jen, Jeff, Owen and Gavin Miller and the Prairie Wind Farm Crew
A Note For Our Egg Share Members
Egg Shares are delivered every other week, so please note your schedule at the top of our emails. Joe's Farm is again producing pasture-raised, beautiful orange-yolked eggs for egg share members this season. Joe's Farm is committed to regenerative farming and by moving the hens to fresh pasture regularly, Joe's gives the hens a clean, natural environment to express themselves naturally. Pasture-raising allows the hens to scratch around for bugs and worms all in the clean, fresh air. All of their hens are fed Non-GMO feed and are never given antibiotics or hormones.
Notes from the Farm Kitchen
Russet potatoes come to us from friend-of-the-farm, Brian Igl, an organic potato grower near Antigo, WI. Brian, his brother, Brad and father, Tom, work together to grow a variety of delicious, certified organic potatoes which grow particularly well in their sandy soils. These potatoes were harvested last fall and have been in storage all winter. Now that they are out of storage, they are going to want to sprout up on us, so store them in a cool, dark place and use them in the next week or so.
The final week of ramps! As we shared last week, this highly seasonal crop is sort of like a cross between a green onion and a baby leek. After chopping off the end roots, I like to use whole stalk and leaves and use them in place of onions. If you have dappled shady woods in your yard, try planting the end roots. This will allow you to make use of the whole plant and harvest some ramps next spring from your own yard! These ramps are cultivated in the woods around Harmony Valley Farm in Viroqua, Wisconsin. We’ve gotten to know the farmers at this farm and we admire their work greatly. Their farmers harvest them judiciously, selecting large bulbs with healthy leaves, leaving behind plenty to replenish the population for future harvests.
Roots continue! This week, members will receive carrots and rutabaga or celery root. Many farmers call late spring storage roots "bridger" crops as they are nearly the last of the stored winter harvest and they keep us all healthy while we wait for spring greens to grow. Experiment with mixing the seasons within dishes in your kitchen -- delicate ramp greens make a delicious addition to roasted roots! Store these roots in plastic in your refrigerator and peel when ready to use. Also, remember to check last year's newsletters for more recipes.
Tips for Packaging and Storage
We try to minimize our plastic packaging for members. To do this, we oftentimes combine produce (e.g., greens), which might be normally packaged separately, into one bag. Since most spring vegetables must be refrigerated in a plastic bag, please reuse these plastic packages. Keeping green items in plastic helps prevent wilting. If ramp tops or another tender vegetable appears droopy, you can soak it in cold water for a few minutes, gently shake off the excess water, and refrigerate in a plastic bag until it perks up. Also, we rinse all the vegetables here at the farm, but you should always wash them thoroughly prior to eating.