Minnesotan Fall Agritourism Destinations

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Agritourism:

It’s kind of a made-up word, right? Some people use “agritainment,” instead. (Agriculture and tourism. Agriculture and entertainment. Makes sense, yes?) The basic gist of the term is a fun outdoor activity that focuses on farms, orchards, or any sort of food production location.

This is not a new tactic. Local producers have incorporated into their economic repertoire (along with CSA subscriptions, farm to school programs, and farmers markets, to name a few others) for generations.

I mean, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hay rides, cider festivals, and Halloween themed events are ingrained in our culture. Some of my best memories with my family are centered around agricultural destination events.

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My kids love our annual trip to The Farm on St. Mathias where we pick out our pumpkins and try to beat their corn maze.

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Minnesota Tree ID – Part 2

Now that we’ve covered how to identify some of the popular deciduous trees in Part 1 of this blog, we’ll move onto our coniferous tree ID. Personally, I think this is easier. We have less variety of conifers in Minnesota and they look the same all year long, which is tremendously helpful! As we mentioned before, there is a pretty simple, FREE online key to help you!

Before we begin there are a couple of terms we frequently misuse when it comes to these trees. The first term is needles, which we often think of as different than leaves. Needles ARE leaves! Furthermore, conifers can have two different types of leaves:  scale-like or needle-like.

 

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Garden Wrap Up

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The garden in all its splendor. Photo taken in early August.

The last CSA shares were distributed out last week, (nothing but rave reviews in terms of quantity and quality!) Dave and the garden crew are spending this week and the next few to finally put the garden to bed. An annual tradition of pulling irrigation hoses and planting garlic (for overwinter germination) have been completed, and now the time to look back is on us.

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The variety and flavor of the garden was out of this world.

Dave gave me an amount the garden produced this summer. Counting all the lettuces, garlics, tomatoes (cherry and sliceable), onions, zucchinis, squash, and (of course) all of carrots, we came up with 5,472 lbs out of the garden. Here’s the funny thing, the garden isn’t done giving it’s best. We’ve got a full hoop house that has full raised beds of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and peppers. We’ll add to the almost 3 tons of food for a couple more weeks.

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Minnesota Tree ID – Part 1

No one should go through the fall season without stepping outside to admire the colors of nature. Albert Camus, a French philosopher, once said, “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” If you’re wondering what causes our trees to turn colors in the fall, check out our previous blog on Fall Foliage. Fall hikes are a great time to get out and admire the colors, to observe animals preparing for winter, and to squeeze in as much Vitamin N(ature) as you can in the mild temps of autumn. Make your fall hikes a learning opportunity for your family by practicing your tree ID skills along the way! In this blog, we’ll learn some basic tree identification skills and fun facts about some of the most common types of trees in our neck of the woods – central Minnesota. Continue reading

How to Have Carrots Year Round

If you’ve been keeping up with the HDT harvest, you’ve seen that this year has been particularly good for us. We’ve been inundated with a bumper crop of Scarlett Nantes, or in other words, we’ve got a load of carrots! 

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Britney & Dave during the great carrot crop harvest of 2019.

With wheelbarrows overflowing, our campus chef, Chris G. has the pleasure of making use of these flavorful root veggies, and not just through salads and roasting. He’s been treating us to rare forms of carrot use, and we couldn’t be happier.

 

 

 

But, wouldn’t it be great if you could get the fresh carrot treatment all year long? We talked with our food production coordinator, Dave W, and he says that carrots harvested during the fall can last all the way through until the end of spring. You just have to prepare and store them properly.

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