BOGO Sale Continues

Buy One Get One Free of Equal or Lesser Value.

Our Crazy Daze BOGO sale will continue through Sunday, July 31st!  Stop in and pick up some absolutely CRAZY bargains.  We have over 100 varieties of our trees, shrubs and perennials on BOGO.  Buy One Get One Free!  You can mix and match – plant of the lower cost is the free plant.


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Categories: Businesses

Ancestry Oak Exceed Expectations

Ancestry Oak leaves

Sounds unbelievable.  An Oak tree that grows three to six feet in just three months?  An Oak tree that can also prosper even when planted in the alkaline soils commonly found in southern Minnesota when other Oak varieties struggle in these soils?  Ancestry Oaks have just the right make up to both grow quickly and in difficult clay soils, and develop into a strong and beautiful shade tree.

Ancestry Oaks are blessed with a nice mix of genetics from our native Bur Oak, the lovely English Oak and a dash of genes from other oaks.  This genetic diversity is what I believe creates the dynamic growth called hybrid vigor, that enables Ancestry Oaks to consistently produce amazing flushes of new growth in May, June and July each year.

New growth on Ancestry Oak

We expect Ancestry Oaks to develop quickly into full sized shade trees that have beautiful deep green shining leaves that look great throughout the entire growing season.  We produce Ancestry Oaks that have superior root systems by using specially designed air root pruning pots that enable the trees to develop root systems with almost perfect structure and many more fine roots for successful transplanting and rapid establishment in your landscape.

In the photo, the part of the Ancestry Oak above my hand grew 5 feet 4 inches during the three months from April 29 to July 29, 2016, and the diameter of this newly formed leader is an incredible 3/4 of an inch, and we still have 8 to 10 weeks of growing season left!  The average new growth on this year class of Ancestry Oaks is about 4 ½ feet in just 90 days.


Stop in and see for yourself the impressive growth on our Ancestry Oaks.  We currently have Ancestry Oaks available in #1, #7, #10, #15 and #20 pot sizes to fit any budget.  For best results, plant Ancestry Oaks in sunny areas with properly drained soils.  Avoid wet, soggy areas, follow our planting and watering guidelines, and you too can enjoy the satisfaction of watching an Ancestry Oak perform beyond expectations!

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Categories: Businesses

My Woodland Garden – July 28th

This is getting to be my favorite time of year!  The hydrangeas are just starting their show!  Actually some have been blossoming for a few weeks now but the others are coming on strong now!   Driving down the driveway it is dark through the woods and when we enter our yard – the hydrangeas light up like bright beacons!

Limelight Hydrangea Tree


Our Limelight Hydrangea tree has just started to open it’s blossoms and in another week or so will be very bright!

I have mentioned in posts through the season that we try different plants for full sun in the woods.  Some don’t work but the one that really works is our

Rudbeckia Goldsturm

Rudbeckia Goldsturm.  We have two different areas – one with about 5 hours of sun and a second area that gets only 2-3 hours of sun.  Both do exceptionally well.  Since this is one perennial that has a long bloom period – we will have bright yellow blossoms from now until the frost comes.  They self-seed and over time – have filled in along our boulder wall to the north and we have seed heads that we leave over the winter for the birds.   These have been blooming for a couple of weeks already in areas with full sun.  That is about the only trade-off I have seen – is that it takes a little longer for the blooms to appear!

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Categories: Businesses

How To Encourage Customer Reviews

Brand Yourself Consulting - Tami Enfield - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 2:05pm

You know you do good work for your customers. Heck, you spend half your day making sure they’re happy. But how do you convince potential customers that you really walk the walk when it comes to knocking their socks off? Step One: Get some amazing reviews from past and current customers.

How to encourage great customer reviews via @brandyourselfmn.
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Here are a few methods to encourage your customers to write about you: Email

Follow up with a customer at the end of a project or contract via email. Customize the introduction based on your brand and voice, then give them one (or several) options to submit a review:

Custom Form

Create your own online review form, where you can collect information privately. This is good if you want to see how specific employees are performing, or ask for sensitive information. You can include a checkbox asking if the review can be shared publicly.


Send customers straight to your Facebook reviews page. Simply link to this page in your email, asking customers to click the link and write a review.


Ratings on Google are surprisingly important, as they can influence your search rankings. First, get your Google+ page verified so you can respond to reviews. Then, let your customers know how to submit a review of your business on Google.

 Offer Guidelines

Sometimes, your customers will have great things to say about you, but they don’t know how to word it. Give them some examples or guidelines to help get the ball rolling. MindShare Consulting has a great post to get you started.


Some industries or clientele are a bit more old-school. If your customers simply aren’t the type to leave online reviews, send them a letter with a pre-addressed return envelope, asking them to submit a review.

Ask In Person

Nothing beats a face-to-face interaction, even in the days of social. Host a party for your clients, or simply bring it up at your next meeting. You can either ask for a verbal review, or follow up the conversation with a personal email.

Extra Note:

While all of your customers are probably equally awesome, you want to be sure your reviews are reaching the right audience. Seek a range of reviews and testimonials so you can find your sweet spot. SumoMe has you covered in this post.

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Categories: Businesses

Safety Tips for Homeowners During Construction

Northfield Construction Company - Sun, 07/24/2016 - 8:43pm

Whenever we start a new project here at Northfield Construction Company, we are thrilled to witness how excited our clients become with the process of building them their dream home. Though it can be tempting to want to be around the project as much as possible, it is crucial that we remember job site safety […]

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Categories: Businesses

What’s Doing the Blooming? Hardy Hibiscus!

Hibiscus ‘Heartthrob’

Hardy Hibiscus? In Minnesota? Oh yes!!! These amazing perennials turn heads, and drop jaws from mid to late summer and up until frost. Dinner plate size flowers in shades of red, plum, pink, burgundy and/or white appear seemingly out of no where in July on 4-5′ tall plants. Their showstopping floral display may have a tropical feel, but these amazing plants are hardy from zones 4-9.

Hibiscus ‘Cherry Cheesecake’

Hardy hibiscus thrive in full sun. They perform best in moist, well drained soil.  Regular watering produces the best floral display with larger flowers and fuller foliage. These fast growers are one of the last perennials to emerge in the spring so be patient.

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Categories: Businesses

Northfield’s Crazy Daze!

Northfield’s Crazy Daze 2016 is fast approaching! Next Thursday, July 28th our annual Crazy Daze BOGO Sale will be back! Hundreds of plants, trees, shrubs and perennials, will be marked with orange flags, identifying them as Buy One Get One Free – BOGO! Make sure we’re on your list of stops and enjoy some “crazy” deals!

Buy One Get One Free of Equal or Lesser Value.

Get your Crazy Daze started early…Follow us on Facebook for some extra “Crazy Daze” fun and giveaways!

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Categories: Businesses

My Woodland Garden – July 21st

Cimicifuga racemosa

There are two large shade perennials in the gardens that are standouts this time of year.  Out at the end of the hosta garden anchoring that corner is my Cimicifuga racemosa.

Cimicifugia racemosa

Growing to a height of 4′-5′ and 3′ wide – this large perennial has just started to blossom.   Graceful, slender white flower stalks wave above the foliage.  It is a zone 3 plant and has been residing here for almost ten years now and is just as vigorous as ever!  Providing a different texture alongside the hosta it gets its share of attention.

Aralia Sun King Aralia Sun King

I’ve touched on my Aralia Sun King in previous posts, but it is absolutely stunning right now.  It is now late July, and it is still a gorgeous bright lime green.  Another perennial to anchor a perennial garden.

We have many planters around the yard, and it is at this time of the year that I take out my notebook, make notes on the locations of certain planters and what plants are “winners” this year and that I want to repeat.

Dragon Wings Begonia

I have a file on the computer with planter pictures that I pull up in April, refer to my notes and make my shopping list.  The Dragon Wing Begonias are a repeat each season, and the blue planter pictured here has been in a new location each of the last 3 seasons.


On your planters, it is now very important to continue your fertilization program for your annuals.  They are under lots of stress right now with the heat and humidity so adequate water and fertilizer are so important.  You’ll be able to keep them looking fantastic right up until frost!

The hummingbirds are keeping us amused again this summer.  While sitting on the deck, they dive bomb each other and get pretty darn close as they chase each other from the feeders.  We have had this woodpecker at the feeder for the past three weeks.   The hanging baskets and planter boxes full of begonias are also providing nectar for the hummers.  They are also favoring the hosta flowers right now.  It is such a treat to be delighted by this little creatures.  Summer just is too short!

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Categories: Businesses

Lakeville Kitchen Remodel

Northfield Construction Company - Mon, 07/18/2016 - 1:45am

Thanks to a referral, we met a client in Lakeville, Minnesota with a dream for their kitchen. Our team worked alongside the homeowner to achieve their vision, selecting materials and design together. We expanded the kitchen into the adjacent den, which involved tying structurally into joist system. You can see all the project photos on Houzz. […]

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Categories: Businesses

Renovation v. Remodel

Northfield Construction Company - Fri, 07/15/2016 - 2:07pm

Your home improvement project is quite personal to you and your family; you are changing the space where you eat, play, and make memories. Because of this, you want to make the right choices for your home, whether that’s deciding between laminate or granite, or just how big the project should be. That’s why we […]

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Categories: Businesses

Successful Summer Planting

Summer planting success made easy!  Successfully plant trees, shrubs and perennials in mid-summer.  First, liberate the root system that has been trapped in a plastic pot by vigorously root pruning the matted roots with a razor sharp utility knife.  This allows your new landscape plant to root out properly and extremely quickly.

Secondly, water just enough and never too much.  Many people over-water their plants unintentionally.  At Knecht’s, we provide a very helpful and specific watering chart to every customer to enable you to apply just enough and never too much water, along with a handy planting guide.  The secret is small amounts of water on a schedule.  It takes only a few seconds per plant each time.  Literally only a few seconds!  It’s easy.

The days of mid-summer are long and newly planted additions to your landscape use all that daylight to quickly establish lots of new roots.  Works out great for the plants, and it’s easy for you.  We provide all the how-to details in printed handouts when you make your purchase.  You too can enjoy easy summer planting success!

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Categories: Businesses

What’s Doing the Blooming? Daylilies!

Hemerocallis, Daylily Calico Jack Hemerocallis, Daylily Pardon Me

If ever you are looking for a hardy, low maintenance, long blooming, fragrant, and versatile perennial for full sun to part shade you needn’t look any further then the “humble” daylily. Their reliability amazes me year after year.

Hemerocallis, Daylily Primal Scream Hemerocallis, Daylily Passionate Returns

The dependable floral display of the very popular, Stella D’Oro, is often the image of daylilies that comes to mind. But, there are seemingly hundreds, if not thousands, of varieties of daylilies to consider, and this makes them anything but common!

Hemerocallis, Daylily Big Smile Hemerocallis, Ruby Spider

While each variety will perform slightly differently, in height, color and bloom, all daylilies share these basic, fantastic traits… They have the ability to grow in just about any soil conditions, they thrive in full sun to part shade, they can be divided every 3-4 years in either the spring or fall and they are not a favorite of rabbits. Try daylilies in mixed beds and borders with sedum, coneflower, monarda and perennial geraniums.

Hemeroacllis, Daylily Mighty Chestnut

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Categories: Businesses

My Woodland Garden – July 14th


Some of the “yellows”.  We have many plants that blossom with yellow flowers – or have yellow / light green foliage.  The golden yews are still sporting yellow foliage at their tips, the Golden Shadows Dogwood is just as striking today as it was when it was first leafing out this spring and we are anxiously waiting because over the next few days – the Goldsturm Rudbeckia are going to be in full blossom.


The Ligularia is showing off it’s tall yellow flower stalks.  A great shade perennial when you are wanting a taller accent plant.  Combined in the garden with hosta, hydrangeas, and heucheras, we have wonderful color and texture combinations.

The Ligularia in the picture below is in a garden with a Bleeding Heart which is an early spring bloomer.  Above the Bleeding Heart we have a Forsythia tree – yellow blossoms


and another spring bloomer.  Now that they are just displaying their foliage – we have the Ligularia coming into bloom.  When it is done, the hydrangeas will be showing off!

There are many varieties of LIgularia – with varying heights and there are some with maroon foliage.  They definitely need part shade to close to full shade.  If they get alot of sun, they will appear as if they are wilting.  They do like moist – well drained soil.


In my newest garden along with the hosta, we have a Lemon Lace Elderberry planted.  A yellow shrub with airy lacey foliage.  It anchors this bed.

I was excited to see a few of my lilies survived the munching of the resident doe.  They are such happy flowers.  We look out the window and it’s like they are looking up at us!


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Categories: Businesses

Paying a Living Wage

Just Food Co-op - Wed, 07/13/2016 - 10:41am

Many of you may have noticed the back of our black staff t-shirts which state, “Sell more good food; Create more good jobs; Do more good in the community.”

As competition in the organic market gets stronger and unemployment remains low, we know that one of our best competitive advantages is our staff. We want to retain our employees and attract strong new candidates. We’re committed to making their jobs, “good jobs”—interesting and challenging, with a pleasant work environment, growth opportunities, good benefits and pay that is fair and livable.

Paid Parental Leave is a hot-ticket item in the world of employment. While Just Food cannot compete with our local college employers or the large tech corporations, which offer weeks and months of paid leave, in April 2016, we implemented a new policy entitling new parents or those adding to their family one work-week of paid leave. It’s a start!

Living wage is an equally hot topic and has been much discussed in the co-op world and elsewhere. As part of our Fiscal Year 2016 strategic plan and in accordance with our newly-developed Total Compensation Philosophy, we created an implementation plan to offer Living Wage. We are pleased that it will be effective with the beginning of Fiscal Year 2017 (July 4, 2016).

In January 2016, Just Food Co-op adopted the MIT Living Wage Model for Rice County as the basis for defining a Living Wage, with consideration to local factors. Our definition of living wage is:
•    The hourly rate that single individuals must earn to support themselves if they are working full-time, with a multiplier of 1.05 (5%) above the Rice County rate

The 5% increase above Rice County rate acknowledges the higher-than-county-average cost of housing in Northfield. Currently, Rice County MIT Hourly Living Wage Rate is $10.30. With the 5% increase, it comes to $10.81, and since we like to be tidy, we have rounded the Living Wage Rate to $11.00—a full 7% above the Rice County rate.

Beginning July 4, 2016, Just Food Co-op will be paying a Living Wage Rate to all entry- level employees who successfully pass their 90-day Initial Employment Period (IEP). Just Food’s entire wage scale was revamped for all levels, taking into consideration living wage, local competing employers, and Twin Cities’ co-op rates.

On April 28, current employees attended an all-store meeting during which the new compensation plan was communicated. Each employee received a letter providing information about their rate of pay as of July 4, 2016. All current employees will earn at least 25 cents an hour more than new hires who have completed their IEPs in the same job level.

Our wage scale and definition of Living Wage will be reviewed annually. We already have an aspirational goal for Fiscal Year 2020 (July 2019). Earlier this year, National Cooperative Grocers (NCG) and CDS Consulting, consultants for co-ops, announced their new NCG/CDS Living Wage model. We would love to use its more robust assumptions (such as a Living Wage being calculated to include saving 12% of earnings), but it is not yet feasible. We will continue to work on our productivity, efficiencies, sales growth and membership expansion. We encourage everyone to help make us a great employer.

Written by Sara Payne, Human Resources Manager at Just Food Co-op

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Categories: Businesses

Easy Backyard Improvements

Northfield Construction Company - Fri, 07/08/2016 - 4:28pm

Well over a year ago, we shared this blog post with you about backyard improvements. Now that you’ve had a chance to make those changes, we are adding to your to-do list! Keep sprucing up your property with these ideas: Add lawn games. Head to our recent blog post about building your own lawn games. […]

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Categories: Businesses

A Message From Otto – Keeping Pets Cool This Summer

Northfield Construction Company - Fri, 07/08/2016 - 3:40pm

Last year, Otto shared a blog about keeping your pets safe from summer heat, especially in cars. This year, your favorite Northfield pup wants to share more tips to keep your pets cool and comfortable in the summer heat. Fill a pool with cold hose water. While some pets can swim in a chlorine-filled pool and […]

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Categories: Businesses

My Woodland Garden – July 8th, 2016

Hosta Casualty

There were two tornadoes in Rice County Tuesday night, an F0 that went a little north and east of us, and an F1 that went two miles south of us.  This means that the winds were a swirlin’ here in our woods.  I have leaves, twigs, branches and large branches all around so it’s a dose of mosquito repellent  and long sleeves and a few hours to clean up the yard.

My plants were not without casualties – one hosta at the end of the garden took a branch on and lost.

Then, we have a resident doe that thinks she can come in the yard for a midnight snack.  It has been amazing that she has not eaten one hosta.  None.  She did take off two blossoms from one, but in walking the yard again this morning – out of nearly 800 hosta in the yard – none have been munched on.  Because – she prefers the perennials.  My large bed with the most sun we have our garden phlox – they are full lush looking plants – without the blossoms.  She has nipped them all off.  Another dose of “anti-deer” tricks tonight!  We use a variety of methods – human hair,  Shake Away coyote urine pellets, and one of the easiest – I take our little rat terrier out with me and Cooper leaves his scent all around – most years that has been the best in keeping the deer out.

Sedum – 6-1-16

We are always testing plants – here in the woods, Can we do a plant that says full sun.  We have been pleasantly surprised in a few that have been major successes.  A classic perennial – upright sedum – is one of my favorite sunny area plants in that you have interest the entire season.  The foliage in the

Sedum – 7-8-16

early part of the season and then when the flower heads start to set, it provides interest and then in late summer and fall when it blooms it ‘s beautiful.  If you do not prune it back in the fall but wait until spring – you then have the opportunity for winter interest.   However – we have found that it grows nicely for about 3/4 of the summer season and then without enough sun – it gets leggy and sprawls to the ground.  This year, in late May, I put a tomato cage around it in hopes that it would stay more upright.  Pictured here is a shot from June 1st and then this morning.  It has filled in nicely and the tomato cage is hidden.  Now we wait until September to see the end result!

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Categories: Businesses

Hardy Hydrangea Shrubs

Hardy Hydrangea

Hardy Hydrangea shrubs really are able to endure our Minnesota winters and still provide breathtaking blossoms every summer.  Even in Ely, Virginia, Hibbing and Duluth, not to mention southern Minnesota!

Incrediball Hydrangea Blossom

Many varieties of the hardy paniculata hydrangeas are available such as Limelight, Vanilla Strawberry, Firelight, Zinfin Dol, Pinky Winky, Quickfire, Strawberry Sundae and more.  Compact varieties such as Bobo, Little Lime and Little Quickfire.  These shrubs have rated sizes of 3 feet to 8 feet tall and are easy to control because you can prune them back as much as you want in fall, winter or early spring and you will still get a very nice batch of beautiful blossoms the following summer.

Start of Hydrangea Blossoms

A few varieties have already started to blossom such as Quickfire Hydrangea and Bobo Hydrangea.  The other varieties will follow in succession throughout July and August and blossoms stay beautiful for two months – or even more.  There are few problems with the hardy hydrangeas and they are pretty easy to care for.

We have hundreds of hardy hydrangeas in stock and ready to plant, so stop in to get an eyeful of lovely summer blossoms that will last well into the fall season.  Few other landscape plants blossom for such a long time in our northern tier states.


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Categories: Businesses

What’s Doing the Blooming? Garden Phlox

Garden Phlox

The large, vivid pink, neon orange, coral, purple or white flower clusters of tall garden phlox are filling sunny perennial beds and borders with a lovely sweet fragrance.

Tall Garden Pholx First Editions Grape Lollipop

Garden phlox are long lived and hardy perennials. They thrive in well drained, average to rich garden soil. If your soil is particularly heavy, gravely or sandy, the addition of compost or manure will be necessary to ensure proper soil conditions.

Tall Garden Phlox First Editions Coral Creme Drop

Phlox benefit from regular watering, especially during periods of high heat or drought. Plant them in full sun, avoiding fences or walls where air circulation is poor or reduced, and keep the foliage as dry as possible. Taking these steps when selecting a location for garden phlox will help to reduce or eliminate potential disease issues like powdery mildew.

Tall Garden Phlox Bubblegum Pink

Most varieties grow to be 18-30” tall. Check out First Editions Grape Lollipop, Coral Creme Drop, and Bubblegum Pink for some knock-your-“phlox”-off color and improved disease resistance.

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Categories: Businesses

On the lake and loving it

Vivus Architecture + Design - Thu, 07/07/2016 - 9:47am

The dining/livingroom with a great big view to the lake

Last summer I helped some homeowners remodel their new lake home. The basement ended up getting torn down to the studs to update wiring, eliminate mice and add insulation. It was a mess, but it turned out beautifully. This summer they’ve been able to spend their time enjoying the lake instead of remodeling.

We updated the lower-level master suite. It walks right out to the lakeshore and the morning view of the lake is incomparable. The master bath includes a “his” vanity area and a “hers” area, both a little different in feel, but coordinating.

“His” bathroom area, with masculine light fixtures, colors and a good-sized closet for daily essentials. The barn door closes off the toilet room.

“Her” vanity area is lighter in feel with a marble counter top and ocean-inspired colors.

The showpiece of the master bath is the custom-tiled shower. With white subway tiles as a field, the couple used a glass tile mosaic behind the shower faucetry to mimic a waterfall. The blues are used throughout the master suite, evoking a feeling of calm and the lake.

It is so gratifying and fun to see a project come to fruition. Starting with floor plan ideas, figuring out the scope of the project and selecting design elements and finishes finally results in a space that is fresh, functional and enjoyable. It is always a joy to meet with homeowners that I have walked with through this journey of possibilities to construction. Enjoy your updated home!

Categories: Businesses

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