Tour de Farm: Oliver Kelly Picnic

Fall is here and we’re celebrating at Oliver Kelly Farm!  Our chef was Mike Phillips from Green Ox.  Wine was brought by Chuck Kanski, of Solo Vino and  beer was provided by Rush River.

Photographs are the sole property of Kris Hase and can not be used without her permission.  You can, however, purchase prints if you like.

Oh what a beautiful autumn day for our picnic!


Tour de Farm Riverbend Picnic

Welcome to Riverbend Farm.  Beautiful days seem to be our lot in life this summer.  Oh well, what can we do?  The chefs were Mike Phillips from Green Ox, Jim Grell and Phillip Brecht from Modern Cafe and Marshall Paulson from the Birchwood Cafe.  Wine was brought by Chuck Kanski, of Solo Vino and  beer was provided by Furthermore.

Photographs are the sole property of Kris Hase and can not be used without her permission.  You can, however, purchase prints if you like.


Oliver Kelly Picnic “Prequeal”

On Sunday, September 19 you will be joining Tour de Farm for a picnic at Oliver Kelley Farm prepared by Mike Phillips of Green Ox.

But first… we need more farmhands to make it happen!

Over the next two weekends, you and your kids can step onto the working 19-century Oliver Kelley Farm, a National Historic Landmark managed by the Minnesota Historical Society, and help the famers prepare for the Sunday supper.

Here’s what’s happening:

Threshing & Harvesting, Labor Day Weekend on Sept. 3-5

Threshing the grain harvest was the culmination on an entire growing season’s toil. Bring grain bundles in from the field with the oxen, Toby and Colter. Help haul bundles and bag up grain at the 1856 horse-powered Cox and Roberts threshing machine, help stack the straw, and pick heirloom vegetables from the garden. Then enjoy a ride on the nature trails on the horse-drawn trolley.

Time: Friday & Saturday 10a.m. – 5p.m. & Sunday noon – 5p.m.

Harvesting, Weekend of Sept. 11-12

Help the famers pick heirloom vegetables from the garden, visit the animals at the barn, or churn butter and see what’s cooking in the farmhouse. Then enjoy a ride on the nature trails on the horse-drawn trolley.

Time: Saturday 10a.m. – 5p.m. & Sunday noon – 5p.m.

To keep the farm preserved and managed, the Minnesota Historical Society has a small fee for participants: $8 adults, $6 seniors and college students, $5 children ages 6-17; free for children age 5 and under and MHS members.

Kid’s Picnic Tickets
Does your kid have a buddy that would enjoy a picnic? We are opening up more kids tickets to encourage hands-on learning experiences at the farm. Kids tickets, 6-12 years old, are $15 (plus tax), free for children 5 and younger.

Oliver Kelley Farm Location:
2.5 miles southeast of downtown Elk River on U.S. Hwy. 10 (see map below).

15788 Kelley Farm Rd.
Elk River MN 55330

Can’t join us until the dinner? Oliver Kelley Farm has other Fall events.

September already? WT”d”F?

Let me tell you that Tour de Farm this year has been a blast.  You have no idea what it is like to spend the day with people that make the food that we eat at Corner Table  eat every day.  Can’t say enough about how great our farms have been about hosting.  Always very gracious and accomadating.  Thanks to Tangletown Gardens, Riverbend Farms + Cedar Summit.


We are gearing up for the last couple of events. the September 19th Event at Oliver Kelly Farm, is going to be sold out by the time you read this, so this year, the picnics have been a hit.  We have fed our largest groups of over 200ppl event.  The pictures and the updates for those picnics will be coming soon.

Maple man Dave

Then Duluth is going to be amazing this year on 10-10-10.  We are visiting the Rogotzke’s family farm.  Not only do they make some amazing Maple syrup, but the family spends summers on family owned fishing boats in Alaska.


Steve Dahl " the fish guy"

This dinner is being cooked by returning chef Scott Graden and his great staff at The New Scenic Cafe.  Scott will also be working very closely with Steve Dahl of the north shore as well to highlight what that “farm” called Lake Superior has to offer this late in the year.  

This dinner is going to be like nothing that we have done so far.

If you have not bought tickets, well, you are just going to have to hear us talk all about it when we get back.

…and now a word from our farmer.

Greg Reynolds at Riverbend Farm is well, not just a farmer.  He is so much more.  For us in the industry we are lucky to get his words sent to us in an email on a regular basis that gives us a glimpse into what his life is like.

Riverbend Farm Newsletter August 10, 2010

I don’t suppose that I have to tell you that it has been hot and humid for the past two weeks. Working outside when the heat index is over 100F is hot. We have been getting quite a bit of rain. Saturday we had 0.6″ and today we got another 1.5″. The moisture is nice to have.

If the humidity was backed off a notch or two, that would make my life a little easier. High humidity creates disease problems. We have been seeing some mildew problems in the field. Once we recognized what was happening we avoid those areas. The beans are getting white mold on them, which kill the beans.

The downside of all the rain is that weed control is out of control. When it is too wet to drive in the field, we can not cultivate. When it is wet and hot, weeds grow like crazy. They will also reroot if they don’t dry out. Too bad our ancestors did not evolve eating weeds. Mowing is about the only option left. Where the crew has been hand hoeing and weeding, we are still in good shape.

Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are ready. Zukes and cukes are running wild. The greens and radishes are still booming.

You may recall that I took a bike trip out west a couple weeks ago. It was a great trip. The bike ran fine except for a few minor issues. The roads were spectacular. The scenery was great. I met a bunch of interesting (in a good way) people.

On the way back I ran solo and would stop in small town cafes for breakfast. In western Washington I sat with dryland wheat farmers. They only grow wheat. One year they get a crop and the next they fallow their land to conserve moisture. They get about 10″ of precipitation a year, mostly in the winter as snow. They try to collect two winter’s worth of moisture to grow one crop. Yikes.

The next day in Montana I sat with a guy from Ontario with a Kawasaki ZX1400 (a 1.4 liter motorcycle) and next to two guys from New Hampshire who were biking across the country. The guys on the bicycles thought that panniers were the way to go versus at trailer. They were surprised at how much food they needed. Once the Canadian left, they finished his breakfast. The cafe was run by one woman who cooked and waited on tables, she was the owner.

The last day out I stopped in North Dakota and sat with some farmers and a minister in a town of 300. The town had gotten together to buy the local grocery store to keep it from closing. Recently they added a cafe in the back. It is easy to tell where there is a cafe in a small town, just look for a collection of pickups. By the time I finished breakfast, people on the street knew that I was from Delano and had been to British Columbia on my bike. Small towns…

It has been a whirlwind since I got back. Back on Wednesday. Harvest on Thursday, Deliver on Friday, Crop Mob on Saturday… It has been nuts. The crop mob was great. They weeded beets and chard, peppers and eggplant and got us a little closer to being caught up. Now it would be nice to have a few dry days to get some field work and planting done.

This Saturday is the 5th annual Minnesota Garlic Festival. The festival is at the McLeod County Fairgrounds in Hutchinson. The event is a fund raiser for our Sustainable Farming Chapter. The money gets used to bring speakers like Joel Salatin to Minnesota, to reach out to young people who are interested in farming, and to publicize sustainable farming as a viable alternative in the industrial food system. See for more details.

That’s it for tonight. Tomorrow I have to be in Rochester at 8 am for a panel discussion on Farm to School. This is a bigger deal than I thought. There are something like 700 people at this conference. Wish me luck.


Ride Your Bike Part 2

It’s all in the details. I rode out to Riverbend farm a few days ago with Jim Grell. We both decided it would be too difficult to try to navigate the Luce Line Trail before with 50-70 people before Medicine Lake so Medicine Lake it is. We will meet at 1740 Medicine Lake Boulevard East. There is a large parking lot there and bathrooms.

At 11:30 sharp we will head down the Luce Line at a 14-16mph pace. If its too slow or too fast we will adjust. There are 6 lead riders who can break up with groups if we need. We will have our first stop where Stubb’s Bay Road intersects the trail. There is a nice park there as well as parking lot and a bathroom. We will roll in there around 12:45-1pm. Some folks may join us there if they want. We will also have some refreshments and a snack. Next stop will be in Maple Plain at the Lyndale Park, near the Ox Yoke Inn on county road 92. Again there will be some refreshments, bathroom and a parking lot. We will be there between 1:45 and 2pm.

From there we will roll out for the final leg. We will take county road 26 to county road 20 or Watertown Road, and then north on county road 17 into Delano. If anyone needs a stop there we will, if not we will continue on Hwy 12 to Riverbend Farm. These roads have very wide shoulders and should not be too busy. The Luce Line trail is flat, but there are a few small rollers on the county roads. Luce Line is also a cinder trail. Road or Cross bikes are recommended. We should be able to make it to Riverbend by 3pm. It is about 12 miles from the end of the trail on paved road.

A word about hydration. Bring plenty of water, hydration drink, and drink plenty the days before. It could be hot. We will be able to refill at the rest places.

You should also carry an inner tube, a pump and tire levers. We are working on having a sag wagon to pick up those who have a mechanical or some trouble.

I think that’s it, but of course if you have any question email me directly.
See you on the trail

Dinner at Cedar Summit Farm

Welcome to Cedar Summit Farm.  Once again we got ourselves a beautiful day.  The chefs were Ben Pichler and Jim McIntosh from Grand Cafe.  Wine was brought by Chuck Kanski, of Solo Vino and  beer was provided by Jerrod Johnson from Surly.

Photographs are the sole property of Kris Hase and can not be used without her permission.  You can, however, purchase prints if you like.

(Warning, there are a lot of cows in these pictures.)

Mike Philips from the Craftsman stopped by to lend a hand for 12 hours or so. Forager Kathy was even so kind as to bring mushrooms with her.

I bet this brisket is going to come in handy later.


Tangletown Gardens Farm: Time for Dinner!

The guests have had their tours of Tangletown Gardens Farm and they’re ready for dinner.  The chefs, Scott Pampuch from Corner Table and Michelle Gayer from Salty Tart have raced back down to the field where the dinner is set up.  Wine is being served by Chuck Kanski, of Solo Vino and original infused beer is served by Brian from Fulton Beer.  We are ready for some yum.

Photographs are the sole property of Kris Hase and can not be used without her permission.  You can, however, purchase prints if you like.

Guess what?  Dinner starts with some bread and charcuterie on boards.  Niki starts with the slicing.

Umm… Garlic bread, yum.

Peas are a cooking for the 3 pea salad.

Some pea on pea on pea action with blue cheese and pork business sprinkled on.


Getting to know Ben Pichler from the Grand Cafe @ Cedar Summit Farm

We’re very excited to have Ben to head up the cooking at Cedar Summit Farm this Sunday.  We got to know Ben a bit more when we went out to do some preliminary planning at the always beautiful farm a few weeks ago.  We love how easily the food that Ben creates at the Grand Cafe lends itself so well to what we do on the farms.  Jeremy Iggers of Minneapolis Star and Tribune touts Grand Cafe’s careful balance between Euro-sophistication and classic Americana as “superb,” Pioneer Press critic Cathy Jenkins remarks that the Grand Café feels like a restaurant you’d find in Berkeley, “a sensibility that carries over to the food.”  This is what we like to bring to you – and hope that you’ll be as charmed by this farm and Tour de Farm as we are.  Join us!

(Are you counting cows?  There are 3 in this picture.)

This may just be the place to have a dinner…

This is Ben.

Why are you cooking?  There has got to be something else you would rather do?  Right?

I really don’t know what else I’d be doing if I wasn’t cooking.  I enjoy
teaching, and with our interns from Le Cordon Bleu I’m afforded a chance to
do both.

How did you find your way to the Grand Cafe?
Jon brought me to the Grand from Solera when he got the chef job.

What did you learn from Jon Radle?

A. Jon taught me how to work in a small restaurant. Before the Grand, I had only worked in restaurants that sat at least 150 people at a time.

Why do you feel it is important to buy direct from farms?

I buy directly from farms because I think its the only way to know exactly where your food comes from. Also, my grandfather was a farmer and I believe its important to support small independent farms whenever possible.

What is one food memory from your childhood?

My favorite food memory would have to be learning to cook from dad. He’s a banker, so he would always be home at 4:30 and he and I would cook dinner for the rest of the family.

What is growing in your own garden?

My garden has only rhubarb and flowers. We get a CSA share, which gives us plenty of vegetables for the season.

What are you reading that’s food related or not?

I read any cookbook I can get my hands on. I really enjoy the Culinaria series.

What music is playing in your kitchen?

The music that plays in my kitchen is usually old country. Merle Hagard, Willie Nelson, George Strait, etc. Its good working mans, blue collar music.

What is with the bandanna?

The bandanna is a mostly functional accessory. It keeps my hair out of my face.

Where do you want your food to go in the next 5 years?  What is important to you when it comes to food?

In the next five years I just want my food to keep getting better. When I was 24, I never thought I’d be where I’m at right now. My focus now is on combining classic french cuisine and techniques with American style southern barbecue, but I’m sure that will change.

Thank you always to Dave and Flo Minar for their hospitality and warmth.

See you at the farm!

Tangletown Gardens Farm: the Guests Arrive

Everything is set up at Tangletown Gardens Farm so we’re ready for our guests to arrive.  The chefs, Scott Pampuch from Corner Table and Michelle Gayer from Salty Tart were cooking up a pizza storm.  Wine was being served by Chuck Kanski, of Solo Vino and vodka was being provided by 44th Paralell and beer was served by the lovely ladies of Fulton Beer.  I would say that the day was so beautiful, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, but there were lots of clouds; big fluffy white ones.

Photographs are the sole property of Kris Hase and can not be used without her permission.  You can, however, purchase prints if you like.

Let the pizza begin!

The eggs await their chance to get added to a pizza.

Scott intermingles the pizza with some fine pork products.

Pork products and pizza seem to be well liked.