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.
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
30 days
60 days

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!
Benjamin Shields & Patricia Parker

food, online store, recipe ideas, vegetables

December Recipes

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Here are a few recipes you can use with our vegetables…

Southern greens


  • 1 to 2 bunches of greens — collards, kale, mustard, turnip, etc.
  • 1 chopped onion
  • Splash vegetable oil
  • Splash apple cider vinegar
  • 1 or 2 hot chile peppers, seeded and minced, optional
  • Bunch of cooked bacon or smoked pork
  • seasoned salt and ground black pepper or seasoned pepper


Tear the greens into large pieces. Wash the greens well in a sink full of cold water, lifting greens out and letting grit stay on bottom of sink. Drain sink, change water and wash again; repeat washings until there is no grit on the greens. Cut away tough stems; roll large leaves and cut in strips or chop.

In a large kettle, sautee onions until translucent, then add 2 cups water, oil, vinegar and chile pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Gradually stir in the greens, allowing each batch to wilt before adding more geens. Put bacon or smoked meat in greens. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour if using collards. Cook for less time when using other greens, to your taste. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the greens to a serving dish; serve hot. Serve with cornbread.

Penne Pasta with Spinach and Bacon


  • 1 (12 ounce) package penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the penne pasta, and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place bacon in the skillet, and cook until browned and crisp. Add garlic, and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook until heated through.
  3. Place the spinach into a colander, and drain the hot pasta over it so it is wilted. Transfer to a large serving bowl, and toss with the remaining olive oil, and the bacon and tomato mixture.

Stir-Fried Kale and Broccoli Florets


  • 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 7 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 chile pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 1 head fresh broccoli, chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut in thin strips
  • juice of 2 limes
  • salt


  1. Heat olive oil in a large wok or skillet over high heat. Stir in garlic and chile pepper; cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in broccoli; cook 1 minute. Add kale, and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes. Pour in lime juice, and season with salt to taste. Toss well.

Potato Turnip Mash-up


  • 2 large turnips, cubed
  • 3 white potatoes, cubed
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. Place turnip and potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover, and bring to a boil. Cook 25 to 30 minutes, until tender. Remove from heat, and drain.
  2. Mix milk and 2 tablespoons butter with the turnip and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Mash until slightly lumpy.
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!