Category Archives: CSA

CSA Week 2!

Howdy everyone!


The Weekly News

What a rainy week! Thanks to our sandy soil we never flood, so the deluge has been nice for the crops … but it’s also been a joy for the weeds, which can seemingly quadruple in size overnight. So, it’s no surprise that we did a whole lot of hand weeding this week, as well as mulching like crazy to prevent future weedsplosions.
We also scored two free massive rolls of paper from Craigslist (each weighs 450 pounds!), and rigged up a hanging spool system beneath the semi trailer “barn” on the edge of the field.
This will allow us to easily pull out 200 feet at a time, to serve as weed barrier beneath the mulch, in the walkways between rows.
You might think that moving to the sticks from South Minneapolis would result in some comparatively silent nights; nope. The nocturnal sounds here have been off the hook and fascinating, especially recently with the bright moon and the increase in animal activity this brings. We live on the upper edge of the Saint Croix River valley, pretty much surrounded by wooded state land. The nights here are busier than Chicago-Lake Liquors. There are foxes that scream like possessed babies, coyotes that yelp and howl, black bears that are silent until you startle them and they go crashing through the forest like drunken sasquatches, whip-poor-wills that loudly call their own name all throughout the night (, several types of owl, choruses of crickets & tree frogs, and some downright mysterious sounds.

For example, there was the mystery of the all-night drumming we heard coming from the direction of the river, on multiple nights. We would’ve thought it was hippies camping out and having a drum circle, if it had not been so continuous – going on steadily all through the night, and if it had any discernable rhythm. But the more we listened to the constant drumming sound, the more convinced we were that it was not likely actual drums being played, and that itwas coming from more than one direction along the river. If it weren’t for a lucky result when I tried Googling “drumming sound Saint Croix River, we would likely have never figured it out …

So, sheepshead fish live in the river, and they spawn in June, preferring exactly the type of environment found directly across from us. Sheepshead are the only freshwater member of the Drum Fish family – so named for the loud drumming sound the males make when spawning ( This is little-known phenomenon is almost certainly what we’ve been hearing, drumming up from the river bottoms.

The weather was also quite the noisemaker the last few night – the wind was insane Monday night; we woke up Tuesday morning to find that the mosquito fortress my sister gave us as a wedding present had been utterly demolished, as if by a truck. Fortunately, the mosquito population has really been decimated by the swarms of dragonflies, and we won’t need the shelter just to avoid death by insectile anemia.


And last night, we were bombarded by hail – which is plenty loud on our metal roof, as well as on the shipping container and our collection of 55 gallon drums …
Hmmm, in other news we saw a dung beetle on the side of the field and Gabe was amazed, not knowing they existed around here. There was a giant spider that caught and killed a cricket. A carrion beetle with orange symbiotic mites A pair of pileated woodpeckers, Fresh black bear tracks. Sandhill cranes, dinosaur-bird style. We painted a banner for the Saint Croix Falls Farmer’s Market.
Our first  WWOOFers moved on after helping out tons, headed for the gorgeous Michigan Upper Peninsula.
Widget hunted rabbits. We got the well pump to run off the solar power system instead of the generator (thanks to a friend of the farm that donated both a second battery and a powerful inverter!). The broccoli pulled a sneaky trick and went to flower under the row cover when we had our backs turned – the few days of heat kicked it into warp drive – we’ll still get smaller side shoots from it, but we plan to plant a second wave of fall broccoli to come up after the heat of summer has passed by.
The Weekly Box
It’s salad season – enjoy your fresh local greens while they are here, because soon the summer heat will come and end many of these … the bag of spring salad mix this week contains oak leaf lettuce, beet greens, sunflower greens, pea tendrils, baby swiss chard, baby curly & red Russian kale, wild spinach, mizuna (the frilly, spicy stuff), and a little bit of amaranth leaf.
Some stuff you had last week is back this week, including:

  • Radishes (Hailstone, Easter Egg, & Champion varieties)spicytastic if eaten fresh, mellow & mild if roasted – kind of like small, slightly radishy potatoes.

  • Radish greens – these make great pesto – you could combine them with the arugula for an absolutely delicious pesto. (You can also use pea(nuts or sunflower seeds instead of spendy pine nuts!) Try to use them in the next couple of days, and don’t try to eat them fresh – they need to be cooked to be enjoyed.
New stuff this week:

  • Broccoli – the sneaky stuff started flowering on us while hiding beneath the row cover, but don’t fear – the yellow flowers are not only pretty, but pretty tasty … every part of the broccoli plant is edible, including the entire stalk. You don’t see the flowers in grocery stores because they are fragile and don’t keep forever or ship across the country. Enjoy eating the flowers; they are a hallmark of fresh and local broccoli! You can oil up the entire broccoli bouquets and grill them whole, or cut them up – the thicker parts of the stalks can be chopped up and stir-fried, or add them to soup.IMG_8252
  • Baby bok choi – steam or stir fry! Would be good with the radishes and broccoli for sure.
  • Ruby Red Lettuce – it’s red, it’s lettuce, it’s delicious. Nuff said.
  • Ruby Streaks Lettuce – you could use these to make lettuce wraps/boats filled with tuna or egg salad!
  • Arugula  – Add to the salad mix, or to radish leaf pesto, or eat it straight, or on sandwiches!
  • Spring Onion(s) – just a li’l teaser, more coming next week!

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Send us your pics of what you create with your produce! Don’t forget to return your boxes when you pick up your new one – see you all soon!
– the Sehrs




CSA Week 1

So it begins!
We had beautiful weather for our first harvest of the year, and help from a pair of WWOOFers that are spending two weeks camping, helping, and learning on the farm with us.


Similar to the two-month “working honeymoon” ( we took this winter, Tom & Taylor are traveling around the country for up to a year working on farms for room and board – before returning to Iowa to start their own farm up.


Your box this week contains the earliest risers of the season:


  • Radish Greens – these are super nutritious, and delicious in stir fry, soup, etc. One simple preparation is to chop them up with a clove or two of garlic, cook them together in a little oil for a couple of minutes with some salt or soy sauce.They cook down in size considerably, and have a much more pleasant taste and texture cooked than they do fresh. Cooking with also hide the minor blemishes caused by hungry flea beetles (the holey damage is purely cosmetic, and very difficult to avoid in with organic practices). Eat them in the next couple of days – they don’t keep for long! Some recipes can be found here:
  • Curly Cress – horseradishy goodness. Too strong and peppery to throw into the salad mix we thought, but delicious once you taste test a bit of it and experiment. Try adding some to sandwiches, deviled eggs, steak, soup, or salads, in a quantity that suits your tastes.
  • Sunflower greens – great for snacking on plain, on sandwiches, or added to your salad mix. We prefer them raw and have not much enjoyed them when cooked – they lose their appealing texture.
  • Green onions – can be used whole or chopped up, sauteed, added to your radish greens, or perhaps chopped up with oil and vinegar to make a dressing to go with your:
  • Salad Mix of the Week: this seasonal mixed bag includes Arugula, Ruby Red lettuce, Oak Leaf Lettuce, Amaranth (the beautiful red leaves), Pea Tendrils, Baby Kale, Baby Bok Choi, Wild Spinach, & White Clover flowers.IMG_1287
  • Red Russian Kale (large-size shares only) – we had just enough for the big box shares this week, but everyone will get some soon enough!

Wash your stuff before you use it – we do rinse and spin dry most everything, but it could still use a rinse before eating to get any remaining grit off!

Note: we’ll need the boxes back to use again and again, and we’d love to get the produce bags back if they are clean enough to reuse!


Here are some pictures from the last couple of weeks, leading up to today’s harvest!
flame weeding quickly destroys swathes of newly emergent weeds to prepare rows for planting


veggie burgers with sunflower greens, cooked on the mini rocket stove
hay mulch saves a lot of weeding later, and helps keep the soil moisture steady


the Que Sehra Farm woods


Gabe finding his first morel mushrooms


hats n’ coffee mugs


planting sunflower greens in the mosquito fortress


swarming giant mosquitoes, thwarted by our new shielded pagoda. a couple days later, the dragonflies arrived and devoured these jerks en masse.
barefoot hand weeding


greenhouse plants being gradually sun-hardened before moving out to the field

Welcome to the 2014 CSA!

Howdy everyone,

Welcome aboard & thanks for joining forces with us this year!

It’s been an incredibly busy spring, getting settled into our new off-grid home on the Farm while also getting the field & plants rolling for the season.
soaking beans for planting
soaking beans for planting

The late lingering snow on the ground kept things off to a slow start at first, but now temperatures are much more seasonally appropriate – cool season crops are growing in the field, the warm weather crops are being sun-hardened in the greenhouse and about ready to hit the fields as well.

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So far this spring we plowed the field, built the greenhouse, upgraded our solar power system, finished the deer and varmint fencing, set up the gravity drip irrigation system, and started thousands of plants both indoors and directly in the field. We’re now moving toward a permanent-bed field, so that we can work on enriching specific patches of soil over time, and let the walkways remain constant from year to year.


purple seed potatoes
purple seed potatoes


friends helping wire the electric deer fence
friends helping wire the electric deer fence

We’ve also invested some work in future seasons; planted hundreds of free raspberry bushes and a cherry tree, dug out and started filling a hugelkultur bed, and inoculated a big stack of shiitake mushroom logs.

planting hundreds of free raspberry bushes (thanks to the late Afton Raspberry Company!)
planting hundreds of free raspberry bushes (thanks to the late Afton Raspberry Company!)


mulching the new raspberry beds
mulching the new raspberry beds
laying the foundation of the Hugelkultur bed
laying the foundation of the Hugelkultur bed


planting the sour cherry treephoto 5(4)
planting the sour cherry tree
inoculating mushroom logs with friends
inoculating shiitake mushroom logs with friends
the "root cellar" aka "The Hole" - our off-grid fridge
the “root cellar” aka “The Hole” – our off-grid fridge
For awhile it was quite cold and chilly, and we waited for the sun’s warming rays. Then it got sunny and hot, blazing away at us out in the shadeless field – and we remembered that chilly isn’t so bad. Then the rains came, bringing clouds … of mosquitoes. All day and night long for the last couple of days. Holy. Crap. So now we can’t wait for the hot, dry sun to return and bake down upon us again, scorching away the mosquitoes. We’ll be grateful for it this time …

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CSA Shares
Assuming that we survive this onslaught of bloodsuckers, the first of the weekly CSA boxes should be ready in about two weeks. After a lot of deliberation, we’re going with Wednesday evening for share pickup. We will have two pick-up locations – one in South Minneapolis, and one in Vadnais Heights. Please let us know which location is best for you!
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attacked by the damned row cover
attacked by the damned row cover
tamed row cover
tamed row cover
saving garlic from beneath the deep winter mulch
saving garlic from beneath the deep winter mulch

Farm Visits

CSA members are welcome to come visit throughout the year, just to check things out – or to get your hands in the dirt alongside us.


We always have several projects pending – if there is something specific you’d like to help out with, get in touch so we can coordinate. Some of the things we have lined up include:

  • transplanting from greenhouse to field
  • weeding (very relaxing!)
  • mulching
  • repairing the pull cord on the generator
  • building a solar dehydrator
  • assembling the pallet fort / guesthouse

Keeping in Touch

We’ll send out weekly email updates like this throughout the season, with links to the full-photo version in the blog.

If you’re on Facebook, ‘Follow’ us on there to see updates from the Field and such.

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Get in touch if you have any questions, comments, ideas, suggestions, constructive criticisms, jokes, or just want to say hello!
See you all soon; happy Spring!!

the Sehrs