Today, our “new normal” began, and surprisingly, it was pretty good and the most efficient process that this farm has ever done. With that said, I think of this quote:
Matt and I weren’t sure how this season was going to go for us, but we are very passionate about what we do. We are so proud that we found a solution to serve our community nutrient dense, sustainable food in a safe manner. We are also so humbled by those of you are support our passion, our family farm.
We are planning on doing this again next Saturday! You can pre-order here for pick-up next Saturday between 8:00am and 12:00pm. We are only doing pick-ups up at the farm to give Matt a chance to catch up since this year, we will not have a workforce. We will be at the South of the South of the James Farmer’s Market the following Saturday, May 9th. We will continue with our pop-up location here at the farm since so many of our neighbors are enjoying it.
We hope to see you next week at our farm and the weeks to come at both the South of the James Farmer’s Market or at the farm as we try to stay innovative in our ways to serve you!
Once again, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your outpouring of love and support!
Next Saturday (April 25th) we will be ready to begin selling! Matt has been working hard to get the season started. As the season continues, we will have more and more varieties of produce to offer as well as higher quantities! Due to concerns of the virus threat, we have hired no additional workers to help us this year and the entire workload of the farm rests on Matt’s shoulders. We still have plans to offer great produce selections.
As you know, it is our goal to keep everyone as healthy and we have worked hard to socially isolate so we can continue to produce for you. As a result, we have come up with this plan. You will pre-order and pre-pay at our online store by midnight on Wednesday. We will then harvest your orders and pre-bag them for you to pick up either at the farm or at the South of the James Farmer’s Market. You will choose your pick-up location when you pay. You will then come to pick up your order at your selected location on the following Saturday from 8-12. We will follow this model until the threat of COVID-19 passes.
Please know we appreciate your understanding as we move in to this “new normal”. Our farm will take a beating this year, but your continued support will keep us up and running until we get through this difficult time.
This week has been all about clearing out the greenhouse and transplanting plants in to the soil that Matt has worked hard to prepare. We begin planting our seeds in February keeping them warm in the greenhouse. We also send out soil samples during this time to labs. We want to make sure our soil holds what is needed to grow our most beautiful nutrient dense produce.
Once the results come in, Matt begins amending the soil following the lab results. He works the month of March working the soil, prepping the beds all to make it to transplant day!
Transplant day is big! We wait until the threat of frost is over and plant as much as we can. Right now, we are planting beets, kale, kohl rabi, onions, various hearty herbs, and broccoli. We spent the entire week and will spend the weekend putting all of these in to the ground!
Now all we have to do is wait for Mother Nature to do her work and with a lot of love and care from Matt, these beauties will grow in to food that offers pure nourishment! I am absolutely dying for our salad, arugula, and strawberries! Hurry up Mother Nature!
COVID-19…..what can I say? This virus has brought our farm to our knees. We chose to let our help go before they even got here because we were scared. What do we do if they get sick? What if they come sick and get us sick? What if we don’t make enough money this season to pay the help? After prayer, tears and more prayer on top of our devoted customers reaching out to us we decided to hold our heads high and JUST DO IT!!!!! We chose not to have help this year and just do it the way the farm began 11 years ago with just me and Matt! You know……growers gottta grow……..we are going to GROW for our family and community!
The benefit to working with your local farmers is that less hands touch your food! The only folks that will be working with your food will be just me and Matt. We will be harvesting your food as well as filling your orders. We are dedicated to social isolation during this period because our health hinges on your health. We are limiting help and volunteers to ensure everyone’s health. Is it going to be hard,, yes, but my husband is a farmer and I am a principal, hard doesn’t scare us!
We are doing it! Matt has been working hard preparing our beds. This week, we will be putting in all the plants we have been growing from the greenhouse and they will grow, grow, grow!
Me potting up pepper plants.
Our salads and arugula have been seeded and we already have such a nice stand! I can’t wait until they are ready to eat! I just can’t wait for a fresh salad! We also have beautiful strawberries in bloom, ready to burst with sweet berries! We will also have spring onions, green garlic, and asparagus coming so soon!
The benefits of doing business with us is that only two people will be touching your food, Matt and I. We are keeping ourselves as isolated as possible because we know our health depends on our ability to grow nutrient dense food for our customers. So if you are wondering how in the world we are going to get all of this great food to you, we have a plan!!!!!! You can either become a farm share member and get a pre-loaded gift card and save 10% of your seasonal purchases, or you can get a bag that is filled to the brim of our very best produce! Most members love this choice! If you aren’t ready for a commitment, we got that too! I have created an online store where you can pre-purchase your food. You will make your selections, select your location (our farm or South of the James) and come through drive-thru style, tell us your name, and will will place a bag in your trunk. We will have our first harvest the third week of April. We will start with a few items and as the season grows, so will our item base.
Please know how much we love you and feel your support as our farm, like the rest of us are going through a difficult time. Please like us on Facebook and Instram blackcreekfarmrva and and follow this blog for up to date information. It is YOU who are keeping us going right now. The support we have received from our community, customers, personal chefs, and local groceries have inspired us. We are JUST DOING IT! Please join us and watch us GROW!
There has been a slight change to our farm dinner but I believe in the end, it will be much more enjoyable. The problem is we are having a hard time getting an ABC license for the dinner at our farm. So the deal is, we will have mocktails at the farm and appetizers while Matt shows you all he is doing around the farm. You will learn about our growing practices and how we chose the food we are going to grow. The tour will begin at 5:30. From there, we will get in our cars and go to Sub Rosa Bakery at 620 N. 25TH ST.RICHMOND, VA, 23223. We are so thankful to them for allowing us to use their space to create a beautiful dinner for you! At Sub Rosa, your dinner will begin. I will explain each dish and tell you where the food came from. Some of the food will come from us, some will come from our favorite family farms, I will make sure to tell you about their farms as well. I will also tell you how Chef Danielle prepared the food for you. Corey, you will recognize her from market, is a wine expert! She will tell you about the wines that will be accompanying your dinner!
If you want to skip the farm tour, just show up at Sub Rosa at 6:30. We are just happy for your company! If you would like to attend this dinner, you can purchase tickets here. We hope to see you there!
Now let’s talk about market and what our farm share members will be receiving in their bags!
In your bag you will find:
Our kale is the prettiest it has been all season! Matt has been babying it and even hand picking bugs off the leaves! We have to hand pick the bugs that love to eat our leaves because there are no organic pesticides to take care of these pesky bugs! His hard work has paid off and this week our kale is beautiful and crisp! When kale is this good, I love it as a salad!
Picture Courtesy of Gimmesomeoven.
If you know me, you know one of my favorite things is to search for great recipes when things are in season. Its my hobby and my passion to feed my family the great food Matt grows. We work with some amazing chefs and their creativity inspires what I do in the kitchen. I am a lucky one! When kale is this good, simple is best! That way you can savor the goodness of the kale! Gimmesomeoven has this awesome recipe that is so simple! She says to massage the kale. Often times, I marinate the kale for a few hours, either way works. I would throw in some beautiful cherry tomatoes to round this dish out. Serve it with a grilled chicken breast and it will be a delicious easy dinner!
Matt has grown these beautiful Carmen peppers! I love to make better than take-out pepper steak with them!
Here is my secret, I always use brown rice and I always use a rice cooker. Rather than using water, I use chicken broth for the rice. It is so good! I alway make extra and have some for lunches. I made this dinner this week. My only wish is that I added bok choy to the mix! I am going to make this recipe again and I will be adding the choi! Here is the recipe.
I love, love, love stuffed poblano peppers! I love them so much, I make a double batch and make them for a dinner and my lunches! This recipe is so delicious I highly recommend it. I promise it is so easy!
It is just as easy to do a double batch so that is what I do. You can find the recipe here.
When it comes to summer, my favorite is Yummy peppers! That is what they are called because they are so good! When our son was real little, he would go to the field with us and pick these peppers right off the plant and pop them in his mouth. He would call them yum-yums. They are very sweet and his lunch box favorite.
I love just to eat them raw! I sliver them and put them on salads. I cut them in half and dip them in hummus. The chef who is doing our farm to table dinner is pickling them! When I want to get fancy, I stuff them with goat cheese and blister then on the grill or broiler and serve them as appetizers. When something is so good, keeping it simple is best.
We are very excited to host a Dinner in the Field featuring the great food of the very talented Chef Danielle Westbrook. Chef Danielle trained under James Beard Chef Dylan Fultineerand is soon to leave us for Chicago to hone in on her talents with the chef who trained Chef Dylan. We are very excited that she wants to use our farm as her canvas of culinary creativity. We will begin with a farm tour at 5:30 and then we will all sit and enjoy Black Creek Farm’s and other local farm’s best of their best prepared by a very talented young chef.
Dinner will include wine pairing and and great desserts. Ticket cost is $80 a ticket. You can purchase tickets through Eventbrite by clicking here. We hope you will join us in our celebration of a great growing season! We hope to see you there!
If you are a farm share member, here is what you will find in your bag:
Let’s talk tomatoes! What makes a Hanover Tomato a Hanover tomato? It has nothing to do with the type of tomato and has everything to do with the soil! Our farm is in Black Creek, an area of Hanover that is known for its sandy soil with a high acid base. Tomatoes (and lots of other things) love growing in this soil. The high levels of acidity transfers in to the wonderful taste of the tomato. So a Hanover tomato is all about the soil!
Sadly, we only have a couple more weeks of tomato season so I have been doing everything with them. My new favorite thing is tomato tarts! They are beyond delicious and such a treat! Right across from us at market is Goats R Us Cheese. We trade each Saturday and I get to try a different cheese she makes. There hasn’t been one cheese I haven’t LOVED. Long story short, I use whatever cheese she gives me on these tarts and I love it!
I will say, each time I have made them, they have gotten better and better because I learned more. Preheat oven to 400. Put the phyllo on parchment paper and brush with olive oil and chopped garlic in between each layer (yes there are a lot of layers). That is what I learned to do. The tart on the right does not have that and trust me, taking the extra time to do it makes it that much better! Spread goat cheese or ricotta and top with colorful tomatoes. I learned Cherry tomatoes work out great and makes the tart even more beautiful! The first time (the one on the right) I didn’t fill in open spaces with little tomatoes, when you top the whole thing with tomatoes it looks so much prettier. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 30 minutes. YUMM! Seriously, it is easy and if you are having folks over to your house or need to bring a covered dish, THIS is impressive!
I have also been eating tomato sandwiches every day! Grab a loaf of Norwood Cottage Bakery and some goat cheese from Goats-R-Us with our tomatoes and you will have the best tomato sandwich ever!
Photo courtesy of 52Food where got the recipe!
Summer should always be easy, and these two recipes are so easy! Serve either of these dishes along side our arugula or field green mix and you are complete! You can find the recipe for the salads here.
Enough about tomoatoes! We are also moving in to pepper season! First comes tomatoes and as they close out, you then get peppers! I love them and have lots of recipes. My favorite is stuffed poblanos.
Photo courtesy of Skinnytaste (where I got the recipe!)
This recipe is delicious and is a great meal prep recipe. I make a bunch and then either have leftovers the next night or lunch for a couple of days! Get the recipe here!
I also love this Pepper Steak Recipe!
It is a great easy weeknight dinner! I use Matt’s sweet banana peppers, thick walled carmen peppers as well as shishitoes when I make this. I always throw in one of his fresh cured onions. They are just so sweet, this dinner is amazing! I have also made this for my lunches for work! Here is my secret, I bought a rice cooker! They aren’t that expensive and the rice turns out outstanding! Rather than using water, I use beef or chicken broth while using brown rice. It truly enhances the flavor of the rice! You can get the recipe here. In fact, I am making this for dinner tonight!
We now have our lettuces back! I absolutely love this Tokyo Bekana lettuce! It is like a loose leaf romaine but the stems are like a bok choy so they are delicious to eat! You can sauté this with stir fries (including the pepper steak recipe), make wonderful salads, or create great lettuce wraps!
Another dish that is a family pleaser! You can get the recipe here. I promise you will love it. If you decide to meal prep with it, just make the meat ahead of time and then serve it with the lettuce when you are ready to serve.
I am busy and I need simple. It is my priority to eat as much of Matt’s delicious, clean food as we can. I work hard finding meals that fit our lifestyle. Sunday meal prep has been our savior! I am a principal and Matt is working the fields from dawn to dusk. I have figured out some great recipes that allows me to eat well and continue with the core values of our farm.
It’s tomato time and I have to say it is my favorite time! If you have not had a local vine ripened summer time tomato, you haven’t lived! This time of year I eat them in everything! I have to say though, I love a BLT with bread the Cottage Bread from Norwood Cottage Bakery! Of course, Duke’s mayo and topped with our spicy microgreens completes the tiny bite of heaven!
I have to admit, there are days I eat this for both lunch and dinner! I can’t get enough!
The restaurants we serve loves our tomatoes as well! Adam Campbell, Executive Chef of Scuffletown Garden Restaurant & Bar loves serving farm to table food and loves our tomatoes!
They are in the old Strawberry Street Cafe space and their food is awesome! Give them a try!
If you are a Farm Share Member and receive a bag from us weekly this is what you will find in your bag:
The dinner is sinfully rich and so great with the kale!
I make this in a dutch oven and then throw the kale on top and cook it all together! I have also tossed in Matt’s fingerling potatoes. The mushrooms are a must! If you are at the South of the James Farmer’s Market, check out HaaShrooms! Fresh mushrooms taste so awesome in this dish. I love his shiitakes the best!
I made a mistake when I was making it and didn’t blanch the green beans as soon as I pulled them from the boiling water so they weren’t as pretty and green as I prefer. We eat with our eyes! Don’t make this mistake!
We also have shishitos! I love this simple delicious pepper! They aren’t hot at all!
They are so easy to make, you just put toss some olive oil in an iron skillet and blister them! Do you need a recipe? Here it is! 5 minutes and your side is done! They are great appetizers and taste awesome with beer!
We are in the peek of the growing season and I am truly enjoying the bounty of Matt’s hard work! Come out to see us this Saturday at the South of the James Farmer’s Market. We will be there from 8-12.
It has been a while since I have blogged and I am very excited to have a moment to breath and get back to it! Our beets are an RVA favorite and Hardywood has reached out to us to buy a large quantity of beets or a special brew they are making.
It is heartwarming to hear how hard they work to ensure that they only use local ingredients in their brews! They are truly supporting local farmers and we appreciate it!!!
Last week was a great market showing of all things wonderful! Matt produces all of this food with the help of two interns. They all work hard to ensure you get the best of the very best!
If you receive a farm bag, here is what you will find in the bag:
I am using these ingredients to develop my farmhouse meal plan so here it is!
Monday: My favorite recipe blogger is Skinny Taste! Her food is always on point and are always healthy. I am going to use my Bok Choi for this awesome recipe!
I bought an air fryer for Christmas and absolutely love it! I use it for everything and I know this will be great! You can get the recipe here!
Tuesday: I love Tatsoi! It tastes just like spinach! You can serve it raw in a salad or cook it. The stems taste like tiny bok choi stems are are so good!
In the summer time, I just want to get dinner done so I can have more time outside! I love pizza and this one never disappoints.
Rather than using spinach I substitute tatsoi. You can substitute tatsoi for any spinach recipe! Here is the recipe I use! I use the refrigerated dough, but you can make your own if you are ambitious. Whenever I grill chicken, I always grill an extra few to add in recipes later in the week. I serve this pizza with a side of our salad to prevent me from eating too many slices! If you are looking for a dairy free option, UnMoo has a great cheese made from cashew nuts! They are right next to us at market and their product is amazing!
Wednesday: Zucchini boats are my favorite and a low carb treat! It takes a little work to put this together so I usually make two pans just so I have some for lunches!
They are a big hit at the farm house and they are so filling! Get the recipe here!
Thursday: I honestly eat a few leaves of kale each morning in my smoothie. But I also love kale recipes for dinner! Matt’s bunches are so big, they can handle breakfast each morning and a side!
I love kale with pork! Last week we traded our vegetables for a Boston Butt from Black Boar Farm at the South of the James Farmer’s market. If you get your Boston Butt from Black Boar, tell him Black Creek Farm sent you! We are in peach season, so I substitute peaches for apples and they are so good! I cheat little on this recipe, cook the Boston Butt in the crockpot rather than the dutch oven for about 8 hours. While I sauté the vegetables, I add the kale for the remaining 30 minutes. I then shred up the meat and serve it as pictured. You can get the recipe here!
Friday night is for easy nights! You should have some pork left over as well as some salad. I love a healthy carnitas salad bowl! Just use the leftover pork from Thursday! I love to make it once and eat it twice!
There are weeks at the farm that we work so hard, it is hard to see all of the accomplishments we have made. This past week was one of those weeks. We worked so hard and was exhausted from all we did. We took a moment to step back, and this is what we saw.
Last week was one of our most successful market days in the 10 years we have been at market. Matt has honed in on his skill and the growing weather has been beautiful! We were able to bring the most beautiful food to market and we were proud!
Then we did an impromptu farm tour. Because we work so much having a farm tour is very hard for us as it takes us away from all the things that we need to do. The tour ended up being powerful and rewarding! A representative from Morris Cardiovascular and Risk Reduction Center came out and toured our farm and wrote a beautiful article about the nutritional value of buying local. Scuffletown Garden Restaurant, the restaurant that is opening in the Strawberry Street Cafe space also came. They plan on using our produce at their restaurant. We know the chef and we know it is going to be spectacular! We are looking forward to taking a moment to try them out!
In this picture you see Matt talking about how he grows his arugula and salads!
Sunday we took some time and caught our breaths. We needed it! Our pond is not only the life blood of our farm, but it is also where we catch our breath!
It is fed by spring water and it is where we fish, catch and release turtles. It is where our son learns about nature!
Our son began his hunt for tomatoes and came across a few!
Of course, he scarfed them up right away! We will have a bounty of tomatoes in a few short weeks!
If you receive a farm share member bag, this is what you will be getting:
Matts beets are the best this year! They are so sweet, my favorite way to eat them is to slice them thin and eat them raw!
I have used them to dip in humus and have even used them in my salads!
In this salad, you see golden beets and radishes.
Last week, Matt surprised me with Fava Beans! I absolutely love them, they are some work but it is fun to make on a night that you aren’t in a rush to get dinner done.
I have to say, last week was one of the best weeks we have had at market! The spring has been so sweet to us and Matt has been working extra hard growing the very best produce!
Matt is so talented and his food is so tasty! I would like to thank everyone who came out to the South of the James Farmer’s Market to support us. Matt is truly an artisan when it comes to growing great produce!
If you are a Farm Share Member and are getting the bag option, here is what is coming in your bag this week:
Here are a couple of my favorite recipes!
When the bok choi comes in so tender, I can’t stand to cook it! I love it fresh!
I make an awesome salad out of it following this recipe. To make it a meal simply add grilled chicken!
Photo Courtesy of Culinary Hill
It s so fresh, I promise you will not be disappointed!
I usually use a whole bag of salad for myself and bring them for my lunches using my favorite dressing recipe:
2 tablespoons honey.
1 tablespoon dijon mustard.
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt.
1/2 teaspoon freshly crushed black pepper finely ground.
1 large garlic clove minced.
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar.
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.
I love raw beets, so I slice them thinly on my mandaline and add in my radishes and carrots. I always add two eggs for my protein, it helps me so I don’t get so hungry.
Matt’s breakfast radishes are to die for! One of my favorite ways to eat them is to lay them atop some great butter and bread and sprinkle with microgreens!
I always use Norwood Cottage bread and recently have fallen in love with UnMoo Nutter (nut butter). They are right next to us at market! They also have great cheeses.
You all are also getting zuchinni!
SkinnyTaste is my favorite recipe blogger and if you are trying to be carb-free, give this a try! I absolutely love this recipe and I never miss the noodles! Here is the recipe!
You are getting a beautiful Chinese cabbage! There are so many things you can do with this!
I love a great cabbage salad but I really LOVE Fish Tacos and make a nice cabbage slaw with the cabbage!
If you are looking for an awesome recipe for your kale, try Lasagna Roll-ups! They are so easy and delicious! You can even meal prep these on Sundays!
We are looking forward to bringing our very best to market next week! We will see you at market Saturday, June 1st from 8:00-12:00.