I am back to blogging! As many of you know, I am a principal of the sweetest school in the world! School is finishing up, SOL testing is almost done. My STARs are shining bright and have worked hard so they can grow leaps and bounds and boy did they! I am proud of them! I am happy to finally get back to blogging and sharing with you what I plan on doing with my wonderful husband’s delightful food!
Last week, Matt really brought the best of the best! Check him out! I am not an expert video person and I am unsure of that weird noise, but it all looks beautiful doesn’t it?
I hope you all enjoyed last week’s goodies! You have more coming this week! If you receive a farm share bag, you will find these great things in your bag:
Sugar Snap Peas
We will be bringing this and more to market.
One of my favorite things to make is pesto. I wrote about it on Facebook last weekend. It is so versatile, you can smear it on bread, toss it in pasta or even add it to macaroni and cheese! I have even smeared raw chicken with it and cook the chicken in the oven. Smeared atop a nice steak is divine! Here is a great recipe I use. I know it calls for walnuts but honestly, I use whatever nuts I have and there have been times that I did not use any nuts.
It freezes nicely and just adds some pizazz!
Dd you know one bag of salad lasts 5 days! During the growing season, that is all I do for my lunches! I meal prep with so easily and add in two eggs for my protein allowance. Last week I added in strawberries and cheese from Goats R Us. If you come to market and want real fresh eggs, check out Earth’s Echo Farm.
Our strawberries are done so I will add in Matt’s carrots, shaved turnips! So yummy. I seriously look forward to every lunch! Once you make this dressing, you will never want store bought! Here is my secret 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.
Make it easy on yourself and pour everything in a mason jar and give it a big shake!
Those of you who are getting bags are getting the very first squash and zucchini!
YUUUUM! They are so young and tender and the very first picks!
I eat them raw, grill them and roast them! I like them to be lightly cooked so they have a nice fresh taste. Honestly, I hate soggy vegetables!
We also have sugar snap peas coming! I love them raw but they are also great sautéed.
Ina Garten is one of my favorite celebrity chefs! Here is her recipe for sautéed sugar snap peas!
I hope you enjoy your delicious fresh food! If you have pictures of what you make, inbox me on facebook and I will share them out! I get so much pleasure seeing the great things you all make with our food! If you have a recipe to share, I would love it as well! I am always looking for great recipes!
We will see you at the South of the James Farmer’s market in Forest Hill Park this Saturday from 8-12! I can’t wait!
The good news is, it wasn’t hot this week! It did rain and rain and rain! We can’t stop working because of the rain, so we worked and were thankful for the breaks in the rain! Today the sun is shining so I am sure our vegetables are going to be ever so happy with their new waterings! We will be working double time today and tomorrow to get the best of our harvest ready to take to the South of the James Farmer’s Market, Elwood Thompson, and local restaurants.
If you are a farm share member, this is what you will find in your bag:
At home, I have been trying out some new recipes. I especially LOVE make ahead recipes! Here is one that I am in LOVE with! I made it for my lunches this week but next week, I will make it for my dinners. You can use your arugula or field green salad with this one. They both turn out nicely! Grab a red onion and you got this done! Allowing the onions and feta to soak up the dressing makes it even more awesome!
I have found adding protein to these salads help the salads keep you full for longer. I decided to grill two chicken breasts, slice them, and present these on the side of the salad. They wont fit in the jars. This is a recipe that would be great for parties. I promise you will be the talk of the party! If you don’t want to serve it in jars, you can make the dressing ahead of time and marinate the red onion. I try to get all of my ingredients as fresh as possible, so if you are at market stop in right across from us and get some feta from Goats R Us Cheese.
Tuesday: Tuscan White Bean, Sausage, and Kale Soup
You will use up your kale with this one! I LOVE this one! It is truly so easy to make. We always work toward having the freshest food, so I always use sausage from Dockery Branch Farms Real Country Sausage. When you buy local, it truly supports hard working families keep their farms going.
Mashed turnips are the best! They taste like mashed potatoes but with less carbs you can’t go wrong! My mom loves to make this recipe and I always enjoy eating them when she makes them!
Served alongside okra and pork chops makes a down home meal! We get our pork chops from Dennis at Black Boar Farm. His chops are the freshest you will find. It DOES make a difference to eat fresh food! You can find him at the South of the James Farmer’s Market!
I have to admit, I love a good burger and topped with microgreens are the only way to eat it! This is quick and easy for a Friday night! I always serve this with a salad and whatever side I may have left over.
Sip a beer while you eat and you will be on cloud 9!
If you are wondering what else we are bringing to market, here is the list:
We have another great weather week! The rain we received was just in time! Not too much and not little! Matt is working hard transitioning the field to fall crops. He is planning for our favorite market, the market before Thanksgiving! It is hard to imagine that in the middle of November, we are already thinking of fall!
This week we have a few new things coming to market! Our cherry tomatoes are finally turning on! The late spring an the torrential rains really put a hurting on our tomatoes and peppers, but they are on their way! We will be bringing in a second round of leeks, okra, and cherry tomatoes!
If you are a Farm Share Member and are wondering what will be in your bag, you will find:
Bobby Flay taught me how to grill and this cheeseburger recipe is so simple! I top the burger with cheese, our microgreens, and a slice of tomato and I am in heaven! Matt’s very favorite thing to eat, and the real reason he grows jalapeños, is this stuffed pepper recipe.
I promise, they aren’t as hot as you would think once you remove the seeds.
This okra recipe is delicious and a bit of a twist! By slicing the okra long-ways you use its goo to its advantage as it caramelizes while roasting! The addition of the black-eyed peas and tomatoes are incredible!
Served along side oven fried pork chops, you won’t miss a beat! But both of these in the oven at the same time and you will have dinner in 30 minutes with about 15 minutes of initial prep.
Yes, this salad is that good! With Goats R Us Cheese across from us, you can get the main ingredients in one stop! Her cheese is so creamy, rich, and smooth and would be so great served atop this salad!
When it is Friday, I prefer something easy that I can eat on the deck and sip some wine!
If you are wondering what else will be at market we will have:
I love beets, they are so sweet and taste so great roasted! I found this great sheet pan meal, I am so excited to make!
There is some marinating involved, my suggestion is to marinate the chicken the night prior. When you get home from market, it is easy to prep your beets to make Thursday’s dinner smooth!
Friday: Lifeis4Tasting Recipe: Lime rice, black beans and chicken with arugula or field greens, onions, jalapeños, and tomatoes.
Corey, the author of Lifeis4Tasting is one of our farm share members. For several seasons, she has helped us out at market!
She has created this awesome recipe that she shared on her facebook page! I was so excited, I tried it out and it was fabulous! This is a great recipe to make on Sunday for a week’s worth of lunches!
– 2 cups cooked brown rice
– 1/2 a lime
– 1 jalapeño or similar hot chili
– 1 can black beans
– 1tsp cumin
– 1/2 cup diced onion
– 2 cups diced rotisserie chicken
– 1/2 cup fresh salsa
– 1 cup diced tomatoes
– 2-3 diced avocados
– 2 cups loosely packed arugula
1. Cook rice to package directions. Squeeze lime juice over rice.
2. In a pan, sauté jalapeño and onion. When onion is translucent, add one can drained black beans. Season with cumin and Salt and Pepper to taste
3. In the jars, layer: brown rice, black bean and veggie mixture, diced chicken, salsa, and diced tomatoes and avocado. Top with fresh arugula.
4. When you’re ready to eat, eat straight out of the jar or dump into a bowl. Enjoy!
If you are wondering what else will be at market we will have:
We are in the peak of the growing season and we are working hard growing all we can. This has been a HOT week! When it is this hot simple tasks take longer and you work slower ensuring hydration to stay safe. Matt and his team are getting it done and are excited about what we are bringing to market. We are even more excited about the upcoming break in the heat! Saturday is going to be a BEAUTIFUL day with temperatures at 80 degrees! We are holding on for it.
We have harvested our onions and they are curing in our barn. These are cabernet onions and they are so good!
They will be done curing in a few weeks and we will be bringing the to market! We have also harvested our tropea onions, our white onions, and our yellow onions!
Speaking of curing, our garlic has cured! We will be bringing it to market this week!
There is nothing better than freshly cured garlic! You can’t get this at the grocery store, only at market and it is so awesome! We are always excited about our garlic!
If you are a Farm Share member, this is what you will find in your bag:
When it is hot and I want a quick morning recipe, I go for a smoothie to set my day right! Blueberries are in season so nothing tastes better than a fresh smoothie! I have a ninja blender with a single serving attachment that I use. It is easy to rinse out and I am on my way!
One of my secretes is I freeze my fresh blueberries before making this. It makes it nice and cold!
A couple of years ago, I discovered sheet pan recipes and it changed my life! Clean up is easy and the food tastes so great when it is cooked together in one pan! In this recipe, rather than regular potatoes, use our fingerling potatoes!
This recipe will not disappoint you at all and it is so easy!
You can do this as a sheet pan dinner with about 20 minutes prep and 30 minutes cooking, you can’t go wrong. Here is my secret, I do a double batch for leftovers the next day or to bring for lunches.
If you are wondering what radishes taste like roasted, they taste kind of like potatoes! They have lower carbs than potatoes so this is a nice lighter version! The mini meatloaves help you with portion control!
If you are wondering what else will be at market we will have:
The constant down pours have been real hard on us. The last round of flash floods did a lot of damage to the infrastructure of our farm. We are praying that we have an end to these storms so we can start rebuilding structures around the farm. Each time we plant and a flash flood comes through, we lose that day’s work only to have to do it all over again and pray that it germinates in time for it’s intended market. I am friends with another farm in our area and their struggles are the same. This season, it is what it will be and we will hold our head high and keep growing for the kind folks of RVA. I guess you can say, that’s farming!
This upcoming June 30th is kid’s market at the South of the James! Our son and I are on vacation at the bay. Matt was able to come for a day but had to go back to check on the farm. Last year, he made crab night lights from the crabs we ate. He is bringing them again this year!
Sage’s crab lights last year.
Here he is for round 2!
It is a project he loves to do with the exception of cleaning out the crab shells! His grandmother and I work on that while he runs around talking about the guts and looking at it. The rest, he handles and does an excellent job of creating them. I am very proud of my child’s work ethic, and I attribute that to coming to market with us each Saturday. He understands hard work equates success and he watches Matt working hard each and every day. The market community embraces him and encourages him. There are no better folks that the folks who run and vend at the South of the James Farmer’s Market!
While we are here, Matt and his crew are working hard planting, harvesting and cleaning up the farm from flooding. We will have a great show this week at market! If you are a Farm Share Member, you can find this in your bag:
I have to admit, Matt’s vegetables are so good, I actually prefer them raw. This salad is perfect! If the spicy peanut sauce is too much for you, no worries, make this easy dressing and it is so good too! 2/3 cups of olive oil, 8 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, 4 tablespoons of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss all of the ingredients in to a mason jar and shake! I wanted to offer two dressings for those of you with peanut allergies.
I use Matt’s carrots in this and throw a few chicken breasts in the oven to cook to roast while I am putting this salad together. The beauty is the napa cabbage is so hearty that it can be made ahead of time.
This is a recipe I make on Sundays to have lunches all week! I leave out the dressing until it is time to eat it. I actually spiralize the carrots for this recipe and chop them up, they are so good! I never put in the purple cabbage, I use what is on hand, but it looks beautiful in the salad. I also toss toasted Ramon noodles on top for an added crunch!
What I love about this recipe is that it is easy and you have easy portion control! I get the ricotta cheese from Goats R Us Cheese and the beautiful mushrooms from either Hasshroms or Casselmonte Farm right at market.
This is kid friendly and usually this recipe lasts us two days. Sometimes, I pack it for lunch the next day, it all depends on how busy we are the next day.
This turnip salad literally takes 10 minutes to put together. I grate the turnips and carrots. You could probably spiralize them, I haven’t tried it but it could work. Then grill the salmon which takes another 10 minutes and serve.
It is peach season and nothing is better than grilled peaches and a honey vinaigrette! I serve this with grilled chicken since we are already grilling! If you need peaches, get them from Saunders Brothers at the South of the James Farmer’s Market!
This recipe calls for blue cheese. I honestly prefer the smooth taste of fresh Goat’s Cheese from Goats R Us Cheese at the South of the James Farmer’s Market with this! Grilling the peaches makes such a big difference and sweetens the peaches. In the picture they have them halved, I usually cut the peaches in 1/4ths once they are grilled.
We will also have other goodies at market! We will have:
The longest day of the year is June 21st and it is the peak of the growing season! Our vegetables love the long, hot days. It is the time that our fertile fields begin pumping out beautiful food! Long days equate to long days of work to ensure great production.
We have harvested all of our garlic and hung them in the barn to cure. Our interns, Stephen and Emma have worked hard harvesting and hanging the garlic.
Above you see Stephen harvesting the garlic and taking to the barn. He is living on the farm with us for a second year! Stephen is learning sustainable farming from Matt and is a great asset in the field. Emma, on the right, is a graduate student at Virginia Tech studying sustainability. She is learning all she can to apply them to her studies. We are grateful to have these two young ones coming to our farm to learn from and help Matt.
Matt is engineering a system to bulk produce compost tea to integrate into our soil to bolster fertility. Compost tea contains all the soluble nutrients extracted from the compost, but also contains all the species of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes in the compost. The boost of beneficial organisms enhances a plant’s immune system protecting them harmful diseases. Matt’s inventions always amaze me and his creative mind solves real problems quickly!
If you are a farm share member you will find in your bag:
In the summer, we eat a lot of salads. Mainly because they are easy! Really, who wants to cook after a hot day outside! One of my favorite salads is kale salad. I don’t massage the dressing in, I simply make it a day ahead of time and let it marinate.
I love this recipe because of the high protein content. You really don’t need meat. Quina has 8 grams of protein in a cup and and one cup of kale has 2.9 grams of protein. Lean, healthy proteins are what you body needs!
One of our farm share members shares beautiful vegan recipes with me. I thought of her when I found this one and hope she enjoys it!
I have also made this recipe for my healthy lunches I take to work with me. It is truly so good and after eating something this good, you have energy to last you the rest of the day!
Talk about easy and healthy! Put it in a foil pack and cook it for 30 minutes. During your 30 minutes, work out, fold laundry, or play with your child! This is such a healthy, clean recipe that is so very easy. Serve it along side Matt’s field greens and you have a remarkable dish!
This is also kid approved! Our son absolutely loves it! He even helps make it and feels good about his contribution to dinner!
Last year, I finally broke down and bought a spiralizer. I absolutely love it! This recipe uses spiralized noodles instead of noodles so it is extra healthy! This recipe calls for chicken but I have used all kinds of proteins in this.
The recipe calls for spinach, but I use tatsoi or bok choi whatever I have on hand. Matt and I usually eat whatever is left over from market so I have learned to be very flexible. know you will love this recipe.
I love bang bang shrimp, chicken, or whatever! This is an easy bang bang recipe! I use Matt’s Field Greens and they are delicious with this. This is another recipe that I make ad take for my healthy workweek lunches.
It literally takes 3o minutes to pull this together and you are done! The bang bang sauce is delicious!
We will also have tatsoi, arugula, tokyo bekena, and bok choi at market so be sure to stop by and pick up some of our goodies!
They say there is no tired like end of the year teacher tired. They are right! This week was filled with end of year celebrations and cheers! I had my Pre-K and 5th Grade Moving Up ceremonies. My 5th Grade Moving Up Ceremony became quite emotional to me. I was able to hold myself together until the end of the ceremony and I balled, ugly crying and voice cracking in front of everyone. Those kids were in 1st grade when I came to Sandston. When their 1st grade teacher left after the first week of school, I taught them for a month along with my fabulous Title 1 Reading Specialist until we could find an amazing teacher (she was outstanding). I became very close with this bunch because of that. They will be taking a piece of my heart with them to middle school. I am so blessed to be able to touch the precious lives I touch. There is truly no job more rewarding! With that said, this blog posting will be a little on the light side. I hope you understand!
Each year Matt grows cabbages. They are always so beautiful! This year, he decided to grow Napa cabbages! They are true beauties and what I am most excited about!
They are great raw as a salad and in stir fries! I am thinking of making some fish tacos with them! I love a good taco! I will add some of these beautiful radishes and carrots and have a great dinner!
I would like to introduce you to my friend Corey! She may look familiar because she has been our market helper for several years! Corey has a facebook page called Life Is 4 Tasting. She visits the South of the James Farmer’s Market regularly and picks up fresh food from many of the vendors. She then posts her meals on this page. She is a talented chef and creates the most beautiful dishes! She will be be popping in helping us out from time to time, so be sure to check out her posts!
Here is what our Farm Share Members will be getting in their bags and what we will have on our tables:
We will have the same things out for our market shoppers but we will also have carrots, arugula, and turnips, tatsoi, swiss chard, and tokyo bekenna. It is going to be a great week!
We have had over 16 inches of rain in two short weeks! Many farmers are hurting from all of this rain and they are in our prayers as we fully understand how much they depend on the income their farm produces. We have weathered these storms and are making it! We are thankful that our dam held since we depend on the water from our pond to water our plants. I bet you never thought farmers were engineers! Well Matt and his dad engineered our dam to handle heavy floods and their design is working so far.
In this shot you see the emergency overflow pipes in over drive. The water filled up our pond to the point our docks were covered. We were thankful our pumps although went under water are still working.
This is our fishing pier. As you can see, it is completely under. Our son thought it was very cool so him and Matt took a break to see what fishing would be like in the flooded waters.
We are also thankful that Matt used his engineering talents to engineer our beds to withstand the flooding. I have to say, I am amazed by his work! He grows in raised beds incorporated with organic matter and he fills the walkways with wood chips. His beds stood strong and held up to the heavy rains!
First, we had a late start to spring which slowed down the start of our season and now too much rain! We are happy to be surviving the weather and coming to market bringing you the best of what we grow!
So, if you are a Farm Share member and are wondering what will be in your bag, this is going to be a great week! You will find:
We have beets! I don’t know what I want to make first because it has been so long since I have had fresh beets!
My friend and Farm Share Member Corey made a great beet relish recipe. I then began to look for something I would want to try so I found one! You can make it ahead of time and pull it out when you are ready.
Chicken thighs on the grill are just amazing and so easy. I would also serve this with a side of the field greens.
In the summers, I love a stir fry! It is such a great way to get rid of whatever is in my refrigerator so honestly, I use it as a clean out for me! I made this stir fry this past week and used everything, even turnips!
Stir fries always make more than enough and I always have leftovers. I also serve them atop brown rice. I honestly never know how it is going to turn out!
Since you are at market, the best place to get pork chops is from Black Boar Farm. We use their pork all the time and their meat is so flavorful because their pigs eat the best of the food and are kept in wonderful conditions. Dennis is a great guy.
When Matt pulled the carrots this week, they were BEAUTIFUL!
Fresh pulled carrots are so sweet! I know you will enjoy them.
Last market a wonderful thing happened! Our 9 year old son was a market musician. He has been taking piano for a year and loves it. He wanted to give it a try and Karen and Doug, the market managers, let him.
Our son has been coming to market since he was 2!!! The folks who are at market have embraced him and encouraged his creativity and artistic expression. He said he was very nervous but even the market customer’s encouraged him. I feel so lucky to be a part of this loving community.
This week, we are full on in to garlic scape season! Garlic scapes are the flower bud of the hard neck garlic plant. They taste mild and sweet and sweet with an unmistakable garlic flavor.
We have customers buy them by the handfuls and freeze them. We have had other customers make pesto out of them, freeze it to save for later. They are certainly a great treat if only for a short time.
If you are wondering what will be in our Farm Share Members Bags, here you go:
I love a good stir fry! It is so easy and fast to make. I will add some garlic scapes to this stir fry. You will be so happy!
Photo Courtesy of Skinny Taste
This is also something I make on Sunday’s for lunches for the week if you all meal prep. I always use brown rice with it, the recipe doesn’t call for it but it sure does add a lot to the meal. My theory is, if you eat clean every day and work out, you will get down to your natural size and feel great and full!
No lie, this is sooooooo good. You can serve this two ways, atop a chopped salad or as lettuce wraps. You will use your Tokyo Bekana with this recipe. Remember the Tokyo Bekana looks like this:
Photo courtesy of High Mowing Organic Seeds
It has a nice romaine lettuce taste that pairs so well with this recipe. Our son loves to eat these as wraps and they are sooooooo good! You can sautee your garlic scapes with this recipe instead of garlic. You will love the subtle taste.
For those of you who love watching food videos, here is a how-to from the recipe’s author:
I absolutely love her recipes! I post this one every year when we have nice greens! This being done in 20 minutes is a BONUS!!!
This week you will have fava beans in your Farm Share! What an amazing treat! This is the first time Matt has grown them so I have been searching high and low for a great recipe!
The fava pods are not edible at this stage, so you will need to shell the beans. The beans are tender, with a sweet, mild grassy flavor. The beans are similar in shape to a lima bean. This is how I plan on serving them:
Picture Courtesy of One Green Planet
The quinoa will give you plenty of protein. I will serve this atop our Field Greens! This is so fresh and clean you will feel good after eating it!
This is another quick easy clean and healthy recipe! It is perfect for a week night!
Picture courtesy of Bon Appetit.
This time of year, fresh squash is just incredible. When something is so good, I prefer to cook it simply. This recipe allows you to savor the flavor of late spring! It is also a quick weeknight dinner, what I need!
I absolutely love Thai food! If you are looking for the best Thai in Richmond, stop by Pad Thai on Meadowbridge Road in Mechanicsvile. It is a sweet restaurant owned and run by a sweet Thai family. They are just awesome. You won’t be disappointed!
Tatsoi is one of my favorite greens! It tastes like spinach without the bitter aftertaste. When sautéed, it holds its shape nicely. It can also be eaten raw like a salad. The stems are fabulous unlike spinach, they taste just like bok choy, so use them!
But, if you are settled in your house, and want to eat some tatsoi, try this out. It is another quick fast recipe, what I crave! It will take you 20 minutes max!
Picture courtesy of The Daily Meal
Be sure to saute some radishes just prior to adding in the tatsoi for an added great flavor! If you have garlic scapes left, use them in this as well! You will love it!