2020 Weekly Vegetable Subscription – Week 10

Week 10 of Pekarek’s Produce Weekly Vegetable Subscription

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost August. We are all enjoying a little reprieve from the heat. Much of our crew is looking forward to school starting (very weird). And our minds wander to fall when we see the pumpkins turning colors. 

On The Farm

I’m still excited for these summer crops that we are starting to pick. This week you will get the first cantaloupe of the season. Yum!  We often get the question “how do you pick a good cantaloupe” – the answer is, of course, you get it from Pekarek’s Produce!  Ha!  But really, when cantoloupe are picked, they should “slip” off the vine.  So, when your looking at a good one, most likely there is an indentation where the cantaloupe was pulled off the vine (instead of a bit of vine sticking off the end when it is cut).  Where that indentation is, you should get a strong smell of melons. At our place, there are only a couple of people that are actually allowed to pick the melons… the rest catch and load what gets thrown at them!  (Yes, we pick the melon and then toss them to the person outside the row.  It’s a fun game when the melons are small, but every once in a while, a melon goes ker-splat. I find this game much less fun when it comes to watermelons!)

A few other summer crops are coming along nicely too.  We’ve got the first few eggplants that have made it into the house.  We’ve just started digging potatoes, but with the recent rain and mud, that has been put on hold.  Pickling cucumbers are starting to produce nicely. Another nice part of summer is that it is canning season – or freezing at my house.

If you are interested in half bushel or bushel quantities for canning or freezing, please call Ryan (402) 641-3305.  We can have these ready for one of your weekly vegetable subscriptions or for a weekend.  Think frozen corn, pickles, canned beets, etc!

Week 10 Weekly Vegetable Subscription 2020

I’m still excited for these summer crops that we are starting to pick. This week you will get the first cantaloupe of the season. Yum!  We often get the question “how do you pick a good cantaloupe” – the answer is, of course, you get it from Pekarek’s Produce!  Ha!  But really, when cantoloupe are picked, they should “slip” off the vine.  So, when your looking at a good one, most likely there is an indentation where the cantaloupe was pulled off the vine (instead of a bit of vine sticking off the end when it is cut).  Where that indentation is, you should get a strong smell of melons. At our place, there are only a couple of people that are actually allowed to pick the melons… the rest catch and load what gets thrown at them!  (Yes, we pick the melon and then toss them to the person outside the row.  It’s a fun game when the melons are small, but every once in a while, a melon goes ker-splat. I find this game much less fun when it comes to watermelons!)

A few other summer crops are coming along nicely too.  We’ve got the first few eggplants that have made it into the house.  We’ve just started digging potatoes, but with the recent rain and mud, that has been put on hold.  Pickling cucumbers are starting to produce nicely. Another nice part of summer is that it is canning season – or freezing at my house.

If you are interested in half bushel or bushel quantities for canning or freezing, please call Ryan (402) 641-3305.  We can have these ready for one of your weekly vegetable subscriptions or for a weekend.  Think frozen corn, pickles, canned beets, etc!

This Week’s Produce
Sweet Corn
Green Beans
Zuchinni or Yellow Squash
Cucumber
Cantaloupe

Your Farmers,
Ryan, Katie, Jacob, Margret, Michael, Lukas, and Grace

2020 Weekly Vegetable Subscription – Week 5

Week 5 of Pekarek’s Produce Weekly Vegetable Subscription

On The Farm

As usual, the weather is the lead story on the farm.  We’ve had a couple of storms, a little bit of hail and a lot of wind.  The hole in the high tunnel has gotten bigger and the work days keep getting longer. It can be so easy to fall in a pattern of looking at all the things we have to get done, those many many daily tasks and not look at all of the good that comes with it.  Yes there is a hole in the high tunnel, but we took down the plastic on the sides yesterday, and will pull new plastic today if the wind stays down for the afternoon.  It’s more work, but the results will be great!

Yes the long work days get tiresome and we tend to get a little bit snappy – ok a lot a bit snappy.  But long work days means we get to spend more time outside and that our family is strong and healthy enough to do so. 

So this week – we want to say a big thank you!  Thank you for being a part of our weekly vegetable subscription.  Thank you for joining our family and crew on this crazy journey in vegetable farming. And thank you for the opportunity to share in the bounty of the farm.

Strawberry Picking 2020

The veggies in this week’s bag are a bit more of the standard midwestern vegetable fare than last week. This is the end of strawberry season, but the summer crops are just starting. You will have either a cauliflower or a cabbage this week, because neither crop produced enough for everyone. We will try to rotate through who gets what when this happens. If you have a little purple tinge in your cauliflower, consider yourself lucky – it’s what happens when we get hot weather! It tastes great 🙂

Sugar Snap Peas

These things are like hidden gems of the cooking world. We mostly eat them raw – but they are great in a stir fry or as a meal on their own. Try this: Put 1 Tbs of canola oil in a pan on high heat (I usually use olive oil but it burns on high heat). When the oil is heated up, add your peas, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ginger. Cook until soft, stirring occasionally. This is a fun dish to flip the food instead of stir, but either works. Ryan really likes the peas to get a little black too.

Enjoy!

This Week’s Produce
Basil
Strawberries
Broccoli
Carrots

Your Farmers,
Ryan, Katie, Jacob, Margret, Michael, Lukas, and Grace

2020 Weekly Vegetable Subscription – Week 4

Week 4 of Pekarek’s Produce Weekly Vegetable Subscription

I’m sure you’ve see it before where kids are better at technology than the parents… well we’ve been in that stage around here a time or two! So Michael (9) and I had an adventure in making a video on my phone this week that helped me decide that we definitely need to use our children more for making farm videos (not me)! In that light, Michael made a strawberry syrup in less than ten minutes this week and made a video to go along with it!

On The Farm

The heat that we’ve been having is going to make for a much shorter strawberry season than we would like, so the next week or two is all about the strawberries! It’s time for strawberries on your salad, in your smoothies, and on your pancakes!  Picking strawberries is fun the first time or two, but I’m not sure the crew will mind a shorter picking season!

Strawberry Picking 2020

This week you will all receive a basil plant with your weekly vegetable subscription!  This is something that you can use over and over again.  Basil needs a really good sunny spot to grow.  You can either put it in a larger pot OR plant it in a sunny part of the garden for the best results.  To use it, you can cut the stem down to 2 or 3 inches, with 2 sets of leaves left.  It will continue to regrow from their all season.  You want to make sure you keep cutting those tops off to keep it from flowering.

As for basil’s uses, there are many!  We usually dry a bunch of it down in the oven, so we can use it all year.  Here’s my top 5 ways to use basil:

  1. Dry it down for use all year round!
  2. Top whole leaves onto pizza
  3. Finish pasta with thinly sliced leaves
  4. Blend it into sauces
  5. Chop it up in a salad

This Week’s Produce
Basil
Strawberries
Broccoli
Carrots

Your Farmers,
Ryan, Katie, Jacob, Margret, Michael, Lukas, and Grace

Strawberries Don’t Like This Heat…but they make good syrup!

The name of the game this week is heat! And while we are irrigating everything we can with drip irrigation (we have miles of black and blue drip tape going across the farm), irrigation doesn’t solve anything. Usually, we would be hoping for a 3 – 4 week season for picking strawberries, but given this weather, we are predicting the strawberry season will be closer to 2 weeks this year. So, if you are looking to put up strawberries, make strawberry pie, or make some delicious jams and jellies – get your strawberries now!

Strawberry Syrup Recipe

We are making use of all the strawberries on the farm right now.  Michael really wanted to make some strawberry syrup, so we made a quick video of the process.

Ingredients

1 Qt Pekarek’s Produce Strawberries
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs corn starch
2 Tbs water

We just topped one quart of strawberries, added 1/3 cup sugar and 1 Tbs lemon juice then put it on the stove to boil.  After that, we mixed 1 Tbs corn starch with 2 Tbs water, poured it in the strawberries and boiled.  That’s it!  We removed it from the heat and in less than 10 minutes had some fresh strawberry syrup!

Shopping with Pekarek’s Produce

We hope you can enjoy strawberry season with us!  We’ve expanded our on-farm hours this week to include Tue – Thu from 10-5, Fri 4-6, and Sat 10 – 12.  You can still pre-order online at pekareksproduce.com/shop and pick up on the farm Friday or Saturday. Visit us at markets at Wednesday (5-7 p) and Saturday (8-12) in Seward, Saturday (8-12) at the Lincoln Haymarket Farmer’s Market, Sunday (10-2) at the Lincoln College View Farmer’s Market.

Check out what we have available this week on the farm at pekareksproduce.com/shop

Pekarek’s Produce
Dwight, Nebraska
pekareksproduce@hotmail.com
(402) 641-3305

2020 Weekly Vegetable Subscription – Week 2

Week 2 of Pekarek’s Produce Weekly Vegetable Subscription

Wow, has it been WINDY this week!  When it is this windy, you can hear the plants saying “ahhhhhh.” And of course, we got 6+ inches of rain since Wednesday.  So it’s like the double whammy of dirty around here, mud everywhere and wind. 

On The Farm

The greenhouse benches are pretty empty right now and we are preparing for another round of seeding. We plant something every couple of days, either in the greenhouse or in the field from February through October.

Pumpkins and squash are coming up – except the delicata squash which were all picked out of the row delicately and eaten by the ground squirrels.  Carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower in the field are all coming along.  The peas in the high tunnel are producing, but not as much as we would like. We are waiting for the peas in the field to start producing a little bit more.  And truthfully, the summer crops are looking good, just wind blown – sweet corn should be coming around the second week of July, tomatoes should be here late this month, and cantaloupes and watermelons look nice.

It’s the end of the season for asparagus. Butler County Health Care Center did 3, that’s right – 3 great videos on asparagus for you…

**A Note About Our Lincoln Pick Up**

Given the proximity of our pick up site to O street and the protests that are ongoing, we are monitoring the situation closely with the Hub Café staff.  Out of respect and for safety concerns, we are requesting that you pick up your produce by 6 pm this week.  We understand this is earlier than normal. If this does not work for you, please let Katie know via phone call or text at (402) 560-3110.

Have Questions?

We can’t wait to see you!  If you have questions, please call Katie at (402) 560-3110 or Ryan at (402) 641-3305.

Your Farmers,
Ryan, Katie, Jacob, Margret, Michael, Lukas, Grace, and Crew

What’s in This Week’s Vegetable Subscription?

Asparagus
Cucumbers
Lettuce
Radishes

2020 Weekly Vegetable Subscription – Week 1

We are so excited that today is the first day of the 2020 Pekarek’s Produce Weekly Vegetable Subscription! By joining the Pekarek’s Produce Weekly Vegetable Subscription, you not only receive a weekly bag of fresh and delicious vegetables, but you are also helping to strengthen our local food security, contribute to the local economy and support a small family farm (that’s us!) – so THANK YOU.

The 2020 weekly newsletter will be available online at pekareksproduce.com and sent directly to your email.  If you have any questions, please call Katie at (402) 560-3110 or Ryan at (402) 641-3305.

This is the first week of the weekly vegetable subscription, so there may be some hiccups as we all get to know each other.  Each week you will go to pick up your vegetables at your designated location (On the Farm, Merle’s Garden Center in Seward, or The Hub Café via the Jane Snyder Trail Center in Lincoln).  At your pick up site, there will be a bag with your name on it.  Simply pick up your bag, take it home and enjoy! We have multiple people with the same last name, so you may have to look for your first initial as well.

Each week, we will have a short newsletter describing some aspect of the farm, from hilling potatoes to building cold frames and more.  As a sweet bonus, the Butler County Health Care Center Nutritionist will also be doing some short videos on how to prepare or eat the vegetables in the weekly vegetable subscription.  I will be sure to share those as they are available. For this week’s produce, I’ve got two suggestions: make a great salad with everything in your bag or take these early cucumbers and make a cucumber onion salad!

As Ryan is always covered in dirt or mud, your newsletters will come from me, but if you’ve ever met Ryan, you can be sure he won’t be silent.  We look forward to a great season!

This Week’s Produce

Asparagus
Green Head Lettuce
Red Onion
Cucumbers
Salad Mix
Radish

Pekarek’s Produce
Dwight, Nebraska
pekareksproduce@hotmail.com
(402) 641-3305

Mother’s Day: Celebrate with Salad

I love the idea of breakfast in bed, but 9 times out of 10, I am the first one up in the house (or the baby).  So I like to celebrate with salad. Not only is it healthy, my kids can make it, and the clean up is easy enough I don’t have to help.  Win – Win! Lettuce, Spinach, Cukes and my favorite dressing make for a nice way to enjoy Mother’s Day.  Add in a litte bit of bacon from Wilber and you’ve gone from good to great.

Side story – Wilber was one of the hogs we raised last year.  After the kids, mostly Margret, played with the pigs all year, they wanted to make sure that when Wilber was butchered, he came to our deep freeze.  Farm kids, huh!
Need a Mother’s Day Present? 
Try Gift Cards or a Weekly Veggie Subscriptions Looking for a unique and easy Mother’s Day present?  Sign mom up for the weekly vegetable subscription, or get her a gift card.

Pekarek’s Produce
Dwight, Nebraska
pekareksproduce@hotmail.com
(402) 641-3305

3 Health Benefits of Asparagus

3 Health Benefits of Asparagus

Happy asparagus season! Asparagus season is like a sprint, it comes in quickly and seems to disappear just as quickly. Last week we harvested only a few pounds of asparagus and this week we will harvest hundreds of pounds!

  1. Asparagus is low calorie and a nutrient powerhouse.  In just half a cup, it has
    • Calories: 20
    • Protein: 2.2 grams
    • Fat: 0.2 grams
    • Fiber: 1.8 grams
    • Vitamin C: 12% of the RDI
    • Vitamin A: 18% of the RDI
    • Vitamin K: 57% of the RDI
    • Folate: 34% of the RDI
    • Potassium: 6% of the RDI
    • Phosphorous: 5% of the RDI
    • Vitamin E: 7% of the RDI
  2. Asparagus also has a unique combination anti-inflammatory nutrients that may help reduce the risk of common chronic health issues, like diabetes and heart disease.
  3. Asparagus is also rich in fiber, making it a great food to help keep digestion in order, help regulate blood sugar and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Do you wish you could get information like this with recipes and more? Sign up for our newsletter.

Be sure to visit us at this week’s socially distanced Veggie Drive Thru!

Veggie Drive Thru

Friday 5/1 from 4-6pm and Saturday 5/2 from 10 – 12pm.

Asparagus
Cucumbers
Turnips
Spinach
Lettuce
Radishes

Coming Soon:  Sweet Peas

Pekarek’s Produce
Dwight, Nebraska
pekareksproduce@hotmail.com
(402) 641-3305

Watering Plants!

I don’t know about you, but it feels like staying home all the time makes everything even busier than normal. There’s a lot of action on the farm this week.  Plants are being moved out of the greenhouse. Lukas is being trained early in the art of watering plants.

Jacob, Michael, and Ryan worked on prepping beds for the week.  Everything gets tilled and we lay drip lines out for irrigation.  You have to hold on tight to make sure the drip tape stays in place and the boys were excited that there was a knife involved for cutting drip tape.

Come visit us at the farm on Friday from 4-6 and Saturday 10-12 for our vegetable drive thru. Be sure to check out the online ordering now on the website at pekareksproduce.com/shop. 

Find out even more by signing up for our newsletter. The latest newsletter is available here!

Pekarek’s Produce
Dwight, Nebraska
pekareksproduce@hotmail.com
(402) 641-3305

Not Your Grandma’s Turnip

If you usually turn your nose up at turnips, you may be in for a sweet surprise with this sweet snacking turnip! This turnip is not like the one grandma used to try to get you to eat.  It has a creamy white flesh that is mild and sweet, and even juicy. I promise these things are good – simply wash and enjoy! You can eat the white bulb and then use the greens in your salad. Check out this video of my 2 year old eating turnips – yes, he asks for them and yes, he really does like them.

This two year old loves his turnips.

By the way, turnips are loaded with fiber and vitamins K, A, C, E, B1, B3, B5, B6, B2 and folate (one of the B vitamins), as well as minerals like manganese, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and copper. They are also a good source of phosphorus, omega-3 fatty acids and protein – that’s right, there are omega-3’s in turnips, not just fish oil and flax seed. 

Get your turnips (and more) at this week’s Vegetable Drive Thru!

Friday, 4/17 from 4-6pm

Saturday, 4/18 from 10am-12pm