Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Veggie Reminder

Hi y'all! I told a few of you today at the CSA drop that I would post pictures of the things you got and some recipes for those things...well, I'm gonna post the pictures for now. We've still got packing to do and we're getting the moving truck tomorrow, so time is tight. I will post recipes asap - but in the meantime, be sure to check the links to the right of the screen (labeled as "recipe" or "recipe ideas").

Early Jersey Cabbage

French Breakfast Radishes


Bok Choy

Dandelion Greens

Salad (Hakuri) Turnips
Salad Turnips


Red Russian Kale
Sugar Snap Peas

Summer Squash

Swiss Chard

Alrighty - there was also lettuce (but I can't remember the name of it - and I'm sure you don't need the visual to know which one is lettuce - haha). :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Patricia & Ben

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Summer Breeze

Most of us are familiar with standard crook neck yellow squash and basic zucchini. These types are what are typically offered at most grocery stores. But take a stroll through any farmer's market when summer squash is in season, and you'll realize they come in so many more colors and shapes. In case these different varieties are new to you, I'm going to introduce you to a few different varieties.

This little zucchini is called eight ball.

 This is a yellow zucchini variety called floridor.

This is a patty pan squash called flying saucer.

And here's another patty pan called star ship.

This one's called zephyr.

These are just a few of many different kinds of squash. They are not only beautiful, they taste really darn good too!When it comes to eating these different varieties, you can treat them as you would your more typical summer squash. The round and patty pans types just call for different slicing methods - but there are no hard and fast rules about how. I like to cut the patty pans in wedges. You can also stuff patty pans. I like to slice the ball varieties into large circle slices. Others like to chop these into cubes. 

Here's an awesome stuffed patty pan recipe (but you could use other varieties and you could change up the stuffing) I found on A Veggie Venture's website here. It's an awesome site.You'll have to follow the link to get to the recipes, but here's what it looks like (yum!).

Here's another one from The Veggie Venture site. It's basic, easy and yummy. You can access the recipe here

Well, it's time to get back to packing. Ben and I are moving out to the farm in Clayton next week. We're pumped - but now that the packing has begun, and the move is in transition, it's starting to feel a little weird leaving. This is where Ben and I first moved and lived together (he from NYC, me from TN). We have awesome neighbors. We love this neighborhood. We love the people. We're definitely going to miss living here. But we're also SO looking forward to moving out to the country. And living ON the farm!!! *Sigh* It's been good here and it's going to be good there.And I'm really looking forward to seeing lightning bugs blinking whole fields with light. 

See y'all Tuesday at pick up and Saturday at market. Have a great week! (Revision: See y'all Wednesday and Saturday - the trucks are stuck - CSA drop is re-scheduled for Wednesday).

Patricia & Ben

Monday, May 17, 2010

Earthly Spring Candy - Berries, Sugar Snaps and Summer Squash

Hi y'all! It's been a bit since we last blogged. It's been a busy couple of weeks too. Yesterday we gave a farm tour. Folks came out and helped us plant pepper plants (it took us less than an hour to do what would have taken Ben alone 5 hours). We also picked our own food, prepped it, cooked it (on a camper stove) and picnicked in the shade. It was an awesome afternoon to be sure!!! Andy brought out his crazy cool camera and picture taking skills, so more to come as soon as we get the visuals to accompany the description of our awesome Sunday afternoon. 

So, now to get to business. Spring is quickly feeling like summer. We hadn't seen rain at the farm for almost two months - until yesterday (I swear all of our positive energy yesterday afternoon brought in the much needed rain). But thankfully, the farm has a well, so we've been able to keep the crops good and watered. For all our efforts, we now have spring time nature's candy like sugar snap peas (pictured above), summer squash!!!, and strawberries (these might be the last of 'em, so be sure you really savor them this time around). We also still have nice and spicy radishes. And as I looked for sugar snap pea information and recipes, I found an amazing recipe that called for both sugar snaps and radishes (and dill - sounds perfectly "spring-y"). But remember too, these sugar snap peas are amazingly tasty raw. You just pull the strings out and pop 'em in your mouth. They really are WAY tastier than candy (well, except for maybe chocolate)! Please please try them this way. A bunch of folks insist on shelling them. You can do this. But the pods are so good, it really is a shame not to eat them too. 

Alright! Be sure to check out the recipe below. We'll write more soon. Have a fantastic week and enjoy the spring weather while it lasts. It's gonna be summer before we know it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Patricia & Ben

I found this awesome radish and sugar snap recipe at a blog called Smitten Kitchen. You can access the recipe below, here.

sauteed radishes and sugar snaps with dill

I realized something frightening over the weekend: I am so far behind on posting recipes we’ve auditioned over the last couple months, I could pretty much post every day for the next week and only just then begin to be almost caught up. So, I decided that I would. I am going to post every single day for the next week. And look, I know you’re thinking: that it’s unseemly hot out and you’re in all likelihood either on a vacation or counting down to one and you honestly couldn’t care less about turning on a stove right now–and well, sadly, me too.
sugar snaps and orange juice
But that’s where these recipes will come in. They’re sides and light mains and good pot-luck fare and some relatively simple desserts and you know, the kind of stuff that you might get you rethinking your No Cooking Until September stance. I promise not to saddle you with any roasts or stocks or Things With Fourteen Ingredients. The last week of July is no time for noise like that.

The last week of July is the perfect time to go check out the farm stands because everything is finally hitting their stride. From some radishes and sugar snap peas, Alex and I made a quick saute with dill last month. I admit that despite loving dill, I was quite wary of a recipe that had a whole teaspoon of dill seeds in it along with a tablespoon of the fresh stuff–would it taste like a pickle? How would we taste the other vegetables at all?–but curiously enough, this large amount still lingered delicately in the background, and we loved the dish. It was everything a heatwave dinner should be–fresh, light and playing off everything you could buy in Union Square today.
sauteed radishes and sugar snaps with dill
One year ago: Classic Cherry Clafouti Last week, these same lovely folks sent Alex and me with another gigantic, too-good-to-be-true box of giant cherries and I was all set to make something new with them. And then. Well. I ate them. I’m not sorry.
Sauteed Radishes and Sugar Snaps with Dill
Adapted from Bon Appetit, April 2004
To remove strings from fresh peas, just snap off the stem end and pull string lengthwise down each pod.
Makes 6 servings.
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
12 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed, strings removed
2 cups thinly sliced radishes (about 1 large bunch)
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon dill seeds
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Melt butter with oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add sugar snap peas, cook for one to two minutes, and radishes sauteing until crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Add orange juice and dill seeds; stir 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in chopped dill. Transfer to bowl; serve.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Extra, Extra!

Hi y'all! We had a good day at market today. We almost sold out of everything by 9:30! And that was the case for quit a few of the vendors today. I guess the gorgeous weather brought out more folks than usual. We also found out today that we were pictured in Cary Magazine (click here to read the article). We'll have to buy a couple copies (for ourselves and for our folks, of course). We weren't interviewed for the article, but that doesn't really matter much. We're just glad they featured the Western Wake Farmer's Market (and we're also glad they put our faces in there too!). Well, I'm keeping it short today. I'm still working on a writing marathon. It feels like I'm never going to be finished with these papers, but that's the way it goes. Soon they'll be handed in, I'll have the class I teach grades in, and we'll be heading out to the farm - to live. And I can finally contribute more of my time to working in the dirt :). Have a good rest of the weekend and for the mamas out there, have a Happy Mother's Day tomorrow!

Patricia & Ben

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pictures from May 1st Market

I realized that I'd forgotten to post the latest pictures from market. Y'all may or may not want to see them (if not, move on down for more useful recipes) :).

Ben holding the tent down. It was a little windy last Saturday. We hope to have weights by next Saturday.

So, we tried the "sustainable farming" board (recall, it's illegal to use the term "organic" if you are not certified organic - that includes saying that we're "non-certified organic"). It's completely understandable that farmers who are certified don't want others to use the term. They pay good money and have to deal with quite a bit of bureaucracy to gain their certification. However, it does seem fairly unreasonable not to use the term "non-certified organic". Regardless, we are still working through this. It seems that this sign actually generated more questions that the one from market the prior Saturday. I think we'll keep trying - but may stick to the one from last time. Please let us know if you have any ideas or recommendations for dealing with this. :)

I have no idea what I'm doing here or why I'm looking away. Either Ben snapped a few pictures while I wasn't paying attention (because there are numerous pictures like these), I rarely look straight forward, or I was being silly striking sideways poses. This was the first time I wore my hair down at market. I don't think I'll be doing this again any time soon. It wasn't too hot for it, but I don't think hair and edibles really mix ;). I'm fairly certain none went into the produce, but I certainly don't want to risk it! (I can see Ben grimmacing about that last statement now, "Patricia, don't tell people there might be hair in their produce. Just let it be." Whatever :) farmers' markets are all about transparency, right? ;)

We realize other vendors sell their strawberries for $1 less per quart than we do. However, we have been making a real effort to let folks sample the berries and determine for themselves whether they think the berries are worth the extra $1. I don't think we've won everyone over - which is certainly not the goal. Part of our philosophy regards an emphasis in cooperation among farmers (as opposed to competition) - so, if folks prefer the other berries, well, that's good for small farmers overall. :) BUT, we still say, give ours a try. I am convinced we have the best berries in town. I've never eaten any as sweet as these (and I grew up picking strawberries in the summers)...I'll leave it at that ;).

Okay. This will be the LAST blog for a bit. I'm overdoing it. And if you're wondering why, it's because I have writer's block (for school) and I need to get SOMETHING on "paper". Thanks for bearing with me (and acting as my muse - my papers are about farming).

Good night!

tat soi and kale and spinach oh my!

This is tat soi

It's a lot like bok choy - it's an Asian green and you can treat it as you would bok choy.

Here are a few recipes you can use for both (from Farm Fresh Recipes):

Bok Choy (or Tat Soi) Stir Fry

(Makes 4 servings)

2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp water
2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 bunch bok choi or tat soi
4 green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped peanutes
Rice (amount and type are up to you)

1. In a small bowl, miz soy sauce, water and sugar; set aside. 
2. Cut bok choy ribs and leaves crosswise into 2-inch pieces. 
3. In a wok or large, deep skillet, heat canola and sesame oils over medium-high heat. Add bok choy (or tat soi), green onions, garlic, soy sauce mixture and pepper flakes to taste. Stir-fry just until bok choy (or tat soi) is wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in peanuts and serve immediately over steamed rice.  

Bok Choy (or Tat Soi) Salad

(makes 8 servings)

1/2 c red wine vinegar
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 c margarine
1/4 c slivered almonds
1/4 c sesame seeds
2 (3 ounce) packages ramen noodles
1 medium head bok choy (or tat soi)
3 green onions

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, sugar and soy sauce until sugar dissolves. Set aside. 
2. Melt margarine in small skillet. Crush the ramen noodles while still in their packaging. Discard seasoning packet (or reuse later for broth) and add noodles to the margarine along with almonds and sesame seeds. Saute until golden brown. Remove from heat and drain on paper towel. 
3. Chop the bok choy (or tat soi) and green onions. Place in large bowl. Add noodle mixture and dressing; toss and serve at once. 

We also offered kale this week (Red Russian kale, to be exact). This is what it looks like: 

I also have a few more kale recipes to share (but you can find others in the blog as well by clicking on "recipe ideas" to the right of the screen). 

Spring Greens Risotto

(Makes 6 servings)

3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 c chopped green onions
1 1/2 c Arborio rice
1/2 tsp salt
4 c hot vegetable or chicken broth, divided
4 c coarsely chopped spring greens (spinach, chard, sorrel, kale, bok choi, tat soi, etc. - any combo will do - use what you have or what you like)
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg (optional)
1/2 grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat oil in heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onions; cook 3 minutes. Add rice and salt. Cook and stir until rice begins to color. 
2. Add 1/2 c broth; cook and stir until most of the broth is absorbed. Add 1 1/2 c broth; simmer, stirring occasionally, until mostly absorbed, about 10 minutes. Add remaining broth. Simmer 20 minutes. Stirring occasionally. 
3. Place greens on top of rice. Cover and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in greens. Simmer and stir a few minutes more until broth is absorbed and rice is tender but moist. 
4. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan and serve. 

Portuguese Kale Stew

(Makes 6 servings)

1/2 lb chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
2 (16 oz) cans great northern beans
1 medium head cabbage (or you can substitute tat soi), chopped
2 bunches kale, stemmed and chopped
5 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 qt water, approximately
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large pot, lightly brown sausage. 
2. Add beans, cabbage (or tat soi), kale, potatoes and enough water to cover.    
3. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.  

Okay folks - that's it for now. We hope you enjoy your yummy produce and thank y'all for stopping by! 

Patricia & Ben  

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chilled Garden Soup for those Sweltering Days

Hi y'all! I hope everyone is having a fantastic week so far. Things are going well for us. Ben and I are both immensely busy - Ben with planting, me with writing. We are also moving to the farm at the end of this month, so we've got to find time to pack and move somewhere in there :). It will be so nice to be living right out on the farm. Right now we live a couple miles from downtown Raleigh - and while we'll miss our neighbors, I know Ben won't miss the commute. Charlie Parker (our dog) will be thrilled to be somewhere where he can roam more freely as well. He is a country/farm dog at heart. Probably the thing I've missed most since we've been living in Raleigh is the stars. They are sometimes visible from here - but it's nothing compared to a nice, dark country night sky. I can't wait! 

Ben has gotten the first round of tomatoes in the ground - and eggplant and peppers are next this week. Also, the sugar snap peas are trellised and blooming. It won't be long before we have some tasty sugar snap peas to offer for CSA members and market. 
Please remember to send me your information if you're interested in participating in the "getting to know each other" activity. I've received a few responses, but I'll wait to post anything until I get a few more. Again, you can send your info and a picture (or multiple pictures) of yourself, your family, your pets, or anything else to 

I'd like to share a recipe with folks. It was in the nineties yesterday, so I thought  chilled soup might be appropriate :). I haven't tried it yet, but I will be doing so soon. This recipe calls for green onions and spinach (among a few other things you'll want to pick up from other farmers at market - or the grocery store). It's from Farm Fresh Recipes by Janet Majure. 
Chilled Garden Soup

Makes 8 servings. 
1 bunch green onions
2 Tbsp butter
4 cups peeled, diced cucumbers
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup chopped spinach (although I'm planning on using more)
1/2 cup peeled, sliced potatoes
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup heavy cream, approximately
Fresh lemon juice
Cucumber slices for garnish

1. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, saute green onions in butter until soft, 3-5 minutes. 
2. Add cucumbers, broth, spinach, potatoes and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. 
3. Puree is blender, working in batches. Transfer to bowl and stir in almost enough cream to reach desired consistency. Add lemon and salt to taste. 
4. Chill several hours. Serve with thinly sliced cucumber and garnish (or garnish with cream as in the picture). 

Well, that's it for now. See you soon! 

Thanks for stopping by.

Patricia & Ben