Author: ingoodheartfarm

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Ben’s Produce Stand Goodies 9/04/09 at Music on the Porch


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Wowie! Thanks again for an awesome Friday. The band was great and the spirit of the crowd was great – all of this in spite of the rainy evening. A kind thanks to Wei of Peace China for providing us with a table and tent! Otherwise, I’m not really sure what we’d do! We look forward to seeing your faces again tomorrow. Please stop by the stand to say hello – even if you don’t need any produce, we’d love to talk with you :0).

Here’s the list of the produce that will be available at our stand tomorrow:

Summer squash (including butterpans, yellow crook neck, eightballs, and zucchini)

Eggplant (including Asain and Italian varieties)

Cubanelles (sweet peppers – they are yummy!)

Pablanos (hot peppers – also extremely tasty)

Chiles (hot peppers – I like to use these in pasta sauces and cooked in burgers)

Cucumbers

Basil

Possibly Okra, Tomatoes and Sun Jewel Melons

Mother Nature is slowly but surely toning down the heat and we have some previews of the produce that will soon be on it’s way


lettuce


bok choi


tat soi


green onion


cabbage


Angel preparing the ground for turnips (the three main laborers on the farm include, Tom (of Double-T Farm), Ben, and Angel


Tom sowing carrot seeds


…and for the grand finale! Here’s my cartoon version of Ben (since he couldn’t take a picture of himself today at the farm sowing turnip seeds). Hahahaha! ;0)

We’ll be seeing ya’ll tomorrow!

WELL – it seems I spoke/wrote too soon. As soon as I finished writing this blog and posting it (the first time), Ben did send me a picture of him working on the farm (I’m keeping the other one up too though, it takes a lot of hard work and effort to make Ben look so darn goofy) :0)

excitement about bluegrass, produce stand, recipe ideas

Ben’s Produce available at Music on the Porch this evening


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Hi all!

Well, today will mark our third appearance at Music on the Porch, selling produce at Ben’s Produce stand. Ben and I are psyched about the bluegrass music and about seeing you all again.

Here’s the list of the produce we’ll be offering this evening:

Cubanelle peppers

Sweet bell peppers

Anaheim chiles

Pablano peppers

Tomatoes

Eggplant

Cucumbers

Summer squash and zucchini

Basil

Onions (red and yellow)

If you’re interested, I’ve included a few recipes below. Each of them incorporates at least some of the produce we’ll be offering this evening. I highly recommend Paula Deen’s tomato pie recipe. I made it earlier this summer and Ben made it a couple nights ago. It’s so good, you’ll want to eat the whole thing at once!

Oh, one more thing. We’ll be reducing our e-mails to one per week from here on out. We still may be posting more than one blog entry per week, but we’ll be keeping our e-mails to a minimum.

That’s all for now! Thanks again for stopping by! See you in a few hours. Until then…

When we make this pie, it doesn’t look nearly as pretty as Paula’s…but it sure does taste good! Also, I’m lazy on the tomato peeling front, so I leave the peel on. Some people seed the tomatoes, so it’s not so wet once it’s finished. Since I don’t care about the appearance and really care about the flavor, I also don’t do this…but each to her/his own.


Tomato Pie

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen
Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 6 servings

Ingredients
• 4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
• 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
• 1/2 cup chopped green onion
• 1 (9-inch) prebaked deep dish pie shell
• 1 cup grated mozzarella
• 1 cup grated cheddar
• 1 cup mayonnaise
• Salt and pepper
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the tomatoes in a colander in the sink in 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 10 minutes.
Layer the tomato slices, basil, and onion in pie shell. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the grated cheeses and mayonnaise together. Spread mixture on top of the tomatoes and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
To serve, cut into slices and serve warm.
Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/tomato-pie-recipe/index.html

Available at the stand: tomatoes and basil

Another one from Paula Deen…

Tomato Grits

Ingredients:
• 2 cup water
• 1 1/4 cup milk
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup quick cooking grits
• 1/2 and 1 tablespoon butter
• 1/3 green onions, diced
• 1 6-ounce Kraft garlic cheese roll
• 2 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
• 1 10-ounce can Ro-Tel dice tomatoes and green chilies
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a saucepan, bring the water and milk to a boil. Add the salt and slowly add the grits and return to a boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. While stirring the grits add the butter and stir until butter is melted. Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the grits are thick and creamy. Remove from heat and set aside.
Using a skillet, saute the onions in the remaining tablespoon of butter for 1 minute. Add the garlic cheese, 1/2 cup cheddar, and onions to grits, and stir until the cheese is melted. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Stir in the beaten eggs. Pour the grits into a greased 8x11x2-inch casserole and bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the casserole for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 60 minutes
Ease of preparation: moderate
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Source: http://www.pauladeen.com/recipe_view/158

Stuffed Pablano Peppers

Recipe:
8 Poblano peppers (2 for each person)
1 medium size onion chopped
15 oz can or 1 cup corn
15 oz can or 1 black bean
3 – 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 – 3 tsp red chili powder or per taste
1 – 1&1/2 tbsp cumin powder
3 – 4 cups cooked rice
1 lime or lemon
Salt to taste
Oil
1/2 – 1 cup grated cheese of your choice. I prefer fontina as it is mild.
Roast the pepper in an oven with broiler on or stove top on all sides. Then, put the peppers in a ziploc or paper bag and let them cool.

Roasted poblano pepper
In the mean time heat oil in a pan and saute onions and garlic. Then add the chili powder, cumin powder, mix well. Add corn, black beans and mix with spices. Add rice, salt, squeeze some lime juice, chopped cilantro and mix. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Now, if the peppers have cooled down, peel the skin. Core the top of the pepper so that the seeds are removed. Stuff the rice mixture in each pepper and slit open the narrow side of the pepper half way. Sprinkle with cheese on th slit open end and bake it in a preheated 350F degree oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted well and the pepper & stuffing has warmed through. Serve hot with a side of salsa and guacamole.

Stuffed Poblano Pepper with a side of salsa and guacamole
Source: http://365daysveg.wordpress.com/2008/02/17/stuffed-poblano-peppers/

Mom’s Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:
4 medium cucumbers
1 ½ cup sour cream (fat free or regular) OR plain yogurt
Salt (to get the juices out)
Garlic (to taste – powdered or cloves are both fine)
Dill (to taste)
1 tsp white vinegar

Instructions:
1) Peel cucumbers
2) Thinly slice (or grate – depending on how you like to eat it) cucumbers
3) Sprinkle salt on cucumbers, let sit for 5-10 minutes. Squeeze water out of cucumbers. The goal here is to get the water out of the cucumbers so the sour cream (or plain yogurt) salad isn’t watery.
4) Add sour cream (or plain yogurt).
5) Add dill, garlic, and vinegar.
6) Stir. Taste it to make sure you like it. If not, adjust to your taste. Serve and enjoy.

How to cook eggplant:

How to cook eggplant:
Last week, I received a lot of questions from folks about how to cook eggplant. I thought I’d find a good site that gives the basics. Check it out, if you’re interested: http://www.ehow.com/how_2888_cook-eggplant.html

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Friday was fabulous!


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Thanks to all for another fantastic Friday at Music on the Porch! We enjoyed the music and all the friendly folks. Friday was our second time setting up Ben’s Produce stand. This week we had a beautiful sign, made for us by our awesome neighbor, Dave.


We are blessed to have talented, giving and caring neighbors and friends.

We managed to offer a few more veggies than we’d originally anticipated, including eggplant and cucumbers, both of which were a big hit.

We look forward to seeing you around town and at Music on the Porch next week. Ben and I have never seen No Strings Attached, but we’re both HUGE fans of bluegrass and honky tonk. We can’t wait!

Thanks for stopping by!

produce stand, recipe ideas

Friday August 21, 2009 Available Produce


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As promised, I am getting back with you on the produce that will be available at Ben’s Produce stand tomorrow evening at Music on the Porch. It turns out Mother Nature has the same thing to offer us this Friday as last, except, sadly, minus the melons. Thus, we will have the following:

– pablano peppers
– sweet cubanelles peppers
– chiles
– sweet bell peppers
– summer squash (including eight ball and flying saucer among the “regulars”)
– tomatoes
– basil

Ben and I primarily eat home cooked meals. It is a rare event for us to go out to eat. So I know how difficult it can be coming up with something good to eat for dinner (or lunch or breakfast for that matter). We get all of our produce from the farm, so we have to be extremely inventive coming up with new and different tasting menu items, especially when it seems like all we have to eat are peppers. I thought I’d share with you the items we’ve come up with (or “stolen” from recipe sites on the world wide web):

Idea 1:
Rachel Ray’s Fennel Pepper Spaghetti
(http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/food/recipes/fennel-pepper-spaghetti/)

This recipe calls for things beyond what we offer at the farm stand, but are likely to be things you have around the house. I really enjoy the fennel veggie version, but if you don’t have fennel seeds (which gives it a sausage-y flavor) and you do have ground meat (beef, turkey, etc.), you can always add it to the mix. Also, I changed this recipe up a bit to fit what we had available. Instead of using canned tomatoes (which we are going to can ourselves as use once that sad day comes when the tomatoes aren’t picked fresh off the vine), I used fresh tomatoes and let them simmer down (I added these to the whole vegetable medley last). Also, since we tend to like spicy foods (me more so than Ben), I also included one chopped pablano pepper in the mix. The vegetable does call for one green and one red pepper – I used the two different colors of the bell peppers we had. Finally, I prefer the flavor of vegetable stock over chicken stock (at least in a veggie dish) and used it instead.

Idea 2:
I actually used the leftovers from the recipe above and put them (being sure to strain out the tomato juices and without the pasta) into a super tasty omelet, including swiss cheese into the mix (but shredded parmesan or mozzarella would probably be better – we had swiss in our fridge). It was really tasty! But if you’re not into using the leftovers (or you are out of them) for the omelet, chopped peppers are G-R-E-A-T in an omelet anytime! I treat omelets as a way to use up veggies that are on their way out, so I include whatever makes sense. I usually slice up a tomato to eat simple-style on the side with salt and pepper.

Idea 3:
Last night we made yummy quesadillas for dinner. We actually prefer to make these using corn tortillas, but we only had flour tortillas in the fridge, so we used those. This time for cheese, what we had was a Mexican cheese mix. I sauteed a couple chopped summer squash (any variety will do – I used one green and one yellow to maximize the colors in our food), about 4 peppers (again, each a different color), one chopped onion and added a few basic spices that I like on my food. Then, all that needed to happen next was to melt a butter (or oil, if you prefer) in the pan on low heat, place one tortilla in it, then cheese, then the filling, cheese again (I like my cheese!), then the top tortilla. Let the cheese melt and the tortilla brown and flip. Do the same. We ate these with some vegetarian refried beans (I prefer these because they’re lower in fat and I like the taste better) on the side (with diced raw onions mixed in (I also like my onions). We happened to have salsa and sour cream in the fridge. This fed three of us (Ben, a friend and myself) and we even had leftovers!

I could keep going – and if anyone expresses an interest I can post more – but I should probably get back to work reading for class ;).

Thanks again for stopping by!

farming, vegetables

Pretty Produce Growing on the Farm


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Hello all! I hope everyone is having a fabulous Thursday morning.

As stated in the previous blog, we will be posting the final list of the produce that will be available tomorrow at Ben’s Produce stand. Until then, I thought I’d share some pictures with you of all that yummy food growing on the farm. Our digital camera died a couple weeks ago, so these pictures were taken with our phones (yay technology!).


zucchini of the eight ball variety


zucchini of the baby bush variety


anaheim chile


pablano pepper


sweet pepper – the the cubanelle variety (tastes similar to bell peppers)


new broccoli plants growing (with irrigation)


summer squash plants


Our friend, April, and I at the produce stand last Friday


…and finally, Ben’s too “tuff” for the tomatoes :-)!

More to come soon (including a price comparison between our produce and similar produce at your local grocery market – we will also compare prices with farmer’s markets, but that will have to wait a little longer).

Thanks for stopping by!

farming, introductions, produce stand

Our first Friday!


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Hello all!

We had our first and successful Friday at Music on the Porch at Seaboard Station! Thank you to all our neighbors for your support. We wouldn’t be able to do this without you!

This blog will be our digital mouthpiece until a website is created but we’ll stick with this for now. We will post weekly, detailing work on the farm, what will be available the next Friday and any other information of interest.

We also have an email list which will also give updates and links to our newest blog entries. Please contact us at shields.ben@gmail.com to sign up for our emails with Ben’s Produce in the subject line.

About us, Ben and Patricia:

I, Ben, grew up in Massachusetts on two farms, splitting my time between my father and step-mother’s dairy farm in the south-eastern part of the state and my mother’s homestead in the hills of the western part of the state. Farming and the agrarian lifestyle are ingrained in me. I love the work and its rewards. I couldn’t think of doing anything else but that’s not to say I haven’t.

After I graduated from UMass with a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in Sustainable International Development, I worked with twin historic home restoration Master Craftsmen (Bob and Jim of Phaneuf Construction Services, Northampton, MA.) where I learned trade skills and great attention to detail. Doing well in historic home renovations like any other business is partially based on attention to details. This principle also applies to farming. There are many facets of agri-business to attend to and they all fit together like a house. If any one part does not function correctly, other parts fail to function correctly as well. I am continually amazed at all the facets involved in farming and growing healthy food as I continue to learn about nature and entrepreneurship.

During that time with the Phaneuf brothers, I spent 8 months traveling Italy in 2004 working on 7 different organic farms though the Willing Workers On Organic Farms (WOOFF). This experience with real Italian families that value authentic food and the culture that surrounds and spawns from it was indispensable in shaping my understanding of food as a foundation of culture. More on this subject another time…

I moved to New York City in November of 2006 to experience life in the city. I have been in love with the intense and expansive culture of such a metropolis since my first taste as a child. The food, art, music and people of New York hold a special place in my heart. I just love it! I was lucky to land a temp-to-perm job with the Direct Marketing branch of the Smithsonian Magazine where I got to experience life as a nine to fiver. I took the subway into Grand Central Station and could enter my building from the causeway! Amazing! But as the old adage goes, nice place to visit but wouldn’t want to live there. I missed the smell of humus in the soil, the freedom from concrete and the peace and quiet of the country. Oakdale and Mordecai aren’t quite the country but is more so than Astoria, Queens! But working the fields on the Wake/Johnston Co. line do allow for quenching of my desires.

I met Patricia through our mutual friend Ely in September of 2007 while visiting the Ely in Nashville, Tennessee. We started to date New Years Day 2008 and decided to move to Raleigh together when she was accepted to the Sociology Ph.D. program at NC State. I found Tom Kumpf of Double-T Farm through the internet and we have a good fit for both of us. He is expanding his farm in leaps and bounds and I wanted a good farmer to learn from.

Guy showed up in our backyard last Sunday, wondering where all the laughter was coming from. One thing lead to another and we had ourselves a vegetable stand at Music on the Porch! He even got us a little radio publicity on 100.7 The River this past Friday! Patricia and I got a text from a friend saying he heard a spotlight about an organic vegetable stand at Music on the Porch! Kudos Guy!

Anyhow, I’ve written a lot for one post and I need to let Patricia get a few words in, so I will bid adieu until Friday! See y’all then! Cheers!

‘Begin at the beginning,’ the King said, very gravely, ‘and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’ – Lewis Carroll (from Alice in Wonderland)

A Brief Introduction…

My full name is Patricia Anna Lisa Parker. I was born June 1st, 1980. That makes me 29 years old. I am a single, white, middle class female. My father is retired U.S. Army, my mother is now a U.S. citizen, but was born and raised in Bavaria. I have three brothers, one sister, five nephews and three nieces. Until my dad retired in 1992, we moved almost every year. I’ve lived in Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and various places in Germany. I attended three different schools for kindergarten. I love to travel; I love to move.

I began my academic career in 1998. I was a Psychology major as an undergraduate and soon realized that discipline was not for me. However, I wanted to graduate in four years, so I stuck with it and made it work for me. I completed an undergraduate thesis with the following title: “Can Men Have PMDD Too?: An Investigation of the Validity of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder as a Psychiatric Construct.” At a very basic level, my study could be described as a sociological study of psychology. If you’re curious, men can have PMDD too, if you ignore the menses requirement. It’s my paranoid belief that the DSM creates mental illnesses hand in hand with pharmaceutical companies. It’s all too convenient that the PMDD classification appeared just as Ely Lilly lost their patent for Prozac. Their solution for PMDD?: Prozac renamed and repackaged. The green and beige pill formerly known as Prozac was transformed into a pink and purple pill with the ability to give any woman angelic qualities – hence the new name, Sarafem (as in Seraphim). My mentors in the Psychology department helped me realize I was a sociologist at heart – so Sociology became my new academic pursuit.

Upon graduating with my B.S., I decided to move to Maui and wait tables. When that didn’t happen, I applied to the Master’s program at Middle Tennessee State University. My plan two? I was going to join the Air Force and try to get a job in the Psychological Operations division. Good thing I made it into the program!

While attempting to find my particular passion in Sociology, I worked on three different research topics. Somehow I graduated only one semester behind schedule. I changed topics for legitimate reasons, and if you’re interested, I’ll elaborate in person. Here are the titles of those three papers (the last being my Master’s thesis): “How Women Talk About Sex,” “Globalization, Urban Revitalization, Community Building, and Homicides in a Southeastern City,” and “Women, Children, and Poverty: Public Health Care in the Age of Welfare Reform.” The first was purely qualitative; the second and third were both qualitative and quantitative studies. I received my Master’s degree in December of 2005. January of 2006 I became an adjunct instructor at MTSU. Fall of 2006 marked my first semester as a full-time instructor. As a full-time instructor, I taught five classes each semester, including: Marriage and Family, Sociology of Families, Introductory Sociology, Social Problems, and Gender and Society. Each semester was comprised of three lecture classes and two correspondence courses. In 2008 I received the Best OWL Professor award. OWL stands for “Older Wiser Learners.”

As you can tell, I’m interested in a variety of topics. I am currently working toward earning my PhD in Sociology at NC State. As part of my assistantship, I teach one course per semester. “Officially” my areas are Global and Social Change and Rural Sociology. I’m interested both academically and personally in farming. My partner, Ben, works as a farmer apprentice (I worked on the farm this summer too) and, as you now know (or already knew), we just began selling our produce Fridays from 7-9 p.m. at Music on the Porch at Seaboard Station.

Ben’s passion for farming has converted me. Before I met him, I never imagined I’d be interested in the farming lifestyle. Although now that I think about it, it makes sense that I do and Ben didn’t have to do anything but talk to me about farming to convert me. We’re in our infancy stages in terms of beginning our lives as farmers and it’s very exciting. For now, I will have to focus most of my time and energy on academics, but I will also be spending time and energy on our farming and produce stand pursuits. Ultimately, I’m interested in creating social change through teaching/learning, community development and growing food.

What else can I tell you? We have an awesome dog, Charlie. He’s a mutt. I think he’s part German Sheppard, Collie, coyote, cat, bear, gazelle and mountain goat. If you ever meet him, you’ll understand my classification. Some of our family activities include: going for walks, gardening (Charlie helps weed), cooking awesome dinners, camping and listening to good music on vinyl. I have more interests and more to say, but I feel I’ve abused the subjectivity of the word “brief”, so I will do as the introductory quote says and STOP.

OK – so I’m not stopping just yet ;). I just wanted to let ya’ll know that we’re going to post on this blog regularly. Ben or I will post a list of the produce we’ll be offering at Seaboard Station for Music on the Porch later this week. We will also post more information about “Ben’s Produce” soon.

Thanks for reading.