CSA, farm news, kale, online store, recipe ideas, veggies

Welcome neigbors in Mordecai & Oakwood!

Hello and Welcome!

A big welcome to all our neighbors in Mordecai and Oakwood! Ben’s Produce is a fairly new agrarian venture for me, Benjamin Shields, and my partner, Patricia Parker. We offer you fresh, local, un-certified organic vegetables grown in Garner in partnership with Double-T Farm where I work as field manager and apprentice. You may have heard of Double-T Farm and owner Tom Kumpf before. They have a 200 member CSA with distribution in 5-Points on Tuesdays and also sell produce to 18 Seaboard, the Umstead Hotel and Solas.

Purchase of vegetables is made through our online store www.vendio.com/stores/bensproduce. We offer pickup of your vegetables at our house, 604 Sasser St., on Tuesday evening from 4pm to 7:30pm only. No online payments are accepted, cash only at pickup. Please see the store home page for more detailed information.

Our vegetables will be for sale all winter as we grow cold hardy varieties in unheated greenhouses. We grow our vegetables with respect to the primacy of ecological and personal health. Organic principles are adhered to on our small farm which allows for such authenticity and quality. We take pride in our principles, growing methods and transparency. We cordially invite you to come see for yourselves by appointment!

Community Supported Agriculture:
We will be announcing details of our 2010 Spring/Summer CSA very soon, in the next week or so. Keep your eyes peeled!

Current vegetable availability includes:
bok choy
chinese cabbage
green onions
mixed greens
mustard greens
sweet potatoes
swiss chard

Future winter vegetables will also include:
baby beets
broccoli raab
brussels sprout
mixed baby lettuce & greens

Some Farm News…

We have been framing up the last of 4 hoop houses on the farm.
We aren’t finished yet because we’re waiting for some calm sunny weather to place the plastic over the frame. Wind creates all sorts of problems as you can imagine and rain and cold are not helpful either. We’ll probably attach the plastic tomorrow, Thursday, with the help of a torpedo heater to stretch and loosen the plastic. After the plastic cools down, it will tighten back up and create a taught skin over the frame that can better respond to snow, ice, rain and wind. Here I am setting the purlin on a bow. The purlin runs the whole length of the house at it’s peak to tie the bows together.

The farm is finally slowing down some. We are not planting much at this time and the weeds have slowed down too. Yay! It’s very nice to have a break from weeding. Chickweed on the otherhand, is a voracious winter annual that does well under row covers and in hoop houses. We did one cultivation of lettuce in a hoophouse late last week to stem it’s growth. If left to it’s own devices, it would over take our winter vegetables and smother them! No rest for the weary!

We have had a lot of rain recently. It has replenished our reserves and more! We had more than double average rainfall in November and we’re almost at average for December and the month is not half over yet! Luckily, this is not such a bad time of year for greater than average precipitation. We did loose our radicchio crop in the field to rot. It was an experimental crop so we’re not at a loss.

I spoke to a good friend last night and he told me about wilting kale with salt! I had never heard of it but it sounds good and we’ll be trying it soon. So here it is.

1 bunch kale
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. salt

Mix a few tablespoons oil with salt. Generously rub whole kale leaves with the oil/salt mixture and allow to sit until and let wilt at room temperature. Rinse leaves after wilting if you wish, then chop or tear to desired size. Eat as is, add other salad ingredients or as my friend suggested, mix with mashed avocado. I know, it sounds a bit strange but sounds good to me.

Thank you for stopping by and stay warm and dry. . We hope to see you Tuesday evening!

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