Is it Salad Season yet?

It’s at about this time of year when everyone gets hit with a little cabin fever and the need for something fresh to crunch on. Luckily, in Hawthorne and on the West Side we have started to get the creative juices flowing to create this year’s salads that will be sold by our LEAD at weekend Twins games at Target Field. Thanks to our partnership with Roots for the Hometeam, our LEAD will sell salads developed by our budding young chefs with veggies grown and packed by Youth Farmers. Here’s a teaser recipe from last year’s lineup to add a little freshness to your day.

Mela's Taterthorne Salad
Mela’s Taterthorne Salad

All Star Cider at Annual SOCC Spaghetti Dinner

On Saturday, Hawthorne Youth Farm cooked for and hosted the annual St. Olaf Community Campus Spaghetti Dinner. We made deliciously veggie loaded pasta sauce from our well-stocked freezers, 2 types of salad, NSJ raspberry brownies and SOCC sweet potato pie. The produce list was extensive: tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, eggplant, summer squash, winter squash, broccoli, purple carrots, basil, kale, spinach, lettuce, radishes, beets, raspberries and sweet potatoes. It was over 100# of produce!!

What really stole the show though was Iyonna’s hot apple cider that she spiced up herself. It definitely helped everyone feel warm and toasty as the snow fell. Here’s her recipe:

2 gallons Apple Cider

6 Cinnamon Sticks

1.5 teaspoons grated Ginger

2 teaspoons All Spice (whole)

1 teaspoon Cloves (whole)

1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg

4 Tangerines or 2 Oranges

Boil the cider with the spices for about 10 minutes, then let simmer for about a half hour then strain out the oranges and spices. Serve warm!

Channing James, definitely a Youth Worker and so much more!

I met Channing in 2012 when she was our Harvest Coordinator in Hawthorne. She introduced herself as “not really a youth worker,” but believe me, she is. Channing has an incredible way of listening to young people, making them feel heard and that they know they matter. She also is real and genuine with them, which gains Youth Farmers’ trust and respect immediately. In the past three summers that she has worked in Hawthorne, Channing has proven to be an impactful youth worker.

This summer she was unable to commit to a staff position, see she is in Medical School and is quite busy as you can imagine. Despite this, she found a way to stay involved with Youth Farm by tying her service learning project to our food distribution plan for the North Oaks residents at St. Olaf. She and a co-classmate, Ted Hagmann, worked with our LEAD to set up a system of distributing food from our farms to the residents each week. As they don’t have much more than a microwave to cook with, we had to be quite strategic to make sure these veggies were able to be eaten raw or that they required minimal preparation. Channing and Ted helped faciliate meetings with the residents and the LEAD to better get an idea of the vaiety of produce that would be useful and the quantities that would be substantial. Each week in the summer, Channing would come to help the Youth Farmers gather, sort and wash the produce for distribution and then they would haul the produce to the residence to pass out. Last Wednesday was our last distribution to the residents and tonight Channing, Ted and our LEAD gathered with our crew of “regulars” to discuss how the whole thing went. The residents just gushed on and on about how much they appreciated the fresh fruits and veggies, but mostly they talked about our kids; how insightful they were, how kind and that they listened. One resident remarked at how he feels young, just by getting to watch them be young and play up on the hill in the garden. Our LEAD saw how much their produce and their blood, sweat and tears impacted the community around them. Their excitement for next year’s planning and winter community meals was catching and it was fun to think of new possibilities.

Thank you so much Channing for being a part of Hawthorne Youth Farm, your connections with young people help them discover incredible new experiences and realizations about the community and world around them!

Sammy, the man behind the sandwich

Avenue Eatery is the spot to be on any given afternoon (or morning for that matter).  Around there I’m known as the “Tomato Lady,” because Sammy, the inspired owner, buys Youth Farm produce from us through most of the fall. (Thanks Fresh Corners!) The LEAD love his spot for a check-in because Sammy serves up “the best sandwich on the north side” and his Chai teas (my personal favorite), when ordered “For Here,” look like something straight from a magazine. There’s always such an amazing group of folks hanging out there discussing the latest happenings at the Capri, planning the next Poetry Session or simply connecting with one another. Thanks Sammy for your love and support of Youth Farm!

Roasted Chicken Sandwich
Roasted Chicken Sandwich




Join Youth Farm at the Farmer’s Market

West Side Youth Farm staff and youth will be selling produce on Saturdays from 8:30am to 12:30pm at the West Side Farmer’s Market. The market is located in St. Paul at the intersection of George Street and Stryker Ave. Each Saturday throughout the growing season local vendors sell produce, baked goods, and market products like soap. YF will continue to host a stand this fall through the end of season party on October 11th. Hope to see you there. Check out the links below to learn more about the market and vendors through the new Farmer’s Market Documentary.

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Alice Martin YF Interview

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Andrea Nthole Humboldt High School FFA Interview

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Pompeyo Sanchez Icy Cup Owner Interview

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Silly Miss Tilly Makes Squirt from Finding Nemo

Preservation Season

With autumn around the corner we are busy in the fields harvesting and in the kitchens preserving. We’re spicing up our life with zesty salsas, tomatillo salsa, and jalapeno jam. We’ve also been freezing corn, broccoli, beans, zucchini, and tomato sauce for cooking classes this fall and winter. Next up: pickles, dilly beans, and apple sauce. Any ideas for what we can do with turnips?

Ready for the freezer
Ready for the freezer
Shanna and Jesus have been elbow deep!
Shanna and Jesus have been elbow deep!
E-Don enjoying a goofier moment watering with a broken hose on a hot August night
E-Don enjoying a goofier moment watering with a broken hose on a hot August night

Dragon Tongues at North Oaks!

In Hawthorne on each Wednesday afternoon this summer, youth farmers, LEAD and staff would distribute produce to our elders at North Oaks Residence on the St. Olaf Community Campus. (Yes, where SOCC farm gets its name.) This fall, we are continuing our Wednesday produce distribution and today everyone was particularly excited about those deliciously sweet chocolate cherry tomatoes and the crunchy, juicy, curiously speckled Dragon Tongue snap beans! YUM!


Basil Ice Cream?

Why not? Last week we sold some of our beets and basil to Izzy’s Ice Cream Cafe. Our All Stars harvested the 48 pounds of beets needed for their Berry Beet ice cream and we all harvested the 2 pounds of basil needed for their Basil ice cream. Of course that meant we had to sample some! On Wednesday our All Stars got to see their beets turn into ice cream and some of our LEAD and staff enjoyed an after work treat!


All Star Week in Hawthorne!

We have really celebrated All Stars this week both at the baseball game and here in Hawthorne. On Tuesday our LEAD sold out of West Side’s Tic Tac Taco salad at the All Star Game! It was a hit and we all had a blast taking in the festivities and bustle of the day. Thanks Roots for the Hometeam!

On Wednesday, our very own Hawthorne All Stars hit a different sort of field (SOCC Farm) to harvest 30 pounds of beets during their afternoon focus group time. Their work will pay off handsomely because those beets are going to be made into a Berry Beet Ice Cream at Izzy’s Ice Cream Cafe! The All Stars are excited for the rewards to come from that effort… YUM!


Schools Out For Summer!

20140606-191047-69047399.jpg   Friday was the last day for Minneapolis students! We celebrated at Lyndale elementary during recess with 60 students coming in to harvest a head of lettuce to take home. Later that night we harvested 14 pounds of radishes with All Stars and then took a field trip to Minnehaha Falls. Happy Summer in the City!