Four Reasons to Buy Local Turkeys

There are so many reasons to purchase your turkey from a farmer that is local. You can easily find out the conditions the turkey was raised in. You can find out what they feed the turkey. If you’re serious about looking locally for your Thanksgiving feast, Minnesota Grown is a valuable resource that will connect you with local producers throughout the year, not just for Thanksgiving. You can search for the local producer nearest you, or the one that best fits your values.

If you’re still on the fence about whether to go local or not, here are five reasons why searching locally is the best way to go.

  1. No Surprises
    Buying a local free range turkey gives you the opportunity to know what you are eating and where it came from. Buying local gives you the ability to talk to your local farmer about their farming practices, feeding program, and processing program. You should do your research, of course.

    bigturkies.JPG

    Your Tom might be as big as this gorgeous fella.

  2. Just Look at Tom Turkey’s Home 
    Not really, but you can learn a lot by seeing how a farm raised turkeys are raised. If they’re brought up in a humane environment with the option to the great outdoors, you can check that off your list. They get their nutrition from pecking all day with additional quality feed from the local feed store (compared to the store bought turkeys that are cooped up and fed low quality medicated feed). To be sure of this, you should do your research, though.
  3. What Would you Pay for a Robust Local Economy?
    Buying meats from your local farmer keeps money in your community. Shopping local keeps four times the money in your community’s economy compared to shopping at chains. The dollars spent locally go towards the regular things your local farmer buys! (How Quaint!) These include dentist bills, holiday presents, and other things that other “normal” people buy around town. So, shop local! Your farmer will thank you!

    turkeykid

  4. Your Taste Buds will Thank You
    Knowing where your meat is coming from, how it is raise, and how it is processed will automatically make you enjoy Thanksgiving dinner that much more. But the truth is, a farm fresh free range turkey tastes better. Usually, they are not pumped full of preservatives, saline, or other added ingredients. When you buy from your local farmer you are getting what you pay for… fresh turkey. But, as always when making a choice of this nature, you should do your research. 

The Shady Chicken Project Now Underway

Last week, over 50 hazelnut plants were installed in our south field. As part of the Shady Chicken Project, Lois Braun has chosen HDT to be one of the test sites.

Lois’s important work as part of the Forever Green initiative promotes improving natural resources and economic opportunities for farmers. Diversified income streams and perennials on the landscape are both things HDT can get behind! Find out more about Forever Green here:https://www.forevergreen.umn.edu/

If you want to learn more about the work Lois and the Upper Midwest Hazelnuts coalition are doing, their website has some great information. 

rakingtrio

We designed the experiment to have spacing of five feet between each plant and 12 feet between each row.

loisprofile

We welcomed Lois Braun from the University of Minnesota. She is running her hybrid hazelnut experiment at several different locations through MN and WI.

Continue reading

Harvest Recipes

In Minnesota, we have our four seasons, and at the end of the bright, sunny, summer, leading into crisp, sweater-weather, fall, we are inundated with a bounty of end-of-season produce that can make your grandmothers recipe book open by itself in excitement!

Just take a quick look at some of the most used produce here in MN; we’ve got garlic, squash, potatoes, carrots, romaine lettuce, spinach, pumpkins, and apples. There’s a lot to go with here, lots of directions to go. Do you want a savory, filling, meal? Are you looking for a light, fresh, entry? Are you hankering for a sweet treat?

Fall is the best time to make your taste buds scream in joy. Here’s a few recipes that will take advantage of the bounty you’ll find.

Pumpkin Curry

pumpkincurry

We’ll start with something a little different. Of course, there’s the popular pies, cupcakes, coffee drinks that usher in the cool weather. But, what if we tried to do something a little different with our pumpkins. Let’s make a deliciously savory & spicy dish. Note: You can use any winter squash . The texture and taste is all up for grabs.

Continue reading

How to Handle the Harvest

So you’re drowning in vegetables?! It’s that time of year! A few things to keep in mind: a. You likely chose this situation (signing up for the CSA, planting the garden, buying at the Farmers’ Market/Farm Stand, leaving your car door open), b. It can be managed, c. You are not alone! Welcome my friend, we’re in the same club.

There are options for how to handle the overabundance that is likely pushing against your fridge door’s capability to seal (or is this just my fridge?). Eat right now, eat soon, or preserve/prepare for later consumption, or find a new home – these are the options we’ll be addressing.

Eat Right NOW

Salsa – Fresh garden salsa might be one of the reasons I survive winter each year. The gorgeous variety of tomatoes and peppers can wow any audience. *Plus, you can can OR freeze salsa! Continue reading

Turtle Talks Podcast – Episode 11: Your Summer Appetizer 4

This is our most timely episode of Turtle Talks! We talk about upcoming events in our area. The Sustainable Farming Association has their hand in three upcoming community events.

  1. The 9th Harvest Dinner Saturday, August 25. Historically, the big draw of this event, of course, is the food. However, this year the guest speakers will be Gulf Coast fisherman. They’ll be speaking about the hypoxia zone taking place where they work and live. It should be a fun evening.
  2. Farm2Families is an event taking place on ALSO on Saturday, August 25. This event is meant to help connect communities with their local growers. Music, lectures, and delicious food await those who attend this event. It’s FREE to attend, but a dinner plate prepared by Chef Peter Lowe can be purchased for $15/plate.
  3. Minnesota Salsa Fest is a great day that brings together those that love salsa. Music, demonstrations, salsa contest, and even salsa flavored ice cream. Tickets are only $5 at the door. If you think your salsa has what it takes to win, you can enter your batch into the contest for $10. Simply fill out the form found on their site.

We also talk Porketta, and more specifically, Iron-range Porketta. Allison found a recipe that looks absolutely delicious.  Give it a shot and let us know how yours turned out.

 

Turtle Talks Podcast – Episode 10: Your Summer Appetizer 3

We love taking the time from planting, harvesting, weeding, and maintaining our garden and grounds to talk on camera. Sometimes, it’s a well-planned and methodical back and forth between speakers. Other times, like this episode, it’s a loosey-goosey and chaotic back and forth between speakers.

We discuss the current CSA shares, Colin gives parsley a try, we talk about the winter cover crops, and what we do with rabbits in our “rabbit-proof” garden. A real fun episode to make. Hope you enjoy.

Happy National Blueberry Month

The official Minnesota State Muffin is the blueberry muffin. Almost anyone who lives in the north star state can recite this fact. It’s simply because blueberries are awesome.

It’s true.

In fact, all the way back in 2003 (two years before YouTube, even!) the US Department of Agriculture declared that July would be the month of the blueberry. And, why not! These little guys pack tons of flavor in their tiny bodies. They’re also high in vitamins and nutrients a body needs. So, it’s not even that bad when you help yourself to a couple containers.

basketblberry

Aren’t they beautiful?!

Continue reading

Eating Healthy, Shopping Locally

Finding the time and money to eat healthy has been a problem ever since the microwave was invented. So, I’ve put together a short list of ways to make organic eating a habit. Also, there are several links of local resources where you can learn more about eating organically.

1) Buy from your local farmers market.

There are so many great deals at farmers markets. You can find local meats, cheeses, eggs, vegetables, fruits, and many other goodies in one place. The food is fresh and grown locally and you have direct access to the farmers where you can ask questions about how they grow their food. They usually start in may but the best selection becomes available as the growing season gets into full swing. Farmers markets usually last through September in this area. Plus, if you’re on EBT (SNAP/Food Stamps) many markets will accept them. The Lakes Area Growers Market in Brainerd, the Pine River Market Square in Pine River, and the Onamia Area Farmers Market are great places to get started locally.

tomatoesfarmersmarket

Eating healthy is easy when you’ve got delicious food to choose from.

2) Buy into a CSA.

A CSA is a community-supported agriculture program. Every week you will get a new box of fresh produce (often delivered directly to your door!) Variety is good. You’ll get so many different fruits and veggies that you never would normally purchase. I’ve even heard of CSA programs actually providing recipes and cookbooks with their produce in an effort to give the buyer an idea of how to prepare with the different produce. This is a great way to experiment with different varieties and eat produce that you wouldn’t be as used to. There are so many ways to choose which CSA you’d like to invest in, so go to Minnesota Grown to pare down what you want and where to sign up.

Continue reading

HDT and Agroforestry

On June 19th, fifteen forestry, conservation, and agricultural professionals gathered at the U of M Southwest Research and Outreach Center in Lamberton, MN. This lucky gardener, from a plucky little non-profit in North Central MN with a mission in sustainability, was excited to be among them. We were all ready for a 3-day intensive workshop on agroforestry.

FullSizeR

Community food forest in Mountain Lake

Agroforestry: Intensive land-use management that optimizes the benefits (physical, biological, ecological, economic, social) from biophysical interactions created when trees and/or shrubs are deliberately combined with crops and/or livestock.  

IMG_1037

Forest Farming shiitake mushrooms

Continue reading