planting party

farm potluck, In Good Heart, onions, planting party

In Good Heart Farm Planting Party & Potluck Sunday, March 11th


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Join us for our second annual Onion Planting Party & Potluck! We have about 1,500 onion plants to get into the soil so we can enjoy those tasty red candy apple, candy, and red creole alliums in the months to come. We’ll spend a couple hours getting those tasty treats in the ground and then we’ll feast outside with the fruits of our labor in view.

In the interest of the environment, please bring your own “table” (e.g., plate, utensils, glass/cup, etc.). We will provide a main dish and a colorful salad straight from the garden and we encourage you to bring your favorite treat (e.g., appetizer, side item, desert) if you’d like.

You are welcome to bring children, friends & family! The more the, the merrier!

Hosts: Ben Shields & Patricia Parker
Phone: 919-800-8898
When: Sunday, March 11th – planting (noon-2pm), feasting (2pm-5pm)
Where: In Good Heart Farm 1000 McLemore Road Clayton, NC 27520
*** In the event of bad weather, we will re-schedule the planting party for Sunday, March 18th. 

RSVP: Please send us your name & email address (to BensProduceNC@gmail.com) if you would like to spend a Sunday afternoon on the farm planting onions with us, eating good food, & enjoying good company.

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cabbage, chinese cabbage, eggplant, peppers, planting party, seedlings, summer squash, tat soi, tomatoes

Seedlings Galore!


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Howdy do, folks?! It’s been busy as can be out here at the farm. Ben and I have been making soil blocks, seeding flats, planting seedlings and direct seeding root veggies. Of course, that also means Ben’s been prepping a whole heck of a lot of ground to get it ready so we can plant. I also finally tried my hand at the tiller to till up soil for our newest edition – the flower garden (so pumped!!!).

We’ve had lots of folks stop by since our last planting party to help us out on the farm in one way or another. Beth and the kids have been keeping up with the chickens (the kids LOVE gathering the eggs each morning), our neighbors Andy, Amanda and Duffie have been by to give us furniture (they got a new set) and keep us company, our friend Craig has been dropping off quite a lot of flower bulbs from his garden, Kevin came out to help Ben pot up some of the summer seedlings, and David came out to help Ben and I plant more potatoes (they’re all in!!!) and weed and mulch some. Whew! I think that’s everyone, but please don’t be mad at me if I forgot to mention you.

As you know from our previous post, we’re having a planting party this Sunday the 10th from 1-5pm. We’ve had a few folks email us to let us know they’ll be stopping by to pitch in a hand and have a picnic with us too. Please come out if you’re interested! Many hands make light work! It’s true!

Alrighty. I just wanted to let y’all know we’re gearing up (and have been for quite a while) for a fantastic season and I thought I’d show you some of the seedlings that we’ll be planting in the next couple of weeks or so. Just to warn you, these pictures aren’t very diverse. They’re mostly pictures of a number of different varieties of the same veggies (e.g., multiple varieties of tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, eggplant, squash, brassicas more generally, etc.) – but I thought it might help to demonstrate what we’re doing out here if I bombard y’all with some pictures of everything. Plus, you’ll be able to see the crazy awesome varieties we’re planting this year (and these pictures are not really representative – there’s even more to come!).

Okay. I guess I’ll get to it then. We hope to see you Sunday. And we hope you enjoy the pictures!



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. 

green onions, lettuce, planting party, scallions, Spring, Sunday, sweet potatoes

Planting Party This Sunday, the First Day of SPRING!


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Hello all! We are having folks out to the farm this Sunday. We’ll be getting started around 1pm. We’ll be planting onions, scallions, and lettuce. Since our taters didn’t get in until a couple of days ago, the seed isn’t ready. However, if we have enough folks out here, we’ll also be cutting our seed potatoes to get them started and ready for next week. Please come out and join us. The more folks we have out here to work, the less it will feel like work and the sooner we’ll be finished and ready to socialize – and most importantly, eat yummy food! We’ll likely be making a vegetarian chili and salad.

If you do plan on coming out, there are a few things you might (but don’t have to) bring with you:
– chairs (for hanging out and eating)
– water bottle/container
– sunscreen
– hat
– good comfy shoes (and wear work clothes)

For directions, click here.

Here are a couple pictures of our friends helping us plant onions last week.