Category Archives: farming

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



White April

Geez, it’s already been almost three weeks since we last posted – time flies when you’re keeping busy.

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So what all have we been so busy with?

We finally processed all of the coconuts we harvested on our WWOOFing honeymoon, creating all kinds of delicious treats … macaroons, tarts, coconut butter, frozen bars, coconut milk, flavored ice creams (vanilla and lemon grass), and more we can’t remember now (really, Kristin made all the delicious food, and Gabe helped – primarily by smashing open all the coconuts).

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We’ve been staying out at the farm more and more – if we didn’t have seedling started back in town under lights, we’d be out there full time now. The wood stove has been working great to keep us warm at night – and now that we figured out the power of the flue, we’re not rocketing the temps up to 90 in the trailer at night anymore. The snow has melted off … twice so far … buuut we just got hit with over a foot of new snow yesterday. Looks like it should melt off later in the week though – and stay away til next winter.

over a foot of snow on April 17th
over a foot of snow on April 17th


We pruned the apple trees, cut down a couple of oak trees for shiitake mushroom log cultivation, and cut, hauled, and split a bunch of new firewood for cooking and heating.

haulung firewood from the woodlot
hauling firewood from the woodlot


fresh cut mushroom logs awaiting innoculation
fresh cut mushroom logs awaiting innoculation


pruned apple tree
pruned apple tree

We’ve organized our storage sheds and the living space of the trailer, created a toolshed workshop, built a couple simple rocket stoves from scavenged bricks, started decorating inside and out, and added steps up into the semi and shipping container.


rocket stove 1.0 in action with 2.0 being built in the background
rocket stove 1.0 in action with 2.0 being built in the background


organizing the tools
organizing the tools


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We burned downed oak branches for a whole day to make a big pile of pure wood ash to enrich our soil (ash contains potash, a vital nutrient for growing plants), raked and bagged up a huge amount of oak leaves for mulch & compost, and took soil samples for analysis.

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we packed 5 of these giant ~4x4x4 bags with dry oak leaves before the next wave of snow hit
we packed 5 of these giant ~4x4x4 bags with dry oak leaves before the next wave of snow hit


We took down the existing individual fences around the new apple trees and made one big fence around the group, mowed down a bunch of old crops and weeds, broke down last year’s processing tent (we are reusing the cattle panels, and moving processing operations over behind the new semi trailer), and continued nurturing the growing seedling and planting new seeds (1,250 planted so far).

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We’ve planned and started building our first greenhouse, made almost entirely from free materials (an old cedar garage door from a construction dumpster, rescued abandoned cattle panels, sliding glass doors from the Free section on Craigslist, scavenged lumber, and materials from both our childhood homes/dads – an old storm door from Kristin’s, and redwood deck boards from Gabe’s.)

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Next up we’ll be upgrading our solar system to roughly triple the current power.

Then when this thick blanket of snow finally melts away over this coming weekend, we can get to work finishing off the greenhouse and then moving the baby plants up to the farm until they’re ready to transplant into the field – but before that we have to plow, amend the soil with boron, and plant some cover crops out beyond the cultivation area. And then it’ll be time to build fences, dig a root cellar, erect a new processing area shade cover, corral the compost pile, build some hugelkultur mounds, some bat houses, a solar dehydrator, hop trellises … etc … I think we’re going to be staying busy!

And loving it.