carrots

beets, carrots, csa share image, cucumbers, dill, green cabbage, Hakurei salad turnips, nappa cabbage, oak leaf lettuce, parsley, red Russian kale, scallions, strawberries, zephyr squash, zucchini

Week 5, CSA share contents


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Hi folks! Here’s the run down of this week’s share. The summer squash are coming on in full force, so be ready for it! We’re at that good place right now where we have the last of the spring goods (e.g., carrots, beets, and greens) and then we’re coming into the summer goods (e.g., zucchini, squash, cucumbers). Look at this beautiful spread (this is an example of a regular sized share).

strawberries, zucchini, dill and parsley, and zephyr squash

tatsoi, Hakurei turnips, beets, red Russian kale and green oak leaf lettuce
Chinese cabbage, green cabbage, scallions and carrots
green cabbageChinese cabbage
scallions
carrots
beets and greens
zucchini
zephyr squash
cucumbers
red Russian kale (aka ragged Jack)
Hakurei salad turnips
tatsoi
green oak leaf lettuce
dill and parsley
Gorgeous fruits and veggies!
Thanks for stopping by!

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beet and feta salad, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kale, nutty salad vinegairette, planting party, soil blocks

Happy Spring!


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We’re hosting two more planting parties this Sunday (4/10) and next Sunday (4/17). Please come out and join us for some fun times planting and picnicking!  If you think you might be coming for either (or both!) parties, please email us at BensProduceNC@gmail.com (so we can be sure we have more than enough food for folks). 

The planting party on the first day of Spring was a success!!! Fourteen folks came out Sunday. We planted onions, kale, and cabbage. We also cut potatoes for seed. We spent two hours as a group to plant 14 beds of produce. It would have taken Ben and I days to do the same amount of work. True to the phrase, many hands make light work.

And this was truly a planting party.Throughout the day, we not only worked together to plant seedlings, folks were learning about each other, talking to each other. Some of the people here already knew each other, but for the most part folks didn’t really know much about each other, or hadn’t  previously met. In just a couple hours, I learned SO much about what people do with their time, their connections to food, agriculture, health, and we also talked about dogs and life and our jobs.

After we finished planting, we sat together outside for a yummy spread. Candy and Steve brought homemade focaccia, Kim and Andy brought hors devours(collard sushi rolls and spring rolls), and Bradford brought homemade kombucha with raspberries. We made a vegetarian minestrone soup. The tradition of minestrone soup is to use seasonal and available vegetables and other items on hand. That means there’s no set recipe, which you know, makes me happy. We used our vegetables including carrots, kale, turnips (roots and greens) and collards. We also threw in portabella mushrooms, Roman beans, pink beans, tomatoes and onions.

We also had a nice big salad full of various lettuces, arugula, mizuna, and spinach. We used our nutty vinaigrette recipe for the dressing.


  Here’s our friend Liese holding Luella Mae. Liese has been one of our amazing chicken caretakers. She and her partner, Eric, watched Charlie (our farm dog) and the chickens when went out of town for the SSAWG in Chattanooga. Liese and Luella Mae are good friends, as you can see here :0).

We’ve been steadily working to get more seeds in the soil and more plants in the ground since Sunday. Ben and I won’t be going to market this Saturday so we can get more things ready out on the farm. We’ll be tilling the soil for my new flower garden by the barn. I can’t wait to expand and experiment with flowers this Summer season!!!

Here’s a picture of Ben with hen’s bit (the chickens love it – it’s the purple flower bouquet in his arm) and tasting what we think is wild lettuce. I tried some too. It was bitter. The chickens liked it though.

Here’s Ben making soil blocks. This week Ben made tons of soil blocks and I planted tons of seeds. The rest of the pictures are the seedlings from our first round of brassicas. We also have tomato, cucumber, and pepper seedlings (not pictured). 

Well, that’s all folks! Have a fantastic weekend! We’ll see you at market next week. 

cabbage, carrots, hope, musing, planning, tatsoi, turnips

Middle Winter Farmer Musings…


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It has been a dogs age since I (Ben) have posted and it is about time! I made a resolution to post on a regular basis, which will be a challenge along with all the other tasks I attend to. But if Patricia can do it, so can I! I have a tendency to write and re-write and make multiple drafts before I post. It’s my old academic process showing itself, evidence I am not much an off the cuff writer. It takes a few rounds of writing for me to develop and clarify what it is I want to communicate, which naturally takes a bit of time. Time is of the essence in farming and budgeting it is very important. So off come the proverbial gloves! I’m getting down and dirty!

I have been busy planning this years crops over the past few weeks and I am already behind schedule! I should have started back in December but didn’t get started until January because I wanted to wait for a book in the mail, Crop Planning for Organic Vegetable Growers by Frederic Theriault and Daniel Brisebois. It is published by the Canadian Organic Growers Association and is a wonderful book. Come to find out, I have been re-inventing the wheel! I have gone about the process of planning for the year in a slightly different way  but arrive at essentially the same place! I also learned I still have a few things to learn! Imagine that! Anyhow, I am finally catching up and creating schedules for all the major tasks to be done this year with the hope it will help us stay on schedule. Last year, one of our major challenges was getting veggies planted in the proper time frame and our poor planning created gaps in our vegetable availability, such as an inconsistent tomato supply and no winter squash.

I must admit, fleshing out our 2011 crop plan has got me worried. I am apprehensive that we will be behind schedule because we have not ordered seeds yet. The seed order I put together is over $1800! That is just for the spring and summer, not including fall and winter! Nor does it include the $500 we spent on seed potatoes! This year we will be growing over 40 crops and 100 different varieties of veggies, some for fun and experimentation but most for a very diverse and strong selection. Most of the seeds are needed soon for late February  to mid-March planting and it is mid-February already! I have faith that everything will come together as the universe intends and I try to be patient and hopeful. If there is any virtue that farming teaches, it is patience! You can’t make the weather change nor make plants grow faster! I am also comforted by the fact that this is our second year and it will be better than last year. We will take the lessons of last year and make this year better. This thought gives me hope and comfort that this year will be okay, possibly the best yet!

I seeded spring lettuce and scallions into seedling trays last week and brought those down to Sharon Funderburks’ greenhouse in Meadow for growing on. She has been very generous in her assistance to us! Show her some love if you come out to market. I also direct seeded snow peas, radishes, spinach, mesclun and various salad greens into our low tunnels. I also direct seeded 3 beds of carrots and 2 beds of beets and put them under row cover. Here are some pics for you…

This is my desk in the office, planning for the year. As you can see, I like to use some paper and pencil. Call me old fashioned, it works better for me than spreadsheets only. I like to use a combination of the two.

 This is the Planet Jr. seeder I borrow from Tom at Double-T Farm. It is 100 year old technology but works like a charm every time! Originally from NC!

 These are the 5 beds I had just prepped for planting carrots & beets. You can see the low tunnels on the right and how I have ventilated it with a forked stick.

 This is stir-fry I made last night with tatsoi, carrots, turnips and purple cabbage. Yummy!

 Okay, got to get back to work. Check you later! Farmer Ben

beets, carrots, pictures, planting, sweet potatoes

Spring planting time is upon us…


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Hello all,
The season is shifting into a higher gear! Patricia and I took our dog Charlie to the farm today to plant potatoes and spring onions. What a beautiful spring day it was today. The sun was out, it was warm and blue birds were fluttering about and looking for grubs to eat in the freshly tilled soil. I felt the swell of spring and the upward energy that spring brings…Always inspiring and full of hope of the coming growing season. Here are some photos of our day on the farm today…Enjoy!
My car full of cut seed potatoes.
Marking a bed for potatoes with markers on a rake.
  
Patricia & Ben, happy together in the sun…
  
 Freshly transplanted beets. Can you find Ben in the photo?
  
Patrica’s lucky 30 year old German sneakers – they have a long history of wear and tear but still going strong!
and Ben’s bare feet…
 Baby leeks waiting to be planted
  
Ben holding up a row cover (veggie blanket)…
We on the front page of the Western Wake Farmers Market website this week! We’re famous! 
We’re ramping down the winter harvest now. We harvested all the winter carrots Friday and they are in storage. This is most likely the last week we will have collards, brussels sprouts, chinese cabbage and vitamin green. Carrots will be available for a couple more weeks and won’t be available again until May. We will have fewer crops available until the spring crops start rolling in, so expect less variety for the next 4 weeks or so.  We will certainly keep y’all updated on what’s available.
This coming Tuesday, March 9th, we plan to have produce pickup at our house, 604 Sasser St., between 4:00 to 7:30 pm. The next NCSU delivery will be Wednesday, March 10th. Remember to have your orders placed by Monday evening.

A few of you occasionally may have trouble placing orders. Please make sure you receive an automated confirmation email a few minutes after you place your order. If you do not receive this email your order was not placed and we will not receive it. Please try again or email us your order to shields.ben@gmail.com or call Ben @ 919-800-8898. Also, we do not accept online payments, e.g. PayPal. We only accept payment of cash or checks at pickup.

Purchase of vegetables is made through our online store-
http://www.vendio.com/stores/bensproduce.

Available new vegetables:
SPINACH

Current vegetable availability includes:
baby beets
brussels sprouts
carrots
Chinese cabbage
collards
scallions
lettuce
sweet potatoes
Vitamin Green (a mild Asian leafy green)

Late winter /early spring vegetables will include:
arugula
broccoli raab
mixed baby lettuce & greens
mizuna
radishes
swiss chard
tatsoi
turnips


Be good and eat well,
Ben & Patricia

carrots, CSA, old man winter, peas, seeds

Seeds are here!


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The snow is gone but old man winter isn’t even thinking about leaving. That snow from last weekend put a damper on the farm. We had to postpone harvest and pickup by two days! Luckily, we had good weather on Thursday for harvest and pickup. What a short window it was…The weather looks fair for this upcoming week so we will get harvest and pickup done on Tuesday (and Wednesday for the 1911 Building) without trouble.


We started to receive our seeds this past week! What a joy it is to hold so much potential in our hands. Such life potential never ceases to amaze me. Seeds are a critical point in the cycle of life, such that the cycle cannot continue without reproduction, represented by seed. It is amazing to us how reproduction is not separate from any other point in the life cycle because reproduction is contingent upon the life cycle for existence and vice versa. Regardless of our understanding of seeds, the cycle of life and nature at large, seeds are a power to behold. We are glad to have finally received the little powerhouses we know as seed for this coming season.


Your carrots and peas need your support! We need your CSA deposits so we can order supplies to get the season under way. We also need your support in getting the word out about the CSA. Please 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. Thanks to everybody who has sent us deposits and referred friends!

Our online store is still operating and will continue to operate through the spring. This coming Tuesday, February 9th, we plan to have produce pickup at our house, 604 Sasser St., between 4:00 to 7:30 pm. The next NCSU delivery will be Wednesday, February 10th. 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-
http://www.vendio.com/stores/bensproduce.

Current vegetable availability includes:
baby beets
bok choy
brussels sprouts
cabbage
carrots
Chinese cabbage
collards
scallions
kale
lettuce
sweet potatoes
tatsoi
Vitamin Green (a mild Asian leafy green)

No longer offered:
broccoli
mixed greens
mustard greens
radishes
spinach
swiss chard
turnips

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

carrots, collards, kale, recipe community, recipe ideas, recipes, spinach, vitamin green

Recipe Sharing Community Forum


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Hi ya’ll! I hope everyone is having a fun and safe Monday afternoon. I am getting quite a bit of work done for classes, but became distracted by the thought of posting this request – which is basically to ask those of you who have made tasty treats with Ben’s Produce to please share your recipes or ideas with us. If you are interested in sharing, please post your recipe/ideas as a comment here or send an e-mail my way (parker.patricia@gmail.com). I will compile the recipes and share them in a blog post. If your recipes come from a source other than youself, please include that as well (if you know it). As usual, thanks for stopping by! We’ll see you all later this week. 
Here’s one from Rachel Ray. Ingredients from Ben’s Produce include: kale and carrots (you can add collards instead of or in addition to the parsnips): 
Mustard-Molasses Chicken One Pot

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 8 pieces bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion, quartered lengthwise, then sliced
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-3 1-inch-long sticks, 1/2-inch wide
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
  • 1 small bundle black kale or dinosaur kale, chopped or thinly sliced
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 cup grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Crusty bread with nuts and raisins or cranberries
Preparation

Heat 1 tablespoon EVOO in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then brown until golden, 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken and add another tablespoon of EVOO to the pan, one turn of the pan.
Add the onion, parsnips and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Cook to soften a bit, 5-6 minutes. Add the kale to the pot and wilt in, then add the nutmeg.

Whisk the mustard, molasses and stock together in a bowl, then pour over top of the vegetables and settle the chicken back into the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.
Remove the lid, then remove the chicken and reserve on a plate covered with aluminum foil. Continue simmering the veggies until the liquids are thickened, about 10 minutes.

Serve the chicken and veggies with crusty warm bread.

Source: http://www.rachaelray.com/recipe.php?recipe_id=3129

And here’s one from Southern Cooking that uses collard greens. To make this dish vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth (or vegetable bouillon) for chicken stock and leave out the bacon. Toasted pine nuts might be a good substitute for bacon…

 Collard Green Risotto and Pot Liquor

Ingredients

  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 3  bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1  large onion, chopped
  • 2  garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1  pound  fresh collard greens, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  pepper
  • 3  cups  chicken broth
  • 1/4  cup  molasses
  • 2  tablespoons  butter or margarine
  • Risotto

Preparation

Heat oil in a Dutch oven; add bacon, and cook until crisp. Add onion, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute.
Stir in collard greens, salt, and pepper; sauté over medium heat 5 minutes or until greens wilt. Stir in chicken broth. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook mixture 45 minutes or until greens are tender.
Pour greens mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a container, reserving greens and pot liquor. Whisk molasses and butter into pot liquor.
Stir greens into Risotto.
Place 1 cup Collard Green Risotto in each of 6 bowls. Ladle pot liquor mixture evenly on top. Serve immediately.

Chef Jan Birnbaum, Chef Jan Birnbaum, Southern Living, JUNE 2001

Source: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=258429

This recipe was originally taken from one of the Moosewood cookbooks. If you’re not familiar with these books and you would like to add more veggies into your diet, I strongly suggest checking them out at one of our local bookstores. This recipe calls for spinach, but you could just as likely use tender kale or vitamin green instead.

Sesame Tofu with Spinach (or Vitamin Green)
 

Ingredients

Directions

  1. 1

    Slice the Tofu lengthwise into 4 rectangular slabs, than half each piece to get squares.

  2. 2

    Spread the sesame seeds on a plate. Press all surfaces of each tofu square into the seeds to coat.

  3. 3

    Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet on medium heat.

  4. 4

    Arrange the tofu in a single layer and cook about 5 minutes Carefully turn and cook 5 minutes on other side.

  5. 5

    Add soy sauce and Tabasco, turn the squares over, and cook another minute. Transfer squares to a plate (leaving stray seeds in the pan).

  6. 6

    Add the oil and garlic to the pan and sauté for about 30 seconds, until golden. Add the still damp rinsed spinach and cook for 1-2 more minutes, stirring constantly. Cook until wilted but still bright green.

  7. 7

    Season to taste with salt & pepper.

  8. 8

    Serve the tofu on top of the spinach.

Source: http://www.recipezaar.com/recipe/gallery.php?rid=225814

bacon, brussels sprouts, carrots, greens, kale, recipe community

Your carrots need your support!


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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-
http://www.vendio.com/stores/bensproduce.

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

No longer offered:
broccoli
mixed greens
mustard greens
radishes
spinach
swiss chard
turnips

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

SAUTEED KALE AND BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH BACON
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…

cabbage, carrots, cold weather, CSA, kale, recipe ideas, winter

Cold Snaps & Sweet, Sweet Kale…


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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 www.vendio.com/stores/bensproduce.

Current vegetable availability includes:
baby beets
bok choy
brussels sprout
cabbage
carrots
collards
green onions
kale
lettuce
sweet potatoes
tatsoi

No longer offered:
broccoli
chinese cabbage
mixed greens
mustard greens
radishes
spinach
swiss chard
turnips

Future winter vegetables may include:
arugula
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

bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, chinese cabbage, collards, CSA, green onions, greens, kale, lettuce, mustard, radishes, recipe ideas, spinach, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, tatsoi, turnips

Holidays! Holidays! Holidays!


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Hello and Welcome!

A big thanks to our new customers from the neighborhood who stopped by Tuesday night to pick up some produce! The holidays are upon us! We’re headed to Tennessee to see Patricia’s family and some friends there. It will be a needed break for us, though I will be working some. I’ll be fine-tuning our farm and CSA plan for the coming year. It’s very exciting, thought provoking and a lot of work! Anyhow, we’ll be announcing the CSA soon!

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!

Next Tuesday, December 22nd, we will have produce pickup at our house, 604 Sasser St., between 4pm to 7:30pm. We will not have produce pickup Tuesday, December 29th. We will return with pickup Tuesday, January 5th.

Purchase of vegetables is made through our online store www.vendio.com/stores/bensproduce.

Community Supported Agriculture:
Information coming soon!

Current vegetable availability includes:
bok choy
cabbage
carrots
chinese cabbage
collards
green onions
kale
lettuce
mustard greens
radishes
spinach
sweet potatoes
swiss chard
tatsoi
turnips

No longer offered:
broccoli
mixed greens

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

Recipes:

Quick White Bean Stew with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes

– serves 2 to 3 –

Ingredients

2 pounds Swiss chard, larger stems removed, and leaves chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup canned tomatoes, chopped
1 16-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan

Procedure

1. Fill a large pot halfway up with water. Bring to a boil and then toss in the swiss chard leaves. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 8 minutes. Drain the chard in a colander.

2. Wipe out any excess water in the pot. Then pour in the olive oil and turn the heat to medium. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for 1 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the tomatoes, turn the heat to medium-high, and when the mixture comes to a boil add the beans. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.

4. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the chard. Cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add some grated Parmesan to finish. Enjoy!

Golumpki’s or Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

We made these the other day with our cabbage, carrots and turnips and they turned out phenomenal! Give these a whirl, you might like them.

– serves 4 –

Ingredients

1Tbsp Olive oil
1 leek or onion
2 med. turnip, cubed small
2 med. carrots, cubed small
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 cup cooked rice
16 oz cooked ground meat
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch ground coriander
salt & pepper
1 cabbage head

Sauce:
1 onion finely chopped
1 cup broth or stock
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups crushed tomatoes

1. Brown ground meat.

2. To make the filling, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium low heat. Add leek or onion, turnip, carrots and celery and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until softened.

3. Remove from heat and stir in meat, rice, bread crumbs, egg, parsley, lemon juice and ground coriander. Season with salt & pepper.

4. Preheat oven to 325 F. Oil a 9×13 baking dish. Cook the whole cabbage in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, until pliable. Drain and rinse under cold water. Peel off whole leaves to stuff. Pat dry.

5. Lay leaves flat and make a pile in the middle of each, about 1/3 to 2/3 cup depending on the size of the leaf. Roll up each leaf, folding the sides to enclose the filling in a neat parcel. Place the rolls, seam side down, in the baking dish. Pour in stock. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, heat the oil for the sauce in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Stir in the crushed tomatoes. Reduce the heat to med-low and simmer about 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.

7. Using slotted spoon, serve stuffed cabbage rolls topped with the tomato sauce. Enjoy!

Happy holidays and many thanks!

Ben & Patricia

carrots, fall, veggies

Labor Day brings end of summer!


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Thank you all for a fabulous Friday last week at Music on the Porch! Thanks to Guy, Will and Peace China for their continued support and especially you! It was quite the surprise to be called up on stage by Guy last Friday! Guess I’ll have to turn up the microphone next time! We were glad to hear shouts of support…

Labor Day was this past Monday, heralding the end of summer and ushering in the fall season at Ben’s Produce and Double-T Farm. We have been quite busy on the farm. We’ve transplanted thousands of plants for fall harvest, such as green onions, Asian greens, lots of lettuce and beets. We’ve also planted the first round of carrots, radishes and turnips, which we’ll start to harvest in early October. We’ve also started to pot new strawberry plants for next spring, about 7000 plants!

This week we will offer Italian and Asian eggplant, cucumbers, the last of the summer squash, okra, sweet and hot peppers, yellow cherry tomatoes, onions and basil. We may possibly have tomatoes depending on availability.

Here are some photos from the farm this week:

Eggplant in it’s natural environment!

Okra flower and fruit…

Newly transplanted Chinese Cabbage…

Young Fall cucumber plants in a high tunnel…

Fall tomato crop in a high tunnel…