Opening Season May 6th!

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

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

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

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

So, what’s coming to market next week?

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

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

The growing season is well under way!

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

The Start of the Growing Season

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 27th Market

Farming is our lifestyle.  It is every facet of our family.  We live on the land, we work the land, we plant the seeds, we eat the food.  It is my son’s playground, where he explores nature and makes discoveries.  He loves fishing  and catching turtles in our irrigation pond.  He is delighted by the huge bullfrogs he catches.  He runs and runs back and forth from the field to the house.  He runs so much, he runs in local kids races.  We are lucky that his Aunt T (Matt’s sister) is a triathlon  racer because she is the only one who can keep up with him in these races!

image This spring, our son got his own chickens.  He has raised them with total love.  They are so tame, they perch on his shoulder as he  walks around the farm.  Our son is always willing to help out with farm chores, and loves it.  He helps us plant tomatoes and harvest peppers.  In the winter, him and his dad work together in the greenhouse starting our plants for spring.  He enjoys working side  by side with his dad.  He wants to be just like him, which is a good way to be!

The very best part of growing our own food is that our son eats his vegetables!  In fact, he prefers his vegetables raw.  Because he has been raised on our clean, healthy food, he really has no taste for junk food.  Don’t get me wrong, he likes candy, but when it is dinner time, he wants his raw vegetables.  He grew up this way, so this is normal for him.  I can’t tell you how proud I was when our son asked us if he could take over the farm when he grows up.  Of course, he is 7, he will probably change his mind but just knowing how much the farm means to him, touches my heart.  Farming is our family lifestyle and nothing is more important than Sunday dinner where we celebrate Matt’s hard work!

The one thing that Matt grows the very best is greens!  I love his salad greens and arugula.

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Matt’s field greens and arugula are favorites at market.  Matt has listened to our customers and hand mixes varieties to create his field greens.  His field greens are a mix of baby bok choi, baby totsoi, baby arugula, mixed baby kale, baby broccoli, and other vitamin and nutrient dense leaves. He harvests these salads at the break of day Friday morning to make sure his customers get the freshest product possible.  To ensure our customers’ ease, we go the extra step to hand wash and dry these greens so you can take them home and enjoy them.  Here is a little secret about our field greens, you can sauté or steam them and eat them as greens!  When the weather warms up, I chop up the leaves of the salad and throw a full handfuls in our soups!  It is delicious and nutritious!  His field greens and arugula are so good, you can find them around town in several high end restaurants!

Matt’s arugula is my personal favorite!  I eat it as a salad, put it on a pizza, or wilt it with cannelloni beans, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice.  This is one of my favorite arugula pizza recipes, I use goat cheese from Goats R Us, she has great flavors that go nicely with the pizza.  She is right across from us at market, so it is easy to find her!  The pizza is a nice weeknight dinner.  I have to admit, I cheat during the week and use a pre-made pizza crust.  I had a customer share with me her idea to use the arugula in quiches!  How smart!  I tried out this arugula roasted tomato quiche recipe and it was awesome!  It is just about the end of tomato season, so don’t let it end without making a nicetomato arugula pie!  Goats R Us also has ricotta cheese that you can use in this pie!

The easiest way to eat Matt’s field greens and arugula is as salads!  I always honor his hard work with homemade salad dressings.  They are so easy to make, and so much cheaper than dressings you buy at the store.  You also have the added benefit of ensuring that the best ingredients go in your dressings.  Click here for my go to salad dressing recipes!  Once you have the staple ingredients in your house, you will never buy salad dressing again.  Fresh is THAT good!

What I love about market is that you can do your weekly grocery shopping there and ensure your family is getting the freshest and highest quality ingredients.

Are you excited about market now?  I know I am excited to get started cooking!  Here is what is coming:

  • Field Greens
  • Arugula
  • Baby Kale Salad
  • Kale
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Egg Plant
  • Radishes
  • Beets
  • Shishito Peppers
  • Cherry Tomatoes (Sun Gold and Sun Peach)
  • Hanover Slicing Tomatoes
  • Red Peppers
  • Basil
  • Honey
  • Micro Greens (spicy, kale, arugula, and basil)
  • Stir Fry Kits

See you at the South of the James Farmer’s Market this Saturday!  We will be there from 8:00-12:00.  Come early to get the best treats!

August 20th Market

Our peppers are coming in beautifully!  My very favorite thing to make is stuffed peppers!  I found out one of my friends husband’s loved them so much, I sent him some home for his birthday!  They are awesome!

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My favorite recipe is the Santa Fe Turkey Stuffed Peppers from SkinnyTaste.  I love the addition of the black beans and sweet corn topped with sour cream and Matt’s micro greens.  When school starts back and I am real busy, I opt for these Crock Pot Picadillo Stuffed Peppers. They are awesome treats, and the best part is that our son LOVES them!

Matt and I only eat with the seasons.  Eating with the seasons presents challenges in the winter months. I go to great lengths to savor the flavor of summer and have those treats through the hard winter months.  A few hours in the kitchen makes for a happy winter!  One of my favorite mid winter treats is Pepper Relish!  You can take your leftover peppers and make some awesome sweet pepper relish and at Christmas, it is an awesome treat to take out of the cupboard!  Click here for the recipe!  Roasted red peppers are so very sweet!  They are a welcome addition to any dish.  I love to roast these and can them so I can pull them out throughout the winter.  Here is a recipe I use every summer, it is simple and no nonsese:  Canned Marinated Roasted Red Peppers.  I have to say, it feels good knowing where my canned foods are coming from!

Matt Powell is such a creative thinker.  I love his great ideas and my favorite times are when we take our early morning Sunday walks together with our cup of coffee.  It is these times that we talk about market, recipes, look at his beautiful food growing so perfectly and make plans for the future.  One of his great ideas was stir fry kits!

imageThis is the best idea ever and truly makes dinner easy for our busy customers!  Matt artfully creates these and sets them out on the table.  They are true beauties!  Each week is a little different depending on what is coming in season, but it all works out beautifully as a stir fry!  All you need to do is add whatever protein you prefer.  I love my homemade teriyaki sauce.  It is so easy!  Just take a mason jar and pour 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1/2 a cup of water, 1 tablespoon of corn starch, 5 tablespoons of Black Creek Farm honey, grated ginger (to taste) and a minced garlic clove.  Give it a shake and voila!  I recently made it and added pineapple chunks to it.  The sweetness was fantastic!   You can make a clean, healthy dinner for your family in 30 minutes!

Are you excited about market now?  I know I am excited to get started cooking!  Here is what is coming:

  • Field Greens
  • Arugula
  • Baby Kale Salad
  • Kale
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Egg Plant
  • Leeks
  • Radishes
  • Beets
  • Shishito Peppers
  • Cherry Tomatoes (Sun Gold and Sun Peach)
  • Hanover Slicing Tomatoes
  • Red Peppers
  • Basil
  • Honey
  • Micro Greens (spicy, kale, arugula, and basil)
  • Stir Fry Kits

See you at the South of the James Farmer’s Market this Saturday!  We will be there from 8:00-12:00.  Come early to get the best treats!

We are looking for farm help.  If you know someone who would like to come and help us harvest, have them message on our Facebook page.

August 13th Market

It is my favorite time of the year, tomato time!  Our tomatoes are full on and I love them all!  I love making Bacon, Arugula, and Tomato sandwiches!  I eat one every day for lunch in tomato season.  I also love to slice our Hanover tomatoes about an inch thick sprinkle them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, top them with mozzarella and fresh grated parmesan cheese and roast them in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes.  I garnish with our basil micro greens and it is the easiest side ever!  I use our cherry tomatoes in everything!  I slice them in half and use them in stir fries. I slice them in half and make fresh tomato salads. Everyone loves Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes and Red Onions at my house and boy, it is so easy!  When the cherry tomatoes are rolling full throttle and we have more than we can sell, I make my famous Fresh Roasted Sun Peach Tomato Sauce and can it for the upcoming winter.

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This is so easy!  No pealing the skin, no messing with seeds, we use the whole cherry tomato!  Pre-heat your oven to 400.  On a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil, I spread the tomatoes in one layer and sprinkle olive oil and salt and pepper on top of them.  Roast them in the oven for 20-30 minutes.  Pull them out of the oven and put them in your blender throw in a handful of basil leaves and blend them up!  You can either can the sauce on the spot or put it in the refrigerator for up to a week.   Don’t be scared of canning, it is easy, trust me.  I use the water bath method found here.  I usually can a ton and give them as Christmas presents and use the sauce throughout the year.  There are so many ways to use the sauce.

  • A a cup or so of milk or half and half and warm it up for an awesome tomato soup.
  • Use it as a sauce for spaghetti or lasagna.
  • Use it as a dipping sauce.
  • Use it for a fresh pizza sauce.
  • Use it to make parmesan chicken.
  • Use it to make egg plant parmesan.
  • Use it to top polenta, gnocchi and ravioli.

A few hours in the kitchen makes for a wonderful winter when you can savor the flavor of fresh summer food.  Another bonus, you are done making homemade tomato sauce for the rest of the year!

Egg Plant is in abundance now and I am so excited!  Our egg plant are so beautiful and there are so many wonderful healthy ways to eat these!

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Martha Stewart is one of my all time favorite recipe writers.  Her breaded eggplant with arugula and parmesan is out of this world!  It is so simple and the addition of the our arugula makes this dish outstanding.  When summer vegetables are in abundance, one of my favorite dishes is ratatouille, this one is topped with smoked havarti cheese, one of Matt’s favorite cheeses.  It includes egg plant, zucchini, squash, and whatever else you have.  You can’t go wrong and it is a super healthy way to eat the best of summer!

One of my favorites is Eggplant Lasagna!  It is very easy.  Rather than the sauce in the recipe, I use my roasted sun peach tomato sauce above.  Fresh ingredients are key, I recently found out that Goats R Us (across from us at market) also makes ricotta cheese!  Her cheeses are the highest quality and are awesome in this dish!  The trick is to pre-roast the egg plant so the dish isn’t too watery.  I found this recipe on YouTube and tried it out.  It is great!  Matt loves his meat so I added sausage from Black Boar Farm.  They have a great product and they are right at the South of the James Farmer’s Market (click on the link to find the map) down from us.  Tell Dennis we said, “Hi!”.


Are you excited about market now?  I know I am excited to get started cooking!  Here is what is coming:

  • Field Greens
  • Arugula
  • Baby Kale Salad
  • Kale
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Egg Plant
  • Leeks
  • Radishes
  • Beets
  • Shishito Peppers
  • Cherry Tomatoes (Sun Gold and Sun Peach)
  • Hanover Slicing Tomatoes
  • Red Peppers
  • Basil
  • Honey
  • Micro Greens (spicy, kale, arugula, and basil)
  • Stir Fry Kits

See you at the South of the James Farmer’s Market this Saturday!  We will be there from 8:00-12:00.  Come early to get the best treats!

We are looking for farm help.  If you know someone who would like to come and help us harvest, have them message on our Facebook page.

August 6th Market

We had a bit of a challenge on our hands a couple of weeks ago. Mother Nature gave us a double blow.  First, it was so sweltering hot, our arugula, salads, and micro greens had a hard time germinating.  Then, when they finally poked their tiny leaves out of the soil, the horrendous  thunderstorm on July 21st brought hail and pummeled the struggling baby leaves.  That is all said and done!   This week’s  harvest is going to be strong and our arugula, field greens, and micro greens will be back better than ever.

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Picture from Skinnytaste, my favorite recipe blogger

This is my absolute favorite arugula salad recipe from my favorite recipe blogger, Skinnytaste.  The only thing I do different is grill the peaches I get at market from Saunders Brothers  and add some warm goat cheese from Bonnyclabber Cheese.  It makes a nice tasty light side.  If you want to make it a meal, I just slice up a grilled chicken breast for added protein.

This morning I took my morning walk on the farm and tried to decide what I would make for our Sunday dinner.  As I was walking, I saw beautiful petite zucchini, egg plant, tiny carrots, and peppers.  I picked (or pulled) them as I walked and threw them in my basket.  By the time I was finished, I had this:

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Vegetables I picked on my morning walk.

I decided that I would make a shrimp stir fry for dinner!  I prefer to make my own teriyaki sauce.  It is so easy, you will never buy it again.  It takes 2 minutes to make and has all natural ingredients in it.  It is simple, in a mason jar, I pour 1/4 cup of soy, 1/2 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, 5 tablespoons of Black Creek Farm Honey, grated ginger to taste and a minced garlic clove and give the jar a hearty shake.  I start my rice an let it cook while I am chopping vegetables and cooking the shrimp and vegetables.  I cook my shrimp first in a frying pan with sesame oil and put to the side.  I then put my chopped vegetables in the pan until they are slightly cooked, lastly I throw in chopped bok choy and sauté until it is wilted.  I put the shrimp back in and toss with the homemade teriyaki sauce.  I serve it on some jasmine rice and and it is fantastic!  A 30 minute easy, fresh, and simple weeknight meal!  Come see us at market, I can pull together the vegetables to make this an easy go to dinner!

Our Hanover tomatoes are coming in full force!  Our tomatoes are grown down the street from the original location of the Hanover Tomato Festival.  It was originally put on by Dodd’s Farm at the old Black Creek Fire Department.  When Matt was a little boy, he remembers going to the festival and eating the wonderful tomatoes grown close to his home.  Now, the Hanover Tomato Festival is held at Pole Green Park because it got too big! We are living near the land Matt grew up on, and we are growing the most beautiful Hanover Tomatoes this year!  I have had a tomato sandwich for lunch every day!  I also serve them as easy sides.  I cut them super thick and mix 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, crushed garlic and pour them over the tomatoes.  I then top the tomatoes with parmesan cheese or mozzarella cheese (or both) and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.  I then top with basil micro greens.  They are so good and so simple!

So, what are we bringing to market?

  • Field Greens
  • Arugula
  • Baby Kale Salad
  • Kale
  • Bok Choy
  • Tatsoi
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Egg Plant
  • Leeks
  • Radishes
  • Asian Turnips
  • Beets
  • Shishito Peppers
  • Cherry Tomatoes (Sun Gold and Sun Peach)
  • Hanover Slicing Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Honey
  • Micro Greens (spicy, kale, arugula, and basil)

See you at the South of the James Farmer’s Market this Saturday!  We will be there from 8:00-12:00.  Come early to get the best treats!

We are looking for farm help.  If you know someone who would like to come and help us harvest, have them message on our Facebook page.

 

July 23rd Market

Matt takes his farming seriously.  He works at least 12 hours a days every day except Sunday.  Sunday is his family day and he walks us around the farm and shares his vision with us and the ideas he has.  We “shop the field” and decide what amazing Sunday dinner we will create from his blessed bounty.  Farming is our lifestyle.  It is how we eat, how we raise our child, how we live our lives.  To keep up with our farm, like us on Facebook.

Matt grows his food for his family, and only wants us to eat the very best.  His focus is on sustainable farming, farming that protects the environment and leaves the land fertile for next year’s crops.  He uses crop rotations and cover crops to boost the fertility of the soil.  These crops rest the soil, naturally controls  weeds, and breaks pesky bug cycles without using harmful sprays.  He also keeps bees to boost pollination.  If you walk the field in the early morning, it is amazing to watch the bees working our crops, especially our buckwheat cover crops.

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Bees on the buckwheat cover crops.             Matt standing in rows of radishes.

In the second picture, Matt is standing in rows of radishes. Notice the nice mulching which reduces weeds naturally. But there is more than meets the eye! It appears to be almost flat ground but they are actually in raised beds that are almost a foot tall ! This is his take on the permaculture idea of “Hugelkultur” where plants are grown in soil but on top of piles of rotting wood. Normally a very small scale ideal, Matt has attempted to scale it up. The sunken walkways between the raised beds that normally fill with weeds and channel rain water out of our field are filled with wood chips almost a foot deep and then topped with fine mulch to cap it and hold moisture. This allows our field to capture and store rain with out erosion. Eventually they will completely decompose and be shoveled back into our growing beds to boost the organic matter and provide a natural source of nutrients to our plants.  Yes, Matt is is always studying and is always becoming a bit more  well versed in farming.   I am very proud of him.

Matt loves to grow the food, and I love to prepare it for our family.  I always give recipes, so here are two of my very favorites that impresses everyone!

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Watermelon Salad                                        Sun Peach Tomato Salad

The watermelon salad impresses EVERYONE!  The secret ingredient is our honey and basil mirco greens.  I just chop up a watermelon and toss some feta and blueberries in with the mix.  I then make an easy dressing by mixing two tablespoons of honey with a tablespoon of water and then grate some ginger to taste and mix it up.  This dish is fresh, tasty, and easy!

I love cherry tomatoes, and Sun Peaches are my favorite!  I simply half the tomatoes and mozzarella balls and make an easy dressing.  I follow the same rule as they honey dressing, about 2 tablespoons of good olive oil and a table spoon of good balsamic vinegar.  I add salt and pepper to taste and a bit of crushed garlic.  Give it a shake and pour it over the tomatoes and mozzarella. When it is time to eat, I toss some basil micro greens in it and enjoy.  Basil micro greens are my true secret weapon to insure everything tastes like summer!

So, what are we bringing to market?

  • Salad and Arugula
  • Kale Galore
  • Squash and Zucchini
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Cabbage
  • Radishes
  • Asian Turnips
  • Beets
  • Green Beans
  • Shishito Peppers
  • Cherry Tomatoes and Hanover Tomatoes
  • Honey
  • Micro Greens (spicy, kale, arugula, and basil)
  • Basil
  • Squash
  • Eggs

See you at the South of the James Farmer’s Market this Saturday!  We will be there from 8:00-12:00.  Come early to get the best treats!

We are looking for farm help.  If you know someone who would like to come and help us harvest, have them message on our Facebook page.

 

Summer is ON!!! July 16th Market

I am just the farmer’s wife.  My husband works endless hours producing the highest quality food I have ever eaten.  I work as a principal at the cutest little school you have ever seen with the very best teachers I have ever taught with and the sweetest students I have ever taught.  I am blessed.  The summer time for me is a time to catch my breath from the fast pace of the school year, slow my pace, and think about  what I need to put in place this upcoming year to make the next school year even better.  I do this as I help Matt harvest, as I search and create wonderful recipes to prepare our food, and as I write this blog.  Working the harvest and at market has made me a better wife, mother, teacher, and principal all because of the sense of calmness I feel as I am simply picking shishito peppers.  It is truly good for the soul.

It is hot outside and summer is ON!!!!  The squash and zucchini are on full blast.  It is my challenge to use up as many as I can in my kitchen. Last week I made Zucchini Lasagna.  I substituted zucchini ribbons for lasagna noodles.  It was awesome!  This week I made Sausage Zucchini Boats.  I topped them with our basil micro-greens.  They were to die for!  The sausage came from Black Boar Farm, their sausage is so fresh and delicious.  Our friend at Norwood Cottage Bakery was nice enough to give us a loaf of his cottage bread.  All of this, I was able to get from the South of the James Farmer’s Market.

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My goal is to make even more meals our of Zucchini.  My friend posted a link to zucchini noodle recipes and I am going to make the shrimp scampi from these recipes next week.

All of the perfect vegetables of sumer are here!  We have egg plant, Hanover tomatoes, zucchini, and our onions have just finished curing!  What’s a farmer’s wife to do?

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Make ratatouille with baked havarti cheese!  It is truly my favorite summer dish and so healthy.  It is definitely on the Black Creek Farm menu next week!

If you would like to keep up with our farm, like us on Facebook.  I post all week!

Summer is on and so is the harvest!  So, what’s coming to market this week?

  • Salad and Arugula
  • Swiss Chard
  • Kale Galore
  • Squash and Zucchini
  • Onions
  • Fennel
  • Leeks
  • Cabbage
  • Radishes
  • Purple and Orange Carrots (the purples sell out fast)
  • Beets
  • Green Beans
  • Shishito Peppers
  • Cherry Tomatoes and Hanover Tomatoes
  • Honey
  • Micro Greens (spicy, kale, arugula, and basil)
  • Basil
  • Squash
  • Eggs

See you at market this Saturday!  We will be there from 8:00-12:00.  Come early to get the best treats!

We are looking for farm help.  If you know someone who would like to come and help us harvest, let us know.  We are also looking for someone to work market with us.  We pay and/or do a farm share.  It is up to you.  If you know someone who would like to help us, have them message on our Facebook page.

Basil Time

I absolutely LOVE basil!  The smell is so wonderful, if I could buy it as perfume I would!  I love basil so much, when I get home from market, whatever is left, I make in to pesto immediately.  In fact last Saturday, I made myself a big batch and froze it to enjoy all winter!

imageMaking pesto is so easy and takes only a few minutes.  All you need is:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (can sub half the basil leaves with baby spinach)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (can sub chopped walnuts)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 teaspoons)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Special equipment:  A blender or food processor (I use my Vitamix blender, I finally bought one and love it!)

I put the basil in my blender the parmesan goes on top, then toss in the olive oil and nuts as well as 3 garlic cloves.  I add salt and pepper last once I taste it. My friend Trudy gave me a great idea!  She freezes the pesto in to ice cube trays.  That way she gets the perfect amount.  I wish I had thought of that years ago!

I use Pesto in everything!  The benefits of being a member of the farm community is that we often trade our goods for other artisan goods.  I absolutely love the bread that Mark at Norwood Cottage Bakery bakes.  He trades his bread for our arugula.  I love to spread the pesto right on top of his cottage bread.  I also spread pesto on top of chicken breasts and cook them in the oven, they come out delicious.  When I make lasagna, I put a tablespoon of pesto in the ricotta cheese mixture rather than herbs.  When I make pasta, I drain the pasta and throw some pesto in with the pasta and add a cup of water I reserved from the pasta water.   When it comes to Tomato sandwiches, you can’t go wrong with a pesto spread along with Duke’s mayonnaise of course!

Matt is also bringing basil micro greens to market!  These are the baby first leaves of the basil plant and are phenomenal!

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I sprinkle them in everything, including watermelon and cantaloupe!  I also love to make tomato salad out of our cherry tomatoes.  It is so easy, slice cherry tomatoes in half, add some mozzarella balls, basil micro greens, and a splash of balsamic vinegar and you have the freshest salad ever!

Me, Matt, and our son Sage are excited to see you at the South of the James Farmer’s Market tomorrow from 8-12!