Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Twentieth Pick Up Is Today 11.3.2009

Hello Everyone,

Well this is it- the last pick up of the first CSA season for Cold Water Creek Farms. Congratulations. You just spent all summer and most of autumn eating local vegetables and helping to support three people working to grow great tasting food for you in a more sustainable manner. We've had some bumps along the way of course but I'm going to stamp it a success. And I'm going to finish up this last email so I can go and cut lettuce for the half share members and maybe help stretch plastic over the high tunnel. Truth is, this really isn't the end. Speaking of ends...

Loose Ends ::

Hopefully you will bring last week's container to the pick up this afternoon. You'll probably leave with a container that needs to be returned to Cold Water Creek Farms. Or you can bring your own container or bag and transfer this week's vegetables like Colleen and Sue do. If you are coming to the end-of-season dinner this Saturday evening you can return your last container at that time. If not, you can drop it off at the farm some time next week. Click here for directions. If you don't return it, we will dream up some terrible fate for you. I'd dream one up right now but I seem to have misplaced my creative cap. I'm already thinking about my upcoming break. Seriously though, bring your containers back. If you're not going to get by the farm soon send me an email and we'll work something out. Most of you live close to my house. Email me by just clicking here.

More Food Please:
For everyone who gets this email you should know that we will continue to have food for sale through the fall and winter. An email will go out from Brad or Eric at the beginning of each week with a list of what will be available. Then those of you interested can stop by the farm on Tuesday and buy whatever it is you want. If you like collards you can by 1 bunch or you can buy 20. Or you can buy apples. Or you can buy nothing at all. Look for those emails starting next week. This is open to everyone, not just CSA members.

Next Year: Speaking of non-CSA members, many of you have been patiently following along with us, following our progress all year and are asking yourself, "Are we ever going to get our chance to participate?" Meanwhile, current CSA members have been asking, "When will Cold Water Creek Farms get started next year?" The answers to these and all your questions regarding next season will be answered in early January 2010. We will ask existing CSA members if they'd like to return and then we'll be asking for new members to join. We'll be expanding and I doubt if we can't find room for everyone so hold tight, more info on next year's CSA program is forthcoming.

Surveys: Please return a copy of your survey so we can do an even better job next year. If you didn't get one or if yours was soggy there is a copy at the end of this post. There are two pages.

Speaking of the future, I have a little bad news. The main harvest of sweet potatoes isn't finished curing and probably won't be done in time for this last pick up. This is a bummer for everybody because not only will you probably not get sweet potatoes for your last pick up but very shortly, we're going to be stuck with a lot of sweet potatoes. Keep us in mind over the next few weeks if you need sweet potatoes, especially for the holidays. If you're planning a Thanksgiving dish of sweet potato casserole you can do it with local sweet potatoes, you'll just have to come see us in a few weeks out at the farm.

The same thing almost happened to the broccoli because of all these cloudy days. We have lots of broccoli planted and we were worried that it might not be ready for this last pick up but everyone will get some broccoli this week! We just made it- yesterday's sun actually made it happen. Please enjoy.

This week some combination of:

Baby Pac Choi
Swiss Chard

Well that's it. Thank you, thank you, thank you. This has been fun. Let's do it again.


You know, when you farm,
Your hands are dirty at the end of the day,
But your hands are clean.

- Clayton Brascoupe


Pac Choi, Carrot, and Apple Slaw

3 heads baby pac choi
1 t. coarse salt (divided)
1 apple, peeled and cut into matchstick pieces
1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchstick pieces
1 ½ T fresh lemon juice
½ t. freshly grated ginger
1 ½ t canola oil pepper

Cut pac choi stems in half lengthwise. Cut stem off as well as any bruised leafy tops. Rinse each half thoroughly to remove grit. Slice each half crosswise into thin strips. Place all in a colander. Rinse lightly and shake until most of the water has drained. Coat top with ½ tsp. salt, and cover with a plate that fits inside the colander. Place a can of food on top of the plate to weigh it down. Meanwhile place apple and carrot matchstick pieces in a medium bowl. Add lemon juice, canola oil and ginger. Add pac choi to the bowl with the apple and carrot. Add ½ t. coarse salt and some freshly grated pepper to taste. Stir and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before serving. Comments: I’m sorry to say we haven’t had a chance to test recipes yet this year. However, this one comes on good recommendation, and I’m intrigued by it. First of all, it’s very simple to prepare – a priority for us lazy cooks. It is also a cold dish and, while my tastes don’t naturally gravitate toward cold dishes, I think this one might work. For one thing, carrots and apples are good uncooked, and I think the sweetness of both of those would complement the slight bitterness of the pac choi. Ginger sounds fine (and you could use ½ t. of powdered ginger if you don’t have fresh), but you could probably play around with the herbs and spices a little bit. I might also want to try lightly cooking the vegetables in a pan beforehand, just to tenderize them. The recipe also isn’t very clear on what to do with the leaves. It also doesn’t say how long the pac choi strips should be. Seems like a whole stem would be too long, so you could cut them into matchstick pieces the same size as the carrots and apples, and tear up the leaves before adding them.

Pac-Choi Soup

1 pac-choi (or two baby)
2tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 large potato, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1” piece of ginger root, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock (I used homemade turkey stock)
1 can coconut milk
1 tbsp thai fish sauce
½ cup fresh coriander leaves

Wash the pac-choi and separate the leaves from the stalks. Tear the leaves into pieces and cut the stalks into 1” squares.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and cook the onions until soft.
Add the potato and carrot and cook for a few minutes.
Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a few more minutes.
Add the stock and coconut milk and bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for about 10-15 mins.
Add the fish sauce, coriander leaves and pac-choi leaves and let simmer for another 10-15 mins or until everything is nicely cooked.
At this stage I used a steamer basket containing the pac-choi stalks, suspended over the soup mix and covered the pan. I steamed the stalks, over the soup, for about 10-15 minutes until they were slightly soft, but still had a bit of crunch to them. Alternatively, you could steam the stalks separately, or stir-fry them, or cook them for a few minutes in the microwave until tender.

Blend the soup mix (not the pac-choi stalks) in a liquidizer until smooth.

Add the pac-choi stalks to the soup.

Steamed Broccoli (just trying to be thorough)


1 bunch of broccoli

Method: Many options here
Olive oil, butter, flax seed oil, or mayonnaise
Lemon zest or juice, balsamic vinegar
Toasted almonds, toasted sesame seeds


Rinse out well your broccoli, and break into large, bite-sized florets. Cut off the stem and peel off the thick skin around the stem. Quarter or halve the stem lengthwise.

Bring 3/4 to 1 inch of water to a boil in a saucepan with a steamer. (Note that is you don't have a steamer, you can simply put the broccoli directly into an inch of boiling water.) Add the broccoli to the steamer and cover; reduce heat to medium and let cook for 6-7 minutes. The broccoli is done when you can pierce it with a fork. But be careful not to overcook the broccoli. As soon as it is pierce-able, remove from heat, place in serving dish.

Dress to taste with butter, olive oil, flax seed oil, mayonnaise, lemon zest or juice, balsamic vinegar, toasted almonds, or sesame seeds.

Serves 2-4, depending on how much broccoli people like to eat.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

CSA Update :: Rain, Satisfaction Surveys and a Request for Help

Hello Everyone,

Several of you forgot to pick up your containers or perhaps those of you made of sugar didn't want to go out in the rain. [grin] It sure was wet on Tuesday. We got more than 2" of rain at the farm. If you did forget please don't be shy about coming out to the farm and picking up your containers today or tomorrow. Give us a call to make sure someone will be there.

Eric Williamson 704/796.7795

Brad Hinckley 828/406.0849

Aaron Newton 704/305.6654

Your veggies are in a walk in cooler which will keep your food in as good a shape as your refrigerator. Anything not picked up by Saturday will be donated.

This week there were customer surveys in your containers. Several of you mentioned your surveys were soggy. Attached to this email is a PDF copy of the survey. You can print it out and return it next week or mail it to us:

Cold Water Creek Farms

P.O. Box 936

Concord, NC 28026

Finally, this message is from David Goforth at the Cabarrus COUnty Cooperative Extension Office. All of you, CSA members and others are invited to help.

If the weather cooperates we will be covering the high tunnel next Tuesday November 3. This will be a group effort and the more hands we have holding the plastic, the easier life will be. If you have been looking for an excuse to come visit the incubator farm and meet some of the people who are farming out there, this would be a good one. It has been a beautiful week out at the farm with some of the best color I have ever seen on sassafras trees. We will probably be doing some of the preliminary work by 8:15 am if you are wanting to learn the whole process but hope to have hands on the plastic by 8:30. Of course all plans can be shot if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Right now the forecast looks okay but Tuesday is a long way off.


Nov 03

Mostly SunnyMostly Sunny

Hi: 65° Lo: 38°

Mostly Sunny. High 65F and low 38F. Winds N at 6 mph. Air Quality: NA, UV Index: NA


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

FRESH the movie screening in Charlotte @ CPCC

Please join us for a screening of Fresh the movie at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC on November 5, 7:30 p.m. in Tate Hall, CPCC Central Campus.

Check out the trailer.

More info here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Nineteenth Pick Up Is Today 10.27.2009

Hello Everyone,

I'm sorry for last week's lack of full update. It was a busy one. On Sunday night/Monday morning we got freezing temperatures at the farm. Those temps killed the okra, the green beans, the peppers and the sweet potato vines. We picked all the peppers on Sunday afternoon and evening so we'll have some for the last two weeks. And while the vines died, the sweet potatoes themselves were not damaged. We did have to get them all out of the ground between the freeze on Monday morning and the rain we got this past weekend.

Now that the sweet potatoes are dug we have to cure them. This entails keeping them in a dry space heated to about 80 degrees F for a week or so. During this time their stored starches turns to the sugars that give them their sweet taste. Lucky for you we dug some a few weeks ago and have already cured them. You'll get some of those potatoes this week in your container.

Just so we're clear, we have two more weeks. You will pick up a container of vegetables today, October 27th between 4:30 and 6:30 at your regular pick up location. You will pick up your last container next Tuesday, November 3rd at your regular location. That will be the official end of the Cold Water Creek Farms 2009 CSA season.

You should see a survey to fill out this week which will help us to make improvements for next season. Please be candid with us as it's the only way we can get better at providing high quality produce to you. You can fill it out and return it next week at our pick up or you can mail it(especially if you'd rather fill it out anonymously)to:

Cold Water Creek Farms

P.O. Box 936

Concord, NC 28026

Aaron will do some postponed traveling in November and December. *BUT* Eric and Brad will continue to grow both field crops and greenhouse vegetables throughout the winter. Be sure to talk to them about how to purchase this food for those of you looking to eat local this winter.

Eric Williamson eric.coldwatercreekfarms@gmail.com 704/796.7795
Brad Hinckley organicfarmerbrad@yahoo.com 828/406.0849

Information about our 2010 CSA season will go out in January.

Much thanks to Keaton and Salem for help last week in assembling the containers. A picture is attached. Also thanks to Mark & Ethan, Karen, Eric & Sarah, and also to Beth for help getting Shittake mushroom logs inoculated this past Saturday. We'll do more of this in the future for those of you interested.

This week the full share containers will get baby Pac Choi and Tatsoi. These are relatively new vegetables for us and we didn't grow enough to provide everyone with a taste this week. However we will have enough next week to make sure the half share members get to try them. The Pac Choi is like celery without the celery taste and the Tatsoi is like a cross between spinach and a very mild mustard. Both are excellent in stir fry.

This week:

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Peppers
Mild Peppers
Mizuna (Full Shares)
Mizuna/Turnip Green Mix (Half Shares - for cooking)
Lettuce (Full Shares)
Baby Pac Choi & Tatsoi (Full Shares - next week for half shares!)




From Barbara

Quick White Bean Stew with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes


2 lb Swiss Chard (any green will do), large stems discarded and cut crosswise into 2 inch strips
1/4 C EVOO
3 Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 C Canned tomatoes, chopped
One 16 oz can drained cannellini beans, drained and rinsed


Bring pot of water to boil. Add greens and simmer over moderate heat until tender-approx 8 minutes. Drain and press out excess water

Heat oil. Add garlic and red pepper and cook until garlic is golden, 1 minute.
Add tomatoes and bring to boil. Add beans and simmer over moderate heat for 3 minutes. Add chard and simmer until flavors meld-approx 5 minutes. Season with salt and serve. (Food & Wine, Oct)

Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes and Apples

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 sweet potatoes (2 1/4 pounds), peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 large Granny Smith apples (3 pounds)--peeled, halved, cored, and sliced 1/4- inch thick
1 cups pure maple syrup
3/4 cup apple cider
1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease 2 very large, shallow baking dishes. Alternating the sweet potato and apple slices, arrange the slices in the baking dishes in a single layer of concentric circles.

In a medium saucepan, combine the maple syrup, cider, butter, and salt. Simmer over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Pour half of the mixture over the slices in each of the baking dishes and cover the dishes securely with foil.

Bake in the center of the oven for 40 minutes, or until the apples release their liquid. Remove the dishes from the oven, uncover and baste the apples and sweet potatoes with the pan juices. Increase the oven temperature to 450° and place the dishes in the upper third of the oven. Continue baking for about 35 minutes longer, basting a few more times, until the sweet potatoes are tender and nicely glazed. Serve hot.

Make Ahead:
The recipe can be prepared up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated. Reheat, covered, in a 400° oven for 25 minutes.

Chilled Wilted Tatsoi Salad with Sesame-Ginger Dressing (link)
(Makes about 2 servings, recipe adapted from Big Oven, who got it from the New York Times.)

10-12 ounces Tatsoi leaves
sesame seeds, for garnish (I used a mix of black and white sesame seeds, but you can use whichever type you have)

2 T soy sauce
1 T rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1 tsp. grated ginger root
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. hot chile sauce
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and fill another bowl with cold water and a handful of ice cubes. Wash Tatsoi leaves (I used a salad spinner) and cut into thick strips. Dump Tatsoi into boiling water, time for exactly one minutes, then drain immediately into colander and dump into bowl with ice water. (I used used the salad spinner again for the ice water.)

While Tatsoi is cooling in ice water, get a plastic bowl with a tight fitting lid that's large enough to hold all the Tatsoi. Mix dressing ingredients in this bowl, then drain Tatsoi well and add to dressing. Chill in the refrigerator an hour or more, turning bowl over a few times so Tatsoi remains coated with the dressing.

To serve, use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove Tatsoi from bowl and arrange on serving plates. Toast sesame seeds for 1-2 minutes in a dry pan and sprinkle over salad. (If using a mixture, the black seeds burn more quickly than the white ones.) Serve immediately.

18th Pick Update

I have three items of which I'd like to make you aware.

1. Please be careful carrying your full containers today. There are lots of different types of items inside. We have contained some of them in separate bags but some of them are loose and we don't want them to get damaged.

2. Please unpack your containers as soon as possible. Condensation from chilled items means there is moisture in the containers. Full shares have beans and half shares have garlic and neither of those items like water. Also everyone has peppers that should be kept dry. Which leads to number 3...

3. We packed the tubs and then realized that the sweet & mild peppers were mixed up with the hot peppers. This could cause problems so I have attached important pictures so please take a look at them.

Best Wishes,


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Eighteenth Pick Up Is Today 10.20.2009

Hello Everyone,

The full update will have to wait until this evening.

Be sure to pick up today between 4:30 and 6:00pm. I will be leaving promptly at 6pm today so if you can't get there by then please call me and we'll make other arrangements.

aaron = 704/305.6654

Also be sure to bring any containers you have.



Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Seventeenth Pick Up is Today 10.13.2009

Hello Everyone,

One big, foggy cloud outside this morning. We had just enough rain yesterday to keep us wet throughout the day. It was a nice day though, the kind that reminds me that fall is serious and winter is right around the corner. Once, in the middle of the afternoon, I suddenly thought about Thanksgiving. It's only 6 weeks away. It's suppose to be warm and sunny today and then maybe more rain. No complaining about rain.

We're taking care of the last crops to come in for the CSA. We picked a few more apples but missed the better part of the harvest of the late season apples; can't do it all. We still have sweet potatoes in the ground. We'll dig the first of those this week- maybe some of them today. Then they have to cure for about a week to turn the stored starches into the sugars that make them sweet.

With all the rain the collards have exploded. Kale will be ready soon and the lettuce is big enough to pick. It (the lettuce that is) isn't very sweet yet. The cooler weather will make it sweeter but at the moment it's better described as semi-sweet or almost sweet. We're including some this week.

Alright, I've held off telling you as long as I can stand. We have a surprise for you this week. It was an accident as great surprises tend to be. Earlier this year we finished picking 2 rows of green beans and then mowed them and tilled them into the soil. We never planted anything else in that area and eventually, beans from those plants sprouted and began to grow. We never thought the beans would actually produce fruit before the cold weather got to them. Last week however we discovered that those beans are over achievers! They have indeed produced loads of great green beans. This week everyone gets two pounds of late season green beans and boy are they sweet. They are big and I've found they take a little more time to steam but they are very tasty. Enjoy.

On Saturday, October 24th we'll be inoculating oak logs with Shiitake mushroom spawn. What's that you say? You haven't yet completed your on farm project for the year? What a great opportunity. Everyone is welcome. We'll be cutting logs to length, drilling holes in them, putting in the spawn plugs and then sealing the logs with wax. There's a job for all age groups and skill sets. Please let me know though if you'd like to participate so I can plan accordingly with tools and equipment.

This week:

Green Beans!
Mixed Greens (go for strong salads or saute)
Green and Red Sweet Peppers
Mild Peppers (the peppers formerly know as hot)
Swiss Chard
Apples (just a few)

I need some recipes people!




Roasted Radishes with Soy Sauce and Toasted Sesame Seed

(Makes 3-4 servings, recipe only slightly adapted from Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop.)


5 large radishes, trimmed and cut into thumbnail-sized pieces
1 1/2 T roasted peanut oil
1-2 T soy sauce (I used about 1 1/2 T)
2 green onions (scallions) sliced thin
1 T sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan


Preheat oven to 425 F. Wash radishes, trim ends, peel if needed, and cut into same size pieces. Cut green onions into thin slices.

Toss radishes with peanut oil, then roast about 20 minutes, stirring one or two times. When radishes are tender and starting to brown, remove from oven, toss with soy sauce to coat and mix in green onion slices. Put back in oven and roast about 5 minutes more.

During final five minutes roasting time, put the sesame seed in a dry pan and toast over hot stove for about 2 minutes, or until starting to brown. Remove radishes from oven, place in serving bowl and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve hot.

Aaron's Rather Lazy But Yummy Steamed Collards Recipe


Collard Greens
1 Tablespoon Butter
Salt and Pepper


Remove stem and rib from collard leaf. Cut up into 2 inch squares. Steam for about 8 minutes or until very tender. Put in a bowl with butter. Salt and pepper to taste.

Hot Wilted Greens


1 thick slice smoky bacon
½ T olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 medium sweet red onion
3 T chicken stock
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 quart mixed piquant leafy greens (such as arugula, endive or mustard greens)
¼ cup toasted pecans


In a large, deep skillet or wok over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Crumble and reserve. Add olive oil to bacon drippings in skillet, heat and add garlic and onions.
Sauté for 3-4 minutes, until onions and garlic are softened. Stir in chicken stock and vinegar.
Add greens and mix. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until leaves are coated. Cover and cook several minutes more, until leaves are wilted and cooked tender-crisp.
Top with bacon and chopped pecans. Serve hot.

Serves 4.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sixteenth Pick Up is Today 10.6.2009

"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Hello Everyone,

First let me address a misunderstanding. When I floated the idea of picking up at the farm for our last couple of weeks, I did not mean that those last couple of weeks were upon us. We are in our 16th week of 20 weeks. The last pick up will occur on November 3rd. You will continue to pick up at your prearranged location for the duration of the season. See you today between 4:30 and 6:30pm. Please bring your container.

The idea of a potluck dinner is still under consideration. Currently the most suggested evening is Saturday, November 7th. Sunday, Nov. 8th is in second place. Please let me know what you think. We're working on the logistics but this seems doable and would be a great way to end the season, to eat together.

This cool weather has canceled our subscription to okra magazine. The other hot weather vegetables have given up as well. The cherry tomatoes no longer taste like anything. There is no more squash, no more zucchini. The sweet peppers are hanging on for dear life. But...

The cool weather crops are coming into there own. This is one of the things I most like about where I live, a season, with its weather, changes for you at just about the time when you're bored or tired or frustrated with it. I've had people comment that eating locally is about giving up choices like fresh tomatoes on any particular Tuesday in December. I would argue that's not true. Sure December tomatoes from California taste like cardboard but I'm talking about a rhythmic pattern of eating that replaces out-of-season tomatoes with something else just as you've had more tomatoes than you could care to eat. The seasons, with their change, are meant to be enjoyed one at at time and then another enters in. The same is true for their food.

So as we get into cool weather crops some identification might be in order.

These are our radishes.

I am proud of these radishes.

These are our Collard Greens.

Everyone gets some this week. If you have never tried Collards or you can't remember the last time you tried them (they might have been canned!) you are obligated to try them. If you aren't from the South and have never tried Collards you are required to by NC State Law Article 43 of Chapter 125C, sections 239-243. Don't make me turn you in. There are recipes below.

These are turnips.

You can eat both the root and the greens. Recipes for both are below. Don't think of me as your mother, imploring you to try a new vegetable, think of me as your hip foodie friend who's telling you that all the kool kids are eating turnips and that if you don't at least give them a try you're not getting invite to the next dinner party.

This is our Swiss Chard.

I know, it's back. Chard gets really bitter in the summer but as the cool weather returns it gets sweet again. It's one of the few greens you can grow from spring until fall. By the way, the bitter part (if it is still a bit bitter) is right along the rib of the leaf. You can cut that section out.

A note about the "hot" peppers. Typically you have to dry these small, red peppers to get them to get hot. Earlier this season I bit into one while standing in the field. I burned my mouth. It had apparently dried on the plant and gotten hot. On this past Saturday however, I tried one while at the farmers market and it wasn't really hot at all. So I'm going to call these peppers "mild" from now on. My guess is that if you string them up and dry them that they will get hot. Try it.

This week:

Green Sweet Peppers
Red Sweet Peppers
Red "Mild" Peppers
Mizuna (enough to saute' or stir fry)
Swiss Chard (for some)
Turnips (for others)

Enjoy the rain.



Cool and Crunchy Radish and Turnip Salad


12 small radishes, thinly sliced
3 small salad/spring turnips, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
juice of half a lime
1 tablespoon chopped chives
coarse kosher or sea salt, to taste


Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and stir gently but thoroughly to combine and coat all the slices. Taste and season with salt (you'll need salt -- start with a little pinch and gradually add it until the flavors "pop" as much as you like.)

Serves 2.

Mashed Potato and Turnip Gratin


2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 5 medium - you got 2 lbs this week)
1 1/4 pounds turnips (about 3 medium)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese, divided
Pinch of ground nutmeg


Butter 11x7x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Cook potatoes and turnips in heavy large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 35 minutes. Drain. Cool vegetables slightly and peel. Cut into large chunks; place in food processor. Add butter and process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Add 1/4 cup cheese and pinch of ground nutmeg; blend briefly. Season puree to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into prepared dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. (Gratin can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Bake gratin uncovered until vegetables are hot and top is golden, about 25 minutes.

Radish Dip

Radishes aren't just for salads. Their peppery bite makes them ideal partner for creamy dips, like this one. Serve this radish dip recipe with crackers, chips or fresh raw vegetables.


5-6 radishes, washed and trimmed
3 oz. cream cheese
3 cloves garlic2 Tbsp. apple juice
kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste


Place radishes in the work bowl of a food processor
fitted with a metal blade. Add
remaining ingredients.
Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings.

White Turnip Soup

This recipe is adapted from the classic French frenseuse, a turnip and potato soup enriched with egg yolks and heavy cream. Select turnips with firm, unblemished flesh.


6 tbsp unsalted butter
2 leeks, white part only, chopped
1 lb Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 lb turnips, peeled & diced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 qt Chicken Stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
Croutons, for garnish (optional)


Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add leeks, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and turnips, stirring to combine. Cover, and cook for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle flour over vegetables, stir to cover evenly, and cook for 1 minute. Add stock, season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, remove vegetables from pot, and place them in a food mill. Puree vegetables, and return them to pot. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together

Sweet Pepper Pesto


2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup tightly packed basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
ground black pepper to taste


Place the Parmesan cheese and olive oil in a blender or food processor; blend until smooth.
Add the red bell pepper, basil, red pepper flakes, and black pepper; blend again until smooth.Turnips and Apples

2 pounds fresh turnips
1 fresh apple
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

First peel the turnips with a vegetable peeler. Peel the apple too if you like, but it isn't necessary, unless the skin is really ugly. Chop or slice the turnips and the apple into the chunks the right size for eating. Fill a big pot half full of water. Add the turnips, apple, the butter, sugar and salt and pepper as you like. Cover the pot and simmer on the back of the stove for about 20 minutes, or until the turnip chunks are tender to your preference. Serve hot.

Crispy Turnip 'Fries'


3 pounds turnips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a piece of aluminum foil and lightly grease.
Peel the turnips, and cut into French fry-sized sticks, about 1/3 by 4 inches. Place into a large bowl, and toss with the vegetable oil to coat. Place the Parmesan cheese, garlic salt, paprika, onion powder in a resealable plastic bag, and shake to mix. Place the oiled turnips into the bag, and shake until evenly coated with the spices. Spread out onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until the outside is crispy, and the inside is tender, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Mess o' Greens


2 tablespoons olive oil
5 medium leeks, white and light-green parts only, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
1 smoked turkey wing (4 to 6 ounces), cut into 3-inch pieces
3 pounds greens, such as collard, mustard, turnip, and kale, washed thoroughly, trimmed, and torn into pieces
1/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or casserole over medium-high heat until hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Add leeks and garlic; stir to coat. Cook, stirring, until leeks are softened but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add red-pepper flakes, smoked turkey wing, and greens; if necessary add greens in several batches.

Add wine; cover. Steam greens, turning occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover, add salt and pepper, and cook, tossing occasionally, 3 minutes more. Discard turkey and garlic, and serve.

Southern-Style Turnip Greens


4 to 4 1/2 pounds turnip greens
1 pound salt pork, rinsed and diced
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar, optional
a dash of crushed red pepper, optional


Cut off and discard tough stems and discolored leaves from greens. Wash greens thoroughly and drain well. Cook salt pork in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp and brown. Add the turnip greens, water, onion, sugar, pepper, and crushed red pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 40 to 45 minutes or until greens are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve with vinegar or pepper sauce and cornbread.

Sauteed Mizuna




Over medium-high heat add a tablespoon of quality extra virgin olive oil to wok or skillet
Once heated add minced garlic (2 small cloves) and cooked for about 15 seconds, just long enough to release the flavor.
Then add the greens and cooked until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fifteenth Pick Up is Today 9.29.2009

Hello Everyone,

Let me start by reminding everyone that you should pick up at your regular location today between 4:30 and 6:30. See you then.

A while back someone left a pair of sunglasses in the cherry tomato field. I should describe them as the currently fashionable variety, you know the kind that cover up almost half of a woman's face. My wife has a pair and I remind her that by wearing them she's really just ensuring that future generations will make fun of every photograph of her from roughly 2007 until this trend ends as with other past fashion styles. So if these are in fact your bell bottom sunglasses let me know and I'll put them in your container.

For the past three weeks I have been brewing Kombucha tea. It is a fermented tea that requires a culture or mushroom. That may sound gross to some of you but I really like it and the commercial version is expensive so I'm brewing my own. The result is that once a week the culture replicates itself so each week I have an extra culture to give away to anyone who would like to try and brew your own. Think of it as the sourdough version of brewing tea and let me know if anyone is interested.

So it seems like several of you would really rather not pick up at the farm for the last two weeks. I understand that week nights are busy for those of you with kids. I really do want to make sure everybody gets out to the farm and I'd like to celebrate the end of the season so I was think about all of us having dinner together.

What if we have a pot luck, using as much of our CSA food as possible, sometime the last week of the CSA pick ups? That's the first week in November. Basically you would still pick up your containers on Tuesday and then later that week we would meet back at the farm for dinner. This is still a rough idea and I have to get it approved with the farm and we would still have to decide on what night to eat (Thursday? Friday? Saturday?) But I thought I would toss the idea out for comment. Let me know what you think.

After the first week in November the CSA will be over but we will still have food for sale. We're not sure how we are going to make it available but for those of you interested let us know.

You should also be aware that the sponsor of the farm tour, Know Your Farms will be operating a winter CSA. You can find out more by clicking here:


Some of that winter food will be coming from Cold Water Creek Farms. Some will be coming from other growers at the Elma C. Lomax incubator farm. By the way the winter CSA starts the third week in October but Know Your Farms is willing to prorate your participation since Cold Water Creek Farms CSA will still have several weeks left at that point. It might all sound complicated but really it's not. Talk to us today or send me an email if you're interested.

This week we planted more cabbage, bok choy, kholorobi. The cooking greens and the salad greens are still one week away but we've ordered our salad spinner and we'll be ready for next week. Then on to sweet potatoes.

This week you will be getting:

okra (enjoy it while it lasts)
sweet peppers (green, red and/or chocolate)
hot peppers
mizuna (full share only)



Applesauce Cake (from Jessica)


2/3 cup cooking oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped nuts
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups hot applesauce
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp soda

Mix together sugar, nuts, flour, and spices. While applesauce is heating, mix cooking oil into dry ingredients. Add soda into applesauce. After hot, stir fast, put into rest of mixture. Add raisins last. Bake 35 minutes at 350 in a 9x13 pan.

Icing: (Approximates)
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/8 tsp almond or lemon (my mom's favorite)
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 TBSP milk--add by TBSP as needed to make glaze (need approximately 2 TBSP).

Red Wine Carmel Apples


8 small apples, stemmed, washed well and dried
1 1/2 cups red wine
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
6 Tbsp heavy cream


8 wooden popsicle sticks
candy thermometer

Insert a wooden stick halfway into each apple at the stem end
Line a tray with wax paper and slightly grease the paper
Boil wine in a saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/2 cup - 8 to 10 minutes - then remove from heat
Bring sugar and water to a boil in a 2 1/2 to 3 qt saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then wash down and sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil without stirring, swirling the pan occasionally so caramel colors evenly, until dark amber.
Add reduced wine (it will bubble and steam) and swirl pan. Add cream and simmer, stirring occasionally until incorporated, then continue to simmer until the thermometer registers 238 degrees F.
Remove from heat and cool to 200 degrees F.
Holding apples by the sticks, dip them in the caramel and swirl to coat, letting excess drip off, then hold apples up (stick end down) for about 15 seconds to allow more caramel to set on apples.
Put caramel apples, stick side up, on greased wax paper and let stand until caramel firms up, about 30 minutes. If your caramel gets to thick you can reheat for remaining apples.

To Freeze Peppers: Halve sweet peppers (green, red, yellow or purple), remove the core and seeds, and slice into julienne strips or small 1/4" chunks. Pack them into a freezer bag, squeeze out the air and throw them in the freezer. That's it! Frozen peppers are best used in a dish that gets sauteed, such as a stir-fry, or added to onions and potatoes for a tasty omelet.

To Pickle Peppers: Prepare peppers as above. Fill a clean pint or quart jar to within an inch of the top with the chopped peppers. Pour in white vinegar to cover all peppers. Cover with a plastic lid if possible, as the vinegar will gradually corrode metal lids. Store the jar in the back of your refrigerator for up to 12 months. The peppers will stay crunchy for a few months but will gradually soften. Spoon them out of the jar as you need them. The vinegar is flavorful, too. My favorite pickled peppers are a colorful

Mizuna Cooking Tips

As a salad green mizuna can be steamed, boiled, stir-fried or used to complement other greens mixed together for a salad, especially Red Asian Mustard greens. When cooked it shrinks to about half its size so it takes a large amount to make a cooked vegetable dish containing only mizuna. Mizuna can be found in well-stocked grocery stores or produce markets but is most readily available in early spring to late summer. Select fresh crisp leaves, avoiding those that are slightly discolored. They will keep four to five days when wrapped in plastic and stored in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator.

Friday, September 25, 2009

No Volunteering This Saturday

Hello Everyone,

The last few days have seen tremendous progress on the high tunnel project at the Elam C. Lomax Incubator Farm. That coupled with the fact that it is suppose to rain all day means no work is going to be done at the farm on Saturday.

Also we will all be picking up our containers next week at our prescribed locations. We WILL NOT be picking up at the farm except for the 6 families who regularly pick up there each week.

Best Wishes,



Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fourteenth Pick Up Is Today 9.22.2009

Hello Everyone,

Don't forget to pick up your vegetables *and fruit* this afternoon from 4:30 until 6:30 at your respective pick up location. This week we're including lots of apples so a bit about what to do with them- eat them of course but also consider refrigerating them. They will hold longer that way. Consider a baking project or making applesauce to eat this winter. There are recipes below.

When I was younger my family would visit my maternal grandparents in Philadelphia a few times each year. The evening meal was always a big deal and almost always it started with a plate of raw carrots, celery and radishes. My grandmother was a good cook and I remember that the meals were always very good but I don't remember specific dishes she served as much as I remember eating off of the plate of raw vegetables- the crack of the carrot as I broke it in two before eating it, the strings of the celery that would get stuck in my teeth and that curious moment after biting into a radish waiting to see how spicy it would be. This week we have beautiful radishes included in your containers. If you think you don't like radishes I implore you, try them again. Maybe raw with a sprinkle of salt or try the recipes below.

The first annual Charlotte Regional Farm Tour was a success. Thanks to everyone who helped and to everyone who attended. Apparently about 500 people participated and the rain held off.

Speaking of rain, thanks for the rain dancing last week. We got about 2 inches at the farm which was just what we needed. It meant we didn't get much transplanted last week because the fields were too wet to work but the plants already in the field really needed it.

The high tunnel at the Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm is partial complete. A picture is above. This Saturday volunteers are needed to help try and get the rest of it erected. Let me know if any of you are interested. 704/305.6654

Here's a question, would everyone be willing to pick up your last two containers at the farm instead of downtown at Two Leaves and a Bud? The farm is only 5.5 miles from downtown Concord and we're hoping to give everyone a chance to see the Lomax Incubator Farm before our 2009 CSA program ends for this year. I thought I'd ask to see how many of you would be willing to make the trip for the last couple of pick ups.

This week:

Sweet Peppers (red and green)
Hot Peppers
Chery Tomatoes

Have a good week.



Mom's Apple Cake
(Seriously, my mom's apple cake)

4 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 c. oil or Crisco
½ c. orange juice
2 ½ tsp. Vanilla
3 c. flour
3 tsp. Baking powder
1 tsp. Salt

Mix Together
3-4 apples – thin slices
4 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon

Mix ingredients well. Pour ½ batter into pans.
Mix apple mixture – stir into batter – pour
remaining batter into pan.

Sprinkle top with sugar & cinnamon if desired.

Bake: 1 ½ hr. at 350 degrees (tube pan)
1 hr. at 350 degrees (in 2 loaf pans)
(I use small loaf pans and get approximately 4 cakes
per recipe – they freeze well!)

Broiled Okra
(from Dean Mullis at Laughing Owl)

Coat pods of okra with olive oil and sea salt and toss them into the broiler pan of your toaster oven at 350-400 degrees . Take them out when you smell smoke or 10-15 minutes later. Let them cool and dip in mustard. Awesome.

Radish Crisps

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Slice radishes into very thin chips and spread on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with olive oil.
Lightly mist radish slices with oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. (if using other seasonings, now is the time to add them).
Bake for 10 minutes, flip, and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until crisp. Time may vary so watch these after flipping.

Baked Radishes

1/2 lb radishes, cut in half
1 tbl Honey
1 tbl butter
1 dsh cinnamon

Steam radishes for 5 minutes; drain and arrange in a shallow baking dish.
Combine honey, butter and cinnamon in a small saucepan to make a glaze. Pour over radishes and bake uncovered at 350 until tender, about 30 minutes.

Directions for making apple sauce and canning it!


Another great link from Molly


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thirteenth Pick Up Was Yesterday 9.15.2009

Hello Everyone,

Last week we planted more fall vegetables and did a lot of watering. If you're so inclined this would be a good time to strap on your rain dancing shoes. Let's hope the weatherman is right and we get some precipitation over the next few days.

Everyone got apples this week and will get more next week. If anyone has paper bags from the grocery store that they'd like to donate please bring them to the pick up next week. We're going to try and do a better job of separating the vegetables and the apples so nothing gets squashed. [I know, I really should warn you before including vegetable puns]

The farm tour is this weekend. If you'd like to volunteer you'll have to sign up today, preferably right after you read this email. Send an email immediately to: info@knowyourfarms.com or give me a call. 704/305.6654.

If you want to buy tickets and visit the farms on the tour you need to do that by midday Thursday or you'll have to buy tickets the day of the event, this Saturday, September 19th and then they'll be more expensive. More info is available here.


The new wash sinks arrived at the Elma Lomax Incubator Farm yesterday. They will get plumbed today along with the ice machine and an old water fountain I removed from a hospital building before the building was destroyed. I salvaged that water fountain more than a decade ago and I've been hauling it around ever since. Most recently it spent some time in the basement of my father-in-law's office. Both he and my wife are happy that I've finally found a permanent home for this antique.

Also construction is continuing on the high tunnel (unheated greenhouse) at the Incubator Farm. I'll have more information on the availability of winter vegetables next week.

This week you'll get:

Sweet Peppers (Green and Red or Brown)
Hot Peppers
Red Slicing Tomatoes
Green Zebra Tomatoes (yes they are ripe)
Cherry Tomatoes

In light of all the apples I'm including recipes for using them. I'm also calling for recipes from all of you to help eat 'em up.


Raw Apple


1 Apple


Bite into apple
Continue to eat apple until you get down to the core
Remove seeds and plant them as a project with your children
Compost apple core

Serves one

Mom’s (but not my mom's) Apple Cake
(Mom I need your recipe)

6 apples, Mom uses McIntosh apples
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar

2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.

Apple Pie


1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced


Melt butter in a sauce pan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add white sugar, brown sugar and water; bring to a boil. Reduce temperature, and simmer 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work of crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust.
Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes.

Somebody's Mom's Baked Apple Slices Recipe


4 cups of peeled, sliced apples - use apples that cook up well (like the Golden Delicious you got this week)
3 Tbsp sugar
A sprinkle of cinnamon
1 Tbsp maple syrup


As you slice up the apples, check for their flavor.
Put apple slices in a glass bowl. Sprinkle on top the 3 Tbsp of sugar. Add a light sprinkle of cinnamon. Bake in microwave oven for 5 minutes on high heat. Adjust the time for your microwave and how many apples you are doing. Ours has a powerful high setting so 4 cups of apples only takes 5 minutes. If you use more apples, you will probably need to cook it a little longer. I suggest starting with 5 minutes and testing for doneness with a fork. If it needs more cooking time, give it more. When done, remove and mix so the sugar coats well all the apple pieces. Add maple syrup to taste, about 1 Tbsp.

Delicious with whipped cream on top, or with vanilla ice cream on the side.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Concord Chicken Vote Coming Up Thursday

I would have shaved if I'd known they were coming.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Twelfth Pick Up Is Today 9.8.2009

Hello Everyone,

This past week we planted more root vegetables and greens including radishes, spinach, lettuce, mizuna and more. We also planted a lot of broccoli. We now really need some rain.

Thanks to Kim and her family as well as Colleen for coming out last week and picking cherry tomatoes. There are plenty more if any others of you are interested in helping this week. Also thanks to Christy and Ruthie for helping pick peppers yesterday.

Remember the first annual Charlotte Farm Tour is September 19th. We encourage you to go and take a look at all of the other participating farms throughout our region. Also if you have a working share with us at the Cold Water Creek Farms CSA you're welcome to put in your four hours for this season by volunteering to help with the farm tour. If you're interested let me know soon. This can't be a last minute thing.

A high tunnel is being built at the Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm Park where we grow most of our vegetables. A high tunnel is basically an unheated greenhouse used to extend the season and provide vegetables in the winter. There are lots of people at the Incubator Farm participating in this project. I thought I asked how many of you would be interested in purchasing winter vegetables- lettuce, spinach, greens, radishes, etc. throughout the winter? Also if you're interested in the construction of this high tunnel come out and take a look. It's being built from scratch right now.

This week:

Maybe More


Gnocci w/Zucchini Ribbons & Parsley Brown Butter

1 lb fresh or frozen gnocchi
2 TBS Butter
2 med Onions
1 lb Zucchini, very thinly sliced lengthwise (I used veggie peeler)
1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Fresh ground Pepper to taste
1/2 C grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 C chopped fresh parsley

Cook gnocchi according to package instructions or until they float. Drain.
Melt butter in pan. Cook until butter is beginning to brown (2 min). Med Heat - Add onions & Zucchini & cook, stirring often, until softened, 2-3 min.
Add tomatoes, salt, nutmeg, & pepper & keep cooking, stirring often, until tomatoes are just starting to break down (1-2 min).
Stir in Parmesan Cheese & parsley. Add gnocchi & toss to coat.
serve immediately.

Stewed Okra

1 small sweet onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup -- sometimes it's hard to find a small sweet onion, so use half a medium onion)
2 cups okra, rinsed, trimmed and sliced (see below)
3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped (or 1 14-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes with juice)
2 tablespoons bacon drippings (or 1 tablespoon bacon drippings and 1 tablespoon olive oil)
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a saucepan or sauté pan with a close-fitting lid, sauté the onion in the bacon drippings over medium heat until softened, not browned.

Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the okra and tomatoes. Add the salt, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the pepper. Makes about 4 servings.

Southern Fried Okra

1 pound fresh okra
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Vegetable oil

Wash and slice okra; pat dry with paper towels. Combine eggs and buttermilk; add okra, and let stand for 10 minutes. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper.
Drain okra, small portions at a time, using a slotted spoon. Dredge okra, small portions at a time, in flour mixture. Pour oil to depth of 2 to 3-inches in a Dutch oven of deep-fat fryer and heat to 375*F (190*C). Fry okra until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

Fried Okra Salad


1 1/2 cups self-rising yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound fresh okra
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Peanut oil
1 head Bibb lettuce
1 large tomato, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 medium-size sweet onion, thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
Lemon Dressing
3 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled


Combine cornmeal and salt. Dip okra in buttermilk; dredge in cornmeal mixture.

Pour peanut oil to a depth of 2 inches into a Dutch oven or deep cast-iron skillet; heat to 375°. Fry okra, in batches, 2 minutes or until golden, turning once. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels.

Arrange lettuce leaves on a serving platter; top with tomato, onion slices, and bell pepper. Add Lemon Dressing, tossing to coat. Top with fried okra, and sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Elevnth Pick Up is Today 9.1.2009

Hello Everyone,

Just a reminder for those of you who pick up at the farm, Brad will not be there today. Your container will be just inside the walk in cooler on the left. It will have your name on it and of course it will be full of yummy vegetables. Please leave your empty container just outside the cooler. If you pick up in downtown Concord please remember to bring your empty container as well. A few of you have been slacking off. ;-)

Speaking of slacking off, several of you have forgotten to pick up your full container entirely during the last few weeks. If we have someone who forgets to pick up a container we take it back to the walk in cooler at the farm. We leave it there until Saturday. If it is still unclaimed we donate the food as hunger relief. You are welcome to come and pick up your container at the farm. It's about 5 miles from downtown Concord. Here's a link for directions. Just give me a call to make sure someone is out at the farm before you stop by. 704/305.6654 It is quite a bit easier on us though if everyone picks up at the right time and the right place. If you know ahead of time you're going to miss the pick up give me a call and I'll try to work something out with you.

Yesterday we got our first taste of cooler weather. I put on a long sleeve shirt so I could pick okra comfortably (okra is covered with little itchy hairs) and I left that shirt on all day without getting hot. Last night we opened up the windows and cooled the house down quite a bit. I like summer but I admit I'm ready for fall.

This past week we transplanted broccoli, collards, cabbage and kohlrabi into the field. I seeded radishes, lettuce, spinach, kale, mizuna, turnips, and beets. I would like a little rain now please.

We might have a few slow weeks coming up as we transition from summer crops to fall crops. We put extra vegetables in last week's containers and this week you'll get extra as well; partly because we have so many frickin' tomatoes and partly because we might have less in coming weeks. We're also going to pick apples this week which will help fill up the containers during the next few weeks.

Let us know if you can come out to the farm this week or weekend to pick cherry tomatoes. We'll send you home with plenty and sadly we can't get them off the vine fast enough. I picked 25 lbs yesterday evening and it was hard to tell I had even been in the field!

If you're feeling slightly overwhelmed by the tomatoes I suggest making sauce as if you're going to feed 15 people and then freezing it or canning it in small containers so you can have a taste of summer during the colder months ahead. I've heard that some of you are already doing this. Don't wait, the tomatoes won't last many more weeks, at least not in quantities like this. I'm including a glut sauce recipe below that will help you if you're not used to making sauce from scratch. It's from El at her blog, Fast Grow the Weeds.

This week:

Tomatoes! (slicing and cherry tomatoes)
Peppers (green, red and maybe brown- remember brown is good)
Grapes (last week on the grapes)

Hummm, tomatoes, okra and garlic... can anyone say gumbo?

By the way the garlic will hold for many months if its kept in a dry location so don't feel the need to use it right away. You can stockpile a little for use later this fall and winter.




Joan's Tomato Glut Sauce (adapted from the NYTimes)

Preheat oven to 400*.
Put into a large roasting pan:
6 pounds tomatoes cored and quartered
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped carrots (optional)*
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped celery (optional)*
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onions
9 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tablespoons each fresh thyme, oregano, basil, parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons salt...or less
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

Roast 45 minutes, or until veggies are soft. Process briefly to leave slightly chunky, and freeze in 2-cup portions. Makes 2 quarts (4 pounds).

* Very optional. I used pepper, eggplant and yellow squash in mine (it's a color thing) and I used all the tomatoes that happened to be fresh TODAY. It's Glut Sauce, you know...

Vegetarian Gumbo


3/4 - 1 lb. fresh okra, sliced
1 lg. onion or 6 green onions, chopped
2 fresh tomatoes, diced
2 or 3 cloves garlic
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Other spices to taste
Sm. amount olive oil
1/2 c. rice, uncooked


Start cooking the rice while preparing the Gumbo mixture. Wash and cut okra. Clean and chop onions, also garlic. Wash tomatoes and dice. Use a non stick skillet. Add olive oil. Stir fry the above. Add a small amount of water. Add seasonings. Cook until tender. Serve over cooked rice.

Chicken Gumbo
(yes local chicken is available and really yummy)


3 1/2 pounds frying chicken
1 onion, cut in chunks
celery leaves
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups reserved broth
6 slices bacon, diced
1 pound smoked andouille or smoked sausage, sliced 1/4" thick
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 1 (14.5 ounces) can diced tomatoes
1 can (approx. 15 ounces) tomato puree
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 package (10 ounces) frozen sliced okra, thawed
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme or 1 teaspoon dried leaf thyme


Combine chicken, the onion chunks, celery leaves, and salt in a Dutch oven or large kettle; add water to cover. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 45 minutes. or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken, reserving 5 cups of the chicken broth; discard onion and celery leaves. Remove chicken from bones; cut into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

Cook bacon and sausage in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until bacon is crisp. Remove bacon and sausage, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in Dutch oven. Crumble bacon; set bacon and sausage aside. Add onion, pepper, celery, and garlic to Dutch oven; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until vegetables are tender. Add chicken, bacon, sausage, reserved broth (should be approximately 5 cups), tomatoes, and remaining ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bike Pick Up

Just a reminder, there are other ways to pick up your weekly CSA vegetables. Go Melissa.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tenth Pick Up is Today 8.25.2009

Hello Everyone,

Well here we are at the half way point. The summer vegetables will start to be replaced be cooler weather crops as we move into the fall. Our last pick up will be the first Tuesday in November so you'll really get a full taste of the range of vegetables that can be grown here in the Piedmont of North Carolina.

The bad news is we're out of tomatoes. Just kidding! In fact the opposite is true. If you like tomatoes this is your week. We have lots of them and a really large portion of this week's membership will include them. If you don't like tomatoes give them another try. I have recipes below. Also see last week's email update for lots of yummy tomato recipes. Or, make a new friend out of a neighbor.

The cherry tomatoes are driving us crazy. We planted too many and can't keep them picked. We planted several heirloom varieties that taste excellent (as you will see) and at least one variety that we have stopped picking because it is ridiculously small and actually doesn't taste all that good. We're asking the insects to eat that particular variety please.

So the reason for me telling you just how many cherry tomatoes are resting on our vines is to invite you to come and pick! It might be just a tad boring after a while but it's not especially hard work and we don't stop anyone from trying to leave after they've had enough. Plus we'll send you home with more of these really yummy cherry tomatoes.

Also we are having a problem with powdery mildew on the basil so we're not including any this week. We do have some out at the farm though so if you want to come out you can probably pick enough for your family for a week in about 10 minutes. Just another reason to come out and visit us.

School's in session. I know this because I live three doors down from an elementary school. The kids pick tomatoes out of my yard on there way to and from school but that actually one of the reasons I plant them there. And this year they'll have to look closely because the morning glories are doing such a good job of hiding, well, everything in my front yard. I'm guessing the next week or two might be a bit of an adjustment as those of you with children get back in the swing of the school schedule. Please call me if you have any last minutes problems in picking up your food. aaron 704/305.6654

This week you will be getting sweet peppers. Some are green, others red and some are brown. The brown ones aren't bad. They are a variety called 'Sweet Chocolate' and they live up to their name. Many of the brown peppers and some of the red one tend to get soft and wrinkly because we have to leave them on the vine for so long to get them to change colour. This doesn't mean they are bad. In fact they are likely to be even sweeter. I'm telling you this because most of us are used to seeing peppers in the grocery store that were picked before they were ripe and are stiff. Do not be afraid of the slightly wrinkled peppers. Let your tongue make final judgment.

I wanted to mention again that we will be having fruit this fall. Some of it will not be certified organic but none of it will have been treated with anything that would not qualify as a certified organic treatment. In fact I don't think any of it will have been sprayed with anything. at all Does anyone like apples?

This week:

Tomatoes! (lots of 'em)
Peppers (some green, red or brown)
Zucchini (just a little)
Squash (just a little)
Cucumbers (just a little)
Muscadine Grapes

See everyone later today.



This came in from Karen last week:

Our other favorite way to use the squash---thinly slice and layer in a casserole dish with spaghetti sauce, top with Parmesan and, if you want, Italian bread crumbs, then bake for about an hour at 350. I have used all three kinds of squash this way (either separately or mixed) and my 9 year old loves it. We've also made several gallons of vegetable soup with the green beans, squash, garlic, canned diced tomatoes, broth, onion and whatever else came to hand (beans, carrots, etc) . I cook it overnight in the crock pot on low then we put it up in the freezer for the winter.

The patty pan make great stuffed squash, as do the zucchini (didn't try it with the summer squash). I sliced the top off the squash and hollowed it out, leaving a shell (in the case of the zucchini sliced it in half and scooped out enough from each half to leave a "boat" for stuffing). I then diced up the extra flesh and mixed it in with ½ pound of Chad's mild breakfast sausage, some Italian bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, spinach (frozen – squeezed and blotted to get rid of the extra water), garlic powder, minced onion, an egg, black pepper, salt, savory and thyme – and mounded it in the squash shells, baking them at 350 for an hour. Another variation on this was to cut the whole squash up (so don't need the patty pan), fry up the sausage then mix the sausage and chopped squash with all the ingredients listed above except for breadcrumbs. Instead mix it in with cooked brown rice, spread in a casserole and bake for an hour at 350.

Zucchini Cobbler:

* 8 cups peeled, chopped zucchini
* 2/3 cup lemon juice
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg * 4 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 cups white sugar
* 1 1/2 cups butter, chilled * 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon DIRECTIONS
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook and stir zucchini and lemon juice until zucchini is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg and cook one minute more. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 10x15 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, combine flour and 2 cups sugar. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir 1/2 cup of butter mixture into zucchini mixture. Press half of remaining butter mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Spread zucchini mixture over top of crust, and sprinkle remaining butter mixture over zucchini. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until top is golden. Serve warm or cold.

Zucchini brownies

Here's the recipe for the brownies:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded zucchini 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched. To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners' sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.

A delicious salsa recipe made with fresh ingredients.


* 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
* 2 small cloves garlic, minced
* 3 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeds removed, chopped
* 2 hot chile peppers, Serrano or Jalapeno, finely chopped
* 2 to 3 tablespoons minced cilantro
* 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons lime juice
* salt and pepper

Put chopped onion and garlic in a strainer; pour 2 cups boiling water over them then let drain thoroughly. Discard water. Cool.

Combine onions and garlic with chopped tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours to blend flavors.
Makes about 2 cups of salsa.

A rich and creamy recipe for tomato soup.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

1 and 1/2 pounds firm tomatoes - skinned and roughly chopped
1 onion - peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic (I use more) - crushed
2 ounces melted butter
1/2 - 1 pint of stock (chicken, beef, evetable, etc.)
Baking soda
Salt and Black Pepper
Caster Sugar (very fine sugar, also known as powdered sugar)
1/4 pint double cream

Melt the butter in a heavy based pan and fry onion and garlic until soft and transparent. Add 1/2 pint of stock together with chopped tomatoes and generous pinch of baking soda. Bring to boil, lower heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly before liquidising. Return to pan through sieve.

Re-heat adding stock until of desired consistency. Season to taste. In a separate pan bring cream almost to the boil and then add to soup. Garnish with fresh chopped basil or parsley.

It is really delicious, and can be frozen, provided that you don't add the cream or milk, do this just before serving. The Baking Soda is what makes the difference - without it it just doesn't taste right.

This came in from Lisa. She is selling fromage blanc (and cheese and butter and eggs) and has provide ways to use the romage blanc which I will reprint here.

Recipes for the fromage blanc.

Veggie Salad

Add fromage blanc to chopped veggies. Salt and pepper to taste.

Suggested veggies in any combination:

okra (yes raw)
basil or dill

Another notch-toss with pasta. Two notches-and grilled chicken.


1c fromage blanc
1TBS dried dill
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together well and refrigerated for an hour or more to let the flavors get happy.

Fromage Tso

1c fromage blanc

1 1/2 TBS General Tso's Chicken seasoning mix (by Sunbird)

Mix well and refrigerate for two hours-the dried veggies in the mix need time to rehydrate.

Fromage Chinois

Mix equal parts of fromage blanc and plum sauce-more or less of either to taste;)

A little note on working with fromage blanc. If you mix the recipe by hand or with a whisk you'll get a dip consistency. If you use a blender you'll get a dressing consistency.

Mexican Style Dressing

1 15.5 oz. can of black beans
1c fromage blanc
1TBS Texas Pete (3 or 4 TBS if you're Eric)

Blend on a fairly high speed until smooth. Other thoughts-refried beans would work and could be mixed with the fromage for that dip consistency.

Pesto Lovers

Dip version: mix pesto with fromage blanc.

What I did

Dressing version

1TBS fresh garlic (2 med. cloves)
1 bunch fresh basil (1/2 -3/4 cup)
1 8 oz. container fromage blanc (1 cup)
sea salt to taste

Spin the garlic in the blender until minced. Add the basil and spin until it's chopped. Add the fromage and blend on high speed until smooth.

Some tips you might want to share with your group:

A general rule of thumb for using fresh herb in a recipe calling for dried herbs is to use three times as much fresh. Drying concentrates the flavors of the herbs.

Drying basil is as simple as putting a rubber band around a bunch and hanging it upside down. The best batch of basil I ever dried was treated this way and pinned to my kitchen curtains.

Basil repels insects when rubbed on your skin. It also relieves the pain and itching of insect bites and stings, especially fire ant bites. You can make a simple "after-bite" recipe by pouring common witch hazel over mashed or chopped basil in a glass jar. Let it sit for a couple of days and strain out the basil. Add more basil to the same tincture and it'll continue to get stronger. Just strain it out every couple of days. Naturally you don't ever want to drink it because of the alcohol in the witch hazel.

According to my fav. herb book basil "eases flatulence, stomach cramps,colic and indigestion. It can be used to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Sweet basil has a mildly sedative action and is useful in treating nervous irritability, fatigue, depression, anxiety and insomnia. Sweet basil has an established antibacterial action."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Nineth Pickup is Today 8.18.2009

Hello Everyone,

Later today is, as the subject line of this email has already stated, our Ninth Pickup. I think it's an exciting one. It's exciting mostly because we have several pounds of tomatoes for everyone. Yes we've shown up fashionably late to the tomato party but we're here and we brought the goods. This week it will be only large, round slicer tomatoes, you know the kind that make great tomato sandwiches.

Quite a few of the cherry tomatoes and plum tomatoes are ripening as well. These little suckers take a long time to harvest although it's not exactly terrible work. You get to do a lot of taste-testing. The trick it to pick more than you eat. We need help doing just that. On Sunday and Monday we'll be out at the farm picking small tomatoes and we could use your help. Give me a call (aaron 704/305.6654) if you're interested.

Speaking of labor requests, the first annual Charlotte Regional Farm Tour will be taking place on the afternoon of September 19th. We are one of the farms on the tour, or rather I should say that the Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm Park where we do most of our farming is on the tour. This is a request for volunteers who would like to work at the farm on that day. Work might include picking cherry tomatoes or washing peppers but it might also include talking to people about your experience as someone who is buying local produce and supporting local farmers. It might include sharing squash recipes- I'm not sure exactly what it will be like but it will be fun and it will count as part of the four hours that working-share members are asked to spend on the farm this growing season.

Speaking of volunteers visiting our farm, who left the kid-sized, blue and gray reversible jacket at the farm? I think it was part of the group that picked squash in the upper field on a Sunday several weeks ago. My wife took our camera to the beach with her so I can't share a photograph of the jacket, maybe next week if it is still unclaimed.

I've heard from several of you that last week we sent waaay to much basil so we've toned it down this week. However, we have waaay more basil than we can sell so if you need extra let me know. You can come out to the farm and trade 30 minutes of cherry tomato picking for as much basil as you can haul off in your vehicle.

Also thanks to those of you who were out at the farm this past week helping to tie up tomatoes, wash vegetables do other such work. We appreciate your labor.

An update on fall and early winter crops: We have already planted cabbage, kale, collards, and broccoli in the greenhouse. We'll be planting more of that stuff this week along with cauliflower and kohlrabi. We'll also be planting spinach and lettuce a little later on. Yesterday we built beds for root crops. This morning while I type Brad and Eric are seeding radishes, carrots, beets, parsnips, turnips and much to my wife's annoyance, rutabaga. I think mashed potatoes made with 5 parts potato and 1 part 'baga are great. She won't eat them unless they are straight potato. I can make fun of her more than normal in this email because as I mentioned, she is at the beach and cannot hurt me.

Several of you have asked about the puppy. He's actually biting my feet as I write this email. On Saturday he's going to live with family of ours in Virginia. He is just about as cute as a critter can be but it's not a good time for my family to add another member so we're shipping him up north and hoping our three year old won't notice.

So, what are you getting this week?

Tomatoes (big, fat, red, local tomatoes)
Swiss Chard (other greens coming soon)
Muscidine Grapes
Squash (both patty pan and straight neck)

By the way the grapes aren't organic. They have not been sprayed with anything. The vines haven't been synthetically fertilized they just aren't from an organic farm. We will have other opportunities to harvest fruit this fall from farms that aren't organic. We will not be harvesting fruit that has had anything sprayed on it. If you're not comfortable with this give me a call and we'll talk about it. We think these opportunities to other fresh, local fruit that is chemical free are too good to pass up.

Ok, on to the recipes. By the way keep sharing. I haven't gotten any recipes from you folks in a while.

You have tomatoes and you have basil so you can now make one of the year's yummiest salads. I don't have measurements on this one because I've done it so long I just adjust it to the amount of tomatoes I have. It goes something like this.

Yummy Tomato/Basil Salad


Olive Oil
Vinegar (I think rice wine vinegar works best)
Salt & Pepper


Chop up tomatoes into thumb-sized pieces and place them in a bowl. Try to bruise them to get the juices flowing. Add olive oil not to the point where the tomatoes have to start swimming but enough to equal the juice of the tomatoes. Start with a little, you can always add more. Next add just a splash or two of vinegar. Not too much, again you can always add more but I don't want you ruining these tomatoes after you've waited so long. Next add feta cheese (Hopefully Lisa will have some today at the pickup) I like to add lots of Feta. It's probably hard to add too much unless you find yourself with more feta than tomato. Crush 5 or 6 basil leaves and then chopped them up and add to the salad. You can adjust this ingredient too depending on how much you like basil. Now put it in the refrigerator for several hours.

You can eat it without the croutons but I think they are a great addition. If you think you'll like them completely soggy go ahead and add them just before you put it in the frig to cool. I wait until about an hour before I'm going to take the salad out and serve it before adding the croutons. Then they soak up some of the juice but are still relatively crunchy. Enjoy.

Tomato Sandwich


White Bread
Salt & Pepper
Duke's Mayonnaise


Lightly Toast your bread. You just want to stiffen it up a bit so it won't fall apart under the stress of tomato juices. Put a little more mayo on each slice than seems reasonable. Cut a really thick section out of the center of the tomato and save the rest for dinner. Place the tomato slice on one of your bread slices and hit it a little with your knife to bruise it and get the juices flowing. Salt and pepper to taste. Next I usually make another.

Tomato Pie


4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 (9-inch) prebaked deep dish pie shell
1 cup grated mozzarella
1 cup grated cheddar
1 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the tomatoes in a colander in the sink in 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 10 minutes.

Layer the tomato slices, basil, and onion in pie shell. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the grated cheeses and mayonnaise together. Spread mixture on top of the tomatoes and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

To serve, cut into slices and serve warm.

Swiss Chard with Tomatoes


1 lb red swiss chard or green swiss chard
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup soft fresh breadcrumb
1 clove garlic, minced
2 small tomatoes, i use italian tomatoes,seeded and diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
crushed red pepper flakes


Trim coarse leaves and thick center ribs from chard; cut tender stems and leaves into 1/2-inch slices. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet; add bread crumbs; cook, stirring often, until crisp and golden; remove from skillet and set aside. Cool skillet slightly; add remaining oil and garlic; cook, stirring, 2 minutes; add chard and cook until wilted, 1-2 minutes; add tomatoes, salt, and red pepper flakes to taste. Remove from heat and sprinkle bread crumbs over the top.