Patchwork Green is a hillside and ridgetop farm overlooking the beautiful Canoe Creek Valley several miles north of Decorah, Iowa. Our family grows five acres of vegetables on a farm near Decorah, Iowa. We grow a wide variety of high quality, chemical-free vegetables using sustainable techniques.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

April News

In Your CSA Bag This Week...
The promise of spring and summer and fall, and all the great food that we can grow in those warm

Coming Soon...
Asparagus, spinach, lettuces, boc choi, rhubarb and potatoes.  Shortly thereafter, we’ll be picking broccoli, summer squash and peas!

Important Dates:
  • May 1 – CSA sign-up deadline
  • May 21 – First Traditional Share delivery (weather permitting!)
  • June 18 – First Farmers Market for Patchwork Green (hopefully)

News from the Garden
Signs of spring at Patchwork Green Farm: more daylight but busier days; songbirds in the morning; more eggs from the chickens; 4”-tall garlic; a hoop house full of green transplants; kids who won’t come inside; fresh chives and sorrel on our salads.  Also, weather worries and trying to relax about below-average temp’s and frosty-cold nights.  But, the spring rains have been wonderful, and the transplants in their flats look healthy and ready for real dirt (once it warms up a bit more).

Thanks so much to all of you who have signed up for a CSA share this spring.  We appreciate your support and we are looking forward to growing good Iowa vegetables for you and your family.  If you have not signed up yet, please consider doing so by the end of April, as this gives us a better assessment of how to plan our production for the season.  Also, if you are a Luther College employee, the reimbursement program (up to $100 off your CSA membership!) asks that folks sign up by May 1st as well.

The old deer fence around our garden has been completely dismantled.  The 10-foot, electrified fence looked pretty impressive to people, but apparently not to deer.  They have found flaws in the fence the past two seasons, and have systematically tested, breached and destroyed it.  As soon as materials are available (hopefully, in the next week), a fencing company will install a permanent wire fence that should make for a physical barrier that will block out all deer pressure for decades.  We’ll all keep our fingers crossed.

We are thrilled with our garden crew for 2016!  Starting this month, our crew now has two full-time women, both with significant gardening experience.  They are curious and hard-working, and will be a great fit for our farm and work pace. 

Patchwork Green is participating in a mentoring program run by Practical Farmers of Iowa, for folks interested in farming as a career.  Both of our employees are enrolling in the program, so we’ll be discussing lots of vegetable farming details as we work each week.  From farm finances and marketing to lettuce variety selection and appropriate machinery, we’ll cover a lot of topics.  It’s very encouraging to give future farmers a chance to ask lots of questions and learn from our mistakes and successes, and to see their excitement about producing quality food.  You’ll get a chance to meet the garden crew at market in June.

Monday, February 8, 2016

February news from Patchwork Green Farm

What a beautiful, windy day.

The root cellar is holding steady at 35 degrees, seemingly irregardless of outdoor temperature swings.  The potatoes, garlic and shallots stored there are snug...It's only about two weeks before I head to the basement to start the first onions, shallots, leeks and flowers in flats, germinate them on a heat mat, and encourage the first green growth under grow lights. Makes the winter seem less endless to know that, don't you think?

Hopefully, you received a letter and CSA order form from us this week in the mail. If you participated in the Luther College CSA Reimbursement program in the past, here's an update for 2016:  the program has not yet been fully funded, and we'll let you know as soon as we do when reimbursement can be assured. We expect to find out in the next few weeks, as we did last year.  You can sign up for the CSA now, indicate that you would like to participate in the Luther program on the order form, and we'll send a receipt once the program comes on-line. Or, you can wait until the program is confirmed to sign up.

There is a new coalition of Decorah-area CSA's, called (wait for it...), CSADecorah. This is a promotion group, and the 6-7 members are interested in sharing resources and collaborating to most effectively market our individual CSA's around town. There is a website that is now live, found at: where you can see the farms profiled. Our first big event will be held next Saturday, 2/13, at the Oneota Coop Kitchen Space from 10-2:00: a CSA Fair!  
You can meet all of the farmers, catch some live music and sign up for the season. There are several other vegetable-centered CSA farms (we sure hope you'll stick with Patchwork Green Farm, of course!), but you might be interested in a garden-help CSA, a meat CSA and a cut flower CSA.  Nothing wrong with utilizing this model to diversify your local food consumption and beautify your table. Of the new local farms featured, two are run by former PGF employees and one by a mentee of ours. It's very exciting and gratifying to have the next generation putting down their farming roots and finding their place in Decorah. 

While we're waiting for the local produce season to kick in, we still need to be eating our veggies. Although you and I try hard, it is certainly more challenging to get our recommended 3 servings of veggies every day in the winter. Iowa, however, is ranked 49th among the states for per capita consumption of fruit and vegetables. Not a good place to be.  Do your part to bring up the state rank, do your body a favor, and have a better lunch today!

Here's an easy, slightly exotic recipe with two great winter vegetables:

1/2 cup pistachios
1 tsp. plus 1/2 cup olive oil
Kosher salt
1 Tbsp. curry powder
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
4 small beets, peeled, thinly sliced on a mandoline
4 medium carrots, peeled, shaved lengthwise into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
Lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350.  Toss pistachios and 1 tsp oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt.  Roast, tossing once, until pistachios are golden brown, 5-7 minutes.  Let cool, then coarsely chop.  Meanwhile, bring curry powder and remaining 1/2 cup oil to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling occasionally.  Let cool.  Blend garlic, vinegar, and mustard in a blender, then, with motor running, stream in curry oil.  Blend until dressing is very smooth and thick; season with salt.  Toss beets and half of dressing in a medium bowl; season with salt.  Let sit until beets soften slightly, 8-10 minutes.  Add carrots and remaining dressing and toss to combine; season with salt and lemon juice.  Serve topped with pistachios.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

49th in the Nation

Iowa is currently ranked 49th (that's bad!) in the nation for per capita vegetable and fruit consumption.  This link comes from a group trying to change that statistic (Iowa Healthiest State)  

Locally, you have some great options to increase your vegetable and fruit consumption, including Patchwork Green Farm CSA Shares!  Sign up now for a 2016 Membership at  Eat Local and Eat Well.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Now accepting memberships for 2016

Patchwork Green this winter, taken by Beth Lynch.
Here we are in mid-winter.  While we all revel in the dark season, with snow sports, film festivals and cozy nights at home, we're really just biding our time until we can be outdoors in shirtsleeves, with bird song, green grass and fresh food all around.  Here's an opportunity to let your mind wander toward the warm months, when the bounty of the land in northeast Iowa can be gathered and enjoyed every day.

Patchwork Green Farm is now accepting memberships for the 2016 growing season.  We are again offering Traditional Shares (11 weeks of the seasons best produce, herbs and cut flowers) and Market Shares (pre-paid tab at our farmers' market stand in three price levels).  Please visit for all the details and to sign up!  Prices are the same as they have been for the last few seasons.  We have improved the online order form, and you can purchase a share with a check or Paypal.  And, don't forget to browse the photo page for a visual journey to summer on the farm!  If you were a Patchwork Green Farm CSA member last year, look for a letter and order form in the mail next week. Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions at 563-387-0837 or

Eat Local and Eat Well!