All posts by Letty

CSA delivery Monday, June 9 and MSFM pick-up Wednesday, June 11

” I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck”.  Johnny Carson

Has anyone ever told you that?  I think I have been asked if “I just fell off the turnip truck”.  I think it means you are a country bumpkin.  I figured that quote had been around for ages, but when I researched it (googled it!!) it says it became popular by Johnny Carson.  Who would have thought.

So, that being said, you guessed it – turnips in the bucket this week.  I have to say, I love turnips.  We roast them alone or with any other vegetable in sight.  Quarter them, toss in olive oil, ground coriander, salt and pepper.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Farm News:  This may creep the egg share holders out – to know that a snake has been wrapped around their eggs.  This guy has a pass as long as he doesn’t get into trouble.  He has been keeping the rodents away in our hen houses this summer.IMG_1731

However – if he decides he would rather have chicks than eggs, he’s outta here!!  These three hatched yesterday.  Their Mom has been vigilant in setting, and finally she has three youngsters.IMG_1747


What’s in the Bucket:  turnips, cabbage or broccoli, carrots or beets, greens (kale, collard and/or mustard), lettuce and a handful of raspberries.

Following a recipe for Turnip Gratin:

Butter or olive oil for the baking dish

1 garlic clove, cut in half

2 pounds turnips, preferably small ones, peeled and sliced in thin rounds

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (about 1 cup tightly packed)

2 1/2 cups low-fat milk (1 percent or 2 percent)

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter or oil a 2-quart baking dish or gratin dish. Rub the sides and bottom with the cut clove of garlic.

2. Place the sliced turnips in a bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Add half the cheese and the thyme and toss together, then transfer to the gratin dish and pour on the milk. It should just cover the turnips.

3. Place in the oven and bake 30 minutes. Push the turnips down into the milk with the back of a large spoon. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and return to the oven. Bake another 40 to 50 minutes, until all of the milk is absorbed, the turnips are soft and the dish is nicely browned on top and around the edges.

Yield: 4 servings.

Advance preparation: You can assemble this several hours before baking, but don’t add the milk until you’re ready to bake. You can bake it several hours ahead and reheat in a medium oven.

Nutritional information per serving: 258 calories; 7 grams saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 4 grams monounsaturated fat; 43 milligrams cholesterol; 22 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 319 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 16 grams protein

Circle S Farm delivery Monday, June 2 and MSFM pick-up Wednesday, June 4

“Self-pity is the hens’ besetting sin,” remarked Mr. Payton. “Foolish fowl. How they came to achieve anything as perfect as the egg I do not know! I cannot fathom.”
― Elizabeth EnrightGone-Away Lake

merle mothers day baby 2010 092

Any of you who have been in our CSA before know….we love our chickens.  I never imagined I would be so fond of fowl.  Honestly, I never cared about feeding the birds, never had an affinity for ducks, geese, wild birds, anything.  But, about the second year of our CSA I decided it would be nice for customers to have the option of fresh eggs.  So, we dove in.  Curtis built our first chicken house and we got about 20 hens.  The rest is history.  We are up to 120 hens and 4 houses.  AND, it has given me more of an appreciation for other birds.  I never knew a bird could have so much personality until we kept chickens (I thought about this as I was battling with a barn swallow who wanted to build a nest in my vegetable wash area…stubborn little birds).

All of this to precede my FARM NEWS for this week.  There was a snake in the chicken house (seems we can’t get away from the snakes this year).  Curtis went to close up the hens one night, he came back immediately and said – there’s a snake in the chicken house and I can’t tell what kind it is – will you come look at it.  So, by the light of the flashlight, I peer into the chicken house.  For those of you who don’t know, chickens roost at night. They don’t see very well in the dark, so they perch on roosts we build for them in the rafters of their house.  They are able to fly up to them – and they are about eye level for us.  SO, this snake has crawled down from the TOP of the chicken house.  He is hanging off one of the ceiling boards and is draped over one of our chickens backs.  It was creepy.

HOWEVER, I had noticed recently that we have not had many mice (a nice way of saying rats) in our chicken houses.  Rodents love to build in and around anything that eats grain.  In our feed room and chicken houses we have a constant problem.  So, lately, no torn feed sacks.  No scurrying around at night when we close chickens up.  And so I develop a new appreciation for this snake draped over our hens back immediately.  “Looks like a King snake to me”, I say (which it does).  The hen reaches back and pecks at him, absentmindedly.  “Let’s leave him alone” I say.

So I ask my neighbor, who is my chicken (and everything else) go to person, “will this snake eat our eggs?”  He says, “yes, but if you can spare them, it would be worth keeping him around”.   We are not short on eggs yet – so we’ll see what happens.

What’s in the bucket?  I KNOW YOU ARE TIRED OF GREENS… but, they are still in season.  Curly kale, fresh garlic, turnips (roots and greens), baby carrots, kohlrabi, radishes, new potatoes, bibb lettuce, raddichio.

I love to roast root veggies.  Just cut those turnips, new potatoes and kohlrabi (I would peel it) into similar sized chunks.  Pop the green tops off the baby carrots and throw them in whole.  Toss in olive oil and cracked pepper and roast until tender.    You can add fresh herbs or onions, but do it towards the end lest they burn.  Temp doesn’t really matter – 375 to 450 – just takes longer at a lower temp.

I found a new kale salad recipe the other night.  The curly kale is perfect for a raw salad or slaw (also great cooked).  The dressing was labor intensive, but made enough to save for another night.


  • 4 tablespoons fresh juice and 1 tablespoon zest from 2 to 3 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1 anchovy filet, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano, grated on a microplane grater (about 2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup neutral oil (such as safflower or canola)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups finely cubed sourdough bread
  • 12 ounces kale leaves, large stems removed, sliced into thin ribbons
  • 1 serrano chili, thinly sliced


  1. Combine lemon juice and zest, vinegar, garlic, anchovy, mustard, egg yolk, chili flakes, and cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Process until homogenous, about 10 seconds. With processor running, slowly drizzle neutral oil through feed tube, stopping the processor to scrape down sides as necessary until a smooth emulsion is formed, about 20 seconds. 
  2.  Transfer to a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use. 
  3.  Heat remaining two tablespoons olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add bread cubes and cook, tossing and stirring constantly until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt and pepper. 
  4.  To serve, combine kale  in a large bowl with about 1/2 cup dressing (more or less as desired). Toss to coat well and let sit around 3 minutes. Transfer to a large serving bowl and top with croutons and sliced chilies. Serve immediately.




Circle S Farm delivery Monday (Memorial Day) May 26 and MSFM pick-up Wednesday, May 28

When all the world appears to be in a tumult, and nature itself is feeling the assault of climate change, the seasons retain their essential rhythm. Yes, fall gives us a premonition of winter, but then, winter, will be forced to relent, once again, to the new beginnings of soft greens, longer light, and the sweet air of spring.

I’m posting this photograph from June 3, last year.

I’m posting it to show that every year is so different.  The strawberries came in almost 3 weeks earlier this year.  I’m hoping we will have broccoli in 2 weeks, but that might be a stretch.

So, for the moment we are stuck with greens and lettuce – and lots of it!!!  Just think, in July when it’s 100 degrees, we’ll be wishing for a nice cool salad… but lettuce will be long gone.  I had a conversation with a shareholder at the market Wednesday.  She asked me a question which recurs every year.  How do I cook greens for my family when they don’t really like the bitter taste?  I am posting a recipe at the end which I think is the answer.  Add sugar and vinegar….that’s the secret (and a little bacon doesn’t hurt either).  I’m loading everyone up on turnip greens and collards so if you’re in the mood, you can try it.

Farm News:  Our broiler chicks are here and growing.  We have had them about 3 weeks now, and they are just getting to be fatties.  They have a nice little pasture of grass and clover, lots of bugs and stuff to eat.  But mostly they lay around and enjoy the sunshine and eat their non-gmo feed.  If you haven’t ordered one and paid your deposit, it’s not too late.  If you pre-order you save $1 per pound (they are $5 per pound instead of $6)  You will still be able to purchase them if you don’t pre-order.  I will send out an e-mail when they are processed, but you will have to pay full price.

Be patient with the greens.  We have potatoes, broccoli, beets and carrots coming in a matter of weeks!!

What’s in the bucket this week:  Young onions, radishes or baby turnips, radicchio and/or kohlrabi, red leaf and/or bibb lettuce, kale and turnip greens and/or collards, beet greens (great to add to a salad raw, or sauté in olive oil).

So – speaking of bitter, radicchio is your answer.  This is a Chicory (class of vegetable) which looks like a miniature red cabbage.  Really beautiful and found in most of the commercial lettuce mixes you find.  If you don’t prefer a  bitter taste, my recommendation is to use it sparingly in a salad with a vinaigrette dressing.  If you really want to experience the true bitter flavor, however, grill it or roast it.  Cut it in half, brush with olive oil and fresh garlic, and grill it or roast it until the edges start to look crispy.  I suggest serving it with potatoes or and a meat – things which are NOT bitter.

And following, the turnip green recipe as promised.

Southern Turnip Greens

Yields 8-12 servings



4 lbs turnip greens- starting weight before washing, trimming and chopping (note: may need to add batches of greens as they are cooking down)

4 ounces smoked bacon

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sorghum syrup
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
6 cups water (note: add water if needed so the liquid meets the surface of the cooked greens in the pot)


Roughly chop raw bacon and render in a large stockpot over low heat for 5 minutes before adding chopped onion. Increase to medium high heat and cook until onions are translucent. Add crushed red pepper, brown sugar, sorghum, vinegar and water and bring to a boil. Add cleaned and chopped greens and simmer for approximately four hours, stirring occasionally and adding extra water if needed. Once greens are fully cooked and tender, taste for seasoning and add salt if desired.





Circle S Farm delivery Monday, May 19 and Main Street Farmers Market Pick-up Wednesday, May 21

“And he gave it for his opinion…that whoever could make two ears of corn or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.”  -Jonathon Swift, Gulliver’s Travels


Farm News:  Wylie Coyote spotted in the back pasture – two of them in fact.  Our chickens have been wandering over there quite a bit lately, and I’m sure Wylie has his eye on them.

44 degrees this A.M.  The tomatoes were shivering – but the cabbage and broccoli plants look promising.  There is hope for something other than  greens in the near future!!

What’s in the bucket?  Strawberries, sugar snap peas, arugula, lettuce mix with beet greens and spinach, bibb lettuce, kale, turnip or purple mustard greens, radishes or young onions, oregano.

EAT YOUR STRAWBERRIES!!  This will be the last week of strawberries.  Like other berries, they are known to fight cervical and breast cancer.  Research also shows they protect your brain and memory.   Animals that consumed an extract of strawberries, blueberries and spinach every day had significant improvements in short-term memory.  (How do you tell an animal’s short term memory is improving ?).

I made a salad the other night with mixed lettuce, strawberries, blue cheese, walnuts and young onions.  I dressed it with a blackberry balsamic and olive oil – a little cracked pepper…delish!!!

Last night we had kale and white bean stew.   I cooked about 2 cups of great northern beans in vegetable broth (or you could use chicken broth).  Cover the beans generously with the broth, add a bay leaf and add water if it cooks down.  I don’t soak my beans – just simmer them for a few hours.  However, if you think ahead, soaking them is always a good thing to do.

You could also short cut and use canned beans.  If you do this – cook the kale first and add the beans to them.

I cooked the beans until they were a little crunchy but close to done.  Add salt to taste.

I ribbed and chopped one bunch of kale.  I added these to the pot and let them wilt down and stirred them in.  Then added one young onion, chopped fine, and 2 cloves of garlic minced.  Cook all of this until the greens and onions are tender.  I then added one fresh chopped tomato (although you could probably skip this, it does add a good flavor) and about two tablespoons of chopped oregano leaves.  Keep cooking until the beans are creamy tasting and the flavors evolve.   Serve with hot corn bread.

Great meal for a chilly night!!

Happy Eating and thanks for buying local food from our farm!!




Circle S Farm CSA delivery Monday May 12 and Main Street Farmers Market pick-up Wednesday, May 14

“How one learns to dread the season for salads” -Elizabeth David, Summer Cooking


I send this quote out every year because it is how I feel after a few weeks of salads and greens.  Especially when I start to send the third or fourth week of e-mails, and it is still mostly greens on the list.  The upper garden is looking good, though, and it won’t be long until we have summer squash and potatoes coming in – so let’s enjoy the next few weeks of greens!!

When I start finding I have piles of greens and lettuce leftover in my fridge and no appetite for them, I start finding creative ways of using them.  Throw a handful of greens into soups, beans, stock, stir fry etc. to boost the vitamin content of your meal and add a little something extra!!  I love to take the big kale leaves or collard leaves and use them raw as a roll – in other words, I make a collard leaf into a sandwich wrap.  Spread peanut butter or pimento cheese on it, roll it up and enjoy!!

Same goes with lettuce.  A little harder to throw into cooked meals, but I love to make lettuce wraps.  I am including my recipe for lettuce wraps at the net of this e-mail.

Farm News:  Thanks to everyone who has had to tolerate my learning curve on my schedule this year.  It takes a week or two to learn where everyone lives, what they get, and who is picking up from the farm.

Curtis and friends had a run in with a super big rattlesnake.  The old man (9 buttons) was in a barn we need to fix up, having a nice private sun bath (because part of the roof is off).   Hearing that he had company, he thought he would move along, meanwhile scaring the wits out of the three men he was traveling past.

So – I guess it’s warm enough for the snakes to be out – everyone beware.

What’s in the bucket?!:  kale and turnip or mustard greens (surprise, surprise), bibb lettuce, Romaine lettuce, kohlrabi, sweet young onions, sugar snap peas and strawberries.

Letty’s Lettuce Wraps (has a ring to it, doesn’t it)

1 head bibb lettuce

1 can water chestnuts, chopped

1 cake extra firm tofu (or you can use chicken or shrimp)

soy sauce

coconut oil (don’t be afraid, coconut oil is now being recognized as a super food)

1 cup sugar snap peas or broccoli, chopped

1 cup finely chopped greens

lime juice

sriracha sauce

Chop tofu into really small cubes (if using shrimp or chicken, you are on your own)

Sprinkle generously with soy sauce on cutting board, and toss to coat

Heat enough coconut oil to fry the tofu in (this may seem like a lot but remember – superfood!!) – you can add more once you get going.  I have a non-stick wok, but you could use any heavy pan if you use enough oil.  Fry the tofu until it turns brown around the edges.  Coconut oil can take high heat – so turn it up!!

Turn heat down and add water chestnuts and chopped vegetables, maybe another good sprinkle of soy sauce.  Cook until vegetables are tender, a few minutes.  Squeeze 2 large lime wedges over the whole dish.

If there is a lot of liquid in the pan, you may want to drain it before assembling your lettuce wraps.  Wash and dry bibb lettuce – make sure it is cold and crisp.  Spoon filling into one lettuce leaf at a time.  Add hot sauce if you like it spicy.  Eat with plenty of napkins!!


Happy eating and thanks for buying local food from our farm!!

Circle S CSA delivery May 5 and Main Street Market Pick-up May 7

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird:  it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg”.  -C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


Farm News:  This is the time of year when the hens are happy!!  Hunting bugs and worms and scratch scratch scratching around.   I heard a shot the other morning and usually that means a fox or coyote has decided to take his chances on grabbing one of our happy hens for himself.  When Curtis appeared, he was carrying the hen, obviously maimed and put out of her misery.  I asked what it was, “hawk? fox”?  “No, it was your horse”.

Not the first time I have been disappointed in what one of my animals has chosen for an activity – pawing a chicken for fun.  Or maybe she’s just an angry horse.  Maybe I should sign her up for therapy.

The garden is slow!!  I have planted a new spot and have high hopes, but I am still patiently waiting.  But don’t worry – I have plenty of greens and lettuce planted in the high tunnels – enough  for you to get plenty of nutrition!!

So – kale in your bucket?  Kale has the HIGHEST  ORAC rating.  What the hell is ORAC you ask?  ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity.  That means it is a great cancer fighter – it zaps all those free radicals floating around in your body.  So eat your greens and enjoy!!

What’s In The Bucket?  Kale, Mustard or Collard greens, red leaf lettuce, NAPA cabbage, mixed baby lettuces, radishes or spring onions, and perhaps a handful of the sugar snap peas which are just getting started.

If you just can’t get excited about Kale (or your family doesn’t like it) try making pesto out of it.

Kale and Walnut Pesto

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 T plus 1/2 t salt, divided

1/2 pound Kale, coarsely chopped (about 1 bunch)

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan

freshly ground black pepper

1. Toast chopped walnuts in a heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat stirring constantly until they become fragrant.  Be careful not to burn.  Put in dish to cool.

2. Bring 2 quarts of water and 1 T salt to a boil.  Cook Kale until tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain

3.  Put garlic, walnuts and kale in blender or food processor; pulse until well combined.  With food processor running, pour in olive oil in a steady pencil thin stream.

When ingredients are thoroughly combined, transfer to a bowl.   Stir in Parmesan, remaining 1/2 t salt and lots of black pepper.  Serve hot.

Great over pasta or roasted potatoes!!

If you need a good recipe for NAPA cabbage, see Asian slaw recipe from last week’s post.

Happy Eating and thanks for buying local food from our farm!!





Circle S Farm CSA share April 28 and April 30

What’s in the bucket?  Napa cabbage, red leaf lettuce, mesclun or sweet lettuce mix, greens (kale, mustard and/or collard)

Farm News: Baby chicks coming this week!  They will ship from the hatchery Monday and arrive at our post office in a box, chirping away.  Day old chicks.

We will put them under a heat lamp in a brooder stall for 2 weeks then out onto pasture to exercise and eat grass and bugs!!  Hopefully we can keep the coons and possums out and keep them safe.



Grate or thinly slice one head of Napa cabbage and one carrot.  Chop one spring onion and the leaves from one bunch of mint.  Add chopped peanuts if desired.  Toss with enough dressing to coat veggies but not drench ( you may have dressing left over).  Should serve 4-6 people.

6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons peanut butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced

snow day

Beautiful day of sparkling snow and sunshine.  We got about a foot of snow I think.  The chickens don’t know what to do about it – they can’t walk in it because it is so deep.  Thus the saying – they are all cooped up!!

Curtis and I spent hours yesterday trying to knock the snow off the high tunnels.  We were afraid it would be too heavy and they would collapse.  So far, so good.  This heavy kind of snow is a bit risky for tunnels – they aren’t built to carry a very heavy load here in the south!!snow tunnels

Circle S 2014 Sign up information available

Farm News:  We are working and planning to get ready for our 2014 CSA season.  We have updated our sign up information.  Just click on the link CSA sign up, print the page and send it in.

We will be at the Main Street Farmer’s Market this Wednesday, New Year’s Day with plenty of greens to make your 2014 profitable!!  Also, kohlrabi, green onions, turnips, radishes, and all cuts of beef!!!

Happy Eating and thanks for buying local food.