June 24th Market & CSA Pick-up #6

I am late getting this blog out because we celebrated Father’s Day by giving Matt a much deserved day off!  He usually works 7 days a week from dawn to dusk so I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to sneak out to the bay and enjoy some beach time with him even if it was just for a day!

I would like to introduce you to our new market helper Katie!  She is a busy mom who prides herself in healthy eating.  She brings me a lot of great ideas and awesome recipes.  I love listening to her tell me how she is cooking our food!  She gets a farm share from us each week.

Katie

I love the magic of summer and watching crops come in to season!  I am very excited to see our tomatoes finally coming in!  We don’t have many, but we are sure to give our CSA members the very first tomatoes!

tomatoOur CSA members will also find Tokyo Bekana in their bags.  This is a big lime green leafy Asian green that tastes like a romaine lettuce and the stems taste like a bok choy! They can be chopped up to make salads, they can be sauteed in stir fries, or they can be used as lettuce wraps, my personal favorite!  CSA members will also receive chadori beets, they are red and white striped on the inside.  We grow these for many of our local chefs.  They prefer them because they don’t bleed as much as the traditional purple ones.  Chefs love to have a pretty plate!

roasted beets

One of our CSA members bought some beets from us last week and made this beautiful dish above. It is salt roasted beet carpaccio with goat cheese and chive oil garnished with our field green leaves.  It is beautiful!

Our CSA members are also receiving kale, tomatoes, field greens, potatoes squash and turnips!  It will be a great week for our CSA members and market visitors.

farm stnd

Each week, I put together a menu to help our CSA members and our customers eat what is in their bag or on our stand.  I find out that so many folks appreciate this, so I am so happy to share what we are eating at the farm with you.

Monday:  Spicy Shrimp Avocado Wraps with Shredded Turnips 
I love a great wrap! I am taking my own liberties to adapt this recipe to what is in your bag.  First of all, I am using the Tokyo Bekana leaves for the wrap and rather than using cabbage, I am shredding a raw turnip!  This can be made in under 30 minutes and is so healthy!

wraps

Picture from the Food Blog Site The Garlic Diaries

Tuesday:  Grilled Chicken and Roasted Beet and Kale Salad with Maple Candied Walnuts

Roasted-Beet-and-Kale-Salad-with-Maple-Candied-Walnuts-600

Picture from the Food Blog Site The Endless Meal

In the summer time, I love a great salad!  I also love the loft that our curly kale has!   It is so easy to whip this salad together!  First prepare your beets and roast them.  While they are roasting, put your chicken out on your grill.  While all of that is cooking, you will whip together the kale salad and the the dressing.  I have to say, I never ever buy dressing any more!  It is so much easier, and cheaper to make it.  It also tastes so much better!  This recipe has my favorite dressing!

  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • minced garlic clove
  • salt and pepper

It is so good!  The recipe calls for goat cheese.  If you come to market, be sure to stop by Goats R Us to get the fresh goat cheese.  Just like with your vegetables, fresh cheese is always so good!  You will use this same dressing on Thursday!

Wednesday:  Roasted Squash and Potatoes with Breaded Pork Chops
I just love breaded pork chops! You can never go wrong with them served beside melt in your mouth squash and roasted potatoes!  While everything is roasting, I cook the chops and dinner is done in 30 minutes.  We get our pork products from Black Boar Farm at market.  I can’t tell you how awesome fresh meat tastes and knowing where your food comes from and how the animals are kept is so important.

Thursday:  Field Green Salad, Raw Shaved Turnips served with Grilled Chicken.
This is an easy salad to make!  If I have any leftover goat cheese or nuts, I use it.  I also use the same dressing I made for the kale salad.  When I make this salad, I look in the fridge for any other leftover and throw them in raw.  Fennel is one of my favorites to put in this salad.

 

Friday:  Burgers on the Grill with French Fries and Grilled Squash
This is another easy meal.  I made this meal last week. The secret to a crisp french fry is to soak them in water for 30 mintues.  While they are soaking, put your burgers together and preheat the oven to 425.

Here is the recipe for the burgers:  In a big bowl, I drop in about 3 pounds of hamburger meat (I make extras for leftovers the next night).  I take two pieces of sandwich bread and remove the crust and cut it in to 1/4 inch pieces and toss it in the bowl along with a splash of low fat milk, salt and pepper to taste, minced garlic, 1 1/2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons of ketchup, and I chop up one of the onions in your bag and add it.  I form them in to patties.  Put them on the grill while the fries are cooking.

After 30 minutes, take the fries out of the water and dry them off.  Toss them on a bowl of olive oil, salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic to taste.  Place them on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil and cooking spray.  Cook for 30 minutes and start the cheese burgers.

The last 15 minutes, cut your squash long ways and brush them with olive oil, and sprinkle salt and pepper on them and grill them along side the burgers,  Put cheese on the burger and serve with a tokyo bekana leaf and a tomato.  Yummm!

So what is coming to market?  We look forward to seeing you at the South of the James Farmer’s Market from 8-12 this Saturday!

  • Garlic
  • Tatsoi
  • Kale
  • Lettuces
  • Radishes
  • Japanese Turnips
  • Chard
  • Baby Arugula
  • Field Greens
  • Kale Salad
  • Spicy Microgreens
  • Kale Microgreens
  • Squash
  • Fennel
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Beets
  • Carrots

We will see you at market from 8-12 each Saturday!

 

June 17th Market & CSA Pick-up #5

I can’t believe this is our 5th CSA pick-up!  I hope you have all enjoyed your food!  I have certainly enjoyed planning my family menu around what will be in your bag!  Providing my family with clean, healthy, unprocessed food is so important to mine and Matt’s health values.  It is so important to us that once we had our child, Matt decided to devote himself to growing full time to ensure our son gets the highest quality ingredients.

tractor

Matt works from dawn to dusk during the growing season.  Most nights, I make him a plate that he heats up and eats when it is dark.  I work full-time as a principal at a local elementary school.  Our son is in to soccer and piano so I am the one that runs him to all he enjoys.  On Saturdays, I am up at 4:00 in the morning helping Matt at market.  It is about a 10 hour day by the time we are done.  We are a busy family, but as busy as we are, I still cook clean, healthy dinners at home every night because it is what my family values.  I know many of you are working the hours that I work and I am hoping that this blog will help you make some home cooked dinners for your families that are easy to manage.

Our garlic is now at the curing stage.  We will cure it in our barn for a few weeks and then bring them back out to market and give to our CSA customers.

Stephen

Meet Stephen, he is our farm intern who is learning from Matt.  He is farming on his own and is helping Matt on the farm, learning from him.  In the above picture, he is helping pull our garlic to take to the barn to cure.  He is a great help and Matt is enjoying working with someone who is eager to learn sustainable farming practices.

CSA members will find these things in their bags this week:  Kennebec Potatoes, Kale, Field Greens, Squash, Fennel, Onions, Bok Choy.

Here is my menu for the week.  It will help you eat EVERYTHING in your bag!

Monday:  Cheese Burgers on the Grill and French Fries.  Start the fries first.  Preheat the oven to 425.  Here is my secret, cut them up in to sticks by chopping off the top and bottom and slice in to fries.  Here is the secret, let them soak in water for 30 minutes, this step removes excess starch from the potatoes and allows them to crisp up in the oven.  After 30 minutes, pull them out of the water and dry them off.  Toss them on a bowl of olive oil, salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic to taste.  Place them on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil and cooking spray.  Cook for 30 minutes and start the cheese burgers.

I do my cheese burgers a little different.  In a big bowl, I drop in about 3 pounds of hamburger meat (I make extras for leftovers the next night).  I take two pieces of sandwich bread and remove the crust and cut it in to 1/4 inch pieces and toss it in the bowl along with a splash of low fat milk, salt and pepper to taste, minced garlic, 1 1/2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons of ketchup, and I chop up one of the onions in your bag and add it.  I form them in to patties.  Put them on the grill while the fries are cooking.

Pull it all together by putting the burgers on a bun, use your field greens and cut another onion up to put on top of your burgers.  It is total YUM and one of our son’s favorites. The boy loves a great burger.  Take the leftover burgers (without the bun) and store them in your fridge for tomorrow night.

Tuesday:  Leftover Burgers and Kale Chips.  Sometimes, you need to make life easy! The burgers are done, so you just need to heat them up for tonight!  Instead of fries, kale chips are a must!  Here is a quick YouTube recipe.  The trick is to make sure they are dry. Our kale is nice and clean, so you don’t have to clean it when you get home.

If you want a recipe for this click here.  Kale chips are a real treat and they taste like chips!  They will go great with your burgers!

Wednesday:  Spring Salad with Fennel and Orange with Grilled Chicken.  This salad recipe is one of my very favorites!  This dinner will take 30 minutes from start to finish. Make your salad while the grill is preheating.   Serve the salad aside grilled chicken and you are done!

Thursday:  Garlicky Shrimp Stir-Fry with Shitakes and Bok Choy.  My favorite food blogger is Gina from Skinnytaste.  I have all of her cookbooks and everything I make from her blog is outstanding.

 

garlicky-shrimp-stir-fry-with-shiitakes-and-bok-choy-8

Picture courtesy of Skinnytaste

This recipe is a healthy 30 minute wonder that your family will love!  I serve it on top of brown rice.  Here is my secret to great rice.  Heat a can of chicken broth to a boil and add a cup of uncooked brown rice.  Let simmer for about 40 minutes while you are prepping your stir fry and it is amazing!  If your pick-up is at market, I highly suggest you get your mushrooms from Steve Haas of HaaShrooms.  He is at market and forages the freshest mushrooms each week to bring to the South of the James Farmer’s Market.  He is just a few booths down from us.

Friday:  Pork Chops with Mushrooms and Shallats and Squash.  As you know, Matt and I are very in to food that is grown sustainably and in humane ways.  Dennis from Black Boar Farm does just this.  We get our pork from him at market each week.  My favorite pork chop recipe is from SkinnyTaste.

pork-chops-mushrooms-and-shallots

Picture courtesy of SkinnyTast

I love pork chops served alongside squash.  In a pan, I heat up about a tablespoon of olive oil and take 2 medium squash and slice them in circles about 1/4 inch thick.  I sauté it until soft (10 to 15 minutes).  I then put it on plates and dress them with fresh chopped parsley, mint, and thyme.  I add salt and pepper to taste.  This easy recipe is healthy and tastes like a million bucks!

So what is coming to market?  We look forward to seeing you at the South of the James Farmer’s Market from 8-12 this Saturday!

  • Green Garlic
  • Tatsoi
  • Kale
  • Lettuces
  • Radishes
  • Japanese Turnips
  • Chard
  • Baby Arugula
  • Field Greens
  • Kale Salad
  • Spicy Microgreens
  • Kale Microgreens
  • Squash
  • Fennel
  • Onions
  • Potatoes

We will see you at market from 8-12 each Saturday!

June 10th Market & CSA Pick-up #4

Yesterday our son and I took our nightly walk before bed time and checked things out around the field.  As he walked by the kale he grabbed a kale leaf and I shot a picture.  I felt a little deja vu.  This morning, I woke up and checked my Time Hop app and found a picture of our son doing the same thing at 4 years old!

It then hit me like a ton of bricks, he was raised this way!  Ever since he could walk, he would go through our field and Matt would kindly show him how to select food at it’s peek perfection.  He used to have so much fun as a small child going to the field and eating whatever he wanted.  At 8 years old he still does.  I can’t tell you the pride that I have in knowing that our child has been raised watching food grow, understanding the importance of taking care of our soil and earth, and enjoying the fruits of Matt’s hard work.  Our son understands high quality food, and most importantly, he EATS HIS VEGETABLES (preferably raw because that is how it was introduced to him)!

This week, our CSA members got real creative!  This first dish was something that I thought with a little effort on Sunday morning, I could make breakfast so easy for a week!  Tatsoi, red bell pepper, & feta egg cups.

fetaeggcups

You can make them ahead, keep them in the fridge and pop them in the microwave or toaster oven for a healthy breakfast!  Here is a simple recipe I found.   For those of you doing the 21 Day Fix, this is a must!

Another member made the very creative fennel and couscous salad!fennelcouscous

He took shaved fennel, sliced some oranges, and radishes and served it over couscous.  He garnished it with feta cheese and the fronds from the fennel.  I haven’t tried it, but it is on my list!  When you have great food, simplicity is always best!

If you are a CSA member, I know you want to know what will be in your bag.  You will have:  red skin potatoes, kohlrabi, turnips, bok choy, field greens, chard, fennel, kale, and squash.

I am most excited about the red skin potatoes!  The potatoes was the first thing we put in the ground in the newly cleared property.  When they popped up they were beautiful!
potatosThey are finally ready to harvest.  Fresh dug potatoes are the very best!  I serve them boiled, roasted, smashed, anyway I make them they are GREAT!

I can’t wait to eat them, so they are the first thing on my weekly menu, so here it goes!

Monday:  Broiled Black Pepper Steak with Smashed Potatoes and Sautéed Squash.  Here is what you do:  First, make the potatoes, boil them in salted water until you can put a for, through them.  Drizzle a cookie sheet with olive oil and place the boiled potatoes on the sheet.  Using a potato masher, slightly mash each potato.  Brush each potato with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary.  Bake at 450 for 10 minutes.  While the potatoes are baking, heat up some olive oil in a pan and chop the squash with some garlic and sauté them.  Push them over to the side of the cookie sheet, and add the top sirloin steak to the pan.  Brush olive oil on the steak and season both sides with salt and pepper.  Switch to broil and broil and broil each side of the steak for 5 minutes along with the potatoes.  This is an easy dinner that everyone will love.

Crash-Hot-Potatoes-420x278

Tuesday:  Tonight I will make my famous Bok Choy Salad.  We aren’t going to cook this bok choi, so if it is wimpy, cut off the bottom and put them in a glass of water for about 30-45 minutes.  They will freshen up nicely and get crisp.  While Matt is grilling the chicken, I will chop up the bok choy, stems and all.  I will then take good ole ramen noodles break them up and toast them.  I will add them to the bok choy and toss them around.  I will open a few fresh mandarin oranges and chop them up (I often will use cuties) and toss them around.  Lastly, make the dressing, it’s easy!  In a mason jar add 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced or grated, 3 cloves garlic, minced, 2 tbsp honey, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 tbsp sesame oil , and
3/4 cup olive oil and give it a shake.  As the chicken breasts are resting toss the salads with the dressing and plate them.  Slice up the chicken breasts and place them on the salad.  I swear it is my favorite salad!  I got this recipe from one of our South of the James customers and it is my summer time favorite!  I can’t eat enough of it!

Wednesday:  Kale Salad with Roasted Turnips and Grilled Chicken.  Yes, we eat a lot of chicken, but it is different in each recipe.  Make this salad a day ahead so the dressing marinates in the kale.  The day you are going to make this, put the kale in water to crisp it up.  When you get home, simply rip the kale in to bite sized pieces removing the stem. Toss in grated parmesan cheese and slivered almonds.  Make the dressing by adding 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, ½ teaspoon garlic, grated, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon pepper to a mason jar and shaking it up.  Toss half of the dressing in the kale salad and let sit over night.  When you go to serve it, you may want the rest of the dressing.  It is so good!  For the turnips, I toss them in olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste and roast them at 400 for about 25 minutes.    This dinner is delicious!

IMG_5973

Picture courtesy of the Garlic Diaries

Thursday:  I am going to make a Shrimp, Shaved Fennel, and Field Green Salad.  It is easy.  I shell the shrimp and cook them in olive oil with a little salt and pepper once they are pink, I put them aside.  I assemble the field greens (I always give them  a nice chop so they fit on the fork nicely) and I use a mandolin slice to slice the fennel.  I make a quick and easy apricot dressing in a mason jar.   I use 1/4 cup apricot preserves, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and give it a shake.  It makes for an easy delicious salad for the end of the week1

Friday:   Salmon with Roasted Kohlrabi and Sautéed Chard.  This is so easy.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Slice the kohlrabi in to bite sized pieces and toss in olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and coat it with cooking spray.  Slice the salmon in 3 inch wide pieces.  Combine a 1/4 cup of honey, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and a tablespoon of dijon mustard and brush on to the salmon.  Bake for about 25 minutes until you can put a fork through the kohlrabi and the salmon is cooked. While the salmon is cooking, heat some olive oil in a pan and chop up the chard. Saute the stems first and then add the leaves.  Remove from heat when the leaves wilt.

I want to thank our CSA members and South of the James customers for inspiring me!  I hope this helps you eat clean and healthy all week with what is in your bag!

So what is coming to market?  We look forward to seeing you at the South of the James Farmer’s Market from 8-12 this Saturday!

  • Green Garlic
  • Tatsoi
  • Kale
  • Lettuces
  • Radishes
  • Japanese Turnips
  • Chard
  • Baby Arugula
  • Field Greens
  • Kale Salad
  • Spicy Microgreens
  • Kale Microgreens
  • Squash
  • Fennel
  • Onions
  • Potatoes

June 3rd Market & CSA Pick-up #3

Last market was the last week sweet Cory will be working with us.  She is taking some time off to have her sweet baby boy due in July.  She is going to be a great momma and I just know she will continue visiting market because her love is fresh food and great recipes!  She gives me so many ideas and always takes plate pictures of her beautiful dishes.  Good luck, Cory and enjoy this time, rest, and take care of yourself.

CoreyOur CSA members made some awesome recipes last week!  Here is a sample of their yummy food!  I get great ideas from them and watching what they do truly inspires me and makes Matt feel awesome.  To know that our food not only nourishes their family’s bodies  but also brings families together is what we are all about!

This dish is meat served on top of roasted radishes and tatsoi.  It looks beyond fabulous and has inspired me to make something similar (you will see my version below).

Another tip!  Matt is the king of leafy greens!  His kale is the best I have ever had.  I literally eat kale every day in the growing season!  I also love his tatsoi!  Tatsoi is a leafy green that tastes just like spinach without the bitter after taste you often find in spinach. If you leave them sitting in your refrigerator, they often get wimpy.  About 3 years ago, I figured out the answer, cut off about a half inch of the stems and place these greens in beautiful jars filled with water and leave them on your counter.  They almost look like fresh flowers.  I gave out this tip on Facebook and one of my very creative CSA members jazzed hers up and placed her kale in a mason jar wrapped with a beautiful ribbon!

KaleinaJarSo, if you are wondering what our CSA members will be getting in their bags here it is:  Squash, kale, micro greens, fennel, chard, arugula, green garlic, and kohlrabi!!!  I am sure at the end of the week, Matt will give you all another surprise as things ripen up.

Here is my weekly meal plan:

Monday:  I am going to copy Cory (our market helper) and make her arugula pesto dish and serve it with ribbon noodles with shrimp as a protein.  It will be so easy, while the pasta is cooking I can whiz up the arugula pesto!  I bet I can pull this dish together in 20 minutes and it will be oh so healthy!  Pestos are so easy and truly give a flavorful punch.  To make arugula pesto, you just need about 2 handfuls of arugula, 1/2 a cup of walnuts, 1/2 a cup of fresh parmesan cheese, 1/2 a cup of good olive oil, 6 garlic cloves, and a pinch of salt to taste.  Whiz it all up in a food processor or blender and there it is.  When you cook your pasta, save out a cup of pasta water, drain your pasta, put it back in the pot, pour a cup of pasta water in and mix in the arugula pesto!  BAM…..Fast, Easy and sooooooo good!

arugulapesto

Tuesday:  Mini meatloaves with roasted fennel and chard (I stole this idea from one of our CSA members!  I truly appreciate folks who share recipes with me!). So here is my secret, my family loves these mini meatloaves and they are so easy so I make 2 nights worth.  I take an onion and some green garlic and sauté them in olive oil until they are soft.  I then mix the sautéed onion and green garlic, one package of lean ground turkey, an egg, 2/3 of a cup of bread crumbs, 1/2 tablespoon of dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon of oregano, salt and pepper to taste, 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, and about 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese grated.  Now for the surprise……I cut some white cheddar cheese in to about 24 cubes.  When I make the meatloaves in to balls, I put in two to three cubes of the white cheddar cheese for a special surprise!  I then pour ketchup on top (not fancy, but I have an 8 year old) and I cook these little loaves for about 30 minutes at 350.

While they are cooking, I am chopping up up the fennel and and half the chard.  I toss the fennel and chard stalks in olive oil and add some salt and pepper.  I pump up the oven to 450 and on a sheet pan, I place the fennel and chard stalks.  I roast them for 10 minutes.  While they are roasting I am chopping up the chard leaves in to bite sized pieces and I toss them in olive oil, salt, and pepper.  I pull out the roasted fennel and chard stalks and add the chard leaves to the top and roast them for an additional 10 minutes.

I serve the meatloaves with the micro greens on top and the whole meal is delicious and filling!

Wednesday:  My family loves the baby meatloaves so much, I make a double batch and serve the second half the next day!  It makes dinner EASY!  This time, I will cut the baby squash in medallions and sauté them in olive oil.  First I will heat up the olive oil in a pan along with some green garlic.  I will then add the squash and let it cook long enough that is cooked but not mushy.  I pull that off and then throw in the remaining chard stalks until they are soft and then I will wilt the chard in the pan.  A little work on Tuesday will make Wednesday so easy!  As a working mom, I look for ways to feed my family healthy meals in a reasonable amount of time.

Thursday:  It is time to have fun with that kolrabi!  Yes, I broke down and bought a spiralizer and I love it!  I am looking forward to getting a lot of use out of it this summer.  I found this great recipe for kohlrabi and arugula salad!  Use the rest of your arugula and one of the kohlrabis to make this.  This recipe is delicious!  I serve it along side a grilled chicken breast to make sure we get enough protein.  With the hard work Matt does in the field and a growing boy, they really need it!  (Yes, I stole the plate picture from the recipe website.)

Friday: Our Fridays are usually market prep days so I have to work fast.  I will take a flank steak and serve it along side a roasted kohlrabi.   Preheat the oven to 400.  In a ziplock bag, I will whisk together 1/2 cup of soy sauce, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1 1/2 tablespoons of honey, a teaspoon of dried ginger, and a teaspoon of garlic powder.  I will place the meat the meat in the refrigerator and let it marinate for 30 minutes (you can even do this the night prior or in the morning before you go to work).  I will  then cut the remaining kohlrabi in to bite sized chunks.  I will toss it in olive oil and salt and pepper.  Line your sheet pan with aluminum foil and will spray some non-stick spray on it.  Put the kohlrabi in the oven for about 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, move the kohlrabi to the sides of the pan and place the steak on the sheet pan.  Set oven to broil and broil for about 6 minutes on one side and 6 minutes on the other side.  Watch it carefully to make sure it cooks to your preference.  Let the steak rest for about 5 minutes and serve it with the kohlrabi and some greens.  I loved the arugula pesto so much, I whipped up a a batch and put it on my steak.  Out of this world!

So what is coming to market?  We look forward to seeing you.  Rainy markets are always the best, no lines and great food choices!

  • Green Garlic
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Tatsoi
  • Kale
  • Lettuces
  • Radishes
  • Japanese Turnips
  • Chard
  • Strawberries
  • Baby Arugula
  • Field Greens
  • Kale Salad
  • Spicy Microgreens
  • Arugula Microgreens
  • Kale Microgreens
  • Squash
  • Fennel

May 27th Memorial Day Market & CSA Pick-up #2!

May 20th was the very first CSA pick-up and the very first time we have ever done a CSA. We would like to thank our members for supporting us!  We were sure to pack them extra special bags.

Each member’s bag was filled to the rim with Black Creek Farm’s very best! A couple of our CSA members were so excited, they couldn’t wait to post the pictures of their food!

These pictures were taken by two different CSA members!  One member pulled out her food and displayed it gorgeously!  She is a friend of mine, and I am telling you, that is her talent!  Another member used to be a chef in a restaurant and whipped up this awesome salad for his wife and kids!  We love our members and love the pictures they take of our food in their kitchens!  Matt and I both work so hard to provide high quality food, to see folks love our food so much they post pictures makes us very happy!

Memorial Day Market it one of our favorites!  It is the kick-off to summer cook-outs and celebrations!  We will be sending our very best to market to help you with your celebrations.  We are looking forward to seeing you there!

Our CSA folks will receive a bag full of our best goodies!  In your bag, you will find our field green mix which the same field greens served at Rappahanock Restaurant and Juleps in Richmond!  You will also find our Japanese turnips, spicy microgreens, radishes, tatsoi, kale, and green garlic.  I am sure as Matt is packing your bags, he will add another surprise for you!  Since I want to get this blog out to you early and harvest is less than a week away, we are not sure what is going to be at its best to harvest until that magical day!

Here are some recipes to help you out with what is in your CSA bag or what our non-CSA customers would like to purchase from us at market.

First of all, let’s talk about BREAKFAST!  Matt is the master of kale, and I seriously eat it every day in my smoothies.  I drink one on the way to work each morning as my breakfast!  Yes, I even eat greens in the morning!

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It is so easy!  I use a Ninja Blender that has a single serve attachment to it.  I put in about 2 leaves of kale ripped up (I don’t use the stem), about 3/4 of a cup of frozen blueberries, a banana, a tablespoon of peanut butter (the protein will keep you energized), a spoonful of chia seeds, a cup of unsweetened almond milk, and a half a cup of ice.  It s so good!  I know many of you may use some protein powders like Beachbody.  I have tried the Beachbody Vanilla and it works nicely in these smoothies.  Of course, you can eat it just the way it is still awesome.

KaleField

Matt’s kale field is absolutely beautiful!  Kale is considered a power food so I find ways to incorporate it in my diet daily!

So that’s breakfast!  I also like to make a power LUNCH (This is also a quick and easy dinner, I like to serve it with naan bread triangles (Indian flat bread you can get in the bakery section of any grocery store).  Since I am a principal by day with lots of evening events, I usually use my Sunday’s to prep my lunches.  So I am making a Quinoa, Garbanzo Bean, and Spicy Microgreen salad for my lunches.  It is so easy, first I boil a can of chicken broth and add a cup of quinoa to it.  I let it sit for about 20 minutes and then when the liquid is absorbed, I put it in a bowl to let it cool to room temperature. Once it is cooled, I mix in a can of drained chickpeas, a tub of spicy microgreens, I then take some crumbled up feta (the best feta ever is at market and is made by Goats R Us Cheese), they are literally right across from us at market), cheery tomatoes halved and mix them up.  I then make a dressing of 1/4 cup of good olive oil, 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper.  I mix it all up and put them in my lunch containers.  It is so easy!   You can actually add any veggis you would like to this mix.  I also added some strawberries and a nonfat plain greek yogurt that I added some honey to.

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So, CSA folks, we have used your kale and microgreens.  You also have my very favorite tatsoi in your bag!  Last week, I told you to cook it, this week I am telling you to chop it up and serve it like a salad stems and all!  Grill some chicken breasts and slice them nicely and place them on the tatsoi, take some crumbled goat cheese (Goats R Us Cheese has the best!) and slice up some of those awesome radishes and place them on top.  I prefer homemade dressings.  With this dish, you want simplicity so take 3 tablespoons of golden balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons of good olive oil, a tablespoon of chopped green garlic, a teaspoon of honey,  a teaspoon of water, a dash of kosher salt and pepper to taste and put it all in a mason jar and give it a shake!  Serve it with your salad.  You will love it!

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Unfortunately, last week the Japanese Turnips weren’t quite ready to bring to market or to put in the CSA bags.  They are coming this week!  I love them roasted!  Just quarter them and toss them in olive oil and salt and pepper and roast them at about 400 for about 30 minutes.  This time of year, the tops are wonderful so don’t waste them!  Heat up some olive oil and some chopped up green garlic and then chop up the turnip leaves and sauté  them until they wilt.  They will wilt quickly.  Serve them with some fresh baked flounder and you have a wonderfully healthy dinner!

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So, what’s coming to Memorial Day Market?

  • Green Garlic
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Tatsoi
  • Kale
  • Lettuces
  • Radishes
  • Japanese Turnips
  • Chard
  • Strawberries
  • Baby Arugula
  • Field Greens
  • Kale Salad
  • Spicy Microgreens
  • Arugula Microgreens

May 20th Market and First CSA Pickup!!

I had a great Mother’s Day this past Sunday.  It started with a beautiful morning walk and ended with a nice lunch from our farm at our farm.  The kids went and picked strawberries and I made strawberry short cakes for dessert.  Our fresh strawberries are so very sweet and juicy!  Nothing like what you get in the store.  As usual, we only use certified organic fertilizers on our food to ensure it’s health.

Here is a picture of my mom, sister, and the kids!  They had a great time picking the strawberries and I felt so blessed that I was able to provide the very best to the women who are so important to me.

I promised our CSA members a meal plan so they can eat like the farmer’s family, so here goes!  I will do my best to provide you with my favorite recipes.  After 9 years of eating this way, I have a few up my sleeve.  You will get all the vegis you need for these yummy recipes!  I hope you enjoy your first bag!

Monday:  Grilled chicken on top of our field green salad.  I am topping the salad with crumbled feta cheese and strawberries.  I have this homemade dressing that I make.  I mix it in a mason jar and serve it up.  Here is the salad recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of good olive oil
  • a teaspoon of minced shallots a tablespoon of honey

Pour it all in a mason jar and give it a shake.

This week, I prepped my lunches with this recipe.  All I have to do is pull out a salad and take it to work.  This is an easy option!

Salads

Tuesday:  Pan seared lemon pepper salmon with roasted Japanese Turnips and sautéed Tatsoi.

Prep the Japanese Turnips by cutting them in quarters and tossing them in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes.  Let this cook while you are cooking the searing salmon and roasting the turnips.

Tatsoi is one of my favorite greens.  It tastes like spinach but has stems like bok choi.  Yep, you can eat the stems!  I love it raw or cooked.  To sauté the tatsoi, just put a little olive oil the bottom of your pan and saute some of the spring garlic in your bag.  Add the stems of the tatsoi first give it a few and then add the leaves.  Squeeze a lemon on top.

Wednesday:  PF Chang Copy Cat Lettuce Wraps!  In your bag you will be getting a green called Tokyo Bekana.  It is a great leafy green that tastes very much like a loose leaf romaine lettuce.  It is tasty and crisp and delicious!

Tokyo Bakana

Damn Delicious is one of my favorite recipe bloggers.  Everything I make from her turns out great!  Here is her recipe for her Copy Cat PF Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps.  It is a family favorite.

Thursday:  Marinated Kale Salad with top sirloin steak grilled with roasted radishes.

Friday:  Swiss Chard with Chickpeas and Couscous.  This is a super healthy recipe and is so delicious.  It is so healthy!  Did you know that Swiss Chard is a super food?  One cup of cooked swiss chard provides approximately 716% of vitamin K needs, 214% of vitamin A, 53% of vitamin C, 38% of magnesium, 29% of manganese, 27% of potassium, 22% of iron, 17% of vitamin E.  You can’t go wrong with this beautiful green!

So, what’s coming to market next week?

  • Green Onions
  • Green Garlic
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Tatsoi
  • Kale
  • Lettuces
  • Radishes
  • Japanese Turnips
  • Chard
  • Strawberries
  • Baby Arugula
  • Field Greens
  • Kale Salad
  • Spicy Microgreens
  • Arugula Microgreens

May 13th Mother’s Day Market

Mother’s day is a great day on the farm.  This year, we plan on celebrating Mother’s Day here!  It will be awesome to have the kids on the farm picking strawberries for strawberry short cake, fishing in the pond, and catching turtles.  I found this awesome recipe from my favorite recipe blogger, Skinnytaste:

I have made this for my lunches this week and will make it for our Mother’s Day field lunch!  I am using Matt’s awesome field greens and our strawberries!  At market, we did a trade with Sullivan’s Farm and I got some of their awesome Bonnyclabber Cheese.  I rolled their goat cheese into balls and rolled them through dried cranberries and chopped almonds.  It turned out delicious!

Mother's Day Salad

My lunches for the week and my Mother’s Day Salad!

The best part of fresh food is awesome eating!  I will serve this alongside a homemade chicken salad.  After lunch, we will send the kids out to the field to pick strawberries and make strawberry short cake on the spot!  It will be an easy celebration!

We are bringing green garlic to market.  We are proud that Rappahannock Restaurant serves Black Creek Farm Green Garlic Soup!  It is delicious and we are so honored that they use our produce at their restaurant.

green garlic

Green garlic is very young garlic with a mild garlic flavor.  It is only in season for a few short weeks.  There is so much you can do with it!  The immature garlic bulbs and edible green stalks have an amazing nutty-oniony flavor that is great fresh or cooked. Substitute green garlic in recipes for onions, scallions or leeks. The young, tender cloves don’t need to be peeled before chopping. Slice and use in potato salad or mince and stir into salad dressings. Toss some in a stir-fry, on a pizza, or in soups. The light garlicky flavor enhances dishes without overpowering. One stalk and bulb of spring garlic is equivalent to a small onion, or a leek and one clove of mature garlic.

Another thing that is coming in season VERY early is garlic scapes!  We will begin to bring them next week.  Listen to Farmer Matt talk about this year’s garlic crop:

 

Garlic scapes are the flower of a garlic!  We pull them at their tenderest stage.  I love to grill them, tbey have a nice garlic flavor.  I also love to make garlic scape pesto! It is so easy.  I take a 1/4 cup of pine nuts, 3/4 cup of coarsely chopped garlic scapes, juice and zest of one lemon, salt and pepper to taste, a 1/2 cup of good extra virgin olive oil, and a 1/4 cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.  I toast the pine nuts until they are brown.  Then I combine the rest of the ingredients in to a food processor and pulse it until combined.  You can freeze this for later!  I mix it in my pasta dishes, put on cottage bread from Norwood Cottage, and spread it on chicken breasts before I bake them.  It is AMAZING!  We will only have them a short time and this year they are early so be sure to try them out.

So, what’s coming to market next week?

  • Green Onions
  • Green Garlic
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Tatsoi
  • Lettuces
  • Radishes
  • Japanese Turnips
  • Chard
  • Strawberries
  • Baby Arugula
  • Field Greens
  • Kale Salad
  • Spicy Microgreens
  • Arugula Microgreens

Opening Season May 6th!

We have been working since January for this big day!  Opening day at South of the James Farmer’s Market!  We will be there this Saturday, May 6th from 8:00-12:00.  This is also the first year we are offering CSA Memberships.  We have a few slots left and will be accepting memberships through May 15th.  Matt grows beautiful produce so don’t miss out on a great culinary experience!  If you aren’t sure what to do with the food in your bag, have no worries, I will help you!

One of the great things about living on a farm is going field shopping on Sundays.  It is on these early morning walks that I look at what will be coming to market the next.  I also begin thinking about my weekly menu that I will be sharing on this page.  When I went for my morning walk, I came across some beautiful baby arugula and had to harvest it.ArugulaMatt’s arugula is my very favorite thing he grows.  He grows it the entire season!  The nutty and peppery flavor is bold and wonderful!  I then began to get excited about my lunches!  Many of you know, I am a principal at a local elementary school.  Between that, the farm, and raising an active child, we are busy.  In order to eat healthy, we have to plan everything out!  So I planned my lunches! LunchesI decided to make Greek Quinoa Salads.  It is really so easy.  I cooked up two cups of quinoa, it is more than I really need.  My secret is cooking the quinoa in chicken broth.  It makes the quinoa so flavorful.  Then I halved olives and cherry tomatoes.  I chopped up a red pepper, a green pepper, and a cucumber and tossed it around with about 4 heaping handfuls of arugula and a container of feta cheese.  Once the quinoa cooled in the refrigerator, I tossed that in with the vegetables.  I then made up a super simple dressing.  I used 1/4 cup of good olive oil, 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and some salt and pepper.  I tossed it all together and put it in my lunch containers.  I also added some hummus as a protein snack that I will dip with carrots and celery and our fresh strawberries paired with grapes.  Making lunches on Sundays ensures that I am eating super healthy and clean!  It truly makes you feel so great!

We are very thankful to Rappahannock Seafood Company.  Unfortunately, their restaurant, a local Richmond favorite, caught on fire.  As they were waiting for the restaurant to be repaired from the fire damage, their chef’s and wait staff volunteered at our farm!

We were thankful for their help!  As soon as they reopened they made sure to grab some goodies for their restaurant!  We are so happy to be providing such great chefs our ultra fresh produce. Rapp OrderBe sure to stop by and try their amazing food!  Tell them Black Creek Farm sent you!  We will be bringing the same goodies to marketnrxt Saturday.  Freshly harvested food certainly makes all the difference in the world!

So, what’s coming to market next week?

  • Green Onions
  • Green Garlic
  • Tatsoi
  • Lettuces
  • Radishes
  • Turnips
  • Chard
  • Strawberries
  • Baby Arugula
  • Field Greens
  • Kale Salad
  • Spicy Microgreens
  • Arugula Microgreens

See you at the South of the James Farmer’s Market, Saturday, May 6th from 8:00-12:00.  Eat fresh, eat clean, support your local farmer!

The growing season is well under way!

We start all of our plants from seed.  We begin planting in early February and by this time of year our greenhouse is bumping!  I love this time of year the very most because at this time, I see the potential of our upcoming season.  I have to say, this season will be our best yet!

Matt has been burning the midnight oil, but his work has been well worthwhile! We are going to have a bumper season and with the added cleared field he worked on this summer, we will be able to increase our production!

collageplanting

Here you can see Matt and I working together to pot up our pepper and tomato plants. They are growing so heathy this year!  We are planting in waves so in the height of summer, they can keep rolling in!

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We are ready to put our kale and broccoli in the ground!  We will be able to offer Kale at market every week and I have some great recipes including kale salad in a mason jar!  I can’t wait to share them with you!  Nothing is sweeter than our fresh kale!  We are already planting our ginger and this fall promises fresh baby ginger!  A great season ahead for sure!

Black Creek Farm has a great reputation and the number of folks who have signed up for our  fist time offer of a CSA makes us feel so proud.  We do have some CSA spots left, if you are interested, you can sign up here.  Even if you don’t sign up for our CSA we look forward to serving you at South of the James Farmer’s Market as well as at several local restaurants.

 

 

The Start of the Growing Season

Our growing season actually starts in winter!  We begin before January looking through seed catalogs and planning out our beds and rotations.  We then settle on what we will grow and place our orders.  Farmer Matt is careful to purchase seeds that are not treated with harmful  fungicides or insecticides.  From there, he pulls soil samples from his beds and sends them off to a lab to see what he needs to amend his soil with to ensure he is growing in nutrient rich beds.  Healthy soil grows healthy and nutritious food!

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Come February, Farmer Matt is in the greenhouse starting his plants.  As soon as the threat of frost has passed, these are the plants that find a home in our field.  We heat our greenhouse with propane, this year we also added a wood stove to reduce our need of fossil fuels.  It was purchased used and we have worked hard to retrofit it work in our greenhouse.  We work each night filling seedling flats with certified organic potting soil and water them several times throughout the day while ensuring the temperature in the greenhouse is perfect for germination and growing these tender plants.

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Last year, we purchased more land across from our field.  This land will double our growing space and will allow us to put in some additional greenhouses to extend our growing season into the colder months.  We started clearing the land last October, and we are now trying to get some new beds prepared for this upcoming season.  We are very excited about our new investment in the farm and are hoping to be able to grow more good food for the kind folks in the Richmond area.

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This picture was taken in early winter.  To the right you see our field, to the left you see our new growing space.

This land opening up will allow us to start our very first CSA.  This year we will be offering limited farm share memberships.  A CSA is a Community Supported Agriculture and is a membership subscription service where by committing with us at the beginning of the growing season, you share the rewards and risks of our farm.   By doing this, you are helping us to have a successful year.  Since you will be helping us early, we will do our best to give you added value each week as a reward.  As a member of our CSA you will have direct access to the very best food we grow, the same food we feed our family.  Also, when you visit us at the South of the James Farmer’s Market, you will also receive 10% off of additional purchases at our farm stand.  Each week you can expect to find 7-10 types of high quality produce in your bag.

Our family is very proud and excited to be offering memberships this year.   Just today, our son helped us pass out CSA brochures in our neighborhood.  He was so proud to share the news of our farm.  To find out more about CSA Memberships, please click here.

Also, we are still looking for farm help.  We are hoping to find 2 full time interns.  If you know someone who wants to learn from a very innovative farmer, we are offering internships and housing if housing is needed.  If you know someone interested, please share this site with them.  We look forward to serving you as a CSA member or your visit to us at South of the James Farmer’s Market.