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.