ARCHIVE - 2012


Last week of the season – Hurray! Boo-hoo!  Always mixed emotions after months of hard work.  But what a season!!!  It was a rocky start this spring with the crazy warm weather then late killing frosts that wiped out about 1/3 of the spring greens and all of our fruit for the second year in a row.  Even so in 5 years of farming, I’ve never had such abundance in food, so much rain, such mild weather to work in.  Farm improvements like the washing station my brother, Jeff, built this past winter and working equipment, thanks to Gary, definitely made things much easier this season.  But I also know we’ve been extremely fortunate with the weather this season.  I read recently that 60% of this country was in some sort of a drought and 25% in severe drought.  Once again the reminder of how important and truly what a blessing good, clean water is for us all.

Farm Food Favorites: Crowder Peas
Shell peas.  Add to salted, boiling water and cook on medium heat 20 minutes or so until desired texture.  Drain and enjoy.  Can get fancy and add feta cheese and parsley. 

I decided to pull out the weekly harvest sheets and list the progression of food we all enjoyed this season…  Red & Green Lettuce, Bok Choy, Carrots, Kale, Radishes, Scapes, Kohlrabi, Basil, Green Garlic, Onions, Cucumbers, Dill, Mustard, Potatoes, Green Beans, Arugula, Swiss Chard, Beets, Tomatoes, Cilantro, Summer Squash, Parsley, Ground Cherries, Peppers, Okra, Soybeans, Long Beans, Borlotti Beans, Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Delicata Squash and Crowder Peas – whew!  It was definately a Tomato and Potato year, the Ground Cherries were extra delicious this year, the Cucumbers were champs for 2 years in a row, the Beans were tasty and plentiful but short-lived and it was definitely Not a Squash year.  Not only am I proud of this list, but at the same time humbled by the gifts of growing, receiving and sharing such abundance.     

It’s the diversity in our diet, the diversity in the fields, and the economic diversity inherent in CSA’s that make this small scale farming model work.  So thank you again for your part in another successful Ladybug Farms CSA season – it could not happen without you! 

Until next season… 


I definitely got my workout on Thursday.  That was the day I harvested this seasons Butternut and Delicata winter squash.  Check out the photo of this year’s bounty – close to 400 pounds of Butternut and 100 pounds of Delicatas.  The weeds grew so much this season it was hard to find the squash among all the weeds.  It took several passes through each row carrying 5 gallon buckets that quickly filled up.  It’s one of those farm tasks that you get to enjoy for months to come but are glad it only comes around once a year. I also transplanted the first of the fall greens today – two varieties of kale and the delicious green and red lettuce we all love – and begun digging the sweet potatoes.  They will continue to grow up until frost, but sweet potatoes are always a hit and so good for us nutritionally, that I wanted you all to enjoy for the last few weeks of this years CSA.

Farm Food Favorites: Grilled Okra

Put okra on skewers (narrow side so you can fit the maximum amount on the skewer).  Brush lightly with olive oil then sprinkle on dried cayenne pepper or salt.  Grill 5-7 minutes each side (test for desired consistency as with a hot grill they might finish sooner).  Enjoy! 

Warning!!! (More than one yankee has been converted to an okra fan after eating grilled okra…

I look forward to seeing each of you tomorrow at the CSA pickup from 6:30 until 8:00 at the H Building patio.  Please bring a bag for your goodies.


With the tomatoes winding down I decided I better hurry up and do some canning this weekend.  I tried homemade ketchup for the first time and also did my favorite combination heirloom tomatoes, pattypan squash and okra which makes a fabulous soup base.  Check out the photo of my fancy “turkey fryer turned outdoor cooker”.  I do this step outdoors to minimize the heat indoors and then use the pressure canner for the final step.  Mom does the majority of our canning that is a big help, but each year I experiment with a few fun ideas. 

I will begin harvesting the butternut and delicata squash later this week.  I dug a few sweet potatoes this weekend but would like to give them more time before harvesting.  The temperatures have been in the 50’s at night so the okra and squash are saying what’s up???  Shiloh already has a full undercoat of fur – a sign to me that a cold winter is on its way.  A friend I was talking to this weekend also commented that the husks on the corn this year are super thick and that was a sign to her of a really cold winter.  I guess time will tell, but I’ll be stocking up on firewood just in case.  
Farm Food Favorites:

Italian Borlotti (aka October Beans)

Remove bean from pod, simmer in 1-2 inches salted water about 20 minutes (test for desired texture).  Enjoy on their own, or drizzle olive oil and a squeeze of lemon on top.  

I look forward to seeing each of you tomorrow at the CSA pickup from 6:30 until 8:00 at the H Building patio.  Please bring a bag for your goodies.


Lots going on as I try to prepare the fields for fall yet continue to harvest the summer crops.  Preparing for fall means soil testing, amending with nutrients such as azomite (for trace minerals) and lime (for calcium to make the plants strong).  I planted a row of carrots and beets this weekend that I hope to overwinter and have for early next spring.  Check out the photo of the beet/carrot row – amended with azomite, lime and leaves from several C-town yards (ya gotta love folks that bag up and even mulch their leaves for folks like me to abscond and use in the fields).  This year, however, I will cover with the floating row covers so that the deer will not be able to mow down once the electric fence goes up. 

The beans are in high gear so lots of beans heading your way.  I also knew to not show up tomorrow without mom’s refrigerator pickle recipe – several folks asked about that at least week’s pickup...

Farm Food Favorites:

Edamame (Fresh Soybeans)
Fill pot with 1-2 inches water.  Steam soybeans (leave pod on) for 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat, sprinkle with rock salt, eat by putting whole pod in mouth and removing bean with your teeth.  Are Great with a cold beer.  Yum!

Mom’s Refrigerator Pickles
Slice enough cucumbers to fill a large mixer bowl almost 2/3 full.  Add 2 sliced onions.  Add ¼ Cup salt and cover with ice water.  Refrigerate overnight.  Next morning drain well 2 times.  Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.  Boil together for 5 minutes 2 Cups sugar, 1 Cup vinegar, 2 Tbsp mustard seed, 1 Tbsp tumeric, ¼ tsp pepper.  Pour vinegar mixture over sliced cukes and onions.  Refrigerate until ready to put into jars and hot water bath for 15 minutes OR can leave in refrigerator and enjoy (was the way I brought down to CSA week before last).    
I look forward to seeing each of you tomorrow at the CSA pickup from 6:30 until 8:00 at the H Building patio.  Please bring a bag for your goodies.


Hoping for some rain in the next 24 hours.  60% chance tomorrow so we’ll see.  Been about 8 days since the last rain and we are starting to get cracks in the ground.  The sweet potatoes and okra plants wilt down by midday – always a sign that things are dry.  I decided to go ahead and water today for the first time since the last rain.  Watering was a daily occurrence last year – big difference this year.  I think we are in for some hot, dry weather through the end of September.  Is “normal” for this time of year – the good news is we have a reserve in the ground, the creeks are flowing nicely and the rainwater tanks are full. 

Recipe this week from CSA member Ben – thanks for sharing!  He used 4 CSA items in this dish – said it was his personal best on the number of items in one dish and pretty darn tasty too!  I tried this over the weekend – added 1 ear of corn (gift from a friend) – and agree it is really good. 

Farm Food Favorites: Green Beans with Cherry Tomatoes

1 1/2 pounds green beans
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup butter (I took it easy on the butter for a change.)
1 tablespoon sugar (I used less.)
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt (I used Terri's awesome fresh garlic, a dash
of garlic salt, and some sea salt.)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
2 cups cherry tomato halves


1) Place beans and water in a large saucepan. Cover, and bring to a boil. Set heat to low, and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain off water, and set aside.  2) Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in sugar, garlic & salt, pepper and basil. Add tomatoes, and cook stirring gently just until soft. Pour the tomato mixture over the green beans, and toss gently to blend.
I look forward to seeing each of you tomorrow at the CSA pickup from 6:30 until 8:00 at the H Building patio.  Please bring a bag for your goodies.

Until next week…

p.s. Shiloh the Wonder Dog says Hi :)


This season has again been a good reminder of the value of diversity when it comes to farming (and life in general but that’s another discussion).  The need for diversity is inherent with being a CSA farmer – each month planting small quantities of several different crops.  Some crops thrive, others are a bust but at the end of the day there is (more than) enough.  I spoke this weekend with another small organic farmer up in Rabun County that had his entire lettuce crop underwater last week – and lettuce was his primary crop.  Ouch.  If we continue to see the swings in our weather becoming more pronounced, diversity in farming will increase in importance.  Only time will tell.

The new moon in late July signals the time to begin planting fall greens such as kale, mustard and more.  I hope to get those underway later this week…  In the meantime Mom and I keep harvesting tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes – 1/3 less plants than last year (down to 71 from last year’s 100), yet have about 3 times as many tomatoes this season – it’s all the rain.  Check out the photo of Saturday’s tomato harvest – 60 lbs in all – and we harvest tomatoes every two days!  The colors really are quite beautiful – and bonus is they are tasty too!  The sun has come out again and the peppers and okra are most appreciative.  Should have a few peppers this week but the okra is just beginning to flower.

Farm Food Favorites: Just make Salsa…

Dice (or blend) up your tomatoes, add a jalapeno pepper (if you have), fresh herbs such as Basil or Italian parsley (the flat kind – Not the curly kind); a little vegetable (or olive) oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic salt and pepper.  Enjoy on chips or on top of an omelette.
I look forward to seeing each of you tomorrow at the CSA pickup from 6:30 until 8:00 at the H Building patio.  Please bring a bag for your goodies.


We’ve been getting way more than our fair share of rain this last week and every day more rainshowers keep coming.  I am starting to feel like a canoe would be more handy than a tractor.  Check out the photos I took Saturday morning after receiving 4 inches of rain overnight.  The plants (and WEEDS) keep growing but without the sun, the vegetable plants do not flower and the bees do not fly and pollinate to make more vegetables.   It’s the squash plants – both summer and the winter delicatas and butternuts, that are most impacted by the wet, grey weather.  Mom and I are doing our best to keep things weeded so that the flowers that do bloom are located and pollinated by the bees. 

Plenty more tomatoes this week so decided to do a little searching and came across the following article with several fun tomato recipe ideas.  Check it out at

I look forward to seeing each of you tomorrow at the CSA pickup from 6:30 until 8:00 at the H Building patio.  Please bring a bag for your goodies.


I am finding all of my time lately spent harvesting with next to no time for maintenance.  Tuesday CSA and 2 restaurants, Friday CSA and 1 restaurant (sometimes two), and then Saturday market.  That’s a lot!  Even so, the fields are in better shape this season then ever before.  One thing I’ve done differently is make good use of the equipment and tools such as my tiller, weedeater (with fancy handlebars to save my back), the mechanical seeder and more to work more efficiently this season.  Seems to be paying off.  Sure there is always more to do then time to do it, but at least this year when I look at the fields things seem in harmony.  

Speaking of harmony, took a moment Sunday afternoon to go hunting for mushrooms.  Came across the most beautiful mushroom – could not believe it when I saw it.  Believe it to be some sort of chanterelle but it was too spectacular to do anything other than admire.  Brought mom and my friend Joyce back this afternoon to oooh and ahhh.  Was such a treat to discover this glowing gem.

The tomatoes are really starting to turn in numbers.  The plants have never looked this healthy nor had so much fruit.  I had to start reinforcing some of the 8 foot end posts today, as the plants are so weighty I was afraid the rows might collapse.  Happy problem, right?  Tomatoes are generally a tough crop to grow in Rabun County, but this year they seem to be coming on strong.   

Farm Food Favorites: Caprese Salad

Slice heirloom tomato into bite size pieces.  Do the same with buffalo mozzarella.  Layer the two on a plate, alternating tomato with mozzarella.  Cut basil into ribbons then place on top of tomato/mozzarella.  Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top.  Add kosher salt and pepper if desired.  Yum!

I look forward to seeing each of you tomorrow at the CSA pickup from 6:30 until 8:00 at the H Building patio.  Please bring a bag for your goodies.


Had a conversation with CSA member Dan who is new to the CSA season.  He shared with me that he had pretty much reached the conclusion that eating seasonally was about eating a whole bunch of something, just about to the point of getting tired of it, and then it is gone, until next year.  I had to laugh.  Might not be the Madison Avenue spin on “eating seasonally”, but that pretty much sums it up!   

Last week’s crazy heat made productivity at the farm slow way down.  At some point even the weeds were wilting.  Was starting to get worried on Saturday after ten days of no rain.  On Sunday began putting out soaker hoses on the remaining rows, and then, voila, 3 inches of rain last night!   Did manage to get the pumpkins planted (always try to do that by July 4th) and Gary helped me to trellis pole beans which I have not grown before.  A little extra work vs. bush beans but know I will appreciate once it comes time to pick them and I’ve heard that pole beans are extra tasty!

Speaking of beans, the beautiful green, purple and yellow beans are in abundance this week, so a nice share for everyone and my favorite way to enjoy fresh beans…

Farm Food Favorites: Fresh Bean Salad

Snap off ends.  Add about 1-2 inches of water to pot, bring to low boil, add beans then simmer for 5-6 minutes.  Remove from heat and rinse under cold water to stop beans from cooking.  Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic salt and herb of your choice.  Can eat right away or refrigerate.  Enjoy!  . 

I look forward to seeing each of you tomorrow at the CSA pickup from 6:30 until 8:00 at the H Building patio.  Please bring a bag for your goodies.


I read this week that the USDA recommends 5 servings (approximately 2 ½ cups) of veggies per day.  I’ve been thinking about that a lot and no, unfortunately, cappuccinos, wine and cheese do not count.  It takes effort for most folks in today’s world to not only eat, but even cook that many veggies per day.  I think back to the day when most everyone lived on a farm and was fed from their own garden, it was a way of life then.  But today it takes a conscious effort, yet, We are doing it! 

Two things to share with you all this week.  The first is an article from the NY Times that CSA member Jess forwarded to me.  “Dirtying up our Diets” takes the position we have oversanitized our lives and asserts that the “greatest social contribution of the farmers’ market (and CSAs) may be its role as a delivery vehicle for putting dirt back into the American diet and in the process, reacquainting the human immune system with some “old friends.”   Check it out at

The second is a food, consciousness and more blog that CSA member Edie put together.  I was honored to be included in this beautiful work and hope each of you will check it out and share with your friends…

Cucumbers still going crazy strong – harvested 28 pounds today!  With 25 CSA members getting one pound a week, that uses up one day and there are 6 more days.  Needless to say mom’s been making a lot of pickles…

No Farm Food Favorites recipes this week – too tired and need to go to bed.

I look forward to seeing each of you tomorrow at the CSA pickup from 6:30 until 8:00 at the H Building patio.  Please bring a bag for your goodies.


Thursday this week marks Summer Solstice; also known as Midsummer in some cultures.  In calendar terms Summer Solstice represents the longest day / shortest night of the year.  For vegetables such as onions that are daylength sensitive, they have been growing like crazy lately with these long days.  This past week I also shelled last season’s field corn that has been air drying in the barn.  I use a vintage handcrank sheller (Christmas gift from Gary) to separate the kernels from the cob.  Next it is blown to remove any loose husk particles then taken to the Sylvan Falls Mill to be ground into next year’s Polenta. 

I almost don’t believe it myself, but I am sharing a new recipe that I love that does NOT involve olive oil or garlic.  We have Clayton CSA member Margie to thank for this delicious and easy cucumber salad that she modified from

Farm Food Favorites:

Cucumber & Dill Salad:

-          1.5 pounds cucumbers, unpeeled and thinly sliced
-          1 tbsp course Salt
-          ½ Cup apple cider Vinegar
-          ¼ Cup finely chopped fresh Dill
-          3 tbsp Sugar
-          ½ tsp. Black Pepper
-          Dash of fresh Lime (optional)

Place cucumber slices in colander.  Sprinkle with salt, toss to coat.  Let stand 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile for dressing stir vinegar, dill, sugar, pepper and lime in large bowl until sugar is dissolved.  Combine cucumbers with dressing and stir to blend.  Refrigerate at least 15 minutes.  Enjoy!

I look forward to seeing each of you tomorrow at the CSA pickup from 6:30 until 8:00 at the H Building patio.  Please bring a bag for your goodies.


Food traditions play an important role in cultures around the world.  While researching Japanese zen gardens once, I came across the quote “in Japan, in the springtime, we eat cucumbers”.  That struck me and I have thought of it often, as it reminds me of eating seasonally and the connection one gets to the land and ones surroundings when doing so.

I am excited to “borrow” a food tradition and share with you all this week.  A Swedish couple stopped by our table at saturday market recently and told me that at midsummer (Summer Solstice) in Sweden it is a tradition to dig and enjoy new potatoes.  In years past I have left the potatoes in the ground to mature to their full size and only begun to dig once the plants had stopped growing and died back.  But I decided to try their suggestion and will have new potatoes for us all to enjoy this week.   It was big fun to use the pitchfork and gently loosen the soil around the tall potato plants and search for small potatoes in the hilled up soil beneath the plants.  Gary and I enjoyed our first new potatoes last evening and I have to say they were delicious! 

Farm Food Favorites:

Mashed New Potatoes:
Cut potatoes into small chunks about 1 inch in size and place in boiling water.  Cook until fork tender, drain water then put on plate, mash with fork, top with a little butter and course salt and Enjoy!
I look forward to seeing each of you tomorrow at the CSA pickup from 6:30 until 8:00 pm - H building patio at the Stacks.    Please bring a bag for your goodies.


It’s easy and natural to become detached from the weather living in a city and spending much of one’s day working indoors.  The weather often becomes something you appreciate on a sunny weekend day or scorn if it rains out your Sunday afternoon hike.  When you grow food, however, you have no choice but to become very aware of the weather.  Mom’s church went on a mission trip to Africa last summer to a place that had not seen rain in 3 years!  I cannot imagine how life could exist – how could one grow food, what would people and animals drink, what about bathing/cleaning?  So far this spring we’ve had some really good rains and I am amazed (and grateful) at the difference it makes in the growth of everything.

So the farm news of the week is the fields are planted!  A last big push to plant peppers, winter squash, sweet potatoes and more.   Now is the “in-between” harvest time when the spring crops begin to wind down and the summer crops start to come in.  Check out the photo of the cucumbers front and center, the beans in the background just beginning to flower, the potatoes to the left that are growing nicely underground and the okra to the right that is just beginning to sprout.   The hoops are for row covers that sped up the cucumbers by 2 weeks, the bunny fencing to protect the beans and a scarecrow and flagging tape to ward off the crows in the okra.   

I’ve received some fun emails from folks about meals you’ve made, recipes you’ve tried and fun food moments with your CSA goodies.  Thanks for sharing and keep ‘em coming.  I’ve included below a recipe from CSA member Pam that she highly recommends and I am looking forward to trying myself:

Kale Salad with Pinenuts, Currants and Parmesan
2 tablespoons dried currants 
7 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, divided
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey 
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 
1 teaspoon salt - or less
2 bunches of kale, about 1 lb, center ribs and stems removed, leaves thinly sliced crosswise
2 tablespoons pinenuts - I use any nuts, toasted
Parmesan cheese shavings

Place currants in small bowl; add 5 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar and let soak: drain currants; whisk remaining 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, honey, oil, and salt in large bowl; Add kale, currants, and nuts; toss to coat; let marinate 20 minutes at room temperature, tossing occasionally. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle cheese shavings over salad and serve:
I look forward to seeing each of you tomorrow at the CSA pickup from 6:30 until 8:00 pm - H building patio at the Stacks.    Please bring a bag for your goodies.


An impromptu visit to last week’s pickup by neighbor Kyle resulted in some great press for our CSA at the Stacks last week – thanks kyle J   I’d like to welcome two new CSA share members, longtime residents Pam and Ed as well as Lenna Davis from the E Building.  I had originally planned (and planted) for 15 shares at the C-town CSA and we have reached this point – hurray J 

A lot going on this week including a big push to finish the planting.  Five 100 foot rows of okra, two 100 foot rows of sweet potatoes, more beans, squash, beets and carrots.  Tomatoes staked, potatoes hilled, and the garlic pulled.  Speaking of garlic – check out the photo of this season’s garlic harvest drying in the barn.  I planted twice the amount of last year – we just Might have enough garlic this season…

Farm Food Favorites:

Polenta, Kale & Green Garlic:

Prepare polenta by bringing 4 cups of water to boil, reduce heat, add 1 cup of polenta and stir occasionally until thickened.  Pour into buttered pie pan and allow to cool.  Saute green garlic over medium heat in olive oil until just beginning to brown, add kale (sliced into ribbons about 1 inch thick) and sauté for 3-4 minutes.  Put kale on top of polenta, slice into wedges and Enjoy.

Radish Bites:

Slice radishes into thin discs, squeeze lemon over radishes, top with coarse sea salt and Enjoy as a quick, healthy snack! 
I look forward to seeing each of you tomorrow at the CSA pickup from 6:30 until 8:00 pm - H building patio at the Stacks.    Please bring a bag for your goodies.


Hey folks – It’s here – the first CSA veggie pickup of the season.  Lots of news and things to celebrate – Emily gave birth to twins, Nicki & Ben and David & Ciara got engaged, plenty of rain, a greens washing station in the barn (thank you brother Jeff) and equipment that works (thank you Gary!).  Lots of familiar faces returning this season and a warm welcome to two new folks – Dan Lawrie in the E Building and Brandon Sutton who needs little introduction J

It was a dicey spring with the crazy warm weather and even the bugs are confused.  We had April in January, February in April, and sadly lost all of our fruit (except the wild blackberries) for the second year in a row.  I made good use of row covers this spring that help to protect crops from insects as well as sudden temperatures drops.  The bunnies have been horrendous this year – the deer not a problem.  Funny but every year seems to be something different…  Thankfully the weather seems to have “normalized” now and we’ve had some good growing weather with sunny days, cool nights and regular rain.  About 2/3 of the summer crops are planted now and I plan to plant the sweet potatoes, okra and winter squash this coming week.  Lots of thinning on the agenda, potatoes to hill and of course, weeding.

We have a new Clayton restaurant customer this season.  Jenny Wilson is the chef-owner of Fromage – a cute little lunch and last weekend of the month dinner spot in downtown Clayton (  Jenny was the inspiration behind this week’s Farm Food Favorites idea:

Bok Choy Slaw

Slice Bok Choy (stems and leaves) into thin discs (like celery).  Grate carrot and add to bok choy.  Make dressing of sesame oil, honey and grated ginger and toss with veggies.  Enjoy.

Thank you again to each of you for your support this season.  I look forward to seeing each of you tomorrow at the CSA pickup from 6:30 until 8:00 pm - H building patio at the Stacks.    Please bring a bag for your goodies.

Until next week…

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