July 7th Market Pick-up #8

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:

  • Kale
  • Radishes
  • Basil
  • Beans
  • Field Greens
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Carrots

Here is a sample menu plan for the week!

Monday:  I am doing a breakfast recipe!  Kale and Blueberry Smoothie

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!

Tuesday:  Lemon Basil Chicken served on Brown Rice

Although this recipe calls for spinach, I use our tatsoi!

tatsoi.jpgTatsoi tastes just like spinach and the stems taste like bok choi stems.  I suggest using the stems in this recipe!  You will love it and it is a quick and easy week night dinner.

Wednesday:  Sheet Pan Lemon Parmesan Garlic Chicken and Veggies

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!

Thursday:  Chicken Waldorf Salad Served atop Field Greens

This is so good an easy, I would make this ahead of time and eat off of it for two days!  Seriously, I double this recipe for two nights!


I made this for my mother-in-law at the beach and she loved it!  It was a nice, light summer dinner!

Friday:  Roasted Radishes and Carrots with Glazed Mini-Meatloaves

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.

stonewall_radishescarrots.jpgIf 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:

  • Garlic
  • Tatsoi (Summer Spinach)
  • Kale
  • Summer Lettuces
  • Radishes
  • Baby Arugula
  • Field Greens
  • Spicy Micro Greens
  •  Onions
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Basil

We will see you at the South of the James Farmer’s Market this Saturday from 8-12.

June 30th Market and Pick-up # 7

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!

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:

  • Napa Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Field Greens
  • Onions
  • Green Beans
  • Carrots
  • Salad Turnips

Here is my farm house menu for the week:

Monday:  Asian Chopped Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing

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!

Tuesday: Mushroom and Kale Lasagna Rolls

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.

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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.

Wednesday:  Grilled Salmon served atop Turnip Salad  

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.


The added pumpkin seeds are wonderful!

Thursday:  Grilled Shirt Steak with Fresh Green Bean Salad

This recipe is so easy with some forethought.  Marinate the steak the over night before you prepare the dinner.  If you do this, yo have a 30 minute dinner!


This is so fresh you can’t go wrong!  This week, you will find my favorite green beans in the bag!  Jade green beans!  They are so good, I love them raw.  This will be such a treat!

Friday:  Grilled Peach Salad with Honey Vinaigrette

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:

Summer Spinach (Tatsoi)
Summer Loose Leaf Romaine (Tokyo Bekena)
Fingerling Potatoes

We will see you at the South of the James Farmer’s Market this Saturday from 8-12!


June 23rd Market and Farm Share Pick-up #6

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:

  • kale
  • carrots
  • squash
  • field greens
  • turnips
  • radishes
  • onions

Here is my farm meal plan:

Monday:  Kale and Quinoa Salad

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!

Tuesday:  Salmon and Summer Squash in Foil 

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!

Wednesday:  Stir Fried Carrot Noodles with Chicken

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.

Thursday:  Sautéed Japanese Turnips with Turnip Greens and Panko Crusted Pork Chops


Many people only eat the turnips, but the greens are outstanding!  I suggest serving them together along with pork chops!

20160520-japanese-turnips-vicky-wasik-8It is such a simple and easy dish!  Served along side baked pork chops, you can’t go wrong.






Friday:  Bangin Good Chicken Salad

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.

bangin-good-chicken-salad-550x825.jpgIt 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!

We will be at the South of the James Farmer’s Market this Saturday from 8-12!  See ya there!!!

June 17th Market and Farm Share Pick-up #5

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!

Here is my recipe for Asian Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw!  They are so good and so clean!  You will absolutely fall in love!



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:

Green Beans
Spring Onions
Napa Cabbage
Field Greens

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 will see you at the South of the James Farmer’s Market this Saturday from 8:00-12:00.


June 9th Market & Farm Share Pick-up #4

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:

  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Tatsoi
  • Field Greens
  • Turnips
  • Radishes

Monday: Beet Bruschetta with Goat Cheese and Basil with Grilled Chicken Thighs

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.

Tuesday:  Tatsoi and Carrot Stir Fry topped with Shrimp

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!

34318036_2097093563837563_6599727496713732096_n (1)

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!

Wednesday:  Turnip Au Gratin , and Skirt Steak served atop Tatsoi Greens.

One of our Farm Share Members, Katie shared this recipe with me!  It looked so darn good, I dropped everything and made it.  I used a mandolin slicer to slice up the turnips real thin and I ran with it!

It turned out beautiful and the pairing was amazing!  We were able to eat off of that side for a couple of days, which is awesome!

Thursday:  Roasted Carrots, Radishes, and Chickpeas with Baked Pork Chops

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.

Friday:  Field Green Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese Salad

Well, we have just about eaten everything!  This is one of my favorite salads from my favorite recipe blogger!  All of her recipes are absolutely great!


I love her fresh dressings!  Give them a try, they are so easy!  Grill some chicken breasts and add them on top of the salad and you will have a great meal!

I truly hope you enjoy the food this week!

We will see you at the South of the James Farmer’s Market this Friday from 8-12.

June 2nd Market & Farm Share Pick-up #3

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.

Sage Playing Market

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:

  • Broccoli 

  • Squash

  • Radish 

  • Fava Beans

  • Field Green Mix

  • Tatsoi

  • Tokyo Bekana

  • Scapes

Here is my farmhouse menu:

Monday:  Broccoli and Chicken Stir Fry

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!

Tuesday:  PF Chang Copy Cat Lettuce Wraps

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!!!

Wednesday: Fava Bean Quinoa Salad

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:

fava bean salad

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!

Thursday:  Halibut with Spring Onion and Summer Squash Saute 

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!

Friday:  Crispy Salmon on Tatsoi with Spicy Thai Sauce and Roasted Radishes

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!

Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 9.10.01 PM

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!

We are looking forward to seeing you at the South of the James Farmer’s Market next Saturday from 8-12.  We are there rain or shine!

May 26th Market & Farm Share Pick-up #2

The farm has received more than 10 inches of rain in one short (or very long) week!  To say we were worried is an understatement!  Matt is truly a sustainable farmer and he builds his beds with mulches and great compost.  This is why we have beautiful produce on a consistent basis but it is also why we didn’t wash away!

This is a movie Matt made of our new growing space.  You can clearly see, once Matt puts in place mulches and compost, our crops are protected.  This practice also protects our watershed and prevents heavy run off keeping our soil fully amended.  The space next to and behind the asparagus is the space that Matt is working on for next year.  Just prior to the storm, Matt put down hundreds of dollars of cover crop seed.  We are hoping that the seeds started germinating and we did not lose our investment.


As you can see, we have a rain gage, but the gage spilled over after 6 or 7 inches of rain.  I have to say we feel very blessed that Matt has put in all of his hard work of heavy mulching to protect our crops for upcoming markets and Farm Share Member bags!  We know some farms weren’t as lucky as us and they are in our prayers.  Farming is the hardest job you can ever have but the weekly reward of the harvest is amazing!

I can’t tell you how much we love our Farm Share Members!  I am so rewarded when they send me pictures of the food they have prepared for their families!

One of our members made this beautiful Bok Choi stir fry!  She said it was so easy to whip together and so tasty!  I am making it tonight with shrimp and mushrooms from Hasshroms!

stir fry

This same Farm Share Member made the quiche I suggested last week!  She even got her ricotta cheese from GoatsRUs!


I love seeing our field greens served right up next to it!  This Farm Share Member works full time and is a new mom.  Her and her husband amaze me with their tag teaming of making each dinner together special!

So, what’s in the bag for our farm share members (and on the table for our South of the James Customers?

  • Strawberries
  • Green Garlic
  • Field Green Salad
  • Boc Choi
  • Tokyo Bekana
  • Radishes
  • Turnips
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Kale

Here is my menu:

Monday:  Balsalmic Strawberry Chicken Salad served atop Tokyo Bekana
Strawberry season is short, so make the best out of it!  This is a GREAT salad and so easy to make on a busy Monday!


Photo courtesy of Will Cook for Smiles.

I love grilled chicken, so I fire up the grill and while that is heating up, I make the rest!  I serve it on top of the Tokyo Bekana leaves.

Tokyo Bekana

Photo courtesy of High Mowing Organic Seeds

These leaves are like loose romaine lettuce.  They stand up well and are so delicious.  You can either chop it up and make a salad (the stems are great) or wrap them up and serve them Last summer, these became very popular at market and are one of my favorites!  You can even put them in stir fries!

Tuesday:  Crunchy Bok Choi Salad

Y’all, we are at the end of the school year, we are under testing stress, and the kids are ready for summer.  It is at this point that I am “pretending” I have it together.  I NEED easy dinners!  This is another easy one!


Image courtesy of Will Cook For Smiles

To make this a meal, you really need to add some protein to it so I add some shrimp because it cooks up super fast!

Wednesday:  Garlic Scape Pesto Pizza

Our son loves this one!  He actually helps me put this together.  I am looking forward to the day I can tell him to make dinner!  I am a cheater, I buy store bought pizza dough, or sometimes I will be buy Naan bread or pita bread and use it for pizza!  Cottage Bread from Norwood Cottage is tasty as well just slice it in half and heap on the good stuff!  If you want to make your own crust, it is better but it is Wednesday!  =) I don’t have a recipe so I just get creative!  I start off by making Garlic Scape Pesto.  It is easy really.  I am so lazy I make it in my smoothie bullet because I don’t want to pull out my food processor (Don’t judge, it is the end of a school year).  I have even used this pesto to mix in with pasta it is so good!


Picture courtesy of West Coast Seeds

I spread the pesto across the bread, dough, pizza crust.  I then get some ricotta cheese from Goats R Us and dollop it on the pizza crust.  I swear their ricotta is the creamiest I have ever found.  I then slice up some radishes and sprinkle on some parmesan cheese and top with some of our arugula.  I cook it for 10 minutes and serve it with our field green salad that is in your bag!  It is so good.  If you aren’t an arugula fan, or if you want to use what is in your bag, kale is real good on top of this pizza too!

Thursday:  Slow Cooker Turnip, Kale, and Lentil Soup

It is Thursday and I have almost made it to Friday!  I need a slow cooker recipe by this point.  A slow cooker is like having a housewife.  I come home from work and dinner is ready!  I can’t tell you how happy it makes me.  It does take some prep, I prepare it either before bed or I get up 20 minutes early to get it together.  Matt will come in from the field and turn it on at the appropriate time so we can have dinner.  I know many of you don’t have that options so if you have an instant pot, you can do it with that too.  The instant pot is really helpful if you don’t want to prep prior or if you are like me and work 10 hour days and you don’t want your food to burn up.


Recipe courtesy of Chef De Home

I serve this along side our field green salad and and my favorite bread from Norwood Cottage. I love his Red Pepper Flake Parmesan with this!  When you eat healthy you can eat bread, right!?!

Friday:  Avocado Salmon Salad served atop Field Greens, chopped up Tokyo Bekana, Kale, and radishes.

We are putting our beautiful kale in our Farm Share Member’s bags and are bringing it to market!  It is beautiful and salad quality!  I am using what is left in my bag to serve up this salad!  You can use the rest of the field green salad, Tokyo bekana, and Kale.  If they need to be freshened up, pop them in a glass of water as you would flowers and leave them in the refrigerator like that while you are at work.

Below see this video of this recipe. Yes, this one is so easy to put together!

I promise you you won’t be disappointed.  Here is my hint, I toss it in a big bowl and serve it on plates and then top it with the salmon.

I absolutely love your food pictures so please send them to me by inboxing Black Creek Farm on Facebook.

We will see you at the South of the James Farmer’s Market this Saturday from 8-12!

May 19th Market & Farm Share Pick-up #1

This is my first blog since November!  As many of you know, I am a principal at a local elementary school, so this school year has kept me hoping but has been so rewarding!  Matt has been working hard on expanding our farm so we can grow more and expand our high quality produce in to the RVA area.  Two years ago, we purchased the land across from Matt’s growing field.  On this land is a modest solar home where our intern resides and our second growing field!  We have also been working very hard to clear this field and make it a space to grow in.  To see how it began and then how it is now is nothing but amazing.  Please watch our growth by watching this slide show.

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This project has taken us two years, and we are slowly turning it around.  Our next goal is to have hoop houses put up in the back of this field so we can extend our seasons and stay at market longer!

Matt has also worked hard in building a beautiful hoop house. We built this hoop house just for our ginger crop.  Matt has been researching ginger and has been talking to Bill at Casselmonte Farm our local ginger expert.  Bill and India grows ginger for Hardywood!  You can even see the name of their farm on their label!  Bill’s wife India comes out to the South of the James Farmer’s Market and sells their beautiful produce as well.   Bill recommended to Matt that we grow our ginger as he does, in hoop houses.  We listen to our local experts and built this beautiful hoop house.

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Matt has always been dabbling in blacksmithing and he is teaching our son.  They black smithed this beautiful latch together over the summer.  Of course, I married a farmer and knew nothing about farming other than cooking the food.  I never realized how much skill a farmer must have to ensure the success of his farm.  It is truly amazing!

So, if you ever wondered what Matt does in the winter, this is it!  We are also working on the installation of a new cooler.  Since we will be producing more food, a new cooler will be needed!  Within a few years, we are hoping to serve our local community with our own farm stand on the property.  We will continue working at the South of the James Farmer’s Market so don’t worry!

Our first farm share is here!  So if you are a farm share member and are wondering what is in the bag, here it is!

  • Brocoli
  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Field Green Mix
  • Bok Choi
  • Green Garlic
  • French Breakfast Radishes

So here is my menu this week based on what is in your bag!

Monday we will use our Broccoli and Green Garlic:
One Pan Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Broccoli
Y’all, we are busy at the farm!  Our son is involved in so many after school activities I don’t have time to play during the week!  This is a recipe you just put in and forget until it is done!  When it calls for garlic cloves, be sure to use your green garlic!


Picture courtesy of Skinny Taste

This is done in 30 minutes!  Something I appreciate on a Monday!  Serve this with cottage bread from Norwood Cottage Bakery and you will be so happy!

Tuesday:  We will use our spinach and field green mix!
Spinach Ricotta Quiche
This one takes an hour but literally, you don’t have to babysit it and can do other things while it is cooking!  I am not going to lie, I cheat, I don’t make my own pie crust I use this:
download (17)You can get it from the biscuit section in the cooler and it is so much easier!  If you make this with fresh eggs (we also bring several dozen to market) and fresh ricotta from Goats R Us Cheese (they are right across from us at market) you can’t go wrong!


Picture courtesy of Skinny Taste.

I serve this along side our Field Green Mix and it is delicious!  I always make my own dressing to ensure it is clean and fresh!
salad Here is a very simple recipe for a healthy dressing:


  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (we will have honey at market)
  • 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup of good olive oil

The beauty is, once you have these ingredients in the house you can make as much as you need fresh!

Wednesday:  We will use our Bok Choy and Green Garlic!

Garlicky Shrimp Stir-Fry with Shiitakes and Bok Choy
There is nothing easier than a stir fry on a Wednesday!  This literally takes 20 minutes to make!  Now, if you use brown rice, that takes a bit longer but you can start that 20 minutes before you begin cooking!  Fresh mushrooms are the best, so be sure to visit Haashrooms at market for the freshest mushrooms!


Picture courtesy of Skinny Taste

This is so healthy and makes a beautiful leftover lunch!

Thursday:  We will use our leftover field greens and spinach and our beautiful strawberries.
Grilled Chicken Salad with Strawberries, Spinach, and Field Greens
This is so good, and the creamy goat cheese from Goats R Us makes it even better!
Our berries are simply gorgeous and added to this salad alongside warm grilled chicken makes it so very nice!  The dressing in this recipe pairs so nicely with all of the ingredients!

Although I have this on the menu for Thursday dinner, I am thinking about using this as my meal prep for 4 days of lunches!  I meal prep on Sundays so I can have healthy food for my lunches!  I love not having to think about lunches during the week!

Friday:  We have already eaten just about  everything in our bag!  We only have French Breakfast Radishes left!

Our radishes are so beautiful, I am giving you two options!”

Option 1:  Grilled Chicken and Spring Time Avocado and Radish Toast
If you have leftover Norwood Cottage bread, I suggest this one!  Eat it out on the deck with a glass of white wine and you will be ever so happy on a Friday night!

Another great recipe is this one: Bucatini with French Breakfast Radishes, Bacon and Greens . I will be honest, I would add some chicken to this recipe!  It would also be great chilled and served as a salad!

I can’t tell you how happy I am that Jack Frost has finally loosened his grip and has allowed Matt to do what he loves…..GROW GREAT FOOD!

We will see you at the South of the James Farmer’s Market from 8:00-12:00 this Saturday rain or shine, you got to eat!

Gearing Up for Thanksgiving!

Believe it or not Matt and I have been thinking about Thanksgiving for a year!  As Matt and I sat down and enjoyed this dinner with our family in the mountains last Thanksgiving, as we were enjoying our dinner, we spoke about  how nice it would be for our South of the James customers to serve the food our family grows at their Thanksgiving dinner!  Usually we are winding down our season by now, but this year, we are full on!  We are hoping to help you celebrate Thanksgiving with your family!  We are excited!

First off, we have sweet potatoes!  This is the first time Matt has grown them and man, they are beauties!  Below you see our fabulous farm intern Stephen working hard digging these potatoes and then we cured them.  We are thankful for Stephen!  He moved to the farm last April and has been helping us the entire season.  He signed on to learn about how to farm and has learned a lot!  He is now coming out to market us.  He is great company and has become a member of our farm family.

We have been curing our sweet potatoes for several weeks prior to bringing them to market.  These tropical tubers like it HOT to start. Ideal curing conditions are dim, hot (80°F-85°F), and humid so we have been curing them in our green house and have kept them covered.  Curing allows the tubers to callus over where the stem or roots were snapped off and heal any other damage. It also triggers the development of the sugar-creating enzymes that will allow the sweet potatoes to get sweeter in storage, and may help to prevent premature sprouting.  We have been bringing them to market for two weeks now and our customers are delighted with them!

Here is one of my favorite, clean and healthy weeknight dinners!  It is so easy and so tasty and of course from my favorite recipe blogger!

Now, for my Thanksgiving dinner!! We should start with a nice appetizer and Matt’s radishes are delightful and Norwood Cottage Bakery ‘s Cottage Bread is wonderful!  Mark is a great guy and works hard to hand craft his bread.  You can get his bread at the South of the James Farmer’s Market.


Unfortunately, we can’t grow the avocados but you can get the kale and radishes from us!  Serve this up with a nice glass of chardonnay while the dinner is finishing up.  Here is the easy recipe!  It is light and hits the spot just right while keep the food clean and healthy.

Matt’s kale is fabulous so I will make this Kale Salad:

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It is so good, but I must say, I substitute sweet potatoes for the butternut squash (no seeds to deal with)!  Here is the recipe from Cooking Light. The chopped apples and farro along with the cranberries is real nice!

We can’t get enough sweet potatoes so I will make a nice honey roasted sweet potato.  It is so easy.  Chop the sweet potato in to cubes and put them in a bowl.  Toss in about 4 tablespoons of honey, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, a tablespoon of cinnamon, put in a pinch of nutmeg for greatness and finish with salt and pepper to taste and make sure the sweet potatoes are covered.  Roast these little morsels at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until you can put a fork through them.


They are delicious and easy and fancy!

Carrots are always a must for Thanksgiving dinner!  Matt is bringing some beautiful baby carrots the next two weeks of market!


Since I already have the honey out, I am going to make these honey roasted carrots!  I am going to toss the carrots in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of honey and roast at 400 for 25-30 minutes with the sweet potatoes!

Matt’s green beans are so fresh and bright, you can’t have Thanksgiving without these!


I prepare them simply.  I put them in a pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes and pull them out immediately and give them a ice water bath.  This gets them nice and bright green.  I then take an easy balsamic vinaigrette dressing in a mason jar.  I put in a 1/4 cup of nice balsamic vinegar and a 1/4 up of nice olive oil.  I then put in 3 tablespoons of honey and 2 teaspoons of dijon mustard.  I take a garlic clove smash it and mince it up and add salt and pepper to taste and give it a shake.  I then heat up a pan and toss the green beans in the pan and pour some of the dressing on top of the green beans and heat them up.  They are delicious!

For dessert, we are going to make a brown sugar sweet potato pie!  I totally cheat a little bit.  I use the Pillsbury Ready to Bake Pie Crust.  You can get it where the refrigerated biscuits are at the grocery store.


I love to cook but I am not a baker!  I will also go over to Norwood Cottage at the South of the James Farmer’s Market to see what other delights he has and bring that along!  He has great hand crafted goodness that never disappoints!

Matt and I look forward to helping  you and your family enjoy Thanksgiving!  We will be at The South of the James Farmer’s Market Saturday, November 11th and Saturday, November 12th from 9-12!  Come see us and say “Hi” to Stephen!!!


September 16th Market Farm Share (CSA) Pick-up #18

We have ginger!!!!! Ginger is not native to Virginia so Matt had to work hard to get it to grow and bring to market.  Matt imported the ginger seed roots from Hawaii and planted the seed in our hot greenhouse at the end of February.  He babied them in the greenhouse and moved them in to our fields as soon as we were sure we would have sustained warm days which ended being mid-May this year.


This is Matt in our greenhouse this past February as he began planting the ginger root seeds.  

After a lot of hard work and waiting for what seems like forever, we have ginger!  Our Farm Share folks will find this in their bags this week!


Ginger is a root that is good for you with great medicinal uses!  Here are a few:

  1. Ginger can help you with nausea and morning sickness.
  2. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and can help with muscle pain and soreness.
  3. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties can help with osteoarthritis.
  4. Ginger can lower blood sugars and improve heart disease risk factors.
  5. Ginger can help with indigestion.
  6. Ginger can help lower cholesterol levels.
  7. Some studies indicate that Ginger can help prevent cancer.
  8. Ginger improves brain function and can protect against Alzheimers.
  9. Ginger tastes great!!!!!!!

Fresh ginger is even better than store bought ginger.  Our baby ginger can not be found in the grocery store.  It is so tender you don’t have to peel it. We pull it from the ground the day before we bring it to market so it is super fresh!

Here are some great recipes for ginger:

When school is in, and our son starts sports and piano, we depend on the crockpot!  Slow Cooker Ginger Beef with Shishtos and Peppers is one of my favorite hearty meals!


  • 2.2 lbs  boneless beef roast
  • 1.5 cup stock (chicken or beef)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced ginger
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • Two pints of Shishitos
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 cup brown rice


  1. Prepare the beef: cut off any fat you can see, cut into 1 inch cubes, and place in the slow cooker. Stir together the stock, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, sesame oil and ginger, and add to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on the lowest setting for 5 hours.
  2. When you get home from work, start the brown rice and stir together the cold water and corn starch, then stir into the slow cooker. Turn up the heat to the highest setting. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the bell pepper and sugar snap peas, then cover and cook for another 15 minutes.
  4. Serve atop brown rice and top with toasted sesame seeds.

Teriyaki Chicken  is one of our families favorites and the homemade teriyaki sauce is better than you can imagine.  I use this basic recipe:

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  1. Place the soy sauce, water, garlic, ginger, honey, brown sugar and sesame oil in a small pot over medium-high heat. Cook for 2 minutes. Turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil.
  2. Mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water until dissolved. Add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce and boil for 1-2 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Set sauce aside.

Stir Fry:

  1. Bring a can of chicken broth to a boil and put in a cup of brown rice.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli (when broccoli isn’t in season I substitute with shishitos or green beans) and red peppers and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until vegetables have started to brown and soften. Add 2 tablespoons of water and cook, until water has evaporated. When your vegetables are crisp & tender, remove them from the pan and set aside; cover to keep warm.
  3. Wipe out the pan. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in the pan over high heat.
  4. Place half of the chicken in the pan and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Set the first batch of chicken aside and repeat the process with the rest of the chicken.
  5. Add all of the chicken and vegetables back to the pan. Pour the sauce over the top and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat until warmed through.
  6. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over brown rice.

Our ginger comes with the leaves and stalks attached since it is so fresh!  Don’t throw them out, you can season with them as you would a bay leaf. Use the very aromatic leaves in tea (fresh or dried) and use the stalks to flavor the cooking liquid for rice, pasta, quinoa, and soups. Cut the stalks into 2″ to 3″ pieces and use fresh or freeze for later use. Be sure to remove the stalks before serving your dish (just as you would remove a bay leaf used for seasoning).  If you are looking for other uses of the ginger leaf click here.

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

  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Tatsoi
  • Kale
  • Lettuces
  • Radishes
  • Baby Arugula
  • Field Greens
  • Spicy Micro Greens
  • Basil Micro Greens
  • Tropea Onions
  • Red, Yellow, and White Onions
  • Beets
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Shishitos
  • Green Beans

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