CSA

blessed, cooler, CSA, friends, potatoes

Ramble On


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Here’s the farm update from the CSA newsletter for this week (Week #4 May 14, 2012). 

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Ramble On
Last week was a nice cool week again and yesterday brought us more rain –  with more to come in the next couple of days. This is great for us and for the farm – although it does mean we have to pick the summer squash and zucchini more often (as the rain bulks them up quickly). We managed to get a lot of our tasks accomplished last week between the days at market and CSA drops – but we do still have some left over items to try to tackle this week, including thinning the green bean plants and building the high tunnels.
Our friend Liese came out to the farm Thursday evening and helped us harvest all day Friday and attended Western Wake Market with me on Saturday. She’s coming back to the farm with me this Tuesday and she’ll be spending the week helping us attempt to get caught up with farm tasks. Our friend (and intern), Meredith, came out Friday before she had to go to work to help us harvest as well. And – Saturday our friends Andy and Craig came out to help Ben put the roof on the lean to building (it’s what the walk-in cooler is going to be built under)! We are SO, SO, SO blessed to have so many supportive people in our lives! The farm may be managed mostly by Ben and I, but we couldn’t do any of it without the help and support of our friends, CSA members, and market customers. You are all truly co-producers and we are extremely grateful for your efforts!
As I type, Ben is hilling up potatoes. The plants are blooming and need more soil around them to grow more effectively. After that, our friend Craig is coming back out (he took two weeks off work and is spending some of that time helping Ben try to get the cooler up and running out here). Ben and I harvested all of the squash and zucchini that was up to size this morning. We have four 240 foot rows of summer squash (that’s almost 1,000 squash plants!), so it takes about 45 minutes to an hour for the two of us to harvest. If we don’t keep up with them, particularly when there are rainy days, they get huge and too bitter to bother with (except maybe large zucchini for zucchini bread). We then wiped the sandy soil off each of the squash and graded them (according to size and as “seconds”) to store them in our current cold room (this is the room CSA members picking up at the farm go into). After that, we washed all of our market bins. As we’re bringing more items to market, we’re using more bins, so this chore has grown rather lengthy as well. It takes Ben and I about 40 minutes or so to wash all of the bins and lids if we do it together.
Tomorrow Sean Barker, of Part and Parcel Farm, is coming out to check out our operation. Being a farmer, he understands that while we love having folks out to the farm, pretty much the only way it’s possible for us to visit is if someone works with us – so Sean offered to do a couple hours of work with us during his visit. We’re very much looking forward to speaking with him about what we do and learning more about what he’s doing as well. It’s always nice to talk with fellow farmers. Also, tomorrow, CSA member and friend, Charlotte, is coming out in the afternoon to help Ben do some much needed transplanting and hopefully also stake and tie up tomatoes. The first round of tomato plants are getting pretty big! Of course, I’ll be headed to the Five Points drop to meet folks for the CSA pick up between 4:30 and 6:30. Please remember that while I am completely capable of doing all sorts of farm and off-farm tasks being over 8 months pregnant, I cannot pull out the tent and set it up by myself (it’s just too heavy and cumbersome) – so, if you’re the first person to drop and you’re willing, I’ll need your help with the tent. It’ll only take a couple minutes. Thanks, Michelle, for helping last week! J
Alrighty! I suppose I’ve rambled enough for now. As usual, let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. We’re here to help! Thanks for keeping up with us and please let us know how things are going with you. If you have anything you would like to share in the newsletter (e.g., how you use your weekly shares, how you feel about being part of CSA or this CSA in particular, what your thoughts are on the environment and health, book recommendations, etc.), please send it our way (InGoodHeartFarmNC@gmail.com). I could certainly use the help writing the newsletter and I think y’all might like to hear from folks other than myself for once! J
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CSA, farm tasks, high tunnels, rotovator, Spring, Summer, time

Farm Time


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Below is an entry from last week’s newsletter for the CSA (Week #3; May 7, 2012). Read on if you’d like to know more about what Ben and I have been up to out here. 
Farm Time

The habit of looking to the future and thinking that the whole meaning of the present lies in what it will bring forth is a pernicious one. There can be no value in the whole unless there is value in the parts.

BERTRAND RUSSELL, Conquest of Happiness
Whew! It feels great to have received some good, drenching (and cooling!) rains! Last week was quite the hot and humid time. Tuesday and Wednesday in particular, I had to give up working outside much past 10am. Instead I chose to do paperwork inside and run errands with the car (which, unlike the truck, has air conditioning).
This week we broke down and transported the high tunnels we originally built in October last year for use for the fall and winter crops to the spring and summer fields. We’ll re-build the tunnels to use for some of our summer crops – especially tomatoes. Monday, CSA member, Charlotte, came out and helped us transplant tomatoes and peppers. Ben direct seeded green beans, dill, and radishes and cultivated the spring garden. In the process of prepping a bed for tomatoes, he managed to get some row fabric (which he used to cover the closest crops to the tractor to keep them protected from thrown soil) caught in the tractor implement (the rotovator). Not only did we lose about 250 feet of row cover, we spent quite a lot of time working to get that stuff out of the rotovator so Ben could finish prepping beds. After quite a lot of frustration, we triumphed over the mangled row cover and high-fived each other for getting through it! 
Last week, we also managed to keep ourselves pretty busy with our daily chores and weekly harvest, wash, and CSA drop/market days. If you came out to the farm today, you’d see that our “lawn” is in desperate need of being mowed and we have every intention of getting to that task someday – it’s just such a low level item on our already lengthy regular daily and weekly chores list. Our spare time is spent working on the tasks on our weekly to-do quadrant. This week we have a TON of transplanting to do. Also, the weeds are catching up on us and we need to get out there and hand weed and cultivate (with the wheel hoe and the tractor, depending on the crop). We also need to go ahead and thin the green beans and stake the tomatoes. I don’t know about y’all, but we can see July just over the horizon! We’re also going to finish the transport of the high tunnels and re-construct them this week. And Ben needs to get on that tractor and put in the cover crop on our fall/winter field as well as the new, big field we added on this year. It’s going to be another whirlwind of a week! See you soon!

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

DOUGLAS ADAMS, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
2011 CSA, awesome, CSA, share, Spring, subscribe, subscription, Summer, vegetables

Announcing Summer 2011 CSA!


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Ben’s Produce offers vegetables, strawberries & flowers of the highest quality and taste in the Triangle. Our mission is to strive for healthier people, community, agriculture and planet by growing and sharing the best tasting food we can. Our farming practices may surpass organic guidelines but we choose not to be certified because we are confident the quality and taste of our produce, as well as our direct relationship with you, speak to our commitment to healthy food and holistic agriculture. 2011 will be our second year farming as Ben’s Produce, though we have been farming with family and friends for many years.

Community Supported Agriculture
CSA is a mutually beneficial relationship between us. By making a seasonal investment in our farm with a CSA share, you become a seasonal farm member who shares the rewards and risks of the harvest season with us, your farmers. Your investment allows us to afford annual start-up costs, to pay ourselves fair wages, and to share the many risks in growing food. In return, we provide you and your family with abundant, fresh, healthy and local food. Our food not only tastes better and lasts longer, it’s also helps us all nourish local agriculture, economy and environment.  Taste the difference!
Is CSA right for your family?
It is good to be aware of the rewards and challenges involved in CSA. If you and your family want to explore the wonderful tastes of our farm-fresh food by eating it straight from your CSA pickup bag or transformed in a wonder dish you cooked, CSA is for you! If you want to expand your taste-bud horizons and strengthen your skills at cooking and preparing fresh food, CSA is for you! If you want to be surprised with new vegetables, CSA is for you! If you want to eat healthily and enjoy eating, CSA is for you!

Please understand that nature’s abundance varies. What you receive is based on our harvest schedule which is subject to the weather, pests, disease and a large myriad of influences. Some weeks your CSA share may be less than the retail farmers market value we try to maintain. However, we usually provide more bounty than you could buy at market value. If you find yourself with too many items, do not despair, share the bounty with others! .


How It Works
Join Ben’s Produce CSA by purchasing a CSA share at the beginning of the season. You then visit the weekly pickup site to pack your own vegetables from the harvest table. We will post a guide at the stand explaining what each share contains that week. The CSA harvest season runs for 20 weeks from late-April through September.
We shortened the length of our Summer 2011 CSA to 20 weeks because we found 23 weeks too long and fatiguing, for both you and us. We are also experiencing higher fuel prices as well as the need for livable salaries. Last year, we worked for minimal wages (in the case of Ben) to no wages (in the case of Patricia). Shortening the length of our CSA is our best solution to these challenges we faced in 2010.
Pickup Sites & Times: We have two weekly CSA pickup sites. Our main pickup is Tuesday evenings from 4pm to 7pm at the Raleigh Five Points CSA site, 1911 Bernard St., Raleigh 27608.  We also offer limited pickup every Saturday morning from 8am to 12pm at the Western Wake Farmers Market, 1225 Morrisville Carpenter Rd, Cary 27519. Please consider signing up with the Raleigh Five Points CSA Yahoo Group through the link above, to access information regarding the pickup site and opportunities to support the other farmers who attend as well as local food events and information.
Sharing with others: Some members find it enjoyable to split CSA shares with other families and friends. We also like to share food and enjoy such arrangements. If you choose to split a share, please let us know on your registration so we may avoid confusion.  
Flexibility: We know you may miss pickup for many reasons. We prefer 24 hours notice, if possible. You may send friends or family in your place to pickup if you wish. Missed pickup is forfeit of that weeks share but we will try to make other accommodations if possible.
Communication: Our main mode of communication is email. We will send all members weekly emails usually a day or two before pickup. Our emails are meant as pickup reminders and usually include farm updates, a list of that weeks veggies, a link to our latest blog entry and any notifications regarding pickup. Our blog functions as our farm newsletter that includes farm news, anecdotes, reflections, recipes, photographs and more.
Feedback: Your satisfaction is very important to us and our business. Please give us your feedback! Please give us your suggestions and tell us your concerns. We want our CSA to be fulfilling and pleasing for everybody!
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.
Weekly Share Contents
The available produce will change as the season progresses. Regular Shares will contain about 5 to 8 items each week and Full Shares will contain about 8 to 12 items each week.  Ben’s Produce determines the contents of each weeks share. We will try to include all the veggies listed to the best of our abilities.
Vegetable Availability
April:  Arugula, Asian Greens, Green Onions, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Peas, Radish, Rutabaga, Salad Greens, Spinach, Strawberries, Swiss chard, Turnips.
May/June: Arugula, Asian Greens, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cherry Tomatoes, Sweet Corn, Flowers, Green Onions, Herbs, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Peas, Radish, Rutabaga, Salad Greens, Spinach, Strawberries, Summer Squash, Swiss Chard, Turnips.
July/August: Beans, Cherry Tomatoes, Sweet Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Flowers, Herbs, Okra, Onions, Potatoes,  Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Tomatillo, Assorted Melons, Hot Peppers, Sweet Peppers, Special Hot Weather Greens.
September: Arugula, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Flowers, Green Onions, Herbs, Lettuce, Okra, Potatoes, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Tomatillo, Assorted Melons, Hot Peppers, Sweet Peppers, Radish, Salad Greens, Sweet Potatoes, Winter Squash.
  
Pricing
Regular Share – $400
 Our Regular Share is a suitable amount of produce for a small household of 1 to 3 people, or one well eating vegetarian to eat for one week. 
Large Share – $600
Our Large Share is a suitable amount of produce for a large household of 4+ people, or a couple of well-eating vegetarians to eat for one week.
Payment Options
Our CSA is first come, first serve. You must send payment to secure a share. We prefer you send us Full Payment but our Payment Plan of a deposit and consecutive payments are accepted for your flexibility.
Full Payment – Enclose a check for the total due.
Payment Plan – Enclose a deposit to secure your share. Please send the amounts listed below 30 days and 60 days after the date of your deposit.
 
Due Date
Regular Share
Large Share
Deposit
$160
$240
30 days
$160
$240
60 days
$80
$120

You can find our Summer 2011 CSA Brochure here. Please use the brochure to sign up with us. Please enclose a copy with your information and payment. We hope you will afford us the honor of being your farmers in 2011 and we are looking forward to a great year. We wouldn’t be able to be farmers without you and your support!
Sincerely,
Benjamin Shields & Patricia Parker

CSA, farmers market, pictures, strawberries

Time Flies


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Hi ya’ll. It feels like the weeks are flying by! Before we know it, it will be SUMMER. Ah, summer. And then there will be so many different beautiful tomatoes, amazing summer squash (the flying saucer squash is my favorite, but I’m a sucker for all squash), eggplant, hot and sweet peppers, okra, green beans, sweet smelling herbs, rainbows of flowers…cue “Summer Breeze” :).

But in the meantime, I have great news. The waiting is almost over. Strawberries are on their way! I’ve been looking forward to eating strawberries since the end of strawberry season last year. There’s nothing quite like farm fresh strawberries. Strawberries so sweet, they taste like they’ve already been dipped in sugar (which, I confess I did as a kid eating strawberries from the grocery store). I don’t know if anyone else is as excited as I am, but I can’t wait to eat strawberries, especially in a yummy mixed greens salad. Mmmmm hmmm.

In other news, this weekend marked our third week at market. It was a gorgeous day to be out. I feel so lucky that going to market is completely unlike “going to work”. It’s easy to get up in the morning to go spend a few hours surrounded by awesome people, great music, beautiful colors, and good food.

Well, as usual, I have a few pictures to share.  I hope you’re enjoying this gorgeous weather as much as we are. Have a fantastic weekend and week. Thanks for stopping by!

Patricia

Hey Y’all, So I’ve been busy with the farm and market, working every day! We will be starting CSA pickups in a week on Tuesday, April 27th. Saturday pickup at market will start on Saturday, May 1st. March was colder than usual, which slowed growth on everything. Come April, daily temperatures shot up into the 70’s and 80’s, which has helped. April has been dry though, counteracting the higher temperatures. CSA share sizes will be on the smaller side for the first 2 or 3 weeks as we wait for crops to mature. Don’t be alarmed, we will offset the smaller shares later when other crops come in.

Expect strawberries, lettuce, spinach, tatsoi and other delectable produce the first weeks of CSA, with sugar snap peas, scallions, bok choi, broccoli, carrot and cabbage in addition later in May. We will have recipes for you if you need some inspiration. We can’t wait to get the CSA started!

We have mowed our cover crop of rye, vetch and clover to feed the soil and the microorganisms in the soil. Way down the page below the pics Patricia posted are a couple pics of the crop and Farmer Tom mowing it down. Soil health is the foundation for healthy vegetables, which is part of the foundation of healthy eating and being!  Your health begins in the earth!

Check the online store for availability, which is fairly slim this week. We will have Tuesday online order pickup at our house and 1911 NCSU delivery on Wednesday. Remember to have your orders placed by Monday evening.

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

Current vegetable availability includes:
Arugula
Kale
Mizuna
Lettuce
Mesclun Lettuce
Scallions
Tatsoi

Eat Well and Be Well,
Ben

Market…
Ben weeding strawberries…

Lettuce in the field…

Ben weeding strawberries…

Heirloom Deer Tongue lettuce…
Charlie Parker, happy to be at the farm…


Market…

Ben and our friend Tarah at the second week of market, being silly…                                                                      

Beets in the field…
Market…

Ben in the light…

Our market stand…

Close up of our cover crop of rye, vetch and clover…

Larger view of the cover crop…

Farmer Tom mowing the cover crop…
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

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

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

Welcome neigbors in Mordecai & Oakwood!


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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
broccoli
cabbage
carrots
chinese cabbage
collards
green onions
kale
lettuce
mixed greens
mustard greens
radishes
spinach
sweet potatoes
swiss chard
tatsoi
turnips

Future winter vegetables will also include:
arugula
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.

Recipe:
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!