The Big Build

Building SiteSince the beginning of Stone’s Throw Farm, Elden and I have been planning to build a house at the farm, “someday.” What was once a bare hay field is now home to hoophouses, a quonset-style garage/packing shed, a couple of small sheds, gardens, a deer-resistant fence, a bunch of antiquated farm machinery, and, coming soon, a house!

Slab-BackfilledSo far, we have an insulated slab. This is quite thrilling, trust me.

Elden sold our house in Duluth at the end of October and we’re house-sitting at my parents’ Wrenshall home for the winter (makes it sound like we’re doing them a favor, right?).

In reality, my parents not only help me at the farm all summer, they’re also helping us make the house at the farm a reality. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Although progress on this year’s main farm improvement project — a potting shed/seed-starting greenhouse — was slowed by the more pressing concerns of getting a construction loan, selling the old house, and moving all of our stuff, that’s coming along, too. Previously I started seeds in my parents’ basement and devoted a large amount of hoophouse space to pots and trays all spring, so this will be a very welcome change next season. Some of our farm members chipped in a bit to help with this improvement — thanks!

I’ll officially wrap up the season on Wednesday when I deliver the Thanksgiving shares. I’m always thankful to switch gears at the end of the season and come inside for the winter, though this fall has been so warm so far, it’s almost unreal. I’m not complaining!

Elden and I still like Dave Hanlon’s homemade bread the very best, but Duluth’s Best Bread has been making some Stone’s Throw Farm members (and their farmer) very happy each week late this season. Yesterday we got our first delivery of their croissants, and I think I saw some drool out there on the porch where farm members pick up their shares.

Our CSA season is ending next week, so I was happy to see via the DNT that I can pick up a few loaves at the DBB bakery when I need good bread this winter. (Psst, that means you Duluthians can get it, too.)

Starting last week, they opened their doors to the public, but only on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., selling their 1- and 2-pound sourdough bread loaves for $4.50 and $7, $1 off the usual price, and selling croissants for $3, a 50-cent discount.

But their focus is not on having a retail store.

“It’s not our goal at all to have people come in and buy,” said Robert Lillegard, 29, a freelance food writer who wrote “The Duluth Grill Cookbook.” “It’s to make good-quality bread and get it out to people where they are.”

They count Perk Place, Alakef Cup, the Whole Foods Co-op and Lake Avenue Cafe in Duluth and Wednesday Bakery in Superior as among their customers. They also sell their loaves through local farmers markets and Stones Throw Farm, a community-supported agriculture program.

“We’re slowly introducing it to places that appreciate it,” Robert said. “People really like it. If there’s an office with at least 10 people who want it, we’ll make deliveries to offices.”

Band together, folks!

Today we say good-bye to our 4 piggies. They’ve been good company.

I’m way behind on photo posting; here’s what’s been happening at Stone’s Throw Farm (below).

Farm member Don Whitehead sent a guide to freezing kale that made me smile:


Step 2


Step 1


Step 3

3 Easy Steps
1.  Collect Kale for 3 weeks
2.  Prepare 56 Cups of uncooked Kale
3.  Freeze 16 cups of blanched Kale

It’s nice to know that all the kale I’ve been setting out hasn’t gone to waste!

My dad wanted me to take photos of the farm fields when everything was looking green & vibrant … I still haven’t gotten around to it, and now the grass is browning up due to the recent heat and dry weather. Sorry, Dad! I do have a few little pics I took with my sub-par camera phone. Thanks to drip irrigation, all the hot crops have been loving the weather. We picked 170 pounds of snap peas last Monday, because they practically all ripened at once. I’m looking forward to cooler weather this coming week.

Thanks to Eddy Gilmore for visiting Stone’s Throw Farm last Sunday and writing about our little farming community in Wrenshall. On his blog, Ed’s Big Adventure, Eddy explains his services as a profiler of interesting people thusly:

What I bring to you is an innate ability to become intensely impassioned for your subject through the lens of a third party with keen observational skills. I am a great conversationalist, will travel out to your location, and will spend hours chatting with or about your subject. The point of this isn’t to merely glean facts, but to find footholds of interest for myself so I may write an engaging story.”

I found his statement to be true — I am not a good conversationalist but I enjoyed talking to Eddy, who seemed genuinely interested. Without taking notes, he got (almost!) all of the details I shared correct and wrote about his experience skillfully. Eddy was generous enough to share a copy of his memoir, The Emancipation of a Buried Man, which I very much look forward to reading — get your own copy here.


As everyone says around here, “Summer is short in Duluth.” It’s not officially summer yet, so it’s especially nice that it’s been feeling like summer around here! Almost all the veggies love it, I love it . . . the only ones who really wish for cooler temps are the piggies. They like it about 50-60 degrees, so we try to keep them cool with water- and mud-baths when necessary. Check out a couple new videos of the pigs at the bottom of this post. As you can see, they’re very social and didn’t understand why I wasn’t getting in the pen with them to give them back scratches!

Besides its future use as a potting shed/winter greenhouse, the shipping container also makes a good place to take overview photos of the farm. Everything is cooking along pretty well; the only big thing left to get into the ground is the peppers, which we should be able to accomplish in the next few days.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 43 other followers