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Produce At Its Peak: Summer Squash

Summer Squash

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Did you know summer squash is not really a vegetable? The many varieties of summer squash are a type of “pepo”, or hard-walled berry that are harvested while the rind is still tender and edible. Summer squash is in season now and we are carrying at least five varieties (green and gold zucchini, crookneck, zephyr-my personal favorite for its sweetness-, patty pan, and calabacita, a small tender zucchini). Wisconsin Growers Co-op, Featherstone Farm, Heartbeet Farms, and Sin Fronteras are delivering these squash multiple times each week. Select firm, unwrinkled, evenly shaped squash and store in your crisper drawer.

Sin Fronteras

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Sin Fronteras (Without Borders) is a Stillwater, Minn-based family-farm growing fresh, healthy Latino food. Farmers Eduardo Rivera and Madeline Shaw bring to the Twin Cities sustainably grown and at times challenging to find varieties of chile peppers, tomatillos, and espasote along with familiar roots, greens, and herbs. These foods can be found at area coops, the Linden Hills Farmers Market, and through a culturally appropriate Latino CSA. Look to their Facebook page for recipes using Sin Fronteras produce.

Wisconsin Growers Co-op

Wisconsin Growers Co-op was founded in 2006 to help 20 families maintain ownership of their farms. Its members are dedicated to the idea that if farmers take “good care of the soil, the soil will pay back with high-quality produce.” This mindset has proven effective; Wisconsin Growers often brings us produce all year long, from greenhouse radishes at the first sight of spring clear around the calendar to over-wintered parsnips. The key to the longevity of their growing season are labor-intensive, fossil fuel-free farming methods. On nearly 40 acres of the co-op’s land, these farmers plant, tend, and harvest crops exclusively using horses, horse machinery, and hand tools. In addition to more popular produce items such as potatoes, onions, and radishes, the Wisconsin Growers Co-op offers unique heirloom squash varieties, such as Queensland blue and Long Island cheese.

Featherstone Fruits and Vegetables

Featherstone Fruits and Vegetables started in 1995 as Jack Hedin and Jenni McHugh’s five-acre garden at the Zephyr Valley Land Co-op near Winona, Minn. Since then, the farm has relocated to land near the town of Rushford, Minn., and now employs nearly 50 people working on over 250 acres of optimal vegetable-growing ground. Beginning in late May with leaf lettuce, through a summer’s harvest of zucchini and cherry tomatoes, into winter squash and carrots in the winter, there’s hardly a month that Featherstone isn’t represented in the co-op’s Produce department. The farm is certified organic and is dedicated to creating a truly sustainable agriculture system. That includes geothermal heating and cooling for the packing shed, as well as a solar array that generates about 60 percent of the farm’s energy. Featherstone Farm also operates a large community-supported agriculture program.

Heartbeet Farm

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Heartbeet Farm is a family farm owned and operated by Joe and Rebecca Schwen. Located in Zumbro Falls, Minn, the fields that now comprise Heartbeet Farm are the same fields that Joe was raised on and where he learned to farm. Recently, Joe and Rebecca have begun to cooperatively market their produce as Heartbeet Farms along with two nearby small family farms: Easy Yoke and Hare & Tortoise. Working together allows these farms to operate at a scale that enables them to directly interact with the plants, soil, animals, and farm ecosystem while still being productive, efficient, and sustainable. They employ a combination of draft horses, small tractors, woodstove heated greenhouses, and other technologies to grow a wide variety of vegetables. Look for beets, shiso, Hakurei turnips, and many other items from Heartbeet Farms throughout the growing season. All three farms are dedicated to farming in a healthful, holistic, and sustainable way and are certified organic.

Produce At Its Peak: Summer Squash

Summer Squash

Did you know summer squash is not really a vegetable? The many varieties of summer squash are a type of “pepo”, or hard-walled berry that are harvested while the rind is still tender and edible. Summer squash is in season now and we are carrying at least five varieties (green and gold zucchini, crookneck, zephyr-my personal favorite for its sweetness-, patty pan, and calabacita, a small tender zucchini). Wisconsin Growers Co-op, Featherstone Farm, Heartbeet Farms, and Sin Fronteras are delivering these squash multiple times each week. Select firm, unwrinkled, evenly shaped squash and store in your crisper drawer.

Sin Fronteras

Sin Fronteras (Without Borders) is a Stillwater, Minn-based family-farm growing fresh, healthy Latino food. Farmers Eduardo Rivera and Madeline Shaw bring to the Twin Cities sustainably grown and at times challenging to find varieties of chile peppers, tomatillos, and espasote along with familiar roots, greens, and herbs. These foods can be found at area coops, the Linden Hills Farmers Market, and through a culturally appropriate Latino CSA. Look to their Facebook page for recipes using Sin Fronteras produce.

Wisconsin Growers Co-op

Wisconsin Growers Co-op was founded in 2006 to help 20 families maintain ownership of their farms. Its members are dedicated to the idea that if farmers take “good care of the soil, the soil will pay back with high-quality produce.” This mindset has proven effective; Wisconsin Growers often brings us produce all year long, from greenhouse radishes at the first sight of spring clear around the calendar to over-wintered parsnips. The key to the longevity of their growing season are labor-intensive, fossil fuel-free farming methods. On nearly 40 acres of the co-op’s land, these farmers plant, tend, and harvest crops exclusively using horses, horse machinery, and hand tools. In addition to more popular produce items such as potatoes, onions, and radishes, the Wisconsin Growers Co-op offers unique heirloom squash varieties, such as Queensland blue and Long Island cheese.

Featherstone Fruits and Vegetables

Featherstone Fruits and Vegetables started in 1995 as Jack Hedin and Jenni McHugh’s five-acre garden at the Zephyr Valley Land Co-op near Winona, Minn. Since then, the farm has relocated to land near the town of Rushford, Minn., and now employs nearly 50 people working on over 250 acres of optimal vegetable-growing ground. Beginning in late May with leaf lettuce, through a summer’s harvest of zucchini and cherry tomatoes, into winter squash and carrots in the winter, there’s hardly a month that Featherstone isn’t represented in the co-op’s Produce department. The farm is certified organic and is dedicated to creating a truly sustainable agriculture system. That includes geothermal heating and cooling for the packing shed, as well as a solar array that generates about 60 percent of the farm’s energy. Featherstone Farm also operates a large community-supported agriculture program.

Heartbeet Farm

Heartbeet Farm is a family farm owned and operated by Joe and Rebecca Schwen. Located in Zumbro Falls, Minn, the fields that now comprise Heartbeet Farm are the same fields that Joe was raised on and where he learned to farm. Recently, Joe and Rebecca have begun to cooperatively market their produce as Heartbeet Farms along with two nearby small family farms: Easy Yoke and Hare & Tortoise. Working together allows these farms to operate at a scale that enables them to directly interact with the plants, soil, animals, and farm ecosystem while still being productive, efficient, and sustainable. They employ a combination of draft horses, small tractors, woodstove heated greenhouses, and other technologies to grow a wide variety of vegetables. Look for beets, shiso, Hakurei turnips, and many other items from Heartbeet Farms throughout the growing season. All three farms are dedicated to farming in a healthful, holistic, and sustainable way and are certified organic.

Know Our Grower: Featherstone Farm

Our annual Know Our Grower series continues as our growing season thrives. Know Our Grower is an opportunity to connect shoppers with the talented group of local farmers producing our food and sample recipes that allow their flavors to shine. Come chat and sample with Featherstone Farm this December! They will be in the Franklin store on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and the Friendship store on Saturday, Dec. 10 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Featherstone Farm started in 1995 as Jack Hedin and Jenni McHugh’s five-acre garden at the Zephyr Valley Land Co-op near Winona, Minn. Since then, the farm has relocated to land near the town of Rushford, Minn., and now employs nearly 50 people working on over 250 acres of optimal vegetable-growing ground. Beginning in late May with leaf lettuce through a summer’s harvest of zucchini and cherry tomatoes into winter squash and carrots in the winter, there’s hardly a month that Featherstone isn’t represented in the co-op’s Produce department. The farm is certified organic and is dedicated to creating a truly sustainable agriculture system. That includes geothermal heating and cooling for the packing shed, as well as a solar array that generates about 60 percent of the farm’s energy.

Featherstone Needs Community Support to Save Their Farm

The 2016 season has proven to be the worst in Featherstone Farms’s 20 years in business. The fourth wettest year in Minnesota history has produced crop losses far in excess of anything they’ve ever experienced. Featherstone has lost 20% of their crop income and is facing a $350,000 loss. They are hoping to raise $150,000 by Thanksgiving. Folks can help by going to our website at featherstonefarm.com.

Know Our Grower: Featherstone Farm

Last Saturday, co-op shoppers had the opportunity to meet members of Featherstone Fruits and Vegetables. The farm was started in 1995 as Jack Hedin and Jenni McHugh’s five-acre garden at the Zephyr Valley Land Co-op near Winona, Minn. Since then, the farm has relocated to land near the town of Rushford, Minn., and now employs nearly 50 people working on over 250 acres of optimal vegetable-growing ground. Beginning in late May with leaf lettuce through a summer’s harvest of zucchini and cherry tomatoes into winter squash and carrots in the winter, there’s hardly a month that Featherstone isn’t represented in the co-op’s Produce department. The farm is certified organic and is dedicated to creating a truly sustainable agriculture system. That includes geothermal heating and cooling for the packing shed, as well as a solar array that generates about 60 percent of the farm’s energy. Featherstone also operates a community-supported agriculture program and is currently signing people up for their winter 2015-2016 season!

Know Our Grower: Featherstone Farm

Featherstone Fruits and Vegetables started in 1995 as Jack Hedin and Jenni McHugh’s five-acre garden at the Zephyr Valley Land Co-op near Winona, Minn. Since then, the farm has relocated to land near the town of Rushford, Minn., and now employs nearly 50 people working on over 250 acres of optimal vegetable-growing ground. Beginning in late May with leaf lettuce, through a summer’s harvest of zucchini and cherry tomatoes, into winter squash and carrots in the winter, there’s hardly a month that Featherstone isn’t represented in the co-op’s Produce department. The farm is certified organic and is dedicated to creating a truly sustainable agriculture system. That includes geothermal heating and cooling for the packing shed, as well as a solar array that generates about 60 percent of the farm’s energy. Featherstone Farm was the featured Know Our Grower Sept. 18 – Oct. 1. Meet the Grower: Sunday, Sept. 29.


Grower: Jack Hedin

When did you begin farming and what inspired you to pursue farming as a profession?
In 1987, the summer between my junior and senior year at college, I started an internship at New Morning Farm in Pennsylvania. I hoped to get applicable, real life skills for the community development work I was planning to do in developing nations. Instead, I fell in love with vegetable farming, and I never looked back.

Can you describe your approach to farming? Are there any unique components to your farm that may be different from other local farms?
We’re trying to be as sustainable as possible. With climate change right here and now, this should be first and foremost in our minds. We do this with our solar panels, our geothermal heating system, our cover cropping and rotational systems, and in general looking toward how we can work more toward a closed loop ecosystem on our farm.

What distinguishes your products from other local produce?
Our 17 years of farming experience shows in the high quality of our produce; over the years, we’ve selected crops that we grow well. If you ask our customers, our carrots are certainly a standout crop for their incredible sweetness and flavor.

What is your favorite way to enjoy your own produce?
I absolutely love winter squash, which is why we grow so many great varieties. There’s nothing better than popping a kabocha squash in the oven on a chilly winter day and letting it warm you up. Kale is also a favorite of mine.