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

Thank You!

We are humbled by your response to our Vegetable Drive Thrus. It has become clear that this outbreak will disrupt almost every facet of life. Our challenge in the short term, is to grow crops, keep feeding people, keep our business running and stay healthy.

Some Markets are Gone.

We generally have several avenues of marketing our vegetables.  This time of year, we are typically working with the University Dining systems, Omaha Public Schools, Grand Island Public Schools, two local food hubs, and several restaurants. In early March, we had just started working with a new school system.  By the first week of May we would normally be starting farmer’s markets and our retail season.  But as you all know, we lost most of those markets in the last few weeks.  Universities are closed. Public schools are closed. Restaurants are closed. The food hubs market heavily to restaurants, so those sales took big hits. And as of this week we found out that the Sunday Lincoln Farmer’s Market will not open until June 7, and we expect the Saturday Haymarket Farmer’s Market will follow similarly.  This – is – scary!  We depend heavily on these markets.

A Bright Spot

But there is a bright spot – and that bright spot is you.  We have been amazed at the response to our vegetable drive thrus.  You are the reason we have hope that we can weather this strange time we are in.  Your support for Pekarek’s Produce and our family is giving us hope.  So a thousand times – Thank You!

Now as all of these markets shrink, change, or disappear, we are trying to adjust on the farm.  We will continue to do vegetable drive thrus at the farm.  We will begin “pop up markets” in Lincoln when crops are ready (hopefully May).  This will involve ordering and paying for your produce online.  Meeting us at a pre-selected location in Lincoln, and we will simply put the produce in your trunk when you arrive. This is all very new to me, so we will keep you posted on how this will work.

  • What can you do?
    • Stay healthy!  First and foremost, we want everyone to stay safe an healthy.  That’s the whole point of eating your fruits and veggies anyway.
    • Vegetable Drive Thru. Join us on the farm Friday from 4-6 or Saturday from 10-12 for some socially distanced, drive thru veggies!  Maybe a drive in the country would be a nice way to get out and about.

In the meantime, Happy Easter!

Your Farmers,

Ryan, Katie, Jacob, Margret, Michael, Lukas, and Grace & Crew

To the greenhouse – for your health and mine!

One of our favorite places on the farm right now is the greenhouse! It’s a little warm respite when it’s foggy, or rainy, or wiiiindy. We head out there to get out of the house, play in the dirt and of course, check the plants and do chores!!

Soon, the cucumbers will be growing up the strings that hang down from the trellace like whispy lines that are calling to be touched. The seeds that we plant will grow into vegetables. And the small plants in the greenhouse will be transplanted.

A virus had made these times full of uncertainty. But sure enough, spring comes, the sun shines, rain falls, and plants grow. The farm is in full swing and we can’t wait to see our Pekarek’s Produce community again.

All that said, it may be some time until things go back to “normal.” This may mean adjustments in how we get produce to you, but we will make it work. We are excited to again share our produce with you this summer.

Want the inside track on the farm? Do you wish you could get your family to eat healthier? Sign up for our newsletter!

A Vegetable Drive Thru

This week, we will be trying our first Vegetable Drive Thru.

At Pekarek’s Produce, we are always vigilant about food safety. Pekarek’s Produce is already GAPs certified – GAPs stands for good agricultural practices.  This means that at all times, we practice good food safety on our farm and are even inspected by an outside party.

Farm Hours – April 3 & 4

We will have our first farm hours of the year on Friday, April 3 from 4 – 6 pm and Saturday, April 4 from 10 – 12.  Available Produce will include Spinach, Lettuce, Radishes, Beets, and Carrots.

How does this work?

For the current time, out of caution, we will be operating a Vegetable Drive Thru.  When you pull on the farm, please stay in your car.  One of us will take your order.  We will go into the shed and package your order and bring it back to your car.

Do you want to be the first to know when Pekarek’s Produce has vegetables available? Want to know about special events and offers? Join our newsletter to find out more details.

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