Saturday, January 30, 2010

Food Glorious Food!

Before Ben started farming full-time, there were a TON of foods I'd never tried or cooked. While I'd had beets in my life, I'd always had them straight out of the can. The only way I ever ate them was from the can, with chopped raw onion and vinaigrette dressing. It's yummy - but I had no idea how much better FRESH beets were. I also had no idea how potent they are - in flavor as much as in color. One of the first good things to know about preparing beets is how to wash them. When you wash them, you want to be delicate with them. If you use a brush, you will puncture the skin and the gorgeous color will bleed. I wash them thoroughly with my hands under running water and that does just fine for me. They're organic, so I'm not that concerned about cleaning them, I just want them to be dirt free. 

I thought I'd include some of my favorite beet recipes and other recipes I'd like to try soon. we go with the beets and more! NOTE: As you look over these recipes, by all means, feel free to modify them. One reason Ben is the baker and I'm the dinner cook is because I sort of improv what we have in the fridge with recipes that sound good while Ben actually follows the directions - I've never really been good with that - at least not when it comes to cooking :0). Experimenting with food is FUN - I hope these recipes give you some ideas and a happy party in your tummies. 
Roasted Beet and Feta Salad
6 small beets, scrubbed but unpeeled
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black petter
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 oz arugula
4oz feta cheese, cubed (or crumbled)
2 tbsp chopped mint

For the dressing
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
3 tbsp olive oil

Prepare ahead the roasted beets and dressing can be refrigerated separately for up to 1 day before combining. 
1. Preheat over to 400F (200C). Place the beets in a roasting pan. Add 1/2 cup water and drizzle with the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Roast about 1 3/4 hours, or until tender. 
2. Uncover the beets and let cool. Peel and dice the beets (NOTE: peeling beets is more an aesthetic thing than a necessity - I keep the peels on [especially when they are baby beets]). 
3. Whisk the vinegar, mustard and honey together in a small bowl, then whisk in the oil. Combine the beets, onions, and dressing in a bowl and toss. Sprinkle the arugula, feta, and mint over the top. Toss gently, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. 
- Good with grilled lamb or steak, or on its own as a light lunch. 
Variation: Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad. Substitute a firm, crumbly goat cheese for the feta. Scatter the salad with 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds or toasted pine nuts. 

Source: The Illustrated Kitchen Bible: 1,000 Recipes from Around the World

Roasted Root Vegetables

6-8 baby beets (or 2-3 large beets), cut into bite size pieces
8-12 slender carrots, trimmed and peeled
2-3 small sweet potatoes or 1 large sweet potatoe, chopped into bite size pieces
1 onion, cut into quarters (or eighths - depending on how much you like onion)
1 large parsnip
1 whole head garlic, peeled and separated into cloves (or use less if you don't like garlic a lot)
 - - - you can also add 1 kohlrabi bulb, 1 celery root
2 or 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, sage, or thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Put all the vegetables and the herb sprigs in a large baking dish. Season well with salt and black pepper, drizzle generously with olive oil, and toss them with your hands to coat them evenly.
Put the baking dish in the preheated oven and cook, stirring the vegetables occasionally, until they are tender and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Serve the vegetables from their baking dish or transfer them to a platter to accompany a roasted main course.


Tofu Pot Pie

2-crust pie (bought or homemade); you could also use a frozen bought pie crust unbaked
1 lb tofu, extra firm, diced into pieces
1 large potato (any kind you like - sweet potato would be good)
4-5 chopped carrots (unpeeled is fine)
1 small onion, diced
1 leek, sliced thin
1 cup broccoli florets
salt and pepper to taste
optional: any other vegetables desired! put in what you have (as long as the veggies together make sense). We've made pot pie with baby beets before - it was yummy :).

1/2 cup canola oil (or any you prefer)
1/2 cup water
2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp tamari sauce (or Bragg's)

Mix the vegetables together and place in bottom of pie crust. Combine oil, water, tamari, nutritional yeast and pour over vegetables then put top crust on. 

Back at 375 for 45 minutes or until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden.

Source: recipe submitted to Community Cuisine: Franklin Community Cooperative's Cookbook by Faith Dickhaut Kindness

Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls

For the filling: 
1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for the dish
1 leek, chopped
4 oz. mushrooms (your favorite), minced
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 cups bread crumbs
1 large egg
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
pinch of ground coriander
salt and freshly ground pepper

1 head cabbage (your choice; the bigger the leaves, the bigger the rolls)
2/3 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes

1. To make the filling, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the leek, mushrooms, and celery and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until softened. 
2. Remove from the heat and stir in the bread crumbs, egg, parsley, lemon juice, and ground coriander. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Preheat the oven to 325F (160C). Oil a 13x9in (33x23cm) baking dish. Cook the cabbage leaves in boiling water for 2 minutes, until pliable. Drain and rinse under cold water. Pat dry. 
4. Lay each leaf flat and divide the stuffing among the leaves. Roll up each leaf, folding in the sides to enclose the filling in a neat parcel. Place the rolls, seam side down, in the dish. Pour in the stock. Back for 45-55 minutes, until teander. 
5. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes, until softened. Stir in the crushed tomatoes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer about 10 minutes, or until lightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. 
6. Using a slotted spoon, serve the cabbage rolls on diner plates, with the remaining tomato sauce passed on the side. 
Good with crusty bread, sauteed potatoes, or brown rice.

Source: The Illustrated Kitchen Bible: 1,000 Family Recipes from Around the World

Wine and Honey-Glazed Brussel Sprouts

2 points brussel sprouts
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tbsp natural soy sauce (or Bragg's or tamari - depending on what you have)
2 tbsp margarine (or butter)
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

1. Trim the stems from the brussel sprouts and cut and X into the base, about 1/4 inch deep. 
2. In a small bowl, combine the wine, honey and soy sauce and stir together.  
3. Over moderate heat, melt the margarine in a 3-quart saucepan. Add the wine and honey mixture, the water, and the brussel sprouts. Stir together, then cook, covered, at a gentle simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionaly, for another 10 minutes. 
4. Dissolve the cornstarch in a small amount of water. Stir into the saucepan quickly, then cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a covered casserole dish to serve. 

Source: Vegetarian Celebrations: Menus for Holidays and Other Festive Occasions

Beet Rosti with Rosemary
(kind of like a beet version of potato pancakes)

Keep the heat moderate — cooking too quickly will burn the sugary outside of the pancake while leaving the inside raw. And don’t forget to wear an apron when you're grating the beets.
  • 2 pounds beets (3 very large or 4 to 6 medium)
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Minced parsley or a few rosemary leaves for garnish
  • 1. Trim beets, and peel them as you would potatoes; grate them in food processor or by hand. Begin preheating 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  • 2. Toss grated beets in bowl with rosemary, salt and pepper. Add about half the flour; toss well, add rest of flour, and toss again.
  • 3. Put butter in skillet; heat until it begins to turn nut-brown. Scrape beet mixture into skillet, and press with spatula to form a round. With medium to medium-high heat -- the pancake should gently sizzle -- cook, shaking pan occasionally, until bottom of cake is nicely crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Slide cake onto a plate, top with another plate, invert the two plates, and return cake to pan. Keep cooking, adjusting heat if necessary, until other side is browned, another 10 minutes or so. Garnish, cut into wedges, and serve hot or at room temperature.


Drunken Pasta with Beets and Swiss Chard 
(you could also use kale or collards - collards take a little longer to cook than chard)
Vitamin Greens would work great as a substitute as well and be sure to use the beet greens! They taste SO good :0)

Yields: 4 servings


  • 1 large bottle of red wine or 2 regular size (750 ml) bottles
  • 1 box spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large red beet, peeled and grated on a box grater*
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch of red swiss chard, leaves torn from the tough stem and shredded
  • 1/3 pound ricotta salata cheese, crumbled


Place a large pot over high heat and add the wine. Fill the rest of the pot with water about 1/2-3/4 of the way up the sides. Bring to a boil, add some salt and the pasta. Cook pasta until al dente according to the instructions on the box. Reserve 1-2 cups of the cooking liquid when you drain it.
Step While the pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with the EVOO. Add the garlic and the grated beet, season with a pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Step Add the swiss chard to the pan and cook for about 4-5 minutes or until it starts to wilt down.
Step Add the drained pasta to the skillet, season with salt and pepper and toss it around to combine. Add some of the reserved pasta water if you like the sauce more loose. Crumble the ricotta salata on top and serve.

Spinach and Kale Turnovers

In addition to being tasty, kale is a good source of lutein, benefiting eye health, and vitamins A and C. Serve as a side dish with steak or roast chicken, or enjoy two turnovers as a meatless entrée. They are great made ahead and brown-bagged; reheat in a microwave or toaster oven.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 cups chopped kale (about 1 small bunch)
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1 (11.3-ounce) can refrigerated dinner roll dough (such as Pillsbury)
Cooking spray
2 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375°.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 10 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Add garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add kale and spinach; sauté 8 minutes or until kale is tender. Stir in pepper, salt, and nutmeg. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in feta.
Separate dough into 8 pieces. Roll each dough piece into a 5-inch circle. Spoon about 1/3 cup kale mixture on half of each circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Fold dough over kale mixture until edges almost meet. Bring bottom edge of dough over top edge; crimp edges of dough with fingers to form a rim.
Place turnovers on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat turnovers with cooking spray; sprinkle each turnover with about 1 teaspoon Parmesan. Bake at 375° for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving; serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield:  8 servings (serving size: 1 turnover)

CALORIES 184 (27% from fat); FAT 5.5g (sat 2g,mono 1.6g,poly 1.2g); IRON 2.3mg; CHOLESTEROL 7mg; CALCIUM 110mg; CARBOHYDRATE 25.4g; SODIUM 516mg; PROTEIN 8.1g; FIBER 2.7g

Cooking Light, JANUARY 2007


Vegetarian Potstickers


  • 1/2 pound firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped bok choy (or tat soi)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped water chestnuts
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped bamboo shoots
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped garlic chives
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package potsticker or gyoza wrappers
  • 2 tablespoons oil for frying the dumplings


Drain the tofu, cut into cubes and mash. Wash and prepare the vegetables. Combine the tofu with the remainder of the ingredients and seasonings.

Lay out one of the gyoza wrappers in front of you. Dip your finger in the water and moisten the edges of the wrapper.

Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper.

Fold the gyoza wrapper over the filling and pinch the edges to seal it shut. (You may want to use a cornstarch/water mixture to make this easier).

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet or wok.When oil is ready, carefully add the dumplings and cook on high heat until golden brown (about 1 minute). Without turning the dumplings over, add 1/2 cup of water and cover. Cook for about 1 minute to cook the raw filling and then uncover and continue cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Serve the potstickers with the burnt side on top, with potsticker dipping sauce or soy sauce mixed with minced ginger for dipping.


Bok Choi Chicken Soup

This easy Chinese recipe allows you to get all the nutritional benefits of bok choy in a simple, flavorful soup. Feel free to increase the nutritional value by using homemade chicken broth, or adding cooked chicken or raw, peeled shrimp.


  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 10 leaves bok choy, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled, chopped


Bring the chicken broth to boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the seasonings (the red pepper flakes, soy sauce, Asian sesame oil), and the chopped garlic.

Add the bok choy. Simmer for up to 10 minutes, until the bok choy leaves turn dark green and are wilted and tender. Serves 4 to 5.

This recipe is submitted by a reader, Linnie Williams.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Your carrots need your support!

Another week has gone by and we are starting the summer 2010 growing season! We seeded up our first round of lettuce, scallions, cabbage, beets and parsley. We are very excited! It amazes me how far ahead we plan and work to get to harvest. This first round of seeding is meant for harvest in April and May. The short days and cold weather increases the amount of time it takes for plants to get to transplant stage. It is a combination of heat and day length that regulates the life cycle of vegetables. Especially when day length is longer than 10 hours, plants start to come out of dormancy and grow. We officially start receiving more than 10 hours of sunlight a day on Monday, Jan 25. Carrots, which we love, take 13 weeks from seeding to harvest. We'll be seeding them in the next week or two for May harvest. Ahh, we can't wait for those delicious roots...

Your carrots need your support! We need your CSA deposits so we can order seeds and other supplies to get the season under way. We also need your support in getting the word out about the CSA. Tell your friends, co-workers, neighbors, family, people on the street! In these depths of winter it can seem a long way to harvest but it is not! We will be planting not only carrots but also peas and broccoli soon. We plan on growing orange, purple and rainbow carrots, sugar snap peas and Italian heirloom broccoli that is good and tasty. We need your support to get your carrots, peas and broccoli in the ground and growing.

Our online store is still operating and will continue to operate through the spring. This coming Tuesday, January 26th, we plan to have produce pickup at our house, 604 Sasser St., between 4pm to 7:30pm. The next NCSU delivery will be Wednesday, January 27th. Remember to have your orders placed by Monday evening.

During these cold winter months, please be aware the weather may postpone our harvest of your produce. In response to this, we may postpone pickups by a day or two. We will provide primary notice of pickup changes via email (especially for those of you who place orders) as well as via blog and online store. Thank you for being flexible with us!

Purchase of vegetables is made through our online store-

Current vegetable availability includes:
baby beets
bok choy
brussels sprouts
Chinese cabbage
2 types of kale
red & green loose-leaf lettuce
red & green oakleaf lettuce
red butterhead lettuce
sweet potatoes
Vitamin Green (a mild Asian leafy green)

No longer offered:
mixed greens
mustard greens
swiss chard

Future winter vegetables may include:
broccoli raab
mixed baby lettuce & greens
swiss chard

Here is a variation on a great recipe we had with some friends we visited last weekend. They served it with grits and sausage on the side. Yummy in our tummy!

serves four as a side dish or two as a main dish

1/4 pound thick bacon
1/2 pound kale, about one bunch
1 pound Brussels sprouts, about 1 quart
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup pine nuts, or substitute other nuts such as pecans or walnuts.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon, turning once, until done. Drain and chop the bacon. Pour off some of the bacon fat if you'd like. We like to cook the greens in fat.

While your bacon cooks, tear the kale leaves from the stems into bite sized pieces. Chop the Brussels sprouts into pieces about 1/8 inch wide.

Heat the bacon fat over medium-high heat. Add the greens and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the greens are slightly wilted, about five minutes. Add the bacon and garlic and sauté for another two minutes.

While the greens are cooking, brown the nuts over medium-high heat in a small, dry skillet, tossing frequently.

Salt and pepper the greens to taste, and sprinkle them with toasted pine nuts.

Voila! Yummy kale and brussels sprouts!

See you next week...
Ben & Patricia

P.S. We will be posting vegan and vegetarian recipes soon...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Beets are back!

Hello all!

The cold snap finally let up and we're hoping the past 10 days were the coldest we'll see this winter. We may still see some snow but it's the cold we don't like. The crops were damaged some but nothing catastrophic. Some lettuce in the hoophouses got cold burned leaf tips and some stems on the kale have skin damage but that's about it. The turnips got knocked out completely but they were on their way out anyhow.

We have had an exciting week which is why it's taken so long to post. We finalized our rental agreement of a greenhouse in Fuquay-Varina and planted crops! We planted seeds of lettuce mesclun, endive, beets, turnips and swiss chard in raised beds. We should start harvesting at the end of February and it will be available through our online store. We will be planting a few more items such as radishes and broccoli raab as well.

Don't forget to sign up for our CSA. We have many spaces open, please send us your sign up forms and deposits!

Our online store is still operating and will continue to operate until the end of March at the soonest. Next Tuesday, January 19th, we plan to have produce pickup at our house, 604 Sasser St., between 4pm to 7:30pm. The next NCSU delivery will be Wednesday, January 20th. Remember to have your orders placed by Monday evening.

During these cold winter months, please be aware the weather may postpone our harvest of your produce. In response to this, we may postpone pickups by a day or two. We will provide primary notice of pickup changes via email (especially for those of you who place orders) as well as via blog and online store. Thank you for being flexible with us!

Purchase of vegetables is made through our online store

Current vegetable availability includes:
baby beets
bok choy
brussels sprout
green onions
sweet potatoes

No longer offered:
chinese cabbage
mixed greens
mustard greens
swiss chard

Future winter vegetables may include:
broccoli raab
mixed baby lettuce & greens
swiss chard

Baby beets have returned to our store and we also added a couple more varieties of lettuce. This is peak winter salad season...the lettuce tastes buttery with very little bitterness, the carrots taste out of this world and the cold is doing wonders for everything else. The cold transforms starches into sugars which translates into sweeter vegetables.

Here is a recipe for beet soup. Patrica made it this week with our fresh baby beets, it was amazing!

This recipe comes from The Complete Book of 400 Soups (ed. Anne Sheasby: p. 163)

Sweet and Sour Cabbage, Beetroot and Tomato Borscht

There are many variations to this classic Jewish soup, which may be served hot or cold. This version includes plentiful amounts of cabbage, tomatoes and potatoes.

Serves 6.


1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

4-6 raw or vacuum packed (cooked, not pickled) beetroot (beets), 3-4 diced and 1-2 coarsely grated

400g/14oz can tomatoes

4-6 new potatoes, cut into bite size pieces

1 small cabbage, thinly sliced

1 litre/1 ¾ pints/4 cups vegetable stock

45ml/3 tbsp sugar

30-45 ml/2-3 tbsp white wine, cider vinegar or sour salt (citric acid)

45ml/3 tbsp chopped fresh dill, plus extra to garnish

salt and ground black pepper

sour cream, to garnish

buttered rye bread, to serve

  1. Put the onion, carrot, diced beetroot, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage and stock in a large pan. Bring to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

  2. Add the grated beetroot, sugar and wine, vinegar or sour salt to the soup and cook for 10 minutes. Taste for a good sweet-sour balance and add more sugar and/or vinegar if necessary. Season.

  3. Stir the chopped dill into the soup and ladle into warmed bowl with a generous spoonful of sour cream and more dill and serve with buttered rye bread.

Note: I didn’t use tomatoes. Instead, I opted for adding the beet greens near the end of the process (step 2 above). I love the taste of baby beet greens in my salad. Older beet greens are not as tender, but they are yummy in soup. I also did not use sugar. The beets and carrots from the farm are sweet enough for my taste to add the sugars to this soup. Finally, we did not have fresh dill, so I used dried dill. While fresh dill is always tastier than dried, the dried dill was a nice substitute.

See you soon,
Ben & Patricia

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cold Snaps & Sweet, Sweet Kale...

Hey Folks,

Hope you're staying warm through this cold snap. It sure is a cold one. This ain't nothing for me though. I come from the hills of the north where it's like this for 7 months a year! On a serious note, it is much warmer down here and the winters are shorter, both aspect of the warmer South that I love. I'm torn because I love yet am averse to the cold, snow, ice, slush, darkness, etc. northern winters. I must admit, southern winters are better suited to winter vegetables. We saw a little bit of snow on our way to Tennessee for the holidays when we drove through the mountains. I am sentimental about snow at this moment. Ahh, the crunch underfoot is satisfying. Perhaps we'll see the white stuff yet!

We postponed the online store pick up today until Wednesday this week because the high temperature today was about 34 with a fair breeze on the farm. Such conditions have adverse effects on produce post-harvest by accelerated transpiration of moisture. The produce goes limp and shows signs of drying out, especially the skin on carrots. The temperatures look better tomorrow with a high around 40 F mid-afternoon. We hope you all understand we want to provide the best local produce by working with the weather, not against it.

We announced the CSA this past Sunday. See our post from January 3rd for information on our Summer 2010 CSA. We received our first deposit today and we are very excited! Woo-hoo! We're in business! Plenty of spaces are open, so please consider our CSA for your spring and summer veggies & fruit.

Patricia made us an amazing meal tonight by using fresh red cabbage, carrots and Toscano kale from the farm. It was fried catfish on a bed of red cabbage and carrot coleslaw with mixed southern greens and butter beans on the side. Writing about it is making me salivate. Here's the run down.

- Battered and pan-fried catfish
- Thinly cut red cabbage and shredded carrots dressed with Italian herb vinegrette & salt.
- Mixed Southern Greens & Bean - (First, Patricia cooked a few bacon strips for the dish. Then she sauteed chopped onion & garlic in the bacon fat, then added 1 bunch of torn Toscano kale, 1 can of drained butter beans, cut cooked bacon, a splash of Texas Pete's Pepper Vinegar and a splash of water, then simmered until kale was tender.)

I cannot express how sweet the kale was and what a delight it was to eat. The Toscano kale is proof the cold weather helps converts starches to sugars in cold hardy greens. It was unlike any other green I have ever had. It might match our winter carrots in terms of sweetness. Wow! That's about all I can say. Try them yourself. It might help you see kale in a different light!

Our online store is still operating and will continue to operate until the end of March at the soonest. Next Tuesday, January 12th, we plan to have produce pickup at our house, 604 Sasser St., between 4pm to 7:30pm.

During these cold winter months, please be aware the weather may postpone our harvest of your produce. In response to this, we may postpone pickups by a day or two. We will provide primary notice of pickup changes via email (especially for those of you who place orders) as well as via blog and online store. Thank you for being flexible with us!

Purchase of vegetables is made through our online store

Current vegetable availability includes:
baby beets
bok choy
brussels sprout
green onions
sweet potatoes

No longer offered:
chinese cabbage
mixed greens
mustard greens
swiss chard

Future winter vegetables may include:
broccoli raab
mixed baby lettuce & greens

We hope y'all had a good holiday season and a happy New Year! We're thankful for a new year and this opportunity to follow our dream of starting a CSA.

See you soon,
Ben & Patricia

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Announcing Summer 2010 CSA

We are proud to announce Ben’s Produce Summer 2010 CSA! We are excited to be in business and look forward to a great season. Our CSA runs from early April through late September for 25 weeks.
Our online store is still operating and will do so until the end of March.
COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE (CSA): What is CSA? CSA is a mutually beneficial relationship between a farm and you. By making a pre-season investment in our farm, you become an annual "shareholder" who shares the risks & rewards of the growing season. Your investment allows us to afford the annual start up costs, pay ourselves fair wages and to share the risks inherent in growing food. You will receive weekly returns on your investment in fresh, healthy, local vegetables and fruits at very competitive prices, resulting in saving 10% or more on the cost of produce. You will know that your produce dollars stay in the local economy and supports local agriculture. Sharing the risk is very important because nature always provides challenges in growing food. We begin to reduce our risk by growing a diverse set of crops over a long growing season and depending on low-cost technologies and methods and then bring our risk to an acceptably low level with your investment. It is possible that we may lose a crop but the loss is offset by the bounty of the other crops not subject to the same pressures and stress factors. Sharing the bounty is just as important as sharing the risk. The food you will receive is not only the return on your investment with us but supports local farming which is the base upon which culture and society are built. Healthier farms translate into healthier culture, society and environment. Did we mention reducing your carbon footprint yet? Food is a primary connection to each other and the earth. We want to feed you and your family the best food we can grow. It tastes good, it's good for you, good for us, good for the local economy, good for the future of agriculture and good for the environment.
SHARE OPTIONS: We offer a standard Full Share for $600 which averages $26 per week and is a suitable amount of produce for 3-6 people. We also offer a standard Half Share for $400 which averages about $17 per week and is a suitable amount of produce for 2-4 people. The weekly content of these standard shares will be determined by Ben’s Produce.
SHARE PICK UP: The location of the weekly produce pick up site has yet to be determined. However, the pick up location will be located in either the Mordecai/Oakwood or 5 Points neighborhoods of Raleigh. Pick ups will occur on Tuesday evenings between 4pm and 7pm.
SHARE CONTENTS: The available produce will change as the season progresses. Full Shares will contain about 8 to 12 items each week and Half Shares will contain about 5 to 8 items each week. Please see the attached Produce Availability Calendar for when produce will be available.
The table below provides an example of typical share contents in the spring:
Full Share
Half Share
2 heads Lettuce
1 bunch Spinach
1 head Bok Choy
2 bunch Radish
1 bunch Turnips
1 bunch Carrots
1 bunch Green Onions
1 head Cabbage
1 head Lettuce
1 bunch Spinach
1 head Bok Choy
1 bunch Radish
1 bunch Turnips
1 bunch Carrots

FLEXIBILITY: Each shareholder will receive 23 weeks of produce over the 25 week CSA period. This scheme allows you the flexibility to miss 2 pick ups without penalty. At any point you may send friends or family to pick up produce in your place. If you do so, please let us know ahead of time so we can accommodate you and your friends. We will donate unclaimed produce to Interfaith Food Shuttle of Raleigh.
Some families find it convenient to split shares with other families. We also like to share food and enjoy such arrangements. If you choose to split a share, please let us know at the beginning of the season so we may avoid confusion.
COMMUNICATION: We will communicate with you via email and our blog on a weekly basis. Our emails will include important but brief updates, a link to our blog and any notifications of postponed pick-ups. Our blog will function as our CSA newsletter and will include farm news, lists of upcoming produce, reflections, recipes, etc.
FEEDBACK: Your satisfaction is very important to us and our business. Please give us your feedback, suggestions and concerns via email or in person. We will do our best to respond in a timely manner.
REFUNDS: We will make no refunds after shares are paid in full. Shareholders are welcome to sell or give away their shares to others. We can provide assistance in transferring shares to others.
OUR PRACTICES: Ben's Produce follows USDA National Organic Program guidelines but is un-certified for various reasons. Please ask us about our agricultural philosophies and practices as we love to talk about them. We are confident the noticeable quality of our produce as well as our direct relationship with customers and shareholders speaks to our commitment to healthy food and agricultural practices.
PAYMENTS: We have a limited number of shares available this year and shares will be given on a first come, first serve basis. By sending us your information and a deposit, you may secure a share. We will let you know when your share has been secured. You may pay for your shares in full or you may utilize our extended payment plan. Please send the amounts listed below 30 days and 60 days after the date of your deposit.
Due Date
Full Share $600
Half Share $400
30 days
60 days
Click to find our 2010 Summer CSA Brochure and our CSA Sign Up Form. Please enclose a copy of either with your information and your payment. We look forward to getting to know you, entering this cooperative partnership and providing the best vegetables in the Triangle. We wouldn’t be able to do this without you and your support!