In 2005 I put the first crop into the ground here at Sugar Creek. The first crop was tomatoes that I started from seed in the basement of our old house in Winston-Salem. In late May of that year, I transplanted out about 300 tomato plants into the area that today we call block 2. Back then you needed a 4-wheel drive vehicle to access the farm in winter and there was no electricity on the property much less a well. I'm not entirely sure what I was planning to do for irrigation but after I planted those first 300 tomatoes I noticed that they were beginning to wilt. This taught me my first lesson in farming: don't transplant into dry soil in the heat of the day. I quickly drove the truck down to the creek and loaded up a bunch of 5-gallon buckets with water. As I drove back up to the tomatoes, half the water sloshed out of the buckets but after a couple of trips back and forth to the creek I did manage to hand water all those plants. Fortunately, the summer of 2005 was not dry and those tomato plants made it. In August of that year, I sold the first harvest of those tomatoes at the Dixie Classic Farmers Market, for a grand total of $80. It was the start of something special that has grown into what you are helping us with today.
Since 2005, obviously a lot has changed. We have electricity now, heck even a well! The irrigation well we use for the farm only puts out 8 gallons per minute. However, we use micro-irrigation to conserve water and this technique enables us to water our 2 acre annual area, plus another acre on the other side of the creek. If I ever want to complain about the low yield on our well, all I do is recall carrying those 5 gallon bucks out of the creek and loading them onto the truck only to watch half the water slosh out. A smile quickly takes over and I realize our small well is working just fine!
Stay dry and enjoy your produce,
Jeff and the Sugar Creek Crew
Massaged Kale Salad with Avacado from Frog Bottom Farm
- 3/4 lb curlyor russian kale, chopped into 1-inch ribbons
- 2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt to taste
- 1 avocado
- lemon juice
- additional vegetables, nuts, seeds
- Put kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Massage with your hands so that it’s well coated with the olive oil and it begins to wilt and darken, less than a minute.
- Add 1/3 to 1/2 of the avocado, and massage again so that the avocado coats the kale like a thick dressing.
- Dice the rest of the avocado and add it, along with the lemon juice and any other ingredients (try grated hakurei turnips, grated beets, or grated kohlrabi). Toss. Eat!
Baked Squash Fritters from Frog Bottom Farm
Ingredients (6-8 fritters)
- 2 cups grated summer squash or zucchini, pressed between layers of a clean dishtowel or paper towels to absorb some of the water
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/3 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a large bowl, toss the squash and onion with the flour, cornmeal, and cheese. Add the beaten egg and some salt and pepper, and mix until everything comes together. Use your hands if you like; it’s fun! It should have the consistency of meatloaf.
- Using your hands, gently form the mixture into small balls (about 3 tablespoons of mixture for each fritter). Place them on the baking sheet and use your hand to flatten them into small patties about a half-inch thick.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom. Then broil for 2-3 minutes longer. The fritters should be a lovely golden color. Good warm or at room temperature. Serve with ketchup, fried eggs, tzatziki, or yogurt sauce.