This Week at Cornercopia: Ground Cherries and Tractor Fun

We had a ton of ground cherries at our farmers market stands today and we got of questions about what they are and what you do with them. Ground cherries are not actually cherries, but are a relation of the tomatillo. But instead of being similar to a tomato like the tomatillo is, ground cherries are sweeter and more like a berry and are best when used like one. Courtney was given an excellent and easy to make recipe for Ground Cherry Chai Preserves (over at the Cheese and Champagne blog) by one of our dedicated St. Paul market customers, Jean. This preserve makes a great spread to pair with cheese, crackers and other items for dinner parties, holiday parties or just to fulfill your snacking needs. Take note that this recipe is not intended for water bath canning, and the site does link to another recipe that is appropriate if you would like to do so. The recipe itself only has four ingredients and takes around one hour to prepare since a good amount of simmering over low heat is required.

Ground Cherries: The tomatillo's sweeter cousin.

The other fun part of our week is the shiny new walk-behind tractor that was delivered to the farm. The model allows different attachments to be purchased and switched out, meaning that it's a good, multi-use machine. Our farm has the flail mower attachment and the power harrow attachment. The flail mower is much more powerful than the regular lawn mower we've been using in between our rows and to cut down large areas of tall grass and weeds. It also cuts much closer to the ground, keeping weeds away for longer. Our power harrow attachment also makes preparing beds for planting a lot easier.
But of course, new toys don't come without their hiccups. During our first tests with the flail mower, we managed to run over a hose and the owners manual (CD included was chopped to bits as well). Makes for a good story though.
We can't forget to thank everyone that made it possible for our farm to purchase the tractor: the Campus Club, University Dining Service, Honest Tea and all of our amazing customers!

Courtney using the tractor with the power harrow attachment. 

Graham using the flail mower attachment.

View of the underside of the flail mower.

Our second round of broiler chickens are already set for processing next week after spending their short lives out in the chicken tractors. Unlike last time, we moved some of the chicken tractors out to our newest field near Cleveland Ave. Our chickens help raise the soil fertility in the fields that we move them around in, so those fields are getting a healthy dose of chicken poo which will be incorporated into the soil so it's nice and nutrient rich for crops grown on it next summer.


Otherwise, harvesting is starting to become a more common chore as more and more crops start putting out fruit. The tomatoes are finally ripening, the cucumbers are still going strong and our winter squashes are starting to get fruit as well. The melon vines still only just have flowers, but we're hoping to see fruit from those sometime in September. As always, if you're interested in coming out to volunteer at the farm or bringing a group out to visit, send us an email at umsof@umn.edu.

Look at those lovely heirlooms!

3 comments:

  1. There are so many different parts that go into a tractor. It would be a serious project to put together a tractor from parts. I wonder if it would take longer than restoring a car.

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